Running

Hey Asshole Dog Owners!

I get it, your dog is friendly, I don’t care! If your dog is off leash it better be under control  which means NOT leaving your side or coming anywhere near my dog or kids. If your dog begins following us we are not stopping to help you get your dog back. Yup, I’m an asshole. My dog is ON leash (except maybe in the backcountry where you see no one) and I’m not responsible for your poor decisions.

Now, if your dog is on a leash and you can not control it we have even more issues. If your dog is going to pull toward the giant pregnant lady and her dog running on the trail, maybe you should not be on the trail! How about being a little more particular on where you walk your dog? Not only is it dangerous to my dog (I really don’t need my dog bitten because your dog is stronger then you) but if I end up falling because your dog trips me I promise you that won’t go well for you.

Just move! Step off the trail when people are passing. Move your dog away and keep everyone safe. If your dog sucks (which really just means you suck) it is your responsibility to move, no matter what trail etiquette says at that point.

I was crushing (ha!) a downhill the other day and had to stop dead in my tracks as a woman and her daughter grabbed there dog to put it on leash (frantically I may add). Ok, fine, you made a poor choice having your poorly behaved dog off leash. Now why OH WHY did you need to stand in the middle of the trail to get your dog on the leash? Why could you not scoot off the trail and handle your business. Why did my dog and I have to wait while you handled your stupidity? Even better was you then decided to continue walking (not just letting me pass politely) and allowed your dog to pull toward mine repeating “oh you just want to say hi don’t you”. NO! I am RUNNING.  See, RUNNING HERE! My dog is doing work and does not stop to “say hi” while we are running. My dog will bite your dog though if she feels I am threaten, good plan there.

Look, I get mistakes, but there are way too many terrible dog owners. It’s not cute or funny that your dog doesn’t listen, it’s being a terrible owner. I refuse to be polite to these people, I mostly just ignore and go about my run. When my children are involved there is a chance I will be downright rude if your dog comes running toward us. Deal with it. My children are taught to lie to people when they are walking/running with Piper and I’m not around (I let them lie to adults!?!?). No our dog is not friendly, don’t come near me she will bite you, and ALWAYS over react when Piper becomes interested in someone like she really wants to kill them. Will she bite someone? Maybe. Early in my pregnancy she began growling at men she didn’t like on the trail. She is a wonderful dog, but part of her job is protecting. She doesn’t need random people petting her as she works and the kids need to feel like she is there to care for them, not make other people happy.

In conclusion, just stay out of the pregnant angry lady’s way with your crappy dog, but maybe you should just stop sucking as an owner.

And now my adorable well behaved Piper! (well mostly well behaved…)

 

 

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34 weeks?

Where has the time gone?! I feel moments of “damn am I done yet?!” And moments of extreme terror “can this baby stay in forever?!?!” All my Littles are more then ready to meet their new brother or sister, and we do have 2 outfits… soooo… what else do we need?

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Boy or girl? What’s your guess??

Running?

Yup, I’m still at it. Sloooooow goes it with moments of abrupt stops, hands on knees, and very loud “FUUUUUCK”‘s. It happens. There is very clearly a head down low which causes some interesting pains at times, but it’s very well worth it. My golden miles are usually 4-6, I feel great and can really run! But well… then things get interesting…

Strava’s Monday-Sunday just seems silly at this point. I decided to count my weekly miles in my pregnant weeks. Thursday, the first day at 34 weeks, I ran 7 miles and yesterday I did 3.9. By next Wednesday I will have my 30 miles for the week, no matter how slow those miles may be.

What’s funny about “slow” is I love encouraging new runners. My mantra of “it doesn’t matter how fast you are, lets enjoy the view” I really do believe. But I suppose its always harder to look at  yourself and be patient. Everyone I have ever run with and walked happily with up each hill, I loved it. I really do believe being a “runner” is a mindset and no matter how fast (or slow) you move you are still a runner, I promise to try and be more patient with myself as I have done with so many other.

