Monday, September 12, 2011

Where Do I Sign Up?

I am a “good” tired. The kind of tired where you feel like you did something.

The mountain getaway with the girls was outstanding, but suffice it to say I ate and drank enough crap to cripple me for a few days. I also slept for only five hours, which is 4 hours short of my usual restful night’s sleep. Yes, you read that right. This ageing girl of 44 needs about NINE hours. Proud of that.

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Erika, Julie & myself. I am doing my best to pretend my arm is in a sling. The picture is tilted because I took a timer shot from the hood of my car and that never goes well.

We went out to breakfast Sunday morning. I was on my fourth cup of coffee which probably led me to look/feel like shit warmed over. Got any sandals to go with those crow’s feet?

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We also had a rousing discussion about the word “taint” because neither friend knew what it was. I am so disappointed in my friends. Julie said, “Yes, I know what that is! I have a friend named Tate!”

If you don’t know what it is, click HERE. It’s really not gross, just another body part. If you are a cyclist, you might use it in everyday conversation, as in “My taint is a bit sore from that 150 mile ride I took this weekend.”

Then the waitress brought our food and it was a gob of goodness.

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With more butter than should be allowed, except if you are Paula Deene (yes, that is butter on the fork).

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I sarcastically asked for more butter (my idea of a joke, not funny) but the waitress did not get the joke and brought me this. It may look like ice cream, but it is BUTTER. I ate it with a spoon.

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I got home about 1:00 p.m. so that I could join my friend, Dana, who was running the American Heroes ultra marathon right here in little Longmont. Basically it is a one mile loop that you do as many times as you can in 9 hours and 11 minutes, to commemorate 9/11 (or you can run 5K up to marathon distances). The race started at 8:46 a.m. when the first tower was struck. My goal was to pace Dana for 11 miles. His goal was to run about 40 miles.

Dana is 54 years old and has done countless ultras and marathons over his 40 years of running. He has done the Leadville 100 many times as well as Western States. He has not, however, done an ultra in seven years and decided to do this one on last minute whim.

I invited myself to join Dana to support him and to learn what it felt like to be part of the ultra experience. I promised not to talk about taints.

I found Dana when he was about 27 miles into his run and had been out there for close to five hours. The race was very mellow with only 10 or 15 ultra runners out there. You actually run through the finish on every lap. This is me at mile one and Dana at mile 28. YES! I did a mile and FAR exceeded my goal of .1 mile.

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We plodded along. The funny thing is, this was the first time I had ever met Dana in person. He reached out to me when he found the blog and an article written about me in the local paper. He says he reads the blog because of how much I love to run and how much passion I have for it. He says I remind him of himself when he was younger. Except I don’t run with my shirt off, well not usually.

Dana been a real mentor to me over the past year. He has been running for so long that he has an amazing perspective on how to find balance while leading a life focused on running. He reminds me to pull back and to remember that I have YEARS ahead of me to run and I do not have to fit a lifetime into a short span of time. Basically, he helps to make me less MANIC about my running.

We continued along, talking, getting to know one another. I could tell the the utlra environment was so much more laid back and casual than a marathon environment. I have to say I loved it. Every lap, we’d stop and get water, have some cookies and chips and carry on our way. 

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Sometimes we’d run, sometimes we’d stop to walk. It was HOT at about 85 degrees:

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While it may be not be popular to walk during marathons, it is VERY expected and necessary to walk during ultras. As Dana explained, the ultra experience is about “survival” and about moving forward. That is it.

During my last mile, Dana was approaching 40 miles. His legs were cramping badly and he was in survival mode. His wife brought him a Frappuccino and this seemed to help. When I left him he had about an hour left and later found out he made it to 40.95 miles!

I was convinced, inspired, motivated. I want to do this. At one point Dana said, “I ask myself why I do this. I don’t know. All I know is that tomorrow I will know something new about myself I did not know today when I started this. It is about self discovery.” Bingo.

Later he looked at me and thanked me for being there. For giving him a boost. But, really the pleasure was all mine. It moves me beyond words to witness people pushing beyond their limits. People who voluntarily make themselves uncomfortable in order to dig deep and to grow. It was a privilege.

