Shannon & Pam, after months of training, officially became ultrarunners with finishing Way Too Cool 2010 (3/13/10). They continue to run the long distances as they continue to challenge themselves physically & mentally. This is where they post those triumphs and also their tribulations.

September 5, 2010

Survival! Shannon

I'm a survivor!  No matter how bad things look, no matter what is put in my path of life, I always manage to push through it.  Oh don't get me wrong - I may whine, I may cry, I may even throw a temper tantrum, but I always come out of it as a survivor and as a result a little more stronger, mentally and sometimes physically.

Yesterday proved to be a day of survival!  The night before (Friday) I first had an emotional breakdown due to life's challenges just pushing me to the breaking point.  I cried, cried a little more, then said enough!  "You know what you need to do, stop with the pity party."  However, because of my current mental status Friday night, I didn't sleep well - strike one when heading out for a LONG HOT RUN!

One of the challenges that hit me Friday night was that once again my truck's radiator sprung a leak - what does that mean $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ out the door, that of which we don't have right now.  But luckily it's a slow leak, we added some water, Mark filled up a couple of gallons of water and I put it in the back of my truck as I needed my truck for the run.  I promised a cooler full of ice and water when runners showed up to ADO after 22 miles in the sun.

Thankfully, I made it up to Auburn nicely, no overheating at all - yeah.  Then the next blow came.  First, let me step back a minute, I found out Friday night that Pam would not be joining me on the trails (heel pain) - yikes!  So I checked with Jennifer to see if she was still going and she said yes - phew - ok I won't be on the trails by myself.  Well when I got to ADO, Mary proceeded to tell me that she and Jen would be heading out early to run with Diane Forrest - yikes - I guess I'm alone once again.  Now my emotional status is already on the edge, but I said, I can do this and I'll be fine.

Caught a ride down to Cavitt with Marc Meyers and met up with all the other awesome FTRs.  We truly have a GREAT group of people.

FTRs rock
So I then decided I need to use the restroom and proceed to jog over to my favorite bushes to pee, which requires me to step over a wire fence.  I get done with my business and head back to the group.  As I step over the fence, my foot gets caught and down I go, flat on the ground. NICE!  I pop up in hopes that no one saw me, ya right, Mike Giomi yells across the parking lot ARE YOU OK!  Yes Mike I'm fine! LOL

Me wiping myself off after my rumble with the ground!
Only got a little scraped up, no big deal.  Got back to the group and wiped the dirt off of me and wiped my boo boos.  Luckily nothing hurt, other than the ego.  Only I could fall down before a run!  I have no problem staying upright on the trails, but going pee before a run can prove to be challenging.

The bruise from my fall that I discovered after I got home.  Today it's much darker!
We all took off and I was quite pleased that I had Nancy and Kamran hanging back at my pace.  It was nice to not be alone.  We caught up to Leslie, Trish and Kym at one point.  Then when we all hit Twin Rocks where we met up with Marc.  We all headed out together, and at some point Trishy couldn't take our pace any more and darted off - she's like a little rabbit.  Apparently though, she ended up suffering a little by not sticking with us, but she survived and made it back to ADO!

Leslie and I at Twin Rocks
Luckily Mary had dropped water at Horseshoe Bar as Kamran had completely run out and we were all pretty low, but filling Kamran's pack was priority since he had none.  Once we had him filled up the rest of us split what was left (as we were the last group), used what ice we could and headed out.
Stopping to enjoy the view

View of the lake
Nice cool area to stop and enjoy!
We all stuck together until we hit Rat Bar, where Leslie had dropped her car as Kym and Leslie only planned on doing 12 miles.  They also dropped water there, which was greatly needed.  We all topped off our water, had a bite to eat, said our goodbyes to Kym and Leslie and headed out.  I was still feeling just fine at this point, mentally and physically.

As we crossed through the Rat Bar area, I needed to make a pit stop so I let Marc, Nancy, and Kamran pass.  At that point, I kind of lost them.  I wasn't able to catch back up until we hit the oasis (horse watering troph) at Avery Pond.  But apparently, Marc could no longer take our pace and had taken off.

Nancy and I looking for the turtles
I love Avery Pond as there are turtles in the pond and every time I go by there I look for them.  Sometimes they are really hard to find and sometimes you never see a one.  But today we got a tiny bit lucky and I was able to get one pic of one in the water.

