Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tricked by the Moonlight

It was some time ago, back in the days when I was living my life without the use of a time piece (a watch or clock).  I always had one around but tried not to use one while I was living in Baja until one morning I was tricked by the moonlight.  I lived by listening to my mind and bodies response to the rhythm of each day.  

I would naturally wake up around one or two hours before daylight, my favorite time to start the day. In the early hours of the morning is when Baja is at its best.  It's peaceful and quiet and when it's not overcast the stars are as brilliant as diamonds.  There are no lights nearby to drown out the brilliance of the stars and almost every morning in those early hours before daylight is when the sky is its most active with shooting stars.

So on this particular one morning I wake up and I was surprised at seeing it was already beginning to show signs of getting light out.  The evening before the surf was fun so I was anticipating a good early morning surf session.  So I got up and had a bite to eat, drank a good amount of water, put my wetsuit on, grabbed my board and headed down to the surf to wait until it got a little bit lighter to see. 

It was the kind of morning where the overcast had moved in so there were no stars to be seen.  It was just light enough to see where you were walking and barley make out the glow of white water where the waves were breaking.

When I finally got to the waters edge I sat down and began waxing my board.  I was waiting for the light to start my session, but while I sat there I noticed that the day was not getting lighter but that it actually seemed to be getting darker!  Then after about 15 minutes I knew what happened.  That night was a full moon night and with the overcast morning and not having looked at the clock it had appeared that I had slept in when in fact I had woken up early.

The light from the full moon was giving a glow in the overcast as though it was already getting light, but what was really happening was the full moon was just getting ready to set over the western horizon giving off a faint glow, making it feel as though morning was on its way.

As I sat by the ocean realizing what was taking place I had a good laugh at myself and the fact that not always did my wanting to live without looking at a time piece play out as it should.  So I picked up my board and walked back to my camp as it kept getting darker and darker as the light from the moon faded away.

When I got back to my camp I pulled out my watch that I had stashed out of sight and saw that I had another 4 hours before morning would come.  My watch was showing that I had in fact been tricked by the moonlight, it was 2am.  Time to head back to bad.

Monday, March 7, 2016

My 1st Crossing of the Mexican Border By: Glen Horn

I was a junior in high school and on the Madison High School Gymnastic team.  A few of us got the idea that we wanted to cross the border and venture into the wild streets and night club bars for some teenage excitement.  We scouted around the strip bars and finally ended up in the famous Long Bar.

The pitchers of beer were flowing freely and it was not long before we were all seeing double and having a grand ole time of being completely hammered at the early age of sixteen/seventeen.  

Back then you could get your picture taken and get it back from the guy in just a short time before you had to leave.  If I remember correctly, it only took 15-20 minutes to get the photo developed  which cost 50 cents or a dollar.  

The guys in the photo (in order left to right) are; John Little, myself, John Miller, mystery guy & Ed Horwatt.


I have had many friends ask me about my first 50k ultra experience, so here goes.....I loved it! A friend of mine, Rita Weaver told me many months ago, "Running an ultra is a lot different than running a marathon. It's a lot of slow running for hours upon hours. The people at the events are so helpful and caring. It isn't an environment where you are competing against each other, instead everyone is helping everyone. Kind of sounds like that might be your style." Well she nailed it. My coach Mike Cornelison who is an ultra runner told me the very same thing. I talked to my husband about it and he told me he was behind me 1000% and knew I could anything I set my mind to. A very good friend of mine Rob Gowler, told me I was ready and he knew I would love it. I knew in my heart this what I really wanted to do, I could feel myself being pulled towards it. 
It was such a fun day. 31 miles on a 10K out and back course. By mid morning it was so hot out with no wind that I was stuffing ice into my hydration vest where the bladder would go to keep me cool. Both Joyce Pak McPherson and I were filling our hats with ice to keep our heads cool. I could hear my coach's voice in my head telling me to drink often and eat early. I could feel the love and support from my husband Glen in my heart telling me I can do anything. See, I am not good with heat so this was a good test for me. I was sucking on my inhaler and moving forward. And EVERY time I saw another runner, there was ALWAYS encouragement given both ways, ALWAYS! I had so much fun even though I was shuffling my way to the finish. My running time was 7:10 and total time on the course was 8:55. My total time could have been less and I will learn to be more efficient but on this day, my first ultra, each time I was at the aid stations the folks (Yen Darcy) were so nice and helpful, asking how I felt, what can they do for me. I was so blown away by the compassion and caring spirit. They gave me hugs and cheers, dumped water on me to keep me cool and offered unending support. Every time I saw Joyce Pak McPherson we would stop and smile, talk for a minute or two then hug each other and off we went. I did a lot of crying that day, for many different reasons but mainly because I was so proud to be out there following my dreams. I met many new friends that day. I was tired but so very happy. So happy that I have signed up for another ultra in May (12 hour ultra) and then another one in Sept (24 hour ultra). Go for your dreams, don't limit yourself. Whatever you want to try, go out and test yourself! You will never know unless you follow your heart.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

