Saturday, November 5, 2011


Fear can be one of the greatest motivators.  People can run faster, lift more weight and do other great feats when they are in fear of being hurt or having a loved one hurt.  But fear can also hold people back; the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure are huge obstacles for some people.

As the Javelina Jundred race gets closer I have been dealing with fear....the fear of failure.  I do not like failure and frankly I am not used to failure.  Please don’t take that wrong but most things I do I can do with a certain amount of confidence because I work hard to accomplish goals.  Unfortunately I have to face another reason that I am not used to failure....I do not push myself to do things that I am not sure I can do very often.    This is the conclusion I have come to this week: I am afraid to fail.  That fear is holding me back. 

I have been wishy washy about the Javelina Jundred race since registering.  It is a 100 mile race with a drop down of 100 kilometers.  I bounce back and forth from shooting for 100 miles and from doing the 100 kilometers.  I have confidence that in the 30 hours given I can get in 100 kilometers with time to spare.  It would not be easy but with the hours given it is something (excluding injury or sickness) that would not be beyond what I can do.  I am not confident that I can do 100 miles in 30 hours.  I have never done that distance nor have I ever been on my feet running, fast hiking, crawling (lol) for that many hours.  That distance scares me.  For the last couple of weeks it has been the last thing on my mind as I fall to sleep and the first thought in my head as I wake up. 

I need to face it.  I need to overcome the fear of failing and push to accomplish the 100 miles.  I could fail......but I could succeed.  I am strong and I have trained hard.  I need to trust that training and put it all on the line.  That is what I am going to do.  This year I did my first 50 miler.  It scared me, so much so that 9 miles into the race I got all emotional.  Tears and running equal hyperventilation.  Not a good thing while running.  But with my husband by my side I pushed on and kept going.  Since then I finished 2 other 50 milers and they are not all that scary any more.  Now it is time to dig deeper, push harder and go for the 100 miles.

I have running buddy Carol and my son Zac to pace me late in the race.  Knowing that gives me more confidence.  But please send me prayers, good thoughts and any other motivation!  I can use it all.

If you want to follow my adventure next weekend there should be live feed updates at: 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

24 The Hard Way

Michael and I like to find any excuse we can to do a couple of things.  One of those things is to visit the grand children and the other is to participate in cool races.  When they come together like it did for us last month it makes it even all the more enjoyable.  We participated in this race in Oklahoma 
on our way to see the grand kiddos.  Michael did the 12 hour (Hard Way) and I participated in the 6 hour (Hard Way).

Both of the races were held on a 1 mile paved loop with the aid station at the end/beginning of each loop.  The track was fairly flat and pretty easy to run.  The race itself was well organized and fully staffed with great volunteers.  The temperatures were pretty mild, maybe low 70's for a high.  Great day and conditions for a race in my opinion.  The nice thing about a loop track is that you get to see and talk to so many different people-great social running.  The tough thing is that it is so much easier to be too social and let that hurt the pace.  I tried to focus early on in the run knowing that I do tend to over socialize.  I kept my music on and smiled at fellow runners and cheered a few on but other than that concentrated on getting in the miles. It was great seeing Michael occasionally as well.  He continued a nice solid pace despite having started 6 hours prior to me! And rumor was that he was in first place! My plan worked well for me for about 20 miles then with tired legs and so many people to talk with I did a bit of walking and talking in between running.  Enjoyed talking with some veteran runners who inspire me to continue pushing on even though I am not getting any younger.  About 1/2 hour prior to the end of my 6 hours I got a little burst of energy and picked up the pace ending the race with 29 2/3rds loops.  I felt that with all the running/races I had done recently that it was a good run.  Not spectacular but good.

Both the 6 and the 12 hour races ended at the same time and as they ended the rain started.  I was thankful that we did not have a rainy run but felt for the 24 hour runners who were still mid race and dealing with rain.  The award ceremonies were held under the warmth and dryness of a tent and we had stayed because I was excited to see Michael take 1st place in his race.  Not first place in Masters (over 40) and not just first place in his age group both of which are really great finishes but he took 1st place over all!  They started the awards with the 6 hour winners and as they came to my race and the first female winner over all I was floored to hear my name announced!  I had taken first female!!  I got a nice bag of goodies/gift cards/plaque.... and then they announced Michael and he got his bag of goodies and win as well. 