Strength-

I feel like there is a huge misunderstanding with the outward and public strength I show. My “it’s ok” “just a moment in life” and “i’ve got this” stand is true, but that does NOT mean I am OK with the situation. I do not have a choice but to continue to move forward and handle my life. I do not have the luxury (or misfortune) of being able to avoid responsibilities. I can’t run around (ha, run) and pretend I’m not about to have a new little human. I am a Mom. When I tell you “I’m good, I’ve got this” I really do, but that does not justify or gloss over the behavior of others.

But really, I’ve got this 🙂

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These legs get extra love… or freezing pools..

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I Hate Stupid Girls!

I am so over stupid girls! Those girls that do everything they can to make themselves victims and then don’t understand at all when bad things happen. Where is personal responsibility today???

You’ve seen them, maybe you are one, running down the road hat with the brim pulled down (because sun is terrible) and 2 ear buds in jamming to their music. Yup, who needs any of their senses?! I mean, I know I don’t want to be able to hear if someone is running up behind me (I LOVE when you jump as I run past you) or see that person hiding behind the bushes. Really? Senses are overrated.

What about that one on the trails? Sunglasses, music, paying no attention to what animals might be around them. Look, I like to jam too, but I rock the one ear bud. I like being able to hear people around me, know when someone is coming, hear a rattlesnake!?? I mean seriously, no senses means you are a victim.

I have always taken myself out of uncomfortable situations (when I am not impaired by drugs or alcohol and can make a intelligent decision). Recently I read “The Gift of Fear” which really reiterated how important trusting yourself is, especially as a woman. From a young age we are taught to not trust our instincts and instead be nice to everyone, even when it feels wrong. Think about ever time you were told to hug a family member but just didn’t want to, sit on Santa’s lap but it made you uncomfortable, or say thank you to a seemingly kind stranger despite them giving you the creeps. Every time that happens it takes a little bit of your safety alarm away. Eventually you do not have it anymore and put yourself in situations that could become dangerous. If your parents had not forced these things upon you, would you still make the same choices?

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not believe we should be afraid of everything. I do believe women especially should choose to be intelligent. Listen to music with one ear but listen to your surroundings with your other. Wear a hat or sunglasses, but you are taking away your field of vision, so scan around you often. Be smart, choose to not look like a victim so you are less likely to BE a victim.

Let’s talk about Strava. When you run the same route every Tuesday from work at 11am and post it online, how are you not a victim?! Maybe it hasn’t become an issue yet, but Craiglist wasn’t a venue for crime as soon as it started either. You can add an area of protection around your home or workplace so people can not pinpoint exactly where you live/work, but is that enough? If they know your car and generally where you are running from how hard would it be to find your house? Be cautious. Run different routes. Run at different times of the day. Make your Strava so you have to “approve” people and don’t approve people you don’t know.

I see it often with parents posting where their child goes to school on social media. It’s not an issue until it IS an issue, but be safe now. Later posts are better, not a “out on the trail right here dying” posts to give someone an opening. Don’t wreck yourself out there on the trail so you couldn’t run away if you needed to. Ladies, be smart. Let’s stop making women look bad and start taking car of ourselves.

 

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Across the Years

I know I say it all the time, but my kids are amazing. Going into Across the Years they all had different goals, the littlest Littles mostly just being excited for cookies. Tea had hopes of finishing 100 miles in less then 72 hours since she “played too much” ( her words) last year. So I settled in to help as I could and roll with whatever happened.

Tea finished 25 the first day and was a little upset with herself. She wasn’t focused and when I broke down the numbers she was upset with herself. With a promise from me to help push her more the next couple of days she was able to sleep well that first night. The next day the goal was rough, 40 miles. I knew I had to call in reinforcements to help her along the way. My poor sisters boyfriend got roped in and ran more miles (and more time) then he ever had before. Fifteen miles with a 9-year-old that was in pure heaven watching him suffer! She can be a little evil at times… Tea joined other friends along the course and we even did a family loop. She stopped at 39 for the day knowing she had one more big day ahead…. 36 miles before dark. While most of the finally day she cruised with big people friends (thank you all for the help!), at times she was alone and that was rough. I was able to join her for the last couple and we held on to each other while we walked through the cold evening. She wanted to be finished so badly at miles 97 and 98 (who doesn’t) and there were tears. The morning was not an option for her to finish (I didn’t have them in the morning) so we had to keep pushing on if she wanted to finish. She sat before her last loop and suddenly she was alive! Tajh and +1 joined us on the last loop and Tea spent time making fun of them both and slapping Tajh with her long sleeves, because at mile 99 you can hit your brother as long as you are both laughing! And she finished. 100 miles in 61 hours and 45 minutes WITH at least 18 hours of sleeping. This girl… How awesome is she? Her goofy “100 mile I’m a crazy little girl” attitude always makes me smile. She pushed through the rough moments and as always finished with a smile on her face. True badass.

