Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Chloe Moment

I was going to write a Post about how important Crews are to ultra's or how trashed my quads are and my worries over how to train from here but then today I saw the most impressive display of Perseverance. 

You see I think the most important determining factor of success for a 100 mile race is attitude and perseverance.  I wonder all the time if people are born with perseverance or if they develop a never give up attitude through out life.  I still don't know the answer but I now can tell you there is some sort of innate sense in kids that allows them to just keep going. Duhhh....right, they have to learn to walk and talk and well do everything adults can do, it is a long hard process.  Ehhh but this is my blog so I am still going to share my proud mama moment.

Chloe my sweet sweet 3yr old (no i am not biased, lol) wants more than anything to be a Hockey player like her Dad, Brothers and Cousin Joe.  She is in a week long skating/hockey camp this week but, she hasn't been on the ice in months.  On Monday she went out there and repeatedly fell and got up for over an hour.  She never gave up, she never cried, she didn't even get help from the coaches.  She isn't a crier and the wheel that doesn't squeak doesn't get attention so, there she was out on the ice, out of my reach and my heart broke as I watched her try over and over again to skate.  By today she was still the slowest kid but now she was gliding and learning to skate backwards and still trying.  Watching makes me want to cry or rush out and help her but you know thank goodness for this sport.  I get to watch my daughter fight, I get to see what she is made of, she gets to see what she is made of.  I am so proud of her.  I don't think at 3yrs old I could have spent an hour falling down and standing back up over and over again and not cried or stormed off the ice but, she can.

My little Chloe showed me the definition of Perseverance today and I cannot tell you how proud I am of her.  She is amazing.  Anytime a race gets hard I am going to think of today and watching her fight so patiently for her goal. 

Ironically I have always hoped that Chloe would learn from my example.  That she would know a person can do absolutely anything they put their mind to.  That there are no limits except the ones we impose on ourselves but....ummmm...well she seems to already understand that.  Who is the parent here anyway??? LOL. 

Happy Running All!!

Hope you find a Chloe moment this week. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Headlands 100 - Race Report

I know I am super late getting this Race Report written but I was on the road and what not, blah, blah, blah...I will give you the quick and dirty first in case you don't want to read about a race at nauseum.  I did finish Headlands 100miler.  It was frickin ridiculously hard.  I was the second woman, 17th person overall, time was 26:56 and that is the 7th fastest time a woman has ever run that course. Each loop had 5,017 ft of elevation gain and loss multiply that by 4 and elevation gain was 20,068ft overall, HOLY CRAP! I DID THAT.  No wonder my quads hurt.
Jimmi and I getting my number

Oh dear was I praying already???
We left from Modesto at 3am on race day.  Jimmi drove since I was a basket case and wanted to try and rest.  Needless to day I didn't rest much but it felt good to just prattle on with Jimmi and Cathy.  Thank goodness another runner let us follow her to the course there is no way we would have found the starting line on our own.  We got to the race before they were set up so we just hunkered down in the car and waited.  It was cold outside.  Who knew San Fransisco was so dang cold in the middle of the summer.  I know I know, already heard the quote no need to leave me a commet.  After a while they set up the check in and we went and claimed my number and shirt (I had a picture with Cathy too but can't find it anywhere, errrr).  Next they had a prerace meeting 10 minutes before the start and then they sent us on our way.  I knew after the first 12 miles or so that this race was going to SERIOUSLY suck rocks.  Going up the hills wasn't nearly as bad as going down.  Each 25 mile loop basically consisted of climbing in and out of valleys and it was brutal. 
There were three spots on the course where we back tracked so I always knew how I was doing place wise.  That sort of rocked and sucked at the same time.  It was nice to know i was in second but sucked to see the first place girl charging up the mountains like she was part goat or something, lol.  I knew from the get go that the only way I would catch her was if she just stopped and she was a rock star so she just kept on going and won the sucker.  She was amazing. 
Ok back to my race.  We started off on a climb, ran over a ridge and down to Tennesee Valley, then back out of the Valley to the ridge and down to Pirates Cove, then back up to the ridge and all the way to the beach at Muir, then back to the top of the ridgeline and back to Tennesse Valley and then yep you guessed it, back to the top and over to the Golden Gate Bridge and all the way down to the base of the bridge and then finally back to the top and down the other side and around to the Start/Finish.  The climbing was no joke.  The entire trek down to the base of the bridge was single track and in some places stepping aside was stepping off the side of a cliff (that got dicey after dark).  I felt pretty great my first loop, I knew it was going to be hard but I was in great spirits.  I saw Jimmi and Cathy at the 12 mile mark and they quickly sent me on my way.  I cannot even express how much it lifted my spirits everytime I got to see the crew, it just made my heart happy.  I finished that loop with no issues. 

