I’m just breathing

I heard Peggy sing this song at a house concert shortly before my first Ironman. I was living in Granby, Colo. at the time. I thought of this song as I swam my first Ironman swim course in Idaho. It calmed me. “I’m just breathing.” That was 2009.

I thought of this song a few days ago and I can’t stop listening to it in the car. It has so much more meaning for me now, and confirms what I believe in and what I still struggle with. 

I’m just breathing. Living one day at a time.

Our world, our nation is out of control. Music helps.

Today

This photo was taken this morning on my long run. Well, it was kind of long. 11 miles. I was supposed to run 15 mile yesterday, according to the plan.

Today I woke up at 5am knowing I had to run first thing. I left the house at 6am and just ran in the dark with a headlamp not sure what route or distance. Some days are good like that.

I didn’t do what I was supposed to but today felt like I accomplished something. And there is something to be said about that.

Thus, my reflection for the day at 4 pm from a journal entry in 2014 is:

The question isn’t can I have it all

The question is: What do I want that I can still have?

This is a serious question.

I know exactly what I want. And I will have it.

I’m sure of it.

Merry Christmas and run on

I’m not a big fan of holidays but I do love the reflection that comes with Christmas and New Year.

I’m all about new beginnings, a fresh start and reflecting on what was good and bad.

What I loved about this year: working from home, being a stay-at-home-dog mom for a few months, a new job in the ski industry, a new puppy, buying new ski gear, making new friends who love to bike, and hiking all the 4,000 footers in one year.

What I didn’t love about 2020 I’ll keep to myself.

I’m excited for all the potential of 2021; and that’s what I love about this time of year. I love making plans (with cancelation policies clearly stated) and laughing and reaching goals and traveling.

One of many things that training and racing endurance sports has taught me is to keep move forward – no matter what. Keep Moving Forward. That is the theme for the 2020 holiday season.

Merry Christmas friends. It’s going to be a good year. We are going to get back to normal – a new normal where we can be safe, race safe and see our families. In the meantime, I will wear a mask and wash my hands and stay home as much as I can. I will be grateful.

Running in the dark, time crunched

This morning I ran in the cold (zero degrees was the real feel) and it was dark (6 a.m.).

I don’t remember the last time I did this. Granted, my memory isn’t great but I think I would remember bragging somewhere online that I ran when it was very cold. Oh wait, I remember running in the cold and snow when I lived in Granby, Colo and was training for my first Ironman. But I don’t think I ever ran in both the cold and dark. I know I read every article about training for Ironman and ultrarunning. I know that so many articles talked about the time-crunched endurance athlete; the ones who wore up at 4 a.m., took care of the kids and still made it to their CEO job. I always seemed to figure out training during daylight all these years of endurance training.

“I think it is habit and my affection for the activity, rather than the sheer force of will, that sustains my running on a regular basis.” Sabrina Little

Today, this morning, was different. I layered up, wore a headlamp, a balaclava, and reflective gear and just got the training plan done. I sucked it up.

This makes all the difference. Tomorrow I plan to do the same.

There will hopefully be a lot of snow to add to the challenge.

This is my new challenge: to actually do every workout that is prescribed in my McMillian 50 Mile Training plan that I just bought and synched to Training Peaks. Buying this training plan is helping me reach my goal of finishing another 50 miler in 16 weeks, and later a 100 miler. I need to run in the cold and dark as training to finish a 100 miler. The next few days will test that will power and mental training.

There are 15 days left in the year. I’m planning to make them amazing and inspiring. We are all excited to end 2020. I’m motivated to make the best of it, make the best of every circumstance and end the year on a positive note. I have so much I want to do and accomplish.

2021 is going to be amazing. I’m sure of it.

Why I need to finish a 100 mile race

I need to finish what I start. 

If my history has proven anything this may take years. However, I hope to finish a 100 mile trail run in 2021. College took more than four years; many starts and stops but I finished. 

Finishing triathlon and Ironman races took a more traditional path; I finished what I started right away.

I’m not exactly sure why I am compelled to race long. Maybe because I’m not fast. Maybe because I need to push myself and be out there longer. I don’t want to run Badwater or a 200 mile race – now that is crazy, but I’ve always liked a physical challenge. I’ve always needed a goal that was out there.

Where does this come from? I’m not sure. 

Growing up I always played team sports. Once I graduated from high school I started hiking and biking, I started doing individual sports. When I started running in 2004 while living in Steamboat everyone I knew had a training plan. Since then I’ve always loved a training plan even if I didn’t follow it exactly. I knew I needed one when I started running marathons and later training for my first Ironman.

I now think going long was a way to exhaust my over-thinking brain. Somehow running and biking long distance calmed my tendency to be high strung and anxious.

Ultra running and Ironman did the trick. 

I just feel better when I’m in the process of training for something I’m not sure I can do. 

Case in point: Leadville Training. 

Two years ago this month I started my 100 mile training plan with a goal to finish the Leadville 100 in August 2019. Nine months of training in the snow and cold, trail running, mountain running, a little mountain biking. I got to my race weight and felt like a million bucks. I finished a 50K, then a 50 miler and was ready for the 100. On race day at Leadville I DNF’d at mile 39. 

I don’t regret any of the time training for that event. I only regret letting my mind tell me to stop running. I want to fix that.

I’m ready to start training again and do it even better, which means mental training, running at night, waking up at 3 a.m. and running. It means weights and mountain biking. Laser Focus. I’m not even sure I’ll get into that race or a race, or if a race will even happen, but I’m going to try. 

Why do I need to finish a 100 mile race? I’m not content not to. I want to know what it’s like to cross a 100 mile finish line. I want to understand what my body must do to finish one. I need to finish what I started. I want the buckle.