Waking up in the cold on day 2. No one was happy to leave the tent!

Waking up in the cold on day 2. No one was happy to leave the tent!

"hey Tea I'm going to take a bathroom selfie" "NO" I win!

“hey Tea I’m going to take a bathroom selfie” “NO” I win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting a normal picture of a 9-year-old hopped up on a 100 mile high is just never going to happen.

Getting a normal picture of a 9-year-old hopped up on a 100 mile high is just never going to happen.

 

Little Tay loves being free to run off into the desert at this race. The kids found the perfect area and had their own little fort. They were gone doing their thing and every so often came in to get food and run a lap. He had no real goal along the way, but when he realized a 50k was possible over the 72 hours he got a little more serious. He’s my fast kid and has just recently started showing interest in racing. His little feet were pounded and painful, but every now and then he set out to add some miles.  I’m somewhat sad I did have a GPS on him to know how many extra miles he did while playing! My very proud Little Buddy finished his first 50k in 3 days (And he may have eaten more then his fair share of cookies along the way).

Crazy Boys at night!

Crazy Boys at night!

Tenny wanted to race, she wanted to go alone on loops from the get go! She ran with whoever she could each day (never enough for her) and played the rest of the time. Cookies were exciting for her, but she probably would have ran just to run. Competition is a big motivator for her and she was happy to run ahead then stop and wait for Tru and I to catch up while doing hand stands in the grass. Tenny finished with 13 miles over the 3 days. A PR for her for sure.

Because you just have to hold hands before the start of your big race.

Because you just have to hold hands before the start of your big race.

So fast!

So fast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing a loop with Tajh.

Finishing a loop with Tajh.

There may have been a little 6 day zombie shuffling going on...

There may have been a little 6 day zombie shuffling going on…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tru was stoked to run. If you remember, the last time he had a bib on the refused to move from the starting line and gave me a stern “NO” when I even suggested it. This was the perfect race for him, no pressure, no time he actually had to start, and all his siblings were out there somewhere. The race began and he was moving! and then he stopped, threw his hat, and yelled “NO”….. Thanks Tru. We walked that loop and he played the rest of the day. The next day he asked to run again and this time seemed much more motivated, he’s getting it! The final day we walked most the loop together but as we came into the finish he told me he wanted to run. I began trotting along and he stopped dead in his tracks, told me I wasn’t allowed to run, and sprinted to the finish. JERK! Fine, I let him win… Tru finished 3 miles, I’m very proud of my Little Bug.

Tantrums 1/4 mile in.

Tantrums 1/4 mile in.

He is lucky he is so cute!

He is lucky he is so cute!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some pretty cute sleepers cuddling for warmth!

Some pretty cute sleepers cuddling for warmth!

 

 

Tajh may have made me the most proud at the race. He told me he didn’t want to race and I offered having him help me with the Littles so I could be there for those that needed me. Surprisingly he agreed and even promised to run with some if they needed it. He was a great babysitter, I love watching him play with little Tenny and Tru and I know how special that time is for all of them. At some point Tru came up to me and I noticed cookie on his face… “hey buddy did you steal a cookie” “No Tajhie gave it to me”… umm…. Apparently, like any good babysitter, he was using cookies to get them to behave. Well played Tajh… well played… I couldn’t be angry and just asked that we slow down on the bribery for a while. While it warmed my heart to just see him play with his siblings, I was truly impressed with how caring he was to Tea. Multiple times he asked if he could run with her (to which she adamantly refused since apparently he talks too much as a pacer and only talks about minecraft) and on day 3 I kept finding him with food and drinks for her. I told him how proud I was and asked why he was trying to help her so much “well because I’ve run 100 miles over 6 days and know how much it hurt, I can’t imagine how much she hurts right now” AWWWW!! I am beyond proud of Tajh. His kind heart is hard to find some days, and his nose is always so deep in a book he can’t hear his siblings, but when he comes back to the real world I am thankful.