I met the crew (which now included my cousin Todd and his super star wife Kathrin) and we got me turned around quickly and off I went again.  With Todd there the crew could now navigate their way to multiple check points (they were tough to find but Todd was a navigation wiz).  I saw them at the base of the Golden Gate and then again at Tennesse Valley for both times I went through there.  I was feeling pretty good on this loop but dreaded right off the stupid climb and decent to the Golden Gate (remember I had just done that on teh last loop and then reversed course and immediatelly had to tackle it again, blechhhhhhhh). About half way through this loop I realized it was the more difficult direction of the two and knew I wouldl have to do it again during miles 75-100, that did bug me a bit.  I ran into some awesome folks on this loop and got to talk a little which was a nice change from the podcasts I had been listening too but, I have to say that if the other runners aren't talking like they plan to finish it can plant seeds in your head about that same sort of thing.  I ran into two of those types and tried to just push on so I didn't have to listen to anything negative.  I also was begginning to realize I was pretty dang good on the up hills, as we worked our way up the mountains, Ii would pass a few men but then they wouldl cruise by me by the end of the downhill sections (so I need to work on that).  As I climbed out of Pirates Cove (up a bajillion stairs and rocky slope) I was a bit freaked that I had to do this section again.  I got back to the Start/Finish and John (1st pacer) was there waiting.  We changed up my clothes (yes I changed right in the start/finish area in front of everyone, I just didn't care) and shoes and off we went. 

John was the superstar of pacers, oh man, he was amazing.  He has raced a ton of ultras and paced a ton too.  He knew just what to do and when.  I didn't have to say anything, he would just grab gear get it filled and meet me back up the road.  He knew when to bug me about eating, when to push me and when to just lay off.  He kept a constant flow of positive energy and focus.  I am not messing around he was extaordinary.  Even on this loop I was starting to loose focus on the 24hr goal and say it was ok just to finish.  I was letting myself be ok with being less, that actually kind of bugs me but honestly not sure if I couldl have given much more than I did at this race.  We ran into some issues getting down to othe base of the Golden Gate and back up.  People were no longer able or willing to step aside on the single track section therefore there was a lot of falling and slipping.  I was having trouble with my footing at this point anyway so, it certianly didn't help to have to be watching out for other runners.  The fog was brutal, our visability with multiple headlamps and hand helds was zero so, I just stumbled along watching every step.  Once I fell and twisted my bad ankle and I was freaked, it was throbbing but John got me up and told me to run and I did, he was right, I just needed to get er moving and loosen it up again.  We made it back to the Start Finish and I had plenty of time to make the 24hr time (I had just over 1 more hour than it had just taken me to complete the last loop so, everything should have gone great right???). 

