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The Beast-Running for My Dad

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“Tips up.”
“Put the rope between your skis.”
“When the rope gets tight, stand up and lean back.”
That’s how my dad taught me to water ski.  We had this old aluminum fishing boat with a 9 horsepower engine.   My brother would have to sit up in the front, or the nose would rise too far out of the water.  I skied on a pair of adult skis that my dad had cut down.   
Eventually, we moved up to a proper motor boat, and real slalom skis, but what did not change was my dad driving the boat.   He spent hours driving us around that lake...taking us through the whip so that we could work on our leans and sprays...and, alternating my brother and I through the slalom course, so that we could turn on a dime.   Rick and I spent countless hours behind that boat.  We were competitive, and we held our own with the Ski Nautique skiers on the lake.  The rest clamored to go tubing.   My dad took the helm for all of us.
When he would drive us by our house, we would flash four fingers if we wanted to drop off.  …

Living Up To My Name: Mid Maryland 50k

You don’t get a name like mine accidentally.   My three letters of mispronunciation were passed on to me.  Growing up, I was “Little Eva” to my Aunt’s “Big Eva”.  She was always quick to tell me that she was actually “Just Eva” as her grandmother also shared the name.   As an adult, I giggle, I guess no woman wants to be called “Big Eva”. This past weekend, I ran the Mid-Maryland 50k.   This is a 50k broken down into 5-10k loops.   I decided that I would dedicate this race to Aunt Eva.   Loop 1:   I thought about the quilt that Aunt Eva made for Noah when he was born.  She hand-quilted this beautiful square, that became a favorite for my Boy.  This became the blanket that Noah took EVERYWHERE!  This blanket became so adored, that it took on all of Noah’s experiences.   It got so dirty, it was affectionately referred to as “Skanky the Blankie”.  And, although he does not carry it with him anymore, I was overjoyed to see Skanky on the shelf in his closet when I took a peek before writing …

Drop and Give Me 100: Skydive Ultra

“I don’t like the start.”

“I don’t run well in the heat.”

“My 100’s are over.”

These tapes have been running in my head for a while. They were limiting me. I had to finally say, “Screw those tapes. It’s time for a new recording.”

I decided to challenge each and every one of them, and I signed up for the Skydive Ultra in Clewiston, Florida.

100’s starting lines overwhelm me, so I found a race with a challenging start. I would skydive and hopefully enjoy euphoria, before taking on the race.

Heat is a new health challenge for me. So, I figured running in Florida would be a good idea. I hedged my bets.  I ran in January, when it wouldn’t be so overwhelming, and where I would have a significant amount of nightfall to lessen my direct time in sunlight. I was diligent about medical precautions and running safely.

100’s are a bear. I’ve come to terms that I wont finish every one I start, but, I’m not ready to hang up that distance, and don’t think I will be any time soon.

Thi…

Phunt-I Learned a Few Things

Sometimes, the race is not the hard part.   Sometimes it’s looking at every thing that may be challenging, and deciding that you’re going to take the risk.   With this race, the hardest part was getting there.   The weather report was looking rough and the course had to be changed last minute because it was not navigable.  I didn’t know if it would be cancelled, without warning, all together.    I was conflicted.   I was feeling like I was setting myself up for a big let down.  I didn’t want to set out only to throw my heart into it, and be disappointed.   Was it safer to just stay put?   How would I feel if I let this opportunity pass?   Would I get what I need out of it?  Would I be able to give it my all?  All questions that raced through my mind, while I looked for a solution.   Finally, I just had to firmly tell myself “Stop!  It’s okay.”  And then,  “Learn to quiet your thoughts”,    It was in that moment of reflection that I realized that I have learned to push my body and I hav…

Hope

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At my school, we’ve started posting teacher’s favorite quotes in the hallway. Most of these, I sort of glaze over, but a couple have caught my eye. One was from a friend of mine. When I first read it, I associated it with my job. It has since taken on a more powerful meaning.


There are different levels of being done. There is done for now. There is done. And, there is what my friend Jim calls FD, which is to be considered absolute done. (I’ll leave to you the definition of that acronym) The trick is to figure out how done you are. Sometimes, that can only be answered in hindsight.

 Theres times when I’m on the trail and I start to think it. “That’s it, I’m done with running. I don’t know why I do this” Then I talk myself down. “Ok, maybe I’m done with 100’s, there's nothing wrong with a good ‘ol 100k.” Then, I keep talking, “Ok, maybe I’ll keep 100’s but no more trail 100’s.”. Then I take a deep breath, “Girl, why are you doing this?”, and I put one foot in f…

Veterans Day 50k. Ramblings From A New Age Group

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I’ve come to learn a few things along the way, and recently celebrating a birthday milestone, has given me time to pause, reflect and synthesize some of the things I’ve picked up about myself.  Enjoy

*Some days I can not give 100%, but I will give 100% of what I’ve got, Every.  Single.  Day.

*I am a feeler.  I feel deeply.  I make no apologies.  I may boldly go in the wrong direction, but I’m going there full-force.

*I people watch.  If you are in my inner circle, I will learn you.  I will do what makes you happy.

*I am immensely proud of the amount of life I have put into my life.   I will not stop.

*It all gets done.  Sometimes I don't know how.  Often, I lose sleep, but it all gets done.  

*I have spent 20 years helping students with challenges, accept and find a way through.  I expect no less from myself, with all of life’s hurdles.

*”I’ll handle it”, "I'm on it.", “I got you”, or “I’m here” are my warrior phrases.  If you hear one, step back, I’m going to do what nee…

I Get Back Up-Oil Creek 2017

DNF Did Not Finish

For years, I fought the initials..saw them as a sign of weakness...of unpreparedness...of a sign that I didn’t handle something correctly.

I’m over that.

Sometimes, It feels like I collect DNF’s.  There is a normal progression when I earn one, not unlike the stages of grief.   I rationalize.  I rip my race apart.  I wish I could get back on the course for one more chance.  I move on to the next race.  

I’ve come to accept that I am damn proud of my DNF’s.   Each and every one that I have earned has pushed me to my absolute limit.  I don’t quit easily, and it is empowering to know that I can push myself until I have absolutely nothing more to give, regardless of if I hold a buckle at the end or not.

One draw of Ultra-running, is that it doesn’t have a *&(% to give about what you’ve done before.  Experience is nice, but each starting line resets the clock.  Mother Nature, wild life, course conditions, these things are all out of my control, but will uniquely challenge m…