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Monday, June 24, 2013

Quick DR rant then done AKA stepping up on my soapbox

DR is I believe still going on as I type this post..I have not been following it...Margaret has kept me updated about Jane otherwise I have been completely out of the loop.  I have heard from people following the race that there have been quite a few rumblings on the DR FB page from this years contestants including some heated debates as well as a fist fight between racers on the course...are you serious!?

All I have to say is that there are two kinds of DR athletes...
old school and new school...

old school does not whine and complain and considers DR a family
new school thumps chest about how bad ass they are then they experience DR
and then complain the race wasn't fair...

I consider myself old school and expect to do lots and lots of difficult labor that benefits the trails I love, Amee Farm. Joe's property and the people of Pittsfield....we always joke DR is about up keep of Pittsfield lol and I LOVE that because I LOVE is my magic place and I have a vested interest in it..and wtf Joe has the race at his goddamn house people have some fricken respect for that..anyone who did this years winter DR knows how awesome it was to do our marathon workout session in Joe's barn attached to his house with his kids jumping felt like family... lots of laughter, smiles, jokes and yet still hard work...I felt a part of a huge family reunion at winter DR
and btw
I quit winter DR
I did not bitch
I thanked Joe and Andy
and said
I will be back next year : )

and I can assure you that if I was able to race this year
I would have had to quit to make it to school on Monday
and I would have considered the time well spent
I would have smiled laughed hugged Joe and Andy and driven home happy
but I couldn't race this year
and it was really hard for me
so guess what new school racers?
consider yourself lucky you got to be there
because I would have traded places with you in a nanosecond..

you want to complain about something...
make sure it actually is complaint worthy
better yet
be like the little ones I saw when I was being treated
fighting for their lives
never a complaint
always a smile
never whining "oh it so unfair"
"oh poor me"
as one of my favorite 5 year olds like to say
"save the drama for your mamma"

I tell my students you can think any negative point you want about something but that does not give you free reign to speak it out you thought DR sucked?  You thought DR wasn't fair? Well write Joe and Andy a letter explaining how you would do DR or even better start your own race : )

You can hate your time at DR and verbalize this to Joe and Andy's face or your intimate family and friends but to get on FB and complain and whine and beat your chest about how awful and unfair it was how some people do more and some do shit Sherlock!!! This always happens at DR duh!!!
Last summer I was one of the few people that did not cheat and I worked my ass off still I did not finish and people who cheated walked away with a skull...who gives a shit?  That person has to live with themselves I don't have to live with them so what do I care what they do?
I am only in charge of who I am and every night when I lay my head on my pillow I can say I did the right thing...that is my skull..

Some people cut corners while others work their asses off..umm just like life people...the people who work their ass off and do not finish well you know you worked your ass off...isn't that good enough?  Do you REALLY need the little plastic skull to tell you that you are the genuine article?
that you have integrity
follow through?
they probably get those skulls at fricken I Party,,
if ya want I will send ya a dollar and you can buy yourself one : )

DR is not really a race even though they call it that..
there will always be those that finish in the top that cut corners
and people who finish at the top and work their asses off
so who are the real winners?
I guess I can answer that with a question
Winners of what?

I have 2/5 skulls at DR
but I have 5/5 wins there in terms of challenging myself
in terms of  holding myself to a high standard
in terms of carrying myself with dignity and integrity

when it comes to DR
finish or DNF
first or last
you are a winner
if you look inside yourself and say
I gave it my all
if you can answer
yes to that question
trust me people..
you won...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Eve of summer Death Race 2013 aka being true to oneself aka

When I first signed up for the Death Race it was still kind of an underground thing... few people had heard of it and OCR races and their cousins like Spartan, Tough Mudder and GORUCKS were not even on the radar.   I had zero desire to do any of the obstacle races.  I like to run long and a 5k has never appealed to me so although I had started to hear about these sprint races I was not interested.
However the idea of a 24 hour endurance event in the mountains well THAT appealed to me.  At the time I was living with a man and his children and both of us were pretty hard core in terms of our training so when I read about the DR I shared an idea with him that we do the race together with the goal of being the first couple to finish it.

That was back in the fall of 2010.....
so much has happened in my life since then

internal and external battles
against cancer
against ED and BDD

against myself

I never did that DR with him....
he was there...
I did that race alone

Cancer took me down another path
and it made me a different person
stronger in some ways..
far weaker in others....

Since then I have tried my hand at 5 Death Races
I am 2/5 with a second overall in WDR and a third in TDR and a trip to the hospital for that first summer..
My other summer and winter DR...
no excuses
I quit both.

It is the eve of summer DR 2013...
and I have a big decision to make.

It is a very difficult one
as I am back to square one
having come full circle...