Where do I sign up?

SUAR

51 comments:

  1. Thank you for the comment "While it may be not be popular to walk during marathons, it is VERY expected and necessary to walk during ultras. As Dana explained, the ultra experience is about “survival” and about moving forward. That is it."

    A very good friend, and long-time running buddy of mine did a 50-miler on her 50th birthday, and was beating herself up for walking the occasional mile or two. I just kept telling her that every ultra-runner walks sometimes. It's all about "perpetual forward motion" (even if that motion is slow). I'm going to send her this link now!

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  2. My husband's main goal for next year is Leadville. He did a 30 mile run on his birthday this year. He's very determined to do it.

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  3. Wow. That's all I can say - what an inspiring post.

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  4. what a cool event - and kudos for getting out there and pushing him for those 11 miles! 40 miles of 1-mile loops has got to be tough, I am sure he was beyond stoked to have you there.

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  5. I'll run an ultra with you any time Beth...There are lots of 50Ks (or longer) in Oregon if you're so inclined.

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  6. Glad to see the use of the word 'taint' 2,000 miles away. I use it, and it's counterpart, the 'geesh' (not sure where that one came from during college).

    I am running my first ultra (50k) in 2 weeks and another (40M) Oct. 15. I cannot wait for this!

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  7. This is a great article.

    I just ran the Blue Ridge Relay this weekend. I did it last year a few weeks before my first marathon. Both felt amazing accomplishments BUT...I want to do an ultra. Thats the goal for next year..I found a 30 mile trail ultra I might do to get started but I feel like I need to connect with an ultra community to figure out the logistics of this..as you said it is different from running a marathon. I'd be thrilled if you decided to do one too and I could be a virtual training partner. I have been inspired by you for the past year that I have been reading your blog and have learnt so much.

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  8. DANA IS INCREDIBLE!! Way to go!! i want to do something like that. He is right....it is all about moving forward:) Glad you had such a fun time with your girls and I want that bfast right now:)

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  9. That is incredible and awesome.

    The butter on the other hand no so much.

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  10. timed events are awesome! We have one here in Des Moines that I have wanted to do for the last couple of years but it just hasn't worked out. Maybe next year.... There is a 6, 12, and 24 hour to choose from and you just go around Grays Lake as many times as you can in the time you signed up for. Very mellow :) Sounds good to me!

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  11. Dana is amazing! Another question - where did you get that fabulous breakfast? I need some when I come out to CO next month!

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  12. If you read BikeSnobNYC you know all about taints (and many other things).

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  13. I'm a Dana fan.

    Does he have a shirt.

    Loved this post.
    Love the HR monitor too.

    HOLY. FREAKING. Butter.
    YUM.

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  14. Anonymous: if you are anywhere near Frisco, CO (near Breck) there is a small restaurant called the Butterhorn on the main street. Amazing!

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  15. Hmmmm, how is it that I did not see any hot tub pictures this time around? I guess you ladies are getting conservative in your old age. Oh yeah, I said it!

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  16. Damn...I might have to think about that sometime in the future. Nice post!

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  17. This was so moving! I love Dana. He is a good man to know with a great perspective. The way you met is pretty neat too.

    Your time with the girls always looks like so much fun. Seriously, that butter! Holy cow. It does look like ice cream but the fact that it's butter almost made me hurl.

    Beth, I may be joining the pussy posse but I am praying that I don't have to. I hurt myself yesterday. I pushed through pain (dumb dumb!) and now I can hardly work. My marathon is just 26 days away...this can't be happening! Ahhh... I am not a good water runner like you, I will not survive. (dramatic?)

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  18. and by hardly work, I meant WALK. But I am also hardly working, clearly, as I read your blog at work.

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  19. You easily write one of the best blogs out there, Beth!

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  20. How can your two lady friends, whom I am assuming have given birth to children, not know what a taint is?

    I think you look very pretty in your pictures.

    I liked Dana's quote you included at the end of the post. Ultra runners always seem so wise and grounded.

