Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ramstein Half Marathon 2016

I ran the Ramstein Half Marathon this past weekend and took the opportunity to get a Personal Record...I wanted to try and stay around a 4:20 per km pace. I went out a little fast but after a couple kilometers I calmed myself down and got in a comfortable pace. Around the halfway point I started to feel a blister form on my heal. I don't normally get blisters but I was wearing a pair of road shoes that I hardly ever wear since I rarely run on roads.

The course is a pretty neat course. It's flat and takes you around the flight line on base. There are two turn around spots that are cool because it has you run by all the other runners in an out and back fashion. Speaking of the other runners...how awesome were they! I got lots of cheers and support along the way and it really made me happy. I heard things like, "you go girl", "you're in the top 10...get those guys", "Girl Power!" and so many other motivating words. I also enjoyed cheering the other guys and girls on...it was fun :) I also enjoyed seeing some friends out there and it brought me pleasure to know they were pushing themselves to achieve success in their own personal challenge.

I reached the end as the first female with a time of 1:31:11, a new PR for me :) Whoo hooo! Congrats to all the runners who ran and finished.

Photo credit: A1C Savannah Waters

Photo credit: Brittany Wheat

Photo credit: Brittany Wheat

My photo of Addie :)

Getting my award

1st Place Female

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Scott Rock the Top - Zugspitz Trailrun Challenge

Oh boy, do I have a story. First, I have to say that I almost didn't even start the race. I woke up that morning totally exhausted and it took all I had to force myself to get out there.

The day before the race, we took a half day off of work so that we could get on the road by 12:30 for our 4/5 hour drive down to Garmisch. We had a lot of last minute things that needed to be accomplished but we got on the road by 12:45...not bad. What was bad, was the drive down there. We hit so many Stau (German word for traffic jam) and ultimately it set us back 2 hours. We ended up arriving in Garmisch at 20:00, just one hour before the race registration booth closed. I picked up my bib and then we grabbed a bite to eat because neither of us had eaten a real meal since breakfast. We decided to eat at a middle eastern restaurant which I was a little weary about but the food looked amazing so I decided to take a chance...it was delicious! While we were eating, our phones were going off with family, friends and co-workers asking if we were ok because there had been a shooting in Munich. By the time we were done with dinner it was already 22:30 so we headed to the Edelweiss Lodge which is the U.S. Military Lodge and Resort to check-in to our campsite. Once at the campsite, we set up our bivy's...Addie and I would sleep in mine and Bj would sleep in his. This was going to be an experiment because not only was it Adelaide's first time camping but I was expecting her to sleep in my bivy with me. We laid down around 23:30, I could already tell it wasn't going to work because the two of us were trying to sleep on a single air-mat and whenever she would fidget (which was a lot) she would slide off and each time she fell off, she would start crying. Somehow we both fell asleep before midnight. But, at 01:30 I was woken by her scream and before I knew it she was trying to stand up in the bivy and was freaking out because there was no room for her to do so. It was a mess! I woke Bj up and told him that I couldn't sleep with her in the bivy and I asked him if he would set up the tent. Instead, he suggested that we lay the back seat down in the car and I lay my air-mat on it. So, after pulling everything out of the car to include the baby's car-seat we were able to lay the mat down and Addie and I slept (not well, but we slept). We still tossed and turned throughout the next several hours. Every time she would move, she would slide off of the mat.

04:45 came way too early. When my alarm woke me up, I considered just turning it off and going back to sleep but instead I forced myself to get up. I started to get ready out of the trunk of the car and woke Bj up around 05:00. As I was getting my gear together he came over to the car and I told him that I didn't think I wanted to start the race. I just felt horrible, I hadn't gotten much sleep and I was so tired. He said ok and that he would put up the tent so I could go back to sleep...but after about a minute of debating in my head, I yelled over to him that I was going to run. We ended up leaving the campsite by 05:30 to head to the start of the race which was about a half hour away. Unfortunately, I didn't get to have any breakfast so I was super hungry on the drive there. We arrived Ehrwald (the start) at 05:55, 5 mins before the start...just in time.

I got into the shoot and politely nudged my way up to the front, but not too close because I wanted to ensure that I would run my own race and not get caught up in the excitement. The countdown started and before I knew it, we were off!