Little People running free.

Little People running free.

Between the pride in my heart, the long days with my Littles outside and their little rosy cheeks from days of sun, my world is pretty awesome. I do have to say how insanely excited I was to see so many kids out there. So many people telling us how my Little inspired theirs, so many kids pushing their limits with a smile on their face, how rad is that? To top it off getting to spend so much time with all our Big People friends? Man did my Littles and I have a great time!

Family Lap selfie.

Family Lap selfie.

All my Peeps.

All my Peeps.

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Running with Little People. Bear Creek Trail

If you have never had the opportunity to run with my Little People, I’m sorry! They are by far some of the funniest running partners you can find. They had the opportunity to play with a GoPro on their run on the Bear Creek Trail the other day. As you can see, they enjoyed it! Tajh spend the next day editing and I promised I would share with the world!  (Do not blame me if you get motion sickness! These kids are not pros… yet…)

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Why Crewing is Harder Than Running 100 miles.

Crewing is harder than running 100 miles. That’s right, I said it.  Look, you train for 100 miles (in theory). It’s you goal to finish, to PR, to win, whatever, but it’s yours. Then you rope in friends, family, whoever to spend day and night (and maybe day again) taking care of you. There is no training to crew (unless you count daily life with children). We are thrown into this crazy world that YOU chose and we play the hurry up and wait game. All the while you run, that’s it! You just have to put on foot in front of the other! How nice that must be…

I have 5 kids, I know how to handle little people, this makes me a great crew person. Every ultra runner pulls a Benjamin Button at some point in 100 (even front runners to a degree). They forget to eat and drink, can’t speak, and possibly have soiled their pants. They need a Mom. They need someone to think for them. They need help. As the crew person it is your job to know your runner. To know when they will make mistakes. To know when they need help. To brief their pacer even after they have, “now he said he won’t want you to tell him to drink more, but do it anyway”. So Mom you become, and being a Mom is hard.

Now lets add in the driving all over the place. Directions are great in theory, but when you are in the middle of nowhere with no cell service and directions that the race director came up with, “yeah that’s good enough, everyone knows where mount Timmy is and they will totally understand the aid station is to the left most corner of the right face”,  it’s stressful. What if you are late? You have everything they need! What if this messes up their entire race? It’s a lottery race they will never get in again! YOUR race lies in MY hands and I’m in the middle of nowhere…. Heart attack time.

And now it’s dark. Yay. I really don’t like the dark as it is, and I’m tired. A little nap? No time for that. All those splits they gave you? yeah they are totally off them now. You have been trying your best all day to predict when they will come in and they screw with you every time. Don’t they know this is messing with your game? No nap, push through, light will come, shit I haven’t ate or drank anything all day…

Eventually they finish. You are elated for them. Now they want to relive EVERY second of the race with you. While you try and pin your eyelids open and convince then you aren’t sleeping through their exciting tales they decide they need EVERYTHING from the care parked nearly 20 miles away (or 50 yards, whichever). You feed them, change them (maybe just bring them a change of clothes but it’s all the same), and get them warm. Sleep? I would love some… Then they ask about your day, how everything when for you ALL day long. The moment you begin sharing they beginning snoring… Sigh…

Now if your runner drops it’s even worse! All you will hear about for the next 2 months is the “shoulda”, “coulda”, “woulda”… There is no winning. You will agree they shouldn’t have quit and they will be upset that you didn’t push them. You will tell them they could have kept going and they will convince you they couldn’t have walked another step (although they did walk down to the car to leave, but who’s counting).

