Saturday, February 9, 2019

Broken leg girl...

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I spread my arms out as wide as I could reach and took a deep breath, one of sheer appreciation, like a bird soaring on her wings.  I'd just reached the top of a big climb and was now on the fun part tucking in and out of pretty trees just before we run down hill towards the finish line, 2 miles to go.  A feeling that lingers often was consuming me, one reminding me that my life is truly a gift, and I agreed.  I'd been running 50 miles at a single time, 100 mile weeks that left me feeling strong not worn down, up and over volcanoes, in and out of valleys, so many miles that taught me to be strong, taught me never to surrender to difficult days, ones that always left me thankful for my legs, lungs, and health.  I ran a lot, it was something that became a gift because of the places around the island it was taking me, the challenges I was overcoming because of it, and the friends I was sharing the journey with.

Tears began to fill my eyes, like a happiness you can't really tell anyone about, they have to feel it for themselves.  I was now on the very down hill I sat on my butt and scooted down the year before. The one I clung to the rope for what felt like survival the year before.  But this year I was running down, the boys helped me learn to find confidence and shake my fear. Just before reaching the bottom, almost in disbelief that I'd actually run down it, I said out loud, "Love the Giver more than the gift." Because I did and it was my praise and worship that Sunday morning.  Running had become a gift. I spend most my life appreciating everything so dearly that I have to believe there is a purpose for it all, the hard and the easy, it helps me never to take any of my gifts (family, friends, wife life, motherhood, my home, my job) for granted and to try and avoid never neglecting other parts of life that I am fortunate to have.

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Then I heard a snap.  It was loud and it was me.  I laid there in the mud unable to get up, had it just been the bone I'd of been able to make it, but when it's the ligaments too, you have nothing to support your ankle to hold you up.  I tried though, I didn't know any of that and just thought it was the bone.  I tried to push my bone in as it was trying to peek out of my skin, I thought if I did it would go back in place and all would be fine. I begged for somebody to help me.  My friend Susie's brother n' law was waiting near the bottom for his wife and came to help, he couldn't carry me down alone and I was too afraid to sit there by myself.  I begged him to stay with me, to call Mikey, to fix it, to tell me what to do.  Everything after that happened so fast and before I knew it I was sitting in the ER with the very words I said just before falling staring me in the face...


Do you still love the Giver more than the gift? Do you still appreciate your entire life, not just the running?  Can you be happy if your new normal does not include running for a few months?  And what about HURT100, the race you poured your heart and soul into over the last year?  It's only 7 weeks away, can you be happy without it?  I can and I will.

Of course I asked the doctor if I could be running in 7 weeks, he said, "Miracles can happen." I liked that doctor so much.  HURT100 was not in my cards, I wasn't even off crutches or strong enough to be there to cheer on my friends.  Once I was told I damaged ligaments I knew my only option was to surrender.

Surrender.

If it was just a bone I could still put up some goals and plans and play around with healing, this was my 6th broken bone after all.  But ligament damage was new territory for me, I'm a stranger with no experience.  If I wanted to find the purpose for my pain and see the beauty in my struggle I had to take every day a day at a time...or I'd go crazy.  I'm a planner, a girl who writes notes on the mirror as often as some people do laundry, I like to plan adventures for the weekend and find new places to get lost so I can find whatever it is my life needs.  I'm not that good at relying on others and independence has been a secret hiding place for my anxiety, it doesn't find me there if I just do everything myself.

So I let go of HURT100, of having control, of hiding out on long trail runs where I was safe, and I leaned in and on everyone that offered to help me. It was new and it was scary, I cried a lot in my humbled state.  I peed in bed pans after surgery, I ate food I didn't like without complaint because someone took the time to cook for me, I let our tidy home become a bachelor pad that Mikey and Kainoa had created.  I let a substitute take control of my students and class for 3 weeks while I had bed rest, and I kept on surrendering every single day...

And I was happy. Today is 11 weeks since I fell down that trail, 10 weeks since surgery, and 2 weeks since getting off my crutches.  While embracing my new normal I reached out to my friend on Oahu, Malory, who had done similar damage to her ankle about a year before me.  She's one of Hawaii's best trail runners who took a hard fall but rose up stronger. I wanted to be like her so I'd often write her as I went through the new stages of healing and she'd help me, just having someone understand was good for the soul (because bless their hearts people mean well but they are so very damaging with their words as you try to gain control over your healing). In fact, today was her 1 year anniversary of being broken, wearing the same scar with a plate and 10 screws like me, and she raced 60ish miles in NZ coming in 8th female overall...hope floats.  She's been my go-to in much needed moments of courage and learning to shut out voices that I just don't dare to believe.  That's why I'm writing this.  I feel like it's my turn to leave behind my healing to the next in line, because it helped me so much having her that it only feels fair to share.