San Francisco Marathon 2015

Mental Workout - Chicago Marathon Training

 Last night it was 90 degrees here at the beach at 8pm!!! I knew I had an 8 mile tempo run in the morning but was not feeling it. I texted my coach Mike Cornelison and told him it was hot and we were still under an extreme heat advisory. His response was "just take it easy tomorrow, you are in race shape, no worries, if you want, run some just easy then do weights, no set distance or pace, make the best of it." Now you would think this would make me happy, ease my mind right? Nope....

I started thinking about it and thought, ya I can run the 26.2 miles but if it is hot and muggy in Chicago what then? I can't ask my coach for an easy day. So this morning I got up, it was hot and muggy out all night, and did my tempo run, all of it, at the pace my coach had originally set for me! I ran on my treadmill which is outside under my courtyard roof and believe me, it is hot out there. You step out of my yard into the open and it is easily 5-10 degrees cooler. I was a bit uncomfortable but I placed pitcher of water in one of the slots to dunk my Buff in to keep me cooler. 
I just kept picturing myself at the marathon feeling great and happy. I can do this, I kept repeating it over and over and ya know what? I did do it, and I feel not only great, not even tired, but proud of myself for facing something I thought I could not do. Just another step in finding my strong!
11:50 pace 8 miles 1:34 time

Overcoming Doubts & Insecurities - Chicago Marathon Training

I decided to do my speed workout at the local high school track this morning. As I walked up there were 4 other students practicing. I asked if it was ok to use the track and they all said sure! These boys were all smiling. I thought to myself as I began my workout, I wonder why they were smiling at me, were they laughing maybe.....? As I was ending my first set, 2 of the boys zipped on by me, grinning. I kept my head down and kept going. I was feeling rather insecure about myself, how do I look, gosh their legs sure move fast, and what a kick they have....geez my feet barely move up off the ground....well they are WAY younger but still......I kept going......during my 4th set, my breathing was starting to get bad and my inhaler was on the bench a half of a lap away....I kept going.......
Then suddenly one of the the boys appeared beside me with my inhaler!!!! He stopped me and said "here, you need this, don't you?" I nearly cried my eyes out but held it together. He had such a caring look in his eyes. Then his other 3 friends ran up to us and asked if I was ok. One of them said he has asthma and knows how I feel and could tell I was not in a good place. We all walked a lap around the track together and these boys, young men, were some of the nicest people I have met in a long time. They told me they wished their parents were out doing stuff like I was! And added that they hoped that when they get to be my age (!), they were healthy enough to be running and living life. I had 6 sets to go and guess what....they continued on with their workouts but each time they zipped past me, they smiled, cheered and gave me high fives!!! 
I am really happy that I stepped out onto that track this morning and faced some of the things that slip into my thoughts leading me to doubt myself. Just another step to finding my strong. So to James, Steven, Joel and Jimmy, thank you for being such caring people!! Coach Mike Cornelison

My Favorite Times As A Kid

When I was just a young boy my parents would take the family camping every year up into the High Sierras just outside of Bishop, California.  This was back in the mid 50's and into the early 60's.  When I was very young I remember hearing my parents packing for the different trips.  They would put me to bed and then early in the dark hours of the morning my Dad would come in and gently pick me up out of bed and carry me out to the car where my Mom had made a real comfortable bed out of the back seat for me and my 2 brothers.  

