Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Wrong Turns

“Damn. This can’t be happening again. Please, not again.”
These were my thoughts as I realized I had my second wrong turn during 2 races within 2 weeks.

Run Rabbit Run:
Very low iron for months left me slower no matter how hard I worked. Still, I figured it out and my energy was coming back. If anything, pushing myself through physical fatigue left me feeling mentally prepared.
Months back, I signed up to run a 100 miles in the beautiful mountains of Steamboat, Colorado. Months, I’ve been dreaming about the climbs I would face in the dark.
The race started straight up a mountain, I was happy, I was mentally strong. A bend in the trail, a sign saying “100 milers this way”.  Yet, that wasn’t the way (as many others found out throughout the day). 6 miles out of the way I went. A distance too hard to make up. A distance that left me dehydrated and puking when I finally got something to drink. My preparation would be useless; this wasn’t going to be my day. I was devastated, to say the least. Tears. No place to call home. No family by my side. I didn’t feel like smiling.
Thankfully, nature can heal.

Devil Mountain 50k:
“One hell of a run”
I just need something, a boost, a little confidence. I need to feel the burn in my lungs, and the changing of mountain leaves.
One week before the race, I click on the register button.
I start out fast, and it couldn’t feel better. 3 men ahead of me when I reach the intersection of ribbons. They went right. There are ribbons in both directions, definitely more to the right. I pause, waiting for someone else. He says right. I go right. Ribbons for about a quarter mile and then nothing.  Nothing till a mile later till there’s an intersection and many people on another trail. A mile added to my distance. 3 men in front of me to 40 people.  A mental battle was fought and won. I can catch up, I know I can. 10 women were passed in 6 miles to regain the lead. Tired legs from too match effort playing catch up. I’m hiking up the mountain when I should be running. “It’s okay; just do your best Sandi. Believe.”
The last aid station arrives. Two good men beside me. One great fried. “Just do your best.” A few miles to go: A steep hill. PUSH! A rolling dirt road. PUSH! I embrace the pain; I know I can hang on.
The finish. 1st place overall. Barely missed the course record (with a harder course?), stupid wrong turn. Proud- I didn’t give up. Hope…. My dreams are still there. Mountains. My home.

In a motel room. MY motel room. For now. Working here for a couple of months. A free room. Still loving playing with big hearted kids at the Boys & Girls Club. I couldn’t leave them (kids) yet. They begged me to stay. They made me better. I love them. No, I couldn’t leave yet. Then, I don’t know. I will sail by the wind.
Two months to go. Lots of work ahead. Faith. Sacrifice. Beauty. Mountains. My heart. Let’s see what I can do with two months of being healthy. Hellgate 100k or North Face 50? Will my indecisiveness ever stop? Doubtful. That’s okay, things seem to work out.
I explain my crazy, indecisive, unsure life to a friend. Friend asks:” Would you have it any other way?” Me: “Absolutely not.” A smile on my face.

Buena Vista: Home for now


  1. Nice work at DM50k. Great way to get back at it after a crazy weekend in Steamboat. Kinda jealous of your freedom to go where you want, when you want and that wherever you end up is where your heart says it should be. It's great! Keep smiling!

    Actually moving to Steamboat in 2 weeks. Small attempt at taking control and living life!

  2. Great DM race!
    I made the same wrong turn at Steamboat. Despite being familiar with the course map, the sign seemed very straightforward in pointing in the wrong direction.


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