Know Your Truth. Explore with Passion. Embrace the Wonder.

It’s the week before Badwater Salton Sea. A race that we registered for nearly a year ago. With the idea of Badwater 135 in the back of our heads for “Someday,” and the desire for something new and different in 2019, Emilee Molfino and I excitedly registered for Badwater’s Salton Sea race. An 81 mile team event where Teams of two or three run together from the shores of the Salton Sea to the top of Palomar Mountain, CA. We officially became Team R U A BADFISH 2 - - a play on the race and the Sublime song, Badfish.

Since then, a lot of water has rushed over and under the bridge and it’s been a year of unexpected hurdles. Hurdles that have led me to the decision that this will be my last Ultra distance race for 2019 so that I can come back strong with goals in 2020; and ideally the opportunity to toe the line at Western States 100 as I was able to secure my lottery entry at the Black Canyon 100k back in February. Instead I will focus on the half marathon distance; one of the many things I love about this sport - the diversity of training ground and goals - built around where we need to be in other aspects of life and in different seasons of life.

But first, we have 81 miles to run through the desert where heat, wind, and a tough trail section will no doubt present new challenges. It’s been good to remind myself that I asked for this challenge, but honestly, as I began to run more road miles in preparation and incorporate Sauna/heat training, I was having a difficult time finding a “calm” around the new challenge. Where would I go mentally for this race? Sure, I’ve trained to work through a number of tough situations and I’ve persevered before, but something was different - I was stuck. I reached out to Coach Lori, with her Mental Training expertise, I knew she could help guide me. And that she did, providing me with a practice in breath, subtle movements, and visualization  that I was able to do in the sauna. Through this practice I was able to find my calm, as I was signaling to my body that it was OK even if I was feeling out of control, and my mind was able to quiet.

My quiet mind led me to reflect on my first 100 mile race in 2014. There were so many unknowns for that race too;  but the magic of being naive was that it was encapsulated in this sense of wonder and exploration. So Wonder became my word. I began visualizing this race with a sense of childlike Wonder and it allowed me to shift focus; being OK with feeling vulnerable, knowing that my mind and body have the skills to keep me safe.

And my mantra for this race was born: Know Your Truth. Explore with Passion. Embrace the Wonder of New.

Michele Pettinger