Copper Hills 4 Peak Challenge Race Report #TheRunningWriter #CH4Peak

Wow. Another race down, another set of life-long memories made.

This was the third time I’d run the Copper Hills 4 Peak Challenge. And I have to tell you, this race gets better with each year. The volunteers are amazing, encouraging and energetic. I roped my friend Kristin into joining me, and I had a blast running with her!

We started out on Sunrise mountain. It was pretty dark, so I was glad I had my Knuckle Light. The temps were perfect. Cold at the start is exactly where you want to be. Because, especially with running, you’ll warm up super fast. I was already shedding my arm warmers within the first few miles.

I was running this race for my friends Sandy and Glyn. They always participate in this event, either running or volunteering, but this year cancer stole that chance. While I was running, Sandy was fighting for her life–Glyn right by her side. As I’m typing this, it appears she is losing the battle and may very well find herself dancing at the feet of Jesus any time now. It was an honor to do this for them. They’ve selflessly given so much to their church, to their friends, both serving & volunteering without expectation. Those thoughts and memories kept me going when I started struggling.

The second peak was West Wing Mountain. That was a brutal and a very technical climb for sure. But I got to see a couple friends, Hans and Melissa. It was just the boost I needed.

The third peak was East Wing, and that felt more like bouldering. Huge steps (Nature’s Staircase) made it feel like I was doing squats for a mile or two.

Now starts the long run down, around and out to Calderwood Butte, the final peak. I was really struggling during this part. Mentally and physically. My left shin was actually getting pretty fatigued/crampy. It was weird.

What really helped was running into the Embrace Your Pace Crew! Seeing Courtney, Melissa, Terri, Jon, Addie, and Rebecca on the way off East/West Wing mountains was just the pep I needed. Their smiles and their energy renewed me.

By now I was about a solid three hours into things, so instead of a gel to supplement my Tailwind, I opted for a PBJ. I could only manage about three quarters of it, but the two mile jog (flat!) to Calderwood was what my body needed. I tackled Calderwood, happy to be on my former home turf (I lived near there and did that hill a lot the past two years). At the bottom, I was loading up on water and such, looking forward to the two-ish mile jog back to the start.

It was difficult, and I walked a couple times during those two miles, but when I wanted quit and just walk it all in, I remembered Sandy and Glyn. In the hospital, Sandy was hooked up to life sustaining IVs and such, so I pushed on, repeating her name in my mind. Remembering our years as friends.

Even though we hadn’t been in contact a ton the previous handful of years, she is a life-long friend for sure. One of those people who forever makes an impact on your life.

Then I saw my sweet hubby. Only a mile left now! I was struggling with fatigue, but seeing him, hearing his encouragements, renewed my strength!

So, I just told my arms to keep pumping, knowing my legs would follow, and I hunkered down. I didn’t finish super strong, but I finished with a solid PR of about 15 minutes or so. I don’t keep super track, but I think last year according to my watch, I was at 4:44 and I clicked stop this year on my watch at 4:29. So, I’ll take it. And I’ll take the beautiful third place trophy!!

Overall, what got me to and through this race were the following:

  1. Solid/consistent training: Having a coach and using training peaks play a HUGE part in my ability to consistently train without injury.
  2. Healthy eating habits: Daily healthy eating is key. I have a ways to go in this category since I really like my sweets and martinis, but sticking to high quality foods is key. I use the DQS (Diet Quality Score) app that really helps me think twice about eating low quality food.
  3. Calories during the event: I rely on Tailwind the most, but I also supplement it with GU gels and PBJ sandwiches (only I use honey instead of Jelly) during the race. I try and consume about 150-200 calories per hour. That seems to work for the most part for me and my body type.
  4. Trailsisters: And of course, surrounding myself by supportive people is key. I love training with my trail sisters for sure. They keep me accountable, motivated and excited to train. You know who you are, girls!

Well, that was a long-winded race report, but I am an author after all, right? LOL!!! Hopefully it might help someone who stumbles across this and is thinking of trying an endurance event.

Have fun, my friends!

Special thanks to New Balance for awesome Fresh Foam shoes and Nathans for my awesome hydration pack.

 

 

Epic Adventures #TrailSisters #TheRunningWriter

I can’t put into words how amazing this adventure was. It’s days later and I’m still thinking about it. These two amazing women are strong, beautiful, funny, quirky, inspiring, compassionate, loving, self-less, encouraging.

