Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Intentions of 2013

Learn Excel proficiently and use to document the following Intentions: Date with kids once a month one on one. Storage unit condensed. Items sold, pare down. Simplify. Ultimate goal to have all items out of storage in a year. Debt cancelled. Start a small business/Sell something online(such as Etsy)handmade. Start investing. Maintain a healthy weight with a balance of exercise and healthy(ier) diet. Eat out less at lunch. First road marathon, goal of under 4:00. Go to the beach. Plan…even if it doesn’t happen this year…a trip to Colorado or Wyoming to see some trails. *still working on sales goal at work, and various other work goals* In person with some, by letter with others, attempt to mend/forgive some relationships. One random act of kindness each month(ie pick up someones tab at a restaurant, at the grocery store…)Something that reminds me to be grateful for all I’ve been given and ways I’ve been helped. Visit Ryan at UTK 3 times this semester. Blog once per month or more… wwwoates@blogspot.com Try to be mindful and grateful, every day, of what I’ve lost in the past few years and what I’ve gained. Learn from experience and be willing to share my experience. Embrace the positive, dismiss the negative, and try to keep my tank full so that I can help and serve others. Laugh. As. Often. As. Possible. “Make me cry, I might regret you…make me laugh, I’ll never forget you”. (~WGO)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The 11 hour Hoka Poka on 11-11-11

On Friday, November 11, 2011 I attempted an 11 hour run on a roughly 11 mile trail. Originally, this was going to be a fundraiser, to show my passion for trails, and for inspiring folks to get off the couch and get moving. Nearly four years ago, I was searching the internet for a couch to 5k training plan. I had never jogged more than 30 seconds in my life until that year. Back to 11.11.11....the wheels fell off for turning the event into a fundraiser, but the challenge then became even greater! Pushing myself to do something I had set out to do, because I still wanted to complete the task, and I had told so many people about the plan just had to be done. What I got in return that day wasn't a t-shirt, or a medal, but support of family and friends that was extremely motivating. I really had no idea if I would be out for hours and hours alone, or how the day would go...here's a recap...

Two days before the run, I was at work and the Hoka shoe rep came in. I listened about the shoe, then casually mentioned that I would love to try the Hokas sometime...and that I had a big run coming up. After we talked a few minutes, a nice bright pair of white demo Bondi's was placed in my hands and he told me to give them a whirl...

At 7:03 a.m.Todd, Jessi, Patrick and I were there for the take-off. Jessi cheered, Todd rode his mtb and Patrick ran the 10.6 loop with me. It was sooo cold, but after the first mile or two it was feeling pretty good out there. There was no one else on the trail that early...and that's the only loop that I saw any deer. That was the fastest lap of the day, but I realized that the goal of 55 miles was out of reach. I had posted the approximate times for each loop, but had no idea who, if anyone, would be waiting to run a loop with me.

At the return to the parking lot, Missy greeted and smiled with a coke and some food! Half a  jelly biscuit was perfect. DeWayne runs with us at our Monday night runs. The Monday night group run, and the Ladies only group run at ESNP were birthed from a love of this trail system. I have loved getting to run there with a tight knit crew, and can't wait until the time changes and those group runs can be resumed there! Anyway...DeWayne and I were off for our loop together, where we talked about life...kids, jobs, etc. I can safely say DeWayne is one of my running heroes after our talk. It was one of my tougher rounds that day, I am thankful for his patience and company! We were nearing the end of that loop when 11:11 struck the clock. I high fived him and let out a whoop! Sometime in this loop, Anna had tried to find us, but didn't, so she ran her own loop. Hated to hear I had missed her. The same with Robin...she was bringing the pooch to run a lap and energize me.

At the return to the parking lot this loop, Robin, Missy, Michael, Todd, Josh, and Patrick and Yoli were there to cheer us in. Yoli was there to run this loop with me. During this loop I got to hear all about the adventure race that Yoli subbed for me while I was at Ben's xc meet in Nashville. She told me the epic story of one of the team members going hypothermic in the first hours of the race! Yoli had to leave the two team members to run for the medic in the middle of nowhere...Their team was dq'ed because they lost that team member, but they finished the rest of the race anyway!! Sounded like quite the adventure for sure. We were stopped along the way by a mtber who wanted to know if one of us was the one running 11 hours out there. We answered and he took pictures of us and then wanted one of me with him. We saw Jennifer when we were a little over half way, and she was riding her mtb and cheering. She rode with us for a while, and just in time. I was headed up one of the longer gradual hills, so following behind her bike was motivating as she was talking to us. I cut this loop a little short, because I was really hungry and knew there was food waiting for me!