Oh poor Jimmi.  She got stuck with me at the worst time, she was such a trooper.  I just have no words...Off we went.  I told her right off I just wanted to keep moving even if it meant walking and walk we did.  I tried to shuffle when I could but dang my legs were beginning to reallly really really hurt.  We had to tackle the Golden Gate section right off and I was freaked because of the ankle on the last go round.  We stopped for every runner both coming and going and carefully stood to the side.  we were taking no chances with getting bumped or falling.  We made our way to the aid station and YET AGAIN there WAS NO COFFEE.  What the HECK!!!! Who doesn't serve coffee at an ultra?  It was the evil race director who made up the sadistic course, had to be, probably thought that would make it even more challenging and it did, lol.   Did I forget to say that the last time we were at this aid station there were police all over the place with guns drawn?  well there were.  Jimmin knew but didn't tell me at the time that they were looking for some guy who was on the loose, ahhhhhhhhh.  So we hit the aid station, don't get coffee, don't see the crazy guy and tried to get m&m's (I know I am a nutrition freak, lol) but, instead they gave us m&m pretzels, you should have seen me try and spit those out, I didn't want any morsel of taht gluten in me.  Oh and as we headed down the hill tehre was some guy standing around and I asked if he was waiting for someone, he said yes, me...oh dang, it was John (1st pacer) and I didn't even recognize hime.  Maybe that should have been mine and Jimmi's first clue I wasn't doing so well.  Ok so we head back out of the aid station me trying to comb pretzels from my toungue and Jimmi looking for a crazy man that might jump out and attack us and here is where I decide to take a nap.  WHAT!!!! a nap you say. Yep, I told Jimmi I just need a break and took off my pack and layed down on the trail, right there in crazy escape man territory.  Not to worry, I couldn't rest so we just got up and kept going.  We came up with a paln that we would rest at Tennesee Valley, get me warmer clothes and then tackle the last half of the loop wit hsome warm food and clothes.  So we pressed.  we got to the top of the ridge and worked our way onto the pink loop, or did we???? No that is right the psycho Race Director marked two gates with pink glow sticks both were to the left and so of course Jimmi and I headed off track.  I said "Jimmi this doesn't look familiar" but hey I was totally out of it so I am sure she was thinking why would I trust her.  We marched on and it only looked more and more unfamiliar.  We got to the top and there was a sign about bears and Jimmi immediately led me back down the way we came up as fast as my two legs would let us go.  So one mile later we were back on track and headed to Tennesee Valley.  When we got there I tried to nap but after a minute or two I got up and said lets just go finish this sucker.  we tried to change my clothes and we changed into my old Mizuno's (poor poor decision in hind sight) and off we went without enough lights and with some borrowed coffee(thank you to the volunteer who gave up his personal stash).  We trudged along just talking and trying to get er done.  Man, jimmi was a trooper, she just guided me along and kept the mood up beat

I learned a lot at this race.  I do now have a renewed sense that I can conquer anything I put my mind too.  I need to work on my downhill running.  I need to stop wearing Mizunos period, they clearly do not work for me.  I have to get a better headlamp.  I need ot pay better attention to the course at night.  But you know overall most of the race went right.  The crew and pacers rocked, every single one of them just did an amazing job.  My training is working for me and lets face it with my top priority being: being a mom and wife, I don't see me finding any more time to train.  So if the best I can get is 2nd with that, I am pretty darn happy with that.  I worked my butt off and dang that race was great. 

So what is next you ask??? A 24 hr race next month.  I know I know....I said Ii wouldn't do one again but well, I have to give it a whirl. 

Both feet were pretty badly bruised, yuck!

Awesome Rumming Mamas.  The day after the race.  Love you both and can't thank you enough.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Carl with a brand new Chloe

This is not meant to be a sad story but one of inspiration.  When I was younger I used to run all the time.  In elementary school I would often spend my afternoons at the track running circles.  I would bike up there and just run and run and run.  I felt free there.  I think my sister might have run Cross Country or tried out and that is how I heard of the sport.  Then in my last year at the Junior HS the High School suddenly let us 9th graders try out for their teams.  So after school I would walk or jog the mile or two to get to the cross country practice.  I made the team.  I don't believe we ever ran 3.1 miles at practice so the first race was a huge shocker for me.  My stepdad Carl made it to the race.  I was out on some course running in the trees and I was getting gosh darn tired.  I think it was around 2 miles that I saw Carl and then promptly tripped and fell.  He says I yelled at him not to touch me because I was worried about being disqualified.  I don't remember that.  I remember him being there and telling me I could do this.  Him being there and supporting me made me believe I could in fact do it.  I got up and finished.  I ended up finishing towards the top of my team even.  He was there for most of my races in High School. 

