Sunday, December 31, 2017

Miles.

The above photo best describes my year as a runner, possibly my entire 2017. A former coach once told me I thrive in chaos, it was a compliment (I think) and that sort of became comfortable for me.  I like to call my life, "a touch of chaos." I am all over the place and usually lost but always find my way and it must go nonstop except to stop (I embrace my moments of rest).  To me, this is the diamond in the rough of life.  It gets hit and beat and undergoes its chaos all to become what it is meant to be...

Back to that map!  One of our runs was supposed to be a couple hours, maybe 3.  But we took something like 7 and ran out of food, water, and slowly daylight.  It was a trail that had us crawling on all fours and scaling tree tops.  We retraced and retraced our steps just looking for a way out only to find our best bet was to make our way through the unknown to "that tree".  All year I have been slowly making my way to "that tree."  My tree is HURT100 and today we are a day less than 2 weeks away. All year has been just a single step at a time in that direction for me and it's been the most humbling, chaotic, sometimes easy, most beautiful path I have ever taken.  

I'll spare you the reading of race results for the 24 races I did this season, yes 24.  I call it passion with a twist of purpose, I've been whispered it was stupid.  But that's what you do when you have one goal for the year and it's bigger than any other goal you ever attempted, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, left right, left right, all the way till you get there.  Often not a straight line or a pretty one.  If you grew up at all country bumpkin you can relate, "chop wood", you just keep chopping.  Or if you're a Karate Kid at heart, "wax on, wax off", you just do that till Mr. Miyagi says to stop...

Focusing on one run for an entire year was so much easier than anticipated-I just picked a bunch of pretty places to run or places close to my heart and put them on a giant list, then ran them when I had time.  Motherhood, Mikey, working towards my masters, and full time 1st Grade Teacher all weaved themselves together so nicely despite piles of miles.  I find myself resting here at the end of a year seeing the reflection of a beautiful quilt...it all just came together. And it's strong. I will always be one of those girls that bites off more than I can chew and often lose my breath in the process, but let me tell you, I have never been left wondering, "what if?" nor do I end up with what my momma calls, "the crumbs of life".

So here we are on the brink of 2018, I shall reflect on the runs that meant the most to me over the course of a year...in no fancy order...here are the days that will fuel my heart and soul when I need it most during HURT100...



Maunawili 22 mile trail race on Oahu... This was my first "long run" on a trail, 22 miles, I felt like a free bird.  Also my first trail win.  Not that I ever set into motion goals of winning this year, it was more about collecting miles and experience.  Perhaps racing with no pressure or expectations after years and years of fighting for paydays all summed up by a finish line it felt good to cross the line with a course record and a cookie as the reward.
Kauai Marathon...ran a 70 mile week, decided to toe the line and see what happens.  Landed my Boston Qualifier and a trip to Japan for the Iwaki City Marathon!
So incredibly lost.  On this day I knew Grant Miller would become one of my HURT100 pacers.
Billy Barnett, Michael Sullivan, and I ran from Hilo (Coconut Island) to the top of Mauna Kea. It was unbelievable.  So many miles, so much laughter, and ridiculous amounts of head games to overcome.  Another 40+ mile run in a single day for me...

Mauna Loa summit.  In the dark.  All the way.  Freezing.  Arrived at the top for sunrise. Freezing.

Grant and Pat teaching me to run down hills, Kaloko to be exact.  Impact lessons 101. 
Ka'u Half Marathon...Kainoa ran, too.  ALWAYS the best run when shared with family.
Peacock 55 miler.  Pat (My HURT100 training partner from day 1) and I got to share the first loop together and never looked back.  It was my "more difficult than childbirth" run. 
Waimanu.  So many Waimanu loops.  My favorite run on the island.  It was my first hike years and years ago.  Kawika took me in slippers, it took all day long.  I ran here as much as I could, at least once a month because it is my heaven on Earth.
Waimanu-again.  This time it was my first solo run into the valley.  Mikey took me here on a date and said I can go run all by myself (he never prefers me to run alone in places with cliffs and mudslides).  He waited with his camera for me.  I ran sub 5 and came running to him with pride, thinking it would be possible to break 4hours...hmmm...then he took me to dinner.  Best date I've ever had. Ps...the next weekend Pat and I returned to Waimanu and made that sub 4 Waipio to Waimanu.

