Rethinking Running!

Now that I have your attention – I am not going to stop running.  Running is my decompress, destress, think and process time.  But due to some interesting developements, I will need to rethink where I run!

We were recently notificed by the police department that a level 2 sex offender has moved into the neighbot hood! He is almost literally in my front yard. From the general area that was given in the notice, it is less than a 2 minute run from where he is living(geneal location) to my house.  The street on which he lives is my 800 meter track for speed work.  It is the “perfect” track – all I have to do is roll out of bed, walk to the end of my street and there it is!  However now it might not be the best location for my track.

However that is really small potatoes. What is really hard is helping my youngest process and deal with this. She also rode that loop on her bike – generally alone. But this is a sneaky predator and due to her physical limitations – she would be easy pickings for him. Not only does she have physical limitations that would make it almost impossible for her to fight off an attacker (and this one is rather large – she wouldn’t stand a chance against him), she has processing issues. She doesn’t process quickly or accurately – so she might not even realize she is in danger – and that is a big concern to this mom.  

The hardest thing to hear as we were talking about this around the table came from my youngest daughter. After hearing the news, she said, “I can’t ride my bike.” Well yes and no – it does mean she can’t ride alone and we were just heading into giving her a bit more independence!  But the boys will have to step up and ride with her and protect her!  But it is crushing to hear the fear she feels from this person living in our neighborhood.  

So with changes in the neighborhood come changes to our routine. While I probably could run the 800 meter track periodically for speed work – I need to set the exampe for my youngest. She trys to be like me in many ways. I need to communicate to her how to be safe and model what that looks like.  

My heart is sad as I think about what is taken away from my youngest but so thankful that we have been notified by the police department so we can take steps to protect her.  But you can be assured that if I every see this man moving towards my youngest – the momma bear will come out with her claws! 

Shifting Paradigm


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Running is very therapeutic for me. During my runs I can think through life’s problems, listen for the Lord to speak into those issues and come back to face life and all of its challenges.

But running wasn’t always so therapeutic for me. I was a competitive runner in High School.  I ran the mile (1600m) and the half mile(800m). My times were good enough to place in the top 4 in every race I did. But by today’s standards they are slow.  These were the longest distances available to women in the day and I was a decent runner.  My best time for the mile – 5:28 and for the half – 2:20 – both these records stood at my high school for several years!

The half mile was probably the most challenging race as you had to be fast the whole way – not a flat-out sprint, but pretty close. The mile strategy was to go out fairly quick, grab a place and hold it until the last 200 meters and then pour it on and hope you had more at the end than anyone else and move  up in the placings.

I bet all my competitors except one – Donna F. She was 8 seconds faster than me in the mile. Eight seconds is a lot and I could never catch up to her.

Now I run marathons and the strategy is so much different. I need to hold a pace for a full 26.2 miles  which means starting off slower and holding steady when adrenaline is pumping through the body and one once to be a rabbit and go hard. However when one does that, you can easily tank towards the end (and I have).

This summer as I was training a friend kept telling e to slow down and holding me to a pace – I struggled and fought the entire time, but if  paid off when I did Grandma’s in June. I was able to hold the pace between 9:50 and 10:15 for most of the race. I was running well until I began cramping due to high humidity (never good for my body). I still ran a 4:35  – even with the cramping. But the important thing was I FELT GOOD POST RACE! I was sore and still cramping, but not flat-out exhausted and depleted all of my reserve.  I never felt this way before. Recovery was much faster as a result.

This new revelation made me want to train at a consistent pace. It made me realize that getting a Boston Qualifying time was within my reach! I have wanted to run Boston since I was in my 20’s and now with a new paradigm it could become a reality. So I trained more consistently. Erin still has to reign me in because when I feel good, I want to take off like a rabbit!

So my next marathon is to run a consistent pace for the full 26.2 miles and pray that I don’t have any cramping issues! The goal is to run 10 minute miles for the first 13 and see how I feel – keep that pace or maybe just a tad faster through mile 19. If at that point I feel good, I will pick up the pace!  The goal time is 4:20 or better – IF everything falls together on that day – I feel good; the weather, etc.  Otherwise it will be a great long training run! My Boston Qualifying time is 4:10:00 –  but with the new registration system, I really need to run a 4:00:00!  The marathon to do that – Fargo is the target in early May 2014! I will be doing some shorter races to get my speed down, but for the first time I can actually see running Boston in my future!

