Friday, September 14, 2012

50 Miles of Thanks

It took a lot of great people's support to get me to the start line, and uninjured and relatively happy at the finish line, of my first 50 mile race at Run Woodstock. Yes, after talking about this race non-stop for 2 weeks before it and non-stop for several days since finishing (even the novel I wrote called a race report), this is my last post about it.

I wanted a whole post just to thank these awesome people. I have SO many running friends who provide encouragement and whose own actions inspire me daily. But those more directly involved need special mention. I've referred to these amazing peeps in the past as Team Libby, with the belief that we all need and have a "Team" if we want it and ask for it. I hope they know I am completely on their Team too!

  • My husband Steve - He put up with 10-15 hour training weeks. He encourages me to dream big and act big. He defies old-fashioned viewpoints on the roles of parents in a family by without hesitation watching the girls during long runs or quick race trips like this one. I've watched firsthand other families where the wife/mother is not supported to run if the husband has to watch the children. And every once in a while, I can get him to buy in and do some crazy stuff with me! ;-) But no running. :-)
Ziplining in Hawaii - yeah, my idea. We had a blast!
  • My crew, pacer, social media liaison, and friend Lesley - Lesley (@racingitoff) is a great running friend. It turns out she also paced me 17 miles with bronchitis she learned when we got home. Even more amazing. She was an essential part of my success on this trip. She kept me calm, she tracked down a race director when I ran into problems on the course, she pulled off my stinky socks at mile 33, she kept family and friends apprised of my condition throughout the day via Facebook and Twitter, and she told me to run harder and pull out a 1 minute sprint down to an 8:48 pace at the end of 50 miles!
Helping me remember to smile at mile 40
  • My coach Jeremy Day - Jeremy's an ultrarunner to the extreme as far as I'm concerned. While I was off running "just" 50 miles (it's all relative), he completed the very difficult Superior 100 in Minnesota in a time of 37 1/2 hours. Yes, that's a day and a half of running! I've been blessed with Jeremy as a coach. I approached him in late February while preparing for Gorge Waterfalls 50K and knowing Jemez 50K and Chattanooga Stage Race were looming in my future running. I was his first coaching client, but it's been a great fit. Since I'm a certified running coach, I know the basics to form a plan, but his ultrarunning experience has proved invaluable and having a coach keeps me accountable to completing each workout goal.  (If you are looking for a great running coach and need referral details, just let me know!)
Jeremy tackling Superior 100... or about to wrestle a crocodile, eh, mate?
  • My trainer Donnie Campbell - Donnie's a triathlete and runner himself and knows a whole lot about sports psychology, so we're a good fit. I am not a biomechanically efficient runner naturally - my whole anatomy seems to want me injured. But over the last 9 months with Donnie, he has done an amazing job of helping me build a base, get faster, and NOT get injured, while also building strength, dropping fat, rebalancing unbalanced muscle groups, increasing stability on the trails, and gaining endurance. I credit the 3 hours of strength training a week with him for making the 50 miler not so painful on  my legs muscles while also helping me recover a lot faster than I would have expected from stories of other ultrarunners. He's also very skilled at VO2 testing which has let me lead with my heart (rate, that is) to learn to run faster and to see the improvements as I get stronger.  (If you are looking for a great personal trainer and need referral details, just let me know!)

