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!
Roughly a week later, it's still feels surreal. The overall win was a complete surprise to me because it was never my goal. I had a time goal that I was chasing and had asked the crew not to tell me anything about the other runners. It goes back to that old saying, "chase two rabbits, lose two rabbits." I had to decide going in what I would chase and ultimately I decided to race the clock.
One of the things I feel really good about was my race outfit. It was my first official race wearing X-Bionic. Sure I'd spent weeks training in the clothing but never for this many hours in one stretch. I think the biggest fear of most ultra runners is the shower after a race. There's always that moment of getting in the shower and feeling fire all over from chaffing. This is the first time since 2010 that I took a shower and didn't scream from fire! There was no chaffing anywhere. How is this even possible, I have no idea. But there wasn't. I stayed in the same shorts the entire race only changing my jersey at sunset. The temperatures varied between upper 80's down to 30's. And yet one simple pair of shorts and two identical tops were enough to support the swing in temperature, and give me the freedom to run without any chaffing. HUGE applause for X-Bionic. I simply can't say enough good things about this clothing and I'm elated they're coming to market in the US!! Incidentally, I was wearing X-Bionic's The Trick shorts and tops. At night I wore the X-Bionic SphereWind Vest. This vest is all the rage and has bailed me out of crazy weather many times. Whether it's been cold, hot, windy or rainy this vest is essential and has a permanent home in my daily backpack. The short sleeve top is the women's cut. The orange long sleeve top I'm wearing is actually the men's cut but my favorite color is orange so of course I couldn't resist it! :)
I wore the Newton Motion 2016 model for the race since it's been the training shoe of choice for me this season. Generally I wear the Gravity but in light of the stress fracture in my foot last year I thought perhaps my feet were better suited in the Motion. True to form, absolutely no problems with the feet and I walked away keeping my nice orange pedi intact. Plus!
THANK YOU X-Bionic & Newton Running!!! <3
And also a special thanks to my crew and coach. They were spectacular!
The Nove Colli Running is a race that is incredibly well organized. The level of excitement is over the top. I especially enjoy the ceremony just before the start of the race. There is also always a special prayer for the runners and race organizers and with those words, they start the race. The views during the race are insane! This year was a treat because running between two climbs, we had the sunset to our left casting brilliant orange and red colors all over the meadows and vineyards. At the same time to our right was almost a full moon high up in the sky. I mean, how often does a person get this experience? Not often enough.
Along the route the race director will sometimes pass by in the car that is full of fresh strawberries. All of a sudden you see this arm stretch out of the window offering strawberries. For real!! Mario Castagnoli is simply precious. He's the race director but more importantly, he is the biggest hug waiting for us at the finish line. You can see it in his eyes how much he cares for everyone. The burden of organizing this race is enormous, and yet he walks around with such finesse. Two days before the race he is literally covered in white paint from marking the course. I seriously don't think he sleeps a wink for a week straight.
So here is where I landed against the Top 10 Best times of the Nove Colli. Although I missed my race time goal, looking at this definitely gives me hope and propels me to keep trying. Apparently the worst that can happen by missing a time goal is landing the sixth fastest time. OMG - I'll take it!
The finish itself was undeniably the most meaningful finish I've had at a race. Here is my FB post after the race. The Italian flag that I carried was the very flag that all of Le Tartarughe signed and wrote messages on while I was in Italy back in March. I love reading their messages and seeing their names. Especially when I'm in Texas so far away, this flag brings daily joy.
Here's some race photos. Christian Desantis was in the car following to take race photos so I have him to thank for wonderful memories and also Massimo Pracucci for the finish line video and finish line photos. These are two terrific people that I've met along the way from racing in Italy. And the people in the photos are crew, spectators, and volunteers. Wow - Life is grand! #believe #dreambig #forza #coraggio
I'll write more soon about the race and experience but wanted to share the excitement. It's not often a race ends this way but whens it does, it's a reminder that hardwork pays off. Never lose faith in magic.
Breaking my old course record of 21:40, I won first overall against the men and women with a new female record of 20:20.
I made it....to the start that is. It's practically been a year since I last stood at a start line healthy. Tomorrow I toe the line to my third Nove Colli. The only thing left on my mind is gratitude for everything that has gone right and that is good each day. I can't ask for more. Training has never been better.
Wish me and the rest of the field luck! See you in the other side. ❤️🇮🇹💫
I feel so sad not to run the Passatore 100km this year but it's for good reason with the race schedule I have lined up. As a nice memory, a friend of mine sent me this link which has highights from the race last year, including my finish and interview in Italian - my first! It was an incredible day with over a 30 minute PR and 3rd female overall. Actually it was entirely unexpected considering I woke up that morning with a headcold and just five days prior I'd won the Nove Colli 202km (125-mile) race. But life is always full of surprises and it's best to take them as they come. Cheers!