Daily Chatter

Friday, May 31, 2013

I Couldn't Sleep at all Last Night

It was crazy.  I kept waking up checking the time.  It was as if I had a big race early this morning.  But it's not me  now working their way through their very first 100.  It's my fabulous pacer and friend, Diane.
 She is now hours into her big race in beautiful Utah.  The Bryce 100.
 Getting to run with her so often on such challenging trails while we prepared for my first attempt at Massanutten was such a great experience.  Diane is an amazingly strong runner.  Being relatively new to the ultra trail running journey hasn't stopped her from progressing through races and distances with incredible speed and success.  I am so proud to count her among my trail friends.
Unfortunately Bryce 100 doesn't yet have tracking but they may post on their FB page.  HERE  If you find an extra moment in your Facebook hoping time please post a comment for Diane B.  And through out today and tomorrow send her thoughts and prayers of encouragement to help carry her through all those beautiful miles.  I can't always be there for my friends who have given so much to me.  So please take a moment whether you comment here or on Facebook HERE or just thinking of Diane B and help me lift her up so high she nearly floats across those trails.  Because if you have ever had a chance to see her run downhills, you'd know she practically does.
Breath and Run Long

Easing into my day

One of my favorite things, aside from trail running is sitting on the deck in the morning.  I love drinking my coffee while listening to the birds - actually thanks to the 17 year cicadas I can't hear the birds. 
I even love pulling weeds from my flower beds around the deck while the morning is still cool.  So this morning I lingered too long and ended up lazing my way right through my morning run time.

I'm not too upset about it.  My walk was enough to wake up the soreness from this week's workouts.  My day will provide another time to get those miles in so for now I'm going to enjoy this moment and just see what the day brings.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

So Now What?

You wake up and you realize that the high you've been riding on since your A Race is fading.  That eagerness that you greeted each day with isn't quite as bright and when the alarm goes off, rolling over and sleeping in seems like a great idea.  I mean, why not?  Your race calendar is clear for awhile.  Why not?  You trained hard for months.  Why not roll over and relax your body deserves the break, right?  But now it's two weeks later and you wonder why you ever thought all that hard work was so appealing. 
Can you identify with that little "after race" scenario?  Most of us can.  It's completely normal to take that break, to let up on the self-inflicted pressure to always push.  But it is a slippery slope into an all day popcorn eating, snuggie wearing all day movie-fest as your ass grows attached to the couch.  So how do you give your body, brain and spirit that much deserved and needed rest while maintaining your momentum towards dreams to come?
Here are a few ways I avoided or at least lessened that slide into couch potato-ism.
 Reconnect with family. 
During all that training I often had to tip the scales to time budgeting towards my training and sacrificed time with family to get those needed hours on the trails.  Post race make it a priority to spend time with your loved ones, sharing your race tales but also letting your family know just how much their support meant to you.
Play with your kids.
Okay you probably had to squeeze this in during your training too but after your race move that fun kid time up on the priority scale.  Color, blow bubbles, play Barbies, ride bikes, paint or jump on the trampoline because you asked them to do it with you instead of waiting for them to ask you to join them.  It's amazing how great you will feel simply playing.
Visit places you love.
Everything takes time.  We each only have a limited number of hours each day and when we are training that time is limited even further.  Once your race day is over use some of that extra time to see those places that you hurried through before and enjoy looking around.  Take a walk through your neighborhood or hike those trails you were running on.  Breath in all those little things you might have missed on your way to that race day goal.  Make time to go to that restaurant you avoided while training and enjoy a great meal or visit your mom who still lives in your hometown.  Where ever  or whatever those places you love are take the time now to enjoy them.
Get outside.
Simple enough.  Mow the grass, plant a garden, hand wash the car, pull weeds, fly a kite, use your kid's swing set when they are not looking.  Just get outside.
Go for a Run.
Of course in the days and weeks following you big race you are going to go for a run.  Duh!  But as you work towards moving past your latest challenge give yourself time to remember that there were other reasons why you run, aside from that race that seemed to consume your life.  Remember that you love to run.  Maybe you love being outside.  Maybe you love feeling closer to nature, or God or yourself.  Maybe you love pushing your body and feeling it respond.  Or maybe you just love being able to eat an extra cupcake and not have it show on your waistline.  Whatever that reason get out there and remember it.  Run with no plan other than to enjoy doing it.

