It’s happening again. I recognize the signs. Heaviness. Over sleeping. Ignoring to do lists. Not showering. Empty stares. Not caring about anything or anyone. And yet, smiling at everyone I see. Asking how people are. Being overly kind, just because. And then… nothing.
I know all the right words and I know what to do and I know you have to fight to keep the darkness away. But I’ve got no fight left. I have fought most of my life to keep this away. Sometimes it grabs hold of me for a short time, a few days, a few weeks. Sometimes it won’t let go for years. The fight is draining. Depression likes me. It wants to be right with me. I pretend for as long as I can that I’m fine. But the gig is up.
Sometimes I hate my body. Because of my chemical make up, I am very prone to depression, and particularly Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It has been raining off an on for over a week. I know that is part of why I can’t seem to shake this heaviness off of me. I know that when the sun comes back out to stay, I will slowly start to feel better. I hate that I am a slave to this flawed body. But those are the facts. Yes, I am still taking my antidepressant. Yes, I am still running. Sometimes it’s not enough.
And to top it off I have been praying for the same request for over a year. New and trying situations keep occurring. Asking and waiting. No answers. No resolutions. No nothing.
Kids are taught in Sunday School that Jesus is their friend. He wants to be your friend. He can be your friend. You need Jesus to be your friend.
Jesus is our friend, in the best possible way ever.
John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And John 15:15 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you.”
The problem comes with our definition and connotation of friend.
a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
a person who gives assistance; patron, supporter
a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile
Jesus as friend; it’s awesome because you can share everything with God, just like a true friend. You can share your dreams and cry your heart out and he’s there. But what happens when we only view God as friend?
Friends can let us down. Friends can disappoint us. And friendships don’t always last. When we have a friend that we are upset with we may give them the cold shoulder or silent treatment. We may even talk bad about them. We might conclude they are not worth keeping as a friend. Because let’s face it, sometimes that’s the best thing you can do for yourself and a one sided friendship.
But Jesus is more than a friend. He is the perfect friend. However, when we view our relationship with him as friend through our very human eyes, we might feel disappointed and ignored. We might feel like he doesn’t really listen to us or even know us. We might give God the silent treatment. We might give up on God because we feel like he isn’t being a very good friend.
Jesus is God in the flesh. We need to see him as much more than friend. God has many names and they all mean something about his character. It’s wise to learn these so we have context of who God is, otherwise we make God in our own image. God is not irrational nor does he make emotional judgments. God is our Jehovah: Lord, master and relational God. He is Elohim: LORD, Creator God. He is Adonai: Master over all. He is El Elyon: Most High God. He is El Emunah: the Faithful God. He is Immanuel: God with us. These are just a few names of God. If we only think of God as friend we miss out on his Lordship, his faithfulness, his presence with us.
I am in a season right now where it feels like my prayers are not heard. I feel left out. I feel forgotten. But I am reacting in feelings. I need to be rooted in who God is and remind myself of his character lest I give God the cold shoulder and decide he isn’t “being a good friend” and end our relationship. God is faithful, he will never leave me nor forsake me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He is Creator of all. He is my Shepherd and my Peace. He is the true friend that laid down his life for me.
God is also Just. His ways are higher than our ways. God disciplines those he loves as sons and daughters. He allows hardships in our lives for many different reasons. Paul had a thorn in his flesh to keep him from becoming proud. Moses was disciplined and not allowed in the Promised Land. David, a man after God’s own heart, had to fight for his life against Saul for 15 years before becoming the rightful King.
I don’t know why my prayers seem to be going unanswered. In my emotions I am frustrated. In my mind I know that I don’t always get to see why God might seem silent. He doesn’t always explain himself. He is God and I am not. Sometimes that is the only answer we get. I have to get over myself and keep trusting him. The more I read the Bible, the more of God I see objectively apart from my situation. I know that “all things work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 But we also need to remember that “good” in this context is spiritual, not earthly. God is listening and He is at work in my life, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Feelings are fleeting and fickle. God is steady and unchanging. When I am tempted to think less of him, that’s my own selfish and idolatrous thoughts. This is a good reminder for me to get back to reading His Word and internalizing it so I don’t doubt his love for me and have absolute trust in his care.
First off, the Zion course was so amazingly beautiful, the hills were so long and so steep, and the volunteers and other runners were so awesome. I loved the challenge and felt like I executed my plan and strategy fairly well, all things considered. I still didn’t finish. There were things I could have done better, and things out of my control, but isn’t that life?