Breaking yourself has 3 parts...How it happened, healing, and your return (to whatever it is you were doing before you broke yourself).  I'll share some of my healing stories now before I forget them.  I'm on the "return" part of my story and LOVING it!  They say the healing is the hard part and the return is the fun part, I can agree with that...for sake of this getting super long Dear Broken Friend I'm going to tell you more about my return another day, I only recently ditched my crutches, after all.

So if by chance you stumbled across this while sitting in what feels like the side lines of your life, you aren't side lined, this is just your new normal and it gets better.  I searched every website, blog, journal article, and post I could find on "returning to running after a broken leg", on "healing ligaments" on "who knows what" in my search for hope, for a return to running, that I'd be strong again.  It's scary because some of what I found (as every break is different) told stories about never regaining full range of motion, of damage so bad you lose feeling, or the hardware in your body being rejected, the list was long.  SO I decided to only read Malory's responses and write my own story with my doctors guiding me along.

Week 1:  Laying around in a thong because my husband picked out my clothes and changed me all that week.  He bathed me and cooked for me.  It was a real perk for our marriage, all that closeness with nothing to do but laugh at the situation.  I was beyond fortunate he was able to take my first 3 weeks off work to help me.  We binge watched Narcos, Dexter, and chick flicks.

Week 2:  Post surgery.  The swelling went down enough for surgery, in came the medicines. I got a plate and 10 screws.  The surgery is super easy, you just sleep the best sleep of your life and wake up looking fabulous! Not really, but now the healing begins.  Until I actually had surgery it felt like a waist of time, in fact I told my doctor that, because you can't even begin healing till they get in there and make it all right again.  I was super motivated this week now that Humpty Dumpty was put back together except I felt horrible.  The medicine made me a complete mess.  I was on the hard stuff which made me constipated so they gave me something for that, which made me dizzy so they gave me something for that, which made me...you get the point.  The pain was out of control but taking 4-5 different pills everyday, multiple times a day was too much for me so I quit them on day 2 cold turkey.  I was supposed to wean myself because the body needs to rest to heal and you can't relax in pain...well...I can't relax when my head is going crazy!  I threw a tissue box at my husband and a temper tantrum.  He got me all sorts of fruits and veggies to juice, it was a total detox of drugs that had me back to me-in pain.  I always say you have to feel to heal and those drugs were just masking my pain and causing my body to react in ways I'd never experienced life.  That was a wild week in the Brown house to say the least.

Week 3-5 Purpose!  I told myself these weeks on bed rest then crutching around have a purpose and it's my job to find it.  I truly believe that.  There is always a purpose in what happens to us.  I am still allowing more to surface as I'm not fully healed but I think my purpose was time with my husband.  He went through a pretty painful season of depression just before my accident and I escaped a lot into the trails to avoid us failing to understand each other through it. That is a really long story in and of itself but it took two people who loved the hell out of each other caused them to feel alone.  I tried to talk. To listen. Neither worked.  It was a darkness for him that I could not fix but being broken and on bed rest for a couple weeks gave him purpose.  He spent his days caring about me and I was there.  I had no choice, I couldn't get up without his help so we'd lay there side by side all day and night.  All along that was all he needed, not me talking or begging to listen. We grew closer than we've ever been and all of sudden something so beautiful such as marriage made sense to us.  I'd rather miss HURT100 with a broken leg all to find a love like this.  Like I said, its a really long story but tucked deep inside a struggle there is meaning and reason and something beautiful will come of it.

Week 6 Freedom begins.  A little anyways.  I broke my right leg so driving only now became a reality once again, with my left leg that is.  Yes, I became a great driver with the left leg!  Life starts to feel stable, you are so comfortable with yourself by now it's almost like you could carry on this way as if this is all you've ever done.  Some people get to start weight bearing a little at this point, not me.

Week 7. Shhhh...It's in these weeks many will try to tell you "you'll be stronger after this", "maybe you needed to learn to appreciate", "it's life trying to slow you down".  It's up to you to believe this stuff or not. Lots will come your way and you may or may not snap.  I'm just warning you now that everyone has an opinion and you will hear it.  Mikey had to remind me that it's just people trying to care-I agree.  But do you...ignore, delete, block, I did all of the above to keep myself focused on what I believe.  But can I share my favorite one, "So you're done running now, right?"

