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Showing posts from 2015

Control the Controllables

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Brazos Bend 100      

I have done races where I don’t know a soul.I have done races that I’ve had to travel.I’ve done races that I have forgotten gear.Brazos Bend 100 was a type of Final Exam of Ultra Marathons, encompassing all of these things and more.
I had this travel voucher, and I couldn’t wait to use it.I wanted to find a race with challenges unlike any I’ve faced before.I found it with this race.
My first challenge was what gear to bring.Sorry tackle box, you wont make it on the plane.I got up at 2:30 to sneak in a workout and to pack.I told myself to treat it like an aid station---grab what you need, and if your instincts tell you to take something…listen.That is just what I did.
I arrived in Texas to a sunny 80-degree day and went to pick up my rental car.They issued me a lemon-yellow machineNot really my style, but not really something to make a fuss about either.Okay bumblebee…let’s roll.

I took the bumblebee and drove out to Brazos Bend for the pre-race meeting.I knew th…

Stone Mill 50 Miler

Oil Creek.It all seems to start and end with Oil Creek.This year, I ran the 50k.As always, the trail was rugged, I had a blast hanging out with friends.I got to pace two runners to their first 100-miler finish.I could have done without the bear encounter, but I digress. Finishing the 50k felt empty.I needed it to collect all four buckles, but I crossed the line with more in the tank, and sort of a “now what?” type of feeling. My personal tradition is to take a break after Oil Creek.No running.Nothing.Nada.Normally, I enjoy the first few days, and then I get the itch again. This year was bad.I didn’t feel like I earned the break.There is a lull in the racing calendar from Oil Creek until the Beast in January.There is nothing locally, if I wanted to run, I’d have to travel.And, here I was with a travel certificate just I was just itching to use. It finally dawned on me why I was so desperate for a race.This past summer, I was in a position that not racing anymore was an option.I finished up…

One and (Not) Done-Oil Creek 50k

Never in my wildest dreams, would I have thought I would be a trail runner.  I had no idea that such a thing even existed.  Beyond that, I could not even fathom the concept of being an ultra runner.  To quote Joseph Campbell, “You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you”.
I started as a triathlete.My very first race, of any kind, was a sprint tri on Grand Island.I did it for my dad.The man, whom all other men are compared to, was the one who taught me to swim, and to bike.Running, well, Dad wasn’t a runner. I had to learn that on my own.I ran in tribute to him. I expected it to be one and done.I took third place.I was not done.
I moved on to a 5k, just to try one.I won my age group.OMG!I WON my age group!Maybe, I should try another…
Eventually, I decided to try a marathon, because that’s a once in a lifetime thing.I did ok.I did another.I was 10 minutes off of a Boston Qualifying time.Those ten minutes changed everything.
I trained relentle…

What the Hell Just Happened? Pine Creek Challenge 100

So, Rog and I got talking about races.Imagine.  "Pine Creek Challenge" he said.  "You’ll PR" he said.  "Grand Canyon of the East" he said.  "Good tune-up for Oil Creek" he said.  "Watch out for snakes" he said.  "Lots of Amish" he said.  "It gets darker than dark" he said.  "Lots of wildlife" he said.  "You’ll love it" he said.Rog----good thing you’re wife is a nurse.
I was a bit rushed to get out of work and drive to the race site.First week of school is always hectic.I spiced things up with a bout of food poisoning.Yuck. I tried unscessfully to defer to the 100k.I was turned down flat.Ok.Time to do what I do.I got up at 4 and headed to the Portal Potty.Saw a bear in the distance.This is off to a great start.  Did I mention this was my 13th 100 miler?  Lucky 13!
The course starts with a 5 mile out and back section that I would complete twice.The first 10 miles were fine.It was nice to see the e…

Running Away and Learning Along the Way

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The blog is back.Thank you Brooks!
I’m taking a different approach with this blog.I’m writing it the night before the race.Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and be at the starting line for the Beast 100.I have no idea if I will make it to the finish line, but deciding the start is a victory for me.
My head just hasn’t been in the game.I’ve been running (lots), but not following my training plan. I'm too skinny.I have a pretty yucky foot rash caused by an allergic reaction.Anything can happen tomorrow.
But, my victory is getting to the starting line.
This past week, I ran away from home (in a manor of speaking).I packed my tent, my running shoes, a few necessities, and me and I headed out.I went off the grid.Noah was busy with his job, the fire department, his girlfriend and his friends.He recently was certified to drive emergency vehicles for the FD, and has been quite busy.Natalie was at sleep-away horse camp.She told me she had a narcoleptic horse, who would fall asleep walking and trot i…

Fate, Faith, and a Well Worn Pair of Shoes

Forgive me.   Brooks and I are still working out our privacy concerns, but this blog just needed to come out.   It is my intention that after you have read it, that you understand my exception to my "last" blog post.