I run hard, I am committed and push myself to do better but despite that F1 is just not a title that is applied to me often.  It felt really good to have gotten it that day.  It also felt good to have our race behind us but our grand children to look forward to!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Slickrock 50/Moab The good, the Bad and the Beautiful!

Slickrock course picture

When I first found the webpage for the Slickrock race-  I was enchanted by the course pictures.  Since I am married to a trail runner who is even nuttier than I am it was easy to get him to agree to the race.  He signed up for the 100 miler along with a running buddy of ours, Mark Hellenthal.  I registered for the 50 miler.  As the race day came close and our excitement increased it was mixed with a splash of concern due to the rainy weather the Moab area was getting.  We planned accordingly and on Friday set out for our adventure.

The packet pick up and pre race meeting were scheduled for 5 pm on Friday evening.  It is a bit late for us because we like to eat very early and get into bed early as well on the eve before a race.  We had planned on picking up our bibs and ditching out before the meeting.  As we picked up our numbers and t shirts we were told that important changes that affected our drop bags would be discussed at the pre race we stayed. 

As Aaron, the race director started the race meeting it was apparent that he had been lacking some serious sleep and was noticeably concerned about what he was about to say.  Come to find out the day before he was out checking course flags (markings) and his jeep go sunk up to the windows in quick sand!  As he tried to get out of the vehicle he too was caught and only quick thinking and a small branch saved him from a muddy death.   As he started his 15 mile walk back to his RV he also crossed through a creek that was chest the almost freezing temperatures.   The rain had caused havoc on our race course.  With less than 36 hours until the start of the race all courses had to be changed to avoid that area.  This would mean that drop bags, crew, and aid stations  all would be adjusted as well.  Not to mention water only aid stations that would now be for the most part removed because of vandals.  Now there would be longer stretches with no aid.  Those who do not run or run ultras may not think of all of the ramifications this has but one such ramification is lighting.  As the evening falls over the desert course you must pick up your flashlight or head lamp from a drop bag.....where should that drop bag be now?  The course is changed, 5000 feet of elevation added so that would have to be taken into consideration as well.  But we were still very excited because the area was just amazing. 

Race day morning the sky was falling....or perhaps it was rain :)  Michael and Mark had to start at the original start spot but my start had been changed which meant me being dropped off early to allow them to get to their start.  Because of the rain Michael did not want to ditch me at an unmanned trail head but thankfully a very nice couple were waiting as well in their warm car and let me sit and wait with them.  Even with all of the changes and confusion the race started just 8 minutes late and we were off into the awesomeness! 

The rain made for some challenges with the rock already being slick but a slower pace and plenty of fast hiking kept me safe.  I was feeling pretty good until about mile 20.  Because of the cold (it was 39 degrees at start time) I had decided last minute to wear 2 pairs of socks.  I was also wearing my waterproof Hoka One One-Mufates.  The combination made my feet warm and cause excessive friction.  I could feel the hotspots on both big toes and pinkie toes.  I had also taken a small fall and landed on the top of one of my feet.  By about mile 24 I was in pretty bad pain.  Thankfully I had found another runner who was about my same pace and he kept me company and our chatting kept my mind off the pain.  When we got to mile 27 aid station I asked the medic for some blister care and took off my shoe.  Both socks were a blood mess.  Mark Hellenthal came by the aid station about then and I showed off my sock of toughness to him.  An incredibly nice medic taped up my toes and sent me on my way.  My feet felt so much better!  The next 7 miles or so were easy and on a very flat paved road (again a change of course-normally I am a trail girl and would prefer the trail but with the earlier conditions which included rain, jumping across crevasses and navigating areas where vandals removed flags the paved area was a welcome break.  Then came the climb.  It was about the time that dusk was creeping in and as I climbed I would occasionally stop to look back.  When I did it reminded me exactly why I was there.  Not many people get to see such incredible views, I am blessed indeed. 

