Monday, December 13, 2010

Pre-Run Report: I Believe Run

To all those who Believe:

First and foremost, I want to thank you.  Your donations will make a remarkable difference in the lives of others, and more so will your actions.  Many of you probably don't realize it, but you are living examples of mine and my sister's cause for this run.  One is obviously to help out the less fortunate, to give them reason to believe that there are people out there who care, and that they can overcome their current situation.  But the underlying cause is to inspire other, anyone and everyone, to believe in themselves, the goodness of others, and the beauty of their dreams.  We want the joy of the season to be held within all hearts, to make Grinches and Scrooges into happy believers.  There is so much things in life, so many people in life, that are wonderful and amazing.  At times this is heavily covered by sadness, destruction, and negativity, but WE can change that, and WE can make a difference.  Hence, the "I Believe Run".

As usualy, I have been overwhelmed by the goodness of others, who have been a good deal of inspiration to me in training for this run.  There are so many people I would like to thank, but with my lack of a good memory, I think Id forget quite a few names.  So if you made a donation, left me a comment, or a crewing for this run: THANK YOU!

However, there are few shout outs I would like to do.  In the logistical preparation for this run, we have had a series of unfortunate events.  Actually, we just figured out our crewing situation in the past few days.  Graciously, Chris Wagner is taking off work tomorrow to crew us Tuesday.  However, he does not get off work till 11 pm tonight, in which he will drive to Parma Hts to pick up me and Sandi, leave around 1230-1 am, drive 4hrs to Cinci, and start our run.  He will then crew us through the day, and then drive back home so he can catch some sleep before work the next day.  What a trooper!  The next day, Ms. Pope (Sandi's bf's mom)  is driving to meet us early Wednesday (she teaches a night class on Tuesday) morning to crew.  Then, by sometime on Thursday, by boyfriend, Steve will be taking off time from his busy schedule and be crewing us from then on.  These are some of the best and positive people I know, and I know will do a wonderful job crewing me and Sandi.  (However, if Steve chooses to be obnoxious, a water bottle will be thrown, possibly or possibly not in his direction). ;)

Im sure some of you want to know a little bit about my training as well.  The first part was basically doing very little.  I was slow to recover from Oil Creek, and still probably pushed it too much.  I didnt start to feel good until Bills Badass 50k, which me and my friends took slow, had a wondeful time, and I barely felt sore the next day!  I think the next week on Saturday I went out for about a 5 hr run.  The next week was my "big training week" though still toned down as my 100 miler was still my base of training and I was still healing.  Starting on Thanksgiving, me and Steve set out on a 24 mile at 5 am from my house in Parma Hts to Edgewater park, the finish of the I Believe Run.  It was one of the most miserable run of our lives.  In Cleveland, it was pouring, windy, and cold.  On the way back, we stopped at a McDonads for a bathroom break and attempt to dry out our gloves.  For 10 minutes, me and Steve listened for the other to hit the hand dryer in the bathroom, before the other one hit it again.  We must of got some strange looks sitting down as we attempted to drink coffee without spilling it from our uncontroable shaking.  But we made ourself get up, put one foot in front of the other, and keep going (and ofcourse my hip flexor decided to tighten up after that, making the last 5 miles cold AND painful).  Im not sure if I wouldve made that one alone.  The next day, me and Steve me for another 20mile trail run (and then I got in a few more miles after walking through the mall with my mom and sisters, it was Black Friday). On Saturday, we had a group trail run to support our the I Believe Run, and got to run with a great group of people.  In the first 5 miles, somehow I managed a 9 min mile pace (!?).  It wasnt till the last leg that I (and Steve) really began to feel the effects of our training...but we finished up with another 20!

