Mt. Hood 50 Mile Race Report

Mt_Hood

Background

Some people might not think a 50 Miler is that big of a deal. Before the race I was reflecting on why this is such a big deal for me. I’m going to go into something deeply personal, not many people know about me. For the past 7 years, I have been a survivor of domestic violence. I had been through some terrible abuse and had thankfully moved on from that. Running has always been a big stress reliever and my freedom since I was 16 years old, and I turned back to distance running after my divorce after having a bit of a hiatus since college. I know that the work to recover from trauma will not be over after finishing a 50 Miler. But, I considered this a large part of my healing process. At the same time as training for this 50 Miler, I had bought a house, had employees quit on me, I had to search for a new job, I learned I do not have cancer (Hallelujah!) and am in the process of planning a wedding to now marry someone who makes me very happy. That was quite a bit of stress. On top of this, I have a volume depletion disorder which has always made being physically active difficult. I have been in the ER 5 times now due to this disorder and have struggled to keep it under control since 2006. I knew this day I would possibly run into that as an obstacle, and I did.

Before the Race

I am super fortunate to have such amazing friends, and a significant other, Gene, who is understanding of my love of running, since he is also a runner. Gene and my friends Carol and Katie planned to come with me to the race. Carol has ran a 50M and a 100K most recently and Katie has also run a 50M. They had trained with me, motivated me, and provided a lot of well-needed knowledge throughout my training. I am forever thankful for their support and so glad they came! They made it a weekend I will never forget and captured the moments on camera. I rented a condo at Collins Resort since I had a hard time finding hotel rooms – everything was $200-250 per night and I wanted some place where I can relax before and after the event. Plus I had not taken much vacation this year and was about to start a new job. Gene and I left by 11 am and were lucky not to run into traffic and got there just before 4 pm to settle in and get dinner around 6 pm so I could head to bed by 8:30 pm just after Carol and Katie arrived and then headed out to get dinner. I got plenty of sleep the night before and the night after so it worked out great. I feel badly for Carol and Katie that they didn’t get quite as much sleep, but I am so thankful they could be there!

Race Morning

Race_start

Gene planned to drive me to the race start and then head back to finish sleeping while I raced. Katie and Carol insisted on seeing me off at the race start and then headed off to run Timothy Lake. I am glad Gene drove me. I am so not a morning person and took way longer than I thought to get my butt out the door. Gene got me there with 20 minutes to drop off my drop bags, stand in the bib check-in line and the port-a potty line before the race start. Katie got my whole morning start on camera with a lot of great moments. And before I knew it we were off.

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First Half

The race started at 6 AM. Since the race was two out and backs from the race Start/Finish, it felt like it was broken up into two parts. My legs felt completely fresh. I had tapered well. 2 weeks ago I twisted my right ankle (previously tore a ligament in it in 2016 and had many injuries to it). I didn’t run that week and just did spin class and then ran a total of 18 on the weekend before the race and 12 on the week days. I really enjoyed the first half of the race. It was cold when we started and the trail was completely runnable for most of the first half. A bunch of us hiked the little section with more elevation gain. Parts of the first half reminded me of running Tiger Mountain, Rattlesnake Mountain, and Pratt Lake. I had some stomach issues and had to take care of it on the trail.

My Garmin Fenix is always off by around ~2.5 miles so my brain was always doing math to approximate really where I was at and the aid stations really let me know what mile marker I was at. I could not believe how quick the 14.2 mile turnaround came.  I blew past all the aid stations until I got to mile 19.2 and stopped to refill my Camelbak and eat a couple orange slices. I was running and leapfrogging with a woman named Lisa who ended up saving this race for me later in the day. We were doing really great on time. I had a timetable I made pinned to my pack to keep track of where I needed to be at what times throughout the day to make all the cut offs. On the way out and back we had a breathtaking view of Mt. Hood.

The temperatures started to creep up, but there were a few streams I dipped my hat in and wet my hair/shirt to stay cool. For about 2 miles I had a bee chase me constantly threatening to sting me. I was terrified and ran faster because I’m allergic to bees and did not have an Epipen. I think they were attracted to the honey stingers. Any time I took a honey stinger out, a bee would start attacking me. This had me not eating very much nutrition for the day. A bearded man in a red shirt came up at some point and I asked, “Are you allergic to bees?” “No.” “Can you please get this bee off me!?” Later I ran into him and Lisa again and he said the bee followed him for a while. I felt bad, but relieved not to get stung.

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Before I knew it, I was back at the Start/Finish at mile 28.2 to start the 2nd half. Carol and Katie were there cheering me coming in, and then helped me through my drop bag to get all the stuff I wanted (more Aquaphor on my feet, a blister bandaid on a blister that started to develop on my right big toe, sunscreen, chapstick, more honey stingers). I forgot to put on bug spray. I regret this now because I am covered in mosquito bites. Katie noted I really didn’t eat enough and I noted that. The volunteers were seriously awesome. They all kept my pack filled with water and electrolytes each time I stopped to fill them. One poured coca cola right into my mouth since it was a cupless race (thank you!). Before heading back out, a volunteer sponged my head in ice water and then I was on my way. I remember saying to Katie and Carol, see you around 6 o’clock. I had a feeling the 2nd half was not going to be as easy even though it was fewer miles, just 22 instead of 28. I had read a race report that said the 2nd half had a lot less coverage and the volunteers did warn me again on that before I left the 28.2 aid station.

