Putting together my cool impossible for 2014. Like a child on Christmas Eve with visions of sugar plums dancing in her head... except my sugarplums have words printed on them like Tor Des Geants, Tahoe 200, Hardrock, Western States, Wasatch, Cayuga.. My brain dances with words and phrases, conversations with coach, “I don’t want to level off, I want to improve”, “Do I have the potential to develop into a more competitive ultrarunner?”. Statements made by the likes of Aristotle, “The true nature of a thing is the highest it can become” and coaches response, “And height is infinite!”. Can I see a “5” in my 1 mile test in 2014?. Skyrunning World Series. “Maybe something to think about long term is to become one of the best age groupers in the country”- before I’m in my 70s! I want to maximize what I can accomplish..raw speed, strength, speed endurance, climbing endurance...that’s all. Dreaming to dream. All of this culminating into a cool impossible for 2014. Cool impossible, such a weird quirky couple of words stuck together. What does that mean? It takes me back to 2011. Ha!...WAY back!.....
I was preparing to run my first 100 miler. It was Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd 10/15/2011. 7 months prior to that day I didn’t know ultras existed. My farthest run was Tulsa Run 15k. In April I ran my first half marathon. June I ran a 50k, my first time on trail, and determined that trail runners were stupid. In July I completed my first 50miler-road. At that point I had not ever “raced” ...and had no intention of ever “racing”. The only “racing” I had ever experienced was my very disappointing performance on the JV track team in high school. I was embarrassed to even go to track meets. My goal at pumpkin was to complete a 100. I was so nervous, I had no idea if I could actually do it. In the days before the race I became a complete mess...I questioned my hydration and fueling plan, my clothing choices, my water bottles, I was terrified. A phone call to coach, Eric pre-race. I was hoping for last minute tips on such things as what to do and what not to do, confirming details of hydration and fueling and? Well, I got, “Demand the impossible!”. That’s it. It was not helpful. What the #$%! does “demand the impossible” mean? I had determined my coach was completely out of touch...or high. Great, great! Demand the impossible! Thanks coach! I grumbled. I continued on a nervous wreck!
The next morning I started the 100. I was told I was going too fast by friends...that I would crash. I felt good. I was walking hills and running comfortable. I stuck to the hydration and fueling plan. I decided there was no point questioning my race plan at this point, just do it, follow the plan..eat, drink, don’t change what you are doing, trust. HA! I thought. If it all goes wrong I’ll just blame my coach! ….”Demand the impossible!”. I had plenty of miles to wonder what the heck he meant by that phrase. Does he mean it might be impossible to finish the race and I should demand myself to finish? I was so caught up in following my plan and pondering my coach’s obvious loss of his senses that I didn’t notice I was moving up. I was passing and passing. I came to around 60 miles and an older gentleman said, “you are pacing well” I recognized him as an experienced ultra runner I had heard about. It made me feel good. I started paying attention. I came to the start of the last loop and was told I was second place female. The first female was about ¼ mile in front of me at around mile 70. It struck me. “Demand the impossible”. Demand the impossible! The impossible would be for me to win. Really?! To be the first girl across the finish. “Holy $%#!” I thought, THAT’S what he meant! I told my pacer, “let’s go!” We passed her at around mi 75. Ha! Now was my first experience at being in the front with 25 long miles left to go! I developed a wicked knee pain at mile 90is and by 95 miles I was reduced to a limpy walk. I still managed to come in first female, demanding the impossible for 25 miles. That’s all I said in my brain, over and over and over again for nearly 25 miles, “demand the impossible”. The last 5 miles I wasn’t demanding anything, I was hoping to hold my lead and finish. I also apologized mentally to my coach for my thoughts toward him! I pulled it off. Came in first female and I think 6th overall. I could hardly wait to tell him what happened. From there to here. From here to where? I say, Demand the impossible!