Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Time to get real

At this point in time, other than injury (knock on wood) the only thing that will keep me from finishing Mountain Lakes 100 is not having the correct gear. So I thought I would share why I am concerned and that all I am still needing. I am sure this list won't be complete either. 
(UPDATED as of 8/8/17 6:22 PM PDT)
  1. Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta 9L Hydration Vest - Women's Obsidian, M/L
  2. Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles, Carbon, 110cm - Borrowing!
  3.  SaltStick Caps, Electrolyte Replacement Capsules, 100 count bottle - Gifted!!!
  4. Tailwind Nutrition - 7 Stickpack Set by Tailwind Nutrition
  5. Huma Chia Energy Gel, Variety Pack, 24 Gels - Premier Sports Nutrition for Endurance Exercise
  6. Shock Absorber Women's Active D+ Classc Support Sports Bra, White, 34E UK - Gifted!!!
  7. Altra Trail Gaiter Protective Shoe Covers, Orchid, S Regular US - Borrowing! 
  8. Petzl - NAO 575 Lumens - Borrowing!
  9. A running puffy jacket 
  10. Second pair of Altra shoes - Gifted!!!
Amazon List for a better idea. I am going to try and borrow some of these things but clearly some, like that bra, I can't borrow. 
I will be the first to admit that I had no idea what I was getting myself into financially when I decided to go for a 100 miler. I definitely bit off way more than I can chew. If you have anything on this list (or know of things that I am missing) that you are willing to let me borrow for a few weeks, that's be super awesome and I would be eternally grateful. 
Thank you! 

Pouting time is over

My last post was pretty negative but I felt like I needed to get out those feels. I feel like I have kind of fallen into this trap of "Katie is always happy even if she fails at her running goals", in general, I would say yes. That I am pretty happy, just looking at those fails as something that will make me stronger. This last 50 mile attempt was something I really had my heart set on, felt more ready for than any race to date. So when I wasn't able to complete it, yet another incomplete race in a whole year of hiccups, it hit really hard. I just needed to be angry for a day or two and for some reason I felt like I needed to share that. Which, in some ways I am glad that I did.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

It's ok to be pissed off sometimes

I am going to come out and say it. I am pissed off! I have been on the struggle train for over a year now. Sense I hurt my ankle last August. I am sick and tired of constantly failing!

Sprained ankle made me miss Ragnar Cascades (2016)
Car accident made me miss pacing the Seattle Marathon and Deception Pass 50k (2016)
Working way too much at Amazon made me miss Gorge Waterfall 50k (2017)
4 day stomach flu made me DNF at Sun Mountain 50k (2017)
3 day Migraine made me drop from pacing the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon (2017)
Now this, smoky conditions made me unable to breathe and had to DNF at White River 50. (2017)

Every time something bad has happened or something has gone wrong I just keep saying "it's good training" for my 100 miler. But, you know what? I am mad and tired at failing at something I really love.

Between not having enough $$ to buy the gear that I need for my 100 miler (I need lots of stuff, from a new pack and trekking poles to new shoes and night running gear). I am not sure if it's a good idea to move forward with the race. It breaks my heart but I don't have that kind of money laying around to spend on a race. I didn't realize almost a year ago when I decided to do this how much ultra running actually costs.

I LOVE trail running but the maybe the stress of racing isn't for me.

The things that I love about trail running I don't get to enjoy in races because I am too slow of a runner. I don't get to stop and take photos, enjoy trail food because I have to shove it down while moving forward, I don't get to chat with people when I want to because I don't have time to. I am a pretty great trail runner, in my opinion, when I am not being judged for being slow and can run and run and run when there are no time limits.

I have been taking all of my fails in stride until this weekend. I was so well trained, so ready to go for my first mountain 50 miler. I ran 27.5 miles before stopping and I am not even the tiniest bit sore. Which is great but that's what is making me so mad. I was so ready for this one but I have never run in smoke before. I was running the last 11 miles of those 27.5 miles with knots in my chest and it felt like someone was strangling my right lung. My trachea is the only thing sore today from working to hard to put oxygen in my body. I want to go out and run again today for another 20 miles, that's how good I feel but can't because the smoke is still hanging around.