Week 8 post surgery (9 since the break) I was able to attempt to walk!  Though most broken bones are healed by now I was left non weight bearing to give the full 8-9 weeks for my ligaments.  I couldn't even swim by now (and still haven't!!) because the boot kept rubbing my cuts open and if you get an infection they have to take the hardware out and redo the entire thing! My doctor was awesome, he told me I can put as much weight down as I can handle.  I asked him a dozen times if he was sure, is the bone healed all the way, can I really (because I know I can tolerate a lot of pain).  We took that boot right off and I walked out of his office like a baby deer taking her first steps...as in a wobbled around uncoordinated.  But I was crutch free!

Week 9 begins some awesome PT!  Well, I'd been in PT for a couple weeks now but this gets serious!  You have to learn to push through the atrophy, the scar tissue, the discomfort.  We have this window after being "stuck" that gets harder to regain range of motion if you don't get after it right away and stay on it.  I did every PT exercise like it was my job.  And I have an awesome PT, he never once gave me 3 sets of 8-10, he told me to go till fatigue, so I would do 100 in honor of HURT100.  Again, you will get super sweet people meaning very well, "slow down", "take it easy", "don't rush", but you do you.  Listen to your PT and doctor, because they know what your xrays, scans, charts, and leg look like best.  And for crying out loud, listen to your leg. It will let you know if it needs tuff love or a rest.  I'm going to share all my workouts on a side link here real soon as they are great if you are recovering from a break or just took 3 months of your life off exercise and need to start from scratch like me...

Week 10...I'm here right now and today I rode my bike outside for 3 miles with Kainoa!  I can walk without a wobble this week and the swelling is very little these days, but it's still here and it may be here for up to a year they say!  Yikes!  It's also perfectly normal so don't be worried.  At this point you feel like you could walk a mile or 5 (I haven't attempted either of those yet) and all of a sudden goals, hopes, plans, dreams, start to flood your surrendered state of mind once again.  I really like this week.  Its a beautiful balance of peace, patience, surrender, yet HOPE and a finish line are in sight.  I mean, maybe there is no finish line to this, you aren't ever the same after you change you life for months at a time and you will still have to learn to find new normals as you go until you are back running 100 mile weeks and feeling great (at least for me). If I'm as fortunate as Malory I will be running at 3 months... that is just around the corner... But again this is my story and I've surrendered to whatever it will be.

Ps...some articles, posts, stories, recovery blogs say a year and maybe never before you are running again, don't read those ones. Hope floats.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Iwaki Sunshine City Marathon...

Current Mood:  Moved.

Life is so different for me doing a sport I love for no money at all (If you're a new reader of my long winded posts I used to race triathlon, often getting fortunate enough to earn some bling).  Have you ever tried to simply do anything without a string attached?  Like give a gift and expect nothing in return?  I think that's how you know you really love something.  You can do it often, everyday, rain or shine, happy or sad, get nothing or everything in return, and still care about it...and for me, still be moved.

I'm home now from Japan and once again, as I always am, better for leaving home & having an experience.  Let me rephrase that, "share an experience."  As I get older life is showing me how precious the people around us are and how much they enrich all that we do.  In this case, the wonderful crew at The Kauai Marathon and Iwaki Sunshine City Marathon,  what a bunch of beautiful people. Oh, add to that the Aussie runners from the other "Sister City" of Townsville!

What exactly just happened?  Let's rewind to September 2017.  I ran and got super lucky with the win at the Kauai Marathon, on a whim, on a mission to collect lots of miles for HURT100 (the 100 mile race I was training for).  Every single mile I ran had the sole purpose of moving me towards my dream of becoming an ultrarunner and finishing HURT100.  I've always considered running the Kauai Marathon (mostly because I like hills & heat).  It came the day after a 50k race and smack in the middle of a 70 mile week, so why not go get humbled...and that I did.  Kauai itself is a must-do for any runner living in Hawaii as it is truly island style, from the chickens parading the streets, to the locals all up in your face while running telling you, "Get it girl, come on now, just bust this thing out, mmm girl, get it", to the food *you know Hawaii loves food!, to the race directors making sure you are welcomed like family, and finally to every single runner in the race "experiencing" it together-I kid you not!  It's the only road race I have ever run that felt like a trail race because everyone supported each other so strongly.  Back to that winning part, I'm not trying to brag, I'm just trying to loudly share that this race GIVES THE WINNER AN ALL EXPENSE PAID TRIP TO JAPAN TO RUN THE IWAKI SUNSHINE CITY MARATHON!  Did you hear me?  Actually, Michael Wardian won but had prior race obligations elsewhere so the trip went over to the female winner.  *Note: Every other year they send female then male, ect. As for the Sister City part, Townsville, Australia and Iwaki Japan are all united with Kauai because of a buoy that came loose over in Japan during a storm years ago and landed in the waters off the coast of Kauai... I bet I just butchered that story as my Japanese is no bueno.  Just take to heart the 3 cities are family and each year they each send runners from their races to the Sister Cities to share a marathon together...unique if you ask me.

