10 Running Questions Game

Authors and fellow bloggers, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea of Another Mother Runner started a little game a couple weeks ago where they each answered 10 questions about themselves that they shared on their blog with their readers, then they tagged three other bloggers and they’ve asked other bloggers to “tag” one another and keep the game going!  Well, my Daily Mile pal, Danica Lucker of Boston or Botox  tagged me this past week so now it’s my turn to play! So, here you go!!!!! I hope none of my revelations are too shocking!

1. Best Run Ever:  The first time I ran 50 miles in June of 2011. It was the week after I’d been pulled at Big Horn 50 at about the 50k spot for being too slow. I needed to know I could really do the distance in the same amount of time that Big Horn had allowed for the overall distance which was 15 hours. I ran that fifty miles in 13:57 – more than an hour faster than I needed to.

It started in the early morning hours under a star-studded black sky by headlamp with my good friend, Ryan there to pace me. I remember feeling fast on the downhill early on, enjoying the thrill of doing something crazy. I remember the trails being lined with fragrant lupine flowers, dodging some fierce cows that threatened to block us from the path, splashing my feet through the ice cold Boise River that had flooded the Greenbelt, the agony of muscles that were so tired they threatened to seize right up and stop working, the joy of digging deep and getting it done when it hurt so much and somehow sprinting to the “finish” at the end where we jumped into the Boise River to celebrate while family and friends clapped and cheered and took photos.  It wasn’t an official race, but it was honestly one of the most meaningful runs of my life. I regained my confidence that day and knew I was unstoppable!

2. Three Words That Describe My Running: Soul-cleansing. Energizing. Social.

3. My Go-To Running Outfit Is: Under Armour 2″ black compression shorts, Pearl Izumi teal and black running tank, Zensah neon pink compression calf sleeves, Moving Comfort Fiona sports bra, Balega no show running socks and Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes.

4. Quirky Habit While Running: I’m kind of an attack hugger! Sometimes I get so overcome with love for my running partners, so amped up on endorphins that I throw my arms around whoever I’m with and pull them to me for a quick squeeze right in the middle of a run! The pals sometimes look stunned. I am usually left smiling! If I like you and am having a particularly joyful outing with you at some point, you may experience this. You’ve been warned!

5. Morning, Midday, Evening:  I know it’s been an exceptionally fun day when I have started in the early morning and am still running midday and through the night and get to watch a second sunrise before I’m done but I need to do more 100 milers to experience that more often!  Honestly, I usually do the majority of my running in the early morning hours – much of it by headlamp in order to be back at home before my five kids wake up for the day! It’s one of the ways I am able to be a devoted Mom AND devoted runner!

6. I Won’t Run Outside When It’s:  I have ran through snow, hail, rain (my first marathon had rain the entire time!), 100 degree temperatures, smoke (we have had quite a few forest fires in our area this summer but that didn’t stop me from training once), wind and perfect weather.  I feel that one of the reasons I have been successful at keeping my weight off and have trained well for most of my races has been my willingness to get my runs in no matter what the weather is like.  If it’s cold, I wear more layers and gloves. If it’s hot, I go slower and bring more water. It’s pretty simple.  Sometimes (like the one time last December I ran through a storm with lightening, rain, hail and winds high enough to knock me to the ground repeatedly while I was doing a 50 miler alone) it was hard to feel sure it was a wise decision – but the knowledge that I’d survived and came out stronger afterwords convinced me that most of the time there is no such thing as weather bad enough to justify skipping a run. Plus, those sorts of stories are always fun to tell at parties to those who think long distance runners are a little crazy!











7. Worst Injury and How I Got Over It: Last August at Wild Idaho 50 miler, I suffered an IT band injury that forced me to limp the final 29 miles of a very difficult, mountainous race. It was pretty painful and I had to take a few weeks off to rest it, to spend time foam rolling and stretching and finally seeing a chiropractor for Graston therapy to finally heal it entirely.

8. I Felt Most Like a Badass Runner When I: Crossed the finish line at Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 miler in March of 2012! Running a hundred miles is one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life! I felt like nothing I set my mind on and worked hard to achieve was out of my reach once I’d done that!

