My dryland training kicked up a notch this weekend adding a little fun, sun, and mud into the mix. Mammoth Mountain hosted its first ever Mud Run yesterday in conjunction with the Mammoth Rocks festival. I asked my trainer if we could fit this into my program a couple of months ago and he gave me the go ahead so all that was left to do was find my team and get ready to get dirty! My Co'ed division team was made up of my roommate and former teammate Kevin Francis, my neighbor and training partner Lindsay Barksdale, and Lindsay's husband Ian Birrell. None of us really knew what to expect as we had never seen a mud run before, and none of us are really known for our running abilities, so we set out to just have fun. As soon as the gun sounded, the competitive side of all of us kicked in Ian became our instant team leader. He was charging and it was all the rest of us could do to keep up. After about 1 mile of uphill running on the road, we moved to the dirt and into the first obstacles. Ponds, muddy hills, logs, and more mud to crawl through proved more challenging then I was expecting and after the first set of obstacles was a giant hill that was too steep to run up. Everyone was walking and I was working so hard, I don't know how people from low elevation and who don't work out everyday made it up this! I thought I was going to see my breakfast again at the top. At the top of the death hill was some more obstacles. I was thankful one of them was another pond as it felt so good to get in some cool water and give the legs a much needed but short break. Our pace kicked up another notch at the other side of the pond. That was about the half way point of the 6k loop and the first half had been all uphill, so I knew we had all downhill left and that is where I excel! We CHARGED down the hill as a team passing people left and right. All I could think about was letting my legs just go and making sure I paid attention to everyplace I wanted to put my feet. Near the end was the obstacle everyone was most excited about. The giant slip and slide! It was so fun and after our team linked arms all the way to the finish. I knew we had worked really hard, but I was super surprised to find out that not only did we win the Co'ed division, we had beat ALL the teams including the mens only teams. My teammate lindsay would have won the Lady's 30-39 age group, and I would have won the Lady's 20-29 age group had we been competing individually! I can't believe it! I have never won anything that involved running. This deserved a celebration and we did so properly with the help of the Journey tribute band that rocked Mammoth last night at Mammoth Rocks! Thanks to my teammates for such a fun experience and definitely the best workout of the year.
I guess this blog is a place to express what I am feeling, and since I am not sure if anyone actually reads this thing, I am going for a bit of a personal post. Someone who has meant the world to me is not in good health and writing it down helps me. My grandpa has been a very influential part of my life. He has not always had things easy, not always made the right choices, and not always been there for people that have needed him. But what he was for me was a man that always said the right thing when I needed him to, supported me even when he had no idea about what he was supporting, and been one of the best shoulders I have ever had to lean on even if it was a little boney because he never ate enough from fear of getting fat! He is a veteran of World War II and felt the consequences of fighting in a war through the rest of his life. Those experiences that he had during the war made him my number one advice giver when it came to handling pressure and executing at my highest level in sport. My favorite advice from him that I will remember my whole life is "keep your head down and your chin up!" He is kind and loving beyond words and inspires me to be a better person when ever I am around him. Even though now he can't remember what you said 30 seconds ago, he still has an amazing ability to say the right thing at the right time, like making everyone laugh by asking the nurse out on a date, or by saying "I love you" at just the perfect moment. No one knows when he will enter heaven, but every hour he is with us is a blessing as he continues to inspire, entertain, and shine light on a loving family. Please pray for my grandpa, we call him pa or pa-sie.
What a glorious return to summer! I am fresh off the plane from a three week training camp in New Zealand. I love the change of seasons throughout the year, but it makes me so happy to have a complete change of season in just one day! It was winter when I left Queenstown on Saturday, and a perfect summer day when I arrived in Mammoth on, well Saturday.
What makes a return home even sweeter is when you step off the plane feeling like you accomplished something and your trip had a purpose. Our team had some amazing conditions to train on, and lots and lots of runs (200 to be exact) to make some improvements for the coming race season. Changes definitely come with some frustrations and challenges. I had a big crash early in the camp, and some days of testing that made me a little crazy, but the last day showed some big changes coming together.
I will write some more about New Zealand soon, as I have 3 weeks off snow before I head to Chile, but in the mean time I have a few reminders. J2's and J3's need to get your applications in for the Stacey Cook/SVST scholarship. If you don't apply, you cant win. And for the Masters out there, I am hosting "Stacey Cook's Master's Dryland Camp" from Sept. 30th-Oct. 2nd. Write me for more info at Staceycookusa@gmailcom
Life is full of surprises and amazing places. I have an overwhelming desire to constantly be challenged and pushed, and to see everything this world has to offer.