Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Breaking the Rules-almost

This morning I decided I might have to break the rules. I was considering it. But I ended up not breaking THE rule because THE rule says: "Thou shalt not drive more hours to a run than the number of hours thou shalt be running." I only had to drive a total of 40 minutes, 20 minutes each way from my house.

I had a 20 mile run planned, and I wanted to run somewhere different, with scenery. I considered driving to Boulder Reservoir. But I chose the loop around Houts and Equalizer Lakes in Loveland, across the road from Medical Center of the Rockies.

Yesterday I went to Denver for a visit with Steph, my amazing crew chief for Badwater. We are starting to make plans for next summer and the conversation got me motivated. Across the Years is a race, but it's an essential part of my training for Badwater.

What an incredible run! The pictures say it all, really. It was warm and very windy, the gusts were strong enough that I was being blown sideways when I was running east and west. But I had an awesome workout and I only walked a total of 5 minutes, I felt great running, even with the wind in my face, and I ran 6 big loops around both lakes plus two little extra loops around each of the lakes, plus a couple of short out and backs to my car, for a total of 24 miles in exactly 4 hours.

I felt so good, this tells me I'm recovered from Lean Horse and ready to start hitting it hard for Across the Years. I ran a total of 79 miles this past week. Over the next two days I probably won't run. It's my two 12 hour shift workdays and that is plenty. It's good, because I get a break from running, but I still get the cross training time on my feet.

I loved this loop, the only time I have ever run it before was in last year's Heart of the Rockies Half Marathon, but I think it's going to become a regular part of my training this fall. It's about one-third concrete and the remainder is packed dirt. You can't beat the scenery, and it's easy to park close to the course and use your car as an aid station.

Time for food and a nap!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Small Things

Zero times anything is nothing. One times anything is something.

It's not quite October and the leaves are still mostly green, but I'm already thinking about next year. I'm excited about my race over New Years and the prospect of running Badwater again next year.

I'm thinking about next year, and how I want it to be different, what I can do to make it different. I'm already formulating my New Year's resolutions.

The first half of this year was tough and painful for me. It wasn't until this summer when things turned around. I've been healing from a big disappointment, and I'm moving through it, but I need to find a way to take lessons from it and continue to turn it around to my advantage.

I want to take the things that made my life particularly difficult this past year, or themes that kept repeating themselves, and the lessons I learned from those, and make sure that I am living up to what I believe in.

Those are simple: Be Kind, Be Well, Be Generous.


"Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up"- Jesse Jackson

Remember the power of a small thoughtful act, like a thank you, a word of appreciation, even something as small as a smile, eye contact, or acknowledging someone else's presence. Small things make a big impact.

At times I've been too trusting, too forgiving, too patient. I've been willing to give a few people far too many chances to prove to me that they were just having a bad day, or they didn't really mean it. Despite how much it hurt, I still believe that most people are well-intentioned and really don't get up in the morning thinking about who they can hurt today and how to do it.

I have had to let go of my pain, and at the same time understand that there are some people who just simply don't know how to be nice, don't have empathy, and cannot possibly, not in any small way, get inside someone else's head and life and begin to imagine how their actions might affect that person, nor do they care.

I make an effort every day to acknowledge people, thank them for the things they do, make eye contact and smile when it's appropriate, which happens to be most of the time. Even though it is routine for me to do this, I know how important it can be on the receiving end, and I challenge myself to be aware of that. I also need to speak up about unkindnesses, and know when not to keep my mouth shut.


"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something...I will not refuse to do the something I can do"- Helen Keller

When I talk about wellness, everyone thinks I mean running. Any exercise is a huge part of my own wellness. It's important to move your body, to keep the blood circulating, to bring oxygen and fresh nutrients to your muscles and organs. For me, moving forward boosts my creativity. I put in as many miles walking as I do running.

If I'm struggling with a problem, and I go for a run, even if I don't actively or consciously think about the problem while I'm running, I usually end up solving it after the run, or at least I have a better approach. The same thing happens if I go for a walk.

There is something about the forward, rhythmic motion of moving through the air, arms and legs pumping, that turns the wheels in my head and gets it all going. I find it hard to think when I'm sitting still. I challenge everyone to find ways to add forward motion. For example, walking to the little grocery store in my neighborhood instead of driving to the big supermarket. It takes less time to make the round-trip on foot, I timed it.

There are so many ways to make changes in our lives, but to make change last, you have to start small. Take small steps, and achieve success with those, before taking bigger steps. It's a process, but even if you make one small change in the direction of wellness next year, it's a success.

Success builds on success and you will learn that it is possible to make lasting, positive changes. Then it becomes easier to take the next step.


"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"- Lao-Tzu

Don't underestimate the importance of a penny. It's a small thing by itself, not much value, but like any small thing, they add up to something big. When I do speaking engagements, often I tell the audience that success builds on success. One small thing each day. A series of small steps add up to something big. Sixteen hundred steps in a mile. One hundred sixty thousand of them in a 100 mile run.

