Bryce Canyon 50k

I decided this year that I wanted to attempt my first ultra marathon. My first plan was to run one in February in Texas but shoulder surgery cancelled that. A group of Mud Babes was planning to go to Utah for a destination race and I thought why not!? I will tell you why not. It is hot in Utah, this year unseasonably hot. It is much higher altitude than I am used to and there is a lot of ascent in this race. I knew all of this going in and none of it scared me off. I was less nervous than I normally am for long races. I felt a little unprepared mileage wise but ready and willing to tackle this crazy ass race. My hubs and I decided to make a road trip out of it and do some sight seeing after the race too so I was really looking forward to this trip/race. We left Wednesday before race day on Saturday and drove into Denver, Thursday we drove to Grand junction and Friday we arrived at Bryce. I thought this time would help me acclimate. The entire KC crew had dinner together pre-race at our hotel restaurant and then went to our rooms to prepare for race morning. Each distance had a different start time so the 100 milers were already out there when we arrived in town, the 50 milers started at 6 am, 50k was at 8 and the half marathoners were after that. There were four of us doing the 50k. We were all chatty and excited on the shuttle to the start line. Then it was time to run! The first five miles were our biggest ascent and I was winded and nauseous from the get go. I tried to run smart though and take it easy so I would have some gas left for the second half. It went well for the first 7 miles then my race went to shit. I puked my guts up four times out on that trail, four times!!! It was awful. After the first time I thought I may be able to rally but after the second time I was pretty sure my day was over. Except guess what! It wasn’t over because I was in the middle of the wilderness with no where to go except the next aid station. I first got sick at mile 9.5 and I could go back 2 miles to the previous aid station (where we were warned a ride out would take several hours to get to us) or continue to the next aid station at 14 where Dave was waiting, with my car. Forward motion it is then! Trail runners are an amazing group of people. I can’t tell you how many people asked if I was ok as I shuffled towards my DNF (did not finish) and several even offered to stay with me to make sure I made it. I declined not wanting to ruin any one else’s race. I knew I was rough but also knew I was going to be fine. As fate would have it to get into the aid station (which my watch said was at 14.6) you had to go down a very steep, loose ravine wall and back up the other side. Seriously! I stumbled down and powered my way up the other side to see Dave working the aid station and waiting for me. He waved enthusiastically and jumped up for a kiss and hug. I pushed right past him mumbling that I was dropping and went in to the tent and sat my ass down on a cot where I stayed until the next round of dry heaves sent me outside. Dave had offered a few other runners that were in rough shape a ride back to their car and so he gathered his group of dehydrate, smelly people and delivered us to the luxury of our air conditioned hotel. The last two miles of this experience I swore off running, altitude and all hot weather activities. After a nap and some serious sobbing over the loss of my race I felt a lot better. I would be fine one moment and crying uncontrollably the next moment. I cried over not finishing, no bragging rights, no finisher’s mug (instead of medals), I cried because I didn’t feel well. I have busted my butt to get back in to running shape post surgery this year and I was more than a little disappointed over not finishing. I have never dropped a race before. I put in the training and the hard work and it just didn’t work out this time. It happens to everyone and I know dropping was the smart thing to do but it still didn’t prepare me for the grief I felt.

I went to the finish line to watch my friends finish their races and spent the rest of the day/evening there cheering on those badasses that crossed both the start and finish line at Bryce Canyon.

Like childbirth after the passage of time you forget just how challenging and hard it was and are ready to do it again. I am ready!!19399035_10158855220505254_3877623454136802444_n

 

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Triple Lakes 40K

Sometimes we get a crazy idea and just go with it. Actually, most times. Start a business together? Sure. Take up running as an adult? Of course. Run a new race distance through the woods? Why not!!! Beth and I are training for the Triple lakes 40k in the fall. We thought why not take all of you along with us, at least virtually. If you are a runner you know that running can be therapeutic. If you are not a runner then let me tell you running can lead you to a lot of places, physically and emotionally. There WILL be poop talk, feelings of empowerment, frustration, self doubt and finding new things out about ourselves. We are going to blog all along our training journey and share it with you! So follow us on Facebook and Instagram. FB_IMG_14975418253141

