Saturday, July 15, 2017

HURT100 Practice

At least, bare minimum, 100 thoughts happened during my loop of the HURT100 course.  I'd heard stories and tales about what happens on that trail, similar to how Madam Pele rules Big don't get to just go where you want anytime you want.  Some of us have never felt her wrath on a run over the volcanoes, I'd like to think it's because she's cool with me being there and only leaving my footprints all the while having massive respect for where I'm at.  But Oahu trails I have ZERO experience or knowledge of, only the stories that precede them.  Scary ones.  Beautiful ones.  All kinds.  So let's just say I approached the trail in complete darkness, doing my best to let go and undo the thoughts in my mind that others had me entertaining.  Except one, "The trails just call some people."

Let me back up...
Friday a group of us from Big Island flew over for a weekend of "Eating Mountains for Breakfast". The Mango Madness 10 miler (put on by the HURT100 family) was about to become my first for real experience of racing a trail.  It felt similar to my first for real triathlon, including the finish line, "Am I real trail runner now!?"
I think it took me 6 triathlons to be able to call myself a triathlete, I was awkward, wearing t-shirts on my bike rides and bikini tops as sports bras.  Back to the Mango Madness.  Melanie and Jacque put on the most down to Earth race I have ever been part of!  It was very humble in production, very welcoming during the bib pick-up, and even more accepting and embracing upon finishing.  It began really grass-rootsy, I think they said the race would be between 10-13 miles long, follow the white ribbons out, green ribbons back, never the blue ones, have fun, and start in 5 seconds-GO!  I never heard 1-4, I just remember going really hard from the start. We began in a park, then up a paved road, right into the entrance of the infamous HURT100 trail.  I clung to my friend Stover like I do on all our training runs and was way up front.  That is until the trail began and being a road runner would never, ever,
not even close, help me.  At all.  We started up a big climb which is cool because I love climbing...but then a million roots were exposed, rocks were hanging out everywhere in no particular fashion that could be followed, and potholes sprinkled in from the rain (I think! or pigs).  I didn't really know how to not fall on my face but worse was not knowing how to navigate it quickly.  I mean, I could get up and over, but it was more like an eager girl stepping onto the beach for her first time in a bikini.  It was intimidating. Malory (the absolute Queen of trail running for the state of Hawaii) blew by me up a hill.  It wasn't running, it wasn't walking, I don't even know what it was-hiking?  Dancing in trail shoes with hands on your thighs? So I just copied her up the hill.  That worked really good until the down hill.  Where I never saw her again.  She was like those ninjas that gently place a foot on something then spring off it like a flying squirrel, fast and light.  I tried so hard to run fast, so fast I went off course!  Twice in fact.  Perhaps that's why the mileage would be between 10-13?  I ran 11.5.  Throughout the entire morning I was having the time of my life.  I couldn't ever run fast enough to get tired, I got better on the uphills and worked myself back near some packs I could follow around to stay on track, but absolutely got
humbled down every single hill. In fact, I was passed by a total of 13 people down the hills, some I caught back on the flats or ups, others just buried me in laughter, like the time I had to take a down hill sitting to get off a ledge and one man jumped right over my head while doing a 360* all while telling me I would be better down a hill if I'd quit blinking.  What? 

When all was said and done I was covered in happiness and mud from head to toe.  I landed 2nd to Malory which meant way, way more to me than winning Hawaii 70.3 the week before.  I actually trained for this race and poured my heart into it. It meant something to me that has been fueling my life for several months now.  I can't explain, I was just really happy.  Stover was waiting at the finish line, he took 2nd male and spit out some of the funnest words I had ever heard, "I'm going for HURT100!" He was on the fence about committing to HURT100 until he actually tasted it in the race and felt that same flood of adventure and joy that I got (Now we have to fight over Mikey for #1 crew).  But it was what Melanie told us afterwards, "The trails just call some people", that solidified the answers to WHY?  The trails just call some people.  The rest of the Kona crew sprinkled in, Mikey, Grant, Sara, and Janet.  We all wore smiles and had
experiences that would fill the rest of the weekend conversations.  I can't thank Janet & Grant from Bike Works enough for taking a little crew of us over to be part of Oahu trail running. Even bigger is how supportive they have been (are) of my dream of HURT100 since day1.  I guess after leaving triathlon I'd just assume I'd take on all my goals solo, but they are still at my side like they were when I was a girl on a bike.