A penny by itself is only a cent. One hundred fifty pennies is a dollar fifty. If a thousand people give a dollar fifty, that makes $1500. Loose change can do a lot.

My goal at Across the Years is to run 150 miles. If enough people donated a penny per mile, it could add up quickly. My running partner said she'd give a quarter a mile. I've been dumping my loose change into an old coffee can and I'll donate that.

I challenge everyone reading this to make a New Year's resolution of generosity, making a big impact through something small, by contributing some loose change to the PVHS Foundation Cancer Building Fund, to build something that will bring wellness to this community. Small steps, small things that add up and make a big difference.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Off the Bench and Going Bad

We spent this weekend in Como, checking out the aspen leaves. This is the best time of year in Colorado, from now until November, when the days are sunny and cool, and the bugs start to disappear. Once the temperature stays close to 40 degrees at night, the bugs will be gone and I can start running at Riverbend Ponds and along the Poudre River again without breathing through my teeth.

This morning I got off the bench, ended my self-imposed sabbatical from running, and went for a nice but buggy 10 mile run along the Poudre Trail. I ran 9 minute miles, which was an effort for me. I am so used to running a slow pace that I now consider 9 minute miles an effort. I hope I can get a little speed back this fall, but I'll have to balance it with preparing to run for 48 hours.

Our kitchen table is being taken over by tomatoes. This year we got what look like mini-Roma tomatoes, too big to be grape tomatoes, but the same shape as Romas, only about half the size. Today I tried baking some lemon ginger scones which turned out to be a disaster. They tasted good but were too much like muffins. I need to go back to my cookbooks and figure out a different recipe.

I have the energy to work a few extra hours each week, which has been helpful. I have to work about 200 extra hours over the next year to pay for Badwater! I am meeting with Steph this Sunday and we will start planning for next summer. It seems like 10 months is a long time, but it goes by fast.

Time to Go Bad again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Prepare for Takeoff

I almost did it. I almost managed to go for two whole weeks without running. I took 9 days off completely, then rode my mountain bike one day, followed by two days of 2 and 3 miles each of running.

Today I'm starting again. I did five miles this morning on the bike path and didn't feel bad, I feel slow. Blisters are mostly healed, I've caught up on my sleep, and I'm starting my regular schedule this week at work, which will be twelve hour shifts again. Back to normal.

The weekend before last we went up to the cabin and took a drive to Salida to Mountain Spirit Winery to get our wine fix for a year or two! Two years ago we bought a case of wine and it lasted us about a year and a half. This year we got a case of Merlot Raspberry, some dessert wines for gifts, and half a case of their new Blackberry/Cabernet Franc. I love this stuff!

The trees weren't changing colors much last week, but there is still time to make a trip or two up to the cabin before the South Park winter snow and wind kick in.

Last week I gave a little talk to the Aspen Club at Medical Center of the Rockies about getting started on an exercise program. It was fun speaking to the group. When I had my personal training business, most of my clients were older and I remembered how much I enjoyed tailoring training programs to their needs. It was nice to speak on a different topic, even though I love speaking about ultrarunning.

This past weekend I went down to Longmont to help my buddy Mike Melton get things started in the morning with his timing system and late registration at a new race. The race was put on by David Clark in honor of 9-11. It consisted of runners putting in as many laps on a 1 + mile course as they could do in 9 hours and 11 minutes. Interesting theme.

It seemed to be a success, most of the runners were not ultrarunners and turned in their chips after less than a dozen laps. A few die hard ultrarunners including my friends Jeff O'Reilly and Dale Perry stuck it out for the duration and tacked on the miles.

Meanwhile in Utah my friend Nick Clark (from my 2008 Badwater crew) won the Wasatch 100, a big victory for him being a relatively new ultrarunner, in his 3rd 100 miler. He kicked butt at Western States this year, placing 4th overall. Nick is going to be a big ultra star by next year. I don't think they gave him the credit he deserved in the write-ups on Western States this year. Other than his place on the finishers' lists, they didn't even mention him in Ultrarunning magazine. I hope that means next year he'll take them by surprise and blow everyone away.

I'm looking forward to Across the Years, I need to get some miles in this fall and get myself used to running a little faster than I have been. I've been such a procrastinator about doing anything resembling speedwork for 3 years now and I can feel it. I won't be doing any speedwork this fall, too risky, but I will be increasing my running pace at least once a week.

I feel good. I can feel the difference in my energy since I started my new job, and people have noticed. I've heard everything from "You look so much happier" to "You're glowing". I feel like I pulled myself out of quicksand when I was up to my neck. I still have a lot of residual fatigue but it's going away. Healing takes time, but I'm fastening my seatbelt and all the baggage I brought with me is now safely stowed away in the overhead bin.

Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff.