Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Chimera 100 Race Report

The Chimera 100 was over 28 hours of in the moment experience. In our daily lives, we do not get to spend much time in the moment. We exist in our heads or at the next place we need to be. We’re thinking about what to make for dinner or how to solve that problem. We make long lists in our heads of the many chores we need to do. We worry about what others think, and how we look and what we said and what he said.  One hundred miles on foot is purely that- you have two feet to carry you a hundred miles and that is all you have to do. Of course one must fuel her body to make such a feat possible, but once the race begins all you have to do is move.

Along the course I observed the beauty of the landscape and the light and fog and sun upon that landscape. I watched my footing and noticed individual rocks and divots in the terrain. I observed bright yellow leaves and large monstrous plants native to the area. I saw city lights in the distance, sparkling stars and a moon that shimmered above me. I noticed sparkling drops of dew in my headlamp and big yellow orbs that stopped me in my tracks when I realized they were connected to a mountain lion. Even when such a problem presented itself- a mountain lion and I alone on the trail at 3:30 in the morning- all I had to do was pick up some big rocks, bang them together and hope for the best. A problem was put in front of me and to move on I had to deal with it. So I did. No feelings, or second thoughts or choices to deal with. Right here, right now.

During this intensive journey in the now, I crossed paths with folks who were doing the same thing as me. When our paths crossed, we shared stories and the trail. If you can imagine the physical trail as a segment of time, moving forward, both trail and time, I covered distance over time in the company of my fellow runners. I shared moments with a first time 100-miler, a runner who returned to conquer Chimera once and for all, a runner whose life was saved by running and a runner who seemed to be running from himself. These moments are ingrained in my mind, because I was both mentally and physically present during this shared time.

I spent a lot of time with myself. I was alone for long periods of time. I came to this race alone and prepared to run it alone and take care of myself. I had reservations about taking care of myself after the race and being alone when I fell apart, but when all you have to do is think about yourself right here, right now, the task is simple and basic. I found great joy in such simple chores- no thinking, just doing. I didn’t have any hallucinations as in previous races. The mountain lion WAS real. When I felt low and felt the need to reach out for support, I looked down at my feet and the trail and just kept doing what I was doing. It was that simple. The race felt like no great heroic effort. I don’t say this to say it wasn’t hard or without effort. But, for 28+ hours I stayed where I was, physically and mentally, and with patience, movement, calories and intention I covered 100 miles of ground.

That ground was incredibly climby. The course covered 22,000 feet of elevation. Besides the nine mile relatively flat out and back the other ninety-one miles found me ascending or descending. I was overwhelmed by the constant physicality of the terrain. It was a constant reminder of this is where you are right now. My quads and hips screamed, “we’re going down!” My lower back nagged, “Another F@$%#@ hill?”  It hurt. But there was no thinking about it. I wasn’t in my head. My head didn’t stand a chance against my legs. Nobody wants to endure pain for long periods of time to feel Zen, but I love and need to move my body. This is how I experience the present. Some days it just might be easier to climb 22,000 feet than dwell inside my busy mind.

A week now since I crossed the finish line and the aches and pains are subsiding. The nasty cold I contracted post 100- mile effort is beginning to retreat. It took me a week to glean what I would from this experience. I was looking for the big message, the wisdom, the lesson learned. The Chimera 100 was 28 hours from point A to point B. I was there, moving, paying attention, being right here, right now and I loved every minute of it.

My opponent 

Running into Blue jay after 20 miles

Up Main Divide, heading onto the Horsethief Trail

Looking out from Main Divide

Indian Truck Trail aid station. The glowing tents were such a welcome sight.

Yellow glowing eyes attached to mountain lion. (Photo from internet)

Near bottom of Corona - 7 miles down/ 7 miles up- looking up to where I was headed.

A happy place to be. The finish.

(Photos from Chimera 100 Facebook page)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Viper Den

The neighborhood Viper Den

Vipers at work

Viper sword fight

Viper territory map

The Tiger den.
Sheera has red hair and a sword. She also has a force field. She can turn into a white tiger whenever she wants. She eats berries. Hope she doesn't eat vipers.


The next 100 mile adventure is less than a week away. I've been tapering the miles with lots of rest for my weary legs. I feel relaxed, rested and ready. Then the restlessness set in. The  energy that I burn when I run started to stack up. At the beginning of the weekend I wanted to bake and knit and bead and sew. I made my first bread with "wild" yeast and learned how to "stripe" a scarf. I baked cookies, had folks for dinner and had a big play date at our house. I've planned out my homemade Christmas gifts and began researching how to make my own flannel shirt. Time to run. This unused energy needs an outlet. I hope 100 miles will do it.

Sadie in a Saucer

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Hearty Art

By Sadie
Age 5

Trick or Treat!

Halloween Hike

 Another fun Halloween hike in the woods.
21 kids this year!

Sadie is FIVE!

Sadie Rose turned 5 on October 28th. This was a big day. She woke to tell us that her face was changing and her legs were definitely longer. "I've been waiting for this day all my life!" she exclaimed.

She had a very special celebration at school. She served homemade blueberry muffins and shared photos of herself at each year from birth to 5. We told her friends little stories about each year and lit a candle for each year. Franny, her teacher, gave her a snuffer and a beeswax candle so she can put her own candles out at home. ( This is her FAVORITE job- snuffer- at school.)

 On her birthday, her sister surprised her with her very own bunny. She named her Ginny...then Peach and now Ivy. Ivy seems to be sticking.
 She was very happy to have her own bunny. 
She has been reasonably asking why Maren has one and not her. 

We threw a big party with her buds complete with GIANT marshmallow roasting, a sundae bar and an Easter Egg hunt. She reasoned that we celebrate Halloween for her birthday every year and so this year let's try Easter.

She is BIG now. No more naps and kindergarten is next year. She has her own measures for what it means to be big.

Grandma's Visit

 Mom came up for a great visit at the beginning of October. 
She made good buddies with the cat.

And Charlie too.
She also got into the IPA.

This woman hiked the North Face! 
2,000 ft elevation gain in about 2 miles of steep trail.

We did a lot of hiking.

She got into the hops too. She got a tour of the brew supply.

Sadie toured her around the Kincaid "sand dooms."

We tried to get her up into the mountains for moose viewing, but the mountains were fogged in.

It was GREAT to have Grandma here.
Come Back soon! We love you.