Category: Running

And We Run [Ice Age Trail 50 Race Report]

You have GOT to be kidding me. Two miles in? Already? No. NO. Too bad. This is it. I’m all in. 

I’m doing this. 

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heading out around 6am on the nordic ski trail at the beginning of the ice age trail 50.

MILES 1 – 10.68 >> NORDIC SKI TRAIL LOOP

Saturday morning May 11, just six months after running my first ultra marathon, the Wild Duluth 50k on the Superior Hiking Trail – and swearing 27 miles into it that I would never, EVER entertain such a horrible idea ever again – I laced up my shoes for my second ultra, the Ice Age Trail 50 Mile race in the Kettle Morraine State Forest near La Grange, WI. I was poorly prepared and fairly convinced I’d DNF. Finishing under 12 hours was my only goal. 

Since the WD50k, I hadn’t given my body the rest it wanted and needed. Instead, I signed up the very next day for the Ice Age 50, figuring if I could just sustain my fitness level I’d be fine. So over the course of the last six months, I overtrained and endured various ongoing injuries ranging from IT band issues in November and December, to metatarsal stress reactions in January and February, to running a half marathon on a sprained ankle in March and re-spraining it two weeks before the IA50.

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Running and Other Impossible Feats

 

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It started as a weight loss obsession; my utterly unhealthy have-to-get-skinny response to my sister dropping major weight after having two babies. I’d always felt inferior and ugly. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had what’s now called “body dysmorphic disorder” – that awesome head condition where what you see in the mirror is totally unreal, but which motivates you to do whatever it takes to see what you really want to see (which will never, ever happen, because the problem isn’t what you’re looking at, but the eyes with which you’re looking). 

But, thanks to my hyper-competitive nature, her weight loss rocketed me to new levels of self-loathing. I felt fat. I felt disgusting. And so when I began running, it was from a place of self-hate. I ran to burn calories. I ran to see how many calories I could burn while consuming as few as possible. I’d placed myself on a 600-calorie-per-day diet – and was terrified of maxing my daily calorie budget – while running daily to burn 500 at minimum. 

I was full-on anorexic. 

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Winter in Bloom: New Ink

Sounds weird, right? Nothing blooms in winter.

So last Summer, as I considered what I wanted to get for my new tattoo – the all-important, representing-my-life-and-it’s-many-woes-and-wins-since-Eli-was-born ink – I ran the gamut. Flowers? Dead flowers? A specific plant that blooms once and then dies, but in its bloom is utterly magnificent? And how to represent the family around it? Birds. Okay, birds. But what birds? What kind of bird would Paul be? And Matt? And Eli?

Well, finally, I settled and simplified and landed on a barren tree – you know, for barren me – with four little nondescript birds hanging around, one of which would be flying away (because, you know, Matt’s 15 now and about to…fly…away…).

I scheduled the appointment for the weekend after my birthday with an artist in Nashville. He’d done my Amaro-Rwot tattoo, which I love Love LOVE, so naturally I assumed this one would be equally awesome. Right?

Wrong:

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I Am An Ultra-Marathoner (eeeeee!)

The Beginning. 7am. Sunrise on Spirit Mountain. Incredible

Three years in the making. That’s what yesterday’s achievement was.

Achievement? I’m not sure that’s the right word. It felt so much more colossal than that, and yet…so much less. At the finish, I simultaneously felt like I hadn’t done anything all that incredible, and like I’d conquered the universe.

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Top Ten of Twenty(20)Ten(10)

Because it’s the end of the year, and because everyone who’s anyone who has nothing better to do does this…I’ve decided to make a Top Ten of TwentyTen list for your perusal and enjoyment.

So here goes.

10. I ran 25 miles in my longest training run to date, while training for my first ever 50k ultra marathon. It took me 5 hours and 20 minutes, but I did it, and it was amazing.

9. I enjoyed traveling to countless cities – for free! – with Husband, thanks to his job which affords him this amazing perk of frequent flier miles which added up to a free one-year companion pass for me. Which means I can go anywhere with him, anytime, for nothin’. Go Southwest!

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