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Superior 100 – Rugged|Relentless|Remote

Where to begin…

WHY – If I had a dollar for every time I was asked this I’d own a dog ranch. Few truly understand so rather I will answer the question of why this course instead.

1st off I love a tough challenge. When I decided I was going to tackle my 1st 100 it was a no brainer. Could I have went with an easier course…sure BUT that was not an option. It was going to be on a tough course that just flowed with awesomeness coming from the race director to fellow runners to volunteers. I knew no matter what happened on the trail it was a win win. I’ve completed the 25k, marathon, 50k and 50 miler here so it was simply “next”.

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What does up must come down- 21,000 feet of gain. 21,000 feet of loss

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Race morning-I actually slept better than ever. We had a cute little cabin in Little Morrais but once I started gearing up the ol nerves started flowing faster than a river. I  admired the sun rising over Superior, drank some java, had a banana, bagel and went poop 2x (never enough 🙂 we were headed to Gooseberry for the start of the race.

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Our adorable cabin
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Race morning bliss

It was so fun arriving at Gooseberry. Getting to see fellow runners, crew, pacers and pups. I was excited yet terrified. Here I got to chit chat with many people. My heart felt like it was going to pump out of my chest. I was a ball of nerves. So many people gave words of encouragement and support but it was Wendy who really just had the perfect words for me at that moment. “Just relax, don’t use all that energy, take it all in” that just stuck. Funny stuff as my phone accidentally started recording our conversation.  I now am the proud owner of a 7 minute pre-race pow wow to always remind me of this moment.

My morning angel aka Wendy
My morning angel aka Wendy


Hugs were given, my face felt like it was froze from smiling. I heard a 3, 2, 1 and off we were. HOLY SH&* it’s happening. Good idea or bad (he’s much faster) I shared the 1st 11 miles with Dan.

Dan is a dear friend who was also racing. Those miles flew by. I got to meet so many people along this section. Hawkeye fan Troy & the OG’s stick out during this section. I loved hearing Jeff Goldsteins Superior 100 stories, knowledge and advice. We were doing a short out and back and I was busy hooting at the runners telling them nice job, etc. I saw Long, got super excited gave him a fist pump. Dan took his eyes off the trail to see what was going on and face planted!! HARD!! He bounced back up like a lil rubber band. Made sure he was ok and kept trekking. Sorry DQ I literally laugh out loud now thinking of that. About mile 11 I could tell I needed to back off I only had 92 miles to go 😊 so I told Dan to go run his race and he was off.

It was here I yet again got to just learn so much about other people. Man we all have a story to tell. This is why I love events like this. Life is tough but guess what the human body and brain can be so much tougher. I thought about life, my boys, my family and my pups for about the next 10 miles. I was paying careful attention to my footing while climbing over rocks and roots.

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Tis no thang-yes thats the trail
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This looked incredible at the moment

Through out this time I was trying really hard to keep my hydration and nutrition in check but at each aid station my bottles (2) 18 oz. were empty. Every hour on the hour I made sure to consume calories. When I rolled into Beaver Bay mile 20 my crew (filled me with calories and liquids, I switched socks (ahhhh) and gave all a hug (Daniel and Susie were here too!!) and off I went.  I must add not only did Brett and Sabrina help me but they volunteered at Beaver Bay aid station for hours to help ALL the runners.

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I see Daniel and Susie!!!

The next 15 miles seemed to go by fast. I made sure to take in the views, meet as many new people as I could and make a point to remember I signed up for this pain that I was now starting to feel. Also being reminded how insanley difficult this terrain is!

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Peace on earth

About mile 35ish (I think..crap brain) my right calf started to give me some trouble. Nothing major but was having a hard time not thinking about it. UNTIL I was following 2 guys ahead of me we missed a slight turn got off track a bit and I turned back to see Susan Donnelly behind me! I felt like I was running next to a celebrity. She was so sweet and kind. I got to learn more about her and couldn’t help but be in awwww of how amazing she is. She’s glides through that trail and moved forward with such grace. We said our goodbyes and off she went. I once again was getting low on fluids and could tell I needed calories so shoved what I could in the pie hole and kept trekking. I was getting a little nervous as I didn’t pack my head lamp but knew my crew was going to be at County Rd 6. I was with a pack of runners and as much as I wanted to pass thought that’s silly “take it easy on day 1 so day 2 will be easiser” a comment from Jeff G. went through my head so I stayed put.

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Grateful I didn’t faceplant on this down

Low and behold I got there just before the sun went down.  At this point my calf was really starting to bother me. Brett to the rescue he had brought an extra set of trekking poles!. I changed clothes w/ the help of Sabrina and Susie hiding me behind a blanket. Hit the pooper, tried to force in calories and music to my ears Brett asked if I wanted company. HELL YEAH. He was eager and ready to rock with me on the trail.

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You say what??? Warm, dry gear into the night I was about to go. Beastie with veggie broth and my head lamp.

Off to Finland..this section was bliss and hell. Running in the pitch dark was actually kind of magical. Brett was setting a great pace and following behind was another runner and his pacer. I asked his name he said Tim but I didn’t want to turn around and blind him so we just kept shooting the shit while Brett led the way. 4 headlamps, 4 humans just enjoying the place we were calling home for the next umpteen hours. It wasn’t until miles later I turned around and holy shit it was Timothy the Owata I knew!! That made it even more kickass and he told us about a nice spot to stop and turn off our heads lamps and look at the starts. We did just that and it was stunning but we were on a boardwalk my legs were shaking and I thought I was going to biff directly into the water…I wasn’t alone with that thought so lamps went on and off we went.

A few miles later is when everything went south. I  felt “off” nauseous, tired, dizzy, weak, every step felt like a struggle and the thought of any food made me want to puke. I tried to stomach down what I could knowing it could be a game breaker but F was that a challenge. Was something wrong or it normal to feel this way at this point of the race? This is when I also had to shut off my head lamp and pee about every 15 minutes. It was odd I was peeing way more than I should have yet color was clear and no burn. Chalked it off to to much water early on and kept moving forward. I started having a self doubt, my calf felt like it was slowly tearing but I had thoughts of my boys and the words “Harapats don’t quit” running through my head. At mile 58.7 we should hit Sonju JUST KEEP MOVING! but I tell you what this aid station seems to be washed away in the woods. We kept hearing people, going around bends and even smelled a bonfire but FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF where is it. Brett thought we were in the twilight zone 🙂  We passed a sign and he told me it was only .2 to the aid station. Wrong (it’s ok Brett 🙂 that was for a campground or something else it had to be close to 2 (which felt like 20) He told me when we got there he just wanted me to sit for 10 minutes. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK!