Wednesday night, the night before we were leaving for Utah, my pacer, my son, was out skateboarding and fell and sprained his ankle very badly. So we were up late at the ER with him. He was so upset because he wanted to pace me and felt like he had let me down. It was an emotional time for us, but we both knew there was nothing that could be done. I’m so glad he decided to come with his dad and me anyway.
We spent the night in Gallup, NM had some good New Mexican food and headed out to Hurricane, Utah the next day. Somewhere near Tuba City, AZ we got a flat tire. We put the spare on, but didn’t want to necessarily drive the rest of the way on the spare. We were in such a remote area of Arizona we didn’t have much of a choice than to keep going. The delay put us in Utah a few hours later than I expected to be in and it definitely stressed me out for a little while. I got somewhat of a good nights sleep considering I got up at 3am! Ate some food, had my coffee and drove to the start.
The morning was perfect. Cool, but not cold, I didn’t even wear my jacket. I started just after 5am and the night was so dark and clear. I saw two shooting stars in the first hour of the race.
The course ran for about 6 miles on a dirt road and then we got on slickrock trail to Gooseberry Mesa. I ran with some people that I met right from the start. We kept a good conservative pace and all was well. The views were just glorious.
After the Gooseberry Mesa loop we then headed down Mondo Z, a 1.5 mile 1500’ descent down rocks. Pictures don’t do this justice. It’s pretty much straight down. Eventually it winds down to another trail in the desert towards the next aid station.
I met D and Aaron at Virgin Dam aid station around 26 miles in. It was so good to see them. They filled up my water and resupplied my gels and foods. Derreck got me ice for my bandana which was so awesome as it was really heating up. The next section was going to be hot!
By now my watch was tracking me almost 2 miles ahead. Pretty much everyone around me was, so it was a little frustrating not getting to aid stations when we expected to, but what can you do? Just keep moving. We got to a water only aid station and almost everyone was out. I think it was about 85 degrees and we were cooking! There wasn’t a food aid station for 5 more miles and we had a giant 4 mile road to climb to get to it, Smith Mesa.
This hill is where I really slowed way down. It was just sooo long and relentless. I never stopped moving but I lost a lot of ground on this hill. The aid station was great, and I had a quesadilla and some coke. I hoped to make up time on the top of Smith Mesa, but it was pretty technical up there and the conditions of the trail were really poor. I did not make up any time.
The next section off of Smith Mesa is called the Flying Monkey Trail. That was the sketchiest trail and it freaked me out in some spots. The trail was so narrow, rocks so loose, and the drop off so steep. I was extremely careful going down this section and by now I was worried it might be dark before I got to the bottom. I had no light with me until the aid station at mile 51, Virgin BMX. Part of this trail has a rope to get down about a 10-12 foot section of rock. Thankfully a nice guy was right by me and told me how to lower myself down. It was basically repelling down. Scary!
The trail finally started to become a smooth single track a little bit after that. I ran in the next aid station happy and hungry! Derreck and Aaron were there at Virgin BMX and took care of me. I decided to change my shoes and socks. My feet had large blisters from going straight down the Mondo Z hill. I stayed a little too long at that aid station but it was so good to see my family. By now it’s completely dark but I had my headlamp. I finally head out to the next section of trail and not even a mile into it I step into swampy stinky mucky water. I knew there was a river crossing here, but this was not a river. This was yucky cow pattie water. I finally got to the actual river and crossed it. That sucked. Those fresh shoes and socks were for nothing. Another rocky climb, but not too long and then up a dirt road to the top of Guacamole. I had a drop bag there with warm clothes and my Kogalla light. Good thing, it was cold up there. I stayed with a guy named Rodger. For some reason he started calling me Tanya. It was funny. Anyway, we stuck together for that section because the flagging was so hard to see. We did not want to get lost. We were already now almost 4 miles over what the course map said. This section took so long because we stopped to make sure we saw the next flag before proceeding. But it was better than going off course. I was getting tired but still felt alert. I made up some time coming down the road and then it was the river and muck again. But then I saw Derreck and Aaron again. It was around 4am by now. Here is where I broke down. My feet hurt so much. The blisters were huge. Derreck put my first pair of socks and shoes back on because the new ones were soaked again. I knew I was slow and was now worried about missing the cutoff time. I also knew I had to climb that stupid Mondo Z hill again. I wondered if I would be able to make it. Derreck and Aaron gave me hugs, fed me, made me laugh and I continued on.