At first I felt terrible. My legs were so heavy, I felt like each one was 200lbs each. Around 4km, I wanted to quit. I really thought to myself, this isn't your day...it's ok to drop. Three girls had passed me but two of them were directly in front of me. I was still running the runable up-hills but my legs felt like lead. After about 7km I started to feel a little better. I decided to push myself past the two girls in front of me and took advantage of my downhill running ability. The terrain at this point was messy. It was a wet, mushy cattle path with lots of mounds and holes that you had to try not to step in or you could break an ankle. Oh yeah and I should mention lots of cow poop. Luckily, I gained a little bit of distance on the girls, not much but a little. When we got to the first checkpoint, I hurried up and got water and was on my way. No time wasted. Somewhere around the halfway point spectators told me that the first woman was only about 3 mins ahead of me...so I pushed it. I ran whenever the grade wasn't crazy steep and before I knew it I passed her. I happened to run by her on a downhill and it was right before the second checkpoint. I still had plenty of water and nutrition so I didn't stop at that checkpoint. I just kept running.

Somewhere around the 25km mark I was heading up the mountain again and ended up passing a guy who was taking a break. He told me that I was the first woman and said something like "you can do it!". Not long after that, he was behind me and I asked if he wanted to go around me and he responded with "no", he said whenever he is in front, he can't control himself and goes too fast so he wanted to stay behind me. We ended up talking and running together for the rest of the race. Johannes was his name. As the kilometers went on, I learned all about him. He was a super nice guy, a teacher from a town not so far away. He told me all about the different sports he had done and how in January he became a father for the first time. We talked about how much fun and stressful it can be to have a baby but also that we wouldn't change it for anything. At this point, I was really happy to have someone to talk to me because I was suffering quite a bit from blisters on the tops of my toes. They were really hurting with every downhill step I took. Johannes asked me if I wanted to use his tape but I didn't want to stop so I told him, maybe later. Luckily, most of the race took place going uphill so the pain would subside enough to give me a break. Every downhill step though, felt like my toes were on fire! With every step, my foot would shift in my shoe and the tops of my toes would rub the blisters that I knew were broken open and raw.

About 5km out I was running in a group of about 3 or 4 guys. Sometimes I would pass them and then sometimes they would pass me. Somewhere around here we crossed from Austria into Germany and ran over the most dangerous section of the race which had us running on a narrow path with via feratta on one side and the mountain edge on the other. As we approached the final checkpoint which was at Knorr Hut, I had to hurry, fill my pack with water, grab a gel with caffeine and then go on my way. I wanted to wait for my new friend but I just had to keep moving. I was fearful the women behind me would be coming up soon so I just left the checkpoint while they stayed to refuel. I knew the they wouldn't be far behind me but, I couldn't wait...I needed to finish. The final push was tough but then again, so was the whole race. But, with it being mid-day the sun was out in full force. I was pretty hot but all I could think about was that the race was mine. The feeling I had as I approached the top was awesome...I knew I was the first woman. As I rounded the top of Sonnalpin, I heard my name and looked over to see Bj and my baby girl. I was so happy to see them but I had to cross the finish line before I could celebrate. As I approached the finish line, I think I surprised them because they were not ready for me. I saw one girl scrambling to get the banner up but she was trying to do it alone and it wasn't working out well for her so I just crossed the finish line anyway. I was so happy to have come in first place that I didn't care about the banner. One girl placed the medal around my neck and then they asked if I would run back through...so I did. At that point I was just so happy that I didn't mind running back around to get a photo with the banner! As I was walking out of the shoot, some young boy wanted a photo with me so I stopped while his mother took the picture. Then I was approached by several people, asking questions and then requesting a few minutes for an interview. Around that time I saw my beautiful baby girl and her smile just filled me with so much more happiness! It was all surreal.

Overall, it was a super tough marathon. Lots and lots of climbing. I felt strong except for the blisters on my feet. I would definitely go back and do it again. The course was beautiful, the views were amazing and I love the climbing. My Strava showed a distance of 47.3km with 3,751m of elevation gain. For my American friends, that is 28.9 miles with 12,306ft of elevation gain ;)

Not a bad ending to what started off to be a horrible beginning. A lesson I learned from this run was no matter what, go out and give it a shot, you might surprise yourself. I really didn't think the race would go well but after a couple hours I warmed up and was happy to be out there. Once again, I kept telling myself...I'm right where I want to be!
My sleep the night before the start

And Up...

And Up...The climb makes you feel ALIVE!

