Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...

WALT WEDNESDAY!

When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Workout Recap - Week 33

Sunday, August 7th – 5 mile run with the hubby

Monday, August 8th – Rest Day

Tuesday, August 9th – 3 mile run

Wednesday, August 10th – 5 mile run

Thursday, August 11th –  3 mile progression run

Friday, August 12th  5 mile run

Saturday, August 13th – 11 mile run

I switched around my runs a bit this week because next week the hubby and I will be going camping for our anniversary so I thought I'd shift things up so I could get my long run done before we leave next week. Instead of a cross training day on Monday, I moved my rest day from Friday to Monday and then moved up my Saturday and Sunday runs to Friday and Saturday. I know, I know, you shouldn't get rid of a rest day, but I think at this point in my training (only two weeks into the 16 week plan) it's okay. Also, right now I am still doing very easy paced runs (trying to ease back into everything after being off for four weeks prior to my 100-miler due to a broken rib and then taking off two complete weeks after my race). 

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...

WALT WEDNESDAY!

When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Workout Recap - Week 32

Sunday, July 31st – 6.46 mile run

Monday, August 1st – 80 minutes on the bike

Tuesday, August 2nd – 3 mile run

Wednesday, August 3rd – 5 mile run

Thursday, August 4th –  3 mile run

Friday, August 5th  Rest Day

Saturday, August 6th – 10 mile run

Don't call it a comeback... call it a slow and steady build-up. Monday technically started my training plan for CIM in December (I also have the New York City Marathon in November, but I plan on using that "just as a training run" because the point of that race is to soak up every single sight and sound that I can - I will NOT be running that one for a fast time). I have been going slow and long for the last two-ish years, so seeing some speedwork on my schedule may have me a bit intimidated, but I keep telling myself that if I want to run with my best friend come December I need to put in the work or he will leave me in his dust.(We have a goal time in mind, but are planning to reassess come the end of August to see if we think that it will be a reality with how everything is going at that point. #WishMeLuck #AndSpeedyLegs)

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...

WALT WEDNESDAY!

When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Yeti 100-Mile Washington Endurance Race Recap

I recently ran the Yeti 100-Mile Washington Endurance Race. [Yup, in case you are new to my corner of the InterWebs, the race was ONE HUNDRED MILES! And, before you asked, yes, you do it all at once - hopefully in under 30 hours ;)]

Spoiler Alert: I FINISHED! And I got my long awaited "in person" hug from Jason, the AMAZING race director!

I am sure you can guess this, but one does not wake up one morning and tackle a 100-miler (or at least you should not if you want to mitigate major injuries and hating your life). A LOT of training and preparation goes into a feat this HUGE. I'm not going to recap everything that went into the build up again (since I’ve already done a few posts with the deets), so if you’ve missed any of that, grab your favorite beverage, pull up a comfy chair and make sure to give them all a read:


And, in case you didn’t peruse the archives, I’ll give you a brief rundown {in warp speed} so we're on the same page. 

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I had been talking about tackling this distance for a while with Brian, THEEE Pavement Runner. We had been tossing around the idea and we finally decided that there was no time like the present and pulled the trigger by registering for the Yeti 100-Miler in Washington (he points the finger at me for "making him" sign up, but I seem to remember it being more of a collective idea ;)). We had both done some of the Yeti Trail Runners' virtual events, love what Jason does for the running community and his outlook on life, and saw that this race could fit into both of our schedules so we said, “why the heck not?!”. In fact, I had actually officially started training for the race before we even registered because #OverAchiever I had other races on the calendar that I needed to put in the mileage for and this race's registration didn't open until January 1st.

Not sure if you see the time on the confirmation, but registration opened on January 1st at 9am and I got my email by 9:01am ;)
I did NOT want to risk the race selling out and then having to find another race (or giving myself an excuse to back out of this HUGE goal).

