40 Days – Ride the Wind 50 Miler/Western States Training Camp/Other Great Adventures!

There are moments in life when you step back, look at everything, and realize that things are absolutely perfect.  They are typically the simple moments.  I have learned to fear them.  When that realization hits me,  it means that everything is about to change.  It’s part of how the world operates.  We are constantly changing and moving forward.  People enter your life and then leave, sometimes abruptly and with no explanation. There are situations or people that you must walk away from too - sometimes abruptly and with no explanation.     Regardless, the only consistency in life is change.  Your choices are to get stuck in a rut where you are mourning your losses, or to jump on and enjoy the ride, knowing that the loss of one important thing always marks the entrance of another.

My life has been filled with adventure, loss, and the entrance of many, many great things.  It all began over a month ago when I left on a road trip, starting with my 50 mile qualifier for the Angeles Crest 100, and ending with Western States Training Camp – 2 days of running 50 miles with 3 of my favorite people in the world!

6-23 RideI arrived in Las Vegas with my dad the day before the Ride the Wind 50 miler.  My nerves set in, knowing that I needed a successful race, not just for my qualifier, but for my head, and to realize that my training was working.  My friends June and David has suggested this event and I’d come to visit them a few weeks before to do some running on the course.  That morning, I got up, calm, focused and ready.  I walked down to my car and low and behold, I had a completely flat tire!  Fortunately my friend Erich had flown in from Texas for this race the night before and he quickly jumped in his car and came to pick us up.  Hurdle #1 of the day – completed!

The race was small but perfect.  It was obvious that Jimmy, the race director, did this for the pure love of the sport and I was happy to be there supporting his event. June was running the 100 miler and David would be crewing and volunteering.  We took off and I realized that this would be more challenging than I originally anticipated.  It was technical, and although the elevation change was not significant based on what I had been training on, it was still fairly substantial for the desert.  The heat greeted us quickly and high winds set in as soon as temperatures dropped.  I finished in the dark that night, but somehow placed 2nd female, 4th overall!  Again, it was a small race, but it was exactly the confidence boost that I needed.  Most importantly, I was officially qualified for the AC100!

6-23 WS Training CampThe next week was spent pressing the ‘reset’ button in my life.  I spent several days in Vegas before taking off for the Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon, and then heading home.  The following weekend, Dawn, Mark and I jumped into the car and headed up to Northern California, where we would meet David Adams and spend 2 full days running along the Western States course.

I was full of excitement and nerves when we arrived in Auburn.  I had experienced these trails a few times but I couldn’t wait to show them to my friends.  I kept thinking that it was too bad I was slower then they were so that we couldn’t all run together.  We made a game plan before taking off as to where we would meet after we all finished.

We took off from Robinson Flat early Saturday morning and sure enough, the threesome was off ahead of me quickly.  I settled into my own pace and figured I would not see them again until our 32 mile run was complete.  Before I knew it, Michelle Barton, a highly talented So Cal runner had caught up to me (she had been running with Gordy for a few beginning miles) and the two of us took off running together to the first aid station.  Suddenly, I saw David, Mark and Dawn, who had just arrived.  To my surprise, the 4 of us ended up running together from there on out.  I am sure there were moments that we all held back for each other in different ways, but somehow our paces fell right into one and we were all laughing and enjoying the sights, and jumping into all the lakes we could find, having an absolute blast!  I will never forget those two days.  My confidence was high, my training was going well.  The AC100 was starting to feel like a reality.

6-23 WS Training Camp 2Upon my return I spent every moment possible on the Angeles Crest course.  Every run I’d feel a little more confident, and a little more terrified at the same time.  Some days I ran strong, other days I would have issues. I accepted that as part of the process, and kept pressing on.

I can say with certainty that in 40 days, when I line up to the start line of that race, I will have done everything I possibly could have to be ready.  I have made many sacrifices this year to honor it with my very best.  It may ‘just’ be a race but to me it is so much more.  Through my commitment to this event I have learned a lot about myself.  I’ve learned my value and I’ve learned when you are chasing your purpose, the right people fall into your life.  You do not have to chase them.  That is, of course, unless they are pacing you across the finish line of your goal race!

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