Dusk turned to dark and the running buddy I had met (also a Michael) and I continued our trek.  It was difficult in the dark to find the flags and again some flags had been removed.  We had a couple of miles added due to getting off track but kept going.  The evening brought back the cold weather and I was feeling desperate to get to the finish.  At the final aid station there was some hot soup and some hot cocoa.  I got my second pair of gloves out of my pack and put on a disposable rain slicker just to add an additional layer of warmth.  We probably stayed too long eating and getting warm under the tent-weak spot of mine as I get tired.  We set off on what would be our last 10 miles (we expected less but the new course ran 5 miles long plus we had our almost 2 miles of being lost).  Hubby, Michael passed us again about 5 miles into this leg.  He was looking strong and solid!  Seeing him gave me a boost that I needed, that lasted about a mile....then I was beginning to feel desperation, cold and exhaustion set in.  I wanted to sit down near a bush and just ball up and rest.  I knew that was a very bad idea and trudged forward.  The Michael I was running with was very tired as well and was feeling the same way.  We just kept pushing each other to continue.  The additional miles mentally messed with me.  I was so done!   But this 50 miler (almost 57 miler) came with a finishers buckle so I pushed on :)  As I crossed the finish line I felt great.  My third 50 miler for the year completed.  My second buckle in my hand.  A warm sleeping bag in the back seat of the truck waiting for me and stories to tell.  It was a race I will never forget, views that will fill my dreams and some of the smiles that cross my face at random times will be memories from this event.  Awesomeness!

My husband Michael and Mark both finished the 100 miles.  Two incredible trail runners with plenty of stories to tell as well.  Michael took 4th place overall!  My man is bad!!!  Mark got a great prize for most determination (or something like that)-he got quite lost and put in a half marathon of extra miles but still finished the race! 

So the good.....all the people I met and were part of my experience.  The couple that let me sit in their car, the running buddies I ran with Michael and for a while Justin, the medic that taped my toes, the views, the aid station volunteers, the race director and his wife that made the race happen despite the conditions and changes they had to make, seeing my husband twice during the race, seeing Mark.........the list goes on.  The bad-me.....I think that was pretty "bad" of me to be able to complete this race-it was TOUGH and the beautiful....Moab.  Run Moab...... look for the Slickrock race next year, it is an experience you will never forget.

This is not nail polish....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Time For a Change

Last week Tuesday as I sat on my computer working on a fitness paper for my fitness class my neighbor was next door taking his last breaths.  I would later find out he had a fatal heart attack.  In no way am I insinuating that my neighbor contributed to his heart attack.  Although I knew Russell well enough to know that he was a good man I was not familiar with his dietary or exercise habits.  But his death as well as a CNN special show, "The Last Heart Attack", really got me thinking.  The link below will give you a chance to view the show commercial free.  It is worth the watch.

I am not vegetarian although I have over the past couple of years lowered my intake of meat-mostly for environmental reasons.  After watching this show I am encouraged to lower my intake even more. There are many positive changes that I can continue to make to my diet that will enrich my life. 

What changes can you make?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ranting from the Redhead: Nutrition, exercise and a confession or two.

I have been meaning to write this blog for quite some time.  This weekend prior to the Extra Terrestrial Full Moon Marathon (for more information on this race and more see I mentioned to a running buddy, Yolanda Holder, that I need to write a blog that I have been thinking about for quite some time.  Yolanda Holder is an individual that I am honored to know.  She is not only the world record holder for the most marathons in one year (106) but a wonderful and inspiring individual.  She has a blog here as well-My road to Guiness.  Anyhow, now that I told someone I feel more committed to writing here goes the rantings.

It bugs the heck out of me that people take better care of their vehicles than they do their own bodies.  In a few short years most vehicles get sold or traded for another one and even in the event that it is kept it is replaceable.  The body is not replaceable it is owned for a lifetime.  I would not put cheap gas in my car so why would i put crappy food in my body. 

