Barratin // Fight

To say that the last two weeks of been numbing and terrifying would be an understatement.  I know as we move into the future and see how America’s decisions impacted the world, I will always remember where I was when I heard Hillary would not win the presidency.  The small table I sat at when normalcy stopped, reasonable choices ceased, and offering the same opportunity to everyone regardless of race, sexual preference, gender, or physical and mental abilities wasn’t just second nature.

It was Tim’s birthday, we had just been served handmade pasta, had just clinked our wine glasses in celebration of not just his birthday but to a year that would be filled with new opportunities… “What is your bucket list for this next year?”  His phone started vibrating, not once but multiple times from NPR notifications and text messages.  The entire restaurant seemed to be in a trance.  Everyone looking at their phones, panicking, and the wait staff trying their hardest to remain calm and polite.

I will remember no longer caring about an injury that had literally stopped me in my tracks because the safety that running brings me no longer seemed applicable.   I will remember trying to process my grief but being too angry and heartbroken to hide my emotions.  I will remember mourning now unrepairable relationships with family members that chose to vote for indecency and hate.

In the past two weeks, it seems the state of panic has heightened.  We continue to see hate crimes pour in, and future leadership not speaking out against it.  Two weeks of asking the question, “What can I do to help and set myself apart from elitist America?”

We have since made donations to organizations that will be negatively impacted by this presidency, signed up to volunteer at food banks, started the groundwork in organizing a foundation, & supported the freedom of the press and journalism through signing up for a New York Times subscription.

Although this is a hurtful, draining and an overwhelming time, we will not grow weary in well doing.  We will stand up, ask questions, and make our voices loud.  Trump will try to dictate who the American people are, but I choose to be good, I choose to value everyone, I choose to see past propaganda, and press on to ask questions.

I know it is no longer up to the government to provide a better world and encourage peace and prosperity.  It is up to us to show kindness, bravery, and to fund research that benefits our planet and all who inhabit it.

I will not give up, I choose to stand up and fight. Who is with me?

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Brotinn // Broken

10/11/16

Just two days after my 1st place AG win and 6th woman overall placement at OR Coast 30K and  I was feeling good.  I felt ready to get even more serious about Deception Pass 50K training.  Could I place in the top 10?  What kind of PR would I be looking at?  6 years of running and training had led me to this point of feeling strong, motivated, and invincible.

An easy 6 mile, slow, flat recovery run was on my training schedule.

1 mile in, I stop to adjust my shoe laces…Must be just a little too tight around my ankle. Odd, but no big deal… 1.5 miles in… Seriously, what is going on with my ankle?  Is my stride too short or is my foot turnover weird?  Why does this hurt so bad?  Is it just a cramp? I’ll just need to push through this. 

2 miles in, I stop… Fuck, this is bad, this is not a normal pain…  At this point my stride was more of a limp, and every time my left foot landed a dull and shooting pain went from my ankle up my calf muscle.  After 3.6 miles I stopped running and limped the last half mile back to my office… And that is the beginning to my now 4 week journey into injury.

10/11/16-10/13/16

My ankle is swollen and I can barely walk.  I definitely can’t run.  I freak out but remain cautiously optimistic… Time heals all wounds, right?

10/14/16

A paranoid visit to my doctor and one x-ray later confirm I do not have a stress fracture!!  That seems to be good news.  Dr. Cynthia concludes it is a form of tendinitis but nothing ice, rest, and ibuprofen can’t fix. I’m skeptical.

10/19/16

Pt visit #1 – I see the PT for the first time.  He is confident I will be up and running in the next week. Long story short, he thinks I have a lazy hip and glute that is not firing, which is changing my form and causing my ankle and shin to absorb the shock during downhill running…  Remember how my plan was to attack the downhill during the 30K?  That caused a lot of inflammation in my ankle, shin, and calf. The PT did some deep tissue massage, graston therapy, and I am sent on my way with a prescription to bike if I can.  In the mean time, I book treatments for twice a week until we see improvement.

10/25/16

PT visit #2, more graston, deep tissue massage, no running, and add in clamshells + glute bridges with resistance bands.

10/28/16

PT visit #3 – HOLY SHIT graston hurts, laser therapy, add in single leg balancing and calf raises, NO RUNNING.

11/1/16

PT visit #4 – Graston + lower back adjustment + adding in side lunges with resistance band.  Progress is looking good, so I am allowed to run 1-3 miles!  The next evening I run 1.4 miles and cry tears of happiness but also pain.  I have missed this moment but I know I wont be running long distance any time soon.

11/4/16

PT visit 5 – Graston + lower back adjustment #2 + prescribed to continue running every other day for the weekend. My PT would like to see if the issues that were present during the first run were just a fluke.  I did 2.4 miles on Saturday and 2 miles yesterday.  Both runs were pretty limpy, with dull pain the first mile, very noticeable pain in the last 1/2 mile, and severe swelling in the evenings.

