Tuesday, May 19, 2015

That’s Crazy!


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.  Overcome.  Improvise.  Plan for plans to change
8.   Setbacks happen.  Relentless forward progress makes that ok
9.   Everyone struggles
10. Cupcakes are the best way on the planet to celebrate a personal victory

But, why did I do THIS run?  Why would I want to do 150 miles?  Perhaps another top ten list is in order…  I tried, but this is what came out instead.


Group texts…training runs…challenging my friends…my friends challenging me…registration options…upping my challenge by clicking a single box….Can I do this? ...Can I do more?...$88 airfare…friend who likes me more than chips…being picked up at the airport…Jersey Diners…hanging out….setting up camp….not sleeping…getting up too early…missing the start…mile 1…mile 2…mile 47…mile 106…mile 129…mile 149….running with friends….running alone…meeting strong people…meeting people who don’t know they are strong…hearing their stories…seeing world records being set…seeing personal records being set…DAVE and MICHELLE…Candy bars…Marco showing up…Marco showing up with NY pizza…Marco showing up with cupcakes…Marco showing up with Christmas lights for his tent, but only one pair of shorts…Marco at mile 149…Marco as Ultimate Camper…Marco’s wit…Marco’s passion for life…Avatar...miles alone with Marco…watching Marco run miles on his own terms…Marco with the hot dog….Marco wondering who changed his name to Meat Roll…Marco knowing what she said…Marco helping everyone…Ken letting me call him Russell…Everyone calling him Russell…Russell finding his inner child…Merit badges…CAR….FART…Russell having no limits…Glide…Accidentally something…Russell always wanting to make things better…Miles with Russell…that stupid pink thing he wore on his head…his glow….knowing he could do more….proud of what he did….his innocence…the silly way he wore his bib…celebrating mile 99…Peaser…so many miles with this man…reminds me this is fun…works his ass off…beer runs…knows everyone…Jim calling me his running wife…The way he calls me out…His challenges…Carrots are not veggie dogs…Music loud…Music off…That smile…Epsom Salts…he’s seen me cry…he doesn’t care…the sombrero…Seinfeld…Sets goals…reaches them…humble…hysterical…Kung Fu Santa…The sign with my name, so I don’t get lost…Everyone knowing my name because of the sign…I hate bacon…bacon at the aid station…the rodeo…the horses…the smells…fighter planes…skydivers…kettle korn…the rain…the heat…the fog…the storm…dysfunctional time roosters…the guy running for his mom…the obese woman pumping out a 50k…CLIFFIE!...Deb…Relish…Cliffie saying  “orgasm”…Mile 90…BEER MAN…FRAN AND JOE!!...Rick…Rick in a kilt…the bell…texts when I needed them…running pissed…running happy…walking…hiking poles…Wonder Woman…knots…Jammies….I love you…sharing all this…the stupid poncho…Thunder Buddies-for LIFE...running with an umbrella…sleeping but hearing runners…getting up…taking a break…picture of the kids…Nat texts oblivious to my running…Calling Noah into school…Funny Frog...progress at home…being thought of…getting a laugh…FD…NOT FD…Feeling tough…feeling weak…those last 12 miles…feet with heartbeats…smelly gear boxes…gear boxes with funny labels…Russell actually having gear…going further than I have…beating Ironman distance…funny farm…NO Bacon…bets are off…house fell on her…Rosie the Riveter…the buckle…the coin…time on the clock…not enough time on the clock…more than enough time on the clock…the aid station…oh wait, there’s a camera…the lap counter tv…cookies…fruit…the mister…the hill…rounding the corner to our tents…everyone’s there…break time…no one’s there…keep going….human spirit…overcoming adversity…Tough Cookie...Friends being at my finish...What’s your target?…How’s this mile?…Mission Accomplished.   


Call me crazy, but I do this because the memories will last so much longer than 150 miles.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Desperately Seeking Stillness

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 repercussions of my choices when my daughter says, “Momma, why are we SO busy?” or my son stops me and says, “I have five minutes…can you just sit with me?”  Many days, as I head out the door, Mark will ask, “what do you have planned today?”  Most days my answer is along the lines of:  X, Y, Z, and I probably wont see you until 8 or 9 or sometimes as late as 10 pm.  I get that look… and, “It’s okay to slow down, babes…”  Even though we work in the same building, we may only see each other for a minute or two during the day.  I tell people we are not married from 7am -3pm.  Can’t be…there is work to be done. 

And, yet, I love it.  I know I can do even more.  I like the craziness of spinning multiple plates and not having them crash.  Nothing makes me more proud than seeing those around me push a bit harder, because they see me doing so.  I don’t want to accept the status quo.  I don’t want to just hit repeat on all of my days.  I’ve got a bucket list the length of my arm.  I am addicted to the challenge of doing it all.

But then, there are those moments that I need to turn it all off.  Nothing is wrong, but something just isn’t right.  A few days ago, I was able to re-adjust.  I woke up before the rest of the household, and I was in my kayak at dawn.  I had planned to take the time to organize my thoughts and my agenda for the week.    I planned on keeping both my mind and my body busy. I had planned on moving things to carve out a mental health day, to try and get caught up, but I was too over-scheduled to make it happen.  What happened was that I was hypnotized by nature.  I saw turtles, beaver, and a blue heron.  The air, the water, and my thoughts were simply still.   Thank heavens for plans that fall apart!

I was able to step outside of my small silly life.  By simply not moving, I was able to free my mind from what I was “supposed” to be doing.  By not thinking, I was able to process and prioritize.  I by no means figured everything out, but I refocused myself to remember that it is a greater accomplishment to make someone smile than it is to cross a finish line, that there are feelings I need to take time to feel,  and that in order to make relentless forward progress; sometimes I have to stop moving.  

I’ve learned to trust where my mind goes when it wanders.   It tells me exactly where my heart is.


I am just days away from the longest race I have attempted so far. I have my to-do lists, my schedule and my boxes all ready to be checked.  I am tired, but I will find rest.  I am ready to take on this challenge.  But, I also know, that in order to accomplish what I want, I may just have to find a moment or two, to just stand still.