Dalmacija Ultra Trail 53km: DNF

Dalmacija Ultra Trail: 53km Sea Dut

Omis, Croatia

I think everyone is a little broken.

Long distance running is a confrontation with yourself.

It can pull you out of the dark recesses of your mind.

You against you.

You can learn who you are when you are in a relentless forward pain.

Find your strength.

Find strength in the mountains, on the trails, in the dirt.

I earned my first DNF. I have been trying to figure out exactly why since it happened. I made it 45km before I had to have my family pick me up. I started to experience nausea around 15km. I quickly realized it was going to be much harder race than I had planned with this added challenge. I tried to change the course, knowing that it would most likely be a fruitless effort, by taking extra electrolytes, slowing my pace, taking in a little extra fluids. It didn’t relent, but only worsened as I continued to complete 45km, 8 km shy of finishing.

Each time I drank water or consumed food, it wouldn’t stay down, meaning I had no fuel in my body. It was awful. I have heard of this happening to runners, but I have mostly avoided this in my running life. It did happen once before but the race was only 25km and I was able to push through. This, well, this was a different beast. I pushed much farther than I should have, I know that. But, I am rather okay with myself that I was able to make it the distance I did instead of when I originally thought I would have to drop out at 20 something kilometer. I kept going, found strength, lost strength, and could not regain it again. When accepting that I wouldn’t finish, I broke down and cried, thinking I was failing in the face of adversity when in reality, there are some things that one can’t fight based on mental fortitude alone. I know many well-intentioned people expected me to feel like a failure, and I did at first, but looking back on it, I ran 45km on nearly no calories or water in the hot, hot sun. How the ef did I do that? I have no idea.

This is how I looked, which is to say pale and sick:

Like I mentioned earlier, I been spending the last few days trying to figure out exactly what went wrong, because I NEVER want to go through that again.

So, here are my thoughts:

  1. I failed to fuel properly. I have been working so much and not getting home until late, I did not have time to prepare the logistics of this properly. I didn’t walk through the steps, like I usually do, before a race. I ate in the morning, got on the bus for an hour and a half, and did not eat again until I had run my usual first 8 or so kilometers. Normally, I bring a banana and eat 20 minutes before the start. I didn’t have time to buy bananas and because I wasn’t in the right head space I didn’t have a back up plan, or maybe enough of a plan at all. At any rate, that ended up being a while between eating and may have thrown of my fueling from the get go. However, I am pretty resilient to things like this, so for my body that seems a little unlikely to have been the culprit. 
  2. I had a stomach bug. I had been horrendously sick the week prior and did not rest properly by any means. I did have moments of feeling sick prior to the race, but thought it was related to stress. After the race, the same level of nausea continued the next day and slowly improved until it was gone four days later. I don’t know if this runners’ stomach issue lasts that long, so it leads me to believe that either a virus or a bacterial issue is most likely the cause, meaning I don’t need to worry too much about it happening again. It would mean it was something I could not have controlled.

It was a beautiful course that went along the Dalmatian Coast—rocky with lots of elevation gain. At 45km I had completed 2,250 meters of elevation. I feel like I have the lay of the land now. So, while I am disappointed to not have gotten a medal that symbolizes finishing, I will try again next year, with my health in tact.

Happy running, stay rad, and be strong in whichever way you define strength.

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Training for a 53k

What have I done to train for my upcoming 53k race?

-I ran 70-80km a week.

-I did a 34.5km trail race with quite a bit of elevation gain recently.

-I tapered.

-I will carb load today. There are ample Bosnian bakeries around to accomplish this.

That’s about it. I am relying on years and years of running long distances to get me through.

Thoughts pre-race?

I truly never know how I will do until I am in a race. I have these vague ideas of how it might turn out, but really I don’t know what my pace or finish time will be. I am yet to take a DNF (knock on wood). Luckily for my family, the race is providing a live tracker so they know when to be at the finish line.

So, this is how I will kick off my fall break–spending time in one one of the prettiest places in the world. I will run the Dinaric Alps along the Dalmatian Coast, for hours, finding strength in mountains.

Then, I will spend the rest of my break lounging around on the pebbled beaches with my family.

And doing some recovery runs, of course.

Happy running and stay rad, my friends!

Weekly Running Log Rundown

Sunday: I absolutely love running out here at Vrelo Bosna. It is beautiful no matter the season. Today it was foggy and damp, making it look like the fall in August. There are always lots of runners making their way on the paths. It is a bit of a drive so we make a morning out of it. The kids run and bike while I get my run in, then we have coffee, pizza, and pasta post run for a family brunch.

