“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T. Bennet

Posts tagged ‘running’

Pear Blossom 2018 – A Race Recap

Three times a charm, right?

Going into this race, I had far too much adrenaline rushing though me. For the entire week leading up to it I was jittery and could hardly sleep. I always feel so undertrained, so amateur. I run with a stroller and barely hit forty miles in a week.

And I have other aspirations. This month I tried to start my schooling, and it didn’t end well. I lasted two days with Ezekiel hanging on to me as I tried to do my homework. It didn’t help that I was incredibly sick that week and lost five pounds. With no energy and no way to do my work, I gave up. The only attention Ezekiel was receiving was negative, get off my lap, let go of my pencil, give me my book, don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do that…

There is always next semester, and my son needs me as he grows, far more than I need to start my career. We have Nate, after all, and I have a job, and I have my art.

Back to the race:

The only test run I did was a short four-mile loop with a big hill. With the last two miles clocking in at a 5:15min/mile pace, I felt buoyed for the race.

Then Thursday hit, and I was called up for a phone interview. Since the reigning champions weren’t attending this year, I was the next “obvious winner”, as the writer put it. Cue jitters x3.

(last year’s run)

The day of the race, Nate and I bundled up and headed to the start. It was pretty cold out and I was reluctant to strip down to my shorts, but when the time came, I stood shivering at the starting line in the 6min/mile corral. I tried to find Nate, but apparently he was stuck in the bathroom line for nearly ten minutes. We had time for a quick high-five before the gun went off.

The first mile went by quickly. I felt strong and ran it in 5:29. There were four guys ahead of me at the time. I ended up passing one and then he came back to pass me at mile 7. Ah, well.

The cyclist eventually found me. He had been leading the wrong woman for the first two miles. I kinda wish he had stayed with her because he was rather distracting. He would yell to me the mile times and, while I had felt strong in the first half, once we started back and ran into the crowds behind us, his incessant bell-ringing was a needle in my brain. I lost focus and slowed down from 5:35 miles to 5:55 miles.

I would start to gain momentum and then we would hit a group of onlookers and there that bell would go again. Maybe I somewhat blame the guy, but I also need to learn how to focus better. As a lone runner, I’m not used to loud noises or people talking to me when I’m trying to focus.

My body felt strong, and when I felt it tiring I would pull myself up a little taller and would feel a little lighter. It was fun to watch the people go by as they headed to the halfway point. There were two guys dressed up as Minions, a guy in a suit, my husband passing people right and left. When the last of the runners went by, I focused on the road ahead and when I turned the final corner, I came in smiling and confident in the race I had run.

I didn’t know my final time for about 20 minutes after the fact. People were shaking my hand, telling me to wait around for interviews. I sounded like a complete airhead during all of them, but I had never talked into a camera like that before. I had to tear away in order to catch my husband racing in to the finish, beating his previous time by 2 minutes.

With a final time of 57:57 in a 10 mile race, I’m feeling pretty good. I hold the new record for my age group in women’s, and was less than a minute off the actual course record set by Marci Klimek (an Olympic trials qualifier). Next up: the Eugene half-marathon in ten days.

Also, sorry for the screenshots.

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Friendship

I have seen the starry night
Just a blur of bright
Yellow and white

I have danced the naked street
Darkened bare feet
To a silent beat

No matter where I must run
What hills I am from
I will come

When you need a friend to pull along
A moment in time to belong
Or a harmony to your song

Unpopular Opinions

Doughnuts and bacon are disgusting.

Cars are a frivolity and people should walk more often.

Kids aren’t angelic. They are rather mischievous, actually, and don’t always mean well.

Brown and black do, in fact, go together.

Dessert is unnecessary.

Long lines can be enjoyable.

Not everyone has to marry and not everyone has to have children.

Women can be breadwinners (and men can do housework).

You don’t have to stretch before a run.

Bread doesn’t make you fat.

Rainy days are the best days. I mean, you don’t overheat when you run! Amazing!

You don’t need to go to church every Sunday and Wednesday. Sometimes, the physical church can be detrimental to your spiritual health and growth.

Help isn’t always helpful and it is okay to tell someone “no”.

The customer is not always right.

Toilet papers rolls should be placed so that the paper comes from underneath. It is easier to rip off and keeps people from using too much.

Anything to add?