Low and behold we made it. I plopped into a chair and a few moments later a medic came over. Asked me a few questions (such a blur) told me he wanted me to sit for a bit and was worried about dehydration due to the amount of peeing (Brett had filled him in). I got really cold so moved to the fire and sat there while getting licked by a chocolate lab which was therapy at it’s finest. Fast forward about an hour I wasn’t feel great but better. I knew Sabrina had been waiting at the next aid station for hours ☹ I felt terrible for how long she was waiting. The medic was sooooo amazing (thank you volunteers) but made it clear he was worried. Basically stating this isn’t Grandmas marathon where they can get to me right away and hook me up to an IV I’m in the middle of nowhere if need be. I can’t remember if it was Brett or the medic but someone said “There will be more races but there’s only one Heidi” This made the tears flow and reminded me once again I promised my family if it got to the point of the race where I felt I was a risk I would drop. But once again “Harapat’s don’t quit” rolled through my head and I started thinking of my Mom. I just wanted my Mom!!!!!!!! Crosby was about 4 miles away I needed to make a decision as to much time was ticking. I decided to start walking as I wanted to get to my beastie!

I got up and felt great for 5 glorious minutes! I even told Brett he could pick up the pace and shortly after boom hit by a ton of bricks again. I went pee 5x in less than hour. WTH was going on. Got into Crosby saw Sabrina and once again cried. This time not sure if I was so relieved to see her or because my race may be over. A medic came over. She was on her game and convinced it was hyponythermia (to much water not enough sodium) now this made complete sense based on my prior day. I sat for a bit shoved down calories while battling with my brain. I wanted to keep moving but my body didn’t! I wasn’t going to listen to my body…….yet…..JUST KEEP MOVING

Sabrina knows me best. She knew I was struggling but kept me moving forward. She’s didn’t give a monkeys ass that I couldn’t eat anything she literally said we would stop until I did and so that’s what we did.

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Forcing down calories trying not to puke. Photo by: Sabrina
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When taking a sip of water is such a chore-Photo by Sabrina

I appreciated her tough love that day and what just what I needed. This section was very technical but “only”10 miles to Sugarloaf. We got to watch the sun come up together, battle rocks, roots, listen to nothing but each others breathe from hiking up the inclines, it was great. She kept my brain occupied by talking to me, told me about her day but I couldn’t help but be extremely distracted by my calf. I couldn’t run and as much as I wanted to speed up physically I couldn’t. Soooo frusterating. I kept chugging along and like a pack of cheetahs that were just unleashed the 50 mile runners (there were 100, 50 and 26.2 mile runners) were on the course. Seeing there fresh legs and speed was almost comical. Jake Hegge flew past us like a man on a mission. I have to say those pink ribbons (100 milers wear them so other runners know what distance we are going) are genius. EVERY single runner from the front to middle of the pack made a point to say “looking good”, “your amazing” “Your killing it” We got a good laugh out of some of the comments as I looked in her phone at one point and thought yup I looking exactly like I feel #likeshit but so cool to have a cheer sqaud from fellow runners.

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Look like shit, feel like shit but don’t give a shit I have Beastie by my side

Things started to get pretty real now. Sabrina is a whiz when it comes to course aid staions/pace/time etc. as hard as I kept trying to speed up it wasn’t happening. My heart was crumbling inside as I feared the inevitable but tried to keep my focus on the course. She’s a realist and told me I would have to maintain my current pace for 31 miles without stopping at an aid station for the remainder of the course to come in under 38 hours.

Heart sunk, kids disappointed faces, my Mom, Dad, friends and crew ran though my brain. I have to keep going…JUST KEEP MOVING

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Pretty sure those pole are keeping me from tipping 🙂

A few more miles went by and “There will be more races there will only be one Heidi” ran though my head. I talked (and cried) with Sabrina as we were moving forward and rather than make matters worse decided I would get to the next aid station and drop. Those last few miles were filled with smiles and tears as I felt such a huge sense of disappointment yet relief.

Rolled into Sugarloaf after 26 hours and 20 minutes on the course hitting mile 72.3. This is the longest distance I’ve ever made but honestly felt a sense of shame. Hard to explain how you can get 72 miles and still feel disappointment but it’s a raw hard feeling that I had. My first DNF DID NOT FINISH

Fast fwd a few hours I got to take a shower and get back to the course in time to enjoy the remainder of the day. Cheer on other runners and have a nice cold beer and watch DQ come though that line. I couldn’t help but be soooo crazy proud of all the runners from the marathon, 50 mile and 100 mile coming in. I wish it had been me but life and goals clearly don’t always go as planned but its ok. I don’t have that sweatshirt I was dying to get or that sweet buckle but I’m at peace with it all now. Heidi will brush herself off, take notes, try again and be grateful for a weekend that filled my heart and soal. I will look back at all these amazing pictures captured (which I’m so grateful for) and think as the old saying goes I Did Not Finish #dnf but I Did Not Fail.

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May not be the fastest (or have finished) but loving life on the trail
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Am I still breathing? PC: COle Peyton
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In my foot zone PC: Talented Ian Corless
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Don’t look up but don’t forget to smile 🙂 PC: Dan LaPlante (#soberissexy)

Thank you volunteers, thank you John and Cheri, thank you crew, thank you fellow runners, thank you fam, thank you friends, and thank you trail pups LOVE YOU ALL!

Best of news Mr Harper could have cared less I DNF’d was still proud. He says hes excited to log long training miles again someday

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“Your Nuts”, “Your Crazy”, “Do you realize the risks associated with something like that?” -100k Kettle Moraine Race Recap

If I had a dollar for every time I heard those words this chicka would be rich!

