What a summer this had been! It’s been a bit too busy and a bit too fun! I never thought I would be traveling to so many different places to run and climb mountains! I struggle with wicked race anxiety and find that running races in places that I don’t know with people who are strangers seems to take the edge off!
I love showing up to a race and not knowing anybody! There is something really fun about meeting people for the first time. There are new stories to share and there is also the mystery of where you will fall into the pack of runners. I love looking around at everyone before the race starts, trying to figure out who most of my run will be spent with. With ultras the days are so long that I typically have a chance to settle into a comfortable rhythm and enjoy chatting the hours away with someone I don’t know!
I have been having an absolute blast running the White Mountains and doing so much training there! I am also noticing that my actual running is starting to decline a bit from seeking out the elevation. Just like life, running needs to be about balance and a trip to Washington state reminded me of that.
Ryan and I flew out and met up with our friend Rob. It was hot, really hot out! We drove down to the race and got our bib numbers. It was a perfect morning with so many happy runners checking in and getting their numbers! After having our mandatory gear check we were ready to run the Volcanic 50k.
We were off under summery skies and a nice crisp morning. I went out a little bit too hard but backed off after realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain that pace. The trees were really pretty and there were so many flowers! Then we popped out above the trees and were treated to amazing views of Mount St Helens and blistering sun and heat!
I loved the big rocky sections and they felt so much like home. I danced through them effortlessly trying to find the orange cones marking the course. As we ran around the mountain we got to see incredible waterfalls, wild gullies, the blast zone and snow covered mountains! It was amazing!
It was also really hot so whenever I came up on a river (which were very few) I went in, soaked my hat and my clothes and cooled down. In one stream I fell and lost my sunglasses!
At mile 12 I got passed by an incredibly talented girl who ran up the sandy hill like a gazelle! I was so impressed by her running that I tried to keep up and was not able to match her strength. She ran off into the distance as I settled back into my comfortable pace.
I had the pleasure of sharing many hours with a few really nice runners and we laughed about life, family, running, jobs and traveling. It was really nice to share a good part of the run with such great people!
After the last boulder field we dropped back into the woods for one last descent to the finish line where I finished 2nd woman! We were greeted with finishers glasses and a tent serving food and drinks! We hung out for several hours chatting with everyone and really enjoying the Washington race scene!
After a perfect run on a perfect day Ryan, Rob and myself camped out in a nice camping spot below the mountain. Rob was kind enough to show us around Washington even with the smoke from the forest fires. It was a wonderful trip but I sure missed home and my doggies!
I love travel races! Where else can you do a run without trying to do the logistics of food, water and finding trail! To run on a marked course with food, water and smiling volunteers offering to make your day special it is a no brainer!
For now I am going to enjoy some fun runs in the White Mountains that make me so happy! There is nothing like what we have here and I feel so comfortable running these trails!
Thank you to my awesome sponsors La Sportiva, JULBO USA, Choucas hats and Boom Nutrition for all of their support. Thank you to my coach Andy for dealing with my insecurities and doubts I have with my running and helping to learn more about myself as a runner. Thank you to my husband Ryan and my sweet pups Jack Puppy and Bennett for sharing so many miles and adventures with me! Thank you to my friends for always being there for me, we really don’t get to see each other enough! I am one very lucky girl!
The secret to life is being able to appreciate the little things in life, to be happy with what we have. Happiness is knowing that the universe has a plan for us and realizing the good times are just as awesome as the tough times.