Let's just say training did NOT go as planned. Again, I don't want to go into the nitty gritty and bore the folks who have been following along on my journey for a while, so I'll just give you a 30,000 feet fly-by. The first "hiccup" I ran into was a hamstring/ glute/ abductor issue that sent me to physical therapy. Apparently my muscles were very efficient in the running range, but when I did a 50 mile bike race on a ill-fitting bike that was too heavy (for me) and forced my range outside of its normal movement, I did some damage and scared my muscles so they wanted to stay super tight because they couldn't trust me any longer (or at least that is an easier way to describe it). I spent about 3 months with my physical therapist trying to retrain those muscles to stretch to their appropriate lengths. When I started, I was actually walking 100% of my training runs - walking the approximate amount of time it would have taken me to run whatever distance I had on my schedule (i.e. if I had 20 miles and it normally should've taken me 4 hours to run, I'd walk 4 hours so I was getting time on feet and hoping that when I'd be able to transition to running my body would be used to being active for that amount of time). In the three months of working with her (going twice a week), we got me up to running 75-90% of my mileage (depending on my workout). We were both stoked with how my body was responding to the stretches and exercises. 

Trying to get stronger while working my way back into running my runs ;)

I don't want to jump ahead too far, but all of the work we did, along with some "forced rest", allowed me to show up to the starting line of the race without having any hammy/ glute/ abductor pain. Oh, forced rest you ask, what's that about?! Ah, well, about three months into physical therapy my PT came down with COVID. She had to cancel my appointments for about two weeks. When she was getting healthy enough to start seeing patients again I came down with the virus. I was fortunate (or at least I thought) that the only symptom I really had was a nasty cough. The cough subsided when I was running, so I was still able to get in my mileage, until one day {about a week after testing positive} I was 19 miles into a 30 mile training run and I coughed maybe twice, which I thought seemed insignificant, but it stopped me in my tracks. Every step, every breath was incredibly painful. I ended up having to have the hubby come pick me up (once he woke up) and I spent the rest of the day on ice, doing anything I could to try and prevent any type of jarring of my body (I literally felt like I might pass out due to the pain whenever I would cough). I went to urgent care the following morning (I wanted to give it 24 hours in case my body was overreacting due to my fibromyalgia or something) and found out I had literally broken my rib in half due to coughing! I had fractured my eleventh posterior rib. The doctor said that because it was only one rib and because of how close it was to my lung they don't do any type of intervention... it's just a "take it easy and let it heal on its own". I chuckled and thought, "Ha, take it easy, was it that?! I AM SUPPOSED TO BE RUNNING 100 MILES ONE MONTH FROM THE DAY OF THE BREAK!" The doctor told me it normally takes 4-6 weeks for the bone to recalcify, so I needed to just allow it to heal. I was told if I started throwing up blood or had trouble breathing that would mean my rib punctured my lung and to get to an ER, otherwise, try to avoid strenuous activities (like running, lifting things, etc). 

Originally I thought if I had to get COVID, at least it was 5 weeks before the race so I had time get healthy... little did I know I would
BREAK A RIB from my COVID cough and need all 4 weeks before the race to heal a fractured bone! WHAT THE FRICK?!

So, if you're keeping score, this all means that the majority of my training runs from January till mid-June included a large amount of walking and then my movement in general came to a screeching halt for the last four weeks of my training cycle. In fact, I didn't run a single step between the break (which occurred four weeks before race day) until literally three days before the race when I went for a two mile jog... My rib felt okay on that trial run, so I was hoping that meant it had healed and would stay together for the 100-miler. (I had decided that if the test run didn't go well I would've been okay going to the event and spectating, but I was really praying I would be able to show up race morning as a participant.)

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As I'm sure you can imagine, not only does a 100 mile race take a lot of training, it also takes a lot of planning (and packing!). If you know me, you know I am very Type A and had multiple lists going at once so I hopefully wouldn't forget anything (don't get me wrong, the race was about an hour outside of Seattle, so it's not like we were going to be in the middle of nowhere with no access to something if I were to forget it, but making and following lists helps to alleviate some of my anxieties, along with the fact that I try to follow the old adage "nothing new on race day"). Not only did I have lists on physical paper and also on my phone, I actually made a binder for the race! (The binder included maps and addresses of aid stations for our crew, as well as lists of what we'd need in each drop bag and would like the crew to have "just in case". I figured the less we had to think about the better - who knew how our brains would be 70+ miles into the race?!)