Now for the run/fun part!  Iwaki took hold of my heart, held it super close, then set me free, unapologetically afraid to experience every single opportunity for all that it is worth.  The moment we stepped off the plane we were greeted to the most welcoming embraces by two gorgeous Japanese women, Satomi &Akari, who became friends before the trip was over.  They showed us the town where the 2011 tsunami took out most the village including some of their loved ones, they gave us a lesson in culture that could never be learned in a book, they shared with us history that we don't learn in school, and they allowed me the freedom to ask every question under the sun (you know I am so curious about everything!) without judgement or making it a racial thing.  We shared more meals, hours upon hours of driving & laughter, an aquarium visit, a hula show, meeting the mayor and a giant welcome dinner (all eaten while standing!), and my personal favorite-a trip to the temple.



If you know me, I LOVE seeing temples, churches, any place where God is praised and people give worship to something/someone higher than themselves.  It just moves me to learn about and hear about how others go through life.  Maybe because I know we all experience highs and lows and without my faith I know I'd never make it through my own personal battles.  I wanted to see how they deal.  I spent some time wiping tears that's for sure.  I asked a lot of questions, dug deep into the hearts of my new Japanese friends, and tried to do more listening than usual...forgive my big mouth.  At the end of it all I got to reach in and grab a trinket with my 2018 fortune.  As a firm believer in fortune cookies-just kidding, but I do find sheer entertainment in them, I was pretty excited about having a for real Japanese fortune read for me.  Everything Akari read to me was pretty enough I allowed myself to be entertained just enough I'd put a bit of pep in my step that 2018 is gonna be a good year.  In Japan they have this tradition that if you don't like your fortune you don't have to be "tied to it."  For real, I loved that!  I respected that!  We aren't defined by what it says about us.  So...if you don't like it you can tie it in a bow on a tree and walk away from it believing bigger and better for your life.  Ah... refreshing. Take note dear reader, we are not defined by what anyone says about us.  If they call you a name or hurt you, tie it in a pretty bow on the tree and walk away believing there is a greater blessing to your life than the hurts that you just opened.


Onto the race!  By the time we actually got to the start line I admit to being equal parts very excited and equal parts exhausted.  Liz, the Aussie runner gave me a wonderful nugget of advice, "We aren't here for a PR but an experience."  I did my best to believe that and was refreshed just embracing my opportunity to be in Japan.  Except, you know me, and perhaps the Japanese culture, too, everything has an intention and strong purpose.  You will give your all.  So... I lined up with my goal of busting out a sub 2:55 and did not get it, at all. I ran a 3:05, 3rd place female, and felt proud of my efforts.  That was all that I had on the day.  As for the course it was windy, hilly, and chilly.  The streets were lined in some areas as if a parade was going on and other areas were silent except for your thoughts of what happened here, at least for me it was.  I kept thinking about the tsunami as we ran where the wave once covered the street.  I tried to feel for the people and tried to keep moving the way the town had only that choice, too, to keep moving.  My favorite part of the course is how they call the finish line the "goal".  I LOVE that.  From now on I am crossing goals!  Because isn't that so true?!  It's a goal, we make it to the goal...but we aren't really finished.  We always have more and more and more...

During the race my favorite part was running with one of the local girls.  We stayed together for about half the race.  She was a crowd favorite for sure, while I can't translate just what words were being cheered for her I could understand that they wanted her to be stronger and come out victorious.  I understand.  We had a few elbows at the start and some exchanges of position, but after a couple miles we became teammates.  We shared "we got this" and "we can do this" and "sugoi" and "gambate" and thumbs up.  I think that that point it made the spectators happy seeing the local girl and white girl "running peacefully".  Our world is such a mess I too embraced this point of the race more than any other.  After the half way point she began to fall behind a little, I kept looking back for her and motioning for her to stay with me.  On an out and back we smiled and cheered each other on.  For me, it was as beautiful as the sunrise Japan is known for, having peace with people and yourself.