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Second Half

After leaving the Range Station crossing the road, I ran into an older couple hiking on the trail. They asked me, “Is there a race going on? Where does it go to? How many people are in it?” I let them know there was, it’s 50 miles (they were shocked) and I was at about mile 30 and we go out to Warm Springs; there’s about 200 people in the race. About 3 miles in on this section, I started to have a hard time. I started to notice my volume depletion disorder was catching up to me. There were a lot of sections without shade and the heat was creeping up fast. It was around 1 pm. I started to walk because I felt like utter garbage. I was having a really hard time eating anything and I knew I was way behind on calorie intake since the beginning of the day. I was afraid of my honey stingers. I tried to eat some peach rings and some sweet potatoes out of a squeeze bottle Katie found online I decided to give a try instead of my cubed sweet potato slices I throw in a baggy that always get so squished. I couldn’t get much out. I was with Lisa for a bit and said I think I might have to DNF because of my disorder. She was encouraging but got way ahead of me as I was really struggling.

It felt like aid station 33.7 was taking forever to come. I kept asking people how far it was explaining my watch was way off. Some people didn’t answer. They looked pretty cranky and forlorn and others estimated 2.5 miles, maybe 1.5 miles. When I got there I felt like I was going to collapse. Lisa was there and she said something to me that completely saved the race for me, “We just have to make it 5 more miles and then it’s all downhill from there! We can do it!” She then headed off. It changed my mind from DNFing to continue. One volunteer was insanely helpful. I am pretty sure he has seen and been through bad things himself. He asked what he could do to help me. I explained I have a volume depletion disorder and the way I feel, I am so far behind on electrolytes so I need anything that has the most salt and electrolytes they had. He lead me to a giant bowl of salt pills and said take 2 of these now. Within a minute, I immediately felt better. He said take some more before the next aid station. I should have taken a handful but I only took 2. I regret this.

I rationed those 2 salt pills out getting through the next 5 miles. I was taking so long to get to the 39.2 mile aid station. Again I felt like I was going to pass out and again I kept asking people how far they thought it was. When someone told me I was about 1.75 miles from the aid station, I was convinced I should drop out when I got to it because I thought for sure I was going to be in the ER tonight. My legs felt heavy and I felt like a zombie just going through the motions. I saw Lisa coming back and she looked happy to see I kept going. I knew I’d get to the aid station with 15 minutes from cut-off and did. I nearly fainted, and could only get 2 words out, “Need salt.” This amazing volunteer opens up a salt pill bottle gives me 1, I say, “Need 2.” I took them. I start saying I have to decide now if I DNF or keep going. They re-assure me I got here with 15 minutes of cut-off and I can keep going, I could walk from here. Another racer, who I thought was a sweeper (I guess my brain wasn’t working right) gave me a hug and said sometimes it’s not our day and I can try this again another day. I said, “I can’t. I’m planning on having kids soon. This is it.” And he says, “I’m 62! You got your whole life to do this.” It got me to smile and laugh, of course. The volunteer sent him off with an otter pop. It looked amazing. I wanted one. I started feeling better, and took a punch of salt pills from the bottle for the road. The volunteer warns me some people react funny to those and not to take too many. I re-assure him I need them, explain my disorder and my doctor says I can never have enough salt. I realize I can do this now and ask the volunteer for an otter pop to send me on my way. Though I don’t like red-40 dye anything that otter pop was amazing and probably the only thing I had eaten for awhile sadly.

11 miles to go. My plan was to pop a salt pill every half hour. It worked. I needed it. Badly. Every half hour I felt like shit and was walking slow. And every time I popped one I was able to run again. I saw a sweeper who told me I would be the DLF and to tell the other sweeper ahead. Then I caught up to the runner who I mistook for a sweeper and passed him. My stomach started cramping. I wasn’t drinking enough at all and I couldn’t eat and it was growling. In a moment of despair heading up some elevation where my heart and breathing were just so messed up from my disorder, I texted Gene saying I’m trying to make it to the aid station 5 miles from the finish and if he could come get me if there’s no one there. I didn’t know if he’d have service though. My phone barely had service except at that one point. Then around mile 8 I caught up to a woman named Barb just after the only stream on the 2nd half, which I highly regret not taking a few seconds to splash around in to cool down. We were both struggling and walking. She asked if I wanted to pass her and I said no, I couldn’t if I tried. We started talking. She was from Portland and it was also her first 50M. I couldn’t believe she told me she originally planned to do the 50K the next day as well, but was glad she was put on the waiting list for it. She kept me going for a while, but around 3-4 miles from the finish she needed to pee. I was amazed she could pee. I hadn’t peed since that morning. I wasn’t sure if my talking was driving her nuts, so I said, I’m just going to keep doing my zombie walk and go on ahead. (By the way, Barb did finish! I had no doubt.)

