I’m Clove, a veteran Salty blogger. You know, the infertile ultramarathoner who writes the epic race reports? Yeah, that one.
Cue the Eminem. ‘Cause guess who’s back? Back again? Clove is back … tell your friends.’
Wow. It has been a really LONG six weeks. I was still getting posts up part of the time, but then … well.
I’ve been all over the place, and I’ve got some updates for you. So let’s all get back up to speed together, and work from there:
I ran the Akron Marathon at the end of September, and you’ll be seeing a long-delayed race report soon. Akron is always my first attempt at any kind of “speed” after Burning River 100, as well as a gauge of my fitness coming out of recovery. I was very pleased to nip it in just seconds under 3:30 for a finish time of 3:29:58. While I didn’t have a ton of expectations, I had told DB to expect me somewhere between 3:30 and 4:00. Nailing the low end of the spectrum, just eight weeks out of Burning River, was the best of all expectations and positioned me well for one of my exciting announcements.
Five days later, I was off handling my “real” job (or at least my full-time job) coordinating the pace teams for Clif Bar at three major marathons in one weekend. While I did all of the planning, logistics and set-up, DB handled on-the-ground operations for me at the Twin Cities Marathon, while I traveled first to the St. George Marathon in Utah, set the Expo and the team up there on Friday, and then flew over to Long Beach, CA later that day to set up the Expo there, work the booth, coordinate the team and actually PACE that marathon. An epic and tiring little weekend to say the least.
I arrived home from the Long Beach Marathon with just two weeks to go before the big dance of the fall, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. Say that fast ten times. As the Registration Coordinator for this 18,000 person event, my part-time gig with the marathon quickly transitioned into my full-time gig for the next two weeks, with sleep dwindling down that last week from 6 hours … to 4 hours … to a mere 3 hours the night before the race. Let’s just go ahead and call them “naps.” The behind-the-scenes activities of a major marathon are like nothing you can imagine – but I look forward to sharing many of them with our readers over the next several months.
Our hometown event was a phenomenal success, but fall marathon madness isn’t over yet for our ultrarunning – and ultraworking – Clove. Not only do I still have shirt exchanges and results updates to process, final participant lists to get to our on-course photography company, and overall and age-group awards to get sent out, but I’ll also be taking pace teams to two of the largest events in the country over the next two weekends: the Marine Corps Marathon this coming weekend, and the ING New York City Marathon next weekend. The fun hasn’t stopped, but I do have a few minutes of breathing room to say “hi!” again.
What about me? Well, I’m doing okay. There’s a lot going on, and with not too much time and too many words left, we’ll leave it with an overview: DB and I tried some additional fertility treatments after Burning River; they were, of course, unsuccessful. There is a great deal of pain in coming to the realization that you won’t be biological parents, and that you won’t have the experience of carrying your own child. Nevertheless, we have no doubt that we will be parents – and that makes for an exciting and hopeful time. Re-imagining your life is never easy but if the patient champions of the Columbus Marathon taught us nothing else, it is exactly how blessed we are even in the face of personal pain. This is not the end of the world; it is simply a different world that we first imagined.
And part of that world will always be running, and for me that means big news. Recovery from Burning River is complete, and the “hell weeks” of marathon season are coming to a close. I’ll spend the next three weeks base building back to high mileage at which time I’ll be starting my 12-week buildup for the Rocky Raccoon 100. Rocky is a FAST course, and one that lends itself not only to my high mileage prowess, but to speed work. This is the first time I’ll be combining traditional speedwork (800’s and tempo runs) with high mileage training and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I would have been second place female last year were it not for that wrong turn at mile 98.5; and I promise you that is not a mistake I’ll be making again. I’ve got a rematch with a raccoon in Texas this February, and I plan to win.
But what’s most exciting? Well, Akron was actually a bit of a test, and I passed. So after Rocky Raccoon, I’m planning a drastic two-week rest period, followed by a tune-up phase, followed by a taper, with the intent of …. RACING MY FIRST MARATHON IN THREE YEARS! The last time I raced a marathon was Philadelphia in 2009, not long after DB and I started trying to get pregnant. That was the last of my five sub-3:20’s, and I’m gunning for number six.
Clove is back – and with a vengeance.