And then I will work on New York City Marathon – which has faster qualifying times!

A Mother’s reflections at Son’s Graduation

Child number 3 has officially graduated from high school. Another milestone reached. Time to do some serious reflection. As we were planning the program for the open house, my older two kids asked if I was going to speak. I wasn’t to excited about speaking as I have yet to make it through one of these without tears. However the kids said it was tradition and that as the mom I needed to speak at the open house.  Here are the words I said – mainly to my son, and they came from my heart.  I did tear up by the 2nd paragraph – and the last 2 paragraphs were said with many tears of joy as I realize the accomplishment of my son!

“We are here to celebrate a milestone – graduating from high school. Like every other mile stone Caleb has reached, we are really celebrating the faithfulness of God to work in spite of the failings of his parents. God’s faithfulness to grow and mature him to this point – call him as a child of God and to ground him in his faith. 

This is number 3 from our family to graduate from high school. Caleb in some ways is your typical third child – easy going, quiet, etc. But beneath that quiet veneer, lies a very excitable child. We have experienced his “happy, excited dance” on many occasions. He can be decisive and he is one of our children who really enjoys life.    

As I thought about what I was going to say today, the imagine that kept coming to my mind was of a child on a slide for the very fist time. You know that child – insecure, frightened, and continually saying, “mommy I can’t do this.” and as the parent at the bottom encouraging them saying things like, “Yes you can.” “It will be fun.” “I’m here to catch you.” while all along you are praying that they don’t get hurt, that you really will catch them  and that they will enjoy it.  Finally after what seems like forever, they finally come down the slide and you catch them before they land on their bottom   – you know before they learn to use their feet! The smile on their face is huge and they can’t wait to to race back up to the top of the slide.

Caleb with your high school graduation, you are moving to a much bigger slide – the slide called life. It no longer my responsibility to stand at the end of the slide to catch you. I am not strong enough for that role. But there is someone who is big enough and strong enough to do that. That person is God and He will be there every step of the way. My role is walk alongside, encourage  when you need it, help you to “see” things that you might overlook in your youthfulness and to watch you soar as God takes you on an incredible journey called life. (I get to literally see this as you are planning on becoming a pilot – so you will soar on the wings of a jet!)

My prayer for you is that you will love God with all your heart, soul and mind, that you love others with reckless abandon and that you invest your life wisely as the Lord leads you. Life on this path that God takes you will not always be easy. There will be challenges. There will be mountains and valleys. There will be laughter and tears. But God will always be there walking you through each one of these things. Look to Him, Love Him, Serve Him. “

Congratulations on finishing High School well – I a m proud of you.

I now have 3 adult children; 3 High school graduates; 2 college students and 1 College Graduate.

The end of one era – the beginning of a new chapter.

Ultra marathon Miles – Post Race Recap


I ran my first Ultra on Saturday.

The course was beautiful. It was on the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin. 31 miles of trail beautiful miles filled with adventure. The  course was challenging with difficult conditions. There was snow, Ice, Mud and icy cold rivers of water that went on for miles! It was not a stellar race for me on many levels.

And I got my first ever DNF – Did Not Finish.

While the course was an extremely doable course under normal conditions, the conditions that I had on Saturday proved to be more than I could handle and after 6+ hours and 22 miles, I dropped out of the race. The constant slipping and sliding did not help the hip issue that I deal with constantly when I run. It needed more time on the trails to get used to the different stressors it would present for my hip and for me to come up with race strategies.

I will look at other trail races and put one into the schedule – am considering running Chippewa next year!

It was a hard weekend – I was not nearly as sore as I thought I would be, which is a plus. But dealing with the DNF has been the harder piece for me. I have never dropped out of a race. The thought of dropping was not even on my mind – but I reached the turn around just after the cut off – so anticipated that they would pull me from the course. They didn’t. The next  6 miles were brutal.  For those who know me and know how easily I fall on race courses, I took my first tumble at 16-17 miles!  Thankfully where I fell was not snowy, icy or running water!  Only just a tad muddy!