Pure Kona Half Marathon with the Big Island Ultra guys.  I was so tired, we all promised not to rest for this day.  I was getting my bum kicked and didn't really mind.  After all this season was all about running and not results.  But the lead female pacer and friend, Dan Gampon rode back to me and said, "HURT now or HURT never."  I dug so deep and took the lead for girls, it hurt like a pain in the you know what-boobs? Balls? I just wasn't fit for speed but it felt amazing to make the mind stronger than the body.  This day will for sure be one for the low places of HURT100.
Saddle Road, all of it.  I have always dreamed of running from Hilo to Kona.  Even more now that I drive it for my Masters on Wednesday nights.  I'd imagine what it would be like...50 miles.  NOW I KNOW!  The guys let me tag along and gave me one of the best runs of my entire lifetime. Ever.
Wobble Gobble.  I won.  I know, I just bragged! I'm so sorry. But this race is the Thanksgiving Day pride and joy of running and I never, ever won it, ever.  My sister has the #1 turkey trucker and let me borrow it once.  I'd always get second here to some girl just much stronger on an uphill/downhill 6.2 miler.  This year I wanted the hat more than I have ever wanted any piece of jewelry, shoes, or purse! (and I'm a girl).

Captain Cook 5x.  This was one of the first ever trails I've been on.  It used to always take me an hour down and an hour up.  In slippers.  Then in run shoes.  But this year in trail shoes I went from an hour to 44 minutes.  It's the trail closest to my home so I call it my backyard loop.  5 loops here = a HURT loop in vert.  Plus its hot, rocky, lava-y, and full of goats, I LOVE GOATS.
Hilo to Volcano.  My very first Ultra Marathon.  It's next weekend...We aren't running as it's a week before HURT100.  What a gorgeous day with 2 of my best run friends and people in my life.  This began our entire dream of long runs...
Mana Road.  A handful of guys decided they would run Mana Road from Saddle Road all the way over to Waimea.  Haha.  I still pinch myself at this.  We camped overnight in the snow (it wasn't snowing but felt like it!) and begun in the dark.  I am forever grateful they let me come along.  I was such a newbie nerd then, still am, but worse then.  It was my first pair of trail shoes, 42 miles, my longest run, and I packed too much food and not enough water.  Best lessons, best memories, and best way to come full circle back to where I met Mikey...on the same hill, almost 8 years ago.
Hapalua-always an honor to run this and represent Hawaii.  Always.  And this year I met Malia, my HURT100 pacer and new friend.
Mango Madness.  OUR FIRST TRAIL RACE!   I was second but felt like I won the lottery!

SO many runs with Kainoa on his bike this year, so many.  We had the best talks, he will be with me all 100 miles of HURT100.  He told me I'm crazy but to have fun...
My first time on the HURT loop, you never forget your first...hehe.  Mikey and I fought the entire loop. But I learned exactly what it means to love somebody this day...you put their heart above your own just to see them smile.  He did that for me, long story, but I'll remember him on this loop suffering for me, just so I could experience a dream...He will be my head crew for HURT100, not running, hehe...
Waimanu at 1am.  After Kona Marathon I hung out with the family, ate, then met up with Kawika to experience running at night.  It was awesome, even the wild pigs that nearly caused me to run off the edge of the valleys.  It was my first time being awake 24+ hours, major learning experience for the big dance...
 Oh the places...

My first 100 mile week... I made 3 of them in the lead up to HURT100
HURT100 loop practice, the one time I didn't get lost.  Or cry.  Or get hurt...
Running in the snow on Mauna Kea with Pat...this was our "mental challenge" day.  Who can breathe up there?  Or stay warm?  Such good practice for the mind...suffer but don't surrender...
Pololuu with Kainoa and Mikey...I needed several family hike days this year. Kainoa was not impressed with the trails, but he did enjoy the food afterwards...
Meeting Sage.  Learning from the Ultra Legend.  Xterra World Champs, humble pie.

Mikey and Brooke meeting up with me on the HURT loop after Honolulu Marathon.  This is the first aid station of the course.  Now I'll have memories of them waiting for me every loop...
Honolulu Marathon.  I won't share with you the events leading up to this race.  It was ugly.  It belongs snug in my journal where I poured it all out.  Not all days are pretty ones even for a girl on an island saturated in rainbows.  The entire run I kept saying, "He Who is in me is greater than my situation." It was the only thing that got me through.  I fought tears and just wanted to cross the line so I could let some healing begin in the quiet places of my heart.  I ran a sub 3, for me that was the final reminder leading into HURT100 that it will be ugly, difficult, and sometimes just plain painful, but you can and you will get through it...



HURT100 is just days away now. I am beyond gracious for this opportunity as it has given me more than any race I have ever done, and I've yet attempt it.  The journey alone made for some of the best, most unforgettable days of my life.  2017, cheers to miles and miles in the direction of everything I have ever wanted for my life...

Happy Running,
Bree xo