God is present in my life.  I pray...never for things, but always for strength.  No matter how late I am running, my first thought each day is always to pray: "Please Lord, give me the strength and courage to do what needs to be done today.  Please guide me and keep me from screwing up your plan".

My prayer is obvious of two things.  One:  It's my own vernacular.  Two:  I believe in fate.

I believe that there is a plan for each of us.  Over and over again, my life has been blessed with serendipitous moments that can not be explained by randomness.  These are intentional blessings sent to us to teach us and prepare us.  The universe gives us hints that we are being guided.  A chance meeting of a friend after years absence; seeing that mother with…

Transformation: A Life Regained

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I write this blog for Brooks.  Recently, they asked me to make it more public to increase my readership from my current several hundred hits per post.  I'm not sure yet, how I feel about that.  As such, this may be my last blog. I'll have to run on it.

However, I am comfortable with this entry, as it is not about running....mountain climbing...travels...rafting..kayaking....camping....yoga...building stuff....or any of the other "crazy" things that I do.  This post is about Mark and the amazing transformation he has completed.

We have always wanted to go to Chicago.  I pushed the envelope again.  I told him I signed up for a race and had already booked my airfare.  I then told him that there is a body building competition that has a "transformation" division that same weekend.  I planted the seed and relentlessly harvested it.   From the first week I met him, he has wanted to enter such a contest, but there was always an excuse. (more on that later).  Mark…

Mt. Washington Road Race---Transitions

So….I work with this guy.He wants to do an Ironman Triathlon.I know if I see him walking down the hallway, he’s going to ask me about it.He comes to my office to ask advice…he has my old bike….he’s researched races…I want to be at his finish line…he wants my help to get ready for the starting line.He swims.He bikes.He runs.He wants it.The thing is, he hasn’t signed up for one.
Last week he asked me, “okay, what’s the hardest part?”.Without blinking, I told him….transition.
In the tri world, it’s referred to T1 and T2.It’s the time between the swim and the bike and the bike and the run, respectively.It’s those few moments when you are not actively racing, but must prepare for the next third of the event.The clock still runs.You are not allowed any outside help.You don’t have time to think about what you’ve done.You must solely focus on what you need to do to carry on.And, then you are off.No turning back.There will be setbacks.I know I will forget something.But, it’s about getting yourse…

That’s Crazy!

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I’m just going to say it.Running around a one mile course over and over again is crazy.Put that course on a fair ground in NJ, make sure it has no shade, add a rodeo to the center of it all, and put Mother Nature in a bad mood, and it is positively nuts. That’s exactly what my friends and I did, and I couldn’t be prouder of our accomplishments.
So, why did I do it?
It’s not about the running.Well, not as much as you might think.
I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things Ultra Running has taught me:
1.  People who whine, tend not to finish.Don’t whine, it accomplishes nothing. 2.   It’s a lot of work, but don’t forget to have fun 3.   Actually doing something pretty awesome beats the heck out of those pithy little inspirational  quotes you find on the Internet. 4.   It’s not about the finish line. 5.   Mother Nature hates me.Screw it, I’m running anyways.
6.   Never underestimate the power of rest and food.They are my most powerful tools to keep             moving forward.
7.   Adapt.Overc…

Desperately Seeking Stillness

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I fill my days.  I don’t write that lightly.  I like to be busy.  I allow for little down time.  I find comfort in to-do lists…schedules…check boxes.   I move, even in my restless sleep.  I’m up early.  I’m up late.  I accomplish a lot.
I love the life I lead, and I am blessed.I have a supportive family that feels the greatest gift I can give is my time.I give it to the greatest extent I can.I’ve learned to appreciate those simple quiet moments like playing with my ridiculously obnoxious dog, making dinner together, letting loose a belly laugh, or just being present. I have a fulfilling job, where I can make a difference.I’m handy.I know how to use a hammer and nails.I can cook-well.I give of myself both in body to the Red Cross and in time to those less fortunate.I don’t say no when asked to help.I train.I train others. I accept challenges.I’m there for my kids.I’m there for my friends. I’m there for my husband.I’m there for my family.Whatever it is…I’m there.
I feel the repercussio…

(Un) Comfort Zone…. C+O Canal 100

Mark asked about my blog.  “It’s about comfort zones”, I told him.  “Do you have one?” he asked deadpan. 
In the world of ultra-running, there are many things that can take me very uncomfortable.It’s probably why I am drawn to it.The night before a 100-mile race is always very lonely for me.This is compounded when I am at a race site far from home and alone.It makes me crave a hug…just a moment when I don’t have to be strong.Not knowing anyone at the C+O Canal 100, made getting that hug out of reach, so I had to put on my big girl panties, suck it up, and take care of what needed to be done.And, after having a good cry, something I usually reserve for the first few miles, that is what I did.
I believe one of the reasons I have such an uncomfortable time before big races is that the race itself is so uncomfortable. I’ve heard it said many times that ultra-running is 90% in your head, and the rest is mental. I have seen time and time again, runners suffer unnecessarily, because of what…