Showing posts from 2017


Starting over. Reset. Been there. Done that. For example: Accidentally hit the "Yes" in response to "Are you sure you want to delete?" Hate it when that happens! Or, in an intense game of Chutes and Ladders (TM ), land on the big slide just a few spaces from the winning space, careening back down the twisty-turny slide to the bottom. Bummer. Or how about this? Finish yet another ultra with no real difficulties, only to realize in the following days that one leg and knee are jacked up for no good reason. Time to start again. Time to reset. It's been 51 days since I completed my 20th finish at the Mountain Masochist 50 Miler. There were no falls, slips, or stumbles, as I recall. Just tired legs by the time I reached the finish. However, in the following days--and now weeks--there has been ill-defined pain behind and on the medial side my left knee. I can't really decide where it hurts, but it does, sometimes more than others. I keep thinking it will get

What was I thinking?

"I could probably run 9:30 in my sleep." Oh foolish woman. How could I have spawned such an idiotic thought? Picking up my race number with granddaughter Addyson It was in 2000 that Kathy Youngren and I crossed the finish line of the Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Run in 9:28:39. We had tied for third place, both of us feeling under-trained and not the happy recipients of races well run. Hence, if I could run 9:28 under those circumstances surely "I could run 9:30 in my sleep." I had, in fact, run under nine hours on one occasion and had a number of finishes between 9 and that 9:28. How hard could it be to continue to run this race in the span of what amounts to a typical work day? I was 43 when I ran 9:28. Ten years hence at 53, I ran 10:18. Now, at 60, it's almost unfathomable to think I could ever break 11 hours again. My posted time this year was 11:28. Time is not kind. The goal was to make this year's race my 20th finish. I did not want to scre

Time marches on

Photo by Seth Trittipoe ( 614 Studio ) There he was. Sitting amidst his belongings accumulated over a life time, apparently unfazed by the chaos around him. On this day he was insistent on returning to his home after moving into ours. We were concerned it would be too difficult since the goal was to empty his house and sell what we could. Some of us arrived on Friday and began the lengthy process of sorting, moving, organizing, but mostly discarding. Nevertheless, on Saturday morning he got in the car with my husband, Gary, and made four hour trip. Upon arrival, a kind neighbor escorted him to his house across the street, offering ice cream and car shows on TV as motivation to visit. But after some time, my father-in-law tootled back across the street, anxious to see what was going on. We watched anxiously as he made his way to the already-packed dumpster to view the contents. Would he pull that old, stained coat back out? Would he fuss about the broken-up bookshelf that had to

Encouragement for all former coaches

I used to be a coach. I loved being a coach. My life revolved around the responsibilities of being a coach. The plan started broadly but narrowed. Seasons broke down into months, months into weeks, weeks into days. Many factors came into play: schedules, goals, age and talent of kids, weather, facilities, conditions. I was a hands-on coach. I never asked the kids to do anything I would not do. If I asked them to suffer, I suffered as well. It was them and me that always become a "we"; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, we did it, so help us God. Coaching was not easy, nor was it always fun. But then again, most things of worth are not without difficulty and challenge. Sometimes it was a grind, especially if I was already dead-tired after a long day. There were occasional behavioral issues and conflicts that required extra energy. It was impossible to please every athlete (or parent) with decisions and plans. A utopia it was not.

A perfect opportunity. Not a perfect race.

"Hey," David Horton blurted out. "There are some kids here that want to talk to you." With that, about six college students approached, all of whom were in Horton's college running class. They were almost giddy when exclaiming to each other, "It's HER!" I had the feeling this was going to get uncomfortable in a hurry. With the eager students gathered 'round, they wanted to know more details about my race through the Brazilian jungle. They had all read my book about the experience as a part of their running class requirements. Questions about snakes and jaguars morphed into advise for the race in the morning; their first ultramarathon, the Promised Land 50K+ mountain adventure. The banter back and forth was entertaining, but their view of my abilities was way too high. Most would end up beating me to the finish. Extraordinary runner and friend, Rick Gray. Fast forward to 5:30 a.m. the next morning. Horton sent us off into the dark onc

Running into 60

Makena, Abby, Hannah, Kendal, and Me The thundering stampede began at 7:00 a.m. sharp, the dawn still working on breaking. 400 runners with their collective 800 feet pounded across the grass, turned onto the hardtop, and shortly thereafter began the assault up the mountain on gravel road leading to the rocky trail. Some were working hard, too hard: the freight-train breathing gave it away. Others laughed as they took those necessary steps toward the goal of reaching the miles-away finish. Me? I ran quietly, amusing myself with deciphering who was a half-marathoner, who was in it for the 50K long haul, who was a newbie, and who had many miles under their belt. My poison was the 50K version. This race up, down, over and around Terrapin Mountain has become somewhat of a classic, now in its 10th year. I know the course like the back of my hand, often using portions of it for multiple training runs. So when the race director announced right before striking the starting gong that the f