Monday, November 8, 2010

MMTR-- the good, the bad and the ugly rambling RR

I struggled all day yesterday with how I should write this race report. I think everyone after running super long distances are a little messed up in the days following as far as clarity in post race reflection. I may feel completely different about certain aspects of my race 2 days from now.

SO what do I choose to do? Pretend to be all cheerful and happy on the exterior, and really have tons of self loathing and disappointment on the interior? I know one HAS to CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE. Every morning when I wake up, I tell myself that (especially if I’m having a bad day) that it’s what I make of it. I can wallow in it or I can get up out of the pit of despair, dust myself off and keep moving. I think that is one major facet of ultra running I REALLY love that no matter what is going on, how you feel. You just find a way to keep moving towards your finish line, towards your goal as long as you keep going everything is going to be OKAY. And most of the time, in 10 min you’ll feel WAY better than you did anyways…

Okay, so I would be a LYING dirt bag if I didn’t say that I’m a** little** heartbroken and disappointed in how MMTR went for me. This was my A race of THE YEAR. I hired a coach (a really expensive one) last January for the sole purpose of preparing me for this race. I worked and labored SO HARD… followed my prescribed workouts obediently. So many back to backs and weekends in the mountains away from my family. I was riddled with guilt for being gone on the weekends so much away from brock and the kids. but I knew I was falling deeper and deeper for this crazy sport. and I needed the TIME on my feet and I needed the racing experience in order to improve....

BUT with some of the sacrifices, came many rewards—I got fit, really fit by the summer. I really ENJOYED the paths and the roads that lead me to MMTR. I made SO many new friends, had so much fun at the races I’ve ran this year, and the training.. Had some amazing and fun long runs with Beth, rick, JJ, Grossman, Kathleen, Kevin Townsend…. Etc. It’s amazing the friendships and bonds that are formed while running. I had so much fun at my races: terrapin, capon valley, Leadville trail marathon, cheat mtn etc. Made so many lasting memories and friendships. :o)

By the end of the summer, I pretty much learned to just MAKE Brock come with me to the races to crew/ meet all these cool friends of mine so he would 1. Experience for himself what a wonderful community I’m apart of 2. Be apart and involved in what I’m doing..

For the back-to-back runs this fall.. I just took a page out of Grossman’s book and would just have the family campout at mt rogers. That way I could run in the mornings, and then have tons of family time all weekend long. And Brock and the kids are doing something FUN as well.

It finally was starting to feel like maybe I COULD have it all.

I had a rough time recovering from my first 50 the end of august at Cheat Mtn (which is the FUNNEST RACE EVER.. seriously you guys have to run that next year) hands down my favorite race experience of 2010.

But I was slowly getting back to where I was.. I knew I ran pretty crappy at New River 9:25 avg per mile. On a very flat course.. but I felt once I got in the mtns.. it would be okay.. hills never bothered me.. I would rather run a hilly course. I think I should have paid more attention to how I felt during my long runs and during new river. I felt tired. Same during the MMTR training run.. felt flat and tired. But pain free and that was good.

But I thought with a good 2 week taper, I’d be golden.. ready for action. Beth and I paced JJ at the haunted half 7 days before MMTR and my legs felt bouncy again. I was RARIN to go… so that really boosted my spirits. I felt okay about it all. I decided an attainable goal would be to try to break 10 hours.

I have tried several times to write the ACTUAL MMTR race report.. but keep deleting the paragraphs… because it turns into sounding very WAA, WAH BABYISH. SO I guess I’ll just say A LOT went wrong with my race… from 3 min before the start (Brock aka husband/sole crew member for me) got sick and had to go back to the hotel (AAAAHHH!!!) THANKFULLY, Saintly Tammy gray crewed for me (I made runner #4 she crewed for at MMTR) until Brock could make it back to long mtn wayside at the halfway point—I had some tummy issues that I’ve never had to deal with during a race YEAH. Fun times.. I ended up stopping 3 times.. during the race and there aren’t exactly any leaves on the trees anymore so finding a good spot to go was a NIGHTMARE.. and THEN as if things weren’t going GOOD ENOUGH.. I very extremely unexpectedly got paid a visit by my ”aunt” whom I hadn’t seen since like June (I thought it was because I was running so much kept her away but she’s BAAACK…) so I got to run the rest of MMTR a la Grete Waitz style. AWESOME.… lucky for me I wore a red running skirt. But I dealt with it all and kept on moving, but pretty much had the attitude of “sweet Jesus, just let me finish this thing.” The loop was actually NO problem for me and not at all scary… after the mental, physical and literal crap I’d been though.. it was a relief to be off the road and on the single track.. I felt at home. But I knew I was running really slow and had been all day.. 41 miles in my quads pretty much locked up and I couldn’t run down hill AT ALL… but I could go up hill just fine even run uphill. But downhill was extremely painful and just made running impossible. At that point, the finish line seemed FAR, FAR away; but I made up my mind that even though things weren’t going my way, I WAS GOING TO FINISH. Even if I had to crawl to get there, and even if I missed the cut off.. I was going to get to Montebello country store, hell or high water. And I did.

SO that concludes the WAA WAAH baby section..

There were GOOD things that happened to me in the 11 hours out there: I got to run with marlin yoder some the beginning, many smiles friendly exchanges from TONS of friends ( As they passed me:o) haha) I got to run with Dan Lehmann for awhile at mile 27 who was overcoming his own difficulties ( injury a month ago) to get his 10th MMTR finish. Seeing brock at long mtn wayside was such a relief to know he was okay and feeling better because I was really worried about him all morning. I played a game of tag going up Buck mtn with Steph Wilson.. Running most of the second half of the race leap frogging with John Boeck … misery loves company.. it made me feel somewhat better to know someone as beastly as John was having a tough day right there with me.. We laughed and conversed some but I really were unified by looking on the bright side… that it was a beautiful day… and seriously how lucky we were to just BE there in that moment.. going to finish MMTR and not be defeated..A day spent in the mountains is truly a GOOD DAY.

