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Tim Bergsten created this Ning Network.

And now, the end is near

And so I face the final curtain

My friend, I'll say it clear

I'll state my case, of which I'm certain

I ran a race that was full

I traveled each and every trail way

But more, much more than this

I finished the Ascent my way........

When I first got the notion to do this Triple Crown series, and to apply to become a Marmot, I had NO IDEA what it was that I was getting myself in to. I had no idea the challenges, the injury, the changes to my plans that would be forthcoming. 

Saturday I woke up, and I was nervous that I wasn't going to be able to finish. However, I had a little chat with myself, and I decided that it was just going to be me against me. Nothing else could stop me from getting up there except me.  I spent nearly the entire race in silence, just putting one foot in front of the other and overcoming everything. Each and every step was a small triumph.  I felt great, I remembered to drink water and to have my snacks so the bonk monster wouldn't get me. I barely stopped at any of the aid stations. I just knew that I had to keep moving forward. There was even this one fleeting moment shortly before I got to A frame, that I actually thought to myself that I could potentially run some of the last 3 miles, and that I was going to make it to the finish before the 5 Hour mark. My delusions were great at that point, I blame the altitude. I could already feel my heavy legs and the lack of oxygen at A Frame. Once I passed there, I knew that running was not going to happen. I sauntered along those last 3 miles, I was cautious and pretty soon I heard that wonderful chorus from heaven. The finish line cheering was raucous and wonderful! I heard someone say, "Go Marmot!" and I threw my hands up in the air triumphantly. Shortly after that, I crossed the finish line, and I didn't even know what to do with myself! I got my finisher's medal, and I went over immediately to get my drop bag. Once I grabbed that I went to the shuttle line to get back down the mountain. It turns out that this time the elevation made me nauseous.

Once we got back to Manitou, I got my finisher's shirt, which I LOVE by the way, and I got some delicious pizza and I went and sat in the grass. Tracy, my coach extraordinaire,  texted me. I looked down at my phone and saw that she was congratulating me, and I started crying right there. It was a good thing I had sunglasses on and that there weren't many people around. I mean, I am sure I was quite a spectacle there trying to eat pizza with tears streaming down my face and my chin trembling. Even now, two days later, I am still not fully stable when I think about what we all did on Saturday. I know that I am not an "elite' runner. I won't ever likely win any awards for my speed and prowess. I will always need to lose a few extra pounds and do more speed work, however, I am pretty damn proud of myself. In a lot of ways, my journey to be a trail runner has been the hardest journey I have ever taken. To overcome the obstacles that I have, and to conquer that mountain just reaffirms for me that I am going to be okay. I can do this life, and be successful. I am strong, and capable and I will continue to conquer mountains; whether they are real mountains on the running trails, or the mountains in everyday life. I have learned that I can do things by myself, and that I like being with me! I am not one hundred percent sure that I will attempt another Ascent. Perhaps in a few months my competitive self will get the best of me and I will want a PR or something, but for right now, I am pretty set believing this to be a once-in-a-lifetime race for me.

Before I close out this last blog as a Marmot, I must say a huge thank you to Tim Bergsten for the opportunity to be a Marmot. This was quite an honor!  Cheers and huzzah's to my fellow 2017 Marmots: Carrie, Kari, Katie, Christina, Robert, and Don. You are all delightful and it was an honor to be on this team with you. Thank you to the race directors and committees who put together the Triple Crown of Running! What a beautiful event. Last, I need to thank all of those who volunteered at the races. Thank you for cheering, and for your encouragement, and for the water!

As I take this last curtain call, I take my bow ever so grateful that I was able to have this experience as a Marmot. I look forward to seeing you on the trails!!! High fives for all! Trail running is amazing and wonderful!!!

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