So thats the physical part...mentally, I was ready throughout.  I know that I can do this, and that we have a good game plan.  If we keep things slow and dont try to push ourself too much the first days, we will finish running.  However, I am human, I still worry.  I was worried because of my continual battle with anemia.  Last time I went to the doctor, she told me to add another iron pill to my diet, so I dont know how much that will really help, plus, it takes 3 months to get back to normal iron levels.  Second, despite me and Sandi being twins, we are very different runners.  Even in a race, Ill slow down to see the sunrise/set, Sandi will keep her head down never slow down.  And with two 100 and two 50 miles races under her belt, she is a stronger runner than I am.  I want to enjoy the run and a good pace, check out the scenery, and just enjoy the experience. If my anemia kicks in, I know I can keep going, just a bit slower.  Hopefully, well I know we will, find a good balance.
With that, I also have to mention my boyfriend.  He has been a blessing to me these past few weeks, and (for you Train fans) "my calm thought when I see red".  Steve has not only helped me push through my training runs, but been there when my worries kicked in and helped spread his positive demeanor to me. 

I will talk to you all again in a few days.  Keep Believing,


Thursday, October 21, 2010

How I Tied My First 100 and Ended Up in the Hospital

So I tried to write this twice yesterday…it took a few hours…and it just wasn’t happening.  I was trying to be too profound and insightful, telling of my journey to get to OC, etc,…but that’s really not my thing.  Sandi is good at it, but Im more of the comedic relief. Plus, if you want some background info, just read to of my older notes from Dec. and June.  However, I would like to add two things before I get to the race.   One is my FB status before I left on Friday :

 I learned awhile back that life is about the journey.Over the past few months,I have had an amazing journey training for Oil Creek 100.While I absolutely loved running the beautiful trails and testing my endurance, it is people I have met, ran with, and talked to (including FB comments!) that has made it truly worthwhile…

Two:  A few weeks back, I almost chose not to run.  Not because I didn’t want to, just because I didn’t like that it was turning out to be more than I wanted.  I wasn’t running OC to beat anyone, just to conquer my weaknesses.  Sandi was killing the ultra scene, and I didn’t want to be compared.  People expected me to do well because of her…but Im not her…I just wanted to run.  But my friend got me through it (and Sandi) and I was able to look at it once again as an adventure.

Okay, so back to Titusville…

I was so excited to be there! I couldn’t wait to run and explore the trails, the pics looked gorgeous.  Plus, I had a ton of friends there.  Lee Connor, Jamie Musick and Daniel Bellinger running the 50k, Bob Baldwin running the 100k, and Brian Musick and Chris Wagner running the 100.  Then Josh Dennis of the Animal Camp was gonna be there crewing some of the other members.  I couldn’t wait to see everyone and meet even more fantastic people (ultra runners are some of the greatest people I know).

I know your bored, Im getting to the good stuff now….Race Time.  I went out way too fast, as I knew I would.  I wanted to run with my training partner, Chris Wagner, while I could.  After the first aid station we went out with a group, that held the two other lead women.  I hung around for 2-3 miles, decided I wasn’t running the way I wanted to, and dropped back.  I ended up passing them at the next aid station anyway.  And finally the sun was out!!!! The course was b-e-a-utiful!    This high last for awhile…and then I felt like crap.  Getting back on the road was the worst.  One of the other women flew past me.  I got back from the first 50k exhausted and near tears (and too fast at 5:50!  My first 50k in June was 5:48!)  I knew I was gonna keep going no matter what, but I was thinking it would be 68 mile death march.   But then Sandi talked to me…  Most people know the quote “If you feel good during and ultra, don’t worry, it wont last”  but Sandi reminded me of the opposite.  There is going to be a series of highs and lows, and during the lows, you just have to push through until you get past it and feel (probably not good) stronger again…. 

So hitting the trails again in my 2nd loop, things got better.  The sun was out, I was running (when I could), and all that mattered was that I was moving forward.  That’s really what this race was about anyway, finding my strength and putting one foot in front of the other.  This race had special meaning to it.  More than any other race, probably because this is the first time I have had the courage to talk about it, it was sign of how far I had come from being in the hospital with anorexia in 7th grade to finally being happy with myself now.  Before, I never mentioned my eating disorder to anyone.  The only people who knew was my family and some of my friends, not because I told them but because they were told by someone else or figured it out themselves.  To me, it was an embarrassment.  I only saw the weakness of it, not the strength it took to overcome it.  I battled depression for years after, and I’ll probably never  be fully healed of everything…I still have my OCD and perfectionist qualities, but even on days when I don’t see myself as pretty on the outside, I love my strength and who I am on the inside.  And now I have the opportunity to help other people going through what I did.  Trail running really brings out that best part of me, because it lets me be free.  It’s not an “escape” as some people like to say, but for me at least, going back to where I feel I belong.