View from the top - Sportograf.com

Cool shot by Sportograf.com

View from the top!


The Finish Line

Pure Happiness :)

1st :) :)

Me and MY WORLD!


Awards Ceremony :)

You can check out my Strava here: https://www.strava.com/activities/650541266

Here are some other sites I was mentioned in :)

- The Exito.de photo story

Friday, July 15, 2016

Rock the Top - Just a Week Away

I'm actually pretty excited about my next race... It's only a little over a marathon in distance but the elevation that we will climb...yikes!!! I really don't know much about the race except, it is called Rock the Top, Zugsptiz Trailrun Challenge put on by Scott, this is the 3rd year running and it is 43,5km with 3965m of elevation. That is a lot of climbing in a short distance. Plan B is the organization that puts this race, they are the same organization that puts on Zugspitz Ultratrail and I think they do a fantastic job.

Anyway, I'm not sure how long it will take me. I guess in the past the winning female won it in around 6 hours...so I guess I'm shooting for somewhere around there.

We plan on camping out that weekend in Garmisch and I'm excited because it will be Addie's first time camping! Should be fun :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Post Race Reflections

As I lay here recovering from my race I can't help but be a little sad that it is behind me. I'm not going to write a long race report since I'm not that great at them anyway. I just want to reflect a little :)

I was so nervous going into this race and had some reservations since I didn't get to put in a lot of long training runs but I did it! I ran the whole race feeling strong and healthy. My strategy going into it was to just run my own race, go off of feel and don't let myself get caught up in the excitement. I executed the plan perfectly. I felt great the whole time. There was one section around 40km that my inner thighs started to cramp up simultaneously but a nice guy handed me a jar of salt and told me to take some...and I just kept moving. I think because I didn't stop moving, they loosened up. The only places I stopped moving forward was at checkpoints other than that, if I was on runnable terrain, I ran and if I was climbing, I power hiked. I kept moving forward.

The race itself is amazing...very well organized, nice volunteers/organizers and beautiful landscape right in the heart of the Bavarian Alps. You really couldn't ask for more. The first 50km were pretty tough, we climbed to the highest point of the race in the first half. It sleated on us up at the top and on the way down we had to run on huge patches of snow. People were sliding all over the place, it was awesome. The  views up at the top though, they were amazing! I kept telling myself, I'm right where I want to be...and I was. 

When I arrived at V5, I had to feed Addie (since I'm still breastfeeding) so I took a little longer than I would have liked but it had to be done. But, while I was feeding her, my crew filled my pack, taped my feet so I could hurry and get back on the trail.

It took me 15:35:07hrs to run 103km with over 5400 vertical meters, I finished 3rd overall. From V2 all the way to the finish the volunteers and some spectators kept telling me I was in second...but I knew the first place girl was a women from Sweeden named Berglund because people kept telling me, so it surprised me when I passed Ildiko Wermescher soon after V5 (checkpoint 5). I thought there was only one woman in front of me but apparently there were two. I stayed in front of her until right before V8 where she ran past me, I caught up to her to try and chat a bit but I don't think her English was very strong because she didn't want to talk. I ended up passing her again before V8 but as I was refueling she left the checkpoint a few minutes before me and in the end she finished 16 minutes ahead of me. The winner for the women's field was amazing, her name is Kristin Berglund and she finished 2:14hr before me...very impressive! And, when I met her on the podium we spoke briefly afterward and she seemed super sweet.

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better day. I had the best support crew. They had a sign made with my picture on it and everywhere I saw the sign, I knew my crew was around. They were motivating, supportive and it meant so much to have them out there helping me. 

Now, what am I going to do next? I'm not really sure. What I do know is today I'll rest, tomorrow I'll run...maybe ;)

Thanks again to everyone who supported me along the way. It means so much to me!

Photo credit: Angela Hampton - Checkpoint V2

Photo credit: Philipp Reiter - somewhere in between checkpoint V3 and V4

Photo credit: Owen Olsen - V5: Feeding Addie

Photo credit: Owen Olsen - V5: 5 mins to feed my baby

Photo credit: Owen Olsen - V5 Getting my feet taped up

 Photo credit: Jochen Hauser - Running in front of Ildiko Wermescher and I didn't even know it!