Siskiyou Outback 50K 2017 – A Race Recap


It’s a pretty cool thing to find your face in the morning paper. When I started the morning l was tired to the bone from keeping a baby happy all night long. I was having trouble getting my head “in the game”, so to speak. My loving husband made me pancakes while I tried to get everything ready. The race was a 40-minute drive away and started at 7 o’clock, sharp. We had fifteen minutes to get ready and go, and Ezekiel was still fast asleep.

The night before, I had filled the bladder for the hydration vest with water and had frozen it. In the morning, I let it thaw just enough to yank it open and fill it up to near-overflowing with water. I had two bison bars in Ziplocs stuffed into my vest, as well as dried cranberries and some homemade peanut butter Rice Krispie treats. I also had two more water bottles in the front. I was set, but nervous.

We arrived with 20 minutes to spare, but every runner knows that the line for the bathrooms will take all the time. There were about ten people in front of me, I still hadn’t picked up my bib, and Ezekiel still needed to nurse. Cue the rising panic.

I had to hurry back to the car to quickly sunscreen up after getting my bib. I remembered that two years ago I had fried in the beating sun and I had no intention of experiencing that again. The five minute call rang out, and Ezekiel still needed to eat.

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(He doesn’t realize I’m about to leave him for several hours.)

While I walked to the starting line, I covered up (barely!) with a blanket and let my baby finally eat. I was in the very back of the crowd, wrestling with a squirmy, thirsty child. I had to hand him over to my husband, Nate, when the gun went off the crowd began surging forward. I quickly buckled my vest together and set off, trying to get past the bulk of the people. I wish I had started in the front.

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(The sea of fluorescent runners.)

The first mile was spent passing a lot of runners. I always feel awkward passing someone. Do I tell them “good job” or “keep it up” even though I’m running in front of them? Personally, I might find that condescending, but I know that oftentimes others enjoy encouragement more than I do. Sometimes I say sorry, but I honestly don’t know what the etiquette is. I’m still a newbie to this whole racing thing.

When we reached the first climb I knew I was in for a long few hours. I stopped and shook my legs out a couple of times. I regretted not training in high altitude. I regretted signing up for the race. Gosh, I was actually pretty grumpy for the first half.

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(Nate, my unofficial photographer, caught me in a bad mood. I told him to leave me alone here.)

I tried to eat my bison bars but they suddenly tasted like rabbit food. The cranberries weren’t much better. I ended up spitting out some of my food on the trail as it was turning my stomach. While my nutrition was sub-par during the race, I stopped at most of the aid stations and took in plenty of electrolytes and fluids. Without those, I never would have made it.

After hitting up the halfway aid station, Jackson Gap, I ran alongside a guy from Portland for a couple miles. He pulled ahead of me on the hills, but I kept my pace steady and would occasionally catch him on the flat ground. Unfortunately, I rolled my right ankle on a sharp turn and lost him completely. The next two miles after that were spent wondering if I would be able to finish. I knew that little roll had done something to my ankle and I was hobbling. Because I had slammed my right knee in a training run, that whole leg was somewhat compromised. When I made it to the next aid station, however, I just drank more electrolytes and my husband and baby were there to cheer (or cry) me on. I kept going.

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(Grimacing.)

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(Everybody at the race loved him.)

The next section had several miles of climb to it, and I admit, I was pretty low during this point. I walked often, sometimes completely stopping and doubling over, hands on my shaking legs and staring at the ground. The lack of food was really catching up to me, but I knew I had to continue. I arrived at the last aid station and took in more electrolytes. My contacts were clouded over and my eyes were itchy from the dry, grassy spots. Allergies are my bane. Someone gave me a sponge for my eyes. I tried to find something to eat that appealed, but someone told me that if nothing looked good, I might as well keep going since there were only five miles left.

The last five miles weren’t too terrible. I caught up with Strava Socks (his name is actually Kyle, but at the beginning I had been behind him staring at his labeled socks) and I followed him out of the trail and onto the road that led to the finish. There were campers and onlookers all along the road, yelling and cheering us on. I heard people yelling “first woman” and “here she comes” as I neared the end. Strava Socks pulled ahead for a sprint finish, but I didn’t feel like sprinting at that point. My husband was running alongside me, trying to get me to sprint. I said no.

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(My official time was 4:27:31 because I started in the back.)

It was such a relief to cross that line. Several runner friends that had done the 15K were there and congratulated me as I tried to find food. They all looked so fresh, wearing colourful leis and holding beers. In some ways, I was jealous that they didn’t run as far, but at the same time I felt pretty accomplished. Maybe next year I’ll do it again. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll be brave and do 50 miles instead. Runners have short-term memory loss, after all.