Coming into today I had decided not to do DR...

There are many reasons for this decision but first and foremost is my health.
Other factors involve two huge endurance events in a 4 week period (PEAK 500 and TARC 100) that have beaten my body down, the fact that I do not have ANY of the required gear not even a pack (gave it back to the person who lent it to me and it is now unavailable) and the race is two days away, the fact that I CANNOT miss school on Monday as we have our end of the year field trips and I know the race will go into Monday.

Still there are others things going on as well...
For some reason I have either the personality that makes people want to take care of me
or throat punch me
or both
for what they deem my total stupidity in making decisions that put my health and well being in jeopardy
while at the same time loving and respecting my joyful exuberance when it comes to doing these crazy endurance events...

possibly a new tat as it characterizes me to a T

I love competition
not against others
against myself...

I love holding myself to a high standard
I love raising the bar
even though more than half the time....
I smack my head against it when I try to hurdle it.

I have a big appetite for life
whether it is

I like to go big...
even though half of the time
this choice results in me going home...
with my tail between my legs.

My eyes are bigger than my tummy
My heart stronger than my body
My belief in the good in people often times called naive

I love endurance racing
I do not get the bliss from a 5 or 10k not even from a marathon...
I like to go long

I do not need to race
training long works for me as well

I also love strength training and going to the bowl with my tree
my bliss comes from running and or hiking long
it is what it is
I am tired of trying to be something I am not
I am not a cross fitter
I am never going to be jacked with a 6 pack and able to flip huge tires around...
I love women who are jacked and can bench me...I celebrate who they are..
but that is not me...
I am a tough little squirrel
I am tiny and a bit on the scrawny side..
but I can out run all those 6 packed cross fitting goddesses ; )
(knowing full well if they caught me they could arm bar me in a nanosecond)
and I am totally OK with that...

I don't want to change too much...
only the things that are on the douchey side
Truth is I like who I am

The thing is I don't see DR as me needing to prove something...
I see DR as well fun..
gut sucking and torturous
but fun nonetheless

I have met some of the most amazing people through DR
people I have come to honestly love
and who I know love me back

I love Andy and Joe
there is a part of me that wants to push myself
not just for me
but yes for them
not to impress them
but to thank them
to show them
I get this...I get why you two started this...I understand what it is all about...

I have been called to task for being too involved in DR and ultra running
to need these things to define me
to need adoration and recognition from others instead of finding it within

I am the first person to call myself out when I am an asshole
and I have thought a lot about this
and I can honestly say
I think that view of me is very wrong
and wrong....

If I cared about adoration I would not do races where the odds are I will never finish and what
I accomplish will never be documented...
If I cared about adoration I would have done the TARC 100 by myself instead of choosing to do it with Jules..
If I cared about adoration I would do fewer fatass races and more sanctioned races..
If I cared about adoration I would not run with a fricken log and get last place in races that I could be in the top 10!
If I cared about adoration I would not have a blog where I call myself out on all my fricken craziness knowing that anyone could read it and it does not always paint a very positive picture of me...

I do DR and I do Ultras
they make me happy..

yes they beat the shit out of me sometimes
yes they put me on an emotional roller coaster sometimes

and often times result in the glaring truth.....
that I am not that great an athlete
that I am not that tough
that I quit sometimes
that I lack true grit and heart sometimes
that I am selfish sometimes
that I am jealous of others sometimes
that I don't think about my health and long term side effects sometimes
that I am a bloody idiot sometimes

but this is me
and I think that this part of me is something I really like...

I am the queen of crazy town
and I have decided it is a nice place to visit
but if you plan to visit know this...
our breakfast joint is all you can eat
but there maybe a hair or two in your eggs..

our beaches are gorgeous
but be aware that jelly fish may be an issue

our forests are peaceful
but logging is allowed

our hotels are inexpensive
but we only have hot water between 6 and 8 pm

but the best part of crazy town
is that what you see people
is exactly what you get
and yet
you can expect the unexpected

On the eve of DR 2013
I guess all I can say is

expect the unexpected...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Countdown to TARC 100 aka Jules aka eat Santa body likes a skinny Santa

In a few days I will probably be napping at my desk trying to catch a few zzz's before the Friday night start of the TARC 100.  Realistically I am not recovered from PEAK enough to be doing a 100 miler, but I never said I was a rational human fact doing this race is just par for the course in a series of seat of my pants decisions that often end in disaster or to be more specific a DNF...


this time

I don't see a DNF

this time

even though I am not fully recovered

well I have a good feeling about this race.