 Photo credit: Jochen Hauser - Almost to checkpoint V8

 Photo credit: Jochen Hauser - finished :)

Photo credit: Angela Hampton - Me after I finished :)

Photo credit: Owen Olsen - Women's podium Zugspitz Ultra Trail

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I will not freakin' quit!

We are 9 days out from my first race in almost 2 years. Am I scared? You bet I am. I mean, who wouldn't be?? But one things for certain, I am determined. I will not drop from this race. I am going to finish no matter what.

My mantra's to keep my mind strong for the race:

I want to be here!

I am in control!

Think strong, be strong, run strong!

I also want to thank all of those people who support me in reaching my goals…whether it be a motivating message on Facebook, Twitter or email or showing up to the race and supporting me along the route…it all means so much and it will help me come race day!

I'm keeping this one short. I just wanted to let it be known that I. Will. Finish. ZUT16!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

ZUT 2016

Starting to get excited for #ZUT16 Zugspitz Ultra Trail...Did a little race prep. Race starts at 0715 on June 18, 2016.

During the race you can follow me using the Datasport Live Stream: http://zugspitz-ultratrail.com/en/information/results/
Bib number: 488

Here's the race profile: 


Distance: 101,6km
Elevation Gain: 17,755ft 

If you want to see the beauty of this area, check out the video I made of a hike I did 2 years ago...It isn't the exact course but the race runs around this mountain.

#Strava - Dreama Walton 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Long nights, little sleep = Good ultra conditioning

So, this morning I woke up to a crying baby. Actually, I woke up several times throughout the night to a crying baby. Each time I went into her room to try and get her to go back to sleep I walked in to see her standing up, little fingers grasped so tightly on the railing, crying her eyes out. At the 11pm wakeup, I was able to put her back to sleep by rubbing her belly and shushing her. Around 12:30am, I decided to take the easy route and nursed her back to sleep and then at 2:45am, I brought her into bed with me. Trying to get her to sleep in her crib has not been easy but also because I haven't been consistent since I started this 3 weeks ago. The first week she got sick and of course I wasn't going to make her sleep alone when she was sick, the second week we went to Luxembourg on the weekend and slept in a hotel where she of course slept with me and then this past weekend we went to Paris where we co-slept. This morning, even though she was in bed with me, she started crying because it was time to wake up. Not all days start off like this...sometimes she's happy when she wakes. And then again, sometimes she's cranky. This morning she was a little of both. As I rushed to get her ready, she cried while changed her diaper, got her out of her PJs and into school clothes and then smiled and played while I got myself dressed. We brushed our teeth (while I sang the "Brush Brush Brush your teeth" song) and then we went downstairs and got the bottles ready for school.

This is a pretty typical morning these days...heck, the night was pretty typical too. It was actually one of the better nights! Last week there was a night where she woke up 9 times! I am hoping things get better soon. I haven't gotten a solid nights sleep in a while. During the last several months of pregnancy, I tossed and turned because my hips ached, then of course after she was born, I was up all night feeding her and even as she started sleeping through the night and things seemed like they were becoming easier I began to realize I was creating a milk monster. Addie wanted to be latched on the breast, all night long. And when I say all night long, I mean ALL night long. I would have to flip from side to side and even though I was doing it subconsciously and in my sleep I know I wasn't sleeping well. I honestly didn't mind though. I was getting pretty decent sleep, Addie was happy and sleeping well but everyone kept telling me I need to make the adjustment now, I needed to make her sleep in the crib now before she's too old to break the habit. It's a heartbreaking thing to have to do. I feel horrible making her sleep alone especially because I know how much she wants to sleep with me. She actually slept with me from day one. We were in the hospital and they gave me the little bassinet but I couldn't put her down, so she slept on my chest...and that continued even when we got home. So for the first 9 months Addie slept with me and now I'm trying to make the transition to the crib and it's not going very well.

Anyway, to get to my point...All of this lack of sleep might be a good thing. I mean, my body seems to be working off less sleep these days, well, with the help of my new found friend...Coffee! 

My training is going pretty well...it could be better but for someone who is working, has a 9.5 month old and still finds time for socializing with friends I think I'm doing alright. My race is in exactly one month...June 18th!!! I can't wait but I'm also pretty scared. It's been a long time since I've ran an ultra. I do love this race (ZugspitzUltraTrail) though so no matter what I'm just going to go out and enjoy the day.

Well, you can follow me on Strava if you want to see how my training is going or if you want to see how I do in the race. Just search for Dreama Walton :)