Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beyond Limits 50 miler...

Where there are no Boundaries?

On March 15th I was privileged to sign in for a 50 mile run at Pathfinder Ranch located in the San Jacinto Mountains here in Southern California little did I know I was about to meet some VERY inspirational and exceptional Ultra Peeps!
Race Directors Stephanie Kundin and Ken Rubeli awarding my 50 mile trophy!

Going Beyond your Limits seemed  very apt for the whole weekend, I certainly felt humbled running with such a varied athletic field, no matter the shape or size, the age, the distance, the experience all the runners that showed up at Pathfinder Ranch were treated to a one of a kind weekend of celebration of life and running there was distances for every one from a marathon, to a 50km, 50 miler 24 hour run and the grand daddy of them all a 100 miler.

But here was the thing instead of an out and back course the organizers plotted out a running loop of nearly 2 miles, now that can be a good thing and a bad thing. First it attracts a lot of new Ultra runners to the sport gives confidence while knowing every lap you will see a friendly race and an aid station the flip side is that it is easy to quit when you are tired or cold as you pass the start finish line 23 times for the 50 miler and 56 times for the 100 miler!!!
Me before the start of the event

The Friday night we had the option of staying in a dorm on site and reminded me of my camping days! There was a pasta dinner organized and Jordan Romero (who climber Everest when he was 13 was the Guest Speaker) He spoke about the 7 Summits and finding Your Everest! He was running the marathon with his mom that would be his new Everest !

Here I am with Colleen and Paul on the Canoe lake

Race day I was a little tired and joined all the other runners at the cafeteria my mistake I am almost sure was eating too much oatmeal but it tasted comforting and was a little chilly in the early hours of the morning. I had had a hard time sleeping as we were slightly at altitude and I had cotton mouth and headache.
Here I am with Jordan Romero before he made his presentation on finding YOUR Everest

After a group shot and national anthem we all set off for the loop formatted event, my personal race started out well for the first 2 miles then my stomach started not want to go into graphic details but I will share I spent 6 sessions of bathroom visits I felt awful! But I had the wisdom to keep up on my Endurolytes  and take in calories via my perpetuem, by mile 18 my stomach problems finally stopped. I sprayed my legs and feet with Kool n Fit at mile 20 and felt fantastic!I had fun running in circles as you soon could interact with other runners whether passing or being passed it was super fun to make new friends and check out the farm yard animals which were acting as cheer leaders that weekend Pigs, Turkeys, Goats and horses.... and if boredom set in there was the chance to go canoeing or even rock climbing!!! I finished the 50 mile run totally elated in a time of 9 hours and 21 minutes not bad considering all things...

At 6 am in the morning the day was just beginning

After 2 hours rest I went to Volunteer at Stephs Kitchen aka the aid station at the start and finish line, it is a whole other game as the 24 hour runners and 100 mile runners kept running through the night ! The temperature dropped to 32 degrees! And the runners kept on passing the aid station, some would stop and grab hot home made lentil soup or cookies, others stayed with Hammer Perpetuem, or mashed potatoes, no matter what your chosen poison Stephanie the co=race director tried to fulfill your request, at one point I was flipping pancakes and making Chicken broth while we braved the cold temperatures the early hours of the morning brought...

Beyond Limits I met a lot of runners that weekend, some through a smile some I shared a loop with others I comforted at the aid station in the early hours,
Some were finding their own personal Everests....

Stephanie Deveau

Meet Stephanie Deveau who was diagnosed with MS a few years ago,,,,why does she run?? Maybe because today she can and tomorrow she may not be able to.....her goal was to do the 50 miler in 12 hours, but the heat took a beating on her MS condition, but she went above and beyond her limits and eventually finished the 50 mile run in the early hours of the morning...inspirational YES

Shane James and his girl Kati on the left
All the way from Australia was Shane James his story of his battle with Moersch/Woltman Condition was amazing better known as stiff person syndrome and destined to be on pills and walking cane Shane could not accept those terms and instead of allowing the illness to consume progressive muscle rigidity and periodic body spasms he began to run through the pain and ran to his health ...4 years later he is running hundred milers with a smile replacing his cane and runs a Tasmanian Based Able sports program for handicapped athletes! He also found his Everest....he placed in the 100 miler and earned a nice age group award ...