Crossing the finish line I was more tired than HURT100.  It took so much for me to press on and dig when emotionally it had been a couple days of just feeling so much.  I'm one of those people that can handle physically taxing things more than emotionally taxing things.  Not sure why travel does that to me, but it does and I'm thankful for it because I love having life enriched like it gets all because my mind is opened.  Anyways, it was incredible, all of it.  A gift given to me from the team at Kauai Marathon and Iwaki Sunshine City Marathon that will forever bless me, be remembered for a long, long time, and something I can't repay...a for real gift. 











Thursday, January 18, 2018

HURT100...

Let me begin by saying everything I'm about to say is made entirely possible due in large part to my crew. They absolutely had my back (and Tiffany may have had my butt a time or two) every single step of the way.  Going into HURT100 the only thing that I didn't feel prepared for was having a crew.  Coming from Ironman I was not used to it, I packed my own bike, flew solo most all trips, prepared my own fuel, and then loaded my bike & I up on our own after the races.  No fuss, no clutter.  I didn't know how to depend on people nor did I know how to ask for help, now here I was about to tackle 100 miles with people at my side.  The thing I did have going for me heading to the start line is that each person I asked to be part of my day said "yes" without any reservations. Instant yeses.  Being a single mom, 1st Grade teacher, I also didn't have a bunch of money to offer to buy their flights so that made me really nervous-but they all arrived on Oahu to be there for me and I'm now a HURT100 finisher because they showed up in ways I could never repay them... so to my CREW, I love you and thank you beyond words.  As for the race, it was 31+ hours long.  I landed 5th place female & first virgin (um, not that kind) first 100 mile attempt virgin, across the line.  That sums it up...it was rocky, rooty, hot, cold, I loved every painful minute of it, and I caught two sunrises.  If you want to know more read on...

Prerace:
I was as calm as can be. I'm one of those people that do a pretty good job of taking care of everything within my control, the training, the recovery, the work.  And I've been fortunate to see a lot of sour moments turn around for the good so I stay optimistically calm in situations out of my control.  Mostly I was just really excited.  My dream run day finally arrived!  Holding my bib it felt as if I was about to open a gift that would change me forever-for better.  A couple goals lingered here and there but I tried not to entertain them too deeply for this super ultra distance is so unknown to me and keeping humble was the only surefire way I felt I'd be able to guarantee a finish (my ultimate goal).


Loop 1.
HURT100 is 5x20 mile loops (not really loops, more like fallopian tube looking trails).  But I'll call them loops as I always do because I like loops & we repeat the same 20 mile "loopy thing" 5x.  If you dislike loops you will truly be annoyed in this race.  Pat (my Big Island run partner) and I ran together, mostly because we like to share miles, it would help us pace calm, and its a nice way to keep the mind relaxed before we'd be depending on it just to take a single step forward.  The start was so amazing, under a starlit sky I was about to live my "wish upon a star".  We started in the very back with every intention to just cruise.  And that we did.  Slowly we passed the people who we maybe should have started in front of, but never entertained any placings or frustrations.  It was sheer fun, a lot of, "Can you believe we are finally here?!" This course is by far one of my favorite places in the world.  While it's known for being brutal I still find it unapologetically gorgeous and fun-yes fun.  My loop 1 was about 4 and a half hours, exactly where I wanted to be.  My strategy going into this was probably not one for the faint of heart or realistic people...but it made great sense to me and I know me better than anyone.  Hey, my average heart rate was 105 so that tells me it was chill, too. You see, I have this crazy thing where I fall asleep as soon as its dark out. So I wanted to be strong for as long as I could before sunset then hope to not pass out in the dark-in other words-move in the sunlight! 


The good:  Nicely paced, relaxed, in control, ate and drank well, wide awake, WIDE awake, peed (nicely hydrated), no hallucinations, no rolled ankles, ran with friends, good hair control (that matters to me!)  I have a mop for hair.
The bad:  Nothing yet.


Loop2:
Hot damn we are really doing this!  Seriously, I was like a kid in a candy store.  Just loving it so much.  I may have skipped out of transition to begin loop2.  The first climb is Hogs Back, an absolute beast of a climb that I've yet to figure out the best path to take up it-left, right, middle?  Before starting the race I made myself promise myself that I would walk Hogs Back every loop no matter how amazing I felt.  By doing so I figured it would keep me calm, allow for some eating and drinking, totally avoid using an inhaler, and put at least 3 rolled ankles out of chance.  I came into the first aid station like a little fireball!  See above! It was a lot of "whoooop whooop, do you believe we are doing this!?"  It was a minute or 2 faster than the previous 20 miles so I knew I was being smart with my pacing.  And the fact energy levels were off the charts I knew I was nailing my Spring Energy calories.  Yes sir... off we go!  From Paradise Park to Nu'uanu is just over 5 miles, my favorite 5 miles of the course!  Judd Trail just makes me feel like a girl on her wedding day or something, its beyond beautiful and the climb reminds me that only people willing to work really hard will ever get to experience it, that's enough to make me appreciate good health!  I got into the second aid station still feeling pretty awesome, except this is where Pat left me.  He was going off on a mission and I wanted to keep "my pace".  I still felt like I could run all day long-bye, bye, Stover!