On this entry to the parking lot Brian and Mike were there for the loop. What a great surprise. Brian and Mike are triathletes and I got to hear about Kona in person...these guys train together all the time, and it was great to have their company. Brian would have completed marathon distance that day if I had been on schedule...he patiently ran that loop and the rest of the day with me for a 20 mile total. At 3:00 we had returned to the lot to pick up Jason and two of the xc boys from Ooltewah. They ran out 30 minutes with us. I'm pretty sure those boys thought I was crazy...it was really cool having them join. At the end of that loop Mike pepped us up with Snickers...they were fabulous...and Brian, thanks for the Coke!! My Dad was there as well, he had been hiking the trail trying to find me, but we ended up only seeing each other in the parking lot for a great photo op of him in his Army sweatshirt in honor of Veterans Day.

Brian and I started the last loop when we got a call from Renee, and we met her about midway through the loop. She brightened the end of the run, making us laugh, and asking funny questions. I had to divert the loop back to the lot for refueling. We had to do some math to figure out how to make the day end at 50 miles, and we did it!! It started getting really dark those last few minutes, and the clock striking 6 quickened my step. I think I finished the last leg of that loop at about the same pace as the first one. We strolled into the lot at 6:08....with Todd, Corrie, Cassie, Jessi, Amy, Patrick and the ESNP po-po waiting for us to get out of there! The barneys were not happy and had not been informed of our plans to be there until 6:00. Thank goodness those guys are so humble and easy to get along with....ugh.  As I was driving out I saw Ryan who thought he was early for the finish...stopped of course from entering by the barneys. Thanks for trying Ryan.

I had a backup pair of Wildcats in case the Hokas were giving me any problems. I could tell my legs were being used differently in them, but I never felt the urge to take them off. They truly were like wearing marshmallows on my feet, and were extremely stable despite being 3 inches thick!! I would and plan to own them for certain. I was able to run again on Monday night and it felt great to loosen up after resting for two days. I think that's probably the best I have felt after going that distance, and I think the Hoka's have a lot to do with that. I posted pics of the shoes on fb and my friend John is credited with the phrase Hoka Poka....loved it too much not to reuse it. So...I did the Hoka Poka and I turned myself about for 11 hours...but it was only possible through the help of family and friends! I'm now working on plans for the 12.12.12 12 hour challenge! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~c.s. lewis

...it's a long story really, but all you need to know is that things happen for a reason. A few weeks ago, Kim Parker was reneging on the idea of her nightly walk. Not only did she change her mind, she changed her route. This placed her at the right place at exactly the right time. With an uncommon courage, she approached a situation, not knowing what her outcome and those who needed her would be. She and Arka forged ahead.

You may never know the reason people come into your life, and there's probably no use trying to figure it all out. It's probably best just to appreciate that they did. Kim Parker, I'm so thankful you came into our lives, and we are seered together as forever friends along with Arka. You are an angel.

On a side note...tonight, I had just finished speaking with someone about Kim, and had just received my copy of a newspaper article about her and her wolf-dog Arka. I stopped less than 100 yards from where I was parked to go get gas and had to go inside the gas station to pay. Who was the first person I saw in there? Kim. It's the simplest things that amaze me sometimes, because the simplest things can turn into the most amazing!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ocoee Strong Adventure Race

adventure -noun 3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.

Several weeks ago, I received a message from my friend Kevin Manning asking me if I would be interested in being the third member of an adventure race team. I thought a few seconds, and said 'sure'!
I was contacted promptly by Josh Braun(team captain) and he introduced himself and our other teammate through FB. We started planning to meet and train. I rode and ran with Josh and Dylan(who ended up having to drop because of a hip flexor issue). I was really excited to be part of this team after meeting them in person. After hearing just a few weeks before the race that Dylan would have to drop, Josh and I both started trying to find a replacement. With two weeks before the race, Josh got in touch with a friend from his days at Lee University, Mike DeGeus. Although I know how to pronounce his last name and it does not sound like oose at the end...he quickly became DeGoose to me. "DeGoose is Loose!" I had one mtb training slot with Josh and our former teammate Dylan at ESNP, one training slot with Josh on canoe out near Nashville, and one mtb training slot with DeGoose at Lookout Mtn. trails last Saturday after the R/C Greenway 5 mile. On the downhill return I had finally gotten more confident with the loose gravel and was trying to keep up...My brain was rattling it was so bumpy! I proceeded to hit a rock that I never saw coming, and slid to a sideways halt. Thanks DeGoose for not laughing hysterically...I probably would've after I'd done the obligatory "aww, are you okay" if it had been you. :) Mike and Josh had one paddle session together in Nashville and that was our extent of team training.

