27 January 2013


“To hell with facts! We need stories!” - Ken Kesey
I read a lot of blogs.  I read articles on iRunFar.  I listen to Talk Ultra.  I don't do this primarily to gain more knowledge about ultra running, though I have learned a lot from each.  The real draw for me is the stories.  I'm inspired, delighted, moved and amused by the tales of ultra runners.  As I get to know them through their triumphs and tragedies, I feel a natural empathy through our shared experiences.  I see a bit of myself in each of them and I want to be a better me because of them.  So I keep reading and listening.
"Our stories are the tellers of us." - Chris Cleave

With my own story, I seem to break it down into five chapters, delineated by the places I have lived.  I bear the marks of each place, the sum of which have made me the person I am today.  
Alaska: Grown
I'm what you call an Alaskan Sourdough.  Born and raised in Anchorage, to an engineer and a secretary.  I get my critical thinking from Dad and my organized mind from Mom.  
Climbing at two years
Scrappy - on and off the court
I played a few sports growing up and started road running in high school.  My school didn't offer track or cross country, so I would run a mile down to Spenard Lake and back.  To make it harder, I threw ankle weights on, which rates high on the dumb scale, so don't do that at home.  It wasn't a passion, just an easy way to get the minimum amount of exercise each week.

Ohio: Educated

I had no desire to stay in Alaska -- I wanted to see the world!  So I started my global travel where so many do: Central Ohio.  Since I wasn't drawn to the mountains particularly, college in the cornfields was fine with me.  The change of scenery and new friends and experiences were really good for me.  I remember thinking it was awesome to be able to drive to another state in hours (instead of days!).  I suppose this is why I don't mind traveling long distances to do something fun.  The experience is worth it the time or money spent getting there.
Getting our rock star on.
Bilevels help with aerodynamics.
I continued running off and on and ran a handful of short-distance races, but it was mainly to counterbalance bad eating habits.  I was also an aerobics instructor back then so that was my main source of exercise.
Nashville: Discovered

My years in Music City were the most formative of my adult life.  It was a season of unearthing the real me.  My broad range of worldly-wise friends exposed me to a lot of wonderful things that I had missed growing up.  It's hard to know what lights your fire when you don't know what's out there!  The beauty of great music, books, theater and art and lifelong friendships have enriched my life ever since.  This awareness led to an appreciation of the artistry in nature which would be deepened in the years that followed.  
JJ Paloosa: Covering something folksy
Training for Marathon #2
I continued to run 5 & 10k races here and there and got inspired to run the Chicago Marathon, which was a fantastic experience.  Unfortunately, if I didn't have a race to train for, I wasn't likely to stick with it.  Music was more my passion back then, not running.
New England: Romanced

Moving to Maine, I was unprepared for the effect that a place could have on me.  The beauty of the vibrant fall colors, the foggy mornings that gave way to clear, blue skies, the old brownstone homes and cobblestone streets and the rocky coast where I spent countless hours was almost too much to bear.  I was in love.
Pemaquid Point
Two Lights State Park
Jordan Pond, Acadia NP
My transition to trail running occurred in 2003 after relocating to Boston.  I still remember that first run on the dirt trails at Horn Pond - over tree branches and rocks, up and down hills with only the sounds of the birds, my breath and footfalls.  I had generally enjoyed running, but trails brought it to a whole new level of fun.  Even though I ran only 3-6 miles at a time, I remained consistent with it.  I had a lot of competing interests -- the coast, the arts, my new husband and babies that followed -- but that was OK.   Life was good and full and trail running was a part of it.

Colorado: Adjusting

Now we live in Colorado.  The recession finally forced us to look for work outside of our beloved New England.  My husband found his dream job which he loves and the kids have adjusted well.  I have had a harder time with the move.  New England was the first place I lived that felt like home and there's a palatable ache for what I've left behind.  
My O2 deficit was at an all time high!
Running has been a salvation for me as I'm adjusting to this change of plans.  After moving here I decided that I would no longer be a mere trail runner, I would be a mountain runner.  As I journeyed up and around these mountains, I felt a happiness that had eluded me since leaving Boston.  I have experienced this joy at other times, but it sneaks up on me unexpectedly.  When I run, the doors just fly open to a peaceful state of mind.  Inspired by the mountains, the runners, Born to Run and Unbreakable, I'm going to pursue ultras as I continue to make a home on the Front Range.
Without these loves, life in the mountains would be lame.

"Whatever story you're telling, it will be more interesting if, at the end you add, "and then everything burst into flames." - Brian P. Cleary

Happy Trails,


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