Sunday, August 2, 2015

Kat'cina Mosa 100k race report on DNF

Well, it looks like my finishing streak this year needed a humility check. Reminders that my body should be respected. This is my 7th year attempting Kat'cina, the furthest I've made it on this course is 46 miles. Yesterday I made it 30. 

Having POTS one thing I've learned is that I can never be unwilling to DNF if it is the right thing to do that day. My body has made marked improvements. I finished Squaw Peak this year, and Desert RATS a week apart from each other. 

The heat and grueling conditions at DR were tough on my body. I had an abscessed tooth that started at DR, and ended up with an impetigo infection on my face, not to mention all of the blistering my feet suffered from the heat and sand. I finished officially running in 100-106 temperatures, in barren slick-rock, and I was able to perform and manage POTS the whole time. 

Two days after finishing DR , I drove out to Jackson Hole for a family renunion, and flew out to the Postpartum Support International Conference to speak in Plymouth, Michagin, and ignored the tooth as much as possible because I just had to get through my commitments. 

Flying exacburates my POTS anyway, but having an infection also makes my symptoms worse. When I got home I was behind on work. The other issue was that my former dentist had recently closed his practice after surrendering his license, so I did not have a dentist anymore, and got through work with Tylenol until the pain became so severe, that it became a weekend emergency. 

When I was finally able to get into a dentist I found out the tooth was not only abscessed, but it had spread into my jaw. Thar was fixed a couple of weeks ago, but my energy had been super low, and I've been a little more Potsie the past couple of weeks. 

I'm on the mend, and I started the race at midnight because I knew I was more Potsie this week. I was very proactive at managing hydration, heat, and eating, but my body just didn't seem to have and rev yesterday. I struggled climbing Lightening Ridge, I think I still
Did it stronger and better than I have in years past. I started under a Blue Moon this year! 

But the climb up to Windy Pass I didn't handle as well as normal. A week before Squaw Peak, In June, I did that hike as a training run, overdressing on purpose, and much faster in preparation for DR. 

But yesterday it was just like all the life felt sucked out of me. I think, even though it was nearly 1pm when I reached Windy Pass Aid station, on a good day I could have busted my butt and made the Little Valley cut off, but it just didn't feel right. It wasn't like a normal exhaustion feeling, it was like my body was saying "I'm still on the mend, let me heal".

So I took a deep breath, and found I had cell service, about .25 of a mile before the aid station, and texted my coach my thoughts, that my body was telling me to rest today. I want to be strong, and fully ready for Wasatch 100 in September, my coach is making the effort to come pace me and help me finish Wasatch in September, I want to be able to give that race everything I've got. 

I believe I can finish Wasatch this year, I believe I could have pushed it yesterday and probably have warn myself down more, but it would have compromised my recovery for Wasatch.

So my coach agreed with my assessment, and I informed the aid that I would be walking back 5 miles to Big Springs with them. 

I took a nap on the mountain, I was very tired from starting at midnight. I felt better, and was amazed coming down with the three radio workers. They each carried 70+ lbs up the mountain, where running the radios and helping runners all day long, and then had to haul it all down on there backs. One of the guys was also carrying a solar panel in his hands and struggling without poles because he had to left his in order to carry the solar panel.

I felt bad for him and ended up trading him. I carried the solar panel so he could have my pulls to help him get those 70+ extra lbs down a steep trail, with a lot of loose rocks. 

I have a new respect for those radio guys, and anyone who is willing to work that aid station. Both Kat'cina Mosa and Squaw Peak would not be possible without those people willing to volunteer to run the Windy Pass aid station. Thank you to them and Addict II Athlete who took on that aid station for both Squaw Peak and Kat'cina this year! 