The trail proved to me to much for me on Saturday – The hip was not going to make it the full 31 miles!  When I reached the aid station where I dropped, the next 3 miles were relatively flat, but the last 6 miles would be pretty intense. I have a chance at getting close to a Boston Qualifying time – if I run smart and avoid injury. The way my hip was feeling on Saturday, I was not sure I would avoid injury.

I know I made the right decision – but today I keep asking the “what if” questions. I have to keep reminding myself that lots of runners dropped out due to course conditions – even runners with much experience at trail running.

I have to keep reminding myself that I made 22 of 31 miles at my first attempt at this distance.

And there is always next year!

Race Week



It is race week.

It is the last week in April

And we have just had another “dusting” of snow (well if you call 4-5 inches a dusting)! But it is melting fast!

This has been an interesting spring and week for training and racing. These pictures were taken on the course over the weekend and are courtesy of the Chippewa 50K Facebook page:



The first 5 miles have 3-4 inches of snow pack; the last 6 miles – deep layer of snow – breaking through the crusty snow and going down about 10-12 inches. So there are some adjustments that need to be made to the race plan – like taking gaiters and using spikes for traction, but overall, it should be a fun “race”. This will not be a fast one for me – the goal for me is to make it from start to finish on my own two legs and still want to run again! And no matter what pace I run, it will be a PR for me since it is my first race at this length.

So I have my duffel bag out ready to  accept items as I think of them or wash them.

Duffle Bag Ready for packing

My packing list includes:



Race shirt + run to remember bib – April is Autism awareness month and I have a friend whose son is on the Autism spectrum. Since I won’t be able to run the Capital city marathon with them in May – I am running as part of their team on Saturday as well as running to remember Boston!



Food is really important for me. Because I am a Celiac, I have to be really careful what I eat – both on and off the course.  So I pack most of my food!  I prefer to fuel on the course with real food rather than gels and gu!  However I will probably carry some of those as well – just in case!



All kinds of stuff to keep me warm since it will could be wet I will need to pack 2 sets of everything and keep everything in zip lock bags so that it stays dry!  At the turn around point half way through the race, I hope to change everything.  At least I will be colorful when I run!

and probably the most important thing to pack. . . . .



Yak Track and Spikes to insure my footing is solid. There could be some icy spots as I cross bridges, etc. Since I tend to have some issues tripping over things – I would prefer to try to have as much going in my favor to keep me upright as possible.

I have a race strategy which I have tested over my long runs and it seems to work well – I have kept hydrated and fueled.  Thankful that it won’t be too warm during the race – overheating won’t be an issue for this race.  However I still need to be concerned with hydration since I will be on the course for at least 7-8 hours.!

So now I will get things washed and packed – ready to hit the road soon!  Looking forward to a fun race and setting a PR – since no matter what I run, it will be a PR at this race distance (first time races are always good for PR’s)!

Now to get the freezer stocked so that the family will have  plenty of food to eat while I am gone. . . .

and packing. . . .

and . . . . . .

The list goes on!

A Runner Reflects on the Boston Bombings


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I ran today!

Some of you are thinking, “So what, you run most days.”

Today was the day after!

The day after the 117th running of the Boston Marathon

The day after 3 Americans(2 female and 1 male) finished in the top ten of their races!

The day after the race that celebrates the accomplishments of the average athlete who have made it to the “Grand Daddy” of the modern Marathon

It was also the day after 2 bombs exploded near the finish line, killing 3 and injuring hundreds, some critically.

Yesterday was a hard day for those of us in the running community. A race with a long tradition was hit hard. The race that celebrates the accomplishments of athletes will forever be changed.

I will not forget the images that came across shortly after the explosions – blood everywhere. Watching the footage of the first explosion and watching the older gentlemen fall to the ground because of the force of the explosion – My heart broke. I cried.

I ran today – to remember those who ran and those whose lives are changed forever as a result of this event.

I ran today to think and process. As a runner and a marathoner, I have never had to worry about my safety on the course. In some of the bigger races, I have been concerned about the spectators getting too close for my comfort – but never did I think about dodging bombs!

I cried as I ran today as I thought of those families that will never be the same. Three families lost family members; hundreds of others have been wounded – some critically.  Many of the injured have had amputations. The fear and panic on their faces was evident.

