“It’s going to be hard work, but we'll have fun.” The last words of the first phone call with my coach. It was the end of August and I was going to run the Austin Rattler 50K in November. I had my work cut out for me. Just to spice things up a bit, I had also signed up for Brazos Bend 100 in December. Yeah, you read that right. The month right after the 50K, 28 days to be exact, I was going to tackle my first hundred.
You might be thinking to yourself that I’m overly ambitious and tad insane, and you’d be right, but that little bit of doubt from others was fuel to the fire. When I started with Boundless and Coach Scott Jordan, I needed some serious help. I was burnt out, running when I felt like it but I never really “felt like it”. I had a few marathons under my belt but I was craving more. I wanted to dig deeper, go farther, have confidence on the trails and be part of the trail running world.
After starting with Boundless I finally had a game plan. I had scheduled workouts and runs, someone keeping tabs on me and I was not about to skip or slack on anything. Running had become fun again. Running for a time period and not miles switched something in my brain that I needed. Suddenly my runs weren’t as daunting and by the end of the week my mileage was beyond anything I had done before. My body, though sore, was still going strong. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, some days just sucked really hard, but there was something in the hard days and suffering that made the good days better. Definitely type two fun.
I knew I had the Austin Rattler to tackle, with gnarly terrain I wasn’t used to, but behind every thought of the Rattler was the hundred. The two lived side by side in my brain until the week of the Austin Rattler and suddenly it was go time. It wasn't until halfway through the race I finally started to realize, “I’m doing it, I made it this far, I’m on the trail in a race I was so intimidated by… and I feel good, this coaching thing really works!” I had a blast, felt amazing, fell on my face, got back up, finished with a smile and was so happy.
I trained hard, put in the miles and it paid off. I reached one goal but I only had 28 days to make the jump to 100. Twenty eight days filled with visualization, mental training and reminding myself of my “why”.
The morning of Brazos Bend, imposter syndrome smacked me in the face and I was quite literally shaking in my Saucony’s. Then the most magical thing happened, the trail community did its thing. I met people to run with, got to know more as I moved throughout the course and felt the comradery in doing hard things together. I was having a blast.
Running with the distractions of company only gets you so far. I had to trust in my training, as short as it was, and dig deep for the hard sections. When your coach calls you at all hours to check in on your first 100 and give words of advice, you know you chose wisely in your support system. Late night and early morning were particularly rough. The visualization and pep talks I had prepped for these moments made a huge difference. My body didn’t want to keep going, my feet were done, my stomach was waging its own war but I knew I couldn’t stop moving. I had my “why” and it was strong enough to keep my fire lit. The last 5 miles were the most painful, slow and delirious of my life. I honestly wouldn't change them, I learned so much from them. So much about how far I can push myself, how strong I am, what I’m capable of. I finished my first 100 miler. I had 28 days to go from 50K to 100 miles and I finished in 28 hours. Twenty eight.
The trail community is a special place. I’m so proud to be part of it. I’m incredibly grateful for Boundless and my coach. When your goals are ambitious and crazy you find crazy ambitious people to guide you. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of fun.