Monday, December 27, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Any of you reading my blog for a while know I have a bunch of fears. Sometimes I control my fears but all too often, I let my fears control me. This coming summer when I face the biggest challenge of my life (at least that I have chosen to face) I will have to overcome many fears and will need to toughen up on many levels.
My biggest fears in life are
1) Serial Killers-this fear strikes me in ultras where I end up running alone in the dark extensively. Let me just say from experience reading the “Zodiac Killer” is not ideal pre-race reading.
I have no solution for this fear but considering I carry lots of lip balm, emergency poncho and salt/pepper maybe I can McGuyver something up if ever attacked. Actually I keep telling my husband Tristan that my pepper packets if I opened and tossed at someone is the poor/lazymans pepper spray.
2) Rattlesnakes-actually I fear all snakes but I am particularly worried about rattlesnakes. Maybe I have watched too much “Venom ER” and I have seen altogether too many rattlesnakes along trails. I just finished a book about the Grand Slam in which a paragraph talks about a rattlesnake crossing the course near an aid station. Yikes!!
I have no solution for this fear but I am thinking my “Pepper Spray” might come in handy.
3) Cougars-pumas, mountain lions, panthers are on my list because they are the same animal and if my cat roughs me up pretty badly at only 10 lbs I can only imagine what an animal 10X their size can do.
I have no solution for this but I think this is a job for my “Pepper Spray”
4) Falling-since gravity is a law, not a guidance falling is a big fear. I tend to be unstable on my feet and fall with moderate frequency.
I have no solution for falling but my previous strategy for runs in which falling is likely I tend to sit on my butt and work my way down (for big steps) and at times when courses are slippery I slam into tree’s or other immobile objects. This means after some races, I look like I have been in a WWF match (losing obviously) rather than a race.
5) Dirty Feet-I am fastidious about my feet in particular but actually hate being dirty at all. I may be in the wrong sport! I have been nearly in tears during a few races when the grim line to my foot is a dark brown and I have to touch all the dirt to get to my feet. Even worse is when this dirt has gotten through my gaiters, sneakers and socks and there are dirt gobs between my toes. Eww!!
I have no solution for avoiding dirt. Maybe I need to pick a new sport. I think I could really embrace ping pong except I think I might lack depth perception (although that might be why I fall a lot!).
6) Stream Crossings-my feet can get dirty, I could fall and I’ve seen a coral snake in a river in Florida and a rattlesnake along a river at Shenandoah Nat’l Park, so this is the triumvariate of my fears!
I have no solution for this fear. Even worse I just realized there are a bunch of stream crossings in Western States (and maybe Leadville & Wasatch 100 but please don’t burst this bubble quite yet if this is true, I can cross that river when I get to it). Speaking of my fear of stream crossings, I could pack a raft, a pair of galoshes or stilts, so I guess I do have a solution, although it probably is not optimal.
In all honesty and seriousness, I actually do get quite distressed at all of these issues. I try not to be paralyzed by them but there have been a few times where I nearly panic and have to repeat to myself “Go to your Happy Place” over and over. If anyone has suggestions I am happy to hear what you have done that has worked. Thanks!
Friday, December 10, 2010
I had heard the Western States Lottery selection at the gym was an event not to be missed so decided I needed to attend. I am SUPER happy that I was in the audience when my name was selected. Being in the gym and seeing your name pop up is better than any surprise that I have experienced. It was unexpected, exciting and an incredible experience. I will remember it fondly for the rest of my life.
This is the moment I realized that my name had popped up on the screen. When I first started reading and saw: “Tammy” I did not want to get too excited since I knew a friend Tammy who had also applied. Then when I read “Massie” it took one more moment to realize Tammy + Massie was ME!!!
Perhaps I should have used my maiden name because I think Tammy Parliment would have registered a nanosecond faster since it has been a name I have seen for 39 years while Tammy Massie is only 10 years old (and I don’t write/see my full name often…mostly I go by Tammy).
When I saw my name called I remember feeling so thrilled. My husband, who was on my right repeated my name and said “that’s you”. Yes, yes it was!
This deserved a “WAHOO!!!”.
In fact this deserved a really long WAHOO with a bunch following it!!!
Continuing my leaping and “wahoo’s”! I pass by the screen of my selection to Western States 100 miler. Although a bit blurry you can see a brief biographical sketch.
“Tammy Massie, Female, 38, Gaithersburg, Maryland”. It shows I had 2 tickets in this years lottery (last year I was not selected) and I believe the races listed include JFK50 miler, Javalina Jundred 100, New River Trails 50 km, Tails for Trails, and several other events.
I remember suggesting that this was better than a 100 miler finish because I could appreciate it. I am always so excited and emotional at the end of 100 milers. But I am also so exhausted that perhaps my reaction is a bit muted.
I can only imagine what a 100 miler finish would be like if I had as much energy as I did during the lottery drawing. I imagine neighboring states would know of my victory!
As I made it across the gym I knew the gentleman who selected my name deserved a great big hug!
He had picked MY NAME, WAHOO!!!
Although I suspect the selection is based on a random number generator if I was programming this lottery I would base the “Seed” on the precise time the button was pressed. Thus I believe it was because my selector pressed the button about 10 a.m. PST that my name appeared on the screen.
I was so excited to see my name and it was such an amazing moment
Of course after hugging my selector, I needed to hug the race director.
I know that directing a race is hard work (I have not been an RD but based on my experience as a statistical conference organizer I imagine it is a challenging job with lots of subtle challenges the runners are ideally oblivious to).
And of course I was still so excited that I had been selected. What an honor!
I had met the Race Director briefly before the race because I was being introduced as the “girl from Maryland” and he had come up to me to introduce himself. I met him again when I was called up for being the runner who had traveled the furthest to get to the lottery and finally I was called up when my name was drawn for the 2011 Western States 100 miler.
I was so thrilled and so appreciative of being selected. It was a dream come true
It was an amazing experience!
A few more hoots and wahoo’s later and it was time for me to return to my seat.
Being selected was everything I expected and hoped for and more!
Of course I will be forever indebted to Keith Blom who was able to capture my selection in a bunch of pictures. I clearly need to bring Keith along on my WS100 race because he captured the essence of how I felt from the moment I realized I was going to Western States 100 miler in 2011!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I have been interested in running Western States for many years. My first JFK50 miler I heard about it from my running friends (and heros!) Ed C., Dave Y and Bill T. These Reston Runners are LEGENDS. They have run nearly every 100 miler in America and are super tough!