Monday: I am back to making Monday my day off. I know most people say if you miss Monday, your running week is shot, but it works for me. With it being the first day of the school work week, I always like to sleep in a little after getting that luxury over the weekend.

Tuesday: Two runs today. My normal morning run and the first practice for the cross country team. They did awesome! 4.5km. We even did hills and they rocked it.

Wednesday: Early at it this morning. I am still getting used to this. It always wakes me up to get my morning run done though.

Thursday: I am sort of failing on the photo front, but it was a beautiful, foggy morning. Fall is starting. Effort wise–I think I need to start doing some speed work to get ready for a few races coming up.

Friday: I was getting a little bored of my usual running spots, so I went around some new streets today. Hopefully this weekend I can get work on my pace. I have five races coming up soon!

Saturday: Croatia consistently impressed me. It is one of the most beautiful countries I have seen. Old ruins, mountains that bump up against the Mediterranean Sea, and trails for days. That last 1.5 km up to our place offered plenty of challenge for my hill work I have been needing.

Happy running and stay rad, my friends!

Weekly Running Log Rundown

From small injuries, to running with my kids, to hiking the mountains of Idaho, it has been a varied and interesting week in my running life.

Sunday: I wanted to run hills today but my knee had other plans. Flat path it is. It is much better after foam rolling though.

Monday: When the husband is away, we will still find a way to run. Proud of my son for doing 10k on his bike and saying it was easy.

Tuesday: Running with my loves. Can’t believe my little man can do 10k on his bike two days in a row.

Wednesday: I hit the trails today because I was sans children. Slow and easy on the dirt.

Thursday: Enjoying my last runs around Boise. So safe. So clean. Paths meant for running and biking. I will miss this.

Friday: Grateful that the smoke has started to clear a bit. Headed out camping tonight and needed to still get my run in before leaving.

Saturday: Two hikes in one day. We hiked into Deep Lake, not realizing it was a shorter trek, so went hunting for another lake, Lake Rock Lake. Not a bad way to spend your day off of running.

Happy running and stay rad!

Idaho Falls Marathon

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Sub-4 Hour Marathon

Race Recap

Let me try to make a short story long.

Being just far enough away from our home to not warrant turning around into our already long road trip to northern Idaho, I realized I had accidentally went all purist and forgot my headphones and armband at home. I ended up doing this marathon sans music. I always leave the music at home for trail runs, but road running is a different kind of beast so I was a little nervous–pushing myself and going all out just short of four hours without music. It worked out– I enjoyed being in my head without any annoyances, fumbling around with technology. I have two young kids and a husband. Quiet time is golden.

Road tripping to the in-laws and then on to my hometown in northern Idaho was a trip in more than one sense. We traveled around northern Idaho for the week prior to my marathon, seeing loads of people, stirring up old memories and making new ones. The kids took horse riding lessons from their grandma, we hiked around some beautiful places, and I got to see my 96-year-old grandmother. I even got to see some old university buddies. It was pretty awesome. Traveling before the race did lead to some challenges–not the greatest eating, falling a little behind on rest, and generally being slightly less prepared than I knew I could have been for the marathon. Let’s just call it a few days of carb-loading and a solid rest day on Friday–it took 8.5 hours to drive from my hometown to Idaho Falls.

Road tripping while listening to Johnny Cash.

Taper run in my hometown of Kendrick, Idaho

After an extensive amount of time spent in the car, it was good to arrive in Idaho Falls, pick up my packet and swag bag, and figure out a few important locations of the race.

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We got to see friends from our Kazakhstan days, too. They have a house in Idaho Falls, so we stayed with them, spending the evening catching up.

For the morning of the race, I set my alarm for 4 am.

I drank some coffee, grabbed a banana, and my husband took to me to the buses. This course required us to be bused out to Bone, Idaho for our start at 5:30 am. I sat next to this cool lady–this was her 48th state that she had run a marathon in. She was 60 years old. I want to be like her.

It ended up being a 15 minutes late start, but no one complained. We ran alongside windmills, a sunrise, fields of wheat, cows, and in some pretty comfortable temperatures. There were also lots of rolling hills. More than I expected. I had set my goal thinking those hills were smaller. For whatever reason, the last few years hills and I have struggled to find a symbiotic relationship. It is more of a parasitic relationship. That elevation gain in the beginning messed with me both physically and mentally. I had moments of doubting myself and my ability.

Thankfully for my goal time, the hills only lasted for around 11 or 12 miles. Then it was a steep downhill for about 5 miles (8 kilometers). This is where I made up some of my lost time. I regained my third place on the descent, which was a little touch-and-go, but ultimately I was able to hold that position.

