What an enormous honor to receive such a beautiful letter. From the heart, my sincerest thank you. You can see more here <3
Race done and done. It flew by! But I'm bringing home 1st place overall. Breaking the old course record by 4 hours and 12 minutes, I won with a time of 74:35:43!
Thank you X-Bionic, Newton Running, Coach Amanda McIntosh and my insanely awesome crew: Andrea, Christian, and Alina!!!
More to come!! For now, it's gelato time. :)
Realizing I still have Part II: Italy to write. I'm taking a quick little intermission to go run.
Race starts Friday, November 18 at 17 hours Athens, Greece time!!! YEAH!
I’m not sure how this happened but on a random day in September, I woke up and found myself tied to a seat aboard a flight to Italy all against my will. I had no idea this was happening.
Ok-ok. I’m joking...
I planned a little side trip to Italy prior to heading to Greece last month because I wanted to cheer my friends on at their ironman-distance race called, Elbaman on Elba Island, Italy. Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the coastal town of Piombino, the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. Perhaps what is most notable for Elba is the less than year long stay of Napoleon Bonaparte, I believe circa 1814. The people of Elba very much celebrate this part of their history and in many cases the white flag with red stripe bearing the three golden bees can frequently be spotted around the island waving gracefully in the sea breeze. I’d never been to Elba so of course when the opportunity came up, I took it. At this point I think I’ve been to more places in Italy, than I have in the United States. I hope to continue the trend.
The trip began by landing in Rome and then a quick train ride to Bologna. I really like the city of Bologna. The size feels slightly smaller than Austin. If I had to compare, I’d say Austin and Milan feel about the same which means Bologna is more like the suburbs of Austin. Something that suits me just fine. I met up with my friend Alina after having planned this for some months and both of us having big races. Arriving into Italy is always dreamy. It feels like home more so than Texas. If you’ve followed along for a while than you already know how much I love it there.
Alina has several dogs so the first thing we did was get kissed and licked to death! So sweet!! I snuck one of the dalmatians in the room with me to sleep each night. She’s sooooo lovable. An angel!
We had to take a ferry boat to the island and it was called the Moby Love. Why I get so excited about the name Moby Love, I have no idea. But once onboard I couldn’t stop saying the name…. Moby Love. Moby Love. Moby Love. The name just sounds happy. :)
Elba Island though was a cool mix of serenity in the evenings, but daytime hustle and bustle from cars primarily there for the triathlon. In fact, I’d venture to say that 85% of the people there were partaking in the race. We had an apartment in one of the coves called Cavoli overlooking the water. I laugh because one of the first “bad words” I learned in Italian was cavoli. It’s actually not a bad word per se but it’s what Italians use in place of an actual bad word. Basically the different between sh*t and shoot. Hahahaha...
And can I say that after 12 years of living along the eastern seaboard and very rarely getting into the ocean, I enjoyed a few quick dips in the crystal clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Nothing major, but after running each day it felt nice just to walk into the water with my running clothes on, bobbing along under the pink sky. If you’ve ever seen postcards where it looks like a boat is fully suspended in the air, this is how clear the water was. My favorite part of the trip was dinner time in the apartment. We sat outside on the balcony enjoying a simple dinner with beautiful cheeses, meats, olives, and pastas. All the usual fare when dining in Italy. And as far as we could see out on the water were boats of all sizes with lights twinkling and glowing against the water and night sky. The relaxed climate and simplicity of the evenings with a few good friends was something from a movie.
The town of Marina di Campo is precious! I enjoyed walking along the shops, gelaterias and outdoor cafes. Seafood is obviously in abundant supply, but my gosh it’s like no other. I couldn’t eat enough of the octopus and salads with fresh tuna it was delicious!
In speaking with some of the locals there, they don’t exactly identify themselves as Italian because they say they work 5-6 months like crazy and the rest of the time they enjoy the off season. Ummm…. sign me up, I can live like that! :)
Considering the quaintness and the gentle rolling hills of the winding road around the island, I decided it made perfect sense to rent a scooter. Take a look….
What a thrill! The weather had a brisk nip in the air but as the day warmed up, it was fun in the sun. The race, the scooter, the island.
Since I spend a large amount of time outdoors, and also when traveling, my olfactory stimuli have become somewhat of a travel memory bank. The various smells bring me back to someone, something or someplace. Walking around this town I kept smelling something really subtle but particular. It was their local perfume, Acqua dell,Elba. For all the times I’ve travelled to Italy in the past year this captivating scent creates a celestial whirl of memories in my head. I was excited to finally pinpoint exactly what it was called. And in the end my friend Alina surprised me with a bottle. Seriously, I've practically bathed in this liquid dream every day since. Italy… a place where all of the senses fall in love.
Life happened, and then I never came back and wrote about Badwater. But ok, here’s the write up.
Badwater was…. an ADVENTURE. After having three trips out to the desert before the actual race. I arrived feeling like I was home, with the exception that it was chaos because there were so many people there. The end result was I ran a great race with the day I was given. I had an issue that gave me about a 10 pound water weight gain the day going into the race that I didn’t expect. This changed a few variables but either way as I toed the line, I told myself I’d go as far as I could with what I had to work with. It was terrific. Mostly because everything I absolutely hated about the first time I ran Badwater was eliminated this second time around. My crew this time was PERFECT. They were funny and upbeat. We had fun every bit along the way and even when I was finally cut to my knees with problems, we still managed to laugh and make the best of it. Except for Brian, who has crewed me several times before, the other two guys were relatively new to me. This made for great conversation along the way to share stories and become better acquainted with two extraordinary individuals in their own right. It was like we were having our own private party in the desert without a care in the world.