They just make me smile.

I was privileged to spend just under five and a half hours with them running down the Grand Canyon to the river and then back up. It’s not an easy feat as it included more than 6,500 feet of climbing (according to Strava). At points it was so steep we were all but crawling. It was invigorating and challenging.

We kept encouraging each other, our Woo-Hoos echoing off the canyon walls for all to hear. we met some amazing people along the way, too, who were so encouraging to us. A group of them were Wounded Veterans. That inspired me beyond belief.

Thank you, ladies, for joining me in this 20-mile adventure. Love you bunches!!

2,000 Reads Celebration

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR 2,000 READS!!!

To say thank you, I’ve got a little giveaway going on. Be sure to follow the entire time it’s live, because I’ll be adding opportunities to earn entries every couple of days! Thanks for all the support you’ve shown JADED RAGE!

I have had a BLAST getting to know my way around Wattpad and getting to meet all you awesome authors and readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#TheRunningWriter 31-mile adventure

Crown King was AMAZING. So very difficult, but so very rewarding. Below is a little video I made of the adventure. It’s quite obvious I’m not a great tech-type person, but just enough to make these little things for me to remember for always.

Below the video is my full race report in case you want more details….HUGE thanks to everyone who donated to my fundraiser. You guys just blew me away with your generosity, raising $2400.00!!

And I still have one more event to go for fundraising–> THE BOSTON MARATHON….in three short weeks.  🙂

https://youtu.be/Hnv14V1Rf5g.

RACE REPORT:

I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Cool 50-ish degrees at the start down at Lake Pleasant (LP).

I started out the morning like I normally do on big run days. My coffee drink (coffee, honey, cream), and then got in the zone by doing my daily devotion and daily quote (#TheRunningWriterQOTD).

And…worked to keep my heart rate/race arousal down. I can easily hit 100+ beats per minute getting psyched up…so I for sure have to focus on that.

We made our way to LP and got there a bit earlier than planned, so we camped out in the car for 10-15 minutes up at a private little trailhead (Pipeline). Just listened to music and chilled. Once we got down to the start, Coach Charlie and I started seeing people we knew, and chatted it up a bit. Then I found my trailsisters, Tracy, Kristien, and Traci.

We touched base, encouraged each other, then got in line for the start. I took a GU gel about 10 minutes before the start and then got going. Once we started, I clicked on a timer that would go off every hour from that point forward.

I do that so when it goes off, I can think back, “Did I have about 150 or so calories that past hour?” And if I didn’t, I would either take a gel or take some serious gulps of Tailwind just so I stayed on course.

Over time and training, I learned that about 150-200 calories per hour works for me. Mostly from Tailwind (TW) and then a GU or PBJ along the way to enhance that.

I usually take a PBJ sandwich at about 2 hours and 20 or so minutes into the run. And that’s enough calories for about a full hour or so. Just sipping water for a little while after that. During this race, I took it at about 2 hours 45 minutes.

Now, I don’t RACE these races. I run them to enjoy them, so I take my time at each aid station, some more than others. The first one was about 8.5 miles in, so I didn’t stop too long other than to refill my TW and water bottles. I carried 2-16 ounce collapsable bottles in my pack versus a bladder to keep the water weight I was carrying down. I just had to be sure to fill up each aid station.

The half-way mark: Ft. Misery was an awesome stop. Loved that one the most. They had energy, dogs greeting us, drinks, and encouragement. I did take some ginger ale soda stuff at each stop, and that was nice. 🙂

The fun REALLY started after that. The climbing was insane:

Yeah….it was NO JOKE!

So, I did a lot of walking, hiking, shuffling, and tons of picture/video taking. The weather was starting to cool down, too, which was awesome. I think the heat affects me pretty significantly as demonstrated by my last ultra (October 2017) with my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish.)

I was determined to finish this one. Mostly for myself, but also for all the donors who helped me raise so much money for St. Jude in the name of The Mary Sue Seymour Foundation who is sponsoring me to run The Boston Marathon next month!

Anyway. I was trucking along, feeling quite tired. Funny thing…my jaw muscles started cramping up a bit. I must have been clamping my jaw!

That’s new.