Excuse number one-It taste good.  Yep, some unhealthy foods taste great and I feel like almost all foods can be a sometime food.  Deep fried butter being the exception....really deep fry a stick of butter and eat it?  I love my mom’s carrot cake and my mom in laws German chocolate cake.  I will eat a couple slices of each over the course of a year.  There is room in a healthy diet for occasional treats that taste good BUT tasting good is not an excuse that should be used for over eating junk foods.  There are consequences to everything you put in the body.  The body is made to run on healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.  That is the fuel a body needs to run.  That is the high octane gas.  Put crappy fuel in your body and over time results can be higher risks for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  Just like if you put crappy gas in your car it will wear things down quicker and cause mechanical issues junk food does that same thing. 

Excuse number two-it is cheaper.  That is a hard one to debate on the up front cost for sure.  You can feed a family at Mc Donalds for a pretty reasonable price....up front.  You can buy macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, oreo cookies and other processed foods cheaply.  BUT down the road the cost of a triple bypass is going to exceed the savings that one gets from the upfront difference of food choices.  The cost of diabetes injections and testing materials will exceed the difference.  The value of good health now and later is worth the extra few dollars.  You are going to pay one way or another.  Why not pay in the way that increases your risk for better health.  Might not be as much fun eating Twinkies from a hospital room..

Excuse number three-I do not have the time to cook healthy.  Eat more raw.  Cook on the weekends and freeze for the weekdays.  Search for quick healthy online recipes.  Steamed veggies take minutes.  Brown rice now comes precooked (look for the brands that do not add sugar).  Do you have time for a heart attack?  Again time you spend now for healthy cooking is time you will save later for health issues.

Excuse number four-I don’t think it makes a difference.  Although it is true that there are some healthy individuals that do all the right things that still contract disease it is a fact that you decrease your risks by eating right.  It also increases the bodies ability to recover from injury and disease.  Everyone is going to die from something but during life one will enjoy it more with a healthy body.  A healthy body will give you better odds of mobility and enjoyment especially in your later years. 

As a side rant for those of you who are religious I do not understand how one can take bad care of the body given by God.  It seems like an insult.  You are given the gift of life and when I am given a valuable gift I feel compelled to take good care of it.  Doesn’t it seem like such an incredible gift should be appreciated and cared for?

First rant comes the second...

Exercise IS something you have time for.  30 minutes most days of the week is the minimum.  Put down the damn remote control and lace up your shoes.  Go for a walk, run, bike ride, swim.....just get moving.  Get out there and make it happen!   If you have time for your favorite TV shows, you have time to exercise.  Prioritize health and the body.  10 years from now who the heck cares about who was the American Idol or who won Dancing with the Stars.  But in 10 years from now your body will remember the exercise and reward you with better health.  If you really feel the need to watch your show multi task by finding a treadmill or stationary bike that you can use while watching. 

Short rant done.....

Confession number one.  I contributed toward my body getting cancer.  I did not cause the cancer knowingly or willingly but my physical activities (or lack of) and my food choices along with sunscreen use habits did contribute to my body contracting cancer THREE times (breast cancer, melanoma and basil cell carcinoma).  I take some of the belongs to me.  Because of this it makes me even more driven to make sure others understand the risks and how they can lower them. 

Confession number two.  I can do better than I am.  I work hard by exercising my body typically daily and making great healthy food choices ‘almost’ everyday.  I wear sunscreen to protect my skin.  But I am far from perfect.  There are things I can and should do to be even healthier.  Who wants to make commitments of change along with me?  :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It has been SEW long since I have blogged

Wow-were to start with all the races I have done since The Baton Death March....  I think I will just stick with the two biggies.  The first of which is the Nanny Goat 24 hour in Riverside California.