It may look like a mess, but I promise it was organized chaos ;)

I am nothing if not prepared ;)

And of course I had to lay out a #FlatCarlee before packing all the gear away as a final way to check that I had everything I needed. (Obviously there were some things that didn't make the picture {for example, I had 10 packages of PROBAR BOLT chews with me, but figured it'd be overkill for the picture}, but it gives you a good idea of what I needed/ had.)


After I was {as sure as I could be that I was} all packed, it was time to head to the airport. We were flying out Wednesday evening (so the hubby could work and not have to take PTO for the day) at 7:15pm. We weren't sure about rush hour traffic and airport security, so we left the house around 3:30pm, grabbed a quick dinner on the way to San Diego, got down to where we were parking by 4:45pm, and got to the airport by 5pm. I don't know if I had ever flown out on a Wednesday evening, but, WOWSER, I had never seen the security line that short... I think we had two people in front of us and we were to our gate within 10 minutes of walking into the airport. Since we had time to kill I left the hubby with our luggage at the gate and did some laps around the terminal. On one of the final laps before I was getting ready to sit and wait for us to board I got a text on my phone from Delta... Our 7:15pm flight was being delayed. I went to the gate and we waited to hear what was going on. I'll spare you the details (especially since the story changed so many times that I don't know if I can even remember all of the specifics), but suffice it to say our pilots were delayed on their flight to SD and then were required to take a 2 hour break, so our 7:15pm flight didn't leave until after 11:15pm. #NotTheWayToStartTheTrip

This picture was taken BEFORE all of the delays started rolling in...

This doesn't even include the final delay... 

I was really hoping that the flight delay would be the only hiccup in the travel, but alas we were not that lucky... When we got into Seattle-Tacoma, we took a shuttle over to the rental car area. I should note that while we were waiting for our flight in San Diego, the hubby called Avis to see if they were open 24 hours since our flight was now getting in closer to 2am instead of what we were thinking would be before 10pm. We were told that the SEA-TAC Avis was 24 hours and not to worry. Well, when we arrived there were signs saying the agents were gone and to proceed down to the processing level... When we got there there was a line of at least 30 people with one employee in the booth and no one moving... 

I feel like the picture doesn't do the frustration and despair justice... 

Again, in the interest of time, I'll just say that apparently Microsoft had rented ALL OF THE CARS from Avis, so they were having to process the cars as they were being returned to give to everyone WHO ALREADY HAD RESERVATIONS. To say it was a cluster would be an understatement (and the hubby's frustration level was already at an all-time high). It took us THREE HOURS of waiting in the line before we got a car and could head to our AirBnB (which was 80 minutes away). 

Eventually we were leaving the hell that was the rental car facility...

When we got to the AirBnB around 6:30am I had already been awake for 25 hours straight... We decided to take a three hour nap (that way we could function but A. wouldn't miss too much of the day and B. would be able to sleep that night). 

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Even if you aren't a runner, I'm sure you can assume that a travel debacle like this does not bode well for a top-notch performance. I joked that I was just getting my body ready for another 24+ hour day for Friday (and into Saturday), but deep down I knew this would probably have an impact (while praying my body could still survive with the limited rest).

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[Note: I'm not sharing this for pity or as excuses for my performance, but to say that you can have the best of intentions and sometimes circumstances pop up and get in the way. I still did my darndest to do the best I could with what showed up every day - even though it wasn’t even close to what I would've liked/ planned for. We make plans and life happens... then we just have to pick up the pieces and make the most of what we’ve got on any given day. It's similar to an ultramarathon... Anything can happen, all we need to do is the best we can in the moment and keep moving forward.]

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Once we woke up we were checked out the AirBnB, caught up with our friends who we hadn't seen in person in over TWO YEARS and got ready for the next day. Our place was on a river, so we chillaxed while soaking up the sere scenery. 

Next time we will have to enjoy the location a bit more...

It's #PaveyAndCarlee back together again!

We made an early dinner (pasta, salad and garlic bread) and then went to grab our bibs and turn in our drop bags. We also used that time to get familiar with some of the aid stations our crew (my hubby and Brian's wifey) would be at.

I used pink bags for my drop bags so they were easily identifiable (and then we had to mark them with our name and the aid
station so they went to the right place). My Yeti bag was my "just in case" stuff the hubby had with him while crewing. 

Bib in hand... it's getting REAL!