There were a few people around me but I was slower than they were. I lost sight of their lights after awhile. I surprisingly felt okay at this point. I ran a little when it was flat and was doing ok. Until I stopped seeing the flagging. I went a little farther thinking maybe I had just missed the last one. Still no flags in sight, it’s dark and I am all alone. I pulled out the map on my phone and saw I was about a mile off course. That sucked. I backtracked as quickly as I could and found the spot I missed my turn. Now that was on the right course I guess my emotions released and I cried. I pulled myself together quickly and approached the big hill. By now the sun was starting to come up, which was good because it would have been so hard to get good footing in the dark. That hill was so steep I needed to rest so often. I started counting 30 steps and then I would rest on my poles. 30 steps, rest. On and on, up and up.
I made it to the top, finally, Goosebump Aid. I sat in a chair and had coffee and an egg. I was calculating the time and with 25 miles to go, I had to stay under a 19 min mile to finish. That would normally be easy. But I didn’t think I could do it, mostly walking. Of course, now I wish I had tried. My feet hurt so much. I was tired. I felt bad for Derreck and Aaron being up waiting for me without getting much sleep too. If I stopped it would all be over. I had nothing to prove to anyone.
I got out of the chair and headed out of the aid station. I had a 5 mile section to get to the next aid station and see the guys. As I walked I cried, seeing my dreams disappear before me. I was sad.
I called Derreck. Told him I didn’t think I would be able to finish in the time allotted. He told me the math and we both knew unless I really picked it up I wouldn’t make it. So he came and got me. I turned my bib in and took my DNF. I made it nearly 80 miles! That is a huge accomplishment. All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I learned so much. I met amazing people and did the hardest trails I have ever seen. The race was tougher than I thought it would be, and even though I didn’t finish, I am tougher than I thought as well. Had I known how hard this course was, I probably wouldn’t have even attempted it. But I would have missed out on the beauty of it all, and so much more!! Sometimes our goals should be so big we aren’t sure we can complete them. How else will we see where our limits are, where we can improve and grow? Life is full of unexpected and unwanted outcomes. Ultra running can be a way to practice dealing with hard times and disappointments in a way that really has no significance in everyday life. But the lessons learned, the willingness to suffer and continue transfers to every day life. We have to get up and keep going even when we are unhappy with our situation and try to make the best of it. And we need to celebrate all we have done and accomplished even if we didn’t meet our goal. They are all stepping stones to improving ourselves. Isn’t that really one of our purposes in life, to improve ourselves? If we do, we are in a better position to come along side others to encourage and uplift. That’s what makes the world go around.
So even with a DNF, I still call it a win. I ran longer than I have before, met amazing people and spent so much time in God’s Country.
Because I completed at least 100K, I was still able to take an award. I chose the Coffee cup!
When I first started training for this 100 mile race I am about to do, I pretty much only thought about the miles on my feet. Well, now that it’s a few days away and I am trying to get all my crap together, and I am overwhelmed! I had not thought too much about the logistics of planning for all the gels and food stuff I will need until this week. It’s a lot.
This doesn’t include extra socks, jacket and warm clothes for the night, headlamps and batteries, all the note cards for my drop bags to help me remember to eat my food and charge my watch, etc.
Zion 100 is a looped course. There are only a couple of spots that repeat, so for the most part, I will not be on the same trail for nearly 100 miles. That’s exciting, but logistically it takes a lot of planning. Aid stations vary from 4 miles to 9 miles apart, and a couple only have water, so it’s important to make sure I am carrying what I need as it could be a long time between spots I can where I can refuel. Derreck has helped me sort out bags and divide my food up. He also will be able to see me at mile 26, 52, 70 and 80. He has always been such a huge help to me and sacrifices his time and sleep so I can run around in the desert.
I am super excited that my son is going to pace me for the last 20 miles. I’m sure he doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. I hope he falls in love with the world of ultra running. But this might turn him off forever. I don’t even know what to expect. What state will my mind and body be in after I have already been moving for many many hours? I have read lots of race recaps and listened to dozens of podcasts on hundred mile races. Some people cry, some are delirious, some hallucinate, some sleepwalk. There’s just no way to predict how I will be affected. His job is to keep me eating and moving forward. I hope we can both look back on this time with happiness and laughter.
As of this writing I have 9 days, 10 hours and 4 minutes until race day. My training is basically done. Just a few short runs between now and then will allow my body the rest it needs so that I will be refreshed and ready to run the race of my dreams. I have imagined what the course might be like; how might I feel at different spots in the race? Where might I be when it’s dark? How long I will spend in the pain cave? Will I have the physical and mental strength to complete this goal?
