Monday, October 3, 2016

yeti 100 and other ramblings.

YETI 100  appealed to me for several reasons: first it's 10 minutes from my HOUSE!! When Jason Green ( who is a bristol native) told me several years ago he was going to have a 100 on the Creeper Trail. It kinda blew my mind. uh, OUCH!  The Creeper is a rail to trail system that is 33.4 miles from White top Mtn to Abingdon, Va. I had ran it once in it's entirety  with my friend Dennett in 2012 - and that hurt.  i couldn't fathom running BACK UP white top and then running back to abingdon for a third pass. Its runnable but I knew courses like that are deceptively hard- they can chew you up! but I was intrigued!!  I have used the Creeper for all different kinds of training all throughout my  different running phases- and when I RDed, CTR 10k was held on the Creeper so it seriously holds copious amounts of sentiment and memories for me-- 

 secondly,  I seriously wanted to alleviate myself (for myself only) the monkey on my back of haven't successfully ran a 100 since grindstone 2012- I had collected two dnfs in 2013 at Old Dominion mile 75- and pinhoti 2013 mile 55- and had not attempted the distance since  and pretty much had hung up training and ultrarunning- I made jewelry and taught yoga- but even during my yoga teacher training - I spent tons of time getting quiet and listening -  meditating - and one truth that always came through to me is that I was an ultrarunner in a yoga teacher training- it's WHO I am- running in the woods is MY medicine- it's what helps me process, decompress, and connect with the earth and it energizes me. 

So here I was full circle- I have made this huge journey in four years and felt I was right back looking at 100 mile races but with different perspective and armed with all sorts of life experience, tools, mental fortitude and tenacity I never had as an ultrarunner in 2012 or 2013. It was time. And beyond that I missed my community. (however I grew from my experiences and I feel each made me stronger tougher, wiser and have gratitude for my journey and the tools I received from my ryt 200 are invaluable )  -  and I know how much yoga helped me- it helps keeps me injury free and strong - aids my recovery-  makes me mentally strong and able to focus and I do feel why I became a yoga teacher is it's my dharma to help other runners- 

the ultra community I felt no matter what I did they accepted me- if I raced well- raced crappy- if I  quit racing made jewelry, taught yoga-   Went back to school- whatever- they still accepted me, supported me and were my  genuine friends. Plus I have this knowingness that I love 100s - and think with the right fitness can be good at them.

So I registered! And little by little I gained some fitness-   trained over the summer -   i ran the training run- that gave me some confidence- and that made it 2 times i had ran the entire creeper from white top to abingdon- and it was 90f and humid- in june for the training run. 
I knew my goals for yeti 100 was first and foremost to finish.  Mentally I had to be solely laser  focused on that goal- that it's finish or they would have to drag my dead carcass off the trail- and I truly went there in my mind- I knew not finishing wasn't an option- I took it off the table. 

  During my hiatus of YEARS I had let all my sponsorships and ambassadorships go-  which was fine because i felt I put too much pressure on myself - which resulted in races not being fun anymore- which resulted in me not running or racing much- 

  However, this summer HOKA offered me this grassroots type local(southeast area)  ambassadorship- Based on my social media presence- I explained my past  ambassador experiences and how I felt it ruined things for me- and my running ( my own fault because  my head trips made it killjoy) the rep had an amazing idea  he felt would work: we worked out an equitable  energy exchange I help host hoka shoe demos, lead some group runs, and teach yoga for runners at the demos after the run. I feel awesome and good about that. I feel I'm earning my keep there. We had one at Crozet Running in Sept and it went really well. 

 Then one  past sponsor found out I was running yeti 100-  farm to feet socks -  and I came home
To a surprise box of socks at my door! Made in NC 100% American wool. Great socks- one is even called "Damascus" sock- I felt it was a good sign I got those socks for this race.  And I'm grateful for their gesture of support.  Love y'all back! that was so sweet and thoughtful. 

and I just want to say since I'm promoting both of these on here- you know what would be cool?? if anyone wants to buy hokas- i know locally they are sold at fleet feet, mahoney's MRO in damascus-- Crozet running sells them in charlottesville, etc
for Farm to feet they are sold locally at Mahoney's , MSL, Highlands ski haus, MRO-

and if you aren't in my area- support your local independent retailer- it's good for the local economy- and has so much better juju that internet or big box store shopping ( okay that's my PSA of the day) 