As I ran, I realized that those who are behind these bombings are cowards. Rather than face their victims, those chose to use shrapnel laced bombs to maim unarmed and unsuspecting men women and children. Not only once – but twice. It was a horrific and cruel attack on these unsuspecting victims. An event that has the potential to change this race and others forever. I am thankful for those in Boston who reached out with compassion to the displaced runners offering their homes for warmth or restaurants that fed people for free.  Thank you for showing what it means to help those in need without thinking about the risk to your own life. Thank you for being compassionate in spite of the horror and evil done by others!

I ran today – because I am not willing to let a terrorist take away my joy in being outside and enjoying God’s creation, beauty and splendor.

I ran today to remember those whose lives are forever changed as a result.

I ran today and will run tomorrow, and the next day and the next and. . . . . . . . .

And I will run another big marathon at some point in time. My hope is that I can run a qualifying time this year so that I can be in Boston next year and bring healing to the city. It will be a much different experience, but one that I look forward to – whenever it happens.

Photo credit to

(Ultra) Marathon Miles – The Run-Chies


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Training for an Ultra is somewhat different from training for a regular marathon. When I train for a marathon, I do speed work, interval training and pace or tempo runs – all designed to help me get faster! For an ultra – it is not about time and speed, but about getting time on your feet and legs and learning how to run on tired legs.

I think all of my “longish” runs are finally getting my legs tired  – this past week my runs were much slower – by about 30 seconds per mile! I felt tired and not refreshed after running.

But all of this running is making me really hungry and I have the run-chies, as a friend of mine calls it. I have never been this hungry during my training for any of my marathons!  While I have not figured out how to eat to keep myself satisfied and my body fueled yet, I am doing a lot more baking and a bowl of cereal has never tasted better than during this training season!

However being a Celiac, eating is not as straight forward as it is for most runners. I must have special bread, noodles, etc. I have just discovered a Gluten Free All purpose flour mix that I make from a number of different flours and can use it for just about anything. Fresh bread with butter and honey is now back on the menu!

This week is spring break – well for some of my kids and we will be making GF pop tarts, biscuits, brownies and . . . . the list goes on.

And you thought I ran for the health benefits and to keep in shape! Nope I run so that I can eat dessert!

Time to hit the trails – well the streets – the trails are still covered with snow!

(Ultra)Marathon Miles


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I haven’t written much here since my father passed away almost 2 years ago. But thanks to my  friend Rachel over at Djibouti Jones,  I am inspired to write again. She writes a post called Marathon Miles on Mondays!

Since I am doing something a little different this year – I am running an ultra marathon! I decided to try writing about – probably not weekly – but often enough that you can get a feel for how things are going!

An Ultra Marathon is anything over 26.2 miles. Most ultra’s are either a 50K, 50 Mile, 100K or 100 Miles. I am doing a 50K = 31 Miles. The training follows the same pattern – 18 weeks of training leading up to the ultra!  I am in week 8 of my training and have completed a 20 mile run and 2- 16 miles runs. I still have a 22, 24 and 26 mile run to complete!

This winter running has proved to be a bit more challenging. We have had more snow and the trails are not plowed as often. I have had to run in the streets so I am very thankful to be living in a suburb – I can run in the middle of the street in the middle of the morning or afternoon and not be concerned much with traffic!  The wind chill has also been a concern. I have come home from several of my long runs with wind burned  knees!  But overall, I am pleased with my training.

The skeleton of my training week has the following elements to it:

Monday and Wednesday – a 60-90 minute run. I try to get in as many miles as I can during this time.

Tuesday and Thursday are core workout days. P90X is my program of choice, but I also do a lot of planks when I travel and don’t take the DVD with me!

Friday and Saturdays are back to back long runs. One is the ultra long run of 16+ miles and the other is half the distance. The idea is to get used to running on tired legs!

My ultra is scheduled for April and will be on single track trail. My goal is to do all of my long runs on trails once the snow melts in March?!?!?!?


Off to run!




I am an avid reader. I love to read all kinds of books. My favorite book is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.  It is fascinating. You know from almost the beginning of the book who committed the crime. The bulk of the book is about getting into the criminals mind and how the inspector ferrets out the perpetrator.  This book has been used in Criminal justice classes for years!