Alas, the panic attack, Mothering, stressing, multiple runs to the car, driving, getting lost, lugging huge bags, planning stuff, overthinking, organizing, reorganizing, life of a crew person is hard. You silly runners putting one foot in front of the other for 100 miles have it pretty darn easy.

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Time to get out of this place!

I still consider myself homeless, I am currently squatting. Yes I am in a home, but it is not my home. It is one room for my kids and I, which really is fine, but again it is not my home. Now that the kids are out of school is time to take this homeless show back on the road. Back to Colorado, back to tent living, back to spending our days adventuring and not inside.

I hate raising my kids inside. Although I love their schools (Tay is heading to school next year too) I still daydream about unschooling (google it) in the great outdoors. I daydream about having a home sometimes. Nothing crazy or big, something small and comfortable. I love having my children close, the idea of having space for them to get lost inside is silly to me. Also, all that stuff to fill a giant home seems ridiculous and materialistic. A tiny house with a wonderful outdoor space sounds lovely to me. A giant garden, outdoor living/cooking space, chickens, dogs, forts, and everything else that comes with it. A space I could lock up and leave for months at a time as we wander the world seeking adventure.  Oh that would be the life…

So on to our summer fun! Tea has picked a bunch of races she is really looking forward to (Sky Series is calling my little mountain Lady) and has requested we hang in Silverton for her to train. All the other Little are looking forward to being free and dirty outside. We are hoping to hook up with some of our Vagabond friends to party all night with. My plans to bag some crazy peaks alone with 5 Littles my seem optimistic, but I like a challenge.

Now it’s time for me to plan, clean, pack, unpack, repack, over think, get stress, and finally head out on my next great adventure. Being a single, vegan, homeless, poor, running bum, Mom to 5 Littles is always an adventure, I’m ready to take that adventure up in elevation.

Categories: My world as a Single Mom of 5 kids, Parenting, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I may break something…

Because that would clearly be productive….

I was always an athletic person. Growing up I played baseball, with the boys. Well, that is until they began throwing the ball AT ME and no longer to me. It was around middle school when I retired from little league, but I was still a swimmer, cheerleader (shocking right?!?!) and baton twirler. I was flexible, strong, and super competitive. I have always HATED running, but when I was 22 my EX and I decided to train for our first half marathon, the Disneyland half (see, I have a Disney problem). Of course I began training and then became pregnant, but I continued to run and finished my first half marathon at 20 weeks pregnant. I will not be telling you my time…

So that makes it about 8 years that I have been running. My running plan has always been; run well for 6 months, get injured and be out for a couple months. Often times it has been this deep nagging ache in my calf that no one has been able to diagnose, once a stress fracture, and another time superficial vein thrombosis (This is not deep vein thrombosis which is very scary… I was told unless it comes back I should not worry… who knows). Basically, I’m a mess. I hate this! I can not stand not being able to run. The mountains are sitting out there, calling me, and I am not patient.

Before I knew that Lululemon Shorty Shorts are ALL you should wear. Sad days...

Before I knew that Lululemon Shorty Shorts are ALL you should wear. Sad days…

Right now I’m sitting staring at how beautiful it is outside. Walking hurts, sitting makes me angry, there is no winning. I’m not sure what it is this time, feels like a stress fracture (which it did with the blood clots the last time), but if I rest for a couple days the pain isn’t as extreme. Ugh… I’m frustrated. Honestly I wonder if the last giant baby I gave birth to (9lbs 8ounces, ouch) messed with my hip alignment and that is causing all my issues. Seems like a good thing to blame, right? So for now I sit, angry, until I get my act together and head to the doctor. *sigh* Oh yes, and that means no Zane Grey for me…

Life….

Remembering the days I could run...

Remembering the days I could run…

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Never invite a Grandma up a mountain, and other awesome training trips.

Part on my new training “idea” is that I need to learn to like hills. My usual response to something as small as a speed bump is “oh shoot a hill, I better hike!” and I start walking, slowly. Obviously if I have any thought of doing well at a race this strategy doesn’t work on speed bumps or tiny mole hills. So alas I have decided to make myself like hills, or at least not feel like I have an excuse to be lazy the moment on comes into sight.