Divorce

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If you had told me 11 ½ years ago that my marriage was going to end in divorce, I would have stubbornly told you that you can take a flying leap and that divorce would never happen to me. I would have been wrong. Divorce: separation, division, split, disunity, estrangement, alienation, schism, gulf, chasm. Those are just a few definitions. I don’t think the dictionary contains the right words for describing this act and I don’t think there’s any one description that fits. Every relationship is different and unique, so it only stands to reason that the dissolution of that relationship would be unique to those individuals. For me? Well, divorce means a lot of things. Divorce means shattering the heart of another human while yours simultaneously explodes in a million pieces. It means still having the greatest human love possible for this other person but knowing that it’s not going to work out. It means cracks in the hearts of those who are close to both of you. It means losing part of your mom status and knowing that any effort you put into forging a close family bond is going to be dismissed, forgotten, never spoken of again. Divorce means a lot of confusion, wondering what others think about you and if some people now refer to you as that bitch who left her husband. Family? For me those lines were often blurred anyway, wondering if I’d ever fit in or be accepted and now, family happens without you. Divorce for me means finding the balance of letting my two little humans see me fall apart and being strong for the children who now come from a broken home. It means worrying that they’ll like dad better or that even they will blame me for turning everything upside down. It means every emotion in the book; anger, loneliness, sadness, hope, confusion, grief and so many, many more. Divorce. Such an ugly word. Of all the words, it’s never one I wanted to describe me. You’re right, it’s fair to say that I chose this, I did. I want the world for him. I want him to find happiness and love himself. I want him to have the most amazing job that he is passionate about and a safe space to come home to at night. I want the kids to love him more and more every day and I want them to see the light and love and talent in him that I always saw. The grief…dear God, the grief and the guilt is almost consuming. We don’t love the same way. We never really did. We both made plenty of mistakes. I gave him my 20’s and he gave me his 30’s and now we’ve grown apart even further. Years go by and people change, trust is broken and sometimes faith and stability never come back. Stability. Like the home we built together, the flowers and tree and all the memories we put into making it a home and not just the piece of property we signed our names to.  Divorce means I will never be the same again. It’s a lasting mark, a scar on this journey that I call life. But scars can be beautiful, right? I dare to hope that the strength I gain might make me a better person in the end. Right now, I’m not fully me. I’m broken, so broken. I’m healing too, I think. Most days I feel like a hurricane, wondering what emotion will flood me next and when the darkness will stop pouring over me. For now, there’s a tiny speck of light that’s piercing my vision. I don’t know yet exactly where that light leads and who or what will help me heal and bring in more light. For now, divorce feels like one foot in front of the other. It feels like loving my kids stronger and hugging them more. It feels like going to work, being a good human and doing my best to take care of me and mine. It feels like making sure relationships are a priority and that I never give up so much of myself that there’s nothing left. It feels like stumbling and wondering when I will find answers. It feelings like one foot in front of the other and hoping I gain strength and love and confidence along the way. It feels like finding me and exploring my place on this earth. It’s pain…so much pain. But… I wonder what will come next?

Struggle

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Struggle. We Struggle to learn to walk and talk and please our parents. We struggle to get good grades and pick good friends. We struggle to choose the right career or the right husband or wife. And if you’re like me, somewhere along the way you get lost in the struggle. You begin to identify with the struggle and feel lost whenever there isn’t a struggle to be had, to the point where you start to realize that you create and embrace things that drag you down and make you fight. So many times I have taken the conflict within and held onto it as if it might kill my will to live if I were to be without it. I’ve never been so wrong. Holding onto the struggle led me through years of heartache and brokeness. I am just now learning to embrace freedom. The reality of letting go of my chains and being able to really focus on my potential is both the most amazing and most terrifying thing I have ever faced. Without chains, I am free. I have all the power and endless choices of paths to take. Sometimes it feels like a lot of pressure and it’s difficult to face the freedom of so many choices. What if I make the wrong one??? But…. What if there is no wrong choice? What if I stepped into every decision as the highest version of myself knowing and acting with confidence that I could face the outcome? I can face miscarriage, I can face divorce, I can face loneliness, I can face fear, I can face the darkness of this world and whatever comes crawling out of it. Because once we face what scares us the most, we can face anything. Pain pours into us but love pours out because we choose that. As humans we have this amazing ability to take the pain and the loss and the sadness that comes our way and turn it into something beautiful and call it life. We can choose to let the struggle define us or we can invite it to mold us into a higher version of who we already know we are. I choose to be brave, I choose to stand strong. I choose to stay on the path and make my own adventure…and I hope you do too.
Be brave sweet girl as you face the sun
Be strong as your hopes seem to come undone
You are not “struggle”, you are not “blame”
Your light it shines, love is your name
Be brave sweet girl, the moon is bright
She’ll light your path in the dark of night
Just one step, that’s all it takes
Just one moment a difference makes
Be brave sweet girl, be brave.

IPhone Video

During a run the other day I decided to video a section of trail I was running. It was a little technical and I wanted to share it. In my mind this video was amazing and I would go home and edit it and it would become mind blowing. It should be noted that I have never edited a video in my life, but I have an IPhone so it should be easy, peasy. Um, no. First of all my video was less than amazing to begin with so the finished product didn’t quite live up to the mind blowing status I hoped for. It is jerky, a little nauseating (think Blair Witch Project), the music doesn’t fit the video length and maybe not all that entertaining. But you know what, I don’t care. I had so much fun making it and I am proud of my first attempt! Yes, I said first because I will definitely be trying again. Videos may just become a new hobby for me. That is one of the defining traits here at Free and Fierce. Try new things, go for it, have fun!!! So if you want to get a little motion sick go check out my video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq20W3yTC-s&t=7s16865116_1906357996259882_7170517685655487564_n

Boundaries

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I am always dehydrated. Always. And do you know why? Because every time I reach for my water bottle it is empty. Every. Damn. Time. I carry a water bottle everywhere I go. I always fill it up before we leave the house. I always shout a reminder to the rest of the household to do the same, but do they? Nope. Then they grab mine when I am not looking and drink it all. This situation frustrates me to no end. I gripe and complain and they continue to drink my water.