Make a New Plan
Whether your new plan includes more racing, a year full of the joy of running, focusing on your family or furthering your education; moving forward should include a deliberate plan to help keep you working and avoid that tempting snuggie. 
For me, I've packed that snuggie away in exchange for a bathsuit since the littles and I will be spending a lot of our time in the pool and I've penciled a new plan to carry me through May 2014.  But for now I'll just stick to running because I love it, eating healthier and keeping the squirt guns loaded.

Friday, May 24, 2013

MMT 100 Race Report - A Mental Mountain

Massanutten Mountain Trails 100
May 18 - 19th, 2013
This story really began more than a year ago when I entered one of the coolest lottery systems to try my luck at getting into one of the toughest 100s on the East Coast, perhaps one of the most challenging in the nation.  Thanks to my unsuccessful bid in 2012 I had priority to get in this year.  As luck would have it I didn't need it thanks to the DOW I got in! 
This is my story as I recall it.  The trail gives and takes many things while you are on it.  It is a balancing act to keep those moments clear as your mind and body are pushed beyond the limits you previously knew.  But these are my memories, my choices, my thoughts and my adventure.  I take responsibility for how I handled myself on that mountain and at the end of the trail, I am proud of all the choices I made.  I have never worked harder, pushed longer or given more to achieve something in my life.  The best part in already knowing the ending is the acceptance, no the declaration that it is not an end but a continuation of a journey I hope to never complete.  I hope to always be pushing towards a mountain top...even if I never make it there.
My Mountain Story
Friday, May 17th
7:00 a.m.
I can't believe that in mere hours I will be leaving my family and starting an adventure that will be the reward for 2 years of work and dedication.  My stomach will not settle down.  My pacer, Diane has filled this week with daily encouragement.  I know I wouldn't be physically as ready without her.  Her quiet trail presence and ease on the Massanutten trails have helped to show me what I need to do.  We plan to meet at Caroline Furnace, the start/finish area, around 2 this afternoon but I am running late.  The music I have spent the week downloading will not go onto my MP3 player and I am panicking.  This music is what I will use to get through those early solo miles in the dark before getting to Camp Roosevelt and meeting Diane to finish the last 40 miles of the race.  But finally I dig out an old laptop and get the music transferred.  Another issue.  My watch is frozen.  I can't set the time of day.  This is the watch I will use to know that I am getting to aid stations ahead of cut offs.  Hubby gives me his but I decide to run to the store and just pick up a new one of my exact model.  The car is loaded.  Last minute kisses given.  2 hours late I am finally leaving.
2:15 p.m.
The briefing is at 4 and Diane has no cell phone so I am getting nervous that I'll miss the brief, get lost, have car trouble...my mind is already trying to psych me out.  I crank the music and try to get lost in the drive.
3:40 p.m.
Yeah!  I made it and got a great parking spot near the bunks and shower.  I try to text my family but there is not service.  Crap!  There are a few people milling around and they direct me to the start/finish area through the woods, down a hill and across a stream.  Diane and the crew are all there.  It is a relief to see everyone but I am probably not hiding my nervousness very well.  I get checked in and but my club tee shirt.  Diane and I walk back over to the camp area and gather my 9 drop bags and lug them back to the drop boxes.
4:15 p.m.
The brief runs late as does the caterers.  The RD, Kevin Sayers does his best to share all the needed information in a light hearted way.  I'm glued to his every word worrying that something important in what he is saying will make the difference and without it I'll be lost in the forest forever. 
5:00 p.m.
We enjoy a yummy dinner of pasta, salad, garlic bread and desserts.  Diane and I mingle with loads of trail friends.  Rande, Kari, Ed, Gary, Larry W, Larry H, Mark, Carter, Matt, Brenda, Caroline, Alan, Kim....actually there isn't anyway to list them all.  Talking with everyone seems to make me even more nervous. 
7:30 p..m.
We head back over to the camp area.  I head off to my bunk and Diane and her hubby are camping.  Lisa, Chris, Kim and several other ladies are all in my bunkhouse.  We sit on the porch and get a lesson in foot taping from Kim and talk about the day to come.
9:00 p.m.
Lights out.
May 18th
2:ish a.m.
I didn't sleep much.  Too many restless ladies.  Too many thoughts in my mind.  Too much nervousness.
3:30 a.m.
This is it.  I feel like I could throw up.  The entire weight of the mountain seems to be resting on my shoulders.  I'm sure I'm going to throw up.  I walk to the start with my very heavy pack.  I forget all about taking pictures.  But I do get this one of the start finish line.