My new training plan has started, I will hike as much incline as I can in a matter of a mile or two, with both of my little, Little people on. That’s right, one on my tummy, one of my back, and Tay running ahead as he pleases. The goal here is that going up with 60lbs on is going to suck, I will really appreciate having that 60lbs off and will be more likely to run up the hill (or at least wreck it hiking). So far I have had a few trips with them both on, and I can say that things are always interesting, but when is my life not?

My Mom.

My Mom. The original GramCracker.

My Mom is quite the team player and helps me out a ton. When I was little she would often take myself and my siblings hiking up Squaw Peak (Piestiewa Peak) by herself. I had a brilliant plan of taking all my 5 this weekend and enlisted her to join us. My mom is a busy lady and ended up showing up to join us in jeans while the rest of us were decked out in running clothes, poor choice I thought. We got to the park with cheers from Tru, who apparently loves climbing mountains I assume from his squeal. He went on my tummy and Tenny on my back, and we were moving.

GramCracker and Tea heading up!

GramCracker and Tea heading up!

The Babies and I following behind.

The Babies and I following behind.

Tajh took off and picked places to hang out and wait for us, scaring my mom as he slightly hung off cliffs with a giant smile on his face. After a couple of “get off of there, what are you doing” ‘s I was pretty glad she didn’t see the crazy stuff we were up to this summer. Plenty of people hiked by and told me how “crazy” I was or wanted to have a mini conversation with the crazy lady wearing two kids up a mountain, sorry I gotta breathe. So on we trudged and I began remembering how giant the steps are on the way up and started to think possibly this was a terrible idea (which my bestie Lala had reminded me of earlier. I’m a terrible listener….).

Tenny Taking some "selfies" on the way up.

Tenny Taking some “selfies” on the way up.

I always forget about this tattoo. Thank you Tenny for the reminder!

I always forget about this tattoo. Thank you Tenny for the reminder!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the awesome thing when you think you are some decent runner and you spend you summer climbing crazy mountains and living outside? When you you hear your Mom, Grandma to 7 say “oh guys hold on let’s wait for your Mom”. That’s right, my Mom, in jeans and Puma’s, was kicking my ass up the mountain. At some point wearing 60lbs isn’t an excuse… I am fired. So she kicked my ass up, and then back down (I only wear Tru on the way down, Tenny hikes). And I… I am deflated. This would be a true moment when you are put in your place and realize you are NOT the badass you think you are… sigh…

My Sour Patch Kid Tay.

My Sour Patch Kid Tay.

Tajh making GramCracker freak out a little. Photo by Tenny

Tajh making GramCracker freak out a little. Photo by Tenny

My Gang. Tough bunch.

My Gang. Tough bunch.

Ten wrecking the downhill… well not exactly.

Ten wrecking the downhill… well not exactly.

Not sure how this training plan is going to work out, but so far I like it. Hills just look all that much smaller without 2 Little People hitching a ride… But I’m pretty sure my Mom isn’t invite to the next one…

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Javelina With A Little Lady

Running in the mountains with my Big Two. *Happiness*

Running in the mountains with my Big Two. *Happiness*

Getting ready to start the Javelina Jundred I knew Tea was trained. She had put in the time, running 4-5 mornings a week before school (around 30 minutes) and long runs on the weekend including doing the Pemberton loop (the race course) twice. The girl knew where she was at on every inch of that trail. She knew what it felt like to run a “fast” loop while still hiking every hill. She knew what it felt like to run the loop in 95 degrees, and running to finish before dark the one time we didn’t bring lights. I knew she had it, the only question was, did I?

She trained like a pro.

She trained like a pro.

Packet pickup was the day before the race, and so was Tru’s big day of getting his cast off. We picked Tea and Tajh up early from school to go with their little bro on his exciting day (SPICA cast coming off and an update and how Tru is doing to come soon) and then headed out so Tea could spend some time with her big people friends at pick up. It’s wonderful to see her interacting with all the adults that she loves and respects. To see how happy they are to see her makes me a very proud Momma. She is a an amazing Little Lady in so many ways, and as a Mother there is nothing better than knowing your child brings joy to others.

