Wednesday, October 10, 2007

508 through my eyes!

By taking on one of the most unimaginable challenges in my athletic carrier I feel ok about all of it. At the same time if was also taking on one of the most unimaginable levels of pain that I have experienced as an athlete. There is pain that you can tolerate and then there is pain that is going to cause damage.
My back pain was manageable until my knee started to hurt..then trying to deal with both at the same time became something that I just could not tolerate any longer and time was running out. I made it to 400 miles without my legs ever feeling very tired. My butt did not hurt and so much was going so much better than I could have ever hoped for with the little training I was able to do. I am thankful for the opportunity and I am not disappointed at all.
Never say never:) I will go back to the 508 one day and for the DV cup again. Next time I will have a much greater idea of what a short climb on a bike really looks like! :)
Getting to the top of Towns Pass on a bike scared the pants off of me, but I did it and I also passed 5 people on this climb. The mile stones I was able to accomplish on a bike that seemed so difficult are now feathers in my cap.
It is such a joy to watch you all accomplish your own mile stones.

So many people had to deal with adversity this weekend at races all over the World. From the 508 to the Chicago marathon, 100 mile races, 24 hour races. I can say this: I know that we all set out to do our very best and the best is all we have to give. I can promise you that I gave the 508 my best and I walked away sad with not being able to finish but a much stronger person in so many ways.
I have spent a long time thinking about the 508 and now have a clear understanding of what it really is all about:) You can read about the course and look at the profiles of the 35,000 feet of climbing you will do but this is just not the same as actually doing it on the bike!
Riding a bike at a level of speed that I am not comfortable with at night scared the pants off me.
Pot holes in the road, gravel, cold, wind..all of the many obstacles along the way that I feel really slowed me down will be easier the next time around.

The respect I have for the many who did complete the 508..well done! I heard a few times from the very experienced bike racers: "its only 500 miles"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have heard this many times in the sport of Ultra running.."its only a 100 miles"!!!!!!!!!!
I now see that the sports are very much the same it just depends where you spend your time:)

Running Badwater (135 miles) I know I can do this..many I spoke to who are bike racers could not even comprehend how one could run this far..
Simple and the same: I was wondering the same about riding 508 miles on a bike:)

I know I can ride the bike 508 miles, I was sure of this when I made the choice along with my crew to pull out of the race at 400 miles. It was not for thinking I was not going to make it, it was all about possible injury and debilitating pain.
As a coach I don't agree with the idea of pushing to a place of no return or that your mind is your limitation...if your body is begging you to stop due to pain and it is going to limit your ability to continue on with a healthy life then you might want to think about the live to race another day mind set.

I left the 508 feeling good about my choice..sad but good. I will ride my bike again, I won't hang it up and let the dust settle on it or give it away. My plan now is to let my back and knee heal, spend time with my family and then get back on the saddle as I cross train my way to Run Across America with my buddy Louise.

Thanks to my awesome crew who taught me so much. I am a better athlete, better on the bike and will be a better coach with all the information I gained during the 508.

Thanks to all of you for the phone calls, the emails, the blog posts...we are all in this together that is what I love most about endurance sports.
Thank you for your support

I leave you today with a very good quote that was sent to me from my friend Jackie.

“Keep your mind open to change all the time. Welcome it. Court it. It is only by examining and reexamining your opinions and ideas that you can progress.”- Dale Carnegie


Olga said...

I don't agree with the idea of pushing to a place of no return - neither do I. We are humans, we need to remember that at all times. What is given to us should not be ruined.
Glad to hear from you, Lisa. Hope to come over and spend time together, just talking and running (and no, there is no way you can put my butt on a bike!:))

Bob - said...

Hey Happy Butt :-)

Glad ur feeling good!! huge accomplishment!! Good re-cap, what an amazing learned a lot and got bike strong in a short period of will get that DV Cup some point in ur future.

REST that back and Kneeeee!!!!

TK Pro Fitness said...

Way to go Lisa. I was sending all my energy... wish I could have been there.
See you soon, Tim

Anonymous said...

You KNOW you are my HERO!!! You gotta' be smart about listening to you body - and you did that. Listening is what allows you to do all those amazing things you do.

Not to be too corny... but the finish is an arbitrary point. Getting to the start and making tracks down the road is where the experiences are found.