4:00 - 7:03 a.m.
Caroline Furnace to Edinburg Gap  12.1 miles
MMT starts in an open field and then to a brief paved road section then onto gravel roads for a few miles before entering the trails.  My goal is to make sure I stayed behind a few friends who are very experienced trail runners on the MMT course.  I run by myself, I ran with several other runner but mostly I run this section with a trail friend, Charlie. I don't usually start off wanting or needing to talk but it helps to calm my nerves to listen to someone else.  With a goal to arrive at Edinsburg Gap by 7:15 I am happy with this section but disappointed that I run all of it feeling like I could not stop.  No nature call, no tightening my loose shoes, no stopping.  These choices might effect my run later on.  At Edinsburg Gap aid station I top off my pack, get my fuel bag out of my drop bag, drink some water and ginger ale then grab a quarter of a pbj and head out.  I am so afraid to stop moving.  It's still cool out but the day is brightening, the birds are singing and I feel happy to be out there.  I am running in my HAT Run tee, YMX skirt, compression socks and Saucony trail shoes.  So far the biggest issue is with my shoes but I am afraid to stop and tighten them.  There is a hot spot already developing on my left foot and starting to heat up on my right.  

 9:24 a.m.
Edinburg Gap to Woodstock Tower  8.2 miles
I realized I had to stop along this section to take care of two things; a nature call and tightening my shoes.  My shoes immediately felt like a new pair of shoes and my feet feel revived.  The nature call only shows me that I am way behind on fluids and even though it is still early in the morning I am sweating more than I am replacing.   I run alone.  I fall in with others.  Already my mind is not taking in anything except how I must keep moving forward.  Stopping to take pictures or enjoy the view is not on the agenda.  My hopes of finding signal to send tweets from the trail are forgotten.  I pause and  snap a photo to send to the family, praying it will go out before I turn off the phone.  For the briefest of moments I am lost inside my head thinking about what I need to do when I hit this aid station and whap!  I catch my right big toe and can not run out of it.  I try to roll but the rocks aimed for my falling body hit before I can adjust.  My left knee lands square on the edge of a sharp rock, I hit multiple points on rock on my right knee, both forearms and the side of my head thanks to my failed aerobatics.  I take a minute to let my head settle and than thank God I was alone.  Even in this moment I have the very human thought of, "At least no one else saw that."

Woodstock to Powells Fort 5.6 miles
I am feeling good and hitting my arrival times at aid station within minutes of my goals even with the time spent in stations.  I do pause briefly to attempt to send out a text to my family and a quick shot of the trail in front of me.  But I know that I have to keep moving and the slightest pause give tiny issues a louder voice so I move trying to stay focused on positive things. 
Powells Fort to Elizabeth Furnace 7.5 miles
I can't wait to get to EF.  My fresh shoes are there and my feet are ready to feel revived.  Another longer section that allows for a little roller coaster of feelings.  I spend miles feeling so proud of how strong I feel, enveloped in all the beauty of this mountain I am amazed how lucky I am, I think about my family and friends and how they all are pulling for me even more than I realized, I am thankful for my friends who eagerly volunteered to stay with the kids and bring them to the finish line when the super secret spy had to attend classes this weekend.  These high moments by far are outweighing the eventual low ones but they too come.  The low moments allow my mind to focus on the issues; tired feet, chafing on my left arm and the increasing pain in my left knee on every downhill swirl through my mind even as I get to the aid station.  I change out of my wet clothes and into a fresh shirt, shorts and shoes.  I'm rushing too much trying to get glide reapplied, pack topped and eat something.  I realized the difference a crew can make and why runners who do this solo deserve their own division.
Elizabeth Furnace to Shawl Gap 4.7 miles
Honestly all I really remember is moving forward.  Near Shawl Gap I send another text letting family know I'm nearing 40 miles and still close to my times and that I had a low point but was rallying.  A running friend, Cherry was at Shawl Gap.  She has the best smile.  It dimmed a little when she saw me.  I may have looked bad.  At this point I am really behind on fuel and although I can move forward and am still running the flats and downs, I'm sure my body posture and attitude are things I can't spare the energy for.  Cherry is so helpful.  She does get me to eat a cheese and bean quesadilla.  Yuck is what I think but I eat it any way.  I keep moving.  