Pop another salt pill and then I was able to run again for quite a while. I must’ve gotten way ahead of her. I get to where I remember being ~2 miles from the finish up by a road crossing, and I got really confused because the cones lead up to this big mound of dirt I did not remember at all. I almost went over it, but looked around and finally saw cones where I was supposed to go. Thank God. There was a really nice section to run in here. I could almost smile again. I knew it was almost over. I knew I would finally see Gene, Carol, and Katie again. When I knew I was close to the finish, it did still feel like forever but I kept running. I saw them waiting for me on the street. I couldn’t really say anything except “Hey” to Gene and then kept running to the finish. I felt terrible, but when I crossed the finish, all I could think of was “I need the med tent now.” And they brought me over to the med tent immediately to check my vitals and give me something to keep me from throwing up so I could keep fluids down. I couldn’t really celebrate. I just wanted to make sure that night I wasn’t going to be in the E.R. Anything but the E.R. I am so thankful to all the volunteers, the medics, my friends, and the runners out there that kept me going. There were so many moments I thought I wasn’t going to finish and well, I did!

Finish

What’s After

I’m sure my parents and Gene will be relieved to hear, I think this is my first and my last 50 Miler. Though I am very happy I completed it, I don’t think my body with this disorder is meant for these distances. I like Marathons and 50Ks very much and think there will be many more of those in my future. But, I think 50 Milers and 100 Milers are something else. I am amazed two days after I feel relatively good and am moving pretty well. I am also amazed I completed this uninjured. I really thought my ankle would be trashed by the end of it and had planned on that. But, my body held up. It must have been those 18 years of running that prepared it. If it weren’t for this disorder, I think I would have aspired to run a 100 Miler.

After doing the 60K ~4 weeks ago, I knew I should have things to look forward to after this to keep from having post-race depression so of course I have planned to take some rest time and do other activities especially strength training, plan to pace Katie for 18 Miles in her 100 Miler, plan our wedding, a party for friends and a bachelorette party, actually finish decorating our house, and go tubing. So I am really looking forward to the rest of this summer and this year. I am also looking forward to my new job. Life sure did happen all at once for me this year! I also already got my toenails painted for the first time since 2016 (found they got less injured when they could breath). As silly as that sounds, I was pretty excited for that.

Wedding DJ/Music Playlist

Ideas for our wedding music playlist.

Some favourite electronic songs:

Daft Punk – Get Lucky

Outkast – Hey Ya!

K-os – Crabuckit

Major Lazer – Keep It Goin’ Louder

Major Lazer – Lean On

Animal Collective – My Girls

Basement Jaxx – Hot ‘N Cold

DJ Shadow – You can’t go home again

Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)

Aceyalone – Everything Change

Vallis Alps – Young

Odesza – Sun Models (Feat. Madelyn Grant)

IG88 – Where the businessmen sleep

STS9 – Tokyo

Chelan – Pretend We Live Forever

Parachute Youth – Can’t Get Better Than This

Decap – Butterflies

Coyote Kisses – the Deep

M.I.A. – Steppin Up

Blockhead – Put Down Your Dream Journal and Dance

Hermitude – All of You

Hot Chip – Over and Over

Odesza – Light feat. Little Dragon

Kungs and Cookin’ On 3 Burners – This Girl

Mura Masa – Lovesick Fuck

Cashmere Cat – Mirror Maru

Flume – Holdin On

Flight Facilities – Claire de Lune

Major Lazer – Lean On

Joywave – “Tongues” feat Kopps

Little Dragon – Please turn

Manatee Commune – What We’ve Got (Ft. Flint Eastwood)

Rita J – Body Rock

Monte Booker – raindrop, droptop

STS9 – Better Day or Tokyo

Carol Konka – Vola

 

Songs that make me think of us:

M83 – Midnight City (Ceremony song)

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes – Home

Capitol K – Hong Kong

Portugal, The Man – Purple Yellow Red and Blue

Daft Punk – Digital Love

Big Data – Dangerous (feat. Joywave)

Darude/Ville Virtanen – Let the Music Take Control

Minus the Bear – Pachuca Sunrise

Architecture in Helsinki – Heart It Races

Young Giant – My Body

Lykke Li – Little Bit

Fourtet – She Moves She

Redbone – Come and Get Your Love (Our dance song?)

Sons of Maria – You & I

The Polish Ambassador- Let the Rhythm Just ft Mr Lif & Ayla Nereo

Modl – Day and Night

Ghost Loft – So High

Alina Baraz Galimatias – Make Me Feel

Moloko – The Time is Now

Marconi Union – Weightless

 

 

Some favourite songs from growing up:

Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around and Fell in Love

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This

Young MC – Bust a Move

RUN-DMC – It’s Tricky

Sir Mix a Lot – Baby Got Back

Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock – It Takes Two

MC Nas-D & DJ Freaky Fred – It’s My Cadillac (Got That Bass)

Prince – When Doves Cry

Eels – Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues

Four Tet – My Angel Rocks Back and Forth

Solomon Burke – Cry to Me

The Commitments remake of Otis Redding – Try a Little Tenderness

Digable Planets – Where I’m From

Mos Def – Quiet Dog Bite Hard

Reflection Eternal – Move Somethin’

The Pharcyde – Passin’ Me By

Sergio Mendez – Magalenha

Los Lobos & Gipsy Kings – La Bamba (For Uncle Buddy)

Aceyalone – Everything Changes

 

Songs most people like:

Weekend – Can’t Feel My Face

Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl

Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

New Order – Temptation

Dex’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

Different Light – Walk Like an Egyptian

Hysteria – Pour Some Sugar On Me

Need help with normal people music…

 

Songs that make us think of our parents/family

The Beatles – Yellow Submarine (For my nephews and Dad)

Donovan

Simon & Garfunkel

Paul Simon

Aretha Franklin

The Lumineers – Sleep on the Floor

Iron & Wine – Boy with a Coin

Lucienne Boyer

Echo Valley 50K … err 60K Race Report

On Sunday, June 11th, I did Echo Valley 50K… but it turned into a 60K at 37.2 miles. The race course was a lot easier than my previous 2 50Ks, Deception Pass 50K and Sun Mountain 50K that I PR’ed both of those races even with the added 6 miles finishing in 6:58. I highly recommend this race if you want a much easier course or to PR! Evergreen Trail Runs is also awesome!

