This week, I ran 100 miles. Which absolutely blows my mind. I started counting miles towards my 100 mile running week on Monday, and hit Monday on Sunday. I decided to use this goal as a way of honoring and bringing more awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. I’m still raising money for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center through the end of the week. If you are interested in donating (any amount welcome), please head over to the GoFundMe campaign that I have set up. Throughout the week, I shared the name of one MMIW for every mile I completed on my Instagram, along with some information on why I feel like this issue needs more awareness and action. I’ll share more about that below.
Most of our week centered around getting my runs done. I ordered a fresh pair of Altra Superiors, and honestly I think I prefer the previous version to the 4.5s. The 4.5s feel a bit more snug, and my feet like having a lot of room. I might try out a half size up in the future and see if that makes a difference. Last week, I ran out at Reveille Ranch for my long run, and I shared that it was much more exposed than the trails I had been running. On Sunday, I slept in later than usual and started my second long run later in the day. I paid dearly for this, and ended up calling my husband to come pick me up once temps got over 90 and I felt like I was cooking. I finished my last two a later in the day on the treadmill. Even coaches make silly decisions sometimes.
When I previously mentioned to my boss that I was wanting to run a 100 mile week, he gave me the green light to take half days off Mon-Thurs. I honestly don’t think I could have survived a full working day after back to back double digit runs. Friday I took a full day off to try to recover a little more for Saturdays long run. My husband and I are also in the process of buying a house, so that added a little excitement (and some stress) to our week.
We went out to celebrate an accepted negotiation on one house we really like on Saturday. I ate my weight in wings and beer, and had absolutely no regrets! After several back and forth conversations, it seems like we have reached an agreement with the seller, and hopefully things will continue moving forward without too much difficulty. We also survived our first week of homeschooling! When our school district released the virtual schedule they were implementing for this first portion of the school year, we knew immediately that it wouldn’t work with our family schedules. So we decided to embark on the homeschooling journey, and since it is unfamiliar territory, I wanted to start out a little early in the year.
So far we’ve lived the curriculum we chose, and there hasn’t been too much difficulty or struggle. I’m happy to share more about how we’re structuring school with my work and running schedule, if that’s something that ya’ll would find interesting or helpful. This week didn’t feel crazy in the day to day, but after reflecting on it, a whole lot did happen. It’s crazy how much perception impacts reality!
I’m planning on writing a post that is more focused around how I tackled running 100 miles in one week, but this week I really want to share a little more information on why the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is such a concerning issue.
100 Miles for 100 Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
When COVID-19 really started impacting the running community and races, I knew I was going to need to find ways to stay engaged in my training, and keep things interesting. There have been so many virtual running challenges, and I love how they’re keep runners engaged. I ran a virtual marathon, I completed a 24 miles in 24 hours challenge, and I had my sights set on doing something big. I decided to try to complete a 100 mile training week after watching a Ginger Runner YouTube video, but I also wanted to tie the big week to something important. After the murder of Vanessa Guillen, I knew I wanted to bring more awareness to the issues that minority women face.
Since the 2000, thousands of American Indian, Native Alaskan, and Native Canadian women have disappeared or suffered violent deaths. And because native and indigenous communities are already relative small, these numbers are devastating and have a huge impact on the viability of this community continuing to survive. The issues that factor into MMIW are multi-layered and difficult to truly tease out and understand, making it an issue that gets relatively little media coverage. It intersects the subjects of racism, poverty, colonialism, eugenics, sexism, and oppression just to name a few. And while many people may believe that these are issues that society has moved past, statistics would say otherwise.
It is estimated that 4 out of 5 native women experience violence, and that 1 in 2 experience sexual violence. I know there are perceptions that this violence is taking place within native communities, but in the vast majority of reported cases, perpetrators are non-Native. The fact that the criminal justice system has historically had difficulty understanding tribal law and jurisdiction has created a barrier for pursuing these cases. Additionally, it is well known that DA’s pursue fewer cases when the victims are either financially disadvantaged or part of ethnic minority populations.
This has been heart-breakingly true for native populations, especially women. In fact, an investigation into over 5,000 reported cases of missing or murdered indigenous women, the Department of Justice logged only 116. Two-thirds of sexual assault cases reported were dropped by district attorney offices, without any criminal pursuit. What this means for native women is that they are perceived as “easy targets.” These women become invisible, and crimes against them are unpunished. Opportunistic aggressors take note of this fact, and take advantage. It’s a disgusting and preventable pattern.
When pipelines run through or close to native lands, the rate of violence increases. Girls go missing, and are believed to be targeted for sex trafficking. Authorities don’t pursue cases, and more missing women are reported. The cycle runs endlessly. Trauma begets trauma. Psychologists have long understood the links between trauma, poverty, substance abuse, and violence. And this is how communities implode, especially if mindful steps are not taken to course correct.
In communities where women were surgically sterilized without consent or knowledge as recently as the 1970s, the number of native populations continue to decline. As recently as the 1990s, native children in Canada were forcefully removed from their homes to attend residential schools that punished students for participating in cultural practices, further reducing the community. The impacts of racism and eugenics span across generations and decades.
So this is why I ran 100 miles, and dedicated each mile to one woman. Because their names deserve to be remembered and honored, and change needs to be their legacy. We’ve seen that continued silence will only lead to more of the same, and for native communities more of the same could mean elimination. And this is unacceptable.
