Running

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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Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How to make your child into an ultra runner

My mountain lovers

My mountain lovers

This is a difficult task but with two successes under my belt, I feel I am the perfect person to give advise. Obviously, you must start with a child, preferably your own. Next step is to make sure to get them running. Always push hard. When they cry, remind them how much of a girl they look like (even if they are a girl) and how terrible it is to cry. Withhold toys, food, family fun time, whatever it takes. Once they are ready (or before, no big deal) make them race. Make sure you see them along the course. Yell splits, (is that important in ultras?) tell them they are being beat, maybe even consume some terrible treats you wont let them have as you and your lazy ass don’t participate. Now when they finish, if they didn’t have a podium finish, be sure to berate them in front of everyone. Don’t let that little shit get away with sucking! What parents would? Be sure to always make them believe your love for them is dependent on how well they perform, but also make sure to never let them feel good enough.

Don't they look unhappy?

Don’t they look unhappy?

The reality is, for all you negative Nancy’s out there, you can not force anyone to run an ultra. Short of threatening their life, there is a passion involved in ultra running, a burning desire in one’s self to push beyond your limits. A desire to hit that wall that most people would use as a stopping point but instead to disregard pain and continue on. All commom sense tells you to stop, but an ultra runner learns to not listen and instead takes it as a challenge from their own body. Its not something that can be forced, even in children.

My oldest, Tajh, did his first triathlon at six years old. Despite my love for swimming, I could never sit through another triathlon after that. Running became our thing, and it has taken off from there. After some 5k’s here and there, we decided it was time for something real for Tajh. At eight, he decided to do his first 24-hour event at Across the Years. Never having done one myself, I knew I did not want to send him out alone. Although it is a one-mile loop, the idea of my son feeling the ups and downs of running great distances alone felt evil. If he felt pain, I sure as hell was going to too. It was a great learning experience for us all. As adults, most of us can handle the ebbs and flows with some grace. We can understand the pain is going to go away and keep trucking. For kids it is harder. Push through the pain? But why would I do that when I can go into my comfy tent and sleep? Although he did sleep, Tajh ended up completing 33 miles, and hasn’t stopped running since. Today his training is only when he wants, although he does swim and if there is a race coming up we do push a little more. This kids loves mountains and says yes to any run where he gets to get up high and explore. He has the passion for exploring of every great ulra runner.

Classic ultra runner "throw your shirt to your crew" move mastered!

Classic ultra runner “throw your shirt to your crew” move mastered!

Tea is her mother’s daughter. She jumped into the Silverton 12 hour race last year and spent the day begging people to do laps with her (although it was a looped course, at seven, we felt she needed an adult at all times). After 11 hours she had run 20 miles. I was floored, and she decided to call it a day. I had never thought of her as my possible ultra runner, but she showed me. She is now on her brother’s heels at all times. This girl puts her head down and takes care of business. Complaining is rare for her except when daddy is there (he’s a sucker). She hears about others children’s records and makes goals for herself, that’s just her. This girl has the heart of an ultra runner, no question, and some pretty amazing natural talent.

Did I mention she also has sick style?

Did I mention she also has sick style?

Little Tay has pushed his limits to a half marathon in 24 hours. He is a super fast kid, but hasn’t yet found the drive to push beyond, put all other life aside whether it be playing with friends or just hanging out, and just run. Will he get there one day? Who knows really, and honestly it doesn’t matter at this point. My children will always be encouraged to follow their passion. Risk and reward will be a constant conversation between their father and I, and, as parents, we will decide what is best for them. Never allowing children to follow what they love deprives them the joy, bliss, and learning experience it provides. Blah blah blah they have plenty of time when they grow up to follow their passion, I get it, but why make them wait? Is tomorrow promised? Is the possibility of missing valuable life lessons that could help them grow into an even more amazing adult worth it? Whatever their passion is, weigh the risk, think about the reward in the experience, and support them.

Suit jacket when running? No problem! Clearly these children at unhappy with being "forced" to run.

Looking awesome while running? No problem! Clearly these children are unhappy with being “forced” to run.

Categories: Parenting, Running | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

My non-race report report.

It is funny this divorce thing. No matter how much Seth and I do not agree, no matter how strongly we feel we do not belong together, we still enjoy each other’s company. Yesterday morning, he spend the majority of time before school drop off grumpy with me. Not talking, not looking at, the whole 9 yards. Not an hour later, we were both chatting away. Sharing everything that had happened the day prior and having a good time. Seth stood in the walkway between out living room and kitchen and I sat on the kitchen table. Neither of us wanted him to leave. I wanted my friend to sit home with me all day and hang out and he wanted the same. Now don’t get me wrong, there are no false ideas on either of our part here. Sometimes you just want to spend the day with your friend, no worries no cares. Unfortunately, he had to go to work and I had children to take care of (not unfortunate) so we spent the day texting.

My friend!

My friend!

Over the weekend Seth and I wogged Aravaipa Running’s Crown King Scramble 50k together. Seth is a much better runner than I am, but decided to join my back of the pack party. Kimberly, Rachel, and I took the early start/drink and got the party started. Taking the late start and wrecking the first 10k of the course, Seth then stopped running and joined the lady party (smart man). We spent the rest of the time chatting, drinking (just the ladies) and all and all having a great time. For my first “real” 50k, I could not have imagined having any better of a time. Having Seth to place food in my hand and remind me how awesome I am was a huge help! I am not a person that signs up for races, I prefer to put my music in, put my head down, and slog some miles alone. Honestly, I may be a changed woman after all the fun I had!

Me saying "Hey guys, can't we just stay here?!"

Me saying “Hey guys, can’t we just stay here?!”

What is being reiterated to me more and more is that Seth’s and my friendship will mean everything to the kids as they grow. Us enjoying each other will keep all the drama out of things that normal divorced couples experience. I believe the kids getting to see their parents wanting to spend time together will alleviate any stress about what divorce means. As Seth and I are both entering into relationships with other people, this balance will become more interesting to handle. I know that when it comes to someone dragging my ass up a hill, currently I could not imagine anyone more fit for the job. Despites the occasional ups and downs I am thankful for my friendship.

He may be funny looking, but I kinda like him...

He may be funny looking, but I kinda like him…

Categories: Divorced Life, Running | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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