Soon enough it was time for bed. The hubby and I had slept for 3 of the previous 40+ hours, so we were in bed before the sun set ;) I scrolled through social media for a few minutes, set my alarms and prayed I'd get some much needed rest.

This sort of felt like sleeping in!

Surprisingly I actually slept until my first alarm went off. That normally NEVER happens (even during a normal week at home), so I'm pretty sure my body needed all of the sleep it could get. It also may have been prepping because it knew I'd be on my feet for somewhere between 20 (if we were killing it) and 30 hours (the course limit to finish the 100 miles). 

Source [I feel personally attacked ;) ]

We were staying about 20 minutes away from the start line (which was also the Mile 40 aid station and the finish line). We gave ourselves plenty of time (when we dropped our bags the day before we noticed there were only three restrooms {come to find out only one was open}) to use the bathroom, snap some pics and huddle up for pre-race instructions.

It might not look like much, but this looks like the culmination of 9 plus months of hard work to me...

He's the bestest!

Let's do this thang! (Hubby told me I needed to jump while I still could... oh, how true that was!)

Time to get this party started!!

Before we knew it, it was time to go. Nine plus months of training leading up to this one moment. Wow. All the blood, sweat and tears and we were finally here. I think Jason said it best when he said that the celebration is being at the starting line. WE MADE IT! I'll be honest, there were many points along the way where I wasn't sure if it'd happen (and I don't just mean that in a "wow, this is hard, can I actually do this?" fleeting thought, I mean it in a "I literally don't know if my body is going to allow me to do this or not"). My official goal was to "attempt" my first 100-miler... so no matter if I crossed the finish line or not, as soon as I stepped across the start line I had technically ticked off this goal (but obviously being that close meant I was going to give it my all in hopes that I could drag my body across the finish line as well). 

And we're off!

Brian and I had talked race strategy, but knew it would all depend on what the day would bring. The original game plan was to run 5 miles, then walk 2-3 minutes to take our fuel and repeat twenty times (obviously adjusting when needed). 

When we were both feeling good...

The first few miles ticked away like nothing. I was extremely stoked that the body felt fine, no issues with my rib or my hamstring/ glute/ abductor. Brian and I were chatting it up, getting into our normal groove (at this point in our friendship we had run a lot of races together {everything from 5Ks to 52.4 miles}, so we know how to flow). I know I had mentioned it before, but we hadn't seen each other in person since the LA Marathon in March of 2020 [right before the world shut down], about two and a half years prior, so although we talk on a regular basis, we still had a lot of life to catch up on ;) 

We could run and chat for hours... and have done so many times!

Oh yeah, before I get too far, I should probably explain the course. You start around the middle of the course, run out about 20 miles, turn around and run back those same 20 miles to where you started, then continue running for another 30 miles and eventually double back and run those 30 miles back to the start (which was also the 40 mile aid station and finish line). The course itself was on a rail trail (meaning an old railroad track that has since been turned into a multipurpose trail for biking/ hiking/ running), made of crushed limestone rock. [I decided to wear road shoes since it wasn't technical, so figured I'd save a bit on the weight {for the trails, I rock a high level cushion shoe, which is obviously a bit heavier because of the more cushion} and firmness {my road shoes are a bit softer because they aren't built to have to protect my feet from rocks/ roots/ trails}. In retrospect I'm not sure that was the best route to go, but it's what I did.]

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Anywho, back to the running. Like I said, the first few miles were gravy. We got to run through a 2-3 mile [due to the loss of GPS signal, I'm not 100% certain how long it actually was] tunnel (it was recommended you bring a headlight or some sort of light because it is pitch black inside) and were treated to a decent downhill for the first 20 miles. (For an ultra, this was an incredibly flat course - with only 2,500 feet of elevation gain. You lost about 1,200 feet of elevation from the start to the 20 mile turn around, then had to gain it all back from miles 20 to 40.) Although the rib and hamstring/ glute/ abductor felt fine, around mile 15 or so I could tell my quads felt tighter than they should that early into the race. I attributed it to the slight downhill we were running and we stuck to the 'run 5 miles, walk 2-3 minutes while refueling' plan for the first 20. 

Stoke Level: HIGH!