WHY-Let’s back track a year. As much as I love trail running that dangling carrot qualifying for Boston needed to be snipped. January 2016 mission accomplished I was able to get a qualifying time at Carlsbad Marathon. Now fast forward 9 months to September 2016…. the suck factor. I qualified but my time wasn’t good enough to get in.

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Insert Suck Face-Letter From Boston

OUCH!!!! Instead of drowning in self pity I set a new goal. For the past couple years I’ve questioned whether I would be capable of completing a 100K race. I love challenges, I love pushing myself and I think I must enjoy a little pain. Hell, they say 90% is mental and after a roller coaster ride of life from the hell I was able to bounce back. What do I have to lose? I’d be winning either way. I’d have a day dedicated to “Heidi” in nature (my happy place) doing what I love with people who just “get it” or should I say are “crazy” like me. So I did a little research and found the Kettle Moraine 100K Trail Race.

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WHERE- Kettle Moraine 100K race starts in Elkhorn, WI. The backbone of the course is the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest. This was about a 6 ½ hour drive.

CREW/PACERS-This was a new race for me in many ways. I’ve never stepped on the course, it would be my longest distance attempt (prior 50 miles) & I wouldn’t have my trail running tribe or anyone I knew at the race to crew or support me outside my family. I’m also what I like to call a hermit runner at times. As much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE my running peeps when I train or when I race there are many days (outside my loyal paw running pal Harper)

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Boy Brown-Logs MANY miles with me

where I just prefer to be alone. It’s the time in my life/day that’s therapeutic to me. I find I push myself harder and the solitude is a reflection of life and it’s journey and allows me to just “do me” so no pacer was A ok. As scary as everything seemed I also loved the fact that my crew consisted of my husband and (2) boys.

BOYS

What more could a girl want?

RACE DAY- Will dropped me off about 5:30. I told him not to worry about seeing me for the first half as I wanted him to be able to enjoy the morning and have fun with the kids but I would send him updates as to my whereabouts if possible. Yes, I typically run with my phone. I’m a photo junky (again shitty memory and want to remember moments in this thing we call life) also want on hand if an emergency arises. It was a gorgeous morning. Temps were perfect mid 55s slight breeze. The sight of hundreds of other runners putting on timing chips, stretching, waiting to “drop the kids at the pool ” in the porta potty line, ahhhhhhh such a natural rush.

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I honestly didn’t hear a word that was said at the pre-race briefing and before I knew it we were off.

The shuffling of feet through the tall grass, the chitter chatter of the other runners, the smell of pine needles such bliss but oh shit I have sooo many (63.1) miles to go. It took the first 7 to get into my groove. Once in it I just listened, took in the views, soaked in the smells of nature and admired the smiles on the trail. The first 15 were pretty uneventful. Once I left Emma Carlin aid station (mile 15.7) I sent Will a quick text as to where I was. He responded with an image and “Wow your cruising, looks like there are some strong storms coming but if they hit they should be short lived”.

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Pic from Will-Potential Storm

Turned my phone off and within minutes it started to sprinkle ehhhhh no worries it actually felt refreshing. I didn’t think much of the rain as I was so distracted by my new hydration vest. I did a few training runs with it so thought I had the proper fit and everything down but it was driving me fricking nuts! BOOOOM ahhhh the sound of thunder snapped me out of that distraction. The light sprinkle turned more intense and along came lightening. This girl will run in -30 to 100 degree temps, sleet, snow, humidity, you name it but I do NOT run when it’s lightening. Stuck in the middle of the course what choice did I have? RUN I said a lil prayer for me and my fellow runners and kept trucking along.

The sprinkles turned into an all out downpour. The dry trail turned to complete slop. The blue sky was now grey. I was really wishing I had worn compression shorts or a bathing suit as everything was slopping wet, creeping up or stuck to my skin… just plain ol’ uncomfortable! The rain was making sweat drip into my eyes which was causing them to burn. There literally wasn’t a dry item on me…including my phone (oooops).  I had no way to inform Will of my whereabouts. I couldn’t wait to get to the next aid station in hopes I could drop my pack and wipe me face.

Got to Hwy 67 aid station (24.8)…..insert major sad face…no boys. BUT I did get to see Julio and Tommy’s smiling faces. Julio heads up the Defeat the Stigma Project and Tommy Bigger than the Trail both raising awareness for Mental Health Awareness which hits close to home for our family. It was a breath of fresh air to see them. We chatted a bit gave me positive vibes and off I went again. The pouring rain and clothing sticking to skin started to create some major chaffing issues. Thankfully I had prepped for this and had the magic tool in my pack. Vaniply to the rescue! AHHHHHHH such relief. Those next miles were pretty much the same…mud, rain, slip and slop. I couldn’t wait to get to the 1//2 way point in hopes I would see the boys. A few miles to the aid station the rain let up a bit and the sun tried to peek it’s sweet lil face.

Hit the half way point (31.6) at Scuppernong to my family!

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Will had a towel (praise the lord), grub, and fresh gear in hand along with 2 happy but wild boys. He encouraged me to change my shoes but I’m stubborn and it was still raining so thought it was pointless. I did however change shirts, shorts, socks and dropped that dam pack!I shoved in some grub, gave some hugs, grabbed my Nathan hand held and I was off. These miles I started to question if I would finish, I thought about life, dogs, kids, the future the present ….you name it it crossed my mind. I was trying to distract my brain from my bulging left calf that felt like it wanted to explode.

The return trek was an energy sucking, soul searching battle. The mud was off the charts due to the additional foot coverage with the 50k runners now having trekked though it as well.

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Lord have Mercy-Shoe sucking madness

At times on the climbs it was so slippery you literally would slide back down without proper footing. Kind of comical to be honest. All I could think of is how my boys would LOVE to be sliding down that slippery mud slide. I will never forget the chick on the trail throwing out F bombs as “she couldn’t complete this F’ing course” She was dead in her tracks and not moving. I convinced her with that attitude (I totally get it) she wouldn’t and to get behind me and start trekking. It took some convincing but she listened.

Emma Carlin (47.4) I was pleasantly surprised to see my boys again. Both extremely filthy as they found their own trail mud to slop in along with a dose of poison ivy. BUT they were having fun, being entertained and making the racers laugh at their filthiness. I left that station after shoving an egg, pickle, potato and coke in my gut to be welcomed to a a sign that said “Welcome to Hell”.