Race Day: As we all gathered around the map(course was around ROCK CREEK gorge:) for Josh to fill us in on the course and his thoughts, I realize that this is going to be tough. There are some pretty technical trails on the bike route and there are miles of paddling. Our team decided to get the passport by sending me on foot to the falls where the checkpoint was. We had decided to work the course counter clockwise so we'd finish with a nice long downhill on bike. My only race experience is with a few road running races and a several trails. I got a quick dose of education from the start line when I visually saw everyone's strategies and plans going every direction. Some ran for the bikes, only a handful of us ran for the passport without a bike. At the trail, although it was discussed over and over, the confusion of so many people on bike and foot got to me. I was to go get the passport and meet my teammates at a fork in the trail where they would bring my bike. I second guessed, but then went with a wrong(again!) decision, but corrected as quickly as I could. I had just wasted time and energy by climbing the wrong trail. I got on track and ended up losing about 15-20 minutes of expected time. :(  I was toast! It was so hot, and I'd given all I had an more to make up for the infraction. When I got back to Mike and Josh and the bike we headed to another checkpoint. Pretty soon the trail started getting very technical and very steep. I had to get off the bike and walk it. At a few points Mike and Josh actually pushed my bike while I walked. In an adventure race you have to stay within 100 feet of each other, so my walking forced them to as well. It took me a while to recover from the run and Chilhowie Mtn ascent. By the top, I had refueled, recovered and was feeling so much better. As we looked at the trail for a 4 mile diversion I decided I would be faster on foot after seeing the technicality and uphill climb mixed with technicality...so the trail runner in me got to do what I love!  The guys rode near me and we had a nice paced 4 mile jaunt. At this junction, we had seen Yoli, Brooke and their teams. It was Yoli's first time for an adventure race as well. We exchanged a "having fun?", "yes, of course!" and a 'deer in the headlight', 'what've we gotten ourselves into', wide eyed stare!
We then completed all of our checkpoints on the rest of the course. Through thicket, over creeks, near creeks, up hills, atop overlooks, down forest service roads,  and up forest service roads. With next to the last bike checkpoint completed...we got the downhill of my lifetime(can't speak for the guys). My guess is that we had a 5-7 mile rocky descent. I was feeling great, but had seriously never ridden anything so rocky and downhill for so long. I actually was wishing for a climb just to get a break even if it meant walking. Thankfully though, I survived, brain somewhat intact, with a big ole smile on my face for finishing the course and for not crashing down the side of a mountain.:) Thanks Mike and Josh for your patience and help on the course!

Now, it was time for the paddle. Josh was the brains of the operation, I was the legs, and DeGoose was the arms. As we hit the water, there was no time to waste. We forfeited 2 of the upstream checkpoints for time sake, and because we had gotten all of the mtb route checkpoints. Thanks Josh, for your awesome navigation skills...no way we'd have been able to do that without you!! As we're going down the lake, I'm starting to realize very quickly that paddling is no joke... In my opinion we kept a great pace,  good form, and synergy except the times my eyes wandered toward the gorgeous mountainous landscape we were paddling beside! :)   Two minutes into it, my arms were burning...2 hours into it, my arms had been through the fire,  and regeneration cycle  many times. It was amazing to me though, that your body just gets used to what you throw at it. Near the end after we'd gotten the 2 water checkpoints downstream(thanks again Josh!), we had to hoof it for the camp. Mike, who'd kept a great pace all along, had now gone superhuman speed at Josh's request. I didn't know any of us had it left. We unfortunately paddled so quickly toward the finish, that we ran into another boat slightly as we were passing them for our sprint to the race director, Cathi Cannon, to give her our passport. Phew. Now to sit back, relax, and wait on results. There are 4 categories...Solo, Co-ed, All male, All female. Co-ed is considered the Elite division. We were 4th place in Co-ed division, and somewhere between 6-8th overall. I'm going to think that Elite division is more challenging because there has to be a woman on a team.  This means hauling her, her bike, her shoes, and her baggage all over the course. In turn, she'll make sure you eat and drink, take pictures, and write about the adventure so you don't have to! :)
Thanks guys!!!!! I had an awesome time!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Crash Pad Experience

The Crash Pad meshes very well with the community spirit that we've become used to in the trail running village. As I walked through the door I was welcomed with a smile and called by name by Dan, Max and Katie. They introduced me to Ruben who is staying here as well. He's a Chickamauga, Ga native here for a mini stay-cation. Alan was here as well, he's the live in manager...the staff is all cool. Alan is a super cool guy and will be very helpful to the guests, as well as all the other staff and owners!