As we were hiking down, and I was carrying the guy's Goal0 solar panel, somehow the conversation led to me mentioning that my dad was the founder of Goal0. The other radio guy, lit up and asked me my dads name. I told him it was Robert Workman, and he got excited! He used to work for Provo Craft until shortly after my dad sold the company, and knew all about Tifie and Goal0 and even had gone to lunch with him and my brother Swan, when they were first developing the concept models for

Small world, it was very fun for me to be able to hike down with the guys running the radio, and to see that side. I started to feel better after a nap, and going downhill, and the temperatures getting cooler, and by nightfall, I was thinking, "I Feel fine, why am I not running right now!" 

But I still feel like I made the right decision, and the fact that I woke up feeling energized, and my legs feel fresh and ready to run this morning is a good sign. I think my body is on the come back, I didn't even feel dehydrated last night or this morning.

I did a combo of drinking about 2x amounts water to of Normalyte solution. I also took about 3 gels per hour. I needed Zofran to help me get through the nausea of the hill climbing. 

I discovered near the top of a Windy that I needed to pull out my bacon jerky, almond, ginger-gummy candy mix I make for my runs, and probably should have been taking ages of those to two gels instead of straight gel per hour. 

It was a good chance to test my POTS nutrition theories for running Wasatch. I've been redining my nutrition/ hydration formula for racing this year. 

I think I got everything mostly right yesterday. The only thing I think I shpu have changed is adding in the fat and protein every hour in addition to the gels. If I intake fat and protein with gels my heart rate and breathing stay more regulated, especially for hill climbing. 

Kat'cina Mosa is the ultimate race to test this on, because the hills and trails of Kat'cina are tougher than Wasatch.
The climb to Francis peak at Wasatch feels like a walk in the park compared to the climbs to Lightening Ridge and Windy Pass at Kat'cina. Perhaps it is because I do this race four weeks before Wasatch and it helps me be in prime condition for the Wasatch climbs, but I really think the trails are more technical as well. 

The fact that the day after, I have few Potsie symptoms than the day before I did Kat'cina is a good sign that I'm getting good at understanding my nutrion needs and hydration needs.

This is the basic formula 

For every hour of activity, and during each hour 

1. Drink 4-8 ounce of Normalyte Solution (depending on the outside temperature and elevation), even in very hot temps the solution is high enough in sodium and potassium that more than 1/2 a litter is too much. I mix the power into two 16oz bottles. So one packet will last me 4-8 hours of activity. 

2. I take 2 hammer gels per hour. I hate the texture of gels, I have to wash them with water to not gag on the texture, but the formula hammer uses in their gels seems to work best for my body. 

3. Eat 10-15 almonds, a few peices of bacon jerky, and a few peices of ginger gummy candy. 

4. Drink water as needed, and I have to drink about 2x the ammout of water to the Normalyte mix to keep it balanced. 

5. I have a cooling, headltube clothe, this is essential for keeping more core temp down. 

6. I have a prescription for Zofran. Hillclimbing is more difficult with POTS,
In ways that it isn't difficult for other people. I'm more prone to stomach issues than other people when it's hot, steep hills, and I'm exhausted. Zofran allows me to keep eating and it reduces the other POTS symptoms when I can keep up with fluids and nutrition. 

7. Trail toes and Injinji socks= no blistering yesterday!

All in all it was a good experience, good training, and I woke up feeling refreshed and confident about Wasatch 100. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Desert RATS Multiday Stage Adventure Race

About three weeks ago, I received an email invitation from Lisa Smith-Batchen to participate in the 2015 Desert RATS stage race. A 143 mile race across 6 days of climbing desert mountains, sand, and in scorching hot temperatures. The conditions are so brutal that the race director proudly claims a finish rate of 50% or less.

I didn't think I was ready for this year. I said I would love to try it when I was in shape enough to complete it. Lisa wrote me back and told me I was in shape enough and I could finish. So I trusted my coach wouldn't lie to me, and I took a deep breath and signed up. I was instantly petrified.

I didn't know how much good it would do with only two weeks to train, but I started overdressing on my long runs, running in the hottest part of the day (already was running in the hot parts of the day, just not with extra clothing to simulate 100+ degree temperatures. 