11/8/16 (Today)

PT visit #6 – Graston, cupping, laser therapy, adding in single leg glute bridges into the PT exercise rotation, and no running for at least 7-10 days.  Pain is not as bad as 4wks ago and swelling is down overall, but today feels pretty confusing and disheartening.

Maybe it is just rest that I need to fix the problem at hand, and the exercises to prevent it in the future?

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In between these dates there has been withdrawing from my goal race in December, therapy baking, biking, one hike, three runs (limpy jogs?), and a lot of daily PT work — up to 25-30 minutes now.  Venting on twitter (see #diaryofaninjuredrunner) and a detox of all social media; deleting all apps and not looking at strava for a week.  Many tears, a lot of anger, confusion,  rare moments of acceptance… Somehow no regrets from going out too hard during my 30K race.

This has been a very devastating, isolating, and sad time for me.  I know the journey will eventually make me stronger, but I feel lost and absent in the present. With this injury, it has not been the physical pain that bothers me, but the feeling of rejection from an activity I have invested so much in.

Thank you to the community of friends that have refused to let me run away (pun intended) and have reached out through email, text, phone calls, and handwritten letters. Your words and encouragement mean so much to me.

During this mending process, I am not sure what this blog will hold.  Maybe some coping through baking and biking, or maybe just random information on PT exercises. Regardless, I know I will discover another part of myself during this time, and create a new and stronger person with these broken pieces.

Acceptance:  It will be get better.  I will be better.

Muddy slóð // Muddy Trails

This past Sunday I ran the Oregon Coast 30K and oh my goodness it was amazing.  Beautiful and brutal at the same time!!  Wind, rain, mud, single track trail, awesome people, great views, tons of vertical, a new friend / Oiselle teammate, great pizza and beer, I could go on (and I will).  There are a couple things I need to work on in order to nail my next race but overall I am so proud of how it went.

My current training schedule has had me focused on my goal race in December; the Deception Pass 50K.  This past April I signed up for the OR Coast 30K to 1) see the Oregon Coast 2) ensure I kept running throughout the summer and 3) use as a training run for Deception Pass.

I admit that the 30K has not been top of mind until a week ago, realizing that I wanted more out of it than just a training run.  I wanted to use this race to check my fitness and see what I had in me.  How well could I do if I pushed a little harder?

As I started writing out my race plan, breaking the course up into 5 sections, I noticed that between my projections per mile and the prior race course results, I could easily place in the top 10 females!  Racing for placement is completely new to me.  It is both exciting and scary, as you are forced to simultaneously become tough and vulnerable in the same moment.

I wrote out my a/b/c goals and texted them to my best friend.  Either I would go out too fast, blow up, and humbly be passed by a lot of people, or I would actually nail my race plan and be in the top 10.

  1. Pie in the sky goal: Finish in 3:30 and be in the top 3
  2. WHOA so cool: Finish in 3:45 and rank in top 5 females
  3. Realistic and still proud: Finish in 4:00 hours and rank within top 10 females

I went back and forth between nerves and excitement.  Finally focusing on the wise words of my friend Krysta, “If you follow your pace plan, you will have a great race.  If you nail your pace plan, you will place in the top 10.”  It was simple as that.  I needed to focus on my race and not anyone else racing near me.

Race Morning:  Race Overview 9:55 / Start time 10am

Weather was slightly less than ideal with a mix of mist, rain, and manageable gusts of winds between 10-15mph.  James Varner, the Race Director, went over the race course and warned us of slippery wood bridges, wet rocks, and mud.  I nervously laughed, as a memory from wiping out on a wet wood bridge this past spring came back to me.  As much as I love running in cooler temperatures and cloud cover, I knew the biggest challenge would be running through the thick mud and over wet bridges.  My advantage would be the flat roads and steep downhills.

ocean

Part 1:  The Road / Miles 1-3ish:

Initially I planned to run the first three miles conservatively with easy 8:30’s or close to 9’s, but the moment I heard James yell, “On your marks, get set, GO!” I took off and didn’t look at my watch… Less than a quarter mile in, I looked around and noticed it was just me, the lead pack of guys + 2 girls… Whoops.  So much for conservative.

startline-with-guys

starline-around-the-corner

We made our first turn past the crowd, over the hotel lawn, onto the street and kept going.  My watch clicked mile 1 in 7:45, and then mile 2 in 7:41.  I wised up, pulled back, and female #2 passed right by me.  Shaking it off and reminding myself, “You are not here to win, you are here to run your race, and work your plan.  Stick to your plan.”  Alright, back to the task at hand, I was focused and ready to go again.  After 2.5ish miles you cross the street and hop onto a soft trail which begins a slight ascent and then descent until mile 3.

