Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Doing the Most

I know I haven't posted for a MINUTE in the blog that actually helped me gain the lil bit of notoriety I enjoy today. But hear me out--

These days, most of my writing appears in Women's Running Magazine under the moniker Fatgirlrunning, so head over there to read what you've been missing! Anyways, I'm grateful to all of you in my community as your support and love has helped me achieved some big ass goals this year. 

This summer, including a few DNF's...was incredible.

Black Mountain Monster 12 Hr
I did the Black Mountain Monster 12-Hour and achieved exactly what I wanted--my first (and maybe my last) 50k of the SEASON. This makes my ninth ultra. It was pretty tough, as there was mud, rain, sleet, and trolls and all. 
Also, the BMM was the start of filming for a #forceofnature REI short documentary film with the talented Sarah Menzies of Let Media http://www.letmedia.org/and Jenny Nichols of Pongo Media.

I then took a break from racing for a month to amp up my training, increase my mileage, strength train, and write, write, write, mostly for Women's Running Magazine.

Skirt Sports 13er
In June, I traveled to Colorado to participate in the Skirt Sports Ambassador Retreat and then do the Skirts Sports 13er, which contrary to what you might believe is a half-marathon, and not a trek up a 13er... It was incredible in every aspect. Every woman who enjoys running or walking should have such an opportunity to be part of such a wonderful community.

Also in June, I drove up to Massachusetts to attempt the TNF Endurance Challenge at Wachussett Mountain with fellow blogger and friend Latoya Snell of Running Fat Chef fame.
Pre-TNFECS still happy

Right after deciding to call it a day at 15 miles during TNFECS
I knew it would be tough to try to make the 8 hour cutoff but if we don't try shit that seems impossible (and sometimes is) we don't learn shit. I DNFed, had some really low points, enjoyed some amazing views, talked for a while with Dean Karnazes (one of my IDOLS!), hung out with Toya, and collected a bunch of really cool memories and images--mostly about what the human body can really do. 

The following week, I headed to one of my favorite spots for SKIING and NOT RUNNING, Mountain Creek in Vernon, NJ for the infamous Running with the Devil 12 Hour. The course is a 5K loop that contains a 1100 foot elevation gain in 1.6 miles and an equal, steep loss over the second half. My goal for this was to see how much elevation I could do in those 12 hours. I was shooting for anything over 3500, as that was what I had done the previous weekend at TNFECS in not even finishing. I took my time, knowing that whatever I did over two loops would be a PR on this course for me. I was going to stop after I had achieved 4 loops (12 miles, 4400 ft of gain), but was then joyously heckled by RDs Rick and Jen McNulty and friends to get off my ass and do another loop. So I obliged. Total gain 5500 feet and 15 miles in about 10 hours. (I took very long luxurious breaks between loops to take care of nutrition, rest the legs, and shoot the shit with various folks.) It was amazing. And hard. And good to be back on a course where I had only ever done 6.2 miles. And another step toward my big goal.
12 miles/4400 feet in and still smiling at RWD 

The next week, I headed up to Stowe, Vermont to do the Catamount 50K. I eventually dropped to the 25K, like I did last year. I wasn't ready for the quick sand mud which permeated much of the course. And plus, my mom was with me, so instead of hanging out for more torture in the mountains, I hung out with her, exploring beautiful Stowe, eating some amazing food, and drinking some even more amazing Chardonnay. Also, the RD was like, "you out", after 25K and I was like, THANK YOU.

I wiped out many times on my bum

The following week--I know, can you believe this?--I headed up to the Finger Lakes for a third try at the Finger Lakes 50s 50K. I had completed it twice before, so I felt EXTRA ready and EXTRA excited for my third. 

About 7 or 8 miles into FL50s 50K

Only, the mud and rain and thunderstorms and mud and rivers and streams of mud and more thunder had a different idea in mind. DNFed at 25k. BUT, made a ton of new friends from all over! Also, I proved to myself that I could still run and be functional during a five hour long thunderstorm. If you know me, you know what this means. There's an ENTIRE chapter in my upcoming book about my astraphobia. Like, a FULL chapter.

One of the less muddy areas. I'm serious.

And then I finally took a short break of about a week to catch up on things...like writing my bimonthly pieces for WRM, and doing a photo shoot for same magazine, and then flying to Grand Rapids, MI to record the audio for my book! Yeah baby, I got that gig! This also meant spending two nights on airport floors and chairs, spending a night in a hotel room with a stranger (yep...I'll tell that story one day...), and finally getting back to NYC--all the while missing out on TWO Tough Mudders that I was supposed to be doing with friends. 

I know I'm leaving something out--but oh well, maybe that will be another post.

But to get back to the point- 

I am penning most of this post from a not-so-swanky airport hotel in Denver, as I wait for the shuttle to shuttle me back to the airport so I can catch another shuttle to shuttle me and a bunch of other folks to...

Lemme back up:

So just in case you don't know why I'm in Colorado and just in case you haven't been reading my FB and IG and TW posts over the summer.... I'll be attempting the Trans Rockies Six Day 120 Mile Run across, um, the Rockies! This is what I've been training for since late February. 

There will be six days of running and hiking through the mountains at altitude, starting at 8200 feet. Yep, I already have issues breathing so we'll see how that goes...

Although my training fell off a bit in the last few weeks due to extreme exhaustion (training, photo shoots, writing, prepping for school, travel, preparing to launch my book, etc....) I finally feel ready, mentally, physically and even emotionally. And gosh am I excited. 

I am also grateful.

This type of adventure would not have been possible without the extraordinary support I've had from the Rabun Gap Nacoochee School, who generously allowed me to take a leave of absence to do this, my mother, who stood by my side all summer, the Trans Rockies organization itself (Kevin Houda MacDonald in particular, who invited me to join the crazy), and all the amazing companies I get to rep--Merrell, Swiftwick, NY Custom PT, and Skirt Sports... who have all supported me through travel, shoes, apparel, fixing my legs/back, and the unending belief that I, this Fatgirlrunning, should have the audacity to think that someone in my kind of body could even fathom starting this thing.  And here I am.

See y'all on the other side!