Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 Grand Slam

2013 Grand Slam 

I am attempting the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning this year.  This has been a dream of mine for quite a few years.  The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning consists of running 4 of the oldest 100 mile races in 3 1/2 months.  

"The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning award is recognition for those who complete four of the oldest 100 mile trail runs in the U.S. The "Slam" consists of officially finishing the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run all in the same year."

In 2007 I was almost finished running a marathon in every state, only 3 states and 3 weeks to go (my first marathon was in 2003) when a was (self) afflicted by a stress fracture in my left tibia.  I had been nursing the stress fracture for about a month before it stopped me dead in my tracks during the 2007 Steamtown Marathon.  The pain was so horrible I had to start walking at mile 5, I would walk until the pain subsided then run a 1/2 mile then walk, then run, then walk, and on and on, to finish in 5:09, my marathon personal worst.  Three weeks prior to this race I ran a 3:04, so this was really a slow time with a lot of walking.  I must have been "noticeably" dragging my left leg for most of the race because I received a lot of looks, and one of the road crossing guards told me he was going to call an ambulance and pull me from the course, I said a few choice words to him and continued on my way.  There was no way after flying all the way to PA I was going to drop even if my leg snapped during the run, kind of crazy now looking back.  Because the race took me 2 hours longer to run than I had anticipated when I made my travel plans, I had to rush back to Pittsburgh PA and almost missed my flight home.  When I got to the airport as soon as I opened the car door I realized I could not walk.  I hobbled, using my suitcase, to the ticket counter, checked in, dropped off my bags, and asked for a wheel chair.  It was a good thing I was in a wheel chair or I would have been late, the line through security was super long, there is no way I would have made it through that line in time.  Four days after I got home I came down with Bell's Palsy, so now I have a stress fracture in my left tibia, and a paralyzed face, GREAT!  To top it all off I was on pain med's for the fracture, Prednisone to help reduce the inflammation around the nerve bundle, and a antiviral drug to lessen the effect of the virus that causes Bell's Palsy.  Looking back I remember thinking I would never run again, my face was paralyzed and would stay that way (UGH) and the Prednisone made me feel crazy (it's bad shit), not a good combination.  

To make a long story short; I was planning on signing up for Western States  in 2007 for the 2008 race, because of all this I really thought my running had come to an end, Western States would have been my 1st 100 and I was not so certain I could compete, so I didn't apply, darn it, this was the last year of the " third time and you're in".  In 2008 I applied for the 2009 race, this was my 1st time applying and of course, wouldn't you know it, they dropped the 3 times and your in clause.  So this year was my 4th time in the lottery and I made it in!!!

In 2010, since I didn't get into Western States, I added my name to a list of people wanting to pace Western States runners.  I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to pace Chris Roman.  We became fast friends and have ran Badwater the last 2 years together.  Running Western States with Chris from Forest Hill to the finish was an amazing experience, trying to push him, trying to watch out for him, and just becoming good friends made for an amazing experience.  I am so grateful to be able to experience the entire race in 2013.

I have had many goals in running.  My 1st was to finish the New York City Marathon for my dad who never got the chance.  My 2nd was to finish a marathon in every state, I finished in 2008!  My 3rd was to finish Badwater, I did so in 2011 and again in 2012.  This goal to complete the Grand Slam is a big goal and will be tough.  I hope All of you will follow along with me on this quest.