Moving on…end of loop two.  Im tired, but happy.  Plus, I get to run with Sandi and I saw Chris on the was back who told me Laurie Colon, my other pacer, brought her homemade power bars!  Here, I must take a quick second to mention my pacers…I was stoked.  Not just because because both are phenomenal ultra runners themselves, but also to of the best and most positive people I know. (Seriously, if they’re not your FB friends yet, request them now.  They will pick you up anytime you need a little inspiration.) There were no two people I would have rather had. 

Sandi ran/walked the beginning of the 3rd loop with me to AS 2 (about 15 miles).  This was basically the last time I ran at all.  I zoomed down the hills last loop, and my quads were trashed (it had seemed like a good idea at the time).  Laurie got the worst of me.  All we did was walk, or power walk, as best I could.  Thankfully, she kept the conversation going, and I was able to take my mind off how much I was hurting.  We met Chris at AS3, and he walked with us much of the way back to AS 4 (the end of the 3rd loop). ..Until I told him to pick up the pace.  To me, that meant walking faster. To him, that meant run.  So he took off, until we met up again at the AS 4. 

And now we are getting to what  you all want to know! The last 7.5!  All I could do was power walk the flats.  Chris caught up with us again, but once we hit the trail I told him to go, I knew he could do I, and he took off…uphill!  That left me painfully walking, and Laurie keeping me sane when I saw the “Hill of Truth”.  We saw a light behind us one, but that was it.  FINALLY, we came out of the woods.  To more miles, and we were done.  Well, that’s how it was supposed to go.  Except we missed our turn.  I knew we were supposed to cut the mile loop we had done before short, and checked with the course marshall to make sure.  I remember heading toward the guardrail to turn, but neither me or Laurie saw flags or a  sign, so we kept going.  I figured that if we were wrong, the guy would let us know.  ( I know we were both wearing black, but we had headlamps and a flashlight!) Anyway, we did and extra .9.  We kept power walking.  Eventually, I saw the finish. I was so excited to see Sandi!  I sprinted the last 50 yards…and that was all I had left (Usually, Im thing it is too dramatic when people lay down at the finish, but I seriously could not go any farther).  Anywho, we get inside, and I see the other woman.  I was confused.   On our .9 mile detour, she went the right way and got ahead…we never knew.  Shortly thereafter, I blacked out.  (Dehydration, lack of nutrition)

Sandi and the race director, Tom Jennings, carried me to the medical table.  I could hear what was going on, I just couldn’t open my eyes.   And then of course Chris had to copy me and passed out too lol (he had finished a half hour earlier!).  Then I hear Donna (the woman who came in first) saying she didn’t want first, that I should have it. This gave me the strength to move and yell to her I did not want first!  Getting lost happens in ultras, she deserved it.  But she wanted me to have it.  I was to disoriented to say more. ..What a wondeful person Donna is!  You don’t find too many people with heart like that. 

Then I had too pee.  So I called over to Sandi so she could help me walk to the bathroom.  I started getting dizzy going there, and I told Sandi I was beginning to black out.  And then I was down.  Unfortunately, passing out twice equals an automatic trip to the ER.  I feel bad because I never really got to thank anyone who helped me.  I never even saw them, as I was too tired to open my eyes.  Poor Sandi, had to follow her sister in an ambulance to the hospital!

This is where the poking, prodding, and me being very unhappy begins.  They started IV one, told me I had to stay overnight because of muscle damage and toxins in my body that could affect my kidneys. You are supposed to have muscle damage after running 100 miles!  But they’re not ultra runners.  They didn’t get it.  I do have to say I was flattered quite a few people came to  check up:  Chris, Laurie, Shaun, and his dad.   Shaun’s dad really turned out to be a great help.  He explained to me what was going on, and paid for his hotel room an extra night so Sandi and Shaun could stay in Titusville with me.