  • My sports chiropractor Chris Miller - I've been going to Chris from Texas Chirosport for 6 years. He's a runner too so he "gets" us. I would definitely count him as a friend more than just a practitioner. He keeps me healthy, fixes any tweaks, and gives me advice. He's a crucial part of "Team Libby", passing info back for my coach and trainer and accepting feedback from them about the good and bad goings-on of my training in the moment. An essential part of my healthy finish! (If you are looking for a great chiropractor and need referral details, just let me know!)
  • My dear friends - I can't mention everyone but some people deserve extra shoutouts today. Some of these people I don't get to spend much time with, others I haven't met at all. Through technology however, amazingly supportive people find each other and motivate and inspire each other, and I want to celebrate that too.
  • Elaine (@trigirlruns42k) and I have been friends for a few years now. She has an infectious smile. She's more zen to my high anxiety and can calm me down. But she can get riled up with me when the time calls for it! She's often been there when I needed a run partner, and miles clip by quickly with her. We've been to Kansas together, and San Francisco. I look forward to seeing what out-of-town races are ahead for this girl, and I cheer her on hard as her triathlon passions take her to new distances!
Elaine in the navy shirt. Gal pals at Big D 2012
  • Alicia (@trailscaredycat) is my #BBFL (bed buddy for life). We met through NTX Runners club and in our first run together over a year and a half ago, we talked about doing a 50K. We did our first 50K together at Rocky Raccoon and then journeyed to Wild Hare together again 2 weeks later. Road trips are fun with this girl, and I have no problem sharing a bed with her and letting everyone know how awesome it is to have her in my life. :-) While her passion for triathlon grows stronger this year (first half Ironman in a little over a week), she's still willing to make time for a run together on occasion so we can catch up. 
Rocky Raccoon 50K - my mouth's full of food but I'm still trying to smile!
  • Suann (@ultra_honeybee) is an adventurer like I strive to be. She has spent a lot of the summer training and running off to hike or run in fun places. We're kindred that way in our love of travel and seeing new amazing things. I was blessed to travel to Squamish 50 Mile in Vancouver, Canada with Suann and see firsthand her fight for a 14 hour finish on a very difficult course. She inspires me and never ever makes my dreams seem silly or out of reach.
New Years Double
  • Sarah and I have known each other for about 4 years. We've spent seasons training together for almost every run and seasons where our runs never collided. But we've always stayed friends through it. As she gets active since her last baby was born a few months ago, I've been lucky to get the chance again to run with her now and again. She's a great cheerleader in my life who can laugh at the crazy stuff I propose. 
New York City Half Marathon 2009
  • Sharon (@5dolla_Runna) is a frequent run buddy who grounds me with her wisdom. Her ability to blow off things that are really the small stuff. And she inspires me, like her incredibly huge improvement on her half marathon personal record last weekend. It's always wonderful to run with Sharon. 
Sharon on the far left. My gal pals with Mr. Bart Yasso
  • Catherine (@paprika1640) is a busy mom in a two-runner two-police officer family with 4 kids. I never get to see Catherine as much as I would like, especially as she gets more involved in triathlon with our mutual friends. But a recent long run with Catherine reminded me again of how much I enjoy runs with her. Now if only life would slow down that it could happen more often! 
Catherine far right at a run on Trinity Trails
  • Courtney (@cisforcourtney) is one of those cheerleaders that I have never met but feel very connected to. She's very encouraging but not cloyingly, sickeningly sweetly so. You know, it's very authentic. You know that she means it. She sent me a note race day morning about more cowbell that I saw just as I started my race, and it lifted me up. I enjoy keeping up with her via Facebook, Twitter, and texts, and look forward to a future chance to meet her in person. 
Courtney with husband and equally amazing runner Luke
  • Desiree (@runbecause) may find herself surprised to be here. Again, someone I have never met. And only been more connected on Twitter with her for the last couple months since realizing she was someone my coach had run with (put two and two together!). But she is completely inspiring, and more alike than she may realize with her snarky attitude! Tomorrow she runs the Pine To Palm 100 Mile. And has rocked a couple 50 mile races recently. And just completely amazes me. Someone I hope to get the chance to meet with someday and maybe even run with! 
Mount Hood 50 Miler Rock Star!
  • Josh and Reece are both "file under epic here". I had the pleasure to run with them after my DNF at Jemez 50K, and they reminded me how ultrarunners should act and treat each other after I'd had a nasty encounter with a runner. This summer I have watched Josh tackle his first 100 miler at the difficult Western States 100 and Reece complete a sub-30 100 miler at the second most difficult 100 out there, the Wasatch Front 100. Reece was running Wasatch while I was running my 50 at Woodstock, but Lesley would keep me up to date when I asked about his progress through the day. Knowing the difficulty of what he was doing made my fifty seem so much more reasonable and cut down my complaining by just a little. These are two people who have never questioned me trying to run long at my VERY back-of-the-pack pace and have never treated me like I don't belong here. That means more than I can say.
They make awesome look easy - Reece, Jeremy, and Josh.
So there you go. My inspirations, my cheerleaders, my friends, the people who got me to the start and motivated me to the finish. Thanks for letting me blab on about these people; I was feeling pretty blessed and wanted to get it out there!


  1. I LOVE LIBBY!!!!! I knew you could do this. I had faith in you and I'm blessed to call you my friend. You are an inspiration. Your passion and drive is contageious. NEVER STOP.

  2. Libby, you're a rock star! Your name is right there in the "epic" file with the rest of us. Strength and honor sister!

  3. You are amazing & can't wait for more adventures!! P.s.....don't forget our 2 trips to Austin! :-) luv ya lady! 😃

  4. I love seeing your dreams come to fruition! You are a great runner and I, too, can't wait for more adventures!!! Congrats on your 50 miles, you hippie!!! :)

  5. Love this!! It's always great to honor the people in your life that help you get to where you are! Loved reading this!

  6. i'm not sure how i'm just getting to read this but thank you SO much for the kind words. it's such a compliment. you are such a wonderful runner with a ton of heart and you inspire me so much to just keep on truckin'! i look forward to meeting you in person very very soon!