Showing posts from February, 2012

Jungle Marathon Revisited

My mother called this morning to tell me she watch Nightline last night. One of the featured stories was about the Jungle Marathon, a race I did in it's first year in 2003. The race director, Shirley Thompson, was a fellow competitor (and unknown financier) in the inaugural race. Enjoy the following report to get a sense of what such a race entails. The eight minute video sure brings back memories! ABC Nightline story: Jungle Marathon 2011 My book, "Under an Equatorial Sky" is my story of this race, version 2003. It can be purchased online at Amazon or any of the book sellers or from

Just one more day: Days 51-57

Day 51 - February 20, 2012 I love waking up and finding a white world outside my windows. The first snow storm of the season dropped about eight inches of heavy snow. The white stuff clung to branches like a child to its mother. The sun made tiny prisms out of the flakes, streaks of light darting across the fields. I was anxious to get out and run nearby trails. And so I did. . .but not until the snow was melting faster than an ice cube in a fire. Still, my footprints were the only ones out there. Good stuff. Total – 5.5 trail miles Day 52 - February 21, 2012 It wasn’t the practice I was hoping to have with my team. But a new girl showed up that required a bit more personal attention. New to running, I spent a good part of practice walking and talking with her. Sweet girl who has to start somewhere. I know she was embarrassed but did not wish her to be. I led her for 30 minutes and then resumed my run, looking for the other kids scattered around campus. Total – 4 ro

Snowy Trail Running 101: Top 10 lessons

Top ten lessons learned when running narrow trails after eight inches of wet snow. 10. Run early in the day before the temps climb into the high forties. 9. Be prepared to get wet and muddy if you choose to run in the afternoon under a bright sun. Don't think about breaking any land speed records. 8. Understand that gortex shoes keep the wet out only for so long. Submarining them in puddles shortens the dry-feet time considerably. 7. Running without sunglasses gives you a new appreciation for snow blindness. 6. Look ahead for easy-to-grab trees at switchback corners. Melting snow mixed with mud accelerates downward motion. You will need help slowing down. 5. Overhanging branches are sadistic. They dump snow on your head at the exact instant you pass beneath them. 4. Snow-laden trees always fall across the trail, never away from the trail. 3. View your run as an opportunity for trail work in service to your community. Consider carrying a chainsaw and loppers to make thing

Just one more day. Days 44-50

Day 44 – February 13, 2012 No practice today. Yeah. I love my team but even a dedicated coach needs a break. Besides, I am frantically preparing for a big consulting job this week. Total – 6 road miles Day 45 - February 14, 2012 I made a stop on the way to the market; the nearby park with new (to me) trails to explore. Time was limited but I will certainly return. Beautiful, single track created by a group of mountain bikers. Good stuff. Total – 4.5 miles Day 46 - February 15, 2012 There’s nothing like a “follow-your-nose” run in a new city. Having work in Bethesda, I took off down a busy street, delighted to find signs for “Georgetown Branch Trail” after about a mile. I followed it to the left, ending up in Silver Springs. The dirt and gravel path cut a quiet path through expensive neighborhoods, crossed high above a bold stream, occasionally crossing a road. By the time it was all over, I logged about 11 miles, arriving back at the hotel pleased with the m

UltraGirl Speaks

My first Ultra: Holiday Lake 50k by Sarah Quigg The literal meaning of the word ultra means, “going beyond the usual limit, extreme.” I experienced this definition first hand during my FIRST ultra on Saturday, February 11. Coming around the last bend to see the finish line in reach was the most beautiful sight my eyes had every witnessed. But I should back up and describe the journey it took to reach the end.  I had never set my alarm clock at 4 a.m. before, but that morning I awoke ready to go and conquer this day. I dressed in the clothes laid out the night before; a careful and meticulous process, because I knew that each article could hinder my success. Finally ready to go, my thoughts were focused on asking God for strength and wondering what the day would bring. The start at 6:30 a.m. was slow and it felt strange to start at that pace, but I knew the day would be long and I would cherish that beginning feeling of strength. I felt rested and smooth, my body wanting

Just one more day: Days 37-43

Day 37 - February 6, 2012 With repeat 400s on the track at a specific pace, I knew I had to act like a coach today and stand there with my stopwatch. So, I ran some trails before practice and then ran the warmup with the team. I actually felt decent. Note to self: The new pair of shoes I finally pulled out of the box and started wearing may be helping my aches and pains subside just a little. Duh. Total – 7.5 trail and road miles Day 38 – February 7, 2012 This was going to be the last trail run of the season for my indoor track distance runners. With the state championships just a few days away, I wanted a run that wasn’t too long, not too short. A run that was just right. With a loop in mind, I set off to run it before practice before going down the mountain to meet my team. Together we ran those trails, some of which has been cleared of leaves with a leaf blower! First time for everything. When we finished the tough and predominantly uphill run, we enjoyed a time of t

Stolen ultra baby

I feel that the child I just birthed has been stolen from my arms. No one brings her to me. She cannot be seen in her bassinet behind the huge panes of safety glass. Instead, I am left to wonder how she is, what she is feeling. Is she scared? Is she happy? Does she need me? How I wish I could be with her to comfort, console, and encourage. Sarah Quigg is my baby. Sure, she is eighteen and a college freshman. She was my top high school runner last year. When we first met she didn’t know anything about ultramarathons. But she learned. She learned well, in fact, deciding to name herself “UltraGirl.” Long races along ribbons of trail became her passionate quest. The miles were logged. Trails traversed. Now at this very moment, she is in the process of legitimizing that name—and I am not there with her. Rebekah and Sarah the night before the big race I was able to run part of the race course yesterday when checking the markings. With every step, I wondered how Sarah would feel

From one arena to another

I’m in the middle of preparations for a big teaching day. The topic is peri-operative blood management and a room full of medical professionals will be the audience. Even with a quarter century of clinical experience, lecturing for eight hours is nothing I should attempt on the fly. Hence, hours have been logged with my nose back in the books and my fingertips doing gymnastics across my PowerPoint slides. The texts, charts, figures, diagrams and pictures all remind me of days gone by. Phone calls in the night, harried drives to the hospital, changing into scrubs quicker than Superman can burst out of his phone booth. I remember the adrenaline rush of assessing the situation and responding without missing a beat. I can still feel my own quickened pulse as I ripped into sterile packaging, tossing it over my shoulder and out of the way as I readied the complex life-saving equipment. I strained to catch the report given as one service passed off the patient to those of us in the op

Just one more day: Days 30-36

Day 30 – January 30, 2012 It was a busy day in the office but it was a beautiful day outside. I gladly abandoned the keyboard for some country roads. It was a good run with the last two miles tackled with hard effort. It was good to get the run in since I had to play the role of “keeper of the stopwatch” at practice. Total – 6 road miles Day 31 – January 31, 2012 Another day in the high 60’s, sun shining, birds singing. It was perfect—except that I felt like a bloated toad and torqued my leg again in the first five minutes. This long-term injury is killing me! Anyway, given that, I was glad my kids ran off on various trails. I walked, limped, and gimped along for about five miles. The redeeming value was finding a newly cut trail. Total – 5 trail miles Day 32 – February 1, 2012 I just can’t get over these spring-like conditions. The woods were calling and the prospect of a running a recently cut trail could not be ignored. Besides, I was having the kids