The Nanny Goat is held on a one mile dirt track that surrounds a family working farm and goes right through the center of the barn!  As runners we were able to set up in stalls for the weekend.  It was a fantastic way to socialize while running.  I made several new friends who were my roommates for the weekend, Tony, Alva and Diana all fellow Marathon Maniacs(Photo of the Maniacs at Nanny Goat).  I was also able to visit with some friends I had made at previous races-Ed and Yolanda.  Both of whom are incredible people.  Yolanda broke the worlds record last year for female and overall person with the most marathons in a year!  Check out her blog at Road To Guinness here on Blogspot.  Ed is working on breaking the overall record this year.  Both of these individuals are awesome people.  Also I met a few "facebook friends".  I typically do not friend someone unless I know them but had accepted friendships of a handful of runners who had several common friends.  It was good to meet them.   On to the actual run.  Well...I swore after my first 50 miler this March at Old Pueblo that I would never do another 50 miler but since the course was flat and soft and I had 24 hours I decided to go for it!  I did 50 miles, took a nap and then ran with my husband for his last 2 miles (he ran for the full 24!  Broke 2 course records and won the race-another awesome individual).  I loved this course and the social aspect of the race.  It was well directed and fully stocked with all the goodies a runner could think of needing.  Awesome medals and incredible bamboo t-shirts.  Unfortunately the t-shirts were unisex (to me that means male shirt).  I would do this race again! 

The next "biggie" was  this past weekend in Pagosa Springs Colorado.  The Turkey Track Trail marathon is held on a wooded mountain trail that bee lines through the huge trees with enough elevation to make even walking some of the steeps a challenge.  This course was amazingly beautiful.  Snow capped mountains in the background views at one point made me gasp...and not just for air :).  I did a lot of the run/walk thing for this run.  I was keeping about the same distance as a fellow racer whom I met-Steve.  He and I stuck together for about 3/4s of the race at one point even getting lost!  Thankfully we got back on track (with some help) and were able to finish the race.  Although this was my PW (personal worst) in time it was a FANTASTIC race and supported a great cause, getting kids outside education.  This is another race that I would recommend and not only because the race director was able to help locate me out in the middle of the mountain, lol.  Well organized and honestly well marked. 

Now on to being SEW busy.  I have been sewing for the grand kiddos lately and really enjoying it.  One of the reasons that I have not been blogging.  Here are a few projects that I have done.  I am new to the machine and just back to sewing.  I hope to continue to get better :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Bataan Death March

Michael and I both enjoy running for races that have special meaning so when we heard about the Bataan Death March in New Mexico- - we knew that this was a race we would love to run.  The story goes that back in WWII when thousands of both American soldiers and Filipino soldiers surrendered to the Japanese.  They were forced to march though the hot jungles in the Philippines for several days with almost no food or water.  Many died or were killed along the way. 
The young men who survived this ordeal have now aged.  As young men they risked or loss their lives for our country.  By remembering their ordeal it seems to make the survivors feel appreciated.  I do appreciate them and was honored to shake many of their hands and tell them so. 

On to the race....Because there was about 6000 participants this year we needed to get through security at the base entrance and park about 2 hours prior to the start of the race.  It was cold and windy and masses of people gathered near the Frontier Club building in an attempt to block the wind and retain some heat.  We were able to meet up with several fellow Marathon Maniacs for some group pictures pre race.  The opening ceremony was touching and as all racers headed to the start line they passed several survivors sitting along the way.  After shaking a few hands I was off.  Miles 1-8 seemed quite pleasant.  The wind died down a bit and the course was remarkably easy.  Mile 8-10 started the battle with the wind and incline and by mile 10 the winds were so bad that every time I lifted my left foot to run it would blow against my right ankle.  I got to a point were I really felt like quitting.  About that time a young runner, Jerry, was next to me asking me a question about my Moben arm sleeves.  We started chatting and decided to walk a bit together.  I learned about a recent 100 miler he had done and shared some of my run stories with him as well.  It was still miserable but it is true that misery does love company, lol.  At about mile 14 the course curved and we found ourselves with the wind at our back AND heading down hill!  We were able to start running again and spent the majority of the next 12 miles running.  I made it in under 6 hours (5:43) which was my original goal for this difficult course.

At the finish line there were more survivor hands to shake.  One of the gentleman kissed my hand as I thanked him for his service-that was so incredibly sweet.  I met up with Michael who rocked the race and had been waiting for me at the finish as I came in.  We were treated to a nice lunch on base before heading home. 

I would recommend this race.  Besides the huge line at packet pick up everything was well ran and the support both on and off the course was amazing!