At check in I got my key card, a quick tour, and all my linens set up in the room. The building is very secure and the key cards allow you entrance to the building from the outside and into the sleeping areas. After bringing in a few items I went out to visit friends.

Upon returning it was very quiet and although I worried a tad about waking anyone up, I realized if privacy is what folks were looking for they would get a private room, or they would probably have noise canceling headphones on. I made my way into my private room. There is air conditioning and the temp is perfect, but if you like it even cooler there are ceiling fans and a smaller fan on the wall that makes a nice white noise sound. Sheets, pillowcases,blanket, towels, and washcloths are all given to you at check in. My bed was about the most comfortable I've slept in ever. When I saw Ruben this morning he said the same thing...he had slept the best he had in a long time. 

Upon waking I was preparing for a run, and needed a quick breakfast. I was prepared with bagels until Dan mentioned he was headed to Niedlovs bakery and asked if anyone wanted anything. The words cinnamon roll no quicker left his mouth than I was up on my feet following him and Alan 100 steps to snag one. Yummy! The kitchen is fully stocked with coffee mugs, glasses, dishes, commercial coffee maker, and plenty of counter space to share with other guests. I would have to say that the wake up meet and greet was my favorite part. We returned from Niedlovs to the lobby and all ate and drank coffee together...everyone getting ready for different tasks. Another guest, Dan, was working on a guide book about mountain climbing for Rocktown Ga, Ruben was off to enjoy a morning yoga session, I was off to Lookout Mtn for a group run. No slackers here today, until I returned...and now I'm totally chillin. :)

When I returned from the run I came in to find my room clean, the cleaning staff working on bathrooms and kitchen, and a nice quiet environment in which 3 of us are sitting here in the lobby working. Ruben shared his lunch with me, Dan gave me permission to give any tours if any friends want to stop by, and  I sat down to type out this review... I have nothing but positive things to say about the experience! I felt very safe and welcome here. You are footsteps away from many cool restaurants, and all the indoor and outdoor :) attractions that our fair city has to offer. The South Side rocks anyway...and these guys turned up the volume with a hip, artistic, clean, classy, uncommon hostel. I will be back, no doubt about it. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Enoree 40

This race is the first, in or out of town, that I have ever done solo. I've always traveled posse style and gone where the wind blew my training partners. I knew people at the Enoree race, but none of them were from my area. This was an adventure I needed. I posted about this being a year of discovery for me a bit ago and my running (along with several other things in life) needed some tweaking.

I've asked myself why I love running so much several times. One thing I always come back to is the focus I have on the trail that I lack in some other areas of life. I get distracted easily and don't always finish what I start. On the trail...if you want to see the waterfall that is 10 miles out...you gotta go 10 miles to get there. No shortcuts. If you want to go home from said waterfall...you've got to get back to where you started. Simple enough. Focusing on breathing, nutrition, hydration, and other self care is one more way. Paying attention to detail for an otherwise scattered brain is as much an accomplishment as having a great run as far as I'm concerned.

Another question I've been asking myself is if I love running because I love running, or because it profited me time with friends. Certainly spending time with friends is a benefit...but I discovered that I would run if I hadn't a soul to run with...and I have done that several times now.

This leads me to Enoree 40.  I don't care about prizes, goody bags, or a who's who list of registered runners. I thought that was just something that I, or people like me, say when they don't have a prayer of placing in a race. :) While at one time that may have been true...I have grown as a runner more than I realized. I have many great training runs, but few great races. Why is that? Nerves? Maybe. I don't know. I did discover that I don't care. At Enoree I think I had an excellent chance of placing as a top 3 female. Granted there were few females and it is a small race...but most of the time if a person is willing to commit to a 40 mile race, there's some good training behind it, so never underestimate.

