"Putting it in Perspective" A Year Training & Racing with my Daughter by Jennifer Brunet
I've been very fortunate to have shared this past year's events training and racing with my daughter Alex. We got a lot in before her departure to veterinary graduate school. Training takes a lot of adjusting of your schedule, but you can make it work. Alex and I spent a lot of time training in Bear Mountain State Park with its challenging climbs and terrain, even if it meant being there at 5am on a Sunday. We would run the Palisades when we didn't have time to travel to Bear Mountain, and spent several days training in the gym. In fact during her break from undergrad, I would kidnap her to train with me for a day which meant going to several different gyms and at one point she said, "Mom, I can't wait for you to go back to school."
So our training brought us to share Whiteface Mountain for the Sky Runs on June 27th & 28th. It was an epic adventure! The weather was treacherous and the climbs were amazing. It was pouring rain with high winds, where I crouched down at one point thinking I'd get swept away. Mud was up to the middle of my shins, and at the bottom trail, a river that crossed over went up to my knees. Unfortunately Alex sprained her ankle after the first decent; however, she hadn't said anything. I knew something was wrong when she took longer than I anticipated.
As she went through the finish line I could see the pain behind the smile. She said I need ice right away. I went to get ice and when I returned I heard her tell someone, "I don't believe in quitting." I thought oh no she listens to what I say. Although our runs together would be sidelined for a while, we still trained in the gym, braced the ankle and hiked when she was ready. We hoped to share the course of the Eastern States 100 and Call of the Wild in August but her ankle wasn't ready for the twisting, turning, and pounding. At times during the ES100 I thought I was just melting in the sun and high humidity, I remembered the words she spoke to the man at Whiteface, and I couldn't go back on my mantra. I always say it's all in a strong mindset.
Alex was determined to get in a race before the end of the season and in September she ran Red Newt Racing Lucifer's Crossing and felt great about it. This past weekend was RNR's Virgil Crest 100, 50 mile & 50k races where I planned on running the 100 mile distance; however, after a few training runs I thought that I could not run the 100 miler being just 20 minutes from where Alex now lives in Ithaca, NY, and only be able to give her a wave at the finish line and say I'll call you from the car (as I would have to return home right away to be prepared for school the next day).
I decided to change my plan to the 50 mile distance (which I personally am not a fan of because I prefer the long suffering of 100 miles). However, putting things in perspective, spending time with my daughter who I haven't seen in two months when we used to spend every free moment, training, running, and fueling at the farmer's market was the better decision. Although, running ultras is an adventure, the experiences along the way and time with my daughter is invaluable.