I choose a career in the fitness industry and coaching because my #1 passion is to help others. I put more credit into my abilities as a coach and fitness professional than I do as my abilities as an athlete. Not to mention it has always been more rewarding for me to help others than making my own gains. So when I received all the feedback and support from my melt down blog on Stage 7, it reminded me of the most important thing in my journey. You see, when a race is over, it's over. You can't take the race with you in life. You can take the experience and memories but you can't 'bottle it'. But people last forever. Sarah, my partner. Trent & Carter, our support crew. My friends and family who where there for me when I hit bottom. New friends we have met during the race. These are the things that matter the most and that I will have in my life forever.
So that is my cheesy job on saying 'thanks' to you all :)
Now on with Stage 8 report:
The morning started off well. I woke up with a fresher feeling in my legs and although not rested, I could tell they had 32k and another 6000 feet in them. Besides, after reading all the comments from back home I had renewed energy. Carter fired up the iPod and we jacked out the pitt bull on the way to the start. I had three simple goals for the day:
2. Negative Split - climb moderate but save something for the descent and 2nd half;
3. Stay Positive! "Positive Attitude Changes Everything", right? (P.A.C.E. Sports Fitness)
Off the start, Sarah had some fire in her legs again. You know, I want to give credit where credit is due here. Sarah had a very strong week and climbed much stronger than I did most days. She is one hell of a runner! And an amazing parter. I feel very grateful for her for many reasons. It's one of those things in team racing. You each have different strengths and weakness. You each have moments that require more attention or energy. And this is just during the race and not even touching on the committment to the training or investments that go into getting to the start. However, Sarah climbed the mountains well this week and the last stage was no different for her. I was afraid of putting too much out there on the climb because it was still 6000 feet in 11k and I just couldn't endure another shitty day. I was prepared for some low moments, but not another 6hrs of it. So I just put my head down, got into my own head space and climbed on my own for the first few hours. Sarah was in my sights the whole time; however I tried to find people around me to distract and motivate me. I was very fortunate when a mixed team from Holland got behind me after the first aid station and talked to me the whole rest of the climb! They were so nice and spoke English very well. The guy kept saying to me 'You climb well, yea Rene Unser from Canada?' Okay, I was NOT climbing fast and he was being polite but it was a 'gift' It distracted me and got me to the top. I told him to email me if he brings his
family to Canada. I hope he does, cause I want to thank him for making that climb go as fast as it did.
From the summit Sarah and took off. It was a beautiful single track ridge that lead into the alpine. It reminded me of home - crawford trails. Gift #2 - familiarly. We ripped it up! Calling each other 'Jo-Jo and Flow' from a poster we saw at the top. It was fun again :) I had to make another pit stop but got 'er done fast and remembered my poles this time :)
Gift #3 - Most of the day was shaded! I dipped my visor in creeks along the way to stay extra cool, but unlike the previous day - the shade made the temps manageable. Phew!
Sarah and I had a strong 2nd half and we finished in the shoot with champagne, finishers medal an embrace that defined a lifetime bond and respect for one another that we would forever have. Carter ran in with us too, so I grabbed him and hugged him so tight!
We got our finishers shirts from the pasta party that night and celebrated with our new friends. It was a positive finish and I was so elated with my experience overall.
Today as I reflect, and put the race behind me I move forward with new perspective. You see, we grow through struggle. It's not when times are good or you're feeling great that really matters. These moments are important in life because they motivate us and make our journey more enjoyable, but it is the days where you have to fight that really have a higher meaning. Where you have to accept help. Where your fears get turned around and you overcome diversity. I am a better mom, athlete and coach because of day 7. What I thought 'broke me' actually made me stronger.
On the last stage (8), I took a community on the run with me. Everyone that helped me get to this point and encouraged me to fight for the finish. Sarah, my partner and friend. Trent and Carter - my family and crew support. Our fellow Canadian friends and competitors and everyone back home. Our sponsors - Valhalla Pure Outfitters, Icebreaker, KC, Udos Oil & Sherwood BMR and I hope you all enjoyed being along for the run as much as I enjoyed taking you. I finished this epic event thanks to all of you.