Can you see the turtle?
After Avery Pond is when I started to struggle (approx 14.5 miles in).  I could no longer keep up with Nancy and Kamran.  I started getting nauseous and I knew I needed to eat, but just couldn't force myself to try to eat.  I did pop a ginger candy in hopes that that would cure the nausea, as it's done in the past.  But it didn't help.  I think at about 16 miles, I sat down on a rock and forced myself to eat a quarter of a pb&j sandwich.  It went down, but I didn't enjoy it.  At that point I thought about crying, but I said nope, better keep moving.  Shortly thereafter, I saw horses, that made me feel better, I love seeing the horses on the trails, they are magnificent animals.

The last pic I would take for the day!!
Ok Shannon you're not TRULY all alone out there, and I did have another runner cross my path.  But then I was all alone again.  By this time, I can only walk, there is no run left in me.  The mind starts to really mess with you when you're not feeling good, and you're having a pity party out on the trails by yourself.  At one point I heard leaves rustling above me and the adrenaline started pumping.  I caught a glimpse of what I heard and I believe it was a deer, because it stopped moving the moment is saw/heard me!  But that adrenaline helped me pick up the pace a bit and I actually got in a little run - yeah for me.  The runner who had crossed my path earlier was now headed back my way, so that made me feel better too, ok whatever was back there didn't eat him, so all is good!

So now I'm picking up the pace a bit, not much, but some, getting in a little run here and there and before I know it I come around the corner and there's my savior, Jennifer, sitting in the mini creek!  I have never been so happy in my life to see someone as I was at that very moment.  I immediately sat right down next to her and almost started to cry, but held my composure!  We sat for a few minutes while I cooled my temps, sterilized some water, got as much of my stuff wet as possible and then we climbed out of the oasis back into the beating sun and heat.  This was at approximately 18 miles.

We proceeded to walk the rest of the way as 90% of what was left in order to get back to ADO was uphill.  We stayed on the roads, for the most part, and just hiked our way back up to our cars.  I was so happy to see my truck - I DO LOVE MY TRUCK!

And of course I can't do a long ass run without taking a pic of my feet!!
We threw down some towels and layed on the grass for about half hour, snacking and drinking (rootbeer and coke).  It felt so good to just lie there in the shade.  We chatted and commiserated.  She then needed to head down to No Hands to pick up Mary and Annette who decided to go the distance - flippin die hards.

I think I've come to the realization, although I've known this for many many years, that I don't deal well with the heat.  Now add running in the heat, with the sun beating down on you, all alone on the trails, yeah it's a recipe for disaster.

I am questioning whether I should try to do the Sierra Nevada Endurance Marathon now.  However, I found out that Jen will be doing it, albeit only if the weather stays below 100 degrees.  So, I've decided that if she does it, I'll do it, as I know I'll have a buddy out on the trail!  This will be my last long run/race for the rest of the year and I won't consider doing another long run race until Way Too Cool in March 2011.  It's time to step back and do the other things in life that I truly enjoy - family, quilting and golfing.  I won't stop running, just cut way back on the mileage.

Till next time, stay dirty.


  1. Wow, sounds like a very tough long run for you. Great job on finishing it!!!!

    You can totally do the marathon at Sierra.....

    I will see you there in 3 weeks!!!!

  2. I wish I could've been with you, Shannon. I am ready to amputate my heel :( What a killer day you had out there...pat yourself on the back for getting through! I probably would've been wailing loudly at the point you had your breakdown!!! I hate the heat!

  3. Shannon, your run on Saturday was very much like my experience back in July. By the time I hit Auburn then, there was nothing left and I started losing everything I had consumed for the past hour or two. Needless to say, that 2 mile jaunt up the hill in that blazing heat was not fun. But I got there just like you did and learned some things about myself along the way. I have no doubt you can do the SNER marathon if you choose to. You are one of the most determined runners I know.

  4. Wow. I have come from that place. The place where the night before a really tough run I am balling, crying, whining and just pity partying all over my darn self. Makes you stronger. I won't like, the next day run isn't always sun and roses but you know what, it makes you human, makes you stronger and most importantly, makes you one darn good trail runner. Yup, that's what you are and you are doing awesome.

    Hang in there. The heat is brutal but not impossible. If you prepare before, during and after, I have not doubts you will succeed!