But hey, I went with it. Really focused on relaxing my jaw. Rubbed the muscles a little, and kept on trucking.

My left hip (my problem child for sure) started acting up pretty good, so at about 4.5 or 5 hours into the run, I took ONE Advil. I didn’t want to chance any upset stomach, so I took it when I ate a PBJ and only took one.

It took the edge off. Still hurt, but I knew I wasn’t damaging anything. It was just hurting after so long on my feet.

And…I just looked down at the shoe that had all the names of my donors and kept on trucking. You were a great inspiration to me. And, I had a kicking playlist thanks to everyone who suggested songs to me via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!!!

Once I made it to that last aid station way up at 29 or so miles, it was all downhill. And believe it or not, my legs felt good enough to run down the hills. I thought for sure I’d be crawling down since they were tired and sore. But…my body had other plans.

Might have been the Advil and PBJ I’d had within the past couple hours, and then the Tailwind and Gel since then, but I had the energy, so I went with it.

It was such a rush.

Biggest surprise though….MY DAD! He was about 1/4 of a mile from the finish, cheering me on. I had NO IDEA! Total surprise. I thought I was hallucinating, actually. But then I heard, “HEY KID!”

I knew it was him.

He’s my hero. He’s run ultras before, Boston Marathon, climbed mountains….totally my inspiration. So…I had the two more important men in my life there to support me at my event:  My husband and my dad.

Talk about blessed.

So….as you can see by the video, there’s quick clip of me at the finish. I almost didn’t see Charlie, but he got me.

I was so happy to be finished. And I got to see Traci, Tracy, and Kristin, too. And they had amazing races, which made all our training together feel that much more special.

Overall, most important things for me….

  1. Doing the training that my coach puts on my calendar. You put the time in, trust your coach, and you’ll do just fine!
  2. Nutrition: running that first half of the 50k wisely so you don’t have a horrible second half…way important. Be smart about it and do what you need to do to remind yourself what and when to eat. The hourly alarm going off, HUGE for me. I get race stupid and forget EVERYTHING…so I find a method to help me prevent mistakes.
  3. I WANT TO QUIT:  Did the race get hard? Yep. Did I want to quit? Yep. So what made me keep going? Lots of things. It’s not unusual to get those feelings of wanting to quit. The pain is so much. Why am I doing this? I can’t finish. I suck. All those things run through my mind. I just don’t give into them.I fight back with positive self talk, telling myself I’ve trained for this. I’ve done the miles. I’m strong. It’s okay it hurts. Embrace the pain. It’s making me strong. I’m doing this for a cause. I’m healthy. Sometimes I just cranked up the tunes. Especially when Carrie Underwood’s Champion came on. And Overcomer (Mandisa). It’s amazing the timing of those songs. I’ve got about six to seven hours of music on, and when the hills got bad, three different times, inspiring songs came on. I couldn’t believe it. But I cranked it up and jammed up those hills. Slow…but sure.I’d stop and take pictures when I was feeling like I wanted to quit. Seeing the views, taking a breath, it put it all back into perspective. Gave me strength. I thought of my father in law I recently (and very unexpectedly) lost. The St. Jude peeps we were raising money for. Mary Sue. All those things inspired me. Just got to find your way to push through the pain.
  4. Have fun:  I’m not a person who RACES these, as I mentioned earlier, so another top thing for me is having fun. Encouraging people along the way. Saying hi. Taking pictures. And if we’re able to talk…hearing stories of the people I’m running with. If we’re working too hard to talk, that’s fine, too, just running side by side a bit is awesome for me. Love it. Love seeing people out, doing healthy things. And crazy things. It’s nice knowing I’m not the only crazy chick out there! LOL!

So, whether you’re doing crazy huge long events like this, or just getting off the couch to start walking everyday, it’s all good. Do it. Enjoy it. Embrace it!

Thanks for joining me on this crazy journey. Stay tuned for more as I run the Boston Marathon on Monday April 16th! Doing it in Mary Sue’s name again. Let’s see if we can’t raise that last $400 to hit our $3,000.00 goal!!

Special thanks to:
Coach Charlie- Cadence Performance Coaching
Tailwind Nutrition
Nathans
New Balance
Tortoise and Hare Sports
Gu Energy Gels
Aravaipa Running

You guys make it all possible!!