A few months ago, it occurred to me that I can put a stop to this frustration. I put my foot down and declared my water bottle off limits. If we break down in the desert and there is a chance they could die of dehydration, I will share but until then they are out of luck. I diligently watched my bottle of water every minute. At the gym, at the zoo, at the grocery store. It took a while but they figured out I meant business and after a few times of them asking for a drink of my water and me saying go find a water fountain they stopped. This is a simple rule but for some reason it took me way too long to figure it out.

I am the type of momma that wore my babies and slept with them when they were little but my kids are not little anymore. It never occurred to me to set a few boundaries for my own sanity. Boundaries are one of those buzz words that are floating around a lot of different issues, work, PTA, family and friends that take advantage. I don’t often hear it mentioned when it comes to your kiddos.

What are some other areas that I set new rules to keep me sane recently you ask. Sleeping with mom. When they are little, sick or have a nightmare I have no problem sharing my bed with my kiddos. However, they are all getting bigger and there just isn’t room in there for three people. They also want to take turns with me when Daddy travels. I enjoy the snuggle time and that they want to be near me still but I wasn’t sleeping well. Time to set another boundary. No more sleeping with mom. I need my space and it is healthy and acceptable for me to ask for that space.

Making breakfast and lunches. This one is harder because I stay home to be a mom. Part of being a mom though is teaching them to be self-sufficient. I have made every breakfast before school and packed all the lunches for the last 8 years. This year I declared the two oldest, they are 9 and 12, old enough to pack their own lunches. Gasp! Guess what, they mostly make good choices and they manage just fine. There is also at least one morning a week that I say, breakfast is what you find in there or grab a frozen waffle, good luck.

Other things I stopped doing, getting up mid-meal to do things for them, letting them interrupt conversations I am having with adults and always sitting by daddy. Sometimes I want to sit next to my husband at dinner.

Some parenting frustrations are unavoidable. Some are completely avoidable. These solutions seem glaringly obvious now that I have implemented them but it took me 12 years to figure them out. I am not going to waste time beating myself up because I didn’t think of it sooner or because I no longer share my drinks with them. I am a mom but I am still my own person and I can have my own space. Without guilt.

I am the momma to three amazing little girls and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Like every other parent out there I want to give them everything and make their lives nothing but sunshine and roses. That isn’t reality no matter what I do, so I hope by setting a few boundaries it better prepares them for life.

 

 

Free and Fierce

Here at Free & Fierce we believe that everyone is on their own unique journey. Along that journey of ups and downs and twists and turns there are so many different ways that we chose to express ourselves and allow healing into our lives. I believe that creative expression and healing can often go hand in hand. In order to have self-expression you must be able to create a connection to a something inside that is a part of who you truly are. We have bodies that change, minds that grow and learn and God knows we have emotions that are all over the board, but deep within all of that we have a core of love and value that never changes. When you begin to get to know yourself, to truly connect to that vibrant sense of love and self that you hold within, you will be a more powerful influence than you can imagine.

Today I chose to honor the journey that I am on to self-discovery but placing a permanent reminder on my body. I invited someone else (Stay True Tattoo) to use their creative skills and come up with the drawing because I am definitely not skilled in this particular area. We must know and honor that we are not good at everything. J I chose the lotus and the poppy flower because they have beautiful representations. The Lotus reminds us that beautiful things grow from the messiness of life and that even though the past may look murky, we can bloom and grow into something beautiful. The Poppy reminds us to find peace along our path and to both honor and learn from those who have gone before us.  Underneath the flowers are the words “Wild Woman.” This is not a license for me to party people, it is pure and simple a reminder that I shall never live inside a box again. It took me a good portion of my life to realize that I didn’t have to look, feel, act, speak or think the way that people wanted me to. I suddenly realized that I had my own brain and intuition and maybe I should think about using that to navigate life instead! I began to get to know myself all over again, from the ground up and I realized how many things I loved about me as well as finding things that just weren’t really a part of who I was. This realization changed me. As I became more like the person I was created to be, I realized a lot about growth and letting go. Right now I am going through the biggest “letting go” of my life to date (that’s a story for another blog) and I need the constant reminder that beautiful things grow from the mud and the messiness and that we must honor our journey- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So in conclusion, there’s this book I once read called Women Who Run With the Wolves. In this book Clarissa says “To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings—all in the same relationship.” I will always be in this relationship with myself and there will be many new beginnings and many ends but I hope that as I grow I will learn to love every part for what it was, for how it changed and shaped me into the woman that I am today. May we always be wild, may we be free and may we never stop loving ourselves along the way.