15 August 2010

Disorienting Lives

Last night, after running 50k, showering, and eating some food, I headed out to I Made An Art, my friend Sandy's party/art gallery opening/sock puppet making party/bands/intellectual minds gathering. It was a lot of fun. I saw some friends, made a sock puppet, I danced, I met some really amazing people.

I met this one guy who was an amazing painter. His two paintings drew me in more than anything else - so full of color and life. I stared at them and after a lengthy conversation with a random guy, was so pleased to learn they were his.

He was living in the country. We talked a lot abt his life vs. NYC life. He lives on a big plot of land with three (three!!) ponds.  He owns his house. He has no internet or TV (the latter I have, but the internet...that would be difficult for me), and two cats and a dog. He spends all his free time playing music or making art. He has jam sessions and potlucks every Thursday. He was a beautiful hippie soul.

I suddenly tried to imagine myself, and I could. I love all the stimulation, but living in the country - I could be writing all the time. I'd run twice a day on beautiful roads and trails. I'd take really long walks through fields of flowers. I'd make my own jams and grow a lot more fruits and veggies. I'd focus on writing, on living a pure and happy life.

But could I do it? Would I wilt in depression, suffering from boredom? Or would I get in touch with my true self?

After this intense, amazing conversation, I ended up going to the post-Disorient party and was dancing to DJ Sequoia. The music was so slamming I was jumping up and down, kicked off my shoes, and spreading all of my molecules of my being throughout the party, wrapped in love, glitter, and pure fun. I felt alive. I felt free. I felt complete.

Would I feel complete with three ponds? Do I feel complete living on a dirty Brooklyn street with a view of a garage proclaiming, "NO PARKING"? What do I want? I guess life is part of figuring that out.

Mahlon Mayhem

Sometimes, things we cannot control prevent us from accomplishing things we want to accomplish, and things we are capable of doing.

I signed up for the Mahlon Mayhem, determined to do the 100k as a training run for October's Javelina Jundred. I figured I'd take it easy, enjoy the day, have a good time, and get some good miles in. Unfortunately, my body disagreed.

Over a week and a half ago, I first noticed horrible stomach pains. The next day, I felt even worse and went home sick from worse. I could only sleep or couldn't sleep because of the pain, but found anything else (including eating, drinking, walking, running) near impossible. I went to the doctor and they did a ton of tests but were unable to determine anything. The next step is a catscan or sonogram of my abdominal area.

I was really hoping my stomach would feel better, well enough to run. I woke up at 1am before the race feeling absolutely nauseous. I wondered if I'd be able to run. I ate a simple bagel with a little butter for breakfast at 4am, and mostly felt tired.

Unfortunately, the stomach troubles started fairly early, maybe mile 3 or 4 or 6 - something like that. It was stabbing stomach pain, excruciating, sometimes queasiness. I tried to eat, but the only things I ate during the race were a few saletines, some gummi bears, and one gel. Nothing else sounded appetizing.

My friend Shannon was also feeling awful - she has some terrible little tumor-like bumps on the bottom of her feet and was in ridiculous pain so we stuck together - walking a lot, telling stories of ridiculous ex-boyfriends, races, coworkers, dreams of life. We pushed each other when we both wanted to just lie down at the side of the trail.

The course itself was great. It was a 7.5 mile loop (though those with GPS told me it was 8miles). You start out on single-track, lots of ups and downs and rocks but most of it was fairly runnable (with some lovely hills in there for us feeling-crappy runners to enjoy). Then you get to a rail trail and run out for maybe 2 miles - it was pretty, and at one point, Shannon and I saw a snake. Others apparently saw bears. Then you turn around at a mini-aid station (water, heed, pretzels, random other things) and head back on the rail trail another 2 miles. You're back on single track, hills, mud, prettiness. And then you get back to the main aid station, with an amazing buffet that only Rick is capable of - pretzels, oranges, watermelon, pbj, crackers, cookies, gummi bears, M&Ms, etc.

I felt so horrible that each step was agony. Shannon convinced me, "We'll do the 75k. Don't drop down to the 50k." By the fourth loop, she was in so much pain (as was I) that we mutually agreed to do the 50k.

When we finished, we were both relieved. My stomach continued to hurt and I felt more sad than anything. I don't know what's going on with my stomach, but I hope it's nothing serious. At least I got 50k in, some good time on a beautiful day on lovely trails getting to know Shannon even more (she's usually ahead of me), so it was a wonderful day after all. 

13 August 2010

Why We Run Ultras

"... Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense. The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being -- a call that asks who they are ..."

- David Blaikie

11 August 2010

Burning Man Ultramarathon - First Ever 50k in Black Rock City!

As the days get closer to Burning Man, I'm getting more and more excited about not just the amazing festival that is Burning Man, but also about the Burning Man 50k. Running an ultramarathon at Burning Man was a dream of mine since my very first Burn, and I am so excited that I will actually be doing it. In the beginning, I was worried it would just be me, Murray and Jon, but it looks like we'll have a solid crowd. There's 35 people who have sent in their RSVP full info to me, but 83 people on our Facebook page said they were going to do it!

This year, packing is an additional struggle b/c I'm including finishers' rewards, Heed, numbers, and other assorted supplies needed for the race. Also, I'll bring my fuel belt, some gels, extra endurolytes. And of course, what costume should I run in? I'm thinking my favorite tutu might be good (with some Saucony sneakers and a sports bra!) - and body glide everywhere that it can possibly go!

Yesterday, we got some unexpected media attention! Wired magazine picked up on it, and wrote an article (without reaching out to me), "Burning Man Readies for Its First Ultramarathon." So exciting! And now this additional media attention has a few more runners reaching out to me! We also got in another website, Blisstree, on "Burning Man Ultramarathon: Things We'll Never Do." They make it sound unappealing! Honey, this is nothing compared to Badwater or Marathon Des Sables (Sahara MultiDay).

One guy wrote me, saying he had always wanted to go...and now he's in the midst of a divorce and thinking abt it. I encouraged him to come, telling him my story. (Talking to God about how unhappy I was in my previous relationship; God gave me some great advice.) I told him he'd def get a lot of clarity into his life, his relationship, his future.

Burning Man is a week long party, yes, but it's also a lot more. I'm excited for those quiet moments I'll have - running around the playa in the ultramarathon, riding my bike to a friend's camp across the playa, wandering around in deep playa late at night to look at art...I know I'll get a lot more clarity abt what I want and need and what I'm looking for. I know, but it will also provide the necessary motivation for me to move forward. Funny, it has a reputation as being a place for drugs, but this year, Burning Man will be attracting a new group of addicts: endrophin junkies.

02 August 2010

Training Run at Bear Mountain!

My girls and I went for a great 4.5 hour run at Bear Mountain. There were stomach aches, hills, great views, more hills, tripping, peeing behind bushes, mud, freaking out about running out of water, talking about the deliciousness of chocolate Accelegels (that was all me, on the chocolate Accelegels...like pudding, I tell you!), talking about boys, and stupid men, and bad dates, and good dates, and what we did last night...Andrea and I were collectively on less than 2.5 hours sleep, but we substituted some caffeine for sleep, and all that dancing I did the night before - I'm pretty sure it's what propelled me up those hills.