Reflections of Boston at Bruneau Sand Dunes

I was excitedly watching the runner tracking on the Boston Marathon on Monday, cheering on several local friends who were living the dream out in “bean town” while I rooted for them at home and daydreamed about running the race myself next year if I can pull off that BQ I’ve been chasing since I first fell in love with running 5 years ago.  Running the Boston Marathon is for me what it is for countless other runners who have come before me – the “Holy Grail” of running achievements for the common man and woman.  For most runners,  earning the right to race Boston is an extraordinary honor, bestowed only on those who have had the determination, grit and speed it takes to earn a place in Hopkinton on Patriot’s Day each April.

My mood was light as I watched the race updates.  And, then, suddenly, something went wrong. Very, very wrong.  There was an explosion. People were falling, bleeding, panic ensued. And, then another explosion. Frantically, I searched the news for information about what was happening. I texted my closest running buddy and asked if he was watching the news. I was in shock. Stunned.  What had been a joyous celebration scene had suddenly become a war zone with spectators losing limbs and bleeding and runners being told less than a mile from the finish line that the race was cancelled.  The quick response of the police, the paramedics and volunteers on scene who rushed to the aid of the injured, not knowing if they were right in the midst of more attacks was overwhelming. Good people do good, selfless, kind things – even at the risk of their own well-being, which is exactly the opposite of what the cowards who unleashed this horrible attack did – orchestrating an evil attack on innocent people in the midst of a celebration who had no way to defend themselves or fight back.

I was in tears watching the mayhem, the blood, the fear I saw on the faces of those interviewed. I worried for my friends who were there and for their friends and family who had been there watching and cheering from the sidelines! My five children hugged me and looked at me with questioning, innocent faces asking why anyone would do such a terrible, ungodly thing? I had few answers.

My heart was heavy when I awoke the next morning realizing that the Boston attack had not been some terrible nightmare but was in fact, a harsh reality.  My husband and I had directed The Bruneau Beast sand dunes race over the weekend and it was my responsibility to head back to the course and sweep the 5k, cleaning up flag markings, any trash and such.  The sky was gray and dark. It was threatening to rain. I welcomed the weather as an appropriate response to the grievous acts that had taken place the day before, the loss of innocent life (including an 8 year old little boy who was waiting for his daddy to cross the finish line).  I drove alone the hour out of Boise, losing myself in the mournful mood of my soul, glad for the chance to process my emotions and be alone.

I took along my camera and these are the photos I captured that day as I grieved for Boston.  My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this tragedy.

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Girls Head Start Mountain Run

Yesterday, after a pretty great morning run, Ryan mentioned he was going to run “hard and fast” on some of the most difficult trails we have in the Boise Foothills. Of course, that got the wheels turning in my head and I asked him later if he’d share the route with me for my Garmin so I could start early and do it too (without messing up “fast boy” training!)

My buddy, Rachel C. stopped by my house while I was looking over the map and said she’d enjoy coming along too, so we met up at 4:30 am to get a jump on Ryan A. and Derek (who I refer to as the “fast boys” because they are exceptionally FAST runners!)

After looking at Ryan’s Garmin info (where he’d done this route in the past in 1:29) we started a half an hour (it turned out to be 27 minutes exactly since they started two min early and we started one min late -not that I’m being a numbers geek) before the guys and decided to hike every step since we thought it would be fun if they caught us at the halfpoint and we all ran downhill together. The sky was pitch black, the city of Boise twinkled below like a thousand sparkling diamonds, the wind whistled and I was thankful for my thin Brooks jacket keeping me toasty. We reached the 4 mile spot and could see two headlamps about a mile down the trail heading steadily up towards us, so we waited for about 7 minutes (that’s ALL it took them to catch us with a half an hour start!!?!! WOW)

They were flying too and in great spirits! We said our hellos and we all started running fast downhill having a blast! If the fellas were tired from running hard on the steep uphills, they didn’t show it! They were FLYING!!!! And whooping and laughing and having a great time! Rachel and the boys took off super fast and I had to hold back on the super technical downhill right after we joined up. It’s like a death trap, a zillion various sized rocks, uneven terrain, by headlamp. Totally exciting! Loved every minute of it – but I had to take my time. I definitely lost my “early morning running” skills with the several week lay off from running much with the calf injury and am eager to get back to being a bit more fearless on this sort of thing!