Now... HURT100!!  Has this post run too long to write all 100 thoughts that happened?  Mikey, the absolute most selfless person I have ever known agreed to go an entire loop of the HURT100 course with me. HURT100 is five 20 mile loops, I just wanted to experience 1 loop so I could return to Big Island knowing a little more of what I'd be in for!  No matter how much people had been telling me about the race or their experience words can only mean so much while experience would mean infinity more.  Sunday morning finally arrived, the legs felt pretty good even after Mango Madness, Sara, Mikey, Grant and I would begin together...

This isn't so bad, just like yesterday, I've seen this part before.
Why is Grant starting so fast?!
I'm going to take this like I saw Malory take this part yesterday.  
I wish I could run this with all the Oahu trail girls!
I like the view from the edge better.  I bet this is scary in the dark. Get off the edge Bree.
Trail map.
Bye Sara and Grant, have fun on the hike to the waterfall!
Just Mikey and me, yay.  Like a date on the trail!
Mikey, I can't read a map, I'll just follow.
Maybe I should tell him I can read a map I just don't want to argue 'cause I think I'm right.
Woooooo down hill! Weeeee!  Not wee.  Faking weeeeeee. DO NOT FALL.
I need to pee.
Mikey, are you okay?  
I am going to name this part of the course rooty.  
So many roots!  So many roots.  It's like a fallen ladder of roots!
This is the worst date ever. He is ignoring me.
Bree quit being so damn happy on a trail, you're annoying him.
Why do people run injured?  
This is going to be the longest day ever if we walk the entire thing 'cause he's injured.
This is going to be the longest day ever if we don't talk the entire thing.
I feel like running.
I want to run.
I'll run all the run-able parts, hike the crazy parts, and not fall down the hills.
Everybody out here hiking is so happy. 
Just keep fueling like it's an Ironman. Good girl. Eat more. 
Will he be mad if I run ahead of him?
This is wrong, all wrong, pretty sure we are off course, Bree DO NOT argue, just go this way.
Yep, off course, he figured it out. Just smile. Just smile. He looks so upset.
Why do men get upset about directions, maps, and navigational skills so easily?
I don't care if we got off course, I am having the best time.
What's 2 extra miles?
Mikey Brown quit being grumpy! 
I don't care if we went off course, I did twice yesterday and still had fun! 
Oh, but he's injured, every moment extra out here is just more pain for him.
I'm naming this part stair master. 
When I get home I'm going to learn to love the stair master and do it all day one day!
He looks so miserable. Don't look. Don't look. Don't let him see you looking at him.
Now I feel so bad. He's out here for me and I'm not even talking to him,
Go tell him how much this means to you.
What guy on Earth would suffer this trail for a girl?!
Hey, I love you. Do you need drinks or anything?  I have lots.
Bamboo forest! Is this for real! The BEST wind chimes in the world.
Wow! The view.  This view.  And him. He kind of looks cute being a pain in my ass.
I wonder if he knows I love him even though I don't like him right now.
Nearly to the waterfalls!  Seriously, this just keeps getting better!
Slippery. Don't fall Bree.  I fell.  
I think I broke my knee, stop exaggerating Bree.  Big girls don't cry.
Mikey just walked right around me, leaving me on the trail on my knees, my broken knee!
YOU'RE fired Mikey Brown!  You can't crew for me being a butthead!
Wait, I'm the butthead, he is out here for me!  He doesn't have to be.
Pick yourself up and run. Go catch back up to him.
And he is leaving me in the dust! RUUUUUUUUUUUUN.
I hope we get a rainbow.  
Oh my gosh!  This is the prettiest view I have ever seen!  I want a picnic here!
If I was a guy I'd propose to my girl right here!  This place is so beautiful!