Suddenly Squaw Peak 50 lost its focus and became a training run 1 were before DR. The week before I fretted, I read the racers manual 100 times. I was afraid of getting lost, I knew i couldn't afford to get lost because I wasn't fast enough to afford time losses, like some runners are.

It would be a true test of how much my body has really recovered from POTS to be exposed to the sun and heat for several hours every day. I was a little nervous to go talk to my Doctor about needing medical clarance for a race in the heat, and he did question my sanity but agreed to clear me after a discussion on how I know my body and don't ever push myself to the point of becoming a medical liability. I always stop if I really don't feel like my body is working properly. 

I showed up at the pre-race meeting on Sunday June 14th, I gave my medical profile to the staff Doctor and he told me he has never seen anyone with POTS who was well controlled, but I confidential ly stated that I was and had been working on it for 5 years. 

Sunday night my stomach was all in knots, I didn't sleep well, something was different in me with this race. I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish, a hot race, all of the worse possible factors working against a person with dysautonomia, all of the elements for failure were stacked against me, and I wanted to beat all of them in a way that I've never cared about before. I wanted to finish this race officially, and within all the time limits. 

Day 1- after getting up at 3:30 am and getting totally ready to run because I was too nervous to sleep I was able to finally fall asleep from 4:30-6:30am. At 7:30
I arrived in front of the Gonzo Inn, in Moab where two fellow Dreamchasers Traci and Sada were also waiting. We loaded the vans, and headed out to Loma Utah to the start of the Kokopelli Trailhead. Fearing that any mistake would cost me the race, I was grateful to have loaded a map app with the route into my phone that proved to keep me from going off the course several times. 

Day one started at 10 am with temperatures in the high 90's. The first day we completed just under 20 miles, and I came in 5th for women and 7th overall, out of 16 who started the race. That blew me away because since I've struggled with POTS its effected my speed, and I didn't realize how much I really have improved and how much my hard training this year has paid off. I finished stage one in 5:44- 1:46 ahead of the cuttoff time. 

Day 2- we went about 35 miles and temperatures reached 100 degrees. This was a difficult day because the heat was unrelenting. I worked hard and with the help of some anti-nausea medicine was able to overcome the effects of heat and sub on my body long enough to reach mile 29 in just 8 hours. However,
At mile 29 I was overheated and sick and had to stop for over 45 minutes to recover, and then I had to take the last 6 miles very slowly finishing stage two in 11:09- 1:21 ahead of the cuttoff times.

Day 3- we had a by of a break, we ran a short 12 mile section, I started the first two miles walking slowly and then decided I needed to pick it up to finish faster to get out of the sun. It was a hilly trail section, and I finished in 3:17- 1:43 ahead of the cuttoff

Day 4- became the true testing ground for me, we had nearly 43 miles to complete over very hot, and steep mountain climbs into some of the toughest technical trail sections of the course. It was over 30 miles of climbing and only about 13 decent. The first 12 miles were tough but I felt OK, and then it started to get hot, I believe it probably hit close to 110 degrees on some of the sections. After mile 18, there was a long 2000 foot accent section, with no water drops or aid. I ran out of water about 8 miles into that section and it was still over 100 degrees out, it was a very slow and painful 4 miles until I was able to get to the next aid station around 7:30pm, in order to remain official I needed to complete the stage by midnight. With 4:30 hours left, after rehydrating and being able to eat again my energy came back and I pushed out a strong 12.5 mile section to finish stage three in 16:45- just 15 minutes ahead of the cuttoff times 

Stage 4 was so difficult on my body that I had severe muscle cramps from dehydration and heat sickness all night, and developed a bacterial infection on my face.

Day 5- The next day was a recovery day which I spent rehydrating, correcting my eletrolyte depletion, and wading my legs and feet in the cold water. I also was started by the camp doctor on a course of antibiotics to fight the infection. I could barely walk, yet still had one marathon to run the next day to compete the race. The medical team fixed up my feet, and for the first night of the whole event I was able to sleep well. 

