Friday, June 26, 2009

Way out of sorts!

After some great runs in Utah I left for Silverton, CO on the 24th. While in Utah I had one of the most incredibly hard track sessions I have ever experienced. Doing 1000’s and 1200’s at 7000 feet is quite humbling. Though it was a lung buster I was really happy I stuck it out and completed it.

Arriving in Silverton on the 24th was exciting and I pretty much had my runs already planned out. Some would require a shuttle. I booked Brady to drive Steve and I over to our destinations and my plan was to get as much exposure to course as I could in this final peak push before the taper. Little did I know I would have a whole new set of elements to deal with?

On the 25th Steve and I took a trip up to Columbine Lake. It’s a sweet trail very close to Silverton and offers some wonderful views and an incredible basin. It was to be an easy day and our first trip above 11,000 feet so we mostly hiked. When we reached the basin I was in awe of the landscape. I felt like a tiny pebble in the sea of the San Juan Mountains and I was. As we continued through the basin to our first snow crossing I got extremely anxious. I am not necessarily afraid of snow and have traveled it before but the drop offs and my unsure footing turned my stomach into knots. I continued on through a series of small snow fields and rock. Not really a big deal but when we came to the pass before crossing over to Columbine Lake I was done. I was a complete wreck and announced I was through for the day. I was not going on to Columbine Lake. The snow fields were simply out of my comfort zone and looked like one small slip and you were a goner. I did decide to climb a grass peak instead and enjoyed to 360 degree view of probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Despite how wonderful the view was I was completely engulfed by fear. For the first time ever I had thoughts of not starting a race I have put so much effort and time in. I wanted to break down and cry but chose to go deep in my own thoughts. As we made our way down the snow fields I just got worse and worse. I wanted to be done, home and driving back to Portland.

That night I went to my room at 5:30 and was simply fretting all my future run plans. I can’t remember the last time I had this much fear and anxiety. I wasn’t sure what to do with it all but just lay there, process and take day by day. That takes us to today. We went from Sherman to Grouse Gulch. The weather was less than kind. We had very little snow travel but I was still a mess, quiet and unreachable. The wind, snow and sleet made the trip super challenging. We were prepared for weather but there is only so much you can do when water is covering your entire body. I suited up with my yak traks (thanks Susan) for the snow pitch to Handies summit. They were not necessary but I wanted to try them and hoped it my calm my nerves. They worked great. Of course the beauty was there but not for my eyes today. Besides the clouds and sleet covering everything I was still just consumed with my own thoughts of failure and fear. I could feel it throughout my whole body. On the positive side I was able to deal with the snow and high country much better but maybe that’s because I was so focused on moving forward and staying thawed.

I am not sure what or why I am such a wreck. It might be because I miss Bill and Alex. This is a long time for me to be separated from them and I really could use Bill’s strength and reassurance right now. I know this is what Hardrock is all about; the big mountains, the tough terrain and the unknown. Hopefully I can start to embrace all of that soon because right now I can’t seem to find that excitement. I am lucky to have my phone so I can call him and friends. Without there words of encouragement and confidence I might just lay in my bed until race day…..kidding. Generally I am pretty strong and sturdy but this event has really got me shaken. I am hoping that each day on the course and in this environment with help me get my head in the right spot. Right now I am counting down the days for Bill, Alex, Darin and Micheal to arrive. I am also hoping for a turn in the weather. One thing for is for sure. With my head completely consumed with this junk I have forgotten I can’t breathe! Tomorrow I am attempting hill repeats up Engineer Pass. The weather still looks iffy but I will have my car at Grouse Gulch for aid.


  1. One thing is that you have almost two weeks till race day. Some nice warm weather could clear up many of those snow areas.
    To overcome your fears just take your time, look over the reason for the fear and see if it is justified. You have the cleats for the snow so that should help your confidence. If you have to stop and put them on for the next week just do it so you can build your confidence.
    Like you said when your family and friends arrive the support should really help.

  2. You are so my athletic hero Ronda. Your acknowledgement of fears and anxieties is a perfect way to deal with them. Man, I wish we all had that ability and courage. You are amazing. I also know that you will break through the dark forest into the light of the next day or so. You continue to be an inspiration. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks again for sharing.

  3. I know you are feeling better now but this race is hard core. It's good to respect the mountains but you are badass enough to conquor this thang.