Teaching lit to Jr. and Sr. High students as well as being in a book club has exposed me to many different genres and authors. There are many lists out there proposing the “100 Greatest books of all time.” Some of those books are really good, others are on the list because of the novelty of what they did at the time they were written. For example, Lord of the Flies was the first book to start with the premise that man is basically evil and if you remove all the external trappings such as laws, man will return to this base nature.  In my opinion, it is not a great book, but it did make a bold statement at the time that it was written. It has been taught for many years in High School lit classes as a result.

Now that I have become the owner of a business, my reading list is somewhat modified. My list now has books such as Made to Stick (by the Heath brothers); The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (both by Patrick Lencioni).  There are other books that I am interested in reading this year as well. Books like Crazy Love (for the 3rd time); Kisses from Katie; The Holiness of God and The Hole in our Holiness.  Finding time to read books like this while teaching lit is almost impossible.

God took care of the time issue – I am not teaching this year. So I have L O T S of time to read what I really want to read and have put off so that I could teach.  This year, I have my books stacked up – One book on spiritual issues followed by a business type book.  I am very excited to read.  I look forward to the hour I set aside each night for reading.

So what are you reading this fall?  




It has been 48 hours since starting Women Rock marathon, one of my toughest races I have done. I still taking Tylenol every 6 hours to help with the pain, inflammation.  To understand what a big deal getting out and running was this morning, I need to take you back to the beginning of August and walk you through the past month.

I left the states on 02 August for 1.5 weeks in Asia and 1.5 weeks in Africa. I was doing camps for kids living overseas and the days are full of activity. There is no time for long runs. So prior to leaving for Asia, I did 3 20 mile runs; 1 18 mile run and a 15 mile run.  While overseas I did 3 4 mile runs – on a tread-mill!  Arriving back in the states on 21 August gave me 1.5 weeks to recover from jet lag and get ready for Women Rock!

Add to that the fact that the temps were warm and our air conditioner decided to go wacky – I was not in good shape going into the race.

However the weather was cool to begin with – cool enough that I took my son’s sweat shirt to keep warm prior to race start!  The first half of the marathon went well – i was running solid 10 minute miles!  If I could keep this pace, I would finish around 4:30-4:40 – I was thrilled.

Then around mile 12 I felt it – a slight twinge in my left calf. I was able to run through it and began to slow the pace some. At mile 16 the slight twinge turned into a cramp, but I was still able to run through it. By mile 19, the cramping was bad enough that I began walking. At mile 21 I called my sons to let them know that I had seized all the way up to my gluts and would be walking most of the way to the finish. They were at mile 22!

Son number 2 joined my at 21.5 and we had the following conversation;

Son – “So how are you feeling?”

Me – “Tired, sore and I have seized all the way up to the gluts.”

Son (after a brief pause), – “So do you want to run?”

Me – “It hurts to run.”

Son – “Well does it hurt to walk?”

Me – “yes.”

Son – “well if it hurts to walk or run, you might as well run.”

So I did and he ran with me. Coming up to mile 22 my other son yells at me, “I thought you were cramping!”

Me – “I am.”

Volunteer at that mile marker – “And she is not letting it stop her.”

I continued to run to mile 23 and then there was a big hill. I walked.

Another runner gave me some biofreeze to help numb the areas that were cramping – like the whole left leg!  It helped because as I hit completed mile 25 and the feather fans, I decided I could run, well jog to the finish line.  Once I saw the mile 26 flag and knew I had only .2 of a mile left, my body just took over and I began to pick up the pace. Not a sprint like normal, but a strong steady finish.

At the finish line, I really thought I would go down I was dizzy and light-headed. Several people tried to get me to sit down – but I knew if I sat down, I would not get up – at least not easily.  I knew I needed to keep the muscles moving until they recovered – at least a bit. So I headed over to get my glass of champagne for finishing the race and drank half of it.

The post race shower felt good and although I was sore, I was still able to move.

So this morning even though I am still taking Tylenol every 6 hours or so, I was able to lace up my running shoes and do 4.5 miles. It was a mental battle I needed to win this  morning, not a physical one.  I felt good and at mile 3 knew I could run 5-6 – but stuck with my 4.5.

Six weeks until TCM. Six weeks of hill training and speed work.

Six weeks will go by quickly.  I will slowly build my miles up this week and then hit my regular training program for the remaining time up to TCM.

Looking forward to a great race in October!