Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My race day prayer: "I am ready for all"

Before Rocky Raccoon 100, I copied out this prayer by Charles de Foucauld into my journal:

Father, I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me what You will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all.
I accept all.

Let only Your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart.
For I love you, Lord, and so need to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve and with boundless confidence,
For you are my Father.

During the race, I couldn't remember all of the prayer, but I repeated a few lines over and over: "God, I abandon myself into your hands with boundless confidence, for you are my Father."

To me, this meant that I would run with abandonment, not holding so much in reserve like I always do in ultras, afraid that I'll run out of steam.  It meant that I didn't need to be nervous about the outcome of the race, because whatever happened, it was in God's hands -- and He would take care of me.  

Just saying this to myself and committing to this attitude was helpful to me in the race.  But this prayer certainly isn't just for running.  I don't know much about St. Charles de Foucauld, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't an ultramarathoner.  This prayer and this attitude of abandonment and gratitude -- this commitment to trusting God -- is something I can recommit to every day.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rocky Raccoon Highlights 2016

This was my 3rd time doing the Rocky Raccoon 100M.  Some people dislike the race, because it consists of 5 loops.  I guess compared to the Habanero 100, which is 14 loops, five really doesn't seem all that bad.  It's a fun course, with a good amount of root-dodging and rolling hills.  Plus, I like seeing the tall pine trees, which is such a different landscape than what we're used to in San Antonio.  I hope to keep running Rocky in years to come and keep learning how to do a better job there.

I suck at race reports, because I can barely think straight during a race, let alone remember all the details.  So here are just a few notable highlights:

Biggest Mistake
Probably my biggest mistake of the race was in my shoe selection.  I started the race in my Altra Lone Peaks, which were great for the first 40 miles, but I've been having calf pain, and my calves and feet were bothering me.

So at mile 40, I changed into my Brooks Cascadia 10s -- even though I've never worn that model of shoe before.  (I loved my Cascadia 9s, but they have huge holes in them now.)  I know what you're thinking: That's the #1 rule, not to try anything new on race day.  Well,
And yeah, my feet hurt a lot right now.  What's your point?

Best Use of Movie Quote
-Matt Zmolek, upon running into me on his way to a smoking fast finish time.  I was so overcome by delighted surprise that I couldn't think of a good comeback, except to shout out a quote from Ace Ventura about 20 miles later when I ran into him again.

Race Tunes 
Best pump-up song on my iPod: Get Back, Ludacris
Best line from a song on my iPod: "And that's about the time that b**** hung up on me." What's My Age Again, Blink-182
Saddest moment: When my iPod died midway through loop 4

This is the first trail/ultra race I've done where I haven't gone to the bathroom in the bushes!  I actually used the fancy bathrooms by the Nature Center aid station and the port-a-potty before the Park Road Aid Station.  Sad fact: the port-o-potty was out of toilet paper, so I used some I found on the floor. . . . don't judge me!

Ultra Celebrities
It was fun seeing Nicole, Sabrina, Ian, Gunhild, and Gordy.  I can now add Gordy Ansleigh to the short list of celebrities that have touched me.  I guess if I could choose celebrities I'd want to touch, this list might look a little different. . . .
True story: Jay touched my hand while musing, "I gotta go to the bathroom," clearly stoned out of his mind.

Father of ultrarunning
Lowest Point
The first 5 miles of the race were really tough, because my calves were killing me, especially my left calf, and my left foot started going numb -- maybe because the inflammation in my calf was blocking the blood flow to my foot?  I don't know, but fortunately a combination of acetaminophen and walking it out eventually loosened it up.  

The next 80 miles were great; I really pushed the pace, not wanting to hold anything back.  By mile 85, though, this strategy left me feeling really depleted and in pain.  My head felt like it was drifting away, and my body started swerving serpentine-like over the trail.  Around mile 95, Edward passed me and I couldn't keep up with him, although I would have loved to run it in with him.  I eventually stuffed some more calories in my mouth, and I was able to pick up my pace slightly.  I'm guessing I got lackadaisical with calorie intake on that last loop, and that's what caused the bonk.  I'm getting better at managing nutrition during these races, but it is so easy to lose track of intake when I get tired late in a race.  When it gets away from me, it seems to spiral downward pretty quickly, and it's so hard to get back.  Clearly this is an area I still need to work on!

What worked well

  • Trail Toes tape -- I didn't use Vasoline at all, which is my usual protocol.  This time I just pre-taped areas that usually chafe.  A couple times during the race I also applied Trail Toes, but the tape pretty much warded off the bad chafing I usually get.
  • Chocolate muffin from Whole Foods -- Yep, this might be my breakfast of choice for all future races.
  • Taking a gulp of Pedialyte between loops.  What are electrolytes?  Who knows.  But they sound good to have.  
I'm so blessed to have the Rockhoppers and Team TROT as my Texas ultrarunning families, and to have their support and encouragement!  Rockhopper Central is a home away from home!