Leading up to race weekend for this event I was reminded just how amazing my Oiselle team is. We all live very different lives with ups and downs, but at the core of what connects us is the true compassion and love we have for each other. The goals we each have are celebrated and supported not just in regards to running, but in all aspects of our lives. As we prepped for this weekend, packed our bags, planned our arrival times the anticipation grew. If you would have asked me 2 years ago what I would have been excited about I would have answered “to run miles, embarking on new territory, push myself”. Today my answer is very different – “I look forward to seeing my team, my friends”. This is such a role reversal for me. I have always been more comfortable as a lone wolf. To trust others is a struggle and it stresses me out. My fear of putting myself out there to be judged and ultimately rejected has kept my world very small. Now, please don’t feel sorry for me…this is not a pity party I promise you that. I had and still do have a wonderful life, my circle was just very small but full with quality individuals. Who knew that searching for an great pair of running shorts would lead me out of my comfort zone and to a group that has enriched my life in so many ways!!!
I joined the Volee close to 2 years ago. I was a pretty quiet member for the 1st few months of my membership. On a whim I joined the Icebreaker Relay team in January to prep for an upcoming marathon and meet some of my team members in person. This was a life changing experience. Each and every person that I met over the weekend was wonderful. I left with a new found confidence in my team and self. The connections made lasted far beyond the event. I have found my teammates to be awesome sources of support, knowledge, and friendship. We are a more than a team – we are family! I have learned to trust and open up to others, shedding some of my insecurities and expanding my circle. It has changed everything for me and helped me to become my best self. I have formed strong friendships and met my boom ass coach Nora (www.teambirdtraining.com) – it is good to be a bird! So to say I was excited to get to see my girls at DWD would be a huge understatement. Every chance I get to be surrounded by powerful women I take it and relish in every second of it!
So let’s talk details…last year when I ran the DWD 1/2 marathon I stayed in a hotel about 20 minutes from the race. This year I decided to camp at Wheeler’s about 2 miles from the race. I have learned to like camping (in shorts bursts…like 2 days is my max). Kassy was also planning on camping so we connected and planned our arrival time. We set up our tents and headed to grab our bibs. A few of the ladies were going to have dinner at the Barn and invited us to join them. Once we had our bibs we headed over for dinner and met up with Jen (WI), Jen (IL), Ali, and their families. It was a super fun place with live music and great food. After great eats and lots of race talk we all went back to our campsites to get some rest. Wheeler’s was an cool place to stay – clean, cheap ($16 for the night), showers, playground, and all the DWD runners in one place. Kassy and I were into bed early and prepped for an early wake up call to get to the start to see the 50k runners get out.
Up and out – 4 am wake up call! Tent down, power suit on, and off we went. As we pulled up and parked we ran into Nora…let the Oiselle party BEGIN!!! We all headed to the start to cheer on the 50k runners. Jen, Tori, and Ali began at 5:30am. I had 45 minues to get prepped for the marathon which started at 6:15am. More birds began to arrive. Laura and Jen (IL) were also running the marathon so we headed to the start line. This is a laid back race. The RD gave us a few instructions using a bull horn and then sent us on our way. Laura and I ran together for several miles, we talked and laughed. I was nervous running this race 2 weeks out from Titletown and wanted to be cautious. Laura was running her 1st marathon and doing FANTASTIC!!! DWD is not an easy course especially as a 1st marathon. Laura is a beast and powered through the hills, heat, and pain. I am so very proud of her for completing this huge event and honored to have run many miles with her. We parted ways on our way back from the 1st loop turn around. We had fun bounding through the mud and climbing back up the famous vantage peak where 99% percent of people take pictures (I’m the 1% who forgot to do so).
The remainder of the race I flew solo. I was able to stay focused on my task at hand…power through 26.2 miles. My pace was consistent, my nutrition/hydration on point, and my mood higher than high. I had so much freaking fun! I was able to see the ladies running as we turned back around and they were all running strong. At mile 20 I was greeted by the BEST cheerleaders in the business. I was so happy to see my Oiselle team members. They helped fill my bottle and get me pointed in the right direction for the last loop. I can honestly say that my last 6 miles were fueled by pure joy! My love for running has been elevated by these fabulous women in my life.
The White Loop – oh this glorious, tough 6 mile section. It is a repeat in part of the 1st section of this race so I know what I am getting into when I head out from the aid station. In doing so I prep my mind for the climbs that are to come and make a deal with myself to push and run hard when I can and power hike when I have to. I loved that my legs felt strong, not tired or heavy. In the home stretch of the race as I hit the top of the last hill I was cheered on once again by Oiselles. The finish line was stationed at the bottom of a hill…every runners dream, you can glide in gloriously. I finished my race and was engulfed by my teammates. I was a sweaty, gross mess so I headed to my car to change. I then joined the cheer squad as more amazing birds completed their races. We ate food, laughed so more, took lots of pictures, and enjoyed each others company. So much fun!
These women are so strong and we choice to build each other up – these are the type of examples I want for my daughters. Not every race will feel this good, but one thing is for sure…the support of the sisterhood we have built will live on in my heart forever.
*Thank you to Shelia & Nicole for planning such an uplifting, fun weekend. Your dedication to building our Wisconsin chapter is appreciated and inspiring.
Date – July 8, 2017
Course – 95% trail / 5% paved road
Swag – Short Sleeve Tech Shirt, Finishers Medal, Post-Race Food & Beer
Finish Time – 6:16
Gear Used –
- Orange Mud HydraQuiver VP1 – This has become my go-to race pack. It fits like a glove and allows me to carry everything I need. The aid stations were close together so I felt confident in going with the 1 bottle system.
- Tailwind Nutrition – I filled my bottle with 2 scoops of Berry with 24oz of water. I was able to store 4 sticks in my race pack. I was able to mix more up on the trail throughout the race.
- Oiselle – The temps were in the low 60s to start with a prediction of mid-80s. I started with black Flyout shorts, gray Wazelle short sleeve, and team singlet.
- Run Gum – I popped this in at the start of my last climb about 3 miles to the finish. I was starting to get a little tired and it was just the boost I needed to power through. Given that I took it late enough in my race I did not experience any stomach discomfort and had the pop back in my step to finish strong.
- Trail Toes Cream – I slather this stuff on before I put my socks on to prevent hot spots and combat blisters as my feet sweat. I’m happy to report I walked away from this event with my feet intact with zero damage.
- Salt Stick Caps – I followed my regular schedule of 2 per hour to prevent cramping worked great.
- Altra Superior 3.0 – Race number 4 for these shoes. They have worked awesome so far regardless of the terrain. The course has sections that were technical with tons of rocks…I love that I was able to traverse these area with ease and confidence. as some trails I have run, but did have slippery spots due to the rain. They are just ridged enough to go over the rocks and root, but flexible enough to remain comfortable for several hours on my feet.
- Picky Bars – I ate 1/2 a bar (Need for Seed is my FAVORITE) every 45 minutes in addition to Tailwind. My energy level stayed consistent and stomach did not get upset. This is my go-to combination.