I was NOT expecting to be so emotional at the finish. Guess I have several excuses ( hormones haha) but seriously.. I was just SO elated that I merely covered the distance and completed the course( well, deathmarched A LOT ) and that I didn’t quit. I was so happy to see ALL my friends and brock at the finish line. I had been so cold that last section ( thanks to tom odonnell who helped me with my jacket up on top the mtn) and it was so great to be just encircled by a group of people who truly care about me and were happy for me to get to the finish line. I found it very overwhelming emotionally. I have made so many GOOD FRIENDS this year. and my Iron Mtn Trail peeps: my tribe, our little quirky family dynamic.. if you only knew how much your love, support and friendship means to me. I'm truly thankful and appreciative to Brock who really has been so understanding, loving and supportive of all my adventures, endeavors and goals :o) it means so much:o)

YES, I didn’t get to RACE mmtr and that was my goal. NO, I didn’t even come close to my goal time. Or even my secondary goal time.. but I guess the primary goal for EVERY race is completing the race. ( and I didn’t get lost! Or off course, so I got that going for me haha) have I tried to analyze what happened to me? hell yes.. did I peak too soon?? was it a mistake to run Cheat mtn before MMTR? ( I really don't think so) but I think mistakes were made with my recovery post Cheat that delayed me getting back in the game the way I wanted to. lessons have been learned in that regard, and I feel as I gain more experience my recovery times will lessen. ( hopefully)

So… what’s next?? First off: rest and recovery. I can already tell that I am doing MUCH better than how I did post cheat mtn (must have been because I ran so slow and walked so much at MMTR ha-ha) my plan is no running for 2 weeks. THEN start anew.

Clean slate and prepare for 2011. :o)

Here are some pictures from the race.


Casseday said...


You've had VERY big year. You ran your first ultra just this past January and tackled two difficult 50-milers. Amazing job!! Your body will adapt. . . just keep hitting it hard, yet smart. My prediction is that once you further adapt to running ultras, you will be in the position to potentially win any race you're in - you've got that "hammer-head" mentality that it takes. Enjoy some well deserved downtime and just have fun with Brock and the kids.
See you at the Sasquatch,
- Adam

eminnick said...

I hate when your aunt decides to visit in the middle of a race, what a b**** , haha.
It's all about the journey! all the fun we've had this year and people we've met, worth every bad race I've ever had (and there have been more than a few)
You did awesome @ Masochist and many people would give their left pinky toe to be able to experience that. I'm so proud of you for hangin tough and I know you will run many more masochists and some of those will be in 9hrs, 10hrs, 11hrs, but this one will always be special. I look forward to 2011! Love you!

jenn said...

thanks guys!!

beth: the way things were going for me at Masochist... well I think a quote from National Lampoons Xmas Vacation comes to mind:

Eddie: You surprised to see us, Clark?
Clark: Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.
and you are right.. my first one will ALWAYS be special:o) and forever seared in my memory.. FOR REAL... :oP
really excited about 2011! we have some big adventures that lay ahead!

Adam: I'm going to TRY to figure out how to train smarter than what apparently I have been lately. :o) see you soon! take care!!

Rick Gray said...

Some days are just hard. If we never had a hard day, then how would we know when that special day came along. Tough days make us stronger and they make those great days that more special. There will be more bad days and tough races. Races when you feel tired from the beginning, but they are part of what makes our pasttime so special. You can easily go back to not having any bad races, but what would you have given up. I for one am glad that you keep striving to do your best. I am glad I have you as a part of my extended family. Finishing Masochist is no easy job. Afterall, it is 54 miles. You have learned so much about yourself since you started this adventure,but you will learn so much more in the years to come. We all will. It is now time to step back and think what was great about this year's Masochist. To look forward to next year and to all of the great times we will all have together between now and then. This year's Masochist is nothing more than a stream crossing. Maybe a little deeper than you thought, but you are on the other side. Now your shoes just have to drain a little bit and you will get back to moving forward. It is ok for you to relax a bit. Spend some really great quality Jenny time with Brock and the kids. They don't love you any less for having a tough day and in fact they love you more because they know just how tough their Wife and Mom really is.

Rob French said...

okay, hope i don't sound like an old softie here, but i got a little "misty eyed" reading your post. no, not because you had a rough day, but because of your toughness when facing adversity and your love for the sport.

i didn't have the best of days either but we are now both masochists!


Triple F said...

For some it's the win. For some it's the effort. For some it's simply the journey. Take the 'long view' and enjoy every single step of the trip.

Know you tried . . . and, hell, you did it! Maybe not like you wanted or planned, but you didn't quit! You are one tough lady and an inspiration. There will be plenty more races . . .

JJ Jessee said...

You did great!!! I know we badgered you some about overtraining, But in the end, I think nailed it just right. You looked springy at Haunted (thanks for pacing me to my best run evah!) so I was much relieved and encouraged from our last 20 miles. You played your cards the best you could with the hand you were dealt that day. Most people would have just folded, and played it safe. You might not perform as well at cooler temps, maybe more biscuits and gravy would help :) Ultra doesn't have to do just with the length of the run. It's about banding together with ultra crazy people doing ultra crazy things so that we all seem normal at least to some people.

You've had a tremendous first year out there. And getting Brock involved is icing on the cake.

And most people never have as good a day as one of your bad ones.