Shawl Gap to Veach Gap 3.1 miles

At this point I am fairly often alone although John and Mark occasionally provide me with company.  I am looking forward to the climb after Veach Gap and not liking the road section.  John catches me on the road.  At the aid station I again rush through too fast.  Diane is just passed the aid station set up taking photos.  It's great to see her.  She is enjoying her day of volunteering.  She tells me I am just behind our friend Mark and I hurry along. 

Veach Gap to Indian Grave Trailhead 9.0 miles

I am enjoying the climb up Veach.   Diane and I had practiced this section solo just weeks ago and I loved how much of this course felt at least vaguely familiar.  I know that next year I will have hiking poles.  I frequently pick up thick branches to help keep me from bending over to much on long climbs.  I am loving the early part of this section.  It's beautiful.  I enjoy remembering my training run with Diane through this section.  I want to pause to take my usual photos of flowers but even the orchids I have seen off and on through the course are not enough to get my to pause.  I'm still afraid to stop for anything.  This is a long section and I go through a high at the beginning and a low as I unknowingly near the aid station.  I'm sick of feeling like I don't remember the course. I run some of this section with John who has been considering dropping since he dislocated his pinkie early in the race.  I am headed south mentally.  I pray that I can turn it around.  At long last, I pop out of the trail and there is the aid station.  I should have recognized I was having issues when I don't even know where I was. 

Indian Grave Trailhead to Habron Gap 3.9 miles
I leave Indian Grave after a brief pause and with no solid recollection that I ate anything.  My fuel bags remain mostly untouched, my pack remains heavy and I am concerned about the lack of nature calls after this long in the race.  Praying distracts my mind through this road section.  I am alone for a long time with no runners in either direction.  I actually double back thinking I've missed a turn into the trail.  What I don't remember is this entire 3.9 miles is on a gravel road. 

My mood is heavy so finally I decide to stop.  I just stop in the middle of the road.  I take off my pack and look around.  I take care of a much overdue nature call which makes me feel better and shows me that I really must drink more.  I snap a picture to try and text out to the family that I am at about 50 miles into this adventure.  I read a few text that had bounced in from earlier in the day.  This is clearly much more mental than I realized.  Not needing to watch every step, I walk toward the Habron aid station.  I will pull this together.  My spirits are uplifted.  I check in with how my body is really feeling.  My left hamstring which is historically the big issue has not spoken once.  I'm amazed that I hadn't realized just how good I am feeling.  My hamstrings, quads, calves, back, arms are all feeling solid.  No fatigue or soreness in them.  My feet are tired and have a few hot spots growing.  My knees ache which is unusual especially my left knee which is hurting more sharply on every decline.  I feel like I have listed more pros than cons and this has lifted my mood. 
During my walking self-pep talk John catches up with me.  We chat and run the remainder of the road together.  At the aid station I am about an hour behind the time I wanted to arrive.  But I know that my "schedule" had not factored in time at aid stations (another of many lessons I've learned make a big deal in super long distances).  John tells me to not hang around.  I sit in a chair while I go through my drop bag.  I am not taking anything but my light.  I am still not eating much of anything along the trail even though I know I need to.  Again I don't know what if anything I eat but I gather my drop bag, put it in the box for return and I leave the aid station alone.  Mark and John remain in their chairs to contemplate whether they push for the next aid station.