9. My Next Race Is:  My next race to direct is the Idaho Wine Run coming up next Sunday, September 30th in Caldwell, ID! My next race to participate as a pacer in will be IMTUF 100 miler in McCall, ID the following week, where I’ll be pacing my good friend, Rachael for about 50 miles. The next race I am running as a participant is the Foothills Frenzy 50k here on October 20th here in Boise, Idaho! I’m really looking forward to all three races!

10. Potential Running Goals for 2013: I am eager to run another 100 miler and I’d like to qualify for the Boston Marathon!

Now I get to “tag” other bloggers that I follow! I choose my super, awesome, running partner, Ryan in Boise, Cory (a cool and really funny guy I met at Antelope Island this spring) Fast Cory and Jeremy, a good friend from Daily Mile who was kind enough to show up at my 100 miler, offering me a kind face and a big hug after I’d hit a really rough patch in my race and helped pace me for a bit – Jeremy runs this.   Can’t wait to see your responses, fellas!!! TAG! You’re IT!



Hey! I’m Famous! Or Almost Famous!

Well, tonight was a special night! I just got home from the Pulse Running and Fitness Shop’s Marathon and Beyond magazine night. The featured guest was none other than my good friend (and one of my ultra running mentors), Dennis Ahern who was the cover boy for the September/October issue of the journal.

Dennis gave an hour long presentation about the running adventures that he’s been able to experience this year.  He has already ran four 100 milers (Salt Flats, Zion, Big Horn and Wasatch), covered every single distance in a race from 1 mile – 100 miler (except the marathon, which he will do at my race, the Idaho Wine Run on September 30th).  He’s fast packed the 221 mile (which includes the ascent to Mt Whitney, which he did) John Muir Trail through the Sierra Nevada mountain range in less than 6 days (most people take 3 weeks) and he’s still got two more 100 milers he’s signed up for before the year is done! The man is amazing! Several of his races are just two weeks apart – including 100 milers! Did I also mention that Dennis is 54 years old and almost always beats the majority of the runners in our large ultra running group — even guys half his age?! Yeah, he’s pretty unique.  Despite all of the accomplishments, Dennis is also one of the most down-to-earth, kind-hearted people I’ve ever known. He’s quick to share his snacks on the trail or offer a kind word when a runner’s had a bad race and he’s always willing to share his sage advice with the beginners (Iike myself) who are still feeling out this sport and learning the ropes. I call him my Yoda. He doesn’t own a Garmin or wear a watch or heart rate monitor when he races. He keeps things simple and I really respect that about him.

I really enjoyed listening to Dennis share more about his adventures, his passion for running and setting difficult challenges for himself that he works hard to achieve and it really inspired me to keep pushing towards my own goals.

One goal has always been to be featured in a magazine! I’d always hoped it would be as a writer, but I got the next-best thing when my friend, Jenny Stinson (a fellow Boise ultra runner, friend and employee of Marathon and Beyond magazine) contacted me a few weeks back and asked if she could use a couple of my photos — one of me as I was directing Lake Lowell Marathon where I am giving a massage to one of my runners who has finished and the other of me collapsed on a cot in a medical tent at Antelope Island Buffalo Run, where I’m wearing bright yellow compression sleeves right after my 100 mile run. I said I’d be honored and tonight she handed me a glossy copy of a magazine where I am actually within the pages! That’s a surreal feeling!! 😀 And one less thing on the bucket list!

So, pick up your copy and turn to pages 84 and 85 and marvel with me in how crazy it is that an overweight Mom of five somehow turned her life around and is now having some pretty cool experiences in this life now that she’s gotten fit, fallen in love with running and made some pretty cool friends (including one who just happened to want to use some of my photos for her magazine!) What a wonderful life! I can’t wait to see what happens next! Stay tuned!!!!