Off I went, all excited to get back to my crew at the Nature Center.  The entire 7 something miles back I was thinking of just what to say when I saw them...I was seeing and experiencing so much I just had to tell them all about it.  EXCEPT... I left without taking any calories!  Ooops.  So as you can imagine, I was a little nervous.  I got over there about 15 minutes slower pace than my first loop so the day was still pretty much rockstar for me.  Except I panicked and ran into the aid station like a complete tool, so not calm under fire.  There went my something cool to tell my crew, I blurted out, "Grant, help me.  Can you help me.  What do I do? Did I blow my race?  I didn't eat or drink anything for however long.  I'm so sorry guys, so sorry I messed up." Clearly I'm not used to having a crew and the start of "I'm sorry" had just begun.  I think they counted 2,482 "I am sorrys."  It was super hard for me to feel like I was letting anyone down.  Grant gave me two Spring Energy's and I instantly felt back in the game. He reminded me it's better to be under than over so this is salvageable. 200ish calories (my goal is 200 an hour).   He was so right, I could breathe again, I was happy again, let's go...

Good:  My outfit was still working for me, no blisters or chaffing, reset myself after a hiccup, great hair day (as in I have my hair ties!) and I peed again!  Success.
Bad:  Skipped fuel and drinks, ran too long without anything.


Loop 3:
Walked up Hogs Back, my heart was so happy, my day was still going well and I was about to have a pacer!  The next stop I'd get to pick up JD!  I tried the ipod for a song or two and felt all my country music take me back to memories of my long solo runs.  It was wonderful, I was just so damn happy!  Like the kind of happy you don't think happens to a girl like you.  I wasn't worried about my placing or time, I just wanted to remain feeling good throughout my race, this day I worked so hard for, I promised myself to enjoy it, every bit of it.  With that I decided to take SO MUCH SALT (I won't mention the brand or what not 'cause its a good product) but I literally drank two packs of it thinking that will ensure I am full of electrolytes and replacing what I lost from that 2hr period I ran out of fuel.  SO here I blew it a bit.  I'm no scientist (clearly!) so my thinking (clearly!) was not factual.  All of a sudden I got bloated and could no longer take my calories.  Everything went dizzy.  I told myself to just get to the aid station!  I was coming into the aid station about 25 minutes after the first place girl (again I was not thinking about "racing" this) but it made me think I'm not totally blowing the day to be that near the front of the race, but then again everyone told me the race doesn't begin till the dark happens...

I got into the aid station and pretty much faked "feeling fine".  My crew knew I wasn't my ballistic self and that I was going to really need their help getting through this.  Not to mention it was now dark...I like to sleep in the dark.  Loop 3 completely went to hell for me.  Hell.  Right into hell.   Bring on JD!  (Whom I sadly have no photos with because his phone went over the valley during our run!).  Loop 3 was my longest loop of the entire race. It went like this...