Today he couldn't be more proud of my running.  He often according to my Mom brags about my ultra running.  Unfortunately he is in the last days of his life.  He has been ill for quite sometime and he made a decision over a month ago to begin Hospice care.  Somehow amazingly he is still here.  He told my mom two days ago that he plans to stick around through the weekend for the race.  I tell you this not to be sad but, because I didn't always realize it but I was pretty lucky to have a stepdad like Carl.  So this weekends race will be with him in my thoughts, not thoughts of sadness but of happiness for the great life he lived and for all of his love and support.  Thanks Carl.  I now truly understand how hard being a stepparent is and you did it well.  I appreciate and love you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Headlands - Jimmi

Meet Jimmi
Oh man I can't wait to meet her.  I was supposed to meet Jimmi back in 2009 (I think)?  We were going to run her first marathon together but alas, the standby gods were not with me.  I sat at the airport all day long, walking from gate to gate trying to get a flight to Washington.  At 1030 pm I finally went home and never got to meet Jimmi or run RnR Seattle.  She had to run her first marathon solo, oh man did I feel awful about that but, she rocked it and now I get to meet her this weekend, wahoooooo.  I told her that it is helpful if she is a talker because I get pretty quiet at O'Dark 30 and she said something like "I don't mean to brag but my middle school teacher did say I have diarrhea of the mouth."  Bahahahaha.  Suffice it to say the little lady has a wicked sense of humor and a ton of spunk and I am so so SO looking forward to running with her.   

Stole this off her FB page. 

Name: Hello, my name is JimmiJoy Clairmont and I'm a runaholic.

You are a Running Mom so we already know you ROCK! So tell us what running accomplishment you are most proud of.
I can't say which accomplishment I'm most proud of because any time I cross a finish line, 5k to marathon, seems like such an accomplishment by a girl who once hated running. I did cry when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon; it was such an overwhelming feeling of pride, thankfulness and a little pain. There's nothing more wonderful than seeing your kids waiting at the end to cheer you across. 

What do you most look forward to in this race?
I'm so much looking forward to finally meeting Tara & Cathy. I joined the Running Moms group when I moved to Wisconsin in 2007. I didn't know a single soul, my husband was traveling a lot for work and I was at home with two little ones so the women in that group became my lifeline. Because of mi vida loca, I haven't been on CafeMom in a long time but I know that they'll be there to welcome me back. I've had the incredible opportunity to meet two of the group and can't wait to meet two more!

When do you think you are going to do an Ultra ?

I'm also hoping for some inspiration, by Tara & the other runners, that will make me want to run an ultra. I half-heatedly thought about it a few times and have plenty of opportunities in the Pacific NW but think if I experience it firsthand, I'll get bit by the bug.
What/When is your next race?
I am so excited about my next upcoming race . . . THE DUBLIN MARATHON!! My husband & I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in February and he said "We should do something amazing for our anniversary because we never do anything. You've always wanted to run Dublin Marathon, let's do it this year." Normally I would've lectured him on our finances, the kids & whatnot but in this instance I just said "ok!" The race is October 31st and then we'll have 7 more days in Ireland to do as we please. My in-laws will be traveling from MT to stay with our kids, get them to school, practices/games and all that fun stuff so I really don't think it could get much better!

Anything else we should know about you?
I'm a mom to two awesome kids and not a very good wife to a wonderful husband that loves me anyway:). I run, bike, crossfit, cook-bake-bartend for my neighborhood on a regular basis, tutor elementary students in reading, and am an unpaid employee of my kids' school. I'm very blessed.

And grateful! I get to go to San Francisco and be part of something wonderful and to do it with amazing people . . . can't wait!!