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What Goes Down Can Come Back Up. Beast of Burden 50

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“I think I might be done”.   “I just don’t feel it anymore” “I haven’t trained” “I don’t know if I want to do it” “I’m not sure it’s my happy anymore” I spouted all of this and more to Mark the night before the Beast.   He knew it wasn’t typical pre-race insanity. He knew I meant it.

“Well, there’s yoga” he encouraged.

I lost my brother a month ago.   One minute his blood was pumping through his body the way it was supposed to.  The next, it took a different path, and took him with it. Gone. Just. Like. That.

I tried, I really tried to be me, but I was pretending.  I was listening to my excuses. OMG! Was I listening to my own excuses!  I wasn’t finding restorative sleep. I wasn’t taking care of me, and my body was letting me know it.  I wasn’t as alive as I could be.

At the starting line, which is never a healthy place for me, I envisioned just not running.  Just simply letting the herd go by, and going off to find somewhere that I could hang out. I almost did it.  I swear, I could s…

Be Not Afraid: Across the Years

If you can’t beat fear….just start scared.  

Being afraid is a natural instinct.  Its an evolutionary protection that that steers us away from dangerous situations.  

I start each race with fear.  At the beginning the fear is of the known.  I’ve been at these races, and I very much know the  world of hurt I’m about to put my body and mind through.   I know I will face hardships, and I very clearly know that I may not make it to the finish line.

That fear dissipates when I get to put my feet to the course.   It’s funny how, almost in revelation form, I let that feeling of fear grow into a feeling of gratitude.   Incrementally, I begin to realize that I’m somewhere beautiful. I recognize that I am strong, and that my endless training has kept me competitive in this sport for over a decade.    I learn to accept my here and now and, to deal with what is put in front of me.

I drop my effin excuses, and realize that is all fear is.  

A few days after Christmas, I flew out to Arizona to take o…

Finding My Way Back

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It’s been two months since I’ve raced. Two months since I’ve felt words bubbling up so much I couldn’t wait to write them down. Two months since I’ve felt that raw openness that only ultra-running can give me. Two months since I’ve been so physically depleted, that I become primal. Two months since I’ve been able to silence the to-do lists and responsibilities and let my mind wander to where it really needs to go. Two months since I’ve really felt like me.

I found me again on the trail this weekend. I found rain and mud and cold and solitude.   I found deep connections and a recognition of what is really important. I found the re-living of memorable encounters. I found where I truly can make a difference.

I discovered that I was making excuses. I discovered I was hiding from the trails  and playing it safe. I discovered that my comfort zone is in NOT playing it safe. I discovered that I have more to give, even when I think I don't. I discovered that I can be there more strongly for others, when…

Eagleton Trail Ultra---Finding My Heartbeat

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“I’m going to run a 50k on Sunday”, I told Mark.
He gave me that look.   That look that I know immediately means he’s running through schedules and commitments.   “You’re kinda running on empty. Are you sure?”, he said.
“I’m a little lost.  I need to find my way.  I need my heart to beat”.
And, with that, I set off to Pennsylvania for the 50k.
My only goal in this race was to find a new normal with my nutrition, which has taken a knock with a new little body glitch.  That task actually proved pretty easy to manage. All I had to do is stop looking at what I could NOT do, and focus on what was still available to me.  True, I had to open my mind to food choices I had not previously accepted, but, all in all, the process was not the roadblock I had expected it to be.
The real change hit me when I hit the first hill in the course.   My heart was beating out of my chest. I actually stopped to feel it.    I took my mind out of the experience, and decided to just feel.
I felt so alive!  
My he…

Imma Do Me

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It’s funny where my brain takes me on these long runs.  I could be battling extreme darkness, strange creatures on the trail, lack of ability to drown out the varied noises around me, punishing rain, exhaustion, and those little gravel stones that for the life of me, I could not keep out of my shoes...but I thought of a student.
When I first met this child, my teacher brain told me that this was one who was going to generate a lot of phone calls, meetings, behavior plans and tests of patience.   This child would just glare at me and refuse to participate. Finally, perhaps to save my own sanity, I grabbed some marking tape and mapped out a square around his desk.  “Two rules”, I said. “You don’t get to bother anyone else and you don’t get to use electronics. All else is fair game”
“Imma do me” was his response.
“Good”.  I said “Imma do me, too”
He challenged it.  He would try to draw me off task with poor choices.  “Imma do me” I told myself. He watched my every move, but looked at…

TARC 50k

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It hit me, somewhere between “this sucks” and “who the heck marked this course”.  Somewhere in the midst of my race, it dawned on me that I am soon going to be coaching other people’s races.   The thought energized me. I took each step with a new determination. I thought about how I could use what I was going through to make my team stronger individuals, both in and out of running shoes.

It will be up to me to help them push past obstacles.

It will be my job to show them that it doesn’t matter what Mother Nature throws at them, they can persevere.

It will be my task to shift mindsets from “I can’t” to “I’ll try”.

I thought about how lucky I am to still be a competitive runner (I took 5th place!!!) while simultaneously coaching the up and comers.  

I can share what goes through my mind, and how I have to listen very closely to the quiet positive voices, because sometimes the negative ones are quite loud.

I have a wealth of successful trials and ridiculous errors.

I can help them learn to lo…

Canal Corridor 100: For a Boy and His Dog

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Her AKC name is Moxie Mae. Noah calls her: Bubba Baby BoBo Goober Bumbles DohDoh Baby Bear

And, a rotation of other equally ridiculous names.   

He’s the reason we have her.  It was truly love at first sight.  We were perfectly happy with our mean-spirited, antisocial greyhound mix, but that pup wasn’t enough.  Long story short, at Noah’s prompting, we had two dogs. Time passed and our grumpy dog did, too.

Mox, from day 1, was the alpha dog, and that includes with my child.  This furball has him wrapped. He will text me from college requesting a spontanous picture of her becacuse he misses her so much.  Notice, I didn’t say he asked after his mother, he only wants the dog. Nearly everytime I open facebook, I see that he has tagged me in yet another adorable golden retriever video, because he has the delusional thought that we will get another.  Not happening. He knows it. Being wrong does not slow him down in the least.

What does this have to do with running 100 miles?  Absolutely NOTHI…