Burning River–The Crew Experience

This weekend I had a great experience serving as race crew for a couple of my dear friends. Sarah is an experienced ultra runner, my BRF  was doing his first point-to-point ultra race and second 50-miler. For races like this runners are able to have “drop bags” with supplies that will be taken to various aid stations so they can change things out or get fresh items, and at other stops they can have people meet them to provide that support and some encouragement. I had the privilege of being the support person meeting them at several points on the course to make sure they had what they needed. Quickly refilling water packs and bottles, touching up bug spray and sunscreen, swapping out shoes, helping with band-aids and anti-chafe balm, reloading snack supplies and getting them back on the trail as quickly as possible was my main mission–then once they were on their way I’d pack back up and drive to the next stop, picking up anything that they might need along the way.

I spent a lot of time waiting. Talking to other crew members. Made some new friends. It was great. I had a great time. My friends did well–BRF not only finished but managed a 5-minute PR on a tougher course. Sarah finished (her only real goal). And I…really can’t wait to start running distance again. This year has been good for me and I’m glad I stepped back to work on speed, but damn I miss running distance. I’m excited for my own 50-miler next year (yes, you read that right). I hope I can crew for my friends again at some point as well…I really like taking care of people and being part of the event. I love the atmosphere of trail events even though I’m not really a trail runner (at least not yet, never say never…).

The weekend was full of good friends, and food, excellent beer, laughs, hot tubs, hotel sleep overs, lots of driving and happy feelings. I came home exhausted but so so proud of my friends and glad to have played a small role in it. It definitely sparked some things in my mind and now I’m looking forward to the things on the horizon–next year is going to be interesting, that’s for sure. I am biting the bullet and doing a trail race myself for the first time in over a year (got suckered in by a sweet medal I couldn’t resist and my enabling friends).  I’m trying to reign in my newfound enthusiasm until I get through that 10k in a couple of weeks, but I’m definitely approaching it differently than I was when I signed up.

In the meantime, I need to shift my focus to the main event for the fall–don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of fall races lined up because I’m me, but my big goal race is the Columbus Half Marathon and I have another big goal. Time to buckle down and focus on getting that done.

More soon…

Liberty Mile Recap…

Last Friday was the Liberty Mile. The race I’ve been training for. The race that started this quest a year ago when my friend challenged me to beat his time. I’ve worked my ass off. I’ve lost sleep over this, cried over this, stressed over this…and it’s all over…sort of.

Did I hit my goal time? Nope. Not even close. But I did come in 59 seconds faster than last year, going sub-9 for my mile time. Another month and I think I could’ve done it, but time was not on my side. And I’m really–remarkably–okay with that. I’m really proud of my race and my time. I worked really hard to get there, I didn’t give up, I didn’t back off and I didn’t quit. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it’s mine and I earned it.

I never expected that wanting to get faster would be the emotional journey that it has been. I mean, it’s far from over. I’m just scratching the surface, but this has challenged everything I thought I knew about myself. I’ve been forced to confront my fears and insecurities and push through them–everything I want is on the other side, and the only way out is through. I’ve discovered that as much as I love a good long run with my friends, I also really love a hard workout at the track by myself (#ILikeAwfulThings). Somehow, in working so hard and focusing so much, I’ve learned to not take it so seriously–it’s just running. I’m not a professional athlete. This is FUN. I do it because I love it and I want to–I don’t HAVE to. That just because I’m not there YET doesn’t mean that I can’t or won’t get there.

I’m not one to give away my power. I did the work. I earned these accomplishments, they are mine. But I didn’t get here by myself. I would not have gone for this if my my BRF hadn’t challenged me. I have hated him for it at times when the emotional work was getting the best of me (as unexpected emotional work is wont to do), but ultimately I am so, so thankful that he pushed me. He’s also been one of my biggest cheerleaders through the process.  I wouldn’t be where I am without him. And my other big thank you is to my coach Sara for challenging me and helping me progress, for pacing me, for working with me and shifting my workouts when my crazy starts to take over, and for talking me through my frustrations and growing pains. I’m so excited for what we’ve already accomplished and can’t wait for the other big things on the horizon.

Me before the race
Near the finish…I was on my friend Lara’s heels for the entire race!
official time. I broke 9. I’m happy.

More soon, friends, it’s another big running weekend and my journey is far from over. We’re just getting started.