Sleep is a tricky thing to come when you are nervous about the morning, but eventual I found it. Tea and I woke to watch the 100 miles start and then got ourselves ready in the hour we had to wait before our own start. I recently found out i had superficial blood clots in my lower legs (superficial, don’t be too scared!) and running caused them much more pain. I found Hokas to be a help (not that the pain went away) but along with that came blisters from the Hokas. I got my feet taped hoping that would help and Tea and I stepped up to the start.

A little chilly for a Tiny Little Lady at the start.

A little chilly for a Tiny Little Lady at the start.

For the first couple of miles we were keeping a great pace. Pemberton is all “run-able” but we knew hiking the hills would help to ensure we would finish. Some people passed us in the beginning, but we also had a nice train going on behind us. Many people had great words of encouragement for Tea while there were also a lot of surprised looks. Teagan found it exciting that people had read about her and wanted to meet her. With all this the first loop flew by.  A little over 15 miles in 3:30, and Tea was still feeling great, just the plan we had.

Tea sees a camera and takes off! Still wrecking it near the end of lap 1

Tea sees a camera and takes off! Still wrecking it near the end of lap 1

The second loop was counter-clockwise which is not our favorite direction. We hiked a ton and she continued to talk my ear off! This Little Lady has the best stories. Not only that but she remembers key markers and enjoys doing the math to decide how much longer we have to aid stations. We got to Jackass aid station which was basically half way around the loop and she was dragging a little.  It was starting to get hot and we were now over 20 miles in, it was time to  pour some cold water on her and get moving. We got the info Tonto (the water only station just a little over 3 miles out from Jackass) was out of water so we stayed cautious with our water. Luckily we were well prepared to make that entire 6+ miles from Jackass to Coyote Camp aid stations without needing to fill up again. The end of this loop Tea had Starbucks waiting for her (soy chai) and was ready to down some vegan pizza!

The kind of service you get when you are 8.. Just so you know.. no one brought ME pizza or rubbed my feet!

The kind of service you get when you are 8.. Just so you know.. no one brought ME pizza or rubbed my feet!

We hung out at Jeadquarters for a while so she could eat and drink, and we could learn she doesn’t like her special treat of chai! She sat for a while and Seth took off her shoes and rubbed her feet while I went back to medical and got my feet taped even more. Apparently taping my feet and preventing the usual blisters I was getting angered the blister gods and I was getting blisters in places I had never experienced before, perfect. We had now finished 50k and started out on our way to miles neither Tea nor I had done before. Because it was dark we were allowed pacers, so Seth joined us for this loop. I knew it was going to be a long one, and I was happy to have someone else take the lead for a while.

We were well bundled and planned on walking everything we wanted to, even downhills. Tea spent time holding hands with Seth and just marching along. It’s funny, even though this girl can run crazy miles, she is still the kid that falls asleep at bedtime no matter where we are. From movie parties with friends to the Alabama Shakes concert we went to a couple of days before the race, Tea falls asleep between 8-8:30 no matter what is going on. We were now past her normal passing out time and we were definitely dealing with a sleepy 8-year-old. Luckily an amazing sound came ringing across the desert right in the nick of time. The loud New Yorker voice of one of Tea’s favorite big people friends, Justin, AKA J-Lu. She knew he would be at Jackass (which is funny because she would only refers to it as “jackbutt” no cursing for her!) aid station and she could not wait to see him. She ran down the hill and was lifted into a big hug by him. She sat, ate, drank, and talk to everyone there. It was a huge lift for a sleepy little lady on her way to finishing 75k. We headed out again into the darkness but on our way to a little sleep for her.

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This walk was slower and honestly I questioned if we would make it all the way. She was just a tired 8 year old, and I was her mom feeling for her. I got down at one point and looked her in the eyes. I explain that we didn’t have to finish if she was tired, we could get Jamil (RD) to drive out, we could meet him at the road, and we could go back and she could sleep. We could be done. Her only response was a stern “NO” and she turned and began walking again, on a mission. Apparently she was not quitting, so on we trudged.