Running through the tunnels was pretty cool (and as long as the mileage on my watch was OVER and not under I was okay ;) )

When we got to the 20 mile aid station we grabbed our drop bags to refill what we had used during the first leg of the race. It was definitely starting to warm up (when we started, it was in the high 50s, and, by this point, it was in the 70s) and the course was a bit more exposed than I was expecting, but I was hoping we'd stay cool. Spoiler alert: this was not the case!

We were told by some local runners that the rainy season came late this year, which is why
there were still wild flowers blooming along the course - whatever the reason, I was loving it! 

We didn't go chasing waterfalls... the waterfalls found us!

Once we turned around and started making our way back towards the start line I knew I was in for a long day. If you follow me on social media, you probably have seen that I do the majority of my runs early in the day... like really early... like it's not uncommon for me to start a long run at 3am so I finish before the hubby wakes up so we still have the day to spend together... Well, let's just say that when you are doing 95% of your runs before 7am you don't have to deal with much heat training. I think the combination of everything my body had going on (the lack of running the 4 previous weeks due to a broken rib, the lack of sleep two nights before the race due to the traveling debacle, etc) plus now running in the heat of the day, my body was reaching its limit and WAY TOO EARLY IN THE RACE! What started as 2-3 minute walk breaks every 5 miles were turning into walk breaks every 2 miles and then into more walking than running. #NotWhatIWanted

I didn't even mean to catch the bee in flight with Brian walking in the background!

My body felt like it was overheating, which led to me drinking more water to try and get my core temps down, which led to my stomach feeling slooshy, which led to me not being able to run. It was a vicious cycle that I couldn't seem to stop.

One thing that did help was meeting and greeting with Sidney! Thanks for letting him say 'Hi', @katiewillemsen.
Okay, maybe it didn't fix everything, but at least it took my mind off the current situation! 

Brian was doing his best to try to distract me from this "not being my day", but every time I had to walk I felt the need to apologize to him. He did not go through nine plus months of training to have THIS be his experience... I was dragging him down/ holding him back and that made the fact that my race was less than stellar even worse. NOTE: These feelings I was having NEVER came from Brian, they were my own internal pressures I put on myself. We have run together enough that we have both had good days and bad days. We have both helped one another through (even if we haven't been able to change the outcome of the race/ run, we were there to remind one another there will be another race/ run). We both knew there was a possibility that one of us might have an off day (or at least off miles during the day), it's just super unfortunate that it actually happened (and that it happened as early in the race as it did... had it happened at Mile 70, it would have been a little more palatable, in my opinion, but being on the struggle bus by Mile 25 was just plain rough!).

It may have been exposed and open, but the course was pretty darn stunning (except for when the mosquitoes came out... that was less
than amazing... especially because apparently I am super sweet and bugs love to try and drink all of my blood!)

Eventually we finally made it to see our crew at Mile 40. We used the time to refill our packs, load all of our hydration with ice and just take a few minutes to sit and decompress. I know there's always the temptation to sit and stay at aid stations, so we tried not to get too comfortable, but still get the energy jolt (both from our spouses and the food) we needed.

It was pretty hard to get lost on this course, but I still appreciated the extra signs.

I met Jacquelin near the food tent, who was waiting for her runner to come in so she could do some pacing duties. She told me that she follows me on social, but did admit it's for the Walt content... #NoHardFeelings #WaltIsTheBest

Thanks for the pic, @runfasterjacque, I'm just sorry I was apparently already falling asleep 40 miles in ;)

Eventually it was time to get back on the course, so we hugged our crew, thanked them for all they were doing and started our walk (at first it was to let our food settle, but eventually it became evident that walking was all my body would allow...). 

Come to find out the spouses got to swim in here while they were waiting for us... we just got to run next to it.

Brian and I had to get real serious... what were we going to do?! I was a stronger walker (seeing as I had been having to do it for so much of my training cycle) and he was a stronger runner. My walking pace was around 16 minute miles, but that pace was a bit too fast for him to feel comfortable. This means my walking was hurting him. He was getting more fatigued walking 16 minute miles than he would've running, say, 14 minute miles because it was out of his comfort zone (not to mention, the slower you go, the longer you're on your feet, which can hurt in different ways than going faster). 