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Welcome to Hell
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My lil men

With the rain brought hot ass temps and ridiculous humidity. I was in hell. With zero tree coverage and 88 deg. temps and humidity it lived up to its name.

It was hot as hell. At this point all I could do was maintain forward motion as stopping felt like I was trapped in a sauna filled with bugs. Those bastards got their own lil workout as they must have followed me zipping around my head 5 miles. My sweat in the slight breeze was the only thing cooling. Legs were starting to cramp, body was feeling weak, and brain was hazy but guess what I wasn’t going to let this course take me. This is where the determined stubborn Heidi in me came in. I looked down at the sweet rubber band bracelets my boys made for me and off I went.

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ME and Mary from Duluth

Bluff (55.6) Are we there yet??? At this point in the race I just wanted to be done. I was overheating, super sore, getting into a funky state of mind and couldn’t help but think I still had 8ish miles to go. Once again I was welcomed by the boys. They had no desire to see Mom though as nothing beats a big ass hill to play on so a quick hello and they were off to play (can you blame them) Will on the other hand Johnny on the Spot. Once again offering to help me change shoes which I took him up on this time (felt like I won the jackpot). Fresh socks, shoes, a snickers, Coke (drink of choice) baby food a hand full of almonds and I started feeling better but didn’t want to get up!

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When eating and drinking becomes a chore
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Heaven on Earth-Fresh Shoes and Socks thanks to Wills persistancy

My legs were telling me to stay but my mind said get your ass up and run! Off I went.

This section HURT. I forgot to pee at the last aid station. At mile 57 found some tall grass bent down to pee stood up and holy OUCH! I had the most excruciating pain on the side of my left foot. Pain I’d never felt before. It hurt to walk, it hurt to run WTH was I going to do! Nobody in sight I let out a few tears and gimped forward OUCH again dead in my tracks. It hurt too bad to move. I told myself “Pain in temporary Heidi there’s not a dam thing you can do about it. If this turns into a long term injury at least you can say you earned it?” Perhaps this is this were NUTS comes in? I dealt with the pain by switching from walking to a slow shuffle for about a mile. Turning my foot in/out, shortening/lengthening my stride…..any position to try and help subside the pain. Then low and behold I looked up and saw an Eagle soaring over me. Guess what??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Life can be magical at times as within 5 minutes of the pain become manageable and I was back to running!

Mile 62 I looked up into the sky this time shed tears of happiness as I knew this journey was about over. I thanked the Big Man above for blessing me with the mental and physical me the ability to get to that point and literally was running with a cheesy ass grin.

Mile 63.1 I did it! I crossed the line to be welcomed by the 3 most important boys in my life. I must give a shout out to Will. He will never get “it” but he gets me and knows running is one of my biggest passions in life and fully supports me. I couldn’t do it without him.

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Finish photo with my crew Photo Credit-Tommy Bryne

I was given a belt buckle (I’ve wanted one of these bad boys for years) and was told I finished 3rd in my division (4th overall female) WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT! Place means nothing to me but at 37 years young I was dang proud of what this MN Momma I had just accomplished.

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That face lol
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The buckle!
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Happy , Proud Momma and my 3rd place plaque

Its over and honestly all just feels like a hazy dream.

WHATS NEXT-Great question. Moose Mountain Marathon in Sept. is the only other race lined up (so far :))I accomplished the 2 major goals I set out for 2017, completed the 100K and re-qualified again for Boston in April (in Vegas) so hoping 2018 is the year I can snap that carrot. Every time I race it leaves me craving the next but as I sit here typing this I’m really just thankful to be where I’m at today. For the next few months I plan to just enjoy being able to hit the trails or road with no speed, distance or destination in mind.

I will end with this….

“Your Nuts”, “Your Crazy”, “Do you realize the risks associated with something like that?”

Yes I’m self-proclaimed a little crazy and as nutty as it may sound it’s events like this that help keep me sane. It reduces my anxiety, temporarily turns my brain off, puts me at peace  and gives me a freedom only running can bring.

And Risks…. sure there’s risk but there’s risks involved in anything in life. “A ship is safe in the harbor but that’s not what ships are for”

Life is too short!

Take Risks . Dream Big. Stomp Fear in the Ass . Believe in YOU

Peace out friends and thanks for reading!

Gear Used -Altra MT King & Superior Trail Shoes, Shorts, Half Zip Jacket, Buff & Sunglass – North Face-Racer & Shorts – Mill City Running Tank – Salomon Hydration Vest – Nathan Hand Held – Injiinji Socks – KT Tape (for vest)-Suunto Ambit 3 (watch)

 

 

Being a “BAD” Mom isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing

We live in a world where we are constantly judged, where we may feel inadequate, where you may feel like you’re not doing enough. Well STOP Your doing plenty. Being a “BAD” Mom is not necessary a bad thing.

What defines bad???

Bad

Adjective

  1. of poor quality; inferior or defective.

Who defines BAD? Society? Yourself? Peers?

I struggle with the term “Bad” Mom. Society seems to set the standards this day in age and I think being a bad Mom in others eyes is not necessarily a bad thing. I wasn’t given a hand book on mommy hood and even if I was I more than likely wouldn’t have read it. The hope of this blog is for you to look at your own life as a Mom, stop comparing it to others and realize society can’t define us. The way we choose to live and how we raise our kids is only something that can be decided and judged from within you so give yourself a break! Whether you’re a New Mom, a Struggling Mom or a “BAD” Mom you are a Mom and as long as you’re doing your best I would like to call you a SUPER MOM!

I know there are hundreds of things Moms stress over but will touch on a few items in which others may define as a BAD MOM.

Let me preficit by saying it took 30 years but I could care less what others think of me and I truly think Mommyhood is to thank.

