Thursday, July 26, 2018

Under Armour Mountain Running Series - Copper Mountain 2018

I love Copper Mountain and the Under Armour Mountain Series, so I was super excited to go back! The day before was packet pick up and a shakeout run. I'm not going to lie, the shakeout run had me a little down. I was struggling so much with the altitude. 1 mile and I felt like I ran 10!! But I was going to do this!!
My very speedy friend Hollie (aka @fueledbylolz) was there too. I was so excited we got to hang out prerace because I knew I wouldn't see anything but the back of her briefly at the start as she flew up the mountain! Ha!

My flat runner was ready the night before! My outfit and trail shoes were all Under Armour. I had my trusty Orange Mud hydration pack, my Rudy Project shades, my Hello Regalo pocket, and my Garmin watch.

7 am start was a little chilly, but it was a gorgeous day! We had the best weather I could ask for! If you look behind me, you'll see the start goes straight up! Last year, I really struggled because I tried to hustle and keep up with everyone going up and my heart rate was out of control. So this year I knew to take my time going up and then pick up the pace once I was past it. I felt so much better doing this!
This view at the very beginning reminded me WHY I do this. I may no longer be at the front of the pack or heck at the middle of the pack. I may even be last. But I get to do this. I am climbing a mountain!!
Climbing is very difficult for me. Houston is lacking in both elevation and altitude and as hard as I train it's still a challenge. The base is at an elevation of 9,712 ft, and we ran to the peak of 12,313. That's 2 miles above sea level. (I live at 100 ft above sea level.) So I am not too hard on myself going up knowing coming down will feel a lot better!

These views get me every single time!! Lots of tears up there on that mountain. Tears from the struggle, tears from the overwhelming beauty and breathtaking views, tears of gratitude, tears from accomplishing this incredible feat, and tears of relief. If you want to feel....go to the mountains!

V is for Victory!! And there is no victory without a battle!
And battle I did! The victory sure was sweet when I made it to the summit at 12,313 feet! I celebrated every milestone up on the mountain because they did not come easy. And I knew each step I took was one step closer to victory!!

I have to give a shoutout to the volunteers! They were so awesome! Every aid station was well stocked with a variety of fuel, food, drinks, etc. And all the volunteers were having a great time out there! It makes a world of a difference! I'm so grateful for them and all of their support!

Copper Mountain is a beautiful mountain and resort! It holds a special place in my heart!

The biggest piece of advice I give to others before a race is to just smile! Whether you are having fun or in pain, plant a big ole smile on your face! Make the best of it! "Fake it till you make it!" I swear you can't fake a smile forever - it becomes real! Trick your mind with a positive mantra. Even if you don't feel it keep saying it until you believe it. Say it, believe it, then feel it!! Smile!! We get to do this!!

I did it!!
It was HARD! I had to keep reminding myself I CAN do hard things!!
It was tough physically, mentally, and emotionally. I always try to be positive and focus on what I CAN do. But sometimes I get tired of fighting. It’s super frustrating to train really hard and have to fight for every step!
I heard different people throughout the day before talk about how ill prepared and untrained they were. And yet they were all ahead of me and that’s not my story.
But.....THIS is my story. I have to fight for it. I have to train hard and may still end up finishing last. This is MY race!! I AM a fighter!! I am filled with so much gratitude for what I am able to do! I wanted to be honest and let you know I have my moments of doubt, frustration, and sometimes sadness, anger and even bitterness! But I CHOOSE to be grateful! And that’s what gets me thru this!
Up on the mountain I took it all in with gratitude!! I never stopped smiling!! And I DID it ya’ll!!
I ran 15 beautiful miles. They were tough, but I was tougher! I may not be able to do this forever, but I am so very grateful for what I can do now. Every day I feel like I have my own mountains to climb. Today I didn't let that stop me from doing what I love!
Be sure to check out the Under Armour Mountain Running Series. There are 3 races - Copper Mountain, Killington, and Mt. Bachelor. There are 4 distances - 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k. Use the code IronJill for 20% off when you register!

 I can do hard things!!


  1. You DID it! Never a doubt in my mind! Love that you are fueled by challenge!!! These pics are incredible and you sure do inspire others to do hard things!!! Such a great race!

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