Going into 2018 I was on the mend from a fractured pelvis. It was a true test of patience, persistence, and determination. Month by month I was able to restore my body and learn how to trust it once again. I learned a lot about myself and found out how strong one can be. I must say that my grandma was a huge inspiration to me when I was recovering from my injury. Right before I sustained my injury in the fall of 2017, she had beat cancer and had been so close to dying from a stomach ulcer that ruptured through her stomach lining. I was reminded that my injury was not life threatening and that I was going to recover in time.
My breakdown of 2018.
I started the year off still cross training from my injury. I cross-trained 60-90 minutes 5-6 days a week and lifted weights 4-5 times a week. I learned to love the gym and embrace the activities I could do, and not focus on what I couldn’t do. Staying active helped me mentally get through the time I was not able to run. I learned that life does go on even when I am injured, and I can find happiness without running.
|Getting my swol on!|
I had a wonderful health care team I was working with. My orthopedic doctor, Dr. Arnold finally gave me the green light to start physical therapy. I started physical therapy with Christy Nielsen, who is a friend and inspiration to me. I trusted her knowledge and protocol to get me back to running. She helped me return safely to running first by the Alter-G Treadmill then gradually to running outside. Finally, by the end of March I was running outside 100% of the time.
|Physical Therapy - Running on the Alter-G|
|Christy and I post physical therapy session|
I had one setback where I became extremely anemic during my transition back to running outside. It took some time for me to restore my iron, but I was diligent and changed my diet to make sure it happened.
|My very first run outside post-injury!!|
I decided to sign up for my first race of the year. I chose to run the Free State Trail Marathon. It was a true test of the mind and body. To make it even more challenging it rained during the race causing some of the worst mud to run it (the kind that packs on your shoes to make them feel 10 lbs heavier!). I stayed brave and finished my first race without reinjuring myself! I was overjoyed and beyond grateful.
|Free State Trail Marathon PC: mile90photography|
I continued my build up running my first 50 mile race at Silver State in Reno, Nevada. I have ran the race before and it’s one of my favorites. I ran with caution as I still had trust issues with my body. I would have on and off pain the fractured site that constantly made me aware and that I needed to running with a bit of hesitation. I finished once again with no injury! I was one step closer to being ready to tackle Western States 100 mile at the end of June.
Before Western States was something even more special. My mom was running her first 100 mile race. She ran the Kettle Moraine 100 in Wisconsin. I had the honor to crew then pace her the last 38 miles. I will never forget that experience. It was so enriching to be able to share those miles together and watching her get one step closer to her goal. She finished in 26:46:47 as the 12thplace woman. I couldn’t have been prouder.
|My mom finishing her first 100 mile race!|
The morning of June 23 I was standing at the start line of Western States. Completely overtook by emotion I started tearing up as the countdown began to start the long ascent to Escarpment. I couldn’t believe how fortunate I felt to be running my absolutely favorite race when in fact I didn’t know if it was going to be possible earlier in the year. I was still very afraid that I was going to reinjure myself and made sure I ran very conservative. My number one goal was to finish happy and healthy. That goal was accomplished! I crossed the finish line in 20:48:56 as the 12thwoman. My heart was restored.
|Finishing Western States - PC: Howie Stern|
During July I had the chance to walk with Gary Cantrell “Laz”, the infamous Barkley’s Marathon race director, during his transcontinental walk across the United States. I walked 12+ hours with Laz from Plainview, Nebraska to Orchard, Nebraska approximately a marathon distance. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always cherish.
During July and August I did a quick training block before racing UTMB. The 103 mile race around Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France. I had regained my confidence in my body and had a solid build up leading into the race. I ran UTMB focused on running my own race. Gradually through attrition and staying focused I raced myself into contentions of being top-10 in the last kilometer. I was running down into the town of Chamonix when I saw the 10thfemale right ahead of me. I gave it everything I had to finish on the podium. She had definitely given it her all out on the course and I commend her for such strong performance. I crossed the finish in 10thplace being so overcome with joy running 27:31:39 a huge PR for the course.
|UTMB Finish PC: Bryon Powell|
|UTMB Women Top 10|
I learned from the year before to recover after UTMB to avoid the possibility of getting injured. I recovered well and felt like I wasn’t ready to end my season (since I had a late start). I decided to sign up for the JFK 50 mile. It had been a race I have always wanted to run due to its history and how iconic it is. I made another short transition from training in hills to training on more flat bike paths working on more leg speed.
|Road Running at Lake Zorinsky|
One stop along the way was back in my hometown of Dannebrog, Nebraska. My grandma, after going through her cancer last year and missing out on our towns local race, decided she was going to do everything she could to be able to finish the 5k. She worked so hard. She would walk in town and on the bad weather days she would drive 24 miles to the closest mall to get her walk in. Well it paid off and she ended up finishing the 5k and was the grand master champion! She’s 80 years old and still going strong. And I love her so much!
|Grandma finishing her 5K!|
During that time I returned to the GOATz 50K race, the one that I had broke my pelvis at last year. I honestly was terrified to run this race. Irrational thoughts entered my mind telling me I was going to get reinjured. I wanted to prove to myself that I was not going to get injured and that I would put those doubts behind me. I ran the race finishing in tears of gratitude. I was crippled like I had been last year. It was a day of celebration! I conquered my biggest fear!!
|GOATz 50K w/ Cory Logsdon|
A couple weeks later I ran the JFK 50. Mother Nature gave us a special treat with 6-8 inches of snow on the Appalachian Trail and slush to mud puddles on the towpath. It led to one interesting experience. I finished as the 2ndplace female. I am so grateful to have finished yet another race uninjured…catching the theme!?
|Finishing JFK 50|
My last two races were local trial half-marathons that ended up being a lot of fun. And I was able to crew my coach, Jason Koop, for the Hitchcock 50 Mile. I finally could give back to him for all the he does for me daily.
|Crewing Koop! #givesyouwings|
The year turned out to be better than I thought it was going to be. Running a mix of shorter and longer distances provided different challenges to my body. I feel like it kept my body healthy and happy. I am so grateful for all of my experiences and memories from 2018. Reflection is important for us to do in order to learn, grow, and remember where we once were and where we are now. I hope you take the chance to look back and reflect on your year. I am looking forward to 2019 and what it has to offer! Happy New Year everyone!
|Happy New Year!!|