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  21. You don't sign up. Your mother does that. It's up to you to show up, on the day, every day, ready to go.

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  22. That's a great post. Ypu have great friends and great running environments. It must be a real pleasure being you.

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  23. Beth, wow, thank you for writing such a fantastic article and thanks for all of your kind words.

    It was a privilege to have you there generously giving your time to help me. I'm sure that was the slowest 11 miles you've ever covered.

    One of the things I really didn't expect was all of the people that came out to support me and route me on. I had a friend from work come to see me at the beginning of the run followed by an ultra runner friend who ran 6 miles miles with me, followed by you, then my wife and daughter with the life saving Frappacino.

    It all truly adds to make for a very special day. Beth you are right, we will never look at the trail around Roger's Grove in the same way.

    Thank you for adding to a very rich experience for me.

    Dana

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  24. Great post - ultra-running has long intrigued me as well. I do like long runs much more than speedwork - and walking isn't seen as a sin...sign me up as well!!

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  25. that really is a nice comment about walking during ultras. it's a great metaphor for life!

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  26. That photo of you and him on that loop going under the finish line cracks me up.

    Congrats to your friend Dana, such an inspiration! I was actually thinking about the people who inspire me just yesterday. I was feeling all emotional and girly while I watching the 9-11 memorials and started thinking about everyone in my life that inspired me in some way.

    I'm sure we'll see you in some ultras someday. Good for you!

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  27. Thanks for the inspiring post! And huge congratulations to your friend Dana. I toyed with the idea of a 50K trail run this fall and got sidelined by plantar fasciitis. I'm back to running and this post has me inspired to start training for next year!

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  28. Brought to tears by this. Incredible. What a great memory.

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  29. Dana is truly inspirational. Courageous. Tenacious. Determined.

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  30. Taint your balls nor your ass. TWSS. there is this baseball player for Texas named "Tant" and I can't help but call him "taint"!

    I'm jealous of your vicarious ultra experience...I don't think I can fathom the mindset those runners must have. UNREAL.

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  31. Great quote from your friend Dana.

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  32. Your girls weekends always look so fabulous!

    Taint is a new one on me. :)

    I'm in awe of those of you that can put in those kind of miles.

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  33. I think I'd like to do that one sometime, too. If they'd cool the temps down, me and heat don't mix so well together. You have such a huge, warm heart!!
    xo

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  34. I am falling in love with SUAR more and more every day. Dana's quote about self-discovery just summed up my weekend race. AMEN brotha!!

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  35. Save the butter, you food looks amazing... Sounds like another great day for a run!

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  36. I needed to read this tonight! I kept wondering why I was killing myself in the gym tonight, and I realize that you hit the nail on the head!

    Sarah

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  37. M-O-T-I-V-A-T-I-O-N!!!!

    I needed to read about Dana this morning..thanks!

    (Oh yea, and your breakfast looked awesome!)

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  38. Ultra & Trail running often leads to meeting the best kind of people/runners! They remind you what the sport is really about - enjoying the adventure, leaning what you're capable of and letting go of that Type A pace/distance/training maniac that so easily develops!

    I can't even imagine the (what-I-consider) torture of running a ON MILE loop that many times!! Heroes, and inspirations - no doubt.

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  39. I knew it. I just knew it. You love it. You will do it and can I pace you when you are walking. I love you.

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  40. Marathon girl turns Triathlete and now the Ultra Runner. You can do it all! OH! Lets not forget a good mom and wife. Amazing!
    I can't wait to read the recap of your first Ultra. When do you think? 6 mos? A year from now?

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  41. Thank you Beth everyday!!! ....and thank you Dana for knowing I have to dig deeper today, tomorrow & the day after that.

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  42. Great post and Dana summed it up right! I too love to see people pushes and challenging themselves.

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  43. A bowl. Of butter. Wow. I do love me some butter, but that's pushing it.

    Dana sounds like a very cool guy. I've been trying to keep a long-term perspective lately, as I haven't been running due to injury. But I'd rather be a runner rehabbing her IT band than a former runner, ya know?

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