I'm going to run, run fast, it's okay if he can't keep up, I'm running!
I wonder if Madam Pele ever rules these trails like she does back home.
Mikey, I am running down this trail and back up solo, you can wait here and rest your knee.
Is that mean?  No. That's nice.  He won't make it worse doing this super steep section.
I'm a good girlfriend letting him rest the knee.
I'm the worst girlfriend ever.  Ugh.  What's a girl to do!
Wow, this is my new favorite part of the course!  
I have never seen anything like this in my life!
I feel like an explorer finding paradise!  Hard to get to paradise.
Okay, do I slide down this rock on my butt or what?!
I'm totally sliding on my butt, please don't rip shorts, please do not rip!
This is probably dangerous being down here by myself, nah, he knows where I am.
Okay, this must be where aid station #2 is.  Cool.  Not lost at all.
No wonder the finisher rate for this is like 40% or something.
Keep humble Bree.  Keep patient.  Keep kind.
I still can't believe this is my life.  SO THANKFUL.
Up. up. up. up. up.  Hey, there's Mikey!
I am so happy to share this with him. I wonder if he's having fun. I hope. Nope. 
Hey, let's run this part! It's straight up like nothing I have ever been up!
I am totally taking a picture of this.  It's like a wall.  Do the girls walk this or run this or crawl this?
How do people do loops 4 and 5 in the dark?!  
I'm going to pee again.  Hydration game on point. And Mikey just took off.
Only 8 miles to go!  
I'm kind of sad this is almost over.
Not really, 8 trail miles is not like 8 road miles... plenty to go.
5ish miles to go.  Now I'm really sad.  I'm not ready to get off the trails.
Oh, he's running strong now!  Yay!  He totally did not make his injury worse.
Cool, back to being a great date! 
1.8 miles to go. Really not ready for it to be over, I feel like going as fast as I can.
I wonder if I'd eat it if I just let lose and ran carefree?
Nah, be mindful.  Don't risk falling this close to the finish.
I want to hug and kiss him!  Mikey we did it! loop done!  I would like 4 more, please.
I know he'd never punch me but he looks like he could punch me.
Did I just give him the world's worst 20 something mile experience?
Well, at least if he hated it he won't want to race it and will crew for me. 
I secretly enjoy being covered in mud. And these shoes are amazing.
Don't tell anyone but that was funner than Ironman.
I am so glad to not be a triathlete anymore.
Can I call myself a trail runner yet?  I'll run a few more first, for now I'm just covered in dirt.

That's what I can remember of the day.  So many thoughts, so many emotions.  I hear stories of couples and best friends
throwing away relationships out on that trail.  I surely ran through a million thoughts of my own out there, mostly all pleasant, entirely desiring to be part of HURT100, yet also reminded of how fortunate I am to not be taking on the trail dream alone.  Despite everything that went on out there I was so thankful to share it with someone who I know will stick with me through the highs and lows of being support crew. Yeah, even after announcing somewhere over looking a gorgeous valley that Mikey was fired as my support crew (we had a good chuckle) both of us are enjoying these days on trails and just figuring it out as we go.  We don't find out till August if we are in and I'm still entirely okay pouring so much of myself into this while not losing myself, that's what makes the unknowns so special-going despite knowing.

What's next...?  I'll play in the Kona Marathon next weekend. I've never had the chance to run it because I was always doing an Ironman somewhere far away or saving my legs. I'm totally looking forward to banking up some miles in a race I've yet to run through my backyard...

Happy running!
Bree xo