Paul Halliday
My friend Paul has been chasing his Ultra 100 mile dream for 5 years, he has never given up, he has endured blisters, lost toe nails, never making that ultimate 100 mile mark, but Beyond Limits this guy pulled out every hat trick known, he never quit he endured the cold, upset stomach and nausea, the stars were aligned and I was so proud of Paul he finished the 100 milers...he found his Everest in 30 plus hours at Pathfinder Ranch!

Stephanie co- Race Director
And then there was Stephanie, I arrived to Big BLU a stranger but after running 50 miles and hanging at the aid station for 9 hours we became friends, oh my talk about going beyond your limits this woman is a true trooper, in 2011 Stephanie was doing dialysis 15 hours a week, she had type one diabetes for 22 years and was heading towards Renal Kidney failure, but her passion was running, and while volunteering at a race aptly named Labor of Love for her friend Ken a transplant became available at mile 49 Ken quit his race to grab his then friend and head to the airport... the tubes and lines were replaced with a new appreciation of her healthy organs a pancreas and Kidney to be exact... the rest is history in 2012 Stephanie and Ken became more than just friends, they both love to run and they founded the Company Beyond Limits Ultra,  they have a special place in the ultra community that I am certain ! Stephanie is a survivor and a fighter, and these are just a few of the Ultra Peeps I ran into this past weekend....

My min pin Hammer admires my race bling and Mr Blei BU
Beyond Limits Mascot is a frog, not just any old frog, his name is Mr Blei BLU, and just like every one else he has a story, the ultra runners were bound by determination, when they gave all they had they felt In human.....Unstoppable, there were many more stories but the message is simple never judge someone by their appearance, just as a frog may seem lazy they are quite the athlete able to jump 50 times their length in perspective a human would have to jump the length of a football field.

I just loved the whole race weekend I wish I could mention all the inspirational peeps I met  and may be I will a little later...

Thanks to Polar USA and Hammer Nutrition for supporting the event, and gratitude to my sponsors Rudy Project, Brooks running shoes, Kool n Fit spray, Ocean Potion sun care and my swiftwick socks.

Until the next time...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Running Happy reasons to run

Hammer looking over Cogswell Dam

Running is not complicated you simply put one foot in front of the other, the more you run the more you see improvement.
 We all run for different reasons; I run as it makes me feel happy, I run as I love running to build bone mass, I run as I love spending time out doors.......
BUT I LOVE running with my Mini Pin Hammer! He makes me laugh and I swell with pride when we pass other runners or joggers and they exclaim oh my how adorable!
Hammer with his running buddies on a 17 mile run
Run Happy Be Happy, I learn a lot from running with Hammer, he stops to sniff the air, the whiff of a scent can have him going crazy!, when he wants to run fast he engages his hip flexors and looks like a Black Panther as he is an inquisitive little dog and a squirrel will have him in a full gallop with me in full stride at the other end of the leash! When he is thirsty he stops and looks up time for some fuel! And when he is tired and done he stops!
Hammer is a cool little runner, he runs happy, he eats, he sleeps and gives unconditional love.

Money makes the World go round?

Have been having a difficult time lately and as with most problems in the World money would seem to be the issue at large.

BUT I must also remember what a great life adventure I have had and am having! 

I am healthy and happy!

If I cannot sign up in advance for the races which sell out in a few days/hours then I must look for races that are off the beaten track ! I still enjoy my training and my training buddies!

Happiness is seeing my Grand daughter smile and hearing her laugh, or running with my Mini Pin Hammer. Trying to Mountain Bike with Al my husband! Racing is a perk but not the end of the World!

Tis more important not to sweat the small things in life! 
Hammer and Abbey enjoy some time together.