 

To Those That Worry About My Health

Every week, I am met at some point in time with the question/statement, “You’re eating enough, right?”

My answer? I can never eat enough. I am a breastfeeding, ultra-running, metabolism-of-a-teenager mom and I am ALWAYS HUNGRY. I wake up and eat right away and I go to sleep dreaming of what I will eat tomorrow. When I run, I think of food. When I relax, I think of food. When I eat, I think of food. I get seconds, thirds, sometimes fourths. Free samples are the first thing I beeline to when I walk into Costco or Trader Joe’s. Yes, I barely weigh 100 pounds at times but I am trying my best and, man, you don’t even know how hard it is for me to gain weight.

But that doesn’t mean I am going to give up running or even decrease my mileage. Just please, please, please stop questioning my health because I hear it all the time from everyone I know and your overwhelming concern is becoming overbearing. Did you know that I can eat half a bag of Costco trail mix in one setting? Can you? Stop talking to me about my weight because if I said anything about yours, the world would be in an uproar.

Please.

And thank you.

Two Days in the Life of Zeke

These last two days I have been taking Ezekiel to try out new things and documenting it. He won’t ever remember, but he enjoyed them all just the same.

Day 1:

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To start things off, we went to Barnes & Noble. We walked the two miles to get there in the somewhat cooler morning before the heat hit us. His favourite thing to carry around with him is his hairbrush, which may seem rather odd, but when a baby is teething they will chew on anything.

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The wall in Barnes & Noble has a little mural on it. He kept trying to pick off the little black painted spots, confused as to why they wouldn’t come off in his hand. I attempted to read a book to him but since he wouldn’t stop trying to eat it, I gave up and put it back before I was forced to purchase it.

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We walked the two miles back home and rang up his grandma to see if she desired a hike. Off to the Forest Park trails we went, right at the hottest time of day. I lathered Ezekiel in sunscreen since he is an extremely ivory child.

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He didn’t (and doesn’t) understand the idea of a selfie, hence the look of confusion on his face. Also, it turned out that during the two-hour trek up and down and up and down the mountains, he had been carrying a load the entire time. Perhaps that is what this look is about, him having an uncomfortable warmth in his pants while he was already uncomfortably warm in the sun. The last mile was somewhat of a jog, and then I eventually had to bare all to potential hikers when he decided he was too hungry to wait until the end. Have you ever tried a brisk, midday hike with a baby latched to your chest? I have now.

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He seemed a little tired and frazzled when we went to a goodbye party for a friend. This is his grandpa (and my dad). Ezekiel found a piece of onion on the ground and did not enjoy it as much as he thought he might. To end the first day of documentation, I had to work at an obscurely late hour and came home to my baby fast asleep in his crib. His dad did well.

Day 2:

Since we had journeyed nearly eight miles the day before, we decided (I decided) to continue on our streak of keeping away from the apartment as long as possible.

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We went to KidTime, a hands-on children’s museum half a mile from where we live. Although Ezekiel is little, he enjoyed climbing up every stair and incline he could find. Someday, he will be an ultrarunner. I know it.

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(Cue the blurry photo of an active child.)

He kept trying to carry on a conversation with the other baby in the mirror. Right now he also likes to grab hands, and was slightly frustrated when he couldn’t hold hands with the baby. We spent an hour at the children’s museum and then joined a group run for a six-mile jaunt on the greenway.

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After the run, I still didn’t feel like heading home, so we took a detour to the library. Ezekiel was stealing toys from the other kids and attempting to eat books, so we didn’t meander there too long. I began to feel a little peckish, so I grabbed a sandwich while Ezekiel nursed. He wore himself out with all his thieving.

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(A baby with his bounty.)

Finally, as the heat steadily rose, we made our way back home. He is, at the moment, appreciating the luxury of a good, long nap after a nice, cool bath. On a side note, tomorrow I am running approximately twenty miles out of pure enjoyment. I hope I don’t get lost.

Nature Baby

I gave birth to nature baby.

He jabbers as we run outside, taking in the sights and sounds of the trees that we pass.

Sometimes he falls asleep from the rhythm and I can hear him snoring lightly.

I’m sure he dreams of sunshine and birds, because he is always in the best of moods in the outdoors.

When he is big and grown, I hope he’ll be running next to me as we tackle the big miles. His dad will be on his bike, keeping our pace steady, as we jump rocks and dodge branches in the forest. 

For now, though, he is a nature baby.

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