 So fast forward to week of the race. I tapered for 12 days-  played tennis and shot my bow- ran easy- I rested tons- ate plenty of healthy clean food.  I wrote in my journal- I did yoga, I visualized finishing and Jason handing me my buckle and hugging me- Wednesday night I went to sleep at 8:30pm- I felt that was crucial to rest better two days before an event than even the night before. 
I went to pre-race at Wolf Hills got my packet with sweet yeti swag. (Reuseable yeti bag, yeti 100 buff, some zinc oxide cream that's awesome, race shirt, Ultraspire cup)


 I met the legendary Tom Green the original grand slammer and his lovely amazing wife who  kindly snapped this pic for me and graciously let me be a fan girl. 


   and I met allen another awesome uber veteran and great friend of Tom's I ran with allen a lot during the beginning of the race and saw him a lot during the race as well- he's cool.


  

I had been prepping for the race all week- (blowing the dust off my tool boxes and tackle boxes I used for my races years past- ) making drop bags, formulating a plan for my crew and pacers- 
So I came home about 8:30pm- was asleep by 9:30pm- woke up race morning 4:15am had my pre race breakfast of poptarts and coffee. Then Brock and I drove to Whitetop - we took exit 35- rt600- and In the dark saw a bear on the side of the road.- my heart swelled - think it was a sign from my brother Todd I was going to have a good day. 
We got to white top- it was dark but I knew it would be light in 30 min so I didn't use my headlamp- Jason gave last min instructions 

                                                          I'm in the yellow :) and it was so cool to see Lone wolf at the start- Lone Wolf is a thru hiker- damascus resident from rhode island- and also a veteran ultra runner he ran masochist with Tom green and allen back in the day! ( but I digress)

 we were off! I tried to keep my pace nice and easy (which is hard descending white top)  the sun rose and I shared miles with Meredith and Samantha whom I both met at the yeti100 training run in June. 
 I adore these girls we had kept in touch with each other over the summer, and we were excited to be reunited on the trail. 



I ran some with Allen my friend I had met at packet pick up too. He has an easy going demeanor and the miles went by fast. 
Before I knew it I was  at mile 13- I stopped and drank a mini- coke- Brock was there crewing for me at straight branch with plans for him to meet me again at mile 26- I was  drenched with sweat already. It was about 60f but humid. 
It was pulling onto the trail here that  I met two fun, crazy Yeti's - Deano and Keith-  they were on a run walk system- of run 5 min and walk 1 min. I kept leap frogging with them and they seemed like they were having a blast - so I just started running with them! Plus walk breaks! I ain't too proud to gallowalk!! These two kept me giggling. we arrived at mile 18 aid station together (creeper trail cottages owned by my friends buddy and Sean albro- who are AMAZING-- if you ever need a place to stay in damascus stay with them)  and  then we left together-  buddy took a pic of us 

Me with my mouth full of Nutella sammich and two  crazy Atlanta Yeti's 

We continued to run the next 13 miles together where we discussed NASCAR, professional wrestling, spooning with your pacer at a special  tree on the gdr course - 

 we passed a random Pepsi machine that dispensed fireball. yes this is real. 

 And we stopped  dead in the trail and watched dumbfounded the runner ahead of us crawl commando style under an Electric fence  in between Damascus and Alvarado because they didn't know they could pull open the gates along the trail  YES THAT HAPPENED. city folk. lol. I'm sure they figured it out eventually. 

By Alvarado mile 25- I kinda knew I had to say good bye to Keith and deano- because I was starting to feel super overworked - I think our 5  min runs were too fast for me-  felt my HR was too high -( for a 100)  I needed to dial back my efforts so I kinda came in to that aid station freaking out a little ( the boys knew it lol but they were cool about it)  I drank another Soda and refilled my bottle-   - so I started towards Abingdon solo- let the deano and keith charge on ahead.  I just ran my own pace with some walk breaks and got to mile 33 right at 6 hrs and some change -  I felt that was just right- not too fast not too slow.  robin Grossman met me to encourage me and wish me luck- she was leaving town to run her first 5ok at the breaks -  which really gave me a big boost and it was super cool to catch up with her! 
I told Brock 
Soon as I saw him "I'm staying here ten min" and I did- I changed my socks and hokas- and changed my shirt - rubbed a+d ointment anywhere I felt was trying to chafe - I ate fries and a cheeseburger and a soda and off I go for my second pass of the creeper -Jason green took a pic of me leaving 

See? New shirt! So fresh and so clean!
So I then made my way back towards damascus and really enjoyed just Being outside- lost in the task at hand. the miles clicked by- i didn't really meet anyone but tried to smile and wave at everyone I saw- one of my good friends who is a team USA triathlete was out doing a long bike ride and she kept riding by cheering me on-  consequently i was walking BOTH times- lol oh well it is what it is- in the moment it is. 