100 miles for 100 women. Because no more stolen sisters needs to be the new reality.
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 100
Total Workouts: 3
50 Mile Training, Week 11
How the Runs Felt
This week was a huge roller coaster, but I feel so incredibly proud of what I accomplished. Sunday was a struggle run for sure. It was the first time I’ve ever had to call my husband for a rescue! I’m sure a lot of people would have thrown in the towel, but I’m happy I stuck to my plans and finished out my 13 miles, even if they were tough. Monday was my first 100 mile week run, and I decided to stick with my normal routine of running hills on Mondays. The thought of doing two sets of the 6 mile powerline trail crossed my mind, but I’m pretty sure saving my legs for the rest of the week was the better decision. 1.5 sets of powerlines got me just over 2,000 feet of elevation, and that was plenty!
Tuesday and Wednesday, I split my run between roads and the nature preserve trails near our home. I ran out on the roads while the Sun came up, for about 6 miles, and then did one 7 mile trail loop immediately after. Splitting these runs helped a lot with my time management and not killing my legs. The nature trails have a solid amount of climbing and stairs, and it can help break up the miles, but it also takes a toll on your leg muscles. Plus, with all of the August heat, I was trying to get my runs done as early as possible, and spending 2.5 hours on the trails would have meant a whole lotta time spent frying. Texas summers are brutal!
Thursday was my second 15 miler of the week, and my legs were pretty sore from Tuesdays workout still. I decided to be as efficient as possible and run all of the miles on the smooth Howard Peak Greenway. I actually got my run finished and done before 9am, which meant I didn’t fully cook. My cousin was also able to meet me for about 7 miles, which helped them click off. She just got engaged, so I let her tell me all about wedding planning while I tried to ignore my legs. By Friday, I was feeling a little fresher, and it was almost hard to contain my excitement at not having a double digit run scheduled.
I knew Saturday was going to a long one, so I made sure Friday was a lower day. I was just praying this would help me to not feel like death warmed over by Saturday morning, and I think it worked. Saturday was definitely not the worst run I’ve ever had, but it was next level rough towards the end. I ran at McAllister Park, which is a much flatter trail than I normally run. I figured it was my best shot at finishing at a decent time and not killing myself, which is always one of my top 10 running goals.
I started a little later than I would have liked, since I had a good 20 minute drive out to the trail. The first 11 miles were fairly uneventful, and it was pretty nice running somewhere a little novel. I certainly didn’t hate not having any stairs to climb! The Sun started making it’s presence very well known once I hit mile 15, and I had to really stay on top of my hydration. My legs also started chaffing around this point, which only happens during extra long and sweaty runs. I was not enjoying that aspect of the run.
I hit my last 5k right around 11am, and I felt like I was running inside a freaking oven. I have no understanding how runners complete races like Bad Water, because I was not loving life after the temps got above 90 degrees. Thankfully the last couple of miles have some shade, and I had a good amount of water. I started wondering if a wet dog was chasing me, and then I realized that what I was smelling was me. Running is very glamorous. Once I finished, I was relieved to load my soggy self into my Jeep, grab some Einsteins (bless them for car side delivery, because no one should have to smell me at that point). My sweet husband took care of literally everything at home for the rest of the day while I laid around thinking about how I had a new understanding of the way roasted pigs must feel.
Running 100 miles was 100% not easy. I’m thankful that I was able to run all of my runs in the mornings, so that I could spend the rest of the day recovering. There were plenty of times that I wanted to call it quits on a hot run, but I reminded myself of the women I was running for. Knowing that their stories and names deserved to be shared got me through a lot of hard moments. And I honestly could not have tackled this tough without my saint of a husband, who waited for me to come home every morning and promptly asked me what I needed. I’m really grateful to have a solid support system that allows me to take on big challenges.
What I’ve Been Listening To
This week I finished up a couple of investigative podcasts that I’ve been loving; The Guru and Hope in Darkness. I also listened to the most recent episode of A to Z Running. They did an episode focused on the importance and execution of strength training for runners, and I definitely loved it.
How the WODs felt
My workouts this week were very, very light and easy going. During my first workout of the week, my legs start cramping pretty quickly, despite the light weights. I made sure to increase my electrolytes and decided to keep the following day focused mostly on upper body strength. I was incredibly grateful that the programming at Warrior Oak did not include any heavy weights, and I focused on just moving consistently. My body felt pretty good throughout my workouts after Tuesday.
What Went Well
I ran 100 miles and it didn’t kill me! I focused a lot on recovery this week, and I think those things helped keep my body fairly together. I made sure to stay on top of my electrolytes, I fueled fairly well throughout the week, and I got in a good amount of stretching. I also broke out the Hypervolt on a few occasions to work out some of my leg soreness. I also took a couple of midday naps when I needed, and I feel like I programmed my miles somewhat intelligently. Finally, I took a turmeric supplement throughout the week to help reduce inflammation overall.
What Went Shitty
I did not prioritize core work at all this week. In the scheme of things, it seems pretty forgivable. Also, my feet hurt, which seems reasonable.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week will be a much needed down week. I’m going to run according to feel, and might swap out some miles for some swimming just to help reduce any inflammation and soreness that may be waiting for me.