Nutrition

As much respect as I have for all the mothers who can feed their kids all organic, gluten free, nutrient packed smoothies daily that’s not a reality for me. I do watch my children’s nutrition as it’s important and do my best to ensure they are getting the essential nutrients but my kids (3 & 7) love McDonalds, Nutty Bars, $1 Betty Crocker Brownie mixes sugar filled juices and at times have Ice Cream as a meal. Lord have mercy I even let them drink my coffee. School requests sending a healthy snack daily guess what?? I’ve filled the backpack with Carrot (hey it’s a veggie) cake. Do I do this daily? No

Does it make a bad Mom? No……. So relax

Behavior

I’ve never been a very patient person. I have a get’r’done personality. I can’t ask 15 times to brush teeth, take a shower or wash your hands. I’ve raised my voice, my patience has been tested. I have made my kids cry due to my tone. When my son throws a fit at Target guess what?? I use to panic and anxiety kicked in. I’ve learned to just laugh it off…. oh and smile at strangers staring giving us the crusty eye. I don’t remove him from the store for being naughty while trying to whack me in the face saying “Mommy you’re not my friend” for wanting the $19.99 stuffed animal that I said NO to. Instead, I shop away, smile at the “gawkers” and let that 5 minute “freak out fest” pass. After all think of all those eye level temptations stores provide for kids. Genius marketing I’d say!

Does that make me a bad Mom? No……so relax and next time perhaps see if “that” Mom needs a helping hand.

Clothing

My kids have a mind of their own and choose to dress themselves most days. So what we go to the store in rain boots, shorts and winter coats or run out of the house in only a t-shirt. At 3 years old he’s comfortable and proud of his attire. My youngest gets hand me downs, my oldest gets garage sale steals. I do like to buy my boys new clothes but I don’t feel compelled to buy Janie & Jack or Gap just “be cool” only to have them ripped and ragged after a few times.

Does that make a bad Mom? No……so relax

Cleaning

I do admire the perfectly picked up homes, the vacuum lined carpets, the dirt free windows that some Moms maintain. I however have given up on trying to keep everything neat and tidy. My home is loved and lived in. Beware- when visiting you may walk out with dog fur attached to you, you may crunch on dropped snacks, you will see my kids window art (from oily, little hands) you may find a dust bunnys.

“Our house isn’t messy it’s custom designed by a 3 and 7 year old”

Does that make a bad Mom? No……so relax

Education

Sure education is important. Reading, writing arethblahtic but I feel getting dirty, searching for frogs and exploring nature is equally important. My 3 year old may not know all of his colors yet but he can tell you how to get to the trail, what birdies do with their eggs, where to find wild berries and even where to find a toilet in the woods (thanks Grandma Gerber)! That’s important too right?

Does that make me bad Mom? No……so relax

I won’t be standing in line to receive mother of the year award but the labeling, comparing and judging of other Moms must stop. Let’s be confident in our own parenting. Accept that you are good enough, that you can go against mainstream standards and trends and still be an amazing Mommy.

At the end of the day the fact that my children are happy, healthy, clothed, fed and most importantly loved means I’m doing a dam good job.

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So embrace going against societies standards of Mommyhood and…..

Live and Let Live!

Stop Comparing Start Embracing! 5 Things I LOVE About My Body

In a society where we are constantly seeing images of perfect bodies on the internet in magazines, in the media, etc naturally we tend to compare. We are bombarded with images that tend to prescribe beauty to us. To long for those perfectly toned arms and legs, to have that perfect bootie, to wish we could run faster, run longer or lift more.

I should preficit this post with saying I’ve always struggled with my own body (that could be another post). As people who may be overweight struggle so does those who are “too skinny” in others eyes. At 10 years old being called anorexic was not fun. Mind you I ate like it was my last meal and ran daily (yup my love for running goes WAY WAY back) but hearing those words HURT.

In a state of constant comparison I’m writing this guilt free. Nope not going to feel guilty for being awesome. My only hope is that you can look at your body and do the same. Here are 5 things I once hated but have grown to  LOVE about my body.

1) My legsI’ve always thought my legs were too “manly” looking . My husband reminds me often (thanks babe) “no they are not, it’s all muscle”. It’s taken years but I’m finally embracing them. These babies have got me through some incredibly long hard runs. They have allowed me to climb mountains. They serve as “airplanes” lifting and “flying” my children high into the sky and have taken me places  I never dreamt possible.

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Proud Momma Running next to B’s 1st 5K
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These legs got my through my 1st Ultra last year

2) My Saggy BoobsAt 36 years old there’s not a lot of perk “up in there” but guess what?? I don’t care.

3) My eyesThese babies have allowed me to see some of the most beautiful places on earth. They allow me to watch my children grow and my pets wrestle. They may not be piercing blue are called “shit” eyes to some but to me to they are brown and beautiful.

4) My armsThey lack definition and are far from toned (I wish I enjoyed lifting) but they allow me to wrap them around my kids daily and to squeeze the bageebies out of those I love most. They have helped me get up steep race inclines, to take my dogs along for runs, to shower, to eat…you name it all the things we do on a daily basis we have our arms to thank.

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5) My stomach-No 6 pack of abs here but this semi flat with a lil squish of a tummy once was firm….that is when I carried the cargo of my 2 boys. It grew to the necessary proportions to allow them to live comfortably until they were welcomed into this world and like a rubber band it snapped back post baby. Think about that…..isn’t the human body amazing?IMG_2902

OK I said 5 but let’s do 6………this is kind of fun….

6) My inked skinWill I regret it when I’m 90? Who the hell knows but highly unlikely. I like to think of the human body as a canvas. It changes and grows (or shinks haha) like an artist at work. Each tat I have represents something in my life and has meaning to me. Perhaps the 4 leaf clover that’s hidden for only those lucky enough to see 🙂 wasn’t the greatest idea when I was 18 but guess what….. there’s a funny story behind it and every time I look at it I can’t help but laugh.

Now it’s your turn! What do you love about your body? I want to hear it. Leave a comment please. We are all beautiful, we are all awesome, we all have flaws but who cares!

Let’s stop comparing and start embracing

the beautiful imperfect bodies we were blessed with.

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS-RUN!

Sounds simple right?

This isn’t a blog story of self pity rather one written in hopes that you feel inspired to keep moving when everything in you wants to throw in the towel.
Lets go back in time…… faster than a cookie crumbling I thought my life was falling into a million pieces.
“God won’t deal you more cards than you can handle” I’ve always believed this to be true but he must think Im a freaking beast as I was breaking. I won’t bare you all the details but the rollercoaster ride from hell started in early 2011.
2011-
January-On cloud 9 as we were going to be welcoming a new baby into our world this year. At a routine doctors visit a parents WORST nightmare…..there was no heartbeat.
September-My Dad was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer. Hearing someone you love dearly has the C word is like a stabbing to the chest FU*& Cancer!