Wahhhhh, crying.  More crying. Puke.  More puke.  Lay in the middle of the trail.  Puke.  Take off my pukey shirt because the smell of puke was making me puke.  Tell JD I am sorry (408 times!)  Try to run.  Try to hike.  Puke.  Lay in the middle of the trail again.  Meet Matt at the top of Judd Trail taking a nap, he tells JD and I he set his phone alarm so he will indeed wake back up, I insist we lay down, too!  So I nap with Matt (JD my pacer does not look happy with my plan).  Now let me tell you, JD is the sweetest guy in the universe, he would never tell me no or go or hurry.  He is so patient but I can tell he wants me to keep moving.  SO I get up and make Matt get up (cause strength in numbers!).  It's past midnight now and I keep puking.  The guys are so good to me and totally helpful while puke covers my hair, face, and body.  I am still loving HURT100 though and beg JD to help me, to help me turn it around.  We both don't know what to do.  He breaks out my picture of Kainoa at some point and it gives me more courage than I've ever had.  So I begin to play match maker and tell Matt all about my loop 4 pacer, Malia.  How she's this bombshell and they will just adore each other and he has to do loop 4 with us! The I throw up again but this time it tastes like blood because I have no more food in me and my throat hurts from stomach acid.  I'm having a super good time though with these two guys, laughing and making jokes, but my body is so angry at me.  I can finally see the end of loop 3 and begin to run!  Malia, Malia, Malia I found your future husband!  Matt, Matt, where are you Matt (I dropped Matt), he came into the aid station and I tried to set them up.  Then I threw up...Wendy changed my clothes and socks, my crew made a game plan to get me going, I threw up so much in the grass that it worried me there was nothing left in me, every time I tried to take anything I'd just puke.  Instantly.  And I wanted to sleep so desperately.  Mikey knows my heart better than anyone so he tried to have a conversation with me, I cried to him telling him how sad I was that my legs felt so amazing and all my hard work was being wasted because I can't even take water at this point!  The puddle of puke was so big, I just looked at Mikey, looked at him, then made a fist and smacked the puke puddle in my sadness. It splattered up at Mikey, he kissed my pukey face, and I have no idea what he said.  But I got up, got a grip, and decided to trust my crew...
The good:  Keeping positive, having incredible laughter with JD, still no blisters, chaffing, or injuries, seeing stars, not falling off the edge of any valley
The bad:  So much puke, all those salts, JD's phone falling off the edge of the valley, spending too much time laying down (made me more dizzy).


Loop 4:
Malia is my lucky loop 4 girl.  She is one of Hawaii's absolute best and fastest runners so I knew she'd be amazing for me-not because speed is needed in HURT100, at least not for me at this point!  But I believe in order to be as talented as her it takes a strong mind, a strong mind is what I needed more than anything right now.  Off we went, hiked up my shirt, new socks on, fixed my hair, Tiffany washed my face, I was ready to introduce Malia and Matt!  hehehe.  All the way up Hogs Back we girl talked, about weddings, men, sex, food, running, work, children, you know-all your typical slumber party stuff!  This was a runber party!  I was starting to feel a little better so I began some calories...barf.  This was going to be a loooooong night.  Malia sat me down at one point and told me I won't make it through to the finish if I try to keep going with no water and no food.  I just didn't know what to do anymore.  My mood was good, laughter was at an all time high, and my legs felt so amazing, they kept begging to run.  We had such a blast barfing our way through the night and meeting so many cool people!  We had lots of them tell us how funny we were and how loud we were, hearing us miles away!  But I couldn't figure out what to do.  We made it to the first aid station and one of the "Pirates" told me to literally stop eating and drinking, that I could go 3hrs without anything!  I thought I was hallucinating but decided to trust him anyways.  SO my plan was nothing all the way to the next aid station.  Well.... wouldn't you believe it!  Good thing I had one of the best runners in Hawaii with me, we were eventually running!  We moved so well to the next aid station, totally awake and fired up!  I had to hug Freddy (the race director for Peacock 55 miler) and the aid station leader, he was so supportive of me on my sick loops, just reminding me how strong I am and that it will come back to me.  He was so right, it came back and my legs got to run.
Homeward bound Malia and I went with Matt hot on our heels.  Now that my superpowers were back (or forward moving progress as some call it) I had to finish playing "dating show of the trails".  I told Matt I was going to be running with Grant loop 5 and he can have Malia if he wants for his loop 5...hehehe.  I am sure my friends were totally embarrassed,  but I'm a sucker for all things love and romance!  Malia and I flew into our final aid station, now it was about 6am...I was back on my regular fueling plan that worked for my first two loops and the sun was about to rise!

The good:  Malia. Staying so insanely determined.  Peeing on a frog.  Getting back my nutrition game. My crew taking great care of me, so much so that I never felt anything but happy and appreciative despite the puke I was going through.  My outfit again being on point- as far as chaffing goes cause I was not using any Vaseline! (Seriously! Was I going to make it through my first 100 in one piece?!)
The bad:  I don't know if it was bad or not, just a lot of learning, rookie mistakes with nutrition for a race this long, first one, clueless when to force calories and when to remain empty.