Habron Gap to Camp Roosevelt 9.8 miles

I tuck my headlamp into my pack.  I get out my music only to realize that my play list didn't sync correctly.  With the light fading quickly as I climb I set my mp3 player on shuffle all and enjoy the mild distraction of Christmas songs, veggie tales, Larry the Cable Guy, ancient country songs and ABC practice.  During the next 4 hours I wouldn't hear a single one of the songs I actually wanted to hear while climbing this section.  But it laughed my way up Habron.  I found two near perfectly sized sticks to use an country hiking poles and I was actually enjoying being out in the woods solo as the light left the sky.  I pulled on the headlamp only when the last of the light faded.  It was amazing!  This was what I had waited for.  I love being in the woods at night.  The climb was made so much more manageable in the darkness. 

As I made great time near the top I came upon another runner.  It was Ed.  Saturday was Ed's birthday and as I near him sitting on a rock I was going to simply tease him that he was taking it easy since it was his birthday but what happened next changed my race day.  This was my choice and more a reflection on myself as a person and not a runner.  Ed told me that he had been getting very sick and was feeling fragile and he might backtrack to Habron and drop.  He stood up but didn't seem very solid on his feet.   But Ed thought maybe he could get his ninth life.  I told him we would finish the climb together.  We plodded along.  I tried to talk as much as I could just to see how Ed was doing.  At the top Ed sat to try and eat something.  I killed time with a nature call and tried to eat a Gu since the long plodding was sapping my physical and mental energy.  Now everything that had been a tiny issue in my body seemed to have multiplied.  Ed was violently ill multiple times as we sat there.  I couldn't leave him now.  Now I was worried.  How far to the aid station?  How far had we come?  Could I get him to sit while I tried to run into the aid station for help?  What if he fell while wobbling around on the rocks if I left him.  Throughout the race I often neared panic thinking I was the last runner.  As if that would matter if I finish as the last runner?!  But now it seemed to matter.  Now my mind was spinning out of control, tumbling negative thoughts.  Who was I to do this if even Ed, a trail veteran and MMT veteran was having so much trouble.  All logical thought seemed to evaporate.  I told Ed I wasn't leaving him.  He told me he'd be fine.  But I said no that we would walk this in together.  I tried to lead but Ed fell too far behind.  Ed lead.  We plodded.  My mind spun.  Every slight decline or twist on a rock would snap through my knee in a now unimaginable level of pain.  I stopped drinking completely.  My stomach was now to attached to the pain in my knee.  And now the bottom of me feet hurt beyond words.  Great now I realize I have a giant blister on my left foot!  All the things that I had pushed out of my mind were now able to begin to over whelm me.
I scream inside my head that I needed to stop it but my mind was a run away train now.
Mark and John had not dropped at Habron and had caught up to us.  We all plodded together until Mark suggested that he and I head on while John and Ed would remain together.  Off Mark and I headed.  Mark tried to get me to move but I was so busy inside my head trying to stop the negative chatter, trying to tell myself that the pain was temporary and not the unbearable crucifixion that I had worked it up to be.  I cried.  I swore.  I cried again. Gary Knipling passed us with a quick hello.  But even seeing Gary who was dealing with his own challenges couldn't pull me out of my spiral.   Mark tired.  I know he did.  He got me to that aid station with cutoff time to spare but I sat down.  I just needed to get myself under control.  Everyone was dropping.  I couldn't get that out of my mind.  And somehow it started to seem ok.  Ok to entertain the idea of letting myself down. 
I went through the motions of changing my top.  Diane filled my pack, gave me soup, coffee, everything from my drop bag.  We talked about my issues.  My aid station workers all told me to get off my butt.  I was still panicking.  I opened two of my letters from my drop bag, one was from my sister and the other from my hubby.  I cried.  Those words were what I needed.  I told Diane that we were going, I stood up and then I passed out.