After the downhill portion, it leveled out and remained flat for the rest of the race. As the course wound through residential areas, I started to feel like I was running a marathon, in the sense of feeling its difficulty. When there was roughly a quarter of the race left, I was up and down with my energy levels. I made sure to take at least two cups of water and a Gatorade at each station, about two miles apart. I had also brought along five energy gels and two electrolyte tablets, making me semi-nauseated for a majority of the race, but a necessary evil. Even with these precautions, I was feeling the push. 

I managed to miss one of the arrow stickers, ending up going down a wrong street for a quarter mile. A man more conscious of his surroundings than I at that moment, waved me back onto course. After this, the half marathon runners merged with the full, resulting in plenty of people to follow on the weaving course.

The whole time I was running, I was mentally calculating possible finishing times, readjusting for the times I felt depleted and for the times I was feeling strong. Somewhere in the last 3 miles I knew that if I ran just a little bit tired, I wouldn’t make a sub-4. If I dropped down to a comfortable pace, I wouldn’t make my goal. Testing my mental strength and ability is, in part, why I do this. I went with all I had.

I was really grateful to have my family and friends there at the finish. Mr. G ran with me at the end so he could get pictures of me finishing. Super sweet.

I was beyond stoked to get a 3:54:28 as my finishing time. I did have a better time in mind, but those hills. I need to find a completely flat marathon someday. Still. I was really happy. It was 9 minutes faster than my last PR.

I ended up being third female overall, second in my age category.

Idaho Falls Marathon was a well-organized race, with lots of support and volunteers. They had a fun theme–Christmas in July. This was a little bit of a selling point for me, if I am being honest.

After the race I waited around for the awards ceremony and had a recovery beer. A hazelnut brown ale. I failed to get a picture of this, but trust me. It was good.

Then we played tourist and went to check out the actual waterfalls of Idaho Falls.

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Road tripping back home with my new race medal in tow.

Happy running and stay rad!

Weekly Running Log Rundown

Sunday: Starting to taper for the marathon coming up. Nice to take it easy.

Monday: Rest day and road trip day.

Tuesday: Shorter runs this week for the race Saturday, but I managed to get some hill work in and see some beautiful countryside while we stay with the in-laws.

Wednesday: A slow run through McCroskey State Park. I love traveling around northern Idaho. No matter where you go here, it is gorgeous and peaceful.

Thursday: I am a little bummed I can’t run farther because it is so pretty. It was interesting to run in my tiny little hometown. I threw in some hill repeats for fun.

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Full marathon race day. Really happy to get a sub-4 hour on a hilly course.

Happy running and stay rad, my friends!

Weekly Running Log Rundown

Hey hey hey! It is that time of week again–weekly running log rundown.

Early Madonna is my spirit animal. Getting back into the groove this week.

Sunday: Went to the Foothills for some trails. I ended up doing the Cobb Trail, making a loop back home. I have been getting more rest and felt much stronger today.

Take a moment to read the segment titles. Gotta love Boise people.

I am a Honey Stinger ambassador now, which is awesome because I genuinely love their stuff. This was today’s fuel. Tastes great, is made with organic honey, and goes down much easier than other gels.

Every time I go by this bus, I wonder how in the world they got it here.

Monday: Hot sunny day down by the river today. Lots of people out and about. I am feeling stronger but still not back to 100%. I am hoping that I start to recover soon as I have a full marathon coming up that is and has been my race focus for the last few months.

This series they are doing on Radiolab is so freaking gold! If you need something to listen to on your runs, check these out. So far I think there are four in the series by Molly Webster–Birthstory, The Primordial Journey, Fronads, and X & Y.

I also went for a hike with my family, my mom, and her husband.

Tuesday: I just didn’t feel like taking any pictures today. Today has been rough, so I ran it out. Running is my way of coping with life. I also ran into my aunt out walking. Small town Boise.

Wednesday: Took my mini on a 5k run and then myself on a 5k run.

Thursday: Rest off.

Friday: I love how easy it is to get out and into nature here. The City of Trees.

Next week is my marathon. Gah! Hope I am ready for it!

Saturday: I needed actually set my alarm–a summer cardinal sin–to get my run in before taking my children to their Run Wild at the Boise Zoo this morning. It felt really good running in the crisp morning air. I also listened to part of the new book Squeezed about the middle class in America and how they can’t afford life here–an important read.

 

The kids did awesome at their race. They met some of their friends there too, so they had some buddies to hang with.

Happy running and stay rad!