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Around Mile 50 we made the difficult decision of parting ways. Brian had to be realistic in the fact that he might not be able to finish if he continued walking and I had to be realistic in the fact that this was NOT the experience he had signed up for. 

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Although we would have much preferred to continue together (and cross the finish line of this thing together), we knew what we needed to do to have the highest chance of getting us both across the finish line. Note: There were ZERO hard feelings about this decision. In fact, there have been many a-race we've done together where one of us had struggled and the other has always suggested the person having a good day to continue on without them. It has always been on the table that we need to do what's best for ourselves and it would have no bearing on our friendship. It was an honor and pleasure to spend FIFTY miles alongside one of my best friends and even though those miles may not have looked how we planned, I will treasure them for as long as I remember them ;) {my "fibro fog" causes me to forget quite a bit...}

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And with that, I watched Brian jog off into the distance and I continued my long walk to the finish line. He mentioned that since he hadn't gone longer than the 100K distance before, he wasn't sure how he'd feel when he hit those higher miles and maybe I'd catch him and we'd walk it in together, but I hoped I wouldn't because I wanted him to have the best race! 

Brian leaving me in his dust ;)

Bye, Brian, I hope you have THE BEST RACE YOU CAN IMAGINE (and that I didn't ruin your day)!

Our crew was supposed to be meeting us at the next aid station (around Mile 57) and I figured Brian would have already made it there so they would've been in the loop of the new plan (i.e. he keeps pushing on and kills it while I meander in). 

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Around Mile 55 or so I see the hubby jogging towards me! Originally he had planned to "pace us" for about five miles (either to or from the aid station closest to the 70 mile turn around), so I was not expecting to see him on the course. He asked me how I was doing and I told him that although the rib was fine and I didn't have any pain from the hamstring/ glute/ abductor, that I was still too warm internally and just couldn't get my body to run. I told him that I would probably just need to walk it in to the finish line (about 45 miles away at this point). He was so encouraging and even offered to carry my hydration pack for me (which was a HUGE help)! We made it to the aid station, I topped off all of my hydration with ice and thought I'd chug along. The hubby then offered to keep walking with me. I was floored. I was not expecting that. 

This guy went ABOVE AND BEYOND! He's the best... PERIOD!

The hubby actually ended up walking about 30 of those final 50 miles with me. There were points that he needed a break (shoot, he did NOT sign up for this, so I couldn't blame him for not being able to walk for 8+ hours with me), but, for the most part, he was right alongside of me, out there and kept me going. He literally helped get me to the finish line. 

His company meant more than he'll probably ever know.

I held off as long as I could before turning on my headlamp (knowing that as soon as it was on it would stay on until dawn the following morning), but once it was on all you really had to focus on was the light bubble around you. There was never any point I felt unsafe or worried about my surroundings (but that probably had a lot to do with the course, I'm not sure I would've felt as comfortable had I been in the mountains with unfamiliar and varied terrain that I was having to conquer). 

There weren't a ton of participants in the event, so there were long
stretches you might go without seeing anyone, but even still, I always felt safe.

It seems as though when you hear about folks tackling these incredibly long distances, most people are interested in the fact that you don't stop to sleep. I know that some people do nap on the side of the trails, but most folks (especially for the 100-mile distance) just keep going. Seeing as I hadn't gone further than 55ish miles at one time (the Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim being my longest push at once), I wasn't sure how my body would do with the lack of sleep (although, let's be real, my fibromyalgia and sleep issues sort of train me for things like this, right?!). There was definitely a couple points in the race where I would have LOVED to take a quick cat nap. One instance I remember I was on my own (the hubby was taking a break) and it was probably around 2:30 or 3am. My body had been moving constantly for 20 hours and I was hitting a bit of a wall. I kept looking for spots next to the trail that looked "comfortable", but then I was worried that if I did lay down and the hubby started walking back towards where I was, he might not see a sleeping Carlee curled up on the side of the course. I got nervous that if he did walk past me that we might not be able to link back up and I'd spend precious time having to track down my hubby rather than focusing on moving towards the finish line. I didn't end up laying down, but about an hour or so later, once the hubby had rejoined me, there was a point that I told him I just needed to sit down for a minute. He kept trying to coax me towards the next aid station, promising me a chair I could sit on and reminding me I could put my feet up, but I was at my limit and just popped a squat in the middle of the trail. Other than that I kept chugging along (unless we were at a designated aid station). Had the hubby not been out on the course with me, there's a very good possibility I may have laid down for a quick trail-side siesta. I guess we will never know...