Took

Let’s move to 2012-
January-God must have wanted me to have that 2nd child and graced me with pregnancy. Projected due date of late October.
August-After running/walking her 1st 10K at 60+ years my Mom was hospitalized and put in ICU. I was overcome with emotions of potentially losing my best friend.

September- My water broke and I went into pre-mature labor on September 15th. My little premie Brody was born minutes later I was rushed away into emergency surgery with delivery complications. Out  of surgery and holding him in the nursery I watched his lips turn blue and stop breathing (this happened 2x). God bless the nurses on staff who brought him back. Ugghh writing this brings back raw emotion.
1 week old
And 2013
If you know me you know my animals bring me more joy than most humans know possible. I had to put down both of my Golden Retrievers also my running buddies 2 months from each other as one was diagnosed with Osteocarsoma and the other Lymphoma. Crushed is an understatement they were my “babies” and logged more miles with me than any other human.

My 1st “child” Harley & best running buddy
March-My husband asked for help and admitted himself to Hazeldon. If your not aware of Hazelton it’s one of the top Addiction Treatment Centers in the Country. Alcohol proved to be a beast that was taking over his life (Clueless to Me) so he left us for treatment for 30 days. Talk about gut wrenching.
I was left a “single” FT working Mom with no more “fur babies”, a husband in treatment 5 hours away, a newborn and a 4 year old. To sit and explain the emotionaI rollercoaster I was on would leave you dizzy and depressed but what I will explain is how I feel I got through it all.

1st-Faith I don’t go to church every Sunday but I have faith. I prayed and prayed and prayed. The power of prayer truly is incredible. I started to focus on taking care of me as I knew the kids needed Mom….a Happy Positive Mom.

2nd-My Mom-She was and always has been my rock. I don’t have to say a word to her to for her to know something is wrong. Throughout all of this I never onced asked anyone for help. I’m stubborn and like to think I can take on the world at times. She knew what I needed most…..when I was breaking she would call me up and ask me if I needed to go for a run. This was music to my ears and although dog tired most days I couldn’t resist the offer.
3rd-RUNNING- Some said perhaps I needed to see a therapist or counselor as this was to much for one person to handle. Would it have helped? Perhaps but Running Is MY Therapy I would force myself up wee hrs in the morning before the kids were awake or hit the treadmill (which I’m not a big fan of) when they they went to bed. As much as I hated indoor running it made me feel sooooo much better. Running calmed my nerves, reduced my anxiety, gave me a clear(er) head, helped me sleep, gave me hope and really made me feel slightly human.
When my Mom would come over to watch the kids it was like winning the lottery as this allowed to outside and to be in nature. Nature is therapeutic to me. Beauty was simply seeing the birds flying free, the sunshine lighting up the sky while warming my skin and the smell of green grass growing. This may sound cheesy but hearing nothing but my footsteps whether on road or trail put a smile on my face and hope in my heart. Without running I’m confident I would have crashed hard and crumbled into a million pieces. Thank you running for keeping me sane!
“You can do this” “You can get through anything” “You are strong” “No Excuses” “No Self Pity” “It could be worse” are all phrases I would tell myself.
Let’s fast forward to 2016.
Brody-Doing amazing he’s 3 now a little firecracker keeping me on my toes on a daily basis.
My lil firecracker
Dad-In Remission-Praise the Lord
My Mom-Doing well and Still my Rock
Pets-Have since 2 rescued fur babies (a Lhasa Appso dog named Manny and a kitty named Willow). Who can forget my side kick and new paw pacer Harper (Golden Retriver shown below)
Harper (Golden) Brody (3) Chloe (brothers dog)
Husband-Doing well has since started a new job and is embracing a sober life. Praise the lord.
Me-Life is good! Crazy busy, never a dull moment but good!
My beautiful family
Looking back I’m greatful! I have those shitty years to thank for who I am today. I feel stronger than ever both mentally and physically. I try to live my life with no regrets knowing things can always be worse and being greatful for what I have. I wanted to compete in an Ultra race (anything over 26.2 miles) but always thought I wasn’t good enough….NOT TRUE! I have taken my running to new heights. I completed many races during those shitty years and in 2015 I ran my first 50k and 50 miler. Both hard as hell but I knew 90% of the race was mental and if I could get through all that other crud I could definitely get through this. To add to the excitement this year I was chosen to be a Brand Ambassador for Altra. If your not familiar with the brand please ask as it’s been a game changer for me and a brand I’m truly passionate about and have grown to love. 
I truly believe the best is yet to come.

Moral of the story-There will come a point where life will throw you some rotten lemons. What you choose to do with them will predict your outcome.

So squeeze the SHI*T out of them and RUN.

Run short, run long, run fast or run slow it really doesn’t matter just get out there!

I promise you will not be disappointed because YOU yes YOU reading this (thank you by the way) can get through ANYTHING!

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Superior Fall 50 Mile Trail Race-Lutsen, MN Race Recap

Superior Fall 50 Mile Trail Race-Lutsen, MN 09-12-15

Where to begin??? I’m having a hard time putting the race into words as some of if feels fresh as a rose and other parts are complete haze.

Never in a million years thought I would be crazy enough to sign up for a 50 mile race and more importantly think I was capable of it. Said to be one of the toughest in the nation. Am I nuts? I wanted to run the marathon just to get back up north and hit this terrain as the spring 50k was a brutal blast that I was missing terribly. However, there were only 300 spots for the marathon and wouldn’t you know like 309 tried to get in an I didn’t get picked. WORST LUCK EVER. So another crazy (& inspiring friend of mine Brian) said you know there’s always the 50! You had to have a qualifying race to get in and fortunately (or unfortunate) being that I ran the spring 50K I was in!

Race Strategy-I’ve always sucked at this. I went into this race with a  horrible sinus infection and very little sleep the nights leading up to it so just planned to run when I felt good, slow down when I left ok, and walk when I felt like shit. BAD IDEA! I can be super competitiveitive with myself. When I say I’m just going out to have fun I always try but always end up pushing harder than planned so once again started to fast.

