Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fat Dog 120 - 1 Tales from the Trail

In 2013, I paced Chris in the Fat Dog 120.
I had an easy job. Thirty miles. Almost all downhill.
Despite his obvious discomfort, particularly slow pace, and disgustingly large foot blisters, he somehow still managed to make this insane race look fun.
So in 2014 he does it again, takes a ridiculous 9 hours off his previous time. Less pain for him, more inspiration for me. At the same time, I take on the 70 miler. Still believing I'm a sane individual, I run for about 21 hours, cross the finish line, and decide I never need to run again.
Of course you know how long that lasts. About... hmmm... a week? It takes about that long to forget the pain and remember only the glory of crossing the finish line.
So, fast forward a few years and here I've decided I can't stop at 70 miles, I have to at least finish a 100 miler! Sinister 7 was my first attempt at 100 miles, but we all know how well that went... if you don't, I suggest you back up and give it a quick read here!

With the madness that was Sinister 7 under my belt (or lack thereof given I didn't get far enough to get a buckle), my 100 mile dreams lay in the hands of the Fat Dog 120. For your sake, I've split the adventure into a series of short stories... enjoy!

Tale 1 Troubling Training Tumbles
I love running. Most of the time. Well, maybe we should call it more of a love / hate relationship. The further you go the more you can see, and there are so many beautiful places to explore! When I'm out on the trails I feel so strong and carefree, and I can stop worrying and let my mind run free with me. But not every run is easy. In fact, some of them are really $*@)ing hard. I show up to the trail, run for 5 minutes, realize I'm exhausted/sore/sick/starving, get a really weird pain in my leg/foot/ankle/tail/flipper (maybe it's all in my head?) that I've never had before and never will again, burst into tears thinking I can't do it and shuffle back to the car feeling very defeated. But somehow it never stops me from doing it again and again, because when it's good... it's so inexplicably good! So here I am, extremely excited for Fat Dog, but also beginning to doubt my sanity just a little bit. I'm going to be running for HOW LONG!? I've barely ever pulled an all nighter let alone two... while constantly moving (and eating, oh god eating...but we'll get to that)!

I put everything I had (outside of *possible* over-commitment to my job) into training for this race.  You see, I'm not very good at saying no to things (But you didn't hear it from me!). So those days earmarked for long training runs instead became long days in the office with promises of future training runs (Don't worry, we've got LOTS of time to train). Except we've only got three weeks left and I need to go further and further and faster and further and climb more hills, climb ALL THE HILLS!

Training run up Wedgemount! Did I mention doing ALL the hills?
Let me start with a little story about the day my exemplary commitment to my job, and perhaps my lack of respect to the 100 mile gods became literally painfully obvious.
Friday night, after working a particularly long week (what's new?), we drove out to Manning Park to meet Chris' dad, Brad. Saturday morning we got up early and drove out to Bonnevier with plans to run about 30 miles point to point up through Heather Meadows and down to Cayuse Flats.
Here's the kicker - about 15 miles in I caught my toe on a rock (You might even say I.... kicked it..) and went flying face forward into the beautiful alpine meadows. My right knee struck a rock on the way down and left me rolling and reeling in the meadows. Nothing a little tylenol and ibuprofen can't fix! The pain isn't too bad, so I hobble on. I make it maybe another 6 miles before I catch that same damn foot on the side of the trail and proceed to dive forward, this time into a nice fallen tree with perfectly pointy branches sticking out all over. Convinced that I've been impaled by this beast, I yell for my prince...err Chris, to come rescue me. Now I'm bleeding in three places, and I can't hold back the tears as I proceed to hysterically launch into a speech about how I don't know what I'm doing and how I'm not built for this sport and why am I out here when I clearly don't belong and who put those &*#!ing rocks on the trail anyways?! I should have just stayed in bed. Thankfully, Chris has an uncanny ability to set me straight, and we make it back to the car mostly unharmed. Though I'll have you know I have three scars as a constant reminder not to overwork yourself and run! I even woke up the next day with a nice swollen knee that I couldn't bend. Naturally, I put all of my running clothes on and headed out on the trail (It's just a flesh wound!)... only to return five minutes later with those all too familiar glossy tears in my eyes.

Needless to say, I was feeling overworked and undertrained. But my knee healed up, and I managed to get in at least one more good training weekend (the first 40 miles of the course) before the race! And then it was August and time for the moment we've all been waiting for....The day I realized I might actually be a little bit crazy (Oh, you already knew that? ...Hmmm)!

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