Forgetting How To Run + Learning to Love Snowy Trails
A whole eight weeks ago I waxed poetically about running, just because. I talked about getting back into the running bit on my own terms. Running when I wanted to, hiking when I could + using Max as my excuse to get outside. Ha. Yea…no. That is not what happened. Instead, I’ve completely forgotten how to run.
Buffalo’s Boulders; Finally Finding the Summit of Buffalo Mountain
Oh me, oh my. It has been far too long since I’ve had an opportunity to wander off into the wilderness simply because it was out there + waiting for me. Winter is finally here + the time suck that is a job is finally in full swing. I’m back to working 50-70 hours a week between both jobs. It’s really not that bad, but it is time consuming. Once I add in the time I spend commuting on the bus 4-5 days a week + the long hours of wintery darkness my window of opportunity to get outside has narrowed. A lot. Of course, this is all my own doing + it was fully expected, yet the reality check of how little time I have to roam after a summer dedicated to roaming it’s not an easy pill to swallow.
The last time I headed out on a non-injury-tester, non-race related run was…early September? Yea, that long ago. Since then I’ve run two time-based races with rather respectable finishes + wandered out onto mountain trails just for funsies, but nothing with any goal beyond “find happy” + survive. It feels a bit like my legs have forgotten how to run; they have definitely forgotten how to yearn for a sweaty, gasping run.
Until Next Time // Big Dog Backyard Ultra Race Thoughts
Not surprisingly, that last bit about the Big Dog Backyard Ultra ended with tears then somehow led “next time” talk. It’s crazy how quickly selective memories kicks in. After I called my race at 15 hours/62 miles I let my last caffeine pill’s affects soak out of my veins before heading back to Big Red to crash into my pillow for a few hours. My body was surprisingly awake [presumably thanks to caffeine we pumped into my body hoping it’d change my mood] but my legs were far less functional than I expected now that I’d let myself sit down. Crawling into the back of a pick up truck required far more effort than I care to admit…running was stupid. I hated running. I was never, ever going to run again + I was definitely never going to run a race as jacked up at Bigs. Never. Ever. Ever!
Every 60 Minutes // Big Dog Backyard Ultra Race Recap
While dumping half a paycheck worth of diesel into Big Red, en route to Utah to volunteer at the Bear 100 [which was supposed to be my “A race” of the year], I impulsively tossed my name onto the waitlist for the Big Dog Backyard Ultra in Tennessee. Typing in my initials to sign away all liability + hitting “register” was weirdly exhilarating, even if it was only for the waitlist. For now.
Just after the Bear 100 racers took off from the start line I clicked through my inbox + hit “confirm” on my official Big Dog Backyard Ultra registration. *deep breath* Bigs is no “regular” ultra, it’s one of Laz’s races that was designed specifically to mess with your mind + force you to find your limits. I went out to Tennessee to crew the race two years ago when Jeremy + Johan battled it out to a tie at 49 hours. It was one helluva experience to crew — the atmosphere was awesome, Laz + his family were great hosts + it was incredible to witness the determination of runners hour after hour. Somehow that sounded fun enough to sign up for, with Jeremy jumping on board to crew because it gave him a chance to hang out with everyone he ran with a few years ago.
It all started this past January at the Winter OR Show. As usual a conversation with Landon made its way from gear talk to trail talk + it become obvious this needed to be the year he ran his first 100 mile race. Obvious, I tell you…because I will always encourage people to do the things that seem just stupid enough to be fun. By the time February rolled around we had both grabbed our spot on the list of Bear 100 registrants, hours before the race sold out. We were doing this! Or, that was the plan.
I was digging through my “laundry bag” on the floor of a tiny hostel room trying to decide if I had enough dirty clothes to warrant the $5 wash/dry downstairs. My mind was telling me no…then I got to the bottom + discovered the running clothes I wore for nearly 3 days in the Washington wilderness near Mount St Helens while volunteering at the Bigfoot 200 Endurance Race. Um, yea. Laundry day it was!
Technically, I could tell you all about the twists, turns, up + downs of the Never Summer 100K race, but what fun would that be? If you want to experience the crazy gorgeous course…go sign up for next year! Plus, my selective memory has already kicked in + I only remember the stunning views from the peaks, not the brutal climbs we fought through to get to them. Ah, selective memory…the only reason we keep going back for me.
Or is it? Maybe there is more to an ultra than just the Instagram worthy courses or bragging rights that come with a long day on the trail. Maybe – just maybe – the entire ultra craze is about more than just what the non-running world sees when they watch us beat ourselves up on rugged trails. No, really, it is. My day on the NS100K course affirmed this, again + again.
I’m back in the van! After two weeks of hot showers, a full kitchen + easy access internet I have returned to my nomadic life in the TETON Sports #yourlead van. And…I was really excited to get back into the van. I was ready to move again. The van must have felt the urge to tone down my giddiness because it has been throwing things at me since the moment I pointed it east for the second leg of my trip.
A handful of weeks ago Tanya + I pointed the #yourlead van toward Lake Tahoe for a few days of trail roaming + wifi-poaching. I could explain all the little details, boring you to sleep…or I can toss a few numbers + handful of photos at you. I’m willing to be you prefer the latter anyway, so if you promise not to judge my lazy version of “recapping” enjoy the basics of our trip to Lake Tahoe!