My emotions are all over the place. One minute I feel calm and ready, strong and resolute, confident. I then have a swing in the opposite direction and think I haven’t put in enough training, I am not strong enough, what the hell was I thinking and there’s no way I can finish.
I am not sure why the draw of long distance running for me. It certainly calls me. I enjoy the solitude of hours alone in God’s creation. I take in the beauty in the simple. A colorful leaf, the sound of water flowing below, massive rock structures that tower above, the purest blue sky- all fill my mind with wonder and praise for it is a glimpse of God’s glory for me.
I look forward to time on my feet, traveling in the most simple way to cover a great distance and see with my own eyes the beauty in the landscape. I eagerly await meeting like minded people, chasing after a goal that both scares us and yet burns a fire in us to complete it. I am ready to face the pain with tenacity.
I have run enough ultras to know there are many highs and lows in a race. This distance is unknown to me, but the pattern will be the same. I just need to get through the lows. And God willing, I will!!
I am so extremely grateful to everyone who donated to my fundraising page to help end Lupus. It means so much to me to have the support of so many friends and family. There is still time to give your tax deductible donation if you feel so inclined. I am praising God I have been healthy for most of my training with only minor flare ups. I know how fortunate I am right now to be in such a good place with this disease. I hope to stay this way for a long time but the truth is there are no guarantees. So I will make the best of whatever situation I am in and will do all I can to keep moving forward.
As I enter the last third of my training block, I am feeling pretty good about it all. I haven’t completed all the mileage as written, but overall have done really well.
A couple weeks ago I ran a solo 50K for training. I had everything I needed in my truck, parked in a spot I would pass by a few times and used it as an aid station. It was a very quiet and overcast day in the canyon, which kept the temps cool. I used it as time to practice nutrition, using my poles, and to see how my mind would hold up for several hours without anyone to talk to. Everything went perfectly except my shoes sliding around some and causing blisters. I have yet to find exactly the right trail shoe. I was actually quite surprised at how quickly the time went by until about the marathon mark. Then I was just ready to finish. It took me right at 7 hours, which was my guess, so all went really well.
I also did my first run from evening to night. I run in the dark in the morning often. But I haven’t ever done that in the canyon. Derreck came to keep an eye on Donna and I as we looped around trails to different parking lots to check in. What surprised me most was how hard it is to see right as the sun is gone, but still light enough that a headlamp doesn’t help. It’s really tricky during that time. Also, how fast the temperature dropped as soon as it was dark dark. But what was most fabulous about running in the canyon at night is the open sky without any light pollution. The stars!! It was absolutely incredible!
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set into place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4
And then just this week, the race director announced a course change. My first thought was dread. But after they explained it all, it’s actually all the same course, just start/finish in a different place and the order of the trails is a little different. I will need to re-think my drop bag items and placement, but still have plenty of time to get it all sorted out.
I’m also over half way to my fundraising goal for lupus. I’m so grateful to the many people who have donated. If your curious what that’s about, see my previous post. As always, thank you for reading. Happy running!
You hear it often in the business world and the running world; “What’s your why?” You need a strong “why” because if you don’t, when it gets uncomfortable, when it gets hard, you may lose sight of your goals or quit your race.
My running Why has evolved over time. When I first started running it was to lose weight. What I didn’t realize as I was shedding pounds is that I also was shedding my depression. As I ran more and more, my whys became about race goals. 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Boston Qualifier. Then I found trail running. Running trails brought me closer to my creator. The beauty and purity connected me to God in another avenue.
After running trails I was introduced to Ultra Marathons. I never thought I would ever run farther than 26.2 miles, a marathon. I couldn’t believe people ran farther than that. But the more I ran trails, the longer I wanted to be out on them. My first 50K I just wanted to see if I could run that far. My second one was all about the location and the experience at Monument Valley . It was so incredible, beautiful, humbling, and hard. But so worth it. After that is when I got sick.
The next 50K I ran was Cedro Peak. It was just over a year since MV and I was just so grateful to be running again. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to run far again. It was such a blessing. I was much slower. But after a few miles of feeling sorry for myself that I had this stupid disease, I realized I could still be stuck in bed. That run turned into a song of thanksgiving and praise to God that I was running at all.
50 miles, could I?? I had a lot of self doubt in training. My why was to see what I was made of. I wanted to come to the end of myself. I was tired of the pain without rhyme or reason. This was a pain I could control. I could run until I decided if I wanted to stop or not. I was chasing cutoffs but I didn’t want to stop. I knew I had it in me. Thanks to my husband and son who took turns pacing me, I was able to finish strong.