I didn't really understand what was happening.  It just suddenly all went black and I was suddenly sweating and shivering.  I knew people were touching me and talking to me but I think all I kept saying was, what's happening?  Time got really messed up at that point.  I thought I was sitting with my head down and then I was laying down on a cot.  People were telling me things but I'm not sure what they were saying.  One thing I know for sure is that I was crying and I realized that this, 64 miles was going to be the end of my attempt to go 100.
Today as I try to put these thoughts together I know it isn't the end but merely a continuation.  This thing that I have wanted for 2 years, a thing that frightened me for wanting it.  This 100 mile, no it's not about 100 miles it is about Massanutten.  I don't simply want to go 100 miles.  I want to complete Massanutten.  I will complete Massanutten.  I know how to train my body and now I understand just how hard I need to train my mind.

"A visitor is expected to return."
Post script:  My 2013 MMT journey was a huge success.  Maybe not a success by the definition some would apply to it however I strengthened friendships, gained knowledge, enjoyed the mountain, cheered for hours and humbled myself more in two days than many do in years.  I need to thank hundreds of people who gave of their time, talent and energy to allow me and 195 others the privilege to do all those things.  Thank you to the VHTRC, Kevin Sayers, Diane B., my family and friends, Mark, John, Charlie, Rande & Kari, Bob, Kim, Cherry, Carter, Matt, Bobby, countless aid station volunteers and the VDCR.

Friday, May 17, 2013

MMT100 One More Sleep

That's it.  A single one mile run and now all I have is to drive to the start, bunk till 4 a.m. and then run 100+ mountainous mile. 
I'll start my day in this...

Spend the warmer hours in this...

And God willing, cross the finish line in this.

It's gone from this to...

This and now off I go.

My goal put simply is to finish but I think I nailed it when a runner friend asks some advice as he approaches his first 50 miler.

Shelly Cable Steve Modica First you'd want to see this site ( http://www.vhtrc.org/mmt/ ) for the MMT 100. Every 100 is different so the training for each and the race day are a widely different experience. For MMT I did as much training on the race course as possible to get used to the very technical terrain. My plan is what most any ultra runner's plan is on race day, to run every thing I can as efficiently as I can and hike like I mean it when I have to. There will be section that are too rocky, too steep or in the middle of the night too dark to be safely (for me) run so I will be making that judgment call as I progress over the course. The biggest factor in my finishing will be correct pacing and proper fueling. I won't "win" this race by a long stretch but if I can cross that finish line within the cutoff and have loved more moment than I have struggled; then I will have won!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Volcanos, Whales Tails and Sacrifice

Did you ever see one of those movies?  The ones with an island and a smoldering volcano?
The ones were they treat you really great, fatten you up and then throw you over the side to sacrifice you to their volcano god.  That's a little like my life this week.  I've been trying to treat my body extra nice.  No major running, just fun getting out with the kiddo.  As of today a pause in all my workout challenges so I can be rested and ready to...
jump into that volcano and destroy my body...slowly, painfully over 103.7 miles.
Well maybe exaggeration is another symptom of taper madness but you get the idea.  I'm attempting to rest so that I can feel really eager to go play in the woods on Saturday.  That is not as easy as it sounds.  I'm still working drop bags, meeting with our wonderful friends who are taking on our kids for two nights, trying to get all my normal chores done so that I won't have to worry about them after when I can't move, attending pto meetings, running kids to their activities and let's not forgot the time it takes to thoroughly stalk the weather.  Everyone has had to sacrifice a little bit.
There was a ray of sunshine in my day yesterday when I went to my mailbox.  A few friends have sent me notes to include in my drop bags but yesterday when the kids open the mailbox, they came running with a package.  And of course fought over who got to open it. 
Once the argument was settled, we opened it and found three notes for my drop bags and this.  This lovely whale's tail necklace to represent strength.  Erica at Life as a Running Mom had sent this wonderful little package.  She just celebrated her 500th running streak day and often credits me with encouraging her to start.  I would see things differently.  Erica is a near daily supporter and encourages me with her comments, messages, stories and photos.  Maybe we just share so many things in common; we are both streakers, running moms, madly in love with nature.  I don't know why but a friendship has grown despite the distance.  I just love her to pieces!  I know her life is a busy one with many roles to fill.  But still she sacrifices time to encourage me.  There it is again, sacrifice.  I think this whale's tail is the perfect thing to represent my journey to this 100.  It has been about strength but also sacrifice.  Not just my own sacrifice but my family and friend's too.  My pacer, Diane has been there for me through miles of hard training, my family gives up time with me and puts up with runner's moods quite frequently and my many friends who give up their time to encourage, support, educate, pray over and motivate me daily.  All these people sacrifice for me.  I will be thinking of Erica and her family this weekend as I will be thinking of everyone who has helped me get here.  And that is what will carry me through the miles. 
Thank you all for your sacrifice to be there for me!
T-3 sleeps and counting