First off I am there to run with Julie my sister from another mother (wish that rhymed) as she takes her first 100 and wrassals it to the ground like a big old bear...and so I could care less about my last TARC race I did as a back to back run of the overnight 50k and then the actual 50k... no one knew except Josh, Jesse and Bob who showed up super early to mark the when I cam in dead last I did not announce what I did the night before...I took my dead last or second to dead last finish along with a cookie and moseyed my way back to Natick happy as a clam.

My body does not need a great deal of recovery...that I why I do so well at these multi day races like PEAK...

In terms of  being "recovered"
well my legs are fine...
my cardio is fine...
my feet are fine..
what is not fine
it is low
and it makes me
it makes me tired and weak
I know this
I rationally know this to be the truth
between you and me..
I love feeling like this...
not the weak part
but the hardly there part..
I love when my clothes hang on me
I love when there is NOTHING touching my tummy
I love it when my tummy is concave : )
NO BDD issues : )
it is glorious

But my head is no longer in the sand
the Nile is not just a river in Egypt people
I know I do not look good
even knowing this
I mustn't lie as its not my style...
I love it when I am a shadow of my self : )

Now I admit this
I embrace this fact
own it
make it mine
and here is the IMPORTANT part
I will NOT let this rule me
I will eat
even if it makes me anxious to gain the weight back i lost
I will eat
even if I feel my tummy and see it sticking out
I will eat

Because I have something important to do
I am running with Jules
her first 100
start to finish
with my beautiful friend

My friend who knows EVERYTHING about me
and yet
still loves and respects me

I need to eat
because I have things to do
I have people to see
I have the Inaugural TARC 100 this weekend..

and it is so much bigger than myself
and thank god it is....

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

PEAK 500 aka in the midst of greatness..aka Storm Trooper and Nature Boy

Barn doors...
I pushed them open quite a few times...
on the way in with relief
and on the way out..well sometimes it was mighty hard to get myself over the threshold...

I got pretty used to walking up and down that ramp...
ten days
numerous trips
some with a spring in my step but most with my ass dragging...

This tiny barn with no insulation and mud and dirt caked everywhere... its blown fuses from the small heater we used to dry our sopping wet muddy sneakers...the floor littered with moleskin and dirty bandages from wrapped ruined feet...the trash cans filled with junk food and roast beef sandwich paper from the General Store.

In that barn attic
and on the trails out those barn doors
I witnessed much...
much that I am proud to say I was a part of..
and some things I will not speak of
things that make me sad
things that make me angry
things that make me shake my head in disgust
things that another has to live with
things that another has to carry
not my burden
it will therefore not tarnish my memories
of what I witnessed..
which was greatness...

What defines a true display of greatness?  In the ultra world for many it is what we witness first hand or through a podcast or video or read about concerning the elites of our sport....and I am not knocking the finishes of the great ones...the men and women that grace the cover of Ultrarunning and Trail Running.... their amazing feats and PRs on courses some of us can only dream of running...they are worthy of awe and inspiration...

But I don't think I have ever  witnessed greatness until I stepped foot in Pittsfield VT for the  PEAK 500.  I do not say this words here will never be able to express how I felt those ten days..a part of me is still there trying to flesh it all out..... trying to understand what I a way I am angry that it is not captured on film...
that others will never truly know what I saw...
they will never understand...
that I witnessed greatness and I don't think I will ever experience something like this again...

This is not a race report
I will not discuss the minutia
the race details
they are not important
my is not important
I learned things this week
lessons that will come to impact me in very real and life changing ways...
I learned a lot about myself

I learned that there are very few of us, and I am not one of the few, that can reach deep down inside
of themselves and dissociate themselves completely from pain, fear and exhaustion and continue forward fueled purely by a need that goes beyond the physical, even the mental...
a need that is all consuming and is not about fame or glory..
for if it was...
then as some have chosen to do...
they would take an easier path to the end
no this is about two men who truly were faced with two paths
and chose the one less traveled
and to them
and to me just by being witness to it
it has
and it will
make all the difference...

Nick made the decision to push forward knowing sleep would no longer be an option..
I chose sleep
Nick moved forward despite feet that made me turn my head...
pain that I could feel through the air in the attic
unspoken pain, exhaustion, delirium
a negative thought
from this man's lips..
I wear this on my shoulder.....
this man has it burned across his heart....

Willy made the choice to search out new help mark run
the man loves to run
and by doing so
he said
a buckle?
it is not something I need..
it does not and will not define me...

two men making choices
choices not about fame and glory
and yet
the choices they made
makes them both more then worthy

greatness is pursuing what you love
doing it despite your body breaking down
doing it for the bliss and not the recognition
running those trails because
 it was a NEED
and not

can you say the same for your grand adventures?
can you say the same for yourself?
when faced with despair and exhaustion
can you look it in the eye
and say

I cannot...

Two paths diverged
they took the one less traveled..

I did not
and that

Nick and Willy
thank you