50 Miles at Antelope Canyon. Recap Why?? Location, location, location. Have you seen my pictures? They don’t do it justice. Plus I liked the training. I liked the distance. Plus my friends were doing it. So “Why not?”
Why 100 miles at Zion?
First off, I don’t know how much longer I have to run crazy long distance. I really want to at least try for 100 miles. Plus, you get a really cool buckle!! Not familiar with the belt buckle hundred milers get? Here’s an Explanation .
All the other reasons I have had for my other ultras are good. But not good enough to carry me through this kind of distance. If I make this race only about me, well, that’s not a good enough why. Because at mile 70, just before another mile long steep hill, I might say enough. I don’t want to lose sight of my goal – to finish the race set out before me. That’s not to say finish at all costs. If I am risking injury, I will stop. I’m not going to be stupid. However, I know that at some point my mind will want me to stop. My legs will hurt. My feet will hurt. I will be tired. I will think this is dumb. I will think about giving up. I need a good reason to continue, up steep hills, in the dark, through the night. And it’s got to be about more than a buckle and some yummy aid station food.
I am raising money for Lupus Foundation of America. These funds will go directly to help improve the quality of life of those with lupus. This is my why. Many others with lupus are in much worse shape than I am. The younger you are when you contract this disease the worse it attacks your body. I am fortunate that I was older. I am fortunate that I was already a runner and in good health. I am fortunate to have been diagnosed quickly compared to the countless others who’ve waited years for treatment. I have a voice that is able to bring attention to this disease through my running. I want to bring awareness and give help to my brothers and sisters who are fighting much harder than I am. This run is for all my fellow Lupus Warriors.
If you would like to donate it would mean so much to me. Thank you with all my heart. Click on the link below.
The plan: run 100 miles at Zion Ultras on April 10-11. The goal: don’t DNF! The ultimate goal: under 30 hours.
I’m just starting week 12 in my training plan. I am using the plan from the book Relentless Forward Progress. So far, it’s going well. I am keeping my miles on the very conservative side, knowing my body well enough now that I have had 5 years of ultra running and 3.5 with lupus. I’m pleasantly pleased!
One of the perks of training for an ultra with your friends is the sheer amount of time you can spend together during long runs. We have some of the most amazing conversations that probably would not happen in other settings. Topics just flow, and with the 3 of us, they flow deeply. I truly believe that running can and does help people have stronger mental health!
There are days I question my sanity for deciding to run 100 miles. And certainly I have friends and family (that’s you, Dad) that don’t understand or worry about me. It’s hard to put into words, but I need it. I need to run. I know I don’t have to run so far, but I enjoy the process of running, I enjoy challenging myself and the idea is just so exciting, even if a little scary. I love the atmosphere of ultras. These are the nicest people you will ever meet.
I saw a lady’s shirt that said, “The more I run, the less I want to run away” and that just has stuck with me because I get it! Running can be an escape from the noise of the world and all its trouble, it can be the place where you get your best ideas, it can be community, it can be church! It can be where God speaks loudest, it can be just the quiet you need.
I will continue to train so that I can be well prepared for this endeavor. Stay tuned for more updates! Read through my previous posts on other race recaps I have written about and more on why I run. Thanks for reading!
I have applied for many jobs over the last six months and have created several resumes to cater to the job I was applying to. I sometimes stopped and thought to myself how funny it would be if our resumes told the whole truth. Mine would be something like this below…
(Somewhat) Dedicated and focused (Squirrel!) professional with exceptional communication (I will tell it like it is) and customer service skills. Excels Adequate at prioritizing and completing multiple tasks while remaining adaptable and flexible (and only will cuss a little)
Friendly and courteous (if I have had enough coffee and snacks)
Excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational (definitely NOT) skills
Self-motivated, adaptable and positive attitude (again, if enough coffee and snacks are provided)
Excellent work ethic (when I am not too tired)
CPR and First Aid Certifications 2019 (but I don’t remember anything)
10/2020 – Current
Secretary Western Plateau Elementary School
Answer phones, order supplies, deposit cash and checks, balance budgets, run payroll reports, report cards, and other office duties. Interaction with students, teachers, administration and parents. Gets distracted by kids in the hallway. Has to go to the bathroom often. Likes to talk about Harry Potter and Star Wars. I do a lot of running, so I might be late and definitely don’t shower before work sometimes. Keeps snacks in desk drawer, but will bring my own mouse traps. Will often ask to leave to get more coffee. Prefers to eat at my desk so I can take a nap in my car during lunch.