Aslinger 2023 was a special race for me. It started like most of my races do with not much forethought and a signup. This year turned out to be different though.
I want to start by thanking a few people. There are many friends and family that came out and supported me. I want you all to know I love and appreciate you all, but Marcy Ambler needs special recognition. Marcy made months of sacrifice for me to train. She worked all day Friday, came and crewed for 24 hours, then packed it all up while being so tired and cold she could hardly stand. Marcy pushed me when I needed it and enlisted others to push me. She kept me taking down nutrition even when I didn't feel like it and was struggling. Marcy walked with me and just kept me moving. At the end she told me the math and if I would run I could hit my PR. She did everything right to get me to the end and pushing my body farther than ever before.
Flashback several months. It has been a few years since I really knocked one out of the park. I am all the sudden in the Seniors Division and have suffered a few injuries and had much less base to start with. During my training I kept hearing little comments from people around me questioning whether or not I could still do it. It seemed that maybe others were seeing something in me I refused to see myself. I just didn't feel like I was any less and maybe that I might have more to give.
The training plan was dusted off and I hit the ground running. Week after week and month after month. Small injuries and niggles came and went, but I held up to the workouts. Big thanks Lisa Huffman for the weekly massage and Optimize U for the endless recovery tools! Soon I was seeing good friends Brad and Laura out doing the same workouts and the banter started. I can't speak for them, but many days the only reason I got a workout in was because I knew there would be heck to pay in public harassment if I didn't. I started to see posts from my overall miles rival Patty King putting down great workouts and our banter back and forth started. Every day and every week we pushed each other and more importantly motivated each other to work hard and push to success.
The night portion was actually pretty nice. It was cold, but not brutal and I was even able to wear shorts. The wind medium and very runnable, but it would transition in the morning to a hellscape of cold and 50mph (ok.. maybe 15-20). I held strong through the night hitting 69 miles at the half way mark and not taking a walk lap until 88. The struggle bus stopped to pick me up a little over a hundred. With some wisdom from Marcy and a running partner in Carol Winter I picked it back up for a while and knocked out another batch of good run miles.
I got down to the last few laps walking with Marcy and she started doing the math. She told me if I could start running again I could get over 121. We finished the last full lap and I hit the out and backs. Getting my legs moving again was brutal. Every step my body saying 'what the heck jackwagon???'. In the end we got over my previous PR by .11. I know it's not bragging rights, but it will do for this one.
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