Annual blood sacrifice to the trail gods

Whew! So, after much web research, asking around, and creating a mega nerdy spreadsheet of trail races within a 500 mile radius, I think I’ve finally decided on the ones I’m going to run this year!

One of my running goals for 2015 is to compete in at least five trail races. Last year, I only did one and a half. I would have done more had it not been for that dang foot injury. ::shakes fist::

So far, I’m only registered for three:

1) Siskiyou Outback 50M on July 25

2) Headwaters Ultra 50K on August 22. I ran this one last year.

3) Gore-tex 50 Mile Endurance Challenge in the bay area December 5

The other two are most likely going to be much less than 50 miles. I’ll post them once I register and it’s all legit.

I started officially training for my very first 50 miler, which is ONLY TWO MONTHS AWAY omggg! It’s amazing how time flies!

I’ve more than doubled my weekly miles since the last time I updated this blog.

On top of that, I moved in to a new house out in the country with my boyfriend and am having a blast turning it into my home and building a sweet garden. More on that later.

On top of that top, I decided to kick my writing career into high gear and take an online class that’s helping me out a TON!

In summary, I’m busy as heck and loving every minute <3

I do most of my long runs on the Headwaters race course. It’s a little farther from home now that I’ve moved, but totally worth the trek for a fun course with sweet views.

trail shot

shasta top

A couple weeks ago, I was almost through a 16 mile loop I’ve come to know and love when I came upon a hill.

Not just any hill, but THE hill. It’s about 2.5 miles of steady downhill that I like to barrel down like an antelope out of control.

The Headwaters 50K has you go down this hill TWICE. It’s pretty sweet, except during the race, I had to go down it the second time on a broken foot. I acquired a stress fracture in my right foot about 2/3 through the race, but finished anyway.

Since then, every time I run down that awesomely fun HILL, a little part of me feels a little scared. It’s like I can’t help but remember how badly it hurt that second time down during the race.

This whiney little baby inside my tough facade whimpers, “b-b-but that hill hurt me. BAD!”

I remember coming up to the aid station right before that hill, when the slightest inkling of the thought to drop out of the race made itself known. But then one of the race volunteers told me I had only five miles to go. Five miles?!?! Fuck no, I’m not dropping my first 50K with five miles to go.

Everyone could tell I was hurting. One dude I’d been kinda running with at some points was waiting for me at the aid station. “I’ll pace you,” he said, totally willing to put competition on the back burner to help a buddy out. “Let’s go. We’re finishing this!”

Temporarily rejuvenated by the support, I tried to keep up with him. A little less than halfway down this beast of a rocky hill, I had to tell him to go ahead. I was in so much pain, my stride became a hobble.

I remember getting to the bottom of the hill, checking over my shoulder to make sure no one was in visible earshot, bending over and screaming as loud as I could at my foot.

As if that would help anything.

I haven’t shared this part of the story with anyone before. It makes my story of running 9ish miles on a broken foot sound way less badass, no?

Anyway, this last time that I ran down the hill, I thought a lot about that pain. It haunts me. I started thinking about all the other excruciatingly painful experiences I’ve had over the course of my 30+ years.

Maybe I was trying to release some kind of demons? I don’t know, but as I was confronting the ghosts of my own ancient despair, I kicked a fucking rock and ate shit.

blood sacrifice

It happens at least once per year. The trail gods demand blood.

Just a little tip for all y’all- don’t let your mind take priority over your feet when you’re running down a long rocky hill ;)

But that was the jolt back into reality that I needed.

I got up, brushed myself off, and finished the run with the sweet smell of blood mixed with dirt and sweat.

Like a smack on the back of the head from a nun who catches you daydreaming in class (do they do that anymore?), sometimes mother nature needs to remind us to stop dwelling on past trauma and focus.

Cuz we’re all human. We get hurt. We bleed. We break, sometimes.

But carrying that pain around forever is a lot of extra weight to bear. So we get over it.

I think next time, I’m not going to feel so scared running down that hill.

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