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I used to lace my shoes, grab a visor and run out my front door.  Now I'm spending days planning, bagging, labeling pounds of supplies to be prepared for a run. 
Who have I become?

another awesome YMX top
There are only four more sleeps until race morning.  Wait.  Let's be honest.  I won't sleep much Friday night because I'll be sick to my stomach with nerves so there is really only 3 good nights of sleep and then one with a lot of tossing and turning.  Either way come 4 a.m. Saturday morning I'll be donning my headlamp, praying that we all make it to see that grassy finish line.  They really should make the finish line a big pile of rocks considering how rocky the course is.  Although after 103.7 miles I doubt I will be thinking that more rocks would be clever.
 early in the bagging process
This was a beginning of my drop bagging process.  There are 13 aid stations but only 10 with drop bags.  After I worked up a projected time frame for reaching each aid station, I marked up my bags to be placed inside each of my drop bags.  Each bag has a list of what is in it and a  list of what I should do or get at that station.  This way everything will be kept dry if we have any rain and I'll easily be able to come into the aid station and only grab what I want or need at the time and I won't be as likely to forget anything that I will need before the next station. 

It's brain scrambling to try and remember everything.  Like my first bag I'll need to remember that if I start with a long sleeve, arm warmers or a jacket, I'll need to drop it or change tops.  I'll need to pick up a visor, drop my headlamp, grab my fuel bag and "meds" bag and pick up sunglasses.  That means I later have to plan for warmer clothes once the sun goes down, put another headlamp in the correct bag, plan for another visor if I want to drop it over night...It's almost like packing for five races at once.  An early morning run, a heat of the day run, an overnight run, then another early morning run and another heat of the day run. 

Since I have loads to still do I will save a detailed How To for my next post.  Bbut feel free to remind me of things you think I should include or ask questions and I'll answer them in my next time.

If you have saved the link for live race day tracking you can get it HERE.
I am #35. 


Friday, May 10, 2013

Phobias, YMX, Rodents and of course MMT

It's a proverbial carrot dangling out there.  One day the forecast is mid 60s, the next in the 80s and today it reads, Partly sunny and very warm.  I'm not liking the one word, VERY.  However I know tomorrow it may again change and shift to something much more favorable for a thermophobic like me.

 Being a YMX Ambassador has it's perks.  Aside from being able to wear amazingly colorful, beautiful clothing while I run and having endless conversation starters with other runners, I also have perks like this:
Interested in seeing all these styles?  Click HERE.
This amazing delivery arrived yesterday!  So I did want any loyal YMX runner with a 100 miler a mere 8 days away would do... 

I tried out as many pieces at once as I could!  I will have a full review on everything after the 100.  What better test for gear than to be using it for potentially 36 hours straight?!  But after one run I can say I am in love with the skirt.  The only reason I even knew it was on was feeling it occasionally brush my leg as I ran.  And the racer back tank, well I kept getting stared at and I was sure that it was because I had walked out the door naked.  Okay it might have had something to do with all the color and patterns I was wearing at one time.  First impressions on these pieces is a big thumbs up.  Today I'll try something else to see what will make the race day cut.

My clay version of Ratatouille
Taper crazies are real.  It's the mental state you find yourself in while you are forced to reduce the time you spend each day working out.  We all know it's needed to finish the preparation before a race.  It's a fact that after months of hard effort those lighter days help up during our event, both physically and mentally but that doesn't mean we don't all struggle with how to fill that time without going a little batty.  Or in my case ratty.