As I scanned the crowd at 7:25 a.m., looking for smiles and familiar faces, I came across a game faced female. You can't help sizing up the competition...even if you aren't that competitive. I admit that when she didn't smile I didn't like it, but I understood. She meant business...and I didn't let that get to me. Somewhere in the first 10 miles I got the chance to pass her...that was all I needed...just the satisfaction of knowing I was in the first girl's vicinity was enough. She was rock steady. I never talked to or met her, she had a solid race and never looked tired. I guess it was around the 10 mile ish aid station that I fell back. It was then that I started pampering myself with fluids and food, and happy thoughts. I was running with a friend with the intent on seeing him finish his longest race. The heat, the 10 mile faster than planned pace, something...got to him and 1/3 of the race list. Out of 75, 50 finished. At mile 30, with bad cramping in both calves, and dehyrdation chills, he had to drop. There had been much walking going on between mile 20-30. After he dropped and I had refueled at the aid station I took off with earphones on(which i never do!) because I needed a pick up. I submit that there is nothing a little Black Eyed Peas can't cure! :)

Terri Hayes(the race director)puts on a laid back race. You have to pay attention to her markings. It's like a game and I think I figured it out...because unlike Long Cane...no wrong turns were made. There were folks who did and I know the disappointment that brings. I've been there. I came back to her race for the sheer delight of the laid back atmosphere and to test myself on course markings. Hurray! Success was had. As I saw sweet Terri on the course (after hearing some complaints about markings) out there viewing it for herself to check first hand...I envisioned when she originally tied the ribbons on to mark the course. Terri has run for a long time, and this is her passion...presenting her product and making ultrarunning attainable to those of us who are not elite runners. No time cut offs...etc. In my mind I could see her walking the course, picking the spot, and tying the little ribbon as if she were putting an ornament on a Christmas tree...stepping back, looking at it, and saying "yes, that looks good there". I was thankful for the experience of Long Cane which taught me much about keeping your eyes open. Thanks Terri for your time, and to Jason Sullivan for his time in marking the course.

I re-read my post about Long Cane from September and the words "what I've come to love is long training days with friends, and this race has that feel". Absolutely I agree with that statement yet again. Familiar encouraging faces along the way makes it oh so rewarding. No offense to the girl who won(and the others who passed along the way), but I submit that I had a heck of a lot more fun than she did!!! I soaked it in the whole way. I realized that I would run 40 miles for the heck of it. On my last leg of 10 miles I got to run at a pretty good clip since I was rested from walking. I think I scared a few coming up behind them moving so quickly as if I was about to win a prize if I got there in time!! (hours after the winners had gone home!! lol) I ran it quick because I could...and it felt amazing. I got to encourage folks along the way...find out a little about them and their lives...and I dare say that my name higher on the list of finishers would never bring me the satisfaction that making new friends does. Jason(Big Easy), Wayne(Weezy), Psyche, Charles, Mark E, JStein, Dan H., Terri, and the mack mama of massage...Denise, are folks I won't soon forget getting to hang out with. Thank you all for making it such a wonderful day!!

Happy Trails!! :)

I don't even like lizards, so why be a chameleon?

I started writing a race report and this came out...oops...lol. I'll get to the race report later.

To say this year has been a year of discovery would be an understatement. Remember the scene in Runaway Bride when Richard Gere tells Julia Roberts that she's 'so lost she doesn't even know what kind of eggs she likes'...(she'd been conforming to the likes of others so long she'd lost her identity). Well, I've been trying to figure out what kind of eggs I like, so to speak. I am involved in a weekly class(personal inventory) right now that involved stating your intentions for the class as you introduced yourself. I remember saying "I'm Wendy Oates, and I don't know who the heck I am, but I look forward to finding out!!"

I'm a people person to the core. I've never been real comfortable alone. I suppose I thought I was bad company despite the fact that I have oodles of friends which must mean that's  not true, right?! The problem with always trying to be with people is that you can be distracted from learning what you love...or don't...about yourself. As the layers of my chameleonic life have been sloughing away, I have been finding peace within. I've been learning to take the good with the bad. Invest where there is a possibility of return...for all involved. Appreciate the little things. Love the unlovely and try to remain unchanged in the face of unloveliness. Find a reason to smile in the face of adversity. Lastly, to love myself...not because I deserve it, but because if I don't, how can I possibly love others?

Along the way I have found out that I like being with me. I've taken myself on some solo runs, some solo shopping trips, some solo dining, and several other things. 'Smile and the world smiles with you' seems to be very true in my case. All of a sudden, I am surrounded by some of the most unique and beautiful personalities I have ever witnessed. Not only have I learned to love me, but I have learned that cookie cutter relationships (cliques) will NEVER be for me. I love diversity and those in my life who make it worth living. Now, if you'll excuse me...I'm off to discover something new....

Race report later!!