Day 6- I woke up feeling much better and we started the race in waves. I started at 7:30 am, and climbed the first 6.5 miles of the course (over 1500 feet of gain) in under two hours. From there I started the downhill decent and my sore feet started to calm down. I went from hobbling a 15-6 minute mile to being able to tolerate a 12-13 minute mile consistently down until I got to the technical trail out-and-back from miles 15-19.5 to Porcinine Rim. This section was long, hot and difficult, and slow. But after completing the trail section instarted the last 6.5 mile downhill section on road and was able to keep about a 12.5 minute mile pace and the last two miles a 8-10
Minute mile pace to finish the stage in 7:29- 1:01 ahead of the cuttoff time.

As I crossed the finish line the emotion of what I had just done overcame me. There were times on stage 4 that I was sure I would not be able to get the cuttoff, and then something deep inside would rebel and I would find it somewhere to push faster and stronger, and committed to be at the finish by midnight no matter what. 

Only 6 of the 16 who started were able to finish as official finishers, placing me as the 4th place female. However, the unofficial finishers were just as impressive, some of them being eliminated early on, went on to give it all they had and covered the same distance without the motivation of official completion. That was truely impressive to watch. 

Today I am recovering and humbled at the strength I have regained through a lot of medical and physical support, and spiritual guidance and healing. I'm very humbled by what I was able to do this week. Inhale to thank my coach, family, friends, and many wonderful care providers who have helped me along the way, and God for making healing possible. 

Every one of the names on the list above proved to be some of the most courageous people I've ever met. Everyone of them struggled and gave it all they had. The odds were stacked against all of us, and we all showed up and gave it what we had. There is nothing to be ashamed about giving it your all no matter what the results are. 

Looking forward to a week off from running this week.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tire pulling and POTS

As I prepare to run across America next Spring (targeting March 14th as a start date), I realize I'm probably an outlier case study. TI mean less than 1% of the entire population has run a marathon and less than 1% of people who run a marathon have run an ultra marathon. How many of the 1% of the 1% struggle with POTS? I don't even know, but I wanted to talk about how tire pulling has helped relieve many of my symptoms. 

One of the theories in finding ways to midigate POTS symptoms is to help reduce blood pooling in the lower extremities by strengthening the calf muscles. 

A couple of months ago I started running with a tire. I'm now averaging 20-25 miles or about 1/4-1/3 of my total weekly training miles pulling a tire up and down a hill. I have noticed in the past month a significant decrease in my POTS symptoms overall, and a great increase in my energy level since I started pulling a tire. 

I don't know if tire pulling will work for all people with POTS, but it seems that there might be something to this idea of strengthening the calf muscles, and even individuals who find running difficult may benefit from resistance or weight bearing exercises that strengthen calf muscles.

Marshall Ulrich has a good post about how to make a tire. I didn't make mine as fancy as his. I took an old camel back shell, stole a long piece of webbing from my husbands climbing bag (yeah it was his good one), and then he drilled a hole in my tire and basically just a bolt with a washer. Run the webbing through the bolt, tie to back-pack, and run. 

If you don't want to pull with your back,Marshall's  article tells you how to fashion a system for a waist pull:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We all need a coach to push us

I ran my first marathon in 2007, and it was a rather spontanious decision. At that time I was recovery from a long-term battle with anorexia and bulimia that had started when I was 13 years old. In the eating disorder recovery world running often gets a bad wrap, with many experts believing that individuals who struggle with these disorders are just doing it to lose weight, don't really love running, and highly discouraged me from doing so in some cases.

However, I choose to ignore the negative professional badgering because I found that running was not a part of my eating disorder and in fact helped me to learn how to respect and love my body. Since that time I have gained and lost weight due to post-hysterectomy side effects and POTS. Through it all I've come to appreciate my body more and I take care of my body. I am more intuitive then I have ever been in my life because I love running and I know there are many out there suffering from POTS who could never imagine being able to have the strength to run, and some who have difficulty with just normal everyday activities. I am happy to say that I am 100% recovered from the eating disordered mindset that I grappled with for years, and that running is a love that I am intuitvely drawn too.  I have discovered evidence that it is what I should do to preserve my health while living with dysautonomia.