I remember hearing the car start and I would soon fall back to sleep as the car began to move.  Sometime later I would wake up and feel the wonderful warm air of the Mojave desert flowing through the open windows.  It would still be dark so when I opened my eyes I could see all the millions of stars in the desert sky.  With the sound of the motor and the gentle rolling of the car down the road, I was once again fast asleep, dreaming of the wild adventures ahead.

The next time I awoke we were pulling into the small town of Bishop California to our favorite restaurant, Jack's Pancake House, which I hear after all these years is still there.  I remember looking up on the walls of the place and seeing all these cool looking trophy fish and dreaming of maybe catching a big one myself.  

After a hardy breakfast we would pile back into the car with all the excitement of heading up to our favorite campsite in the Sierras.   In those days there was just a narrow one lane dirt road and gravel road, just wide enough for one car.  Every once in a while there would be a turn out so if two cars needed to pass each other, they could.  The uphill car coming had the right away and the downhill traveling car had to pull over.  So while traveling on these steep narrow mountain roads, not being able to see around the corners, both cars coming to blind curves traveling at very slow speeds would honk their horns to let possible oncoming cars know there was a car coming.  This would give the car coming downhill a chance to pull over before it was too late so the uphill car coming could pass without having to stop, for in those days cars were known for over heating and vapor lock.  The roads in some places were so narrow I thought for sure we would go over the edge.  So as a little kid I was scared to look out the window until we got to our campsite.  My Mom and Dad would also get a little concerned.

Once we were out of the car and at our campsite I would head for the streams and trees and go exploring.  My parents were really cool about letting me just go off into the wilderness.  I felt like Davey Crockett or Daniel Boone, the whole wide open place was mine to explore.  Back then it was safe as a kid from any freaks especially up there in the Sierras.  Folks back in those days had respect for each other and we would leave our food in a cooler in the cold stream and no one would bother it. There was usually only one or two camps around.  Sometimes I would grab my fishing pole and go off fishing by myself or with my Dad or sometimes with my brother.    We'd catch grasshoppers for bait, they worked the best.  There would be times when we would get up real early in the dark and cold of the morning  and take the car to the upper lakes.  There Dad would rent a boat and we would fish all over these cool looking lakes, with high jagged mountains all around with fresh water streams that you could drink out of.  There were water falls that would pour down in places from the snow melt from up high.  

My Dad would bring his own motor for the boat.  I remember that old motor giving him problems quite a few times.  Sometimes it wouldn't want to start up and we would be someplace way across the lake and I remember him yanking on that starter cord for 5 to 10 minutes all the while getting madder and madder and working up a sweat till I thought maybe he was going to throw that old motor into the lake and row back across the lake.  But finally it started and we kept fishing.  

Back at camp I remember the smell of that old army surplus tent we had and sleeping on those old army sleeping cots.  The nights would get really cold and we spent the night sleeping in our thermals and wool socks.  Waking up in the morning and the smell of pancakes, bacon and eggs that Mom had going for breakfast.  Everything smelled and tasted so good in those high mountains.  The sound of the stream and wind through the pine trees was the only music we listened to.

Then at night sitting around the campfire and looking up into the starlit sky.  Back then high in the mountains you could see so many stars in that clear air it was amazing.  To this day I can remember all the details of every trip.  If I am sitting by a campfire in Baja I can bring all these great memories back as if it was happening to this day.  A change of weather or a certain smell in the air can trigger a memory of my younger days up there in those high mountains.  

I am forever grateful to my parents for having taken me to the high mountains and taught me how special the outdoors are and living in the wild.