I love you trail running but why don't you love me back??
This is a photo of the smoke when it wasn't as heavy...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon Pacing

Remember how I tried to run Sun Mountain 50k with a stomach bug? Try pacing a marathon with a migraine. Here's a tip, don't try to do that. 
I was asked several months back to pace the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon, which of course I am always happy to do. I love pacing! The race was on Sunday and Saturday morning I woke up with a bad headache which quickly escalated to a migraine. I had it all day long. I stayed in bed, locked up on my dark quiet apartment. I messaged my pace team to let them know I wasn't feeling well and that I was going to do my best the next day. I woke up Sunday feeling a bit better, I was able to move around at least. I got ready and headed to the midway exchange point for the race. Still feeling blah but willing to give the pacing my best shot we started out and I was ok for the first couple of miles then I realized was working 10x harder than I should have been, I let my pace partner know that I was starting to really work hard to run. I started sweating like crazy and getting really really hot. But I kept chugging along. Then things went wonky. . . 
This was at the very start of our pacing before I fell apart.
I got very very hot and couldn't breathe. I had to let my partner know I had to drop. I became disoriented and stopped running, immediately stripping off my shirt. Mind you, it was misty and cold. I was walking around shirtless in the Seattle misty cold morning. I was on the Alaska Way Viaduct just wandering around like a crazy person. 
I couldn't find a first aid tent on there but I found an off ramp. I knew I was close to home but for some reason didn't know how to get home because I was so disoriented, my neck hurt to bad I had to  hang my head, my eyes were so light sensitive that I couldn't look up, my eyes hated all noise but I needed help. I text my pace director to let him know I dropped and called my friend Tiffany, she gave me turn by turn directions over the phone until I was able to find my way the rest of the way home. I got home, put on dry clothes and walked back over the nearest pharmacy and stocked up on migraine meds and crashed again.
I have decided this summer I am the poster child of "What not to do while running!" I am just glad that nothing worse happened and that Tiffany was able to guide me safely home. 
Keep on Running! Unless you have a migraine... then don't. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sun Mountain 50k, my First DNF

Back when I first started running I remember reading a Facebook chain that said not to run if you have an upset stomach. I tested this advice on my own on slightly upset stomachs and determined that it was sound advice. 
From Tuesday night through Saturday morning I was fighting some kind of stomach thing. Vomiting, diarrhea, the whole thing. Friday I started to feel better, no vomiting, just the other fun stuff and Saturday I work up with just an upset feeling stomach. Saturday was race day. Remember that sound, tried and true advice? I threw it out the window and tried to race anyway. 
I shared a cabin with some run friend, thanks Carol for keeping me awake all night with your tossing and turning 😜, non of us slept well. I toss it up to pre-race jitters. Race morning I picked up my friend Mary and the way to the race start. We got there plenty early to take our time getting ready and lined up with the plan of running quite a bit of the race together. 
As soon as the race started and I was running for the first time in days, immediately I started cramping on both my sides. I hoped they would go away but they didn't. I struggled to keep up with Mary but we stayed pretty close until about mile 8, I got a pretty bad leg cramp. I stretched it out but we got back to it and at my 9 we hit the first aid station. I took some salt tabs and ate a gel and we were back at it. I felt a little better before the cramps came back about a quarter of a mile later. We were together until just before mile 11 when she pulled ahead of me. 
Mile 11 I knew the race was over for me. My left leg cramped up so bad that my toes curled under and I couldn't get them to uncurl. I ended up stretching out for several minutes. Every time I tried to take a step the cramping would come back. Finally I got to where I could walk again and slow jog down the mountain, it was pretty bad trail, mountain bike trail. So it wasn't the kind you could just let go and run. Lots of quick dips and twists. I made it down and then walked back up a ski trail on the course which the elevation wasn't so bad on but I felt horrible, like I was about to pass out going up it. I was passed by lot of people on that little up hill portion of the course. 
I had run this portion of the course previously, so I had a pretty good understanding as to where I was and where I needed to go. I knew that if I followed the course I would end back at the start finish area. I kept on going, I was really over heating, sweating like crazy, I knew my electrolytes were off from being sick. My head was pounding, and at about mile 13 I started seeing things. I saw a bearcat and heard a rattlesnake or two. 
 Thankfully, I knew that these things weren't real. I was more like, wtf? I also knew that things were getting pretty serious if I was seeing and hearing things. But I knew that if I just kept moving forward I would get back to where there were people. Basically everyone had passed me by this point. A young man did run with me for a bit somewhere in this section of the course. Unless I made him up... I didn't see him at the finish haha. At mile 15 the pacers caught up with me. I was sitting on a rock trying to read a map on my phone to see which way would be faster to get back. They decided that I should just keep following the course with them, they walked me back to about a quarter of a mile from the start/finish. I wandered into the finish area and couldn't find the first aid tent. I found a bench next to a building and just sat there for about 10 minutes staring at everyone walking around and having a good time. Confused as to why I couldn't find the tent. 
Finally I realized I had been staring at it the whole time I was sitting there. I got up and wandered over to it. I had to ask for a volunteer because no one was there. When I finally got their attention, they sat me down and got me ginger ale as they didn't have anything else for upset stomach. They did eventually find acupuncture wrist bands that were meant to help. I am not sure if they did. 
I just sat there was felt like forever before my friends James and Gennifer found me. It wasn't long before James realized that I might still want to be ill. He went and grabbed me the only bucket he could find. Which ended up being a huge blue barrel! haha But it was sweat of him. I made it thru 2 ginger ales before I started feeling like I could get up and move around again. 
This was my first DNF in about 100 races. It was bound to happen at some time. I am just so glad that nothing worse happened to me out there. The up side to all of that was that I was able to see all of my friends finish their races. 
Stephanie's first 50k!!! Way to go Stephanie! 
Wendy's first 100k and she made it look like cake and finishing in 13 hours.
Carol's first 100k who kicked ass and sprinted into the finish! 
Mary's finish.... shouting profanity as she crossed the finish line. "That Fucking Sucked!"
Spending the weekend with amazing running friends :D
Lesson learned, if you have a stomach bug, don't try to run a 50k. 
Keep on Running! Unless you are sick. . . 