I think this is me sleeping while standing...

I wish I had more interesting stories to share during this section of the race, but I guess I'm also glad I don't have more interesting stories because that probably would've meant something dramatic was happening. I literally was just putting one foot in front of the other, trying to make it to the finish line. My lower back was definitely upset with me, so I was stopping every mile or so to stretch it out, but other than that I was lucky to not really have any ailments to deal with. (I also didn't have any hallucinations or other "strange" things happen, which is a bit of a bummer, hehe.) The only "issue" I had was having to go potty without an actual bathroom in sight (but that's why you pack things like toilet paper and ziplock bags when you're on the trails). I was glad this happened after the sun came up Saturday so I could see my surroundings (the last thing you want to do is twist an ankle stepping in a hole or rub your bare booty on some sort of poisonous plant). 

I was stoked to take my headlamp off when the sun started to rise on Saturday morning, but the realization
that you have been "running" for over 20 hours is a bit much to handle when you are that fatigued.

I should note that I did run into some fueling issues. At one point I just needed more salt. All of my fuel (my chews, my electrolytes, etc) were sweet and I was just too sweet'ed out (even things like peanut butter and jellies were too much for me to handle). I ended up switching to things like pickles, potatoes dipped in salt and chips for my calories. At one aid station I was actually able to grab a tortilla filled with avocado and it was heavenly! #GottaFindWhateverWorks

I normally don't drink pop, but I needed some sort of caffeine in my system...

Yep, I even got caught by the professional photographer with some chips and pop ;)

I've got to say, there was never a point in the race where I thought I was going to have to stop or that I wouldn't make it. I knew that the 30 hour cut off meant that you had to keep an average pace of 18 minutes per mile and I knew that I was doing that (or at least I was doing it for long enough that I had banked some time... towards the end of the race I was definitely dipping into the 20 minutes per mile land, but was doing mental math and knew I was still okay). As long as nothing disastrous occurred, I would be a 100-mile finisher - the only question was how long it would take me to finish. 

The sunrise wasn't too shabby!

The hubby's perspective: me pulling up the rear ;)

My perspective: me trying to keep up with the hubby ;)

Towards the end of the race I did feel as though the balls of my feet were getting a little raw. I was worried that there would be some major blisters on the bottom of my feet, but ignorance is bliss so I kept on my socks and tried to trudge on. There were a couple times where I would lean on a rock, take off my shoe and try to shake/ wipe any sand or small pebbles out, but I think it was more just the constant rubbing of the feet for those 26+ hours (at that point) rather than a specific rock that had made its way into my shoe. [In case you care, I did have a blister, but it was deep, so I walked on the side of my foot to avoid pain but it wasn't a surface-type blister I could pop. It went away within about 3 days.]

The smile may appear forced, but I was grateful for every step I could take on the course!

Eventually it was time for me to cross the finish line. The hubby had walked back from the finish to meet me and walk me in. He let me know about how far we were from the end and kept reminding me that I was going to get my buckle! (For those of you who didn’t know, races over 100 miles often give belt buckles instead of standard race medals {the tradition stems from ultra running's shared history with long-distance horse races}. This was going to be my FIRST BUCKLE!)

So close I could almost taste it!

After the final turn I saw the parking lot, the Yeti Trail Runners' arch and a few spectators hanging out. I was SO STINKIN' STOKED to have gotten to this point, even if the journey to get there was NOT what I had expected in the slightest.

Brian snapped this picture on my way to the finish. It makes me chuckle because a few years back we
were spectating the San Diego Rock N Roll race and a friend of ours ran by us while we were cheering for
him and he yelled "I'm not stopping" because he wanted to take advantage of the downhill. Because I was
so close to the finish line I thought to myself "I'm not stopping" and it reminded me of the memory.

Me laughing it up with some of the volunteers on my way to the finish line (PS You can see Brian in the background)

Soon enough I was walking into Jason's arms and he was congratulating me for making it "with plenty of time to spare". He knew my training hadn't been what I had hoped, that life happens and that he was proud of me for enduring anyway!