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I carpooled with Carol and Liz out to Lake Chelan. Two years ago Carol and our friend Venus took a trip out here when Carol did the 50K and I did the Half Marathon. This time the tables were turned, I was doing the 50K and Carol and Liz were doing the Half Marathon. We had an amazing weekend. It is a great get away. Dinner is served to the athletes for a discount at the Vin du Lac with a delicious wine selection to take the edge off the race evening jitters. Our hotel had a hot tub. And Lake Chelan is a very refreshing ice bath recovery for after the race. I also enjoyed a great big omelette breakfast the morning after the race at the Apple Cup Cafe.

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We got up to Echo Valley early for a nice race start of 8 AM. I was testing out wearing a running skort I had for this kind of distance since I think that’s what I’ll stick to for the 50M since it’s supposed to be hot. I’m worried about chafing with shorts for that kind of distance. It worked well – had no chafing except for from my sports bra so lesson learned for my 50 Miler to put some Vaseline under there since the Glide didn’t cut it for the whole 60K. The first mile and the last mile of the race are the same since you do the Kids Run 1 Mile. The next 3 miles I felt like I struggled. My heart rate was all over the place and I couldn’t settle into a pace. I realized later this was because this was the only spot where we were actually doing elevation and then everything pretty much leveled out except for a couple spots but everything was a very gradual incline, no need to ever hike. It was all completely runnable which after doing Sun Mountain 50K was just amazing and strange.

At Mile 9, Liz passed me for the Half Marathon (they started at 9 am). Speedy Gonzales. And I knew Carol wouldn’t be far behind. Both had some encouraging words and it was good to see them. At this point I saw and talked to a woman who would later sentence me to doing a 60K that day instead of a 50K. She said, “We’re almost done!” To which I responded, “Um, I have just 21 more miles to go.” Perhaps she thought I needed more miles that day later when I saw her volunteering at Mile 19 because of this comment.

The race went pretty fast. I was averaging around 5 miles per hour which to me for trail running is pretty awesome. I couldn’t believe it would be possible I would finish in 6 hours. I saw Jerry a lot on the course taking photographs. I got confused by the aid station at mile 10. I somehow missed seeing it come back from a loop and didn’t see another table with water until mile 16. I decided to fill up my pack again at this point just in case I had trouble finding aid stations or water tables for later, but of course I couldn’t miss the big aid station tent at mile 19/25 where I was happy to re-apply some glide and stick a blister bandaid over a callus on the ball of my foot that suddenly started hurting around mile 25. I had bad blisters on my foot from Sun Mountain 3 weeks prior that never really got to heal. The blister bandaids really helped. I only wished they were bigger. Where can I get some wider ones for the 50M in 2.5 weeks? 😉

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The view from the loop I did twice was pretty spectacular.

At Mile 19 at the aid station, there were 2 guys also refueling. The volunteer at the aid station said we didn’t need to come back to the aid station if we didn’t need to after finishing the loop. I took off before they did, but we leapfrogged for a bit heading up to this beautiful 4 mile loop with a great view of Lake Chelan in the distance, but I lost them after they started walking. I took a picture of the incredible view. That loop was completely flat and I sped through it, came on back down towards the aid station. The lady who must have run the 10K I saw on the course who said “We’re almost done!” was volunteering at the bottom. The arrows weren’t clear and I couldn’t figure out where to go next. She said, “You have to go up there.” I was confused. I wasn’t sure if that was the way I just went or if I had gone up a different way, but I listened to her and headed up. I did the entire loop again thinking it was a different loop with the same view … until I got to the sign to go back down with the same exact name I saw before and then I realized it – I just did the same loop again. Here I am at Mile 29 and I get down to the aid station and it was completely taken down, the water and nutrition were all packed up. My watch at 1:30 PM. I thought it wasn’t supposed to be taken down until 3:15 PM according to the race site. I told the 2 men there what happened and asked if I could have some water, which way to go, and how much further they estimated it to be. They estimated 3-4 miles. It was a bit more than that I later learned. Thankfully, one of them walked me up to show me where to go. Looking at that sign without the distance marker, I would have never figured that out.

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On the loop I did twice. Really loved that loop though!

