Showing posts from November, 2011

Thankful for faithfulness

It was the kind of whirl-wind week that could turn a tornado jealous. I'm not sure how it happened. Well, no. I take that back. It happened because 1) I have this habit of getting "great" ideas or 2) I say "yes" quicker than I say "no." Following a hectic cross country season and knowing indoor and outdoor track seasons were knocking on the door, I embraced the idea of some down time. That didn't really happen. I failed to add significantly to my manuscript, build up my mulch pile, or get the house in pristine shape. But I did have a lot of fun. With some left-over points at our time share, the Shindigglers (plus some extras) and I ventured off for a two-night girl's retreat. Chick-flicks, sweet treats, a morning run, outlet shopping, and hot tubs under the stars punctuated our time at the Williamsburg resort. I could have used another day to relax. I was tired. Back at home on Tuesday, our Thanksgiving guests for the week arrived sho

On becoming a substitute runner

For many weeks, Christy and daughter Emily, an eleven-year old sixth grader, faithfully headed out the door for a run. Emily, fresh off her first season of middle-school cross country, was anxious to take on a half-marathon. Christy, inspired to complete the event as a mother-daughter duo, had also been training. With a short week before the big day, everything was falling into place. Well, almost everything. Bad, bad bouncy ball mishap Christy is an assistant elementary school principal. Of course, school-age children go hand-in-hand with school-age fun. And this principal was not to be left sitting on the sidelines. She chose, instead, to sit on a big bouncy ball. After a couple of test bounces, it reared up like a deranged stallion and threw it's rider to the side. Somewhere in the catapulted trajectory, the meniscus in her knee said "no" to flying, leaving her with a gigantic, swollen leg. When four days of rest produced little relief, her doctor evacuated the b

It's all about the cross

It was the day before the state championship meet. This group of cross-country runners had worked long and hard for nearly four months. The season was punctuated with stellar runs, personal bests, and conference titles. Now it was time to wrap it all up. During this practice,  no running workout could assure exceptional performances the next day. But, there was an opportunity to refocus. The group divided into four teams and raced to form letters and numbers with their bodies. It took team work and analysis to use all team members in the effort. Next, each team formed a "dragon" by holding onto each others' waists. The task was to protect the "tail" from being tagged by another dragon team. Strategy was required to survive the dragon wars. The entire team was then asked to figure out how to keep a balloon off the ground simply with string. It took forming a circle and tossing the ball of string to teammates across the way. Soon, as the ball of string repea

LCA Cross Country team gets great press

On November 10, 2011, Lynchburg, Virginia's News and Advance newspaper published an article about the Liberty Christian Academy Cross Country program. It is a fitting tribute to my kids who have worked so hard throughout the year. Check it out here.

Team Time

The New Covenant Schools soccer team gathered moments prior to the Division II title game at the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament in Dayton, TN. The coach handed his captain a piece of paper. “Josh, would you please read this to the team? Drew (a former player) sent us a message.”  The first NCS Championship Team (Nov 2005) The team listened intently, absorbing every word like a thirsty, dry sponge.  “Well, team, it’s the big day: Championship Friday. Word has spread that you guys have put on a great show thus far and, judging from the brackets, you certainly have. The NCS soccer team hasn't been in this good of a position since this day six years ago, the same day they took home the title. I have faith that today your team, or should I say, "our team," has a legitimate shot at a Division II title. . . No pressure. I'm sure you know you have the backing of your fellow students and faculty but you also have the backing of your former stu

The Mountain Masochist in perspective

Check out this "fly-over" of the Mountain Masochist 50-Mile Race course. No matter how often I have been on the course during the race or in training, this vantage point blows me away. Click to see the MMTR topo image flyover of the entire route . It's no wonder I got tired.

The Journey of the Skirt: Part 2

The night before the Mountain Masochist 50-Mile Trail Run seemed way too short. I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep at all, though I was snuggled under my comfy covers. Lying there in the darkness, my mind repeatedly reviewed the facts: 1) In the last forty-five days, I had done but three runs of about seventeen miles. 2) Preparation to bag a good race has always included weekly long runs of twenty to thirty miles for months preceding. 3) Running with my cross-country team was great but not well-suited for mountain racing and was low in mileage. 4) I wasn't getting any younger but, most importantly, 5) I was going to sport my new skirt. Who could sleep anticipating that thrill? My carefully-planned race outfit The pre-race prep was standard and details boring. I got up, did this, did that, milled around at the start, and started running when the director said "go." With so many miles ahead and woefully low expectations for the quality of my run, the only thing

The Journey of the Skirt: Part 1

Author in a boring black skirt. (Photo by Seth Trittipoe) I've experienced this kind of day sixteen times before. It's the day before the big race: the Mountain Masochist 50-Mile Run. I can think of nothing else all day long. I think about being so cold right before the start. I think about the more-than-advertised 5.7 miles of repetitious road (before hitting the first trail) and how much I hate that section. I think of how other runners, no matter how good shape I'm in, blow by me on the first climb toward Peavine Mountain. I think about marching uphill and consoling myself by saying "It's so early in the race. They'll pay later for running now." I try to imagine each section of the race. I focus on how I might feel, what my strategy should be, and my pace at the end. I pack my bag with everything I think I might need during and after the race. Then, I unpack it to reanalyze before stuffing it all back in and zipping it closed. I know sleep will be


With the warm afternoon sun shimmering off the leaves still hanging golden, red, and yellow, no one wished the race had been run Saturday. A conference championship in frigid conditions and several inches of wet snow would not have been ideal. We were grateful the postponement gave us near perfect conditions on the first day of November. We trained hard for this day. Fast intervals on the track, miles of trails, and up and over mountains prepared the kids for this tough, hilly course. The conference meet is always hard-fought and we expected nothing different this year. The men's gun sounded first. Trey, my consistent number one runner, ran with a specific plan. Only one of these opponents had beaten him before. But that prior defeat was just what my runner needed. The loss had festered for some time, every workout focused on righting the wrong. His plan was to be patient until halfway up a mile-long climb. If his nemesis was close, Trey was going to pull away in a definitive s