Of course I am still running and working out - it's Happy day 1097
aka Happy Three Year Streak-aversary to me!
I did make cupcakes for the teachers at S'ghetti girls school but since I'm on a protein only eating plan for a while I doubt I'll be celebrating with one.  I'm saving my celebrations for after the 100.  No matter what happens I will have cause to celebrate.  3 years completed, another adventure had, many friends made and memories created are, alone, enough reason to celebrate. 

But before the party I'll be running that little race and you will probably want to follow along.  You will be able to use the Live Tracking HERE
I'm bib #35  You won't have to wait to see how things are going.  So get your party hats and tune in May 18th - 19th.  Blow up my Facebook page with encouragement or tell me to get my a## moving and tweet your cheers like crazy.  I'm been using the hashtag #mmtyouaresomine  and #MMT100 I'm @ShellyCable if you want to follow me. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MMT 100 in T-minus 10, 1095 days and a Writing Assignment

I often joke about my home town math skills but this time I actually do not know how to add.  My streak-a-versary is quickly approaching.  My THREE year streak-a-versary. 
Feel free to send gifts. 
I favor anything running related in case you didn't notice. 

Clearly they didn't take into account ultra runner's preferences in creating this list!
Because I'm thinking something more alone the lines of a buckle.

Like I said, 3 years has snuck up on me and now I don't know when to celebrate it.
Do I celebrate on the date as in May 10th? That would be the date that I started my running streak in 2010. 
Do I celebrate on day 1096?  Because 2011 was a leap year. 
365 + 366 + 365 = 1096  There is that extra day.
If I stopped on May 10th I'd technically be a day short of completing my actual three years, right?
Wrong.  See it's those small town math skills.  I'd actually be over a day thanks to that leap year.
Of course I doubt anything but a 100 miler would cause me to even THINK about stopping.
you knew we'd get around to talking about MMT didn't you?

See 10 days out from a 100 miler and it's the big questions that you ponder.  Like when to celebrate your running-streak-a-versary.

And since I'm sure that you need projects to fill up your time as you wait nervously for me to start my 100 miler.  Thanks for the sympathy nervousness by the way.  Why not send me a letter, note, little card that I could add to my drop bags.  You can email me directly and I'll send you my address.  I would love to include your envelopes in my drop bags as things to look forward to seeing at each aid station.  You can pontificate on the inspiring ways I have helped you avoid all my mistakes or maybe write something funny or maybe a snapshot of you cheering me on.  No matter what it is, I'd love to have you all be a part of my little adventure in the woods.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's a Beautiful Day....

Today we will be talking about Lists, children.

It's like Mr. Rodger's neighborhood around here.
Same topic.  Different Day.
What do all our lists have in common today?
Why that's right, children!
You get a gold star!
Lists for...
 drop bags...
aid station cut offs...
clothes to wear...
weather reports...
food for between aid stations...
course sections...
and lists of music.
I know that is a new one around here. 
But boys and girls we all need to try new things from time to time.
And I need your help. 
What music gets you moving?
What is on your play list that you think would keep me moving after say;  12, 20, 32 hours?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Mumblings

Yes.  I am still talking about the weather.  Stalking weather websites.  Blogging about the weather.  Photographing the weather.
All in an attempt to avoid thinking about the actual race.
In other news look what arrived today!  Some yummy goodies from the amazing multi-tasking Amanda at RunToTheFinish who recently moved and still made time to get her goodies from the Spring Booty Buster Challenge in the mail. 
Thanks Amanda!  I will be thinking of you during my 103.7 miles.
great!  now I'm thinking about the actual race.  I feel sick to my stomach.
Since I'm talking about every thing I might as well admit that I ran a bit more than "the plan" said I was supposed to.  But I also stuck with my squats, wall sits, planks and hand stands that I have been working on.  My wall sit and plank are both over 3 minutes now!  I'm completely excited about that.  It may seem like baby steps in cross training but for me it's like conquering a mountain. 
Have you heard about the Whole30?  Part of my distraction techniques has been to fully engross myself in this eating plan.  Which I will be starting the day after the race.  By that I mean Monday since I will not stop running until Sunday and then I might proceed to eat a small country's food supply and I will not care if dairy, grains, sugar or even alcohol is involved.  That is saying A LOT because I don't drink alcohol!
What do you say?  Anyone want to join me?