Because my struggles with health in the past, speed and hydration have been difficult, but I want to testify that my investment into hiring a running coach is not just benificial to running. I believe has helped me save thousands of medical bills now and in the future. The side benefit I'm experiencing is that my strength and speed are now sky rocketing after 18-months of personal online-coaching with world-class ultra runner and coach Lisa Smith-Batchen. Her record speaks for itself,she has lead many ultra-runners into elite status, and has a remarkable personal running resume.  

In 2015, 8-years since my first marathon and ultramarathon, I have lost count of my finishes. I'm healthier physically, mentally, and spiritually then I ever have been in my life. My body is doing incredible things again with running, and my weight is dropping naturally without dieting and just being intuitive. I want to lose weight to improve my speed, but it is not the focus of my training. I love my body where it is at, and have accepted that I will train and be intuitive, and if it wants ton drops weight it will. And surprisingly, not focusing on my weight is the most succesdful thing I've done because the excess weight is coming off.

I highly recommend hiring a coach to push your running and health levels to new level. I am looking forward to a bright future of running accomplishments that are beyond what I thought I was capible of.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Running for Moms and Midwives

Maternity care in the United States is in a real crisis. About 18 months ago I came up with a plan to run across America to raise money to grow our Community School of Midwifery and train more culturally diverse midwives. I have decided that 2016 is the year to make this happen. Don't have a solid date yet. I first need to find sponsors to be able to crew the run from LA to New York, and then I hope raise the funds we need to grow the Community School and scholarship more students who will best serve women that currently can not access midwifery care. 

It's like I've found a deeper drive than has ever been there before. This has been the most grueling training week yet. I've decided I have to raise my goal that was 2400 miles for 2015 to be above 4000 miles. Tomorrow I will complete 4 more miles with a tire and then 6 more miles without a tire , making 75.5 miles this week,  my highest mile week of the year. In the next couple of weeks I want to get up to a 100 mile or above per week average. It's time to raise the bar. I'm running across America people for moms and midwives! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

New goal for 2016 - The Forest Gump Stunt

I'm reviving my goal to run coast-to-coast. Projected date in 2016 coming pending being able to get support crew! I've started tire pulling and did 8 miles of tire pull hill repeats today, and 3 more bonus miles. I want to hit 77 miles this week by Sunday night and make this my biggest mileage week so far this year. 
I hit 604 miles today YTD meaning I've hit 25% of my goal. Now with my new goal to run transcontinental next year I may have to up my 2015 mileage goal! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cleared to run Wasatch 100 with POTS!

This year, I once again made the lottery into the Wasatch 100. Wasatch 100 finish and belt buckle is my dream, and a difficult course for a Potsie, because of the intense hill climbs. But I've poured my heart and soul into training hills this year, and have started tire pulling to improve my ability to be speedy on hill climbs. I want a Wasatch 100 finish more than about any other race. I want to not be chasing cut-offs. 

This year, due to my activism and public openness about POTS, Wasatch 100 race committee requested a medical clearance letter for me to be able to run the race. I respect their concern for the health and safety of runners, and it gave me an opportunity to see Dr. Elizabeth Joy again, the wonderful doctor who was able to properly diagnose me in 2010, and put me on the right path to symptom management with POTS. 

I had a full physical with her today, and she also told me that she is putting some of her POTS patients on high intensity exercise programs because she sees a lot of symptom improvement with more intense exercise with dysautonomia. It was very validating to hear support for my high intense training and that running 100 milers is good for me. She gave me the letter of clearance and clean bill of health that Wasatch 100 needed. And it was also good to check in with her and be validated in my running plans and supported in running with POTS. I've clocked 570 miles so far for 2015, and my next big run will be Squaw Peak 50 in June, I'm hoping for a sub 15 hour finish for Squaw Peak this year! 