Part 2: The First Climb + Descent / Miles 3-6.8:

I huffed and puffed and pushed the first climb, struggling between not wanting to go out too hard & not wanting to give up too much of a lead.  Around mile 4, female 3 passed me and then shortly after female 4 ran by me.  I looked behind me and couldn’t see anyone… “Work the plan.”  I could save my energy and take my uphills between 15-20 minutes if needed and still come in at 4 hours.  The first half of 900ft climb was a mix of soft dirt and roots, the second half of the climb was thick and slippery mud!! The decent was just as challenging, but I somehow managed to stay up, keeping my foot turnover light and quick. I hit the aid station at mile 6.78, grabbed a banana + some Sprite and kept going, following closely on the heels of female 4.

68132487-img_0899

Part 3: The Second Climb + Descent / Miles 7-13

I knew the second climb would be the hardest physically but I didn’t anticipate my Garmin GPS going out.  Mentally, that was challenging but I pictured the map and elevation chart and trusted my instinct.  I looked down at my Garmin and the timer continued to count up, but the pace and miles were not updating.  This lasted for about 1.5 miles.  Somewhere along the second climb another lady passed me taking over 5th place.  I ate some gummies and kept power hiking.   To be honest this section is somewhat of a blur… I just kept power hiking as quickly as I could and focused on moving forward.  After climbing 1200ish feet, the descent felt incredible!!  I was running with another guy at this point and as we started the long anticipated descent he yelled, “This feels amazing!!” To which I responded with, “YES!! We have earned this moment!”  Finally, I reach mile 13, the second time at the aid station.  I filled up my water and drank some Coke.  I stood there for about 30 seconds and then took off for my last climb of the day!!

Part 4: The Third and Final Climb + Descent

Somehow this climb didn’t seem as bad as the first two climbs… Maybe it was because I knew once I reached the top it would be relatively smooth sailing, or it helped to know what was coming as I had already ran it in the first 6 miles.  For a large portion of this climb I had to squat down, put my hands on my quads and dig my heels into the muck in order to progress further and not slip back down the trail. Regardless, this climb and descent seemed to fly by.  I didn’t hear or see anyone behind me, and I knew if I just kept moving then I would secure my place in the top 10.  I ran past people foraging chanterelles and about 10 minutes later ran past lobster mushrooms on the trail (WHOA!!).  When I finally reached the top of the climb, I took off on the descent, running at an angle down the hill to avoid slipping through the mud.  Eventually the muddy path turned back into technical roots and then to the soft soil… and all of a sudden I was back on the road.

Part 5: Return of the Road

Initially I thought I would be able to bust out 8:30’s / 9:00’s on the way back… That did not happen.  10:30’s was the best I could do.  Maybe on a dry day where I had not wrestled the mud and fought to stay on my feet, but in this moment, I was just happy to have solid pavement below me.  “Don’t walk, keep going, almost done, almost done, almost done!! 6th female if you keep moving….”  I kept my eyes on an older gentleman who I had ran with off and on throughout the day.  I looked behind me and still did not see any other ladies.  This was it!!  I saw the finish line, picked up my pace a bit, and ran with everything I had left. As I crossed the finish, I high-fived the Race Director and said, “THANK YOU!!  That race was beautiful, amazing, hard, and kicked my ass!  I loved it.”

finishline-2

And then all the pizza, beer, and time with Tim.

Official time 4:02:56

Results: 1st in AG, 6th overall female, and 23rd overall.

*Special thanks to Tim for driving the 14 hours (round trip) from Seattle to Oregon Coast,  for his support and encouragement, and for all the amazing photos.  The photo on the ridge is from Glenn Tachiyama Photography.

stöðugleiki // Stability

A new blog, a fresh start, and a place to document process.  The process of running, training, evolving, reaching, and refining… So here we go.

Why do I run?  For the generic, ”It calms me, it renews me, it makes me a better person, for the challenge, for community…”  Recently on a run I asked myself for the additional and authentic answers.

I use to run from myself and shortcomings.  I ran from problems, confusion, loneliness, the work day, and essentially commitments.  I didn’t love it, but the more I ran the more grounded I felt, realizing the movements didn’t make me feel lost but gave me space for my mind to wander and a place where my thoughts are allowed to process.

My relationship with running has evolved over the past 6 years to not running from weakness but towards strength.  I no longer feel chased, but have become the chaser.  I run to pursue the unknown but still desired.  I chase after beautiful sunsets, silhouettes of a better me, and goals that no longer seem like dreams.  Running wakes up my senses and spirit, running is my gateway to reality.  I run because I find stability in constant motion.