Beacon Rock 25k

I was feeling really low after my DNF at Sun Mountain. I didn't want to run at all. I was thinking of going to Echo Valley with my friend Mary and was basically set to hit "buy" when my other friend Liz pinged me. 
That's how I ended up at the Beacon Rock 25k
I didn't know what to expect from this race, I hadn't been practicing a lot of elevation gain and this race has almost 4,000 ft in the 25k. So I planned to just hike/run it. This race had a very generous time cutoff, so I wasn't really worried at all. I took my trekking poles with and used them on all of the uphills. I couldn't believe how great my legs felt after! I wasn't sore much at all, just my shoulders from the poles. 
I was getting ready the morning of the race and found Emily and Sean hanging out under their nice dry tent. So I joined them for a while before the race, just hanging out and having a good time not knowing that Emily was about the same pace as me and that Sean had planned to run with her. (So cute) 
After a while we finally decided to head to the start line, and jaunted off into the misty rain. Sean, Emily and I ended up actually running a good portion of the race together. I'd say about 2/3 of it, which made the race so much more fun. 
The three big highlights from this race: I was close to Glenn Tachiyama, I could hear Sean and Emily having fun taking photos but couldn't see them. I approached on very rocky section of the trail and boom, face planted. All of a sudden I hear, "Are you alright?" I look up to see Glenn's head popping over the edge of the mountain cliff. "Yes, I just need a minute..." I made it up to Glenn and the first thing he said was "I saw your head bobbing along and all over a sudden it disappeared!" At least he didn't take a photo of my fail. 
The second was seeing Emily and Sean cross the finish line together. I met up with them just before the finish and powered up to finish just ahead of them. I was able to capture their finish on video and it was so worth it. :) 
The third was finally getting my high five from James Varner. James is the owner of Rainshadow Running and he gives high fives to all of the finishers as they cross the finish line. This was the first race I was able to complete! I missed the Deception Pass 50k due to an injury, missed Gorge Waterfalls 50k because of work and DNFed at Sun Mountain. But I made it!
Thank you again Liz, I needed a good race. This really picked me back up and got me going again. :) 
Keep on Running!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

My intro to Montana

Like a tornado she swept into my life, turning it sideways and filling it with adventure. I had no idea that in such a short time someone could influence me and my life so much. Her name is Anne Danczyk. I met her on her first day at Amazon. She had just joined my Executive Assistant team; we were at Key Arena for the Amazon Seattle All-Hands, even in a stadium of 30,000 people Anne still stood out. She is a powerhouse of confidence, capturing her audience, not just by her beauty but her passion. She stormed in a few minutes late, literally running from campus due to a slight misunderstanding in the meeting location. Instead of stressing about it, she just laughed and was really happy about making it before the start of the presentations. That just who Anne is, bubbly, silly and carefree. 
Anne's life is that of fairy tales, to say that she is a go getter is an understatement of a lifetime. Anne's first job as a young girl was working with horses. She trained to be on the regional development team as a downhill ski racer, attended West Point as a Spanish major, after serving in the United States Army for 10 years (where she routinely fought forest fires) she left to pursue her dream of becoming a professional opera singer. She has been dutifully studying and practicing nonstop for the last year and is preparing for her auditions that are quickly coming up! 
I forgot to mention, while Anne was in High School and University she ran competitively on the cross country teams. This, is where Anne's love of Montana really shined through, it was so strong that I just had to see it for myself. 
She would tell me of these grand adventures of trail running in the mountains with her black lab. She would be out there for hours not realizing just how far they had run. Accidentally running 20 milers simply because she would get lost in the joy of running in her Montana mountains. Her story of a run-in with a friendly bear didn't deter her love one bit, if anything her face lit up even more while she told about it. 
Anne is how I ended up in Big Ski Country.