Thank you once again Dr. joy for your knowledge of Dysautonomia and support in achieving my running dreams! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

39 miles and counting

I'm a little behind for January due to The Community School of Midwifery launching into our 3rd year last Friday. I plan on completing a 30 mile run on Saturday to catch up and meet a minimum of 200 miles for January towards 2400 miles in 2015. 

It appears that I may be changing the name of my campaign as I just discovered that ACNM has a Miles for Midwives Marathon that they host yearly, so to keep in good comradery I'm looking for a new name for my campaign. I'm open to suggestions.

This year is the first year our school started with 3 classes, and we wi have our first graduating class in November of this year. We hope to raise over $150,000 to support MANAs division of research for supporting the advancement of high-quality midwifery care and to move our school forward with accreditation and support to grow our local and distance education program. 

To donate to my campaign go to: #gofundme

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Facebook break and Wisdom Self

I've temporarily deactivated my Facebook account. My purpose is kind of like a vision quest of sorts. I'm disconnecting with most of my social media outlets for the next 10 days, and I'm also on a Neera Cleanse. I'm hoping to pray and meditate a lot to get direction and light for some very important decisions and to have clarity on what is most important to focus on. 

Lemons and limes squeezed, MaldeBal Syrup, Cayenne pepper, and water. I am still running Miles for Midwives, and I will still blog for the next 10 days. 

Today it's 90 minutes on the eliptical and 30 minutes stair master. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Miles for Midwives 17.2 down

I had intended on running 18 miles yesterday, and only got 2. So I geared up and went out on the Icy roads for 10 tonight and will finish 5 more on the treadmill in a bit. 

It wasn't POTS that kept me from running last night, it was a document I started writing about how trauma effects DNA and how maternal stress effects the temperament, stress resiliency, and emotional intelligence in offspring. I refered a lot to Dr. Fredrick Wirth who authored the Prenatal Parenting book and program, and I also discussed additional research supporting his theories. I could see his contagious smile and laugh as I wrote and before I new it i had been writing for 4 hours. It was 2 am and running had slipped my mind. 

My current writing,  started as a document on finding the Wisdom Self verses Mind identification in the treatment of severe trauma. But I wrote an additional section on the how generational trauma effects gene expression transgenerationally and why caring for mothers is so important. Dr. Wirth was a huge supporter of midwives, and I'm grateful for my foundation in Prenatal Parenting that is adding to the work I do with women now. 

The article I wrote last night and literature review i conducted in the process reafirms the importance of me following through with the Miles for Midwives campaign. 

To make a donation:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Miles for Midwives is Underway!

I've logged my first 4.7 miles of the year! Only 2395.3 to go and I've also raised $35 so far! I'm hoping to raise $150,000 this year to support research and education in midwifery. 

I had set out to run 8 tonight, but I'm having a lot of POTS symptoms today. Namely my heart rate is jumping all over the place and indicative of needing rest and more electrolytes. I will sleep tonight and then set out for a 15-18 mile run tomorrow. 

View my campaign and donate at:

Follow me on Strava at:

I will be blogging almost daily this year and also writing more specifically about being a distance runner with POTS and what it is like day in and day out. I have periods that I barely notice I have POTS (or at least my symptoms are easier to ignore) and I have stretches when I have difficulty getting out of bed, thinking straight, and I just don't feel well. 

I've been having a difficult stretch with POTS for the past 2 months. It was triggered by flying to St. Louis to the MANA conference, and then a few weeks later flying to Wisconsin. I've been slowly getting better but days like today are difficult to move at all. I know it's going to be a struggle to run or even get out of bed day when my heart rate is doing this. The picture below shows what happens when i go from a laying position to standing up when my symptoms are more severe. Ironically forcing myself to run and move makes these symptoms lessen and more manageable and my heart rate actually regulates better when I am training for 100 mile races.