At Mile 30, the sweeper came running up and high fived me. I told her what happened, that I did the loop twice and kept going. At Mile 31, I twisted my ankle. It hurt so bad. I couldn’t even bare weight for a while. Then I was finally able to walk again. I texted Carol to tell her what was going on cos I thought they must be wondering why it’s taking me so long and that I twisted my ankle. Finally, I was able to run again but it hurt like a motherf’er. Then my watch died. It somehow already powered down to 70% before the race started. Lesson learned: charge that thing all night before the race. Count on using both my Garmin and the cell phone for the 50M. I started tracking the miles with MapMyRun on my phone. At Mile 35, I see 2 volunteers cheering. I tell them what happened (I guess I was a bit annoyed and in some pain) and they said, “Your only about 7 minutes out!” 7 minutes my ass. It was 2 more miles. It was so frustrating at that point because I could see the parking lot, but couldn’t cut through if I didn’t want to DNF yet I knew I was well past the 50K mark. So whatever, I chalked up my pain, and kept going and then got to the 1 Mile Kids Fun run finish. There was a lot of cursing here. And a lot of pain. And then before I knew it, I was through the finish line with Carol and Liz’s cheers and got some ICE and BEER. Ice and beer is all you need when you hurt like that. I was pretty proud that I beat both of my 50K times on a 60K and with a twisted ankle the last 10K. Take that! I can pretty much do anything. Just not an Iron Man or a 100 Miler. Ok, maybe one day.

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With my ice and beer and Carol and Liz! I can care less if it’s PBR at this point.

 

Sun Mountain 50K Race Report


This past Saturday, May 20th, I finished Sun Mountain 50K. It was my 2nd 50K and I felt it was a lot harder than my 1st, which was Deception Pass 50K. Unlike my 1st 50K, everything went well before hand. I was well-rested even if I had to get a massage the Thursday before to work out some muscle pain in the back of my lower hamstring, upper calf, and tendons on the side of my right knee. I got a full night sleep because I got my own hotel room. And I had no stomach issues. I’d say that was all a win for getting me to the start. I was using this race as training for my 50 miler in July, Mt Hood, and plan to do another 50K or trail Marathon, Echo Valley on June 11th.

Start

The race started pretty quickly. One second I’m talking with friends, and the next they’re announcing we’re starting the race. I started out with my friend Katie, also part of Seattle Green Lake Running Group / Green Lake Ultra Group / Green Lakers. We had planned to run the race together and trained together some beforehand since we’re the same pace. My friend Ram who I met at Deception Pass 50K and is also part of the same running group(s) was out there too who was also our pace so I was happy I might see a familiar face along the course. I started out behind Eivind who’s also in our running and Seattle Green Lake Triathlon Group, and is a crazy Iron Man. He was chatting away, but I kept getting separated by people who’d get ahead or behind him, and they kept asking, “Are you talking to me?” Or “Is he talking to himself?” And I’d explain, “He’s talking to me. I’m way back here now.”

Aid Station 17

Katie and I ran the first 10 miles together which were gorgeous and easy to enjoy because they were a gradual uphill leading into a section covered in sunflowers and lilac flowers with majestic views. We saw Emily Ann at mile 5 who handed off potatoes to Sean earlier and snapped some awesome photos of us, “trail sisters”. At some point I remember saying “This is like running in heaven.” After the 8.6 mile Aid station, once we got up in a mountain bike trail, I lost her on the way down. I found it funny they kept putting us on the mountain bike trail options labeled “hard” instead of “easy.” As if we weren’t going to strain ourselves enough that day. Once I got to the bottom, I waited for Katie awhile thinking she’d catch up. I started walking up another semi-steep but gradual-ish incline. A lot of people were walking up it, but I found it runnable. I was hoping I’d see Katie again. I had a couple women ask me if I were ok cos I kept stopping and looking behind me. I explained I was waiting for my friend and they said you might not want to wait alluding to the time and cutoffs. So I started running again until I got to aid station 17. This section of the race and up to mile 19 I found went so quickly and was the easiest part of the race. At aid station 17, I did notice I was starting to get blisters from my sock on my right foot. I had ran with these socks before but most of my training was in wet muddy trail runs vs. dry dusty dirt trail runs so I didn’t really account for how that could rub in your shoes and socks and cause blisters though I did put Glide in between my toes and the insides of my soles (I got a few toe blisters when training and found this worked). I didn’t put any extra socks in my drop bag at that aid station though. I decided to take my socks off, brush the dry dirt off them, put a bandaid from my pack on my pinky toe and put them back on and hope for the best. I left Katie a message at some point — though I don’t know why because we didn’t really have any reception out there — to ask if I should wait for her at aid station 17 and then again at aid station 17 that I kept going. This was also why I made the decision at this point to fill my camelbak bladder with half electrolyte water at the aid station and half water plus 2 scoops of Hammer Heed. I thought if my brain’s not working quite right, I’m at risk of getting dehydrated plus it was getting hot and I have a volume depletion disorder. It definitely did the trick. Best decision made.