The race itself has really changed from when I ran it in 2011. The night start was probably the biggest change for me. I haven’t decided which I prefer more. I will say that Chris Kostman has really upped the ante with his terrific humor during the pre-events which I was thankful for. Hahaha!
Some random thoughts about Badwater this year:
- Furnace Creek needs to improve their menu selection. Bleh!!
- I learned how to use a Biffy Bag. Wait. No…. I became an EXPERT at using Biffy Bags. Ahem…
- I don’t approve of the fact that SOMEONE contacted me prior to the race and pretended to simply make conversation and in the end they were using that conversation as an interview. THIS IS SLIMY. And then this person sent a Starbucks gift card to ask forgiveness. I enjoyed the gift card, but I DO NOT FORGIVE or FORGET this person because despite the fact that I wrote everything, they still couldn’t even get things right. It took about eight edits back and forth for them to get their facts straight. BAD JOURNALISM. . . . YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE….AND SHAME ON YOU. I refuse to write their name because slimy people like this even thrive on bad publicity.
- My crew brought me ice cream THREE times during the race. Goodness gracious great balls of fire! THANK YOU!!!
- Apparently the minute you have blisters EVERYONE is quick to blame socks and shoes. I will therefore take this moment to say that no - the issues I had weren’t about the shoes or socks. I had physical issues and the result was being larger than my already two-size bigger shoes would fit. So please refrain from writing me to tell me I should change the brand of shoes or socks that I’m wearing. Newton Running makes the most technologically advance shoes on the planet and there is no reason why I would ever consider wearing anything else.
- On this note: My X-Bionic outfit was predictably perfect. After multiple training sessions on the course, I didn’t have a doubt. I wore their "Trick" top short sleeve and long sleeve and shorts.
- The CREW that was behind me as I went up the final climb to the finish line need to learn better racing etiquette. We felt embarrassed by your behavior, and felt bad for your runner….
- My 2011 $1 bill still hangs in Jakes. And now I have a second $1 bill that hangs there. :)
- I took a whopping EIGHT HOURS off my 2011 time. YEEEEHAAAAAA!
- After the race, I had several people write to tell me that they were SORRY I didn’t win and how devastated I must feel. Ummm…No, I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating with a bottle of prosecco and the team. Since when is 2nd place female overall, with an 8 hour PR a death sentence? I was happy with my result at Badwater and felt really proud of my accomplishment. But hey, umm…. thanks! I think…
And that is my Badwater summary. This particular race summary may seem uncharacteristically not me. And the reason is because you wouldn’t believe the things people write to me. Quite frankly, it is shocking. If I were to ever make these messages PUBLIC, I wonder if these indivudals would have regrets about writing such things.... So I pause for a moment to send A HUGE and SINCERE thank you to the people who are supporters of what I’m doing out there. Thank you to the private group of individuals that know the entire story of what I’m chasing and why. To the people who genuinely love me, and wish to see me do well, thank you from the heart.
Last but never least, thank you Newton Running, X-Bionic and Elete Water. You all make the best stuff on the planet, of this I'm certain.
The official crew vehicle. And my three favorites... X-Bionic, Newton Running and of course, Italy. ❤️
Post Nove Colli in May I was in much needed R&R for the month of June. Usually for one week after a major race I allow myself a week of pure gluttony. Thankfully, for part of the week after Nove Colli I was in Italy to enjoy some serious gelato! But I couldn't slack off for too much time because the end of Nove Colli also meant Badwater was eight weeks away. So true to form I headed to my desert playground to relax my mind, get lost in thought and enjoy dancing around in the sun. It was stupendous! The temperatures were entirely different from my time in April and the high temperature everyday was well over 100 degrees. Love it!
This time around while I of course wore X-Bionic's The Trick top, shorts and socks, I also tested out the X-Bionic Fennec Bandana, designed after the Fennec desert fox. Here's a VIDEO to learn more about this very unique material. If you haven't noticed the mass amount of dark hair on my head, it's always a point of contention when trying to keep cool in the sun. For once, my head felt like it was in the shade with a ice melting on it. The entire ensemble together was beyond perfect for the high temperatures. Right now I'm trying to decide which outfit I should wear on race day, The Trick ensemble or their new TWYCE. Decisions!! It's very difficult to decide because the performance for both is exceptional. If you're a lover of X-Bionic, share your thoughts with me. Feel free to comment below or send me a direct e-mail. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
My running shoes never change, except to use a different pair of the same - Newton Running Motion V. This year I switched over from the Gravity to the Motion V. 6.9 ounces, with a 3mm heel drop, it's been the perfect shoe for the long mileage days but I also feel the performance and power of the lugs on track days. You can expect to keep seeing me sport this shoe the rest of the year.
Here's a quick video clip from one of the days in the desert. And then it will be time to start the Badwater countdown. 11 days to go as of today!
Hugs, and don't forget the sunscreen!