 Brock met me at mile 42- more soda and lemonade- 
I made it back to mile 50( buddy and Sean's As) in 10 hrs- I had some chicken soup- grilled cheese bacon and I kinda chilled and hung out here  a min laughing and talking-  I was really enjoying just kinda doing my own thing this race I wasn't racing at all - just focusing on finishing but actually enjoying myself- not suffering 
It was a light bulb moment - there is a time for big goals and competition-  and that can be fun or absolute hell- however you want to look at it-  but I seriously ran Grayson highlands 50k this year and that's it- I just needed to do what I was- be sustainable - soak up all the joy from being in the moment with all these great people. 

I got to Brock at mile 55- completely changed my clothes (they were wet) I put on yoga pants a long sleeve capiline - traded out my hand held for a pack and got my headlamp-  and Hoodini/ gloves in case it got cold changed socks and shoes-
I pressed on to taylors valley met my pacer the lovely fleetly Kate white  and she paced me up to white top and back to straight branch. We had a blast! She kept me moving we got to white top- I got my punch on my bib- and Bert Kate's husband was there with a bottle of orange crush Kate had for me as a surprise! It was better than Christmas! I have to say I felt my jacket yoga pants and gloves were all essential for me- I would of been super cold had I not had them - or been in Sweaty clothes- I saw a lot of carnage- glad I had the layers. 
We ran back to green cove-   hiked more from green cove to straight branch as I was starting to feel pukey when I would push too hard. But I could hike 15 min pace so we stuck with that. 
I got to mile 80 at 2am and Brock started pacing me for the next 6 hrs (yep they were slow miles) through the fog back to Abingdon. We had fun though- he kept me moving - we heard roosters and owls- by watagua day broke and I hobbled in about 25:20 to finish yeti 100 and get my Buckle had visualized so many times over the summer being in my hands 




Post race I went home took a shower- napped - watched football and ate Bellas pizza 

This is the first hundred my feet weren't trashed- never got swollen etc- even now recovery has been great it's Monday after the race and I did yoga and took maverick my dog for a walk for 2 miles - 

I have to thank Jason Green and Sean Blanton for getting me to run their races this year and disallowing me from walking away from ultrarunning- y'all truly did me such a favor pulling me back in the way you did.  you helped me fall in love with it all over again- and the  quality of my life and volume of my happiness has increased tremendously.  Very excited to run more of your races in the future! Grayson highlands 50k and yeti 100 are already on my list for next year! Going after the sub 24 buckle! 

Special thanks to all the volunteers- who worked so hard and were so positive and encouraging to get us all to the finish.  thank you to the yeti runner and ultra runner community present at the race- you all were SO LOVELY. I felt SO happy all during the race and it was because it was a super happy vibe there-  people were SO NICE!!  Love my ultra running family. 

And I am beyond grateful for my crew and pacers- Kate- as I have said before you're the real deal- I'm so blessed to have a true blue genuine friend such as you! Love you! i owe you a pacing gig. 
 Brock: thank you so much for staying up all day crewing and then pacing me in the last 20 miles- I had so much fun getting to share the time on the trail with you- but I'm so grateful and appreciative the time energy and great care you took to help me- I love you and so extremely proud of you and your running!

Next up- I will probably take the rest of the week off running- and focus on some bow hunting during my recovery-  on my parents farm! my first season hunting- but def plan on utilizing any game - if i'm successful. 

play some tennis- more yoga etc.  family adventures- 

  run in the mtns for fun!  go to some big group runs all during the fall and holidays.. 

lastly I want to add I'm one of the moderators for East Coast Trail and Ultra Runners group on FB that Sean Blanton started- if you aren't on that group- you should join! tons of great info, pictures, discussions- - there is a podcast now connected to the group that is available on sound cloud and iTunes.   it's about  contributing  and being apart of a community. and the only rule is  BE NICE :) no being a meanie pants-

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