Holding hands with Daddy. I'm pretty sure it's the only way to walk through the night.

Holding hands with Daddy. I’m pretty sure it’s the only way to walk through the night.

Coming into Jeadquarters meant she got to eat then head to bed. I ate also but sleep alluded me. The plan was to be up by 5 and head out again, and I think a part of me was worried about making that happen. I ate and spent time with friends before heading to my tent and getting a couple of hours rest. Before I knew it we were up and heading out again. My Little Lady and I had 15 miles between us and our buckles, we were on it!  We hiked the entire first half to Jackass aid station where we saw Seth (who was picking up runners who had dropped to drive back) and a couple other big people friends. They (said big people friends) thought it would be funny to tell Tea to drop her Mommy right at the end and sprint in to the finish, pointing out I had blisters (which were terrible at this time) and she wouldn’t have any trouble. Tea being my amazing Little Lady gave them a “yeah right, why would I do that” look and we headed on our way.

Always with a smile.

Always with a smile.

Tea wanted Seth to run in with us so he headed out to meet us about 3 miles out. We ran a little and Tea was feeling alright, just excited to finish. In another half mile she went to brush a bee off her back and ended up getting stung in the hand. This cause uncontrollable crying from her. Look, she is 8, she is tired, she is 60 miles into her 100k, and now she got stung by a bee, crying was more than allowed.

Damn Bee!

Damn Bee!

So we gave her a couple minutes and allowed her to have her moment before we started moving again. Crying continued on and off until we got to the road crossing (meaning we were almost to the finish) and saw Jamil waiting on the other side to take pictures. Tea stopped, composed herself, and we were off and running again. Jamil continued to run ahead a little then stop and take pictures until Tea saw the finish, at which point she took off! I found myself, blisters and all, sprinting to try to keep up. At the end of her 100k Teagan was sprinting it in! It was amazing to watch, and difficult to keep up with, then we were finished. My 8-year-old had just finished 100k and was handed her buckle.

Tea was FLYING!

Tea was FLYING!

JJ Tea and Catra

One of Tea’s Favorite big people the amazing Miss Catra, and Tea’s favorite little running dog Truman!

Tea promptly took off her shoes, put her buckle on her new belt and wore it around. She played with her friends, walked Catra’s dog Truman, talk with people, and took pictures like a pro.

JJ Tea and colby

The cutest runners out there!

She was happy to see Colby (12) finish his 100 mile (we had seen him out on the course a lot as well which she was excited about) and happy to eat some otter pops.

I was happy to take my shoes off and stare at my blisters for a while. I can not express how thankful I am for the amazing ultra running community. All the kind words and support out there on the course really helped keep Tea moving. I am also forever thankful for having so much special time with my daughter out on the trail. Between Seth and my Mom caring for the others I was able to know they were in good hands and able to focus on Tea and her needs the entire time.

What she ate– A LOT! She ate many gels, stinger chews (pink lemonade being her favorite), avocado roll ups, veggie burger, vegan pizza, and all the normal vegan ultra food.

Animals– Tea loved seeing rabbits, shooed a tarantula off the trail for safety, watched some lizards run around, and even saved a hurt lizard from getting stepped on the trail.

Gear– Tea loves New Balance. She ran the entire race in her brand new New Balance 890 v3’s, and had no blisters, her feet felt great! She carried her super cute Pink Ultimate Direction Bottle, and of course had two Buff’s with her at all time. They really came in handy at aid stations to dunk in the water to keep her cool.

"stretching" along the way.

“stretching” along the way.

The important things to note from this race are, I was with her every step, she was determined to finish, she got 6+ hours of sleep during the night, and she had fun majority of the way. I understand running 100k isn’t for every 8 year old, but it is for this one. So the question was, was I ready? The answer is yes! Training with her and following her “take things as you go” approach made this, my first 100k, go as smoothly as it could. I am so proud of my Little Lady for the determination and hard work she put in, and I am extremely proud we are now buckle buddies!

Buckle Buddies!

Buckle Buddies!

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