Then I was admitted to my own room….yay rest!  NOT!!!  By 1, when Sandi and Shaun came back, I was crying.  I didn’t deserve first place.  I didn’t want it.  It was not mine.

A few hours later, I had my second episode.  A nurse came to take my blood, couldn’t find my vein, and and to try the other arm.  I started balling!  I couldn’t help it.  I apologized to her, but I was exhausted.  I had gotten 15 minutes of sleep since Sat. morning at 3:45 am and it is near impossible to sleep when a bag of IV is going through you every two hours and you have to pee constantly! So I had no control over my emotions.  I took some out on Sandi later and felt kinda bad.  Then Shaun told me I should be nicer to Sandi.  If I didn’t have an IV in my hand, I would’ve punched him. Lol  But at least he went to get me real food later.  My mood eventually picked up.  Sandi stayed with me that night in the hospital.

Next morning, I was so excite to leave.  I knew I’d just have to see the doctor and Id be out! (On a side note, it is unwise to look into a mirror after having 5 Ivs put in you.  You swell up like a blowfish.  I looked like a kid who hate wwwaaayyyy tooo much cake).  Finally the Doc came in.  As predicted, I was fine…except he said I was very anemic.  Condensed from dehydration when I came in, my level was 9.5.  After IVs, it was 8.  He didn’t know how I ran at all, let alone 100 miles.  Plus, this has been going on for awhile.  Last fall, I was so iron deficient my mile time changed by a minute and thirty seconds.  The past few months I was poppin iron pills like a druggie.  Anyway, he told me to see my doc back home (I am on Saturday) and I was free!  I popped open a wine cooler on the way back, and we drove home.

So what is one of the first things my mom asks me?  “Please tell me you are not doing something like this again soon?...”  No answer.
I want to take one sec. to mention my condition afterward.  My legs looked like elephant legs, going straight down from my thigh.  Ankles? What ankles?  It hurt to move.  But I was creative going down stairs, even using my butt to scoot down. Haha.

What I really couldn’t get over was how I won.  It bothered be.  I didn’t know if I really had won.  It just wasn’t clear.  A shadow was hanging over it.  Finally, women’s 100k winner told me I really just need to be happy.  Don’t let Donna’s actions go for nothing.  It’s what I need to hear.  Plus, I had never ran to race, I just wanted to finish.  Also, I believe everything happens for a reason.  I don’t know why it happened yet, but maybe it will fuel be in my next 100. Still, I like to say me and Donna tied.

I swear Im about to finish up!

Now Im moving okay, still not running.  I think I strained a few things.  Maybe tomorrow? Lol 
I really just want to thank everyone who left me feedback, congratulations, well wish, etc.  So many people called me an inspiration…which was extremely nice, but I just can’t see myself that way.  So no, Im not an inspiration, just an example.  I hope people take my mistakes and learn from them, so they don’t have to go through some of the things I did, but most importantly, take my achievements like running 100 miles, and use it as an example of what anyone is capable of.  I just want people to through their “I cant” and “it’s not possible “comments to the wind.  And that may not mean running 100 miles, but that doesn’t matter, as long as people are seeing their full potential, and, are happy.

So now, I am content.  I have Bills Badass 50k coming up which I am stoked about because a ton of my friends are going, it’s on trails, and just for fun.  Def. the makings a wonderful day.  Then of course, me and Sandi will be running across Ohio to raise money for the United Way (more info to come soon).  I know we will make all 260 miles this year!  (we just need help getting organized and funds) I know my racing side will begin to itch soon.  A few of my friends are doing McNaughten 200, which is intriguing, but I don’t know if I want to spend the first part of my summer in a wheel chair, especially when I have some adventures to go on, and Id like to be at least a little competitive in BR100, which I think will be me going away party in Ohio.  But I would like to do a spring 100!  (Let me know if you have ideas!)

Wait, I lied, I am almost content…Somehow, my belt buckle got lost in the mix, and it ended up in Mr. Pope’s car.  I still have not gotten it…

More importantly, I never got my ice cream!!!!!

Happy Trails J