Anonymous said...

getting to the start line of an event such as the 508 bike race is much more impressive than anything I can think of. You seem to always have such a good heart about everything. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,
First I want to share one of my favorite quotes with you:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt"

I'm so proud of you-

bizyah said...

You rock Lisa. Let's see, YOU made it 400 miles before you thought perhaps the pain was a bit unreasonable which means that nobody else in that situation would have made it past, say, 10 miles. Not bad. And by "not bad" I mean "mind boggling." Think of it as a good course preview for the next time around. Now it's time to rest and start getting ready for your next lil' jaunt! Just think, thousand of miles of road and NO BIKE!!! I can't think of a happier place than that either :)

Anonymous said...

I had a strong idea that you would say you would go back to the 508 one day. Good girl, you will have such a better mind set of the how and what to do.
rest my friend and know that you are loved.

Anonymous said...

Good try. At least you were trained and ready. It's not about the race, it's about how you got there. Good job. I'm back on my bike and would love to ride with Cathy & you again. Maybe Mesa Falls?

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I can't even imagine how nerve wracking it was to ride those downhills in the dark. I am seriously hoping you had handlebar and helmet mounted lights...lots of them and very bright. If you did this by the light of your pace vehicle...well, I must conclude that God was watching out for you. Going down some of those passes it is easy to hit more than 50mph.

I am also hoping you will ride a triple chainring next time. Having that granny gear up front can really save on the knees.


Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa!
There is so much I want to tell you! First of all, and most importantly, congrats on taking on Furnace Creek the way you did! Like I said before, you kick serious ass, no matter what. The thought of what your training must have been like in those 9 weeks after Badwater...many long hours, trying to work around family and not feel far as I'm concerned, I think you had already done the 508 before you started the actual race. I am glad you are feeling okay, and I hope you are enjoying some time to rest and quality time with your family before getting into 'catch-up' with work as well as preparing for your next adventure. I totally respect your philosophy too - that being to give it all you have, give your best effort, but don't destroy your body in the process. Nothing is worth that. Our body is the only body we will have in our lifetime. As a Mom, you need your back and your legs to pick up your children and run around and play with them. As an athlete, you need your body to get you places and it would be very bad if you sustained and / or aggravated an injury to the point it would become a chronic source of pain and / or an injury that would require a surgical intervention and then a long recovery! I'm proud to know you and work with you. I know you will complete the Death Valley Cup. It is just a matter of time. There is no question about that.

Anonymous said...

Great work on the 508! You gave such an amazing effort and I'm so proud of you! Know that you made the right decision to pull out - pain of that kind is not something that its worth "pushing through". You have to step back and look at the big picture sometimes - and you did the right thing - and have learned so much through the process. Please take care of yourself now! Also, I hope that things are going ok with your Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you, him, and your entire family.

Anonymous said...

You always have a smile on your face and love in your heart THAT is why you will always be a winner!


lauren f. said...

Lisa--Thank you so much for being so open and honest about your experience. If more of us ultra types would do the same--instead of pretending we can go all year round in peak ultra racing mode with nary an ache or pain--we and our sport would be stronger for it!

As a racer who made the decision to end solo RAAM after 1,222 miles, I know what you mean when you say it was sad for you. The DNF is a sad part of ultra racing. The DNF was a growth opportunity that I did not want to face, but there it was any way! It's been four months and I'm still sad and still growing and still learning from it. It helps me to see the grace with which you have handled the 508 experience.
---Lauren Fithian

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa

I followed your progress online and was sorry to see you had to leave the race. I know first hand how unbelievably grueling is the 508 and making it as far as you did is quite a feat, let alone for somebody who first got on a bike three months before the start! I admire your courage and your willingness to attempt “the impossible.”

It was great to meet you and I wish you well in your run across the country. The 508 will always be there, and though I don’t know details about your “medical,” I am sure you had your future trials in mind.

All the best,


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa!

I am very proud of you and all that you have accomplish over the years. You
are able to accomplish physical and metal challenges most people can't even
comprehend. I have no doubt in my mind that you will be able to finish and
finish well a +500 mile bike ride. My dad keeps telling me I lack
moderation and I think that is a trait that one needs in endurance sports,
in a smart way. When I first heard you were going to ride 508 miles I
didn't know that they had anything like that out there but I wasn't
surprised that you would be right there trying your best to do it. There is
always another race and what we learn from the past ones no matter how
painful make the future ones easier to tackle.