Once we hit the smoother sections of downhill running I was in my element and started running much faster! That’s when I started whooping and hollaring – and it started to rain! I felt like a little kid I was having so much fun, my hair plastered to my face, arms and legs pumping hard through the mountains under the stars! My fastest mile was mile 7 at a 7:18 pace. I felt I could have ran it a bit faster, but I had to pee!

I stopped to take care of business and wait for Rachel (who’s headlamp was fading making it hard for her to go as fast as she wanted to.) Once I saw her light behind me, I took off again to the final stretch, lungs burning and breathing heavy as I gave it all I had to the finish!

That was the most incredible workout I’ve done in MONTHS! Totally loved it and can’t wait to do it again!!!! THIS kind of running will make me a beast!

Elevation gain: 1,659 feet. When I got back to the parking lot and realized Rachel and I had done the 8.64 mile route in about 1:45 I was pretty excited! Not bad for hiking the first 4 miles! Next time, I think we girls need to start 15 min early instead and run as much as we want. I am betting we could do it even faster!! What do you think, Rachel?! Are you in?!


I Donated Blood for the First Time Today

I'm so happy that I was able to finally donate blood!

Giving blood = giving life! I will always be indebted to those who gave blood so my little girl could live! It felt wonderful to finally be doing something to return, in some small way, the gift that was given to our family when Savannah’s life was saved in 2007!

I have several items on my “bucket list.”  Some of them are grand adventures like running Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim at the Grand Canyon, taking a ride in a hot air balloon, running the Boston Marathon or meeting a running hero like Kathrine Switzer. Others are a little less glamorous, but very personally meaningful to me. One of those things on my list was to donate blood – something that I think we all know is a good thing to do, but many of us never get around to actually doing.

There is a special reason why this was so very important to me. My beautiful daughter, Savannah, the youngest of my five children was a very sick little baby when she was about 6 months old. Though we never did get a diagnosis for why Savannah became so seriously ill, one of the turning points for her recovery was when she received a blood transfusion at St Luke’s Children’s Hospital on September 22, 2007.

Savannah in the PICU after her blood transfusion in Sept of 2007.

Savannah in the PICU after her blood transfusion in Sept of 2007.

I remember being terrified as they told me that my little girl might not live through the night, but standing by her bedside, stroking the soft tufts of blond hair on her little cherub head and singing softly to her through my tears as she received that life-giving blood. As the hours went by, color started to return to Savannah’s face. It would be nearly a year before Savannah would be fully well again, but that night will forever be etched into my memory as the night she was given hope again.  I told my husband that very day that it was very important to me to one day donate blood as the best way possible I could say, “Thank you” to whoever had given so selflessly to my own baby girl and helped save her life!

Well, a few weeks ago, while on an early morning run with my pal, Ryan, he mentioned feeling a little tired since he’d given blood the day before. That’s when I shared with him my own family’s story and told him I really wanted to give blood too! So, he invited me to join him the next time the American Red Cross came to his office and I happily jumped at the chance!

Thank you, Ryan for being a great example to me and letting me join you so I can do my part too!

Thank you, Ryan for being a great example to me and letting me join you today!

So, today was that day. The day I was able to pay it forward. As I was lying back in the chair, I thought about how frightened and hopeless I’d felt the day Savannah needed blood and how utterly grateful I was when there was blood available to give to her. I wondered about where my own blood would go. Would it be another little baby like my own who would need it? A mother? A grandpa? It really doesn’t matter. It just feels amazing to know that there is a very simple way to do some good, to provide some help to those who really need it!

So, if you are like I was – thinking that giving blood is a good thing to do and something you’d always intended to do, I encourage you to take the steps to find a local donation location so that you, too, can share the gift of life! And for those of you, like Ryan who have been giving for years, please know from the bottom of my heart how truly grateful I am for your kindness! Thank you!!


Savannah (who's a healthy 6 year old and the light of my life) and I.

Savannah (who’s a healthy 6 year old and the light of my life) and I.