Harvest Classic 2 Mile Race

When I was in my late teens and during my college years, my “marathon mama” used to drag me along to her races on the weekends sometimes. One of those races was the Harvest Classic put on by the Nampa Recreation Center. It really is a great little event and quite well organized. I love the small-town feel, the sweet schwag; they give gift cards to TCBY, gift certificates to Domino’s Pizza and a few other really good restaurant freebies in the goody bags, plus chapstick and a free pass to the Nampa Recreation Center (a value alone of about $8.) They also give race shirts and a chance at 20 really great gift baskets (half go to the 1 mile race and the other half are shared by the 8k and 2 mile race.) There’s a live band, bounce houses, an outdoor climbing wall and delicious baked potatoes, chocolate milk, TCBY frozen yogurt (with the vendor actually juggling small cups of the sweet treat today, which was funny!), Domino’s Pizza and a Franz bread truck handing out a free loaf of bread to every entrant.  Not bad for my $20 entry fee or my kid’s $10 per child one! A real bargain if you ask me!

So, Wayne and I brought the five kids out today to enjoy the race, just like my Mom had done with me all those years ago. And my Mom didn’t want to miss the fun, either! She rode her bike onto the course and waited to cheer me on about about 1.25 miles in which was a highlight!


My kids had a great time at the 1 mile race and I got to cheer and take photographs at the finish line. I had ran off to the porta potty for a quick pee after they took off and as I was running back to the finish line I saw my son, Wayne Jr, standing, hands-on-knees and grinning already DONE! I looked at my watch and realized he’d done less than an 8 min mile! I was so proud!!! Next my son Josh finished in about 11 minutes. Then, hot on his heels, my husband came running across with my baby – my 5 year old daughter, Savannah, who had the most determined look on her face as she crossed! Finally, my oldest daughter, Rebecca (who is incredibly thoughtful of her younger siblings and agreed to run with her 7 year old sister, Anneliese) came across the line holding hands as Anneliese cried and clutched her side.  Running a race is TOUGH business sometimes!

I gave them all hugs and then they sat on the side as I lined up for the 2 mile race to start. One of my favorite parts of this race is that they warm up the crowd with three Zumba instructors from the Rec Center on a stage off the course. It was so much fun! Last year I got so into the shimmying and shaking that I accidentally danced my way right into an elderly lady! I was much more mindful of my flailing body parts this year and no further injuries were suffered by those lined up near me.

I had written my time from last year on my hand: 15:43. I knew I could beat it and that was the goal today. Last year, I came in 5th female overall and 1st in the 30-39 age group. This year, I was hoping to do better.  When they counted down and I took off, I was mindful to hold back on the pace and not get carried away with the crowd. I was pretty amazed when I realized there was an older gentleman speed-walking next to me, hips swinging lightening fast. I glanced at my Garmin and saw we were doing a 7:08 pace! Wow!!!

I eased up and let the crowd surge as I carefully played out my strategy – start conservative, stay steady, then accelerate little-by-little until the final kick. Goal was a negative split. My first mile went well – a 7:32. My average pace last year was 7:51 (something I’d made note of on my hand and focused on beating.) I knew I was doing good and I felt comfortable. I was passing people one by one from the first quarter mile as their too-fast starts caught up with several of them.

As we left the busy street and turned onto a small running path just as my Garmin beeped for 1 mile, the exhaustion started to come. I was halfway done, but still had a mile to go. I remembered this spot from a year ago and how much I’d wanted to walk here. This time I did not feel any desire to walk. It was difficult, but I felt I could manage it and keep it up for another mile.  My Mom cheered for me right about here and that was a nice mental boost! Inside I was smiling, but outside I was total focus and heavy, even breathing. I gave her a thumbs up and raced on.

I saw my friend, Julie up ahead, maybe a tenth of a mile or so. I was elated! Julie’s a much faster runner than I am and I had expected her to take the win, so I knew there was a good shot I was in second place. That bolstered my resolve to stay steady and strong and fight the pain and weariness to the end.

We left the path with 3/4 of a mile to go. It was getting hotter and I was tempted to slow down, but I didn’t allow myself to. I just kept plugging along – steady, smooth, forward. As we rounded the corner and got within 1/2 a mile of the finish, I realized it was time to see if I had any “turbo boost” left in my legs. I eased on the gas just a hair. There wasn’t much extra there but I gave it everything I had.