I was able to introduce the hubby to Jason (although Jason joked that since he follows me on social, he "knows" who Ryan is ;)). We thanked him for putting on such an amazing event and passed on our gratitude for everything he does.

These two guys are pretty fan-freakin'-tastic!

We hung around for a few minutes to snap a couple pictures, but to say I was exhausted and wanted to lay down was an understatement. Had I been thinking straight I would have made Brian take a picture with me, but our brains were all a little fried, so you'll just have to imagine a picture of the two of us being so freaking proud of one another for finishing!


Let's be real, the time on the clock isn't super important, but I wanted to share it more because I figured if I didn't I'd probably forget it. My wach had me at over 102 miles, but I think that'd because of the GPS jumping around when we went through the tunnels. Officially my finishing time was 28 hours, 7 minutes and 45 seconds. I placed 29th (out of 50 finishers), 11th female overall (out of 22) and 1st in my age group (out of 3). But what really matters is I FINISHED!

AND LOOK AT THAT BUCKLE!!

Shortly after I finished, the four of us jumped in the car, made it back to the AirBnB and everyone passed out for a couple hours. Don't get me wrong, the stairs up and down from the loft were tough and my body was fatigued, but overall I was extremely happy at how well my body held together with how little I felt like I was working with while on the course. 

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After everyone woke up and showered, we ate and soaked in our success. Brian even got me to record my first reel ;)


Bedtime came early (although we would've loved staying up all night to hang with our friends, our bodies would NOT allow it due to how little sleep all of us had gotten over the previous 72 hours), especially with early Sunday morning flights. Travel on the way home was easy breezy (the line through security at SEA-TAC was like an hour long, but other than that everything else ran incredibly smoothly). The hubby and I picked up our car, picked up the pup and were home by 2pm.

One quick selfie while I waited for the hubby to pack the car before we went to the airport

I took two weeks completely off after the race. The first week I didn't walk to work or walk on my lunch, but the second week I started walk commuting and strolling a bit at lunchtime. I wanted to give my body both the physical and mental break after the grueling nine months straight of training I had put it through (even if some was less than ideal). #Recovery

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Now that the race is a little ways in the rearview mirror, I thought I'd share my thoughts. (I wanted to give the experience time to marinate a bit so I didn't jump to any rushed conclusions.) First, I don't know that I will do a 100 miles again. Sure, there may be a part of me that would love to see how I could actually do if my training and body cooperated a bit more, but the distance is a beast and it is definitely not something to be taken lightly. This is the problem with long distance races, you train for weeks/ months at a time and the event is a single day... if it isn't your day, it's not like you can just try again a few days later... At least currently, I don't know that six to nine months of training is worth trying to knock a couple hours off my finish time. I've learned to never say never, but for the time being I think this distance might be a one and done. Next, I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. Sure, "I finished", but I have spent the past two weeks beating myself up that I walked at least 70 of the 100 miles. For me, the challenge was seeing how I'd do RUNNING the race. Now, before you get on me and say things like "you wouldn't say something like that to someone who had finished a half marathon/ marathon/ ultra/ etc", I know, I know. But that doesn't mean my feeling of disappointment isn't valid. I can be both proud of myself for never giving up and disappointed that the day didn't turn out how I would have liked. I didn't live up to my expectations that I had for myself - for better or for worse - plain and simple and that's a bummer. Feelings are complicated and I may always feel a bit of a sting when I think back on this race, AND THAT'S OKAY. (And in a couple more days/ weeks/ months I may change my tune and be super stoked about it all - and that's cool too!)

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Running is simple, but it's definitely not easy. And although running is often a solo sport (at least for me), it still takes a village. I can't close this post without thanking all of the people who helped get me to the finish line. You know who you are and I wouldn't be where I am or the person I am without you - THANK YOU! YOU FREAKIN' ROCK MY SOCKS! (That includes Nathan for paying my registration, PROBAR for keeping me fueled and the other awesome brands I work with!)

And, in case you were wondering what's next, I've got the New York City Marathon in November and CIM in December ;)

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Have you ever been simultaneously proud and disappointed at the same time?