Race morning-Didn’t sleep a wink the night before. Pre-race gitters and excitement mixed with a gross combo of a head that felt like it was about to explode like an overblown balloon left me self doudting myself. 2:00 am I said F’it went into the bathroom with all my race gear laid out. Set out a towel on the bathroom floor as though it was my table (didn’t want to wake the boys) ate, got dressed, “dropped the kids off at the pool”, pee’d, dropped the kids off again, pee’d about 3 more times and slapped on some lipstick YES lipstick! This is something I’ve been doing for years as my Grandma always said you should never leave the house without lipstick. Even though she’s no longer here it makes me feel close to her, protected and a tad glamorous in my gear.

Walked out the hotel room @ 3:30 am to an eerie but peaceful morning silence. The sky was electrifying with stars shining ohhhh so bright. Got to the shuttle bus which would take us to Finland and met a gal from WI. You could hear a pin drop on that bus had it not been for our non-stop chit chat. Assuming most were catching some last minute zzzzzs. Much smarter idea!

5:30 am we were off in the dark sky with nothing but headlamps and stars lighting the way. First 20 miles were pretty uneventful. Most of it was spent me watching my footing and listening to a gal from MA (who ended up being the 1st place female) chat with her 2 friends. I knew I was going to fast for this early in the race. My sinuses were the only thing I could think about. I felt miserable and literally every couple minutes was blowing snot rockets or using my sleeves as the latest Kleenex invention. VERY LADY LIKE but that’s how I rolllllllllll or blowwwwwwwww!

About the 20 mile mark I started to feel a blister which felt the size of TX forming on the bottom of my foot. I noticed I was changing my stride to try and keep pressure off it which is never a good thing. The only plus was for a moment I forgot about my sinuses. Mile per mile it got worse. I knew if it popped it was probably game over for me so pretended I didn’t have feet 🙂 and kept trucking on knowing in a few miles Will and Brysen were going to be waiting for me. Sugarloaf (21.1) couldn’t come quick enough. I’ve never been sooooo excited to see 2 of my biggest fans.

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I needed to re-stock my vest but more importantly just needed a hug and reassurance that I COULD DO IT! They provided both. I decided at this point to leave the blister alone. I was only 21 in and still had over 30 to go and about 6 until I would see them again!  Trail vs road is so so so different for a billion different reasons but 1 being time. Those 6 miles felt like forever and now my blister felt aweful and I was also getting them on my toes UGGGGGHHHH no pain no gain?

I was starting to struggling taking in any food. I was forcing it in but hating every bite. Fluid was not an issue but if I had to take 1 more GU Chomp I was going to hurl all over myself. It’s this section that I started chatting with fellow runners. I’m kind of a hermit when I race and tend to keep to myself at times but ended up “packing” up with 3 other guys. We didn’t necessarily run together but were never to far apart, briefly would chat and always had words of encouragement when we would pass each other. This was a great distrattion to get me to the next aid station in where not only was I on cloud 9 to see my boys but was geeted by Dan & Sabrina 2 of my besties from back from back home who were there to pace Brian a 100 mile (yes 100) friend. They hadn’t slept but made a point to come crew me! Pretty frickin incredibl. I have the BEST friends ever. Sabrina is like the crew chief. She knows her shit and knows exactly what needs to be done. If she says eat I eat…even if I can’t swallow. Drink…eye eye captain Hoppe 😉 I decided her to be VERY brave and face the unknown….those feet. Will helped me peel off my dirty, wet socks to get a view of the blister brewing…I about threw up from the sexy sexy blister with fluid “garggeling” in it but I had one a cute neon polish which made it better.  I put on fresh socks and  made a point here to show Brysen I had on the lucky bracelet he had made me. I must add the day before he spent hours making runners bracelets and when we went to cheer on the 100 milers Fri he stood on the trail with me handing out “good luck braceltes” as they would pass. Pretty fricking cool if you ask me!

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The next aid station was Temperance at mile 33.8 where no crew access was allowed. This was a long stretch as it wasn’t until mile 39 that I would see my “crew” again. About mile 35 I started hating everything and had my Negative panties on…Why am I doing this? I’m only trying to prove I can do this to myself so why beat myself up like this? Haven’t you done enough in life to prove you can push yourself to the core? Is this even fun? This is brutal! This sucks! Should I quite? I’m clausterphopic and want an open field. Is this what near death feels like? Is my body really going to hold up?

Then I pulled my head out of my ass! Heidi You CAN DO THIS. This is what you love, your in the woods taking in the glory of Gods world, your in pain yes…. horrible pain but it’s…. temporary so suck it up! Put away the potty brain and bring back that positive person that doesn’t let much in life get her down. This is your therapy quite whining and climb those MOFO “hills”.

1-12027134_1686308504917053_8149808797005467161_oThat was that and I turned into a fruit loop on the trail singing You are my sunshine and Jesus Loves Me. Laughing at myself not giving a flying fox if anyone heard me. Power of the brain and positive thinking is truly remarkable. Within about a mile I was bouncing in my steps again. Somewhere in this section I saw my friend Andy who was doing the 100 miler. He had been up since 8:00 the morning prior and was like a drunking slurry sailor with trekking poles slowly moving along. I stopped and chatted with him sending him words of encouragement, giving him a big ol trail hug and leaving insprired. All the 100 milers had on a pink ribbon to be easily identified. It was so fun to give them a pat on the pat, a smile, and a little inspiration. THESE people are badass and made me feel like a little sissy!

Into Sawbill (39.5) where I was greeted by Will, Brysen, Sabrina and Dan!!! Once again they all worked their magic and put a smile on my face even. I left this aid station a little sad knowing (or thinking) I would not see them again until the finish.