Loop 5.  Say what!?  80 miles down, one to go, got my Hawaiian Ola and my Spring Energy, no more salt stuff and no more "other things"...ready!  It felt like my first loop... we ran out of there.  And we just kept cruising until Hogs Back where we began to walk...
The sun was just about to rise, it was hot pink!  I was so in love with my day (and night) and new day that I was now tears of joy all over again.  I told myself loop 5 was all about soaking everything of my first 100 up!  Last 20 miles I wanted to run, er race!  I felt that good.  But I was reminded that 20 miles is still 20 miles, so you know-cruise.  Grant and I totally cruised.  We were less than 30 minutes off the pace it took me to get to the first aid station on loop 1!  And that was like 80 miles ago!  It felt so nice to run happy again and with Grant, one of my best Big Island training partners.  It felt like just another day on the trails like we always have.
It was also so good sharing the day with Wendy, she definitely did not go out on the course to pace me, she hates running more than anyone I know. But she she stood at my side every single aid station making sure I could run if she could help it.  Anyways, Grant and I clicked away the miles...

I have never loved running more than I did during HURT100.  It was so special to me, to learn just how resilient the body is, how strong the mind is, and more importantly how grateful it is to have people to share it with.  My crew played such a huge role in my day, Mikey, Wendy, Grant, Janet, Malia, JD, and Tiffany, I could not have done this without you.  I needed you more than I have ever relied on anyone to get me through to the other side of a dark place.  At no time did I ever entertain the idea of quitting or wanting it to be over, in fact I wasn't ready to be done, I loved every single puke covered minute of HURT100. The guys made sure my head and heart were always aligned, they had my dream gripped firmly in the palms of their hands as if it were their's too. I am so sincerely blessed. 

I got to kiss the sign and ring the bell!  It was a year long goal that all of a sudden happened.  Just like that, 31 hours and 41 minutes felt like a single breath and I was a HURT100 mile finisher.  The team at HURT is beyond words, beautiful.  Each every person truly makes this race the best race I have ever been part of.  So much love and passion was evident from the way everyone cared for us like family to the way they kept the event true to the core of what running really is...one foot in front of the other.  Yes, I already know I want to do it again and again.  I want to try and do it better.  But mostly I want to continue to be part of something that is bringing so much life to my life.  
Oh!  Loop 5, the Good: I finished! No blisters, no chaffing, all 10 toe nails. The bad:  I lost my hair tie crossing the river (I had back ups!)
Pat made it, too.  About 20 minutes before me.  This is probably where I should thank all the people who shared miles with me.  The men from my first for real long run, Mikey, Pat, Billy, JE, and Tyler, I am so grateful you all took me out on that 42 miler and set in motion the entire year of long running for me.  To Billy and Mike Sullivan for the most difficult run, Hilo to top of Mauna Kea, that was the mental workout I needed that got me through my puke moments!  To Kawika, Pat, and Justin for my mid night Mauna Loa run, oh my stars how that run came into play during HURT hurting!  To Justin, Pat, Patrick, Joe, Lindsay, JE, Amy for the Saddle Road day, it was by far the most fun run bucket list run EVER!  Kainoa, all those rides on your bike next to me.  Mikey, all those Kaloko runs as dates, always my favorite date!  Pat, for every single Waimanu mission that made us HURT strong.  Grant, for showing me that getting lost doesn't always mean your lost, you're just adding mileage!  hahaha...more laughter than I knew possible.  So many people shared so many runs with me and I can't even begin to thank them all...
Now for you, Mikey...
The love of my life.  I think we may have run each other into the ground during my HURT100 year, not because running ever got in the way or took up too much time, it was because we run so different.  My pace is set to the beats of my heart and your pace is set to what your head tells you.  I think we dropped each other here and there but what I realized is that, "When you want to go far, go together.  When you want to go fast, go alone." We are so in this for the long haul that if I have to wait up for you (hehehehe) I will. And if you have to get out of your head to run with me, you will.  Thank you for that, for always being by my side, weather it was 100 miles a month, 100 miles a week, or 100 miles a race...ps... I may have picked another 100 I want to do... you ready to run with me?
I am a very happy girl, happy to have experienced what I got to do, happy that John and PJ (the awesome race director seen above) let me into their race, happy that my parents came out to watch Kainoa while I ran far on Oahu, and happy that this is just the beginning for me...

Also thanks to Bike Works Kona for continuing to lavish support on me, Jesse for the body work, Spring Energy for the fuel, Hawaiian Ola for the noni goodness, Shane for my super pretty compression socks, the Nelsons for helping with Kainoa, Dr. Traub for being in my corner last minute with my health, Coach Steve for still giving me chit chats when I need them most, Becky Prater for finish line cupcakes (hehehe), Amy and Jeff on Oahu for opening your homes to my crew and I so we had places to rest and feel welcome, the Club in Kona for letting be use and abuse your treadmills before school when I needed to run, and a million other people that did little and big things for me, I counted every one of them as fuel when my body physically ran out. I felt so loved and supported out there... hey, WE DID IT!  

Bree xo