I was still chasing Julie and knew I could not catch her but used her as a rabbit, chasing her down to the final turn. Once I saw the finish line and the crowds, I forced myself to give every last ounce of push I had left and, with my face wrenched up in agony, I crossed the finish line in 14:57 — an improvement over last year’s time by about 43 seconds! I was 12th overall and 2nd place female, to boot! Yeah!!!!!  That last mile was, in fact, a negative split. A 7:25 pace.

Wayne and the kids were there taking photos and cheering and they all hugged me and told me I’d done a good job! It was a wonderful race!

Julie came in first female and beat me by about 20 seconds! She is amazing and I was happy to congratulate her on a well-executed race!

The family headed to the baked potato bar, loaded up some spuds and then grabbed some frozen yogurt and water bottles and sat down in the shade and enjoyed the day! It was awesome!




I Love A Challenge








I do, after all, love a challenge. Not just the result at the end, but the drudgery in the middle, the hard work, the sweat, the mess of transformation. I love the process of getting there, especially when “there” isn’t a fixed point, but the constant renaming as each finish line morphs into another start line.

Kristin Armstrong

Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers blog, Runner’s World.com





Idaho Wine Run

Looking for the kind of race where it’s more about the simple pleasures in life.. good wine, serene views of the winding Snake River, vast, ripe, fruit orchards along rolling hillsides, the majestic Owyhee Mountains in the distance and good friends to share the journey with? Well, look no further. I have the perfect race for you! My husband and I are about to give Idaho it’s first wine run – a marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k through the Snake River Valley Wine Region called the Idaho Wine Run on September 30th.

I grew up near Ste. Chapelle (our host winery) and wanted to invite others to experience the spectacular beauty of the area and indulge in the delectable local wines.

Ste. Chapelle, Bitner Vineyards, Vale Wine Company, Fujishin Family Cellars, Huston Vineyards, Hat Ranch Winery, Sawtooth Winery and Hell’s Canyon Winery as well as the delightful little restaurant the Orchard House will be taking care of our runners and offering tastings along the hilly courses and at the finish. Aid stations (and the wineries) will also be offering the usual road-side fare typical of road races: water, Powerade, orange slices and lots of cheering and smiles to encourage you on your journey.

The local Pearl Izumi team has also offered some of it’s runners to lead pace groups for those of you with time goals. This is an opportunity to let someone else focus on the pace while you relax and enjoy the scenery of the open countryside. The event is also walker friendly for those who prefer to take their time, take a few photos along the way and enjoy the day without rushing.

There will be custom wine glasses (or custom sports bottles for children and those who would prefer that to a wine glass) at the finish line as well as medals for all finishers!

At the finish party, you’ll have chocolate covered strawberries, cheese and crackers, fruit and other delicious treats that you can savor while enjoying the music of a live band.  White Willow Massage will be on site offering free massages.  A local Scentsy rep will be raffling off great prizes.  And, what else will you be doing at the after-party?  You guessed it.. more wine tasting!


We hope that you will join us, on this, our inaugural year at Ste. Chapelle on September 30th. Bring a friend – or several and treat yourselves to a day of running, wine tasting, relaxation and breathtaking views! Sometimes, it’s more about the journey and the pleasure you had along the way.

For Marathon Mama readers, I am offering a special discount code. Use code “mm” to save $5! Hope to see you there!





Be an Inspiration!










I began my journey to a healthier me because my Mom was a good example – a marathoner and a runner for more than 25 years! I now try to encourage others who are just beginning as well. Wherever you are on your path to good health – if you’ve just begun to walk a few times a week or have signed up for your first Zumba class or 5k or if you have been healthy and fit for years — there are others in your own little corner of the world — family members, coworkers, friends who are watching you and being inspired to make healthy changes in their own lives!! Keep it up! Be willing to help someone who’s just beginning. Encourage others! It makes life oh-so-much sweeter to cheer on others and see them have successes that they had only dreamed of before! Get out there! Start INSPIRING!