These next 5 miles were really tough for me. I had my 1st official fall at mile 43. It gets to a point where your legs are so tired and to try and them lift them high enough to scale the rocks and roots seems impossible at times. That’s exactly what happened. Hit a root, sideways planted in the grass, laid there about 10 seconds got up brushed off NO BLOOD and walked it out a bit. I was starting to feel nauseous, dizzy, groggy, tired and delusional. At one point I thought I saw a runner down only to get closer and see it was a fallen tree. I spotted a gorilla….or yet another tree with yellow leaves. YIKES! Again started questioning why I’m doing this walked much more than I wanted and started feeling sorry for myself. It’s about this section I met a guy from Fergus he was a breath of fresh air and a major distraction as we chatted into Oberg (45)

Once in Oberg I about fell over. Not because I was shot beyond repair but because again my besties Dan and Sabrina were there. This time along with Brian who ran 100 miles and his girlfriend Kate. None had slept the night before! They gave me what I needed, encouraged me and it was this point I broke out in tears for the first time. Happy tears that someone would go through the hassle to find me, go off of no sleep just to support ME. All I could say was thank you as tears rolled down my face hugging each of them. Kate left me with the words “just go have fun” and I was off.

The finish was 7.1 miles away and this was hands down the most mentally and phsycally challenging section. I kept trying to listen to Kates words “just have fun” but I was stuggling. I found myself tearing up not knowing why. Pain? Fear? Pride? It felt like miles on that section with nothing but chipmunks and me. Good news I could pee whenever bad news I thought I was lost and began getting paranoid. The blue mark on the tree finally came and I knew I was on track. At this point every ounce of me hurt. I looked down at my Suunto as it felt like I had been going forever and it said 53 miles! WTF!!!! Am I lost? Where’s the river? Out of nowhere came a couple I asked them the mileage they said 48.5 FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me!!! Then I came upon another guy. I asked him if we were done climbing and he said yes just small switch backs….wrong OH SOOOOOO wrong. I still had to climb one of the highest points and descend. This is where I think I had a case of the turrets. I was muttering things uncontrollably, again tearing up wondering where the hell the river was as once I heard the river I was almost “home”. On the decent a lady with a headlamp came walking toward me. I asked her how far to the road and her response (bless her heart but her words ripped my core that moment) “Oh honey your doing great only about 30 minutes away”! You have GOT to be F’in kidding me. I found myself then sobbing as I thought I was much closer. Again I was on the pitty train but fortunalty she was not 100% accurate as shortly there after I heard the river. MUSIC TO MY EARS! I’ve never felt such a sense of relief in my life!

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The almighty river

Once off the SHT I hit the pavement about a 1/4 mile down the road I saw Brysen…no Will?? I immediatly started crying (again) and told Bysen to run with me (he was willing able and excited). Will was out since 8 in the morning following this adventure and ran to the lodge for 1 minute to grab a sweatshirt for Brysen and missed me! So Brysen listened and ran the last stretch in with me. Coming up behind Caribou Highlands there were a group of people cheering in the grass. I started sobbing. I could hear the announcer and see the finishing line flags. I put my hands to my face blew them all kisses thanked them relentlessly and ran to the finish to be greeted by once again my besties. I gave them all hugs as tears contiuned to roll down my face had a bad ass 50 mile “medal” placed around my neck and wattled to a picnic bench to moments later be welcomed by Will who was sooooo pissed he missed it. He has been amazing through this journey and I was so bummed he missed it but was so greatful he came along and supported me!

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Post race pic.

The race-Beautiful, brutal, relentless, rugged, remote (the 3 R’s its so well known for). The climbs seemed never ending. Descents felt like I was going to a new place south of the Earth (kicking my quads butt which each step). Roots that seemed to explode like the 4th of July, rocks that you either had to climb or jump over and it’s those little bastards that make me fall about 2 dozen times causing my calves to ball up as I was trying to hold myself back from face planting. We were able to get a few mud spa treatments in certain spots with mud/slop covering the trail.

The ROCKS-Photo courtesy of Todd Rowe
The ROCKS-Photo courtesy of Todd Rowe
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THE ROOTS Photo courtesy of Kelly Doyle

And there was beauty…did I say beauty? It was difficult to take it all in as you constantly had to make a point to watch your footing but there were a few points that I forced myself to stop and take in the breathtaking views.

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This was the 2nd race I’ve done with Rocksteady Running and there is something about it that doesn’t make it feel like a race. I’m new to this “ultra” world but it feels more like family than a race. The volunteers are amazing, the race director puts on a race like no other and there is just something that leaves me walking (or crawling) away from these races with a major case of the post race blues. In my heart I feel like I belong here. I don’t want to leave. I crave the next “one”.

So what is the next “one”. I have a few road races I’ve committed to Twin Cities Marathon in 2 weeks, Carlsbad Marathon and LA but trails are where my heart is. It’s my therapy! I’ve committed to vounteer at a few trail races within the next month to give back to this awesome community but hope to start replacing more road races with trail races.

Your crazy, your nuts, your hurting your body…. all phrases I hear over and over again. I’ve never been “normal”. Sure it may be a crazy to some but those that share this “world” so closely with me they “get it”. I really don’t care what other people think as this is not for others to understand. It’s for me and only me. One of my favorite phrases “Do what you love, love what you do”. I love pushing myself and if it means I’m “hurting” my body soooooo be it! It makes me a better mom, wife, employee and person (in my opinion).

So DO WHAT YOU LOVE & LOVE WHAT YOU DO and don’t have a care in the world if anyone else approves!

Who Needs Toilets?

Heat and humidity has not been our friend resulting in some major leg chaffing on Brody. That meant no diaper but big boy undies for less “rub”. Will & Brody were tinkering in the garage I peeked out and asked him to see if Brody would go potty in the yard. Mind you Brysen learned by watching Will pee by trees and off the deck (yup that’s how we roll in the Hassie home). Will brings him out back and tells him to go potty. He listens like a charm (shocking) only forgetting to pull his undies down. Minor details right? Clean him up as he freaks out, then decide to let him run around with a naked butt (+ my shoes).
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About an hour later I asked Brody to go potty again. This time off the deck. What boy doesn’t want to see how far they can “shoot? Brysen ran outside and showed him how it was “done”. Brody pinched away with no success then says “I will go pee in the grass”! Down he goes…pinch’s again HARD this time (at the recommendation of Brysen) NOTHING. He then proceeds to tell me “Mommy I go poopy”!!!!NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sure enough he dropped a load right in the grass. I swooped him up darted to the bathroom. To little to late only toots at this point.

I can pick up dog poop in the yard all day long. Cleaning up my childs poop from the yard that’s another story.

Who needs toilets?
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Not this little stinker