Miles 19 – 24: Sun Mountain & Out and Back

Hitting mile 19, we started our climb up Sun Mountain. Except I had no clue this was Sun Mountain. (I really should have studied the maps and course more. It’s funny on my Garmin data, it doesn’t look so bad.) Because I thought this was Patterson Mountain, I really hauled ass thinking this was it and got up there pretty quick. Eivind passed me on the way down and said, “See you at the finish!” This set a bad expectation that I wasn’t far from finishing or the rest was easy. There was a group of guys in bright colored wigs running the water spigot so I ran my head under the cold water to cool off. Then we headed out for an out and back bumping into runners going the opposite direction. It felt like it went forever when it was around 1.5-2 miles out. On the way back I saw Ram and told him the turnaround was in about .4 miles. I still held out hope for seeing Katie, but didn’t so at this point I thought she must have dropped. There was an older man who stopped at a bench and removed his shirt who Katie and I ran with earlier in the race. He was having a hard time and said, “I might pass out.” I got him to get going again and tried to crack some jokes. I said, “I can’t wait to get back to the lodge to the spigot. Then we can say, “Spigot me!” He started laughing and made it back the lodge. I didn’t see him after that so I assumed he dropped. Going back down Sun Mountain I got passed by people who were walking on the out and back. I had a hard time running down some sections and got the worst cramp in my side. I started clutching it in my hand to help ease it. Then I got back down to the bottom where Jordan from SGLRG was volunteering and directing traffic. I’m sure he could tell I was struggling a bit.

Aid Station Mile 25 to Patterson Mountain

Then we went onto a woodsy section. I didn’t see any trail markers for a while and got scared I missed a turn or something so stopped to look at the map. A woman came up to me in a yellow shirt who I kept piggybacking the race with since aid station 17.  I had mentioned to her before I lost my friend, and at this point I realized I’d been running 15 miles by myself. She said this must be the trail because she didn’t see anywhere else to turn so we kept going and soon we saw a trail marker. Before I knew it I was at aid station mile 25. A volunteer there told me I had 10 minutes before cut off. The blisters on my right foot had multiplied and I had fresh socks in my drop bag and another bandaid. I just said, “Give me 2 minutes, and I’m out of here.” After trying to stick a bandaid on and changing my socks, I stuffed ice cubes down my shirt and in my hat. Then I was off to misery…. err I mean Patterson Mountain. In my head I was thinking, 6 miles to the finish, it must be all down hill because we must be that high up and that far away from the finish. Boy, was I wrong. There was no way I could run miles 25 – 29. It was all up, and sun exposure. In hindsight, my watch data tells me it was 88 degrees at this point and the race average was 76 degrees. Yeah, that was a bit brutal for us Seattleites. I’ve run a trail marathon in 86 degrees in CA and it wasn’t easy so I think that’s why my body was like whatever, we’ve done this before, let’s just get this done. We hike up to around mile 26 and get to the ladder going over the barbed wire fence to keep cows at bay. Then just kept climbing all the way up to Patterson with that giant box at the top and a great view of the Cascade Mountains. I took a photo of it because I wanted to prove I made it! And then ran down to where Glenn was taking photos around mile 29.

To the Finish!

The next mile was a fairly steep downgrade and a bit rocky uneven ground. Some parts I had a difficult time running and started walking. When I got down to the road crossing, I didn’t feel too well and decided to walk too until I was about .5-1 mile from the finish. I thought about jumping in the lake there. I think everyone did. And then I shuffled my way in to the finish where my SGLRG buddies were cheering me in. I was so emotional because although this was not my first 50K, this was my hardest, and this was actually the hardest race I had ever done, even harder than Half Iron Man training. As I went through the finish line, I said, “This was the hardest *bleep* thing I’ve done.” (Pardon my language.) I started crying and Katie and Ram gave me big hugs. I was happy I finished! Emily Ann was amazing and asked if I wanted anything. I said some electrolytes and food. She brought me a glass of Nuun in water and a giant plate of mostly fruits and veggies which was exactly what I wanted actually. Ross was clicking away with photos and talked to me a bit about the race and having people to train with who are our pace. I was a bit worried about having photos of me being so emotional, but you know what, I’m proud of my accomplishment and happy to have shared it with friends. I know I am not a fast runner or a super lean runner, but I am a very determined runner and I know based on my history, I can pretty much get through anything. I am resilient.

I did take so many photos along the run. Some are posted here.

Time: 8:10:37 (for perspective, Deception Pass 50K took me 7:20:26)

My 2016 Most Memorable Events

Each year I write a reflection on the year. This year feels a bit different than 2012 through 2015 did. 2015 was super running and triathlon race heavy. Years before that were super event and growing new friendships heavy. This year was neither running and tri race heavy or event heavy. I set out to run another 50K in 2016 and that didn’t happen due to injury. This year I am happy I got to spend some quality time with my family on some trips. But, I am happy to say my biggest 2016 accomplishments were the following:

  1. I got promoted. I dreamed for years of managing a development team (14 years) and in March that finally happened. And I have to admit, it is what I dreamed of and is rewarding and enjoyable. In the past year, I’ve built a great team and I am really excited about what we’ve accomplished so far and what we plan to build.
  2. I got engaged to the man I love so very much in October on our 4 year anniversary! We are getting married next year on our anniversary.
  3. We bought a house together in November. This is our first house ever, and it is an amazing house in a great neighbourhood.

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So in those ways, although Trump is president-elect (which horrifies me), I lost my cousin Tiffany, and Carrie Fisher, Leonard Cohen, Prince, David Bowie, and many other great celebrities died this year, this year blew other years out of the water.

Other than those 3 HUGE things, here are other amazing memories from my year:

  • Volunteering at Meredith Matthews YMCA Try a Triathlon

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  • Zion Trip and the Zion Half Marathon with my Tri/Running group friends
  • Hosted two fundraisers at my radio show at Hollow Earth Radio. One was for Hollow Earth Radio to raise funds for our GoFundMe campaign top become an on air station in the Central District in Aug 2017 (Future KHUH 100.3). The other was for Seattle Green Lake Triathlon Group’s fundraising for Seattle Children’s Emergency Room Fund.

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  • Trip to NJ and Philadelphia with my brother, sister-in-law and nephews to see my Dad’s family in May. Our cousin Tiffany passed away in March following the Zion Half Marathon, right before I was driving everyone back to the airport in the rental car. I had a really hard time holding my shit together. I must have broken down crying I don’t know how many times. My brother and I spent a lot of time over at my Aunt’s and their house growing up playing with Tiffany. And it was insanely hard to imagine or comprehend she was gone. She was our age. She was going to get married this year. It was overbearingly horrifyingly sad. I could not imagine how her parents and her siblings feel. It was so good to see them all and as much as I hate NJ (the non-stop tolls, the massive crowdedness, the everyone drives 90 miles per our, the strip malls), I would really like to see them all again, so obviously I’m going back again in the future.  While in the area, we took my nephews to the Philadelphia Zoo and to Sesame Place where they got to see the Imagination Movers. They had a great time. It was so good to spend time with our family even if it was too short and we didn’t get to see everyone.
  • Inspire Conference in Orlando, FL. I always enjoy seeing my fellow insurance customers, Dan and Mary Kay every year.

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  • Trip to New Orleans for a conference and then with my parents (also got to celebrate my birthday with them!)
  • Followed by a trip to Mobile, AL with my sister, nephew, brother-in-law and parents. I can’t wait to see them again this April.

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  • Skagit Valley Tulips at Roosengarde – I’ve been in Seattle 10 years now as of December and this was the first year I ever made it to see the tulips.

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  • Multiple trips, trails runs, and a race at Chuckanut Mountain. I loved it so much I decided to run the 50K in March 2017.

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  • I got to see Jen Q in Seattle (albeit super brief)! One of my childhood friends from Hillside, NJ. We went to high school together. She is awesome!

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  • Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage with Two Dozen Legs!!!
  • Gene’s Graduation from University of Washington!
  • Co-hosted the DIY Holiday Fair at the Vera Project this year and it was awesome
  • Annual Rollerskating trip with Seattle Green Lake Triathlon Group

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rollerskating

  • San Francisco Conference
  • Trip to Orcas Island

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  • Cycle the Wave Ride (and I didn’t die when my brakes failed me on a steep long hill going into traffic)

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  • Trip to Puerto Rico

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I’m sure there are many more memories than I can remember!

Here was 2015. 2014.

50K/50 Miler Training Plan

6 days after I wrote my last entry regarding 50K training for Baker Lake 50K, I rolled my ankle at the end of 24 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, sprained my foot and tore one of my ankle ligaments a little bit. It took 8 weeks to heal. I started running but could only run a mile at a time a few weeks ago and did some PT sessions. This past weekend I did my first trail run since my injury, 5 miles at Rattlesnake Ledge. It felt awesome. I thought I’d have lost a lot more fitness than I did but I guess biking and swimming helped. I followed it up with some trail runs on Orcas Island at Mt. Constitution and the Cascade Lake Loop Trail which also went well. So I am crossing my fingers that I am ready to begin 50K and my 50 miler training for next year.

I have 3 top race choices pending I get into any of them, 2 in May and 1 in July:

  1. Mt Hood 50 Miler – July 8th-9th – 5,630 ft elevation – This is my brother’s birthday which could mean super super good luck for me. It also gives me a little more time to make sure my foot/ankle are OK and continue working on my hip flexors/glutes – strength training, yay.
  2. Quad Rock 50 Miler – Fort Collins, CO – May 13th –  11,000 ft elevation sounds crazy but not impossible. My parents met in CO and I have been meaning to go there for a long time. It would be pretty incredible to run my first 50 Miler in CO and see the sights. It is quite possible a conference ends up falling on this time period and totally screws up this plan.
  3. Sun Mountain 100K – May 20th – 10,000 ft elevation – Not a 50 Miler and kind of nervous about doing a 62.1 Miler for my first 50 Miler but what’s another 12.1 miles? I really wanted to do the 25K or 50K last year and did not make it into the race. So I am betting on it selling out before I can even sign up.

Now here’s some plans:

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And now to find a 50K along the way.

If a May 50 Miler:

  • Mar 18 – Chuckanut Mountain 50K – I did the Half this year and loved it
  • Apr 8 – Yakima Skyline Rim 50K – If I don’t have to travel for work then and I actually get into it

If a July 50 Miler:

  • June ? – Echo Valley 50K – I did Echo Valley Half the year before and loved it; I would totally do this one
  • June 10 – Beacon Rock 50K – Though I’ve wanted to do this one…

 

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs – Erzébet Szekeres & Alliance for Rehabilitation

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Another one of my favorite stories from How to Change the World is about Erzébet Szekeres who developed a program to address 3 of the most difficult problems disabled adults in Hungary face – a lack of job training, few employment opportunities, and a housing shortage, sprung on by having her son who was disabled. She created Alliance for Rehabilitation offering members vocational training to prep them for real life. It turned around how Hungary treated disabled adults completely for the positive.

When Erzébet’s son was born disabled, she was told he would never be able to do anything in this world. She decided to prove everyone wrong. First she looked at resources currently available for disabled adults, and was shocked at how terrible the conditions were, how they were segregated from society, and were unable to take care of themselves. She decided to find other families in situations like hers and form a community. She bought a large farm and identified work that disabled individuals would be able to do including ceramics, farming, manufacturing, packaging, and construction. This community became Alliance, an official cooperative. Erzébet worked with an architect to design Alliance – she envisioned it to have spacious shared spaces for multiple tenants to share and cooperate, yet have their own space and rooms to have privacy, and time to re-charge. Greenery and animals roamed the cooperative. Those who were invited to work at Alliance could not have been familiar with the existing disabled housing and methods. Their minds needed to be free of that, and be able to accept disabled individuals as any other people, capable of being rehabilitated into a normal community. Alliance even organized dances where both members of the community and those of the surrounding towns look forward to attending and enjoying. It was a huge success and model for Hungary in changing how disabled and severely handicapped individuals are integrated into society.

“Today, 620 disabled individuals, including 300 who are severely handicapped, are employed in various fields throughout Hungary. The Alliance for Rehabilitation has numerous business relations, serves business clients and accepts jobs from distant locations like Holland and Italy. It generates about US$ 157,000 in revenue, more than half of which is distributed among the workers as salaries comparable to the pay of people in similar jobs in more accepted parts of society. In addition, the organization provides workers with housing to rent and is constructing new building blocks to keep up with increasing demand. The apartments have one nurse for every three units, and are affordably priced. Parents or older relatives may move into larger affordable apartments together with one of the workers to offer them more support.

Despite its revenues, the Alliance for Rehabilitation is 50% financed by the government under a law supporting disabled employment. In the event of grant failure, an emergency strategy has been developed to guarantee the organization remains sustainable and self-sufficient, although salary payments would go to providing free accommodation and food for all members.” – From http://www.schwabfound.org/content/erzs%C3%A9bet-szekeres.

 

How to Change the World – Social Entrepreneurs: Cordeiro & Renascer Reforming Healthcare

I’ve been reading How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein and it’s really good. It highlights some really amazing stories of social entrepreneurs and how they are changing the world. These are the stories that need to be heard and shared more often to make a difference in the world. I’d love to share some of my favourites, so I’ll start with Cordeiro.

Cordeiro and Renascer – Assisting Children & Families, Reducing Recurrence in “At Risk” Children, Reforming Healthcare

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An amazing woman, Vera Cordeiro in Lagoa, Brazil came up with the idea to provide assistance to children and families in need where their children were suffering from some medical issue. It started when a 1 year old boy arrived at her hospital whose hand required amputation. Cordeiro was called in to consult with the boy’s mother to prepare her for the amputation. The mother Pedrina told her that she had just lost her job as a maid, she didn’t know where she was going to live, how she was going to buy food, or how she would purchase a prosthesis for her son so he could live a normal life. Cordeiro sitting in her own living room with her 2 daughters that night couldn’t get Pedrina out of her head. She remembered how shaken she had been when 1 of her daughters contracted a serious infection and how she had all of this help, her mother, two maids, the best pediatricians. She thought how if these mothers and families had this help, it would be much easier to recover from illness and make sure they wouldn’t have a recurring need for medical assistance if they had access to basic knowledge and items such as blankets, water filters, fans, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, nebulizers, safety fences, and carriages.

That’s how the healthcare project at Renascer got started to stop the cycle of readmission among poor children. A group of personnel, including social workers, psychologists, nutritionists, volunteers gathered together to work with mothers to discuss treatment plans and one-on-one over 6 month periods. Lists of items that were needed were displayed on the bulletin board by the entrance. Each time mothers would visit the office to pick up food and medicine, they would discuss the progress of their treatment plans with Renascer’s volunteers. Cordeiro was brought on as a fellow of the organization Ashoka – Innovators for the Public after interviews with Bill Drayton, the CEO and Founder. Starting in 1996 – 1997, she started winning awards and was able to expand this idea to healthcare in Brazil to 3 more hospitals  and then nationally.

Stitch Fix Review: I kept the whole box again!

I don’t do stitch fix very often. This was my 5th stitch fix over 2 years. On box #3, I kept the whole box. Box #4 I kept a vest and a striped black and navy lightweight mid-length sleeve sweater. Everything I have kept from stitch fix, I wear a lot and I always receive complements on them. My stylist has certainly gotten my style! I do keep my Pinterest up-to-date with what I am looking for and give specific directions on what’s coming up, what I’m needing, what colors, types of clothes, and etc. I need. For example, this last fix I said, “I have 2 conferences with 3 presentations soon. I like the light pink trend for Spring; a cardigan or blouse in pink would be great. Another skirt or dress for work. I like the mid-length skirt trend I’ve pinned. Also pinned lots of dresses for ideas. A new romantic cute pastel tank blouse (like with ruffles, lace or polka dots). My social life is hectic lately and I don’t own many casual clothes. A t-shirt for rollerskating and team meetings and a pair of skinny jeans that fit big athletic legs would be great.”

Well what she sent me totally fit my needs. Everything fit great, loved the colors, and the styles.

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Item #1: Street Level Meyer Tassel Clutch

Item #2: Gilli Viola Jersey Dress

Item #3: Skies are Blue Sutro Crochet Detail Knit Top

Item #4: Mavi Freida Skinny Jean

Item #5: Dex Ramuz Lace Back Blouse