Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blood Clots and Ultrarunners

I never thought I was a candidate for a blood clot. I am an ultrarunner. We ultrarunners don't sit still. We are not overweight. We don't smoke. In my case, I rarely travel by plane anymore. How could my blood possibly hang around long enough to stick together and become a life-threatening problem? Well, there are lots of reasons why blood clots excessively and it doesn't seem too picky about your previous athletic performance. If you are sitting still right now, post-injury, you are at risk. Even if only a few hours ago (before your injury) you finished a kick-boxing class, and only 6 days ago completed your third Ironman and only a few weeks ago failed to finish your second gruesome 50 miler after training all summer for a 100 miler, you are still at risk. Five days after ripping my calf to pieces (playing tennis...what a dangerous sport!), the deep vein clot in my lower leg had become so painful, I was unable to get off the couch. My daughter was put in charge of climbing up on a chair to reach the cereal and milk-dinner that night-and then find a mixing bowl in the lower closet from which to eat it in. My son was on teeth and bedtime story duty. When Erik came home, he had to literally carry me under the armpits to help me lower myself down on the toilet. And yet, I thought I had simply re-injured my broken calf from racing around with my kids and swimming, and all the not sitting still I had been doing. So, nearly two weeks passed before I dragged myself to the ER. Major, major clot, with 4-6 months of blood thinner. So, my injury, which put me off training for 6 weeks or so, had now put me off training for 4-6 months, because you can't train when your body can no longer clot. In case anyone is wondering what a clot feels like, it is a pretty sudden pain (in my case, directly behind and below the knee), which gets worse every day. The real clue that I had a clot in my leg was that my leg had turned cold, my foot had turned purple, and whenever I stood in an upright position (with crutches and my lovely walker), all the blood that was supposed to rush to my foot got clogged at the clot and set my lower leg into truly blackout-causing excruciating muscle-spasm pain. Once on blood thinners, the pain decreased overnight, and now, after two weeks of medicine, is pretty much gone.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Diet and Neurology Management

Last week I ripped my calf muscle and will be incapacitated all winter. I have a wrapped leg, boot and a walker to get around. Some days the muscle is in such spasm, I can barely move. As a result, our schedule has changed completely. I now do rehab in the pool very day for 60-90 mins, always with one of the kids while the other is in school. That is a very long time for a little body (theirs) to be in the pool. Yesterday, we unintentionally did an interesting experiment with food, partially due to our new schedule. I have always suspected that what Alex eats affects his neurological function, far beyond the sugar highs that parents recognize in their children when they eat sweets. Since Alex's first seizures, we have tried to keep him on a higher fat, lower carb diet. It is hard to attribute behavior changes to food intake, but observationally, the change in diet seems to work. Yesterday, we proved it further, this time with such certainty that I am now the world's greatest proponent of high fat diets in kids with brain injuries. Although I packed a healthy high fat diet for Alex's lunch, I also included popped chips and other high carb options. Throughout the day, he consumed mostly high carbs, low fat foods, and had spent over an hour swimming hard in the pool. Around 2pm, the minute we walked into the house, he started to melt down. The meltdown lasted a good 30 minutes and he was totally out of control. It was one of those meltdowns that appear neurological, as though Alex has lost all control of his brain. I thought about what he had eaten that day, and decided I better feed him some fat. I cooked two eggs in 2 tbs of butter, and added half an avocado with olive oil and salt. Still sniffling and fussing, he devoured the meal, along with a glass of whole milk. Within minutes, he returned to normal. Our sweet, peaceful Alex came back and he went on with his play. We didn't have a single other issue all day. I recently learned of a grant application with the NIH to examine the effect of exercise and nutrition in children with traumatic brain injuries. I hope the NIH funds this one, even though I feel any parent who has tried diet and exercise to improve physical and neurological function in their child with TBI needs no study to prove their positive discoveries. It would be nice to have a study to document the benefits of non-pharmaceutical therapies in children with neurological challenges. I wonder how that might change school lunch programs and PE, for all children.

Ironman Arizona and Ironkids Arizona

The Ironman went about as well as it possibly could have, given he bare minimum that Erik and I had trained for it. We finished, long after dark and into the cold, but we raced the entire race together. We had lots of time to catch up with each other on the run. Nothing like a 6 hour run to give you alone time with your spouse. Not all of the spouses racing together that day crossed the line holding hands, but Erik and I did. With hands held high and tears in our eyes, we crossed the line and listened as Mike Rielly announced our names and donned us an "Iron couple." Pretty moving, and one of those moments we will have to think about as we grow old and decrepit. The day before, Alex and Izzy participated in the Ironkids 1 miler. Tis is such as great race for the kids. We saw tremendous improvements in both of them over the Ironkids race they did in Utah in May. For one, Izzy participated this time. Ad second, Alex ran the entire race without walking, a sign of his increased endurance. As always, we tell our kids they won because they participated. They got awesome medals. Alex brought his to share day this week and had the chance to tell about his great race. What a confidence builder.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On to Arizona

So much has happened in the last two weeks, and here is a very slim recap. The Big Brad Ultra 50 Miler was BRUTAL! Only 10 people finished, which included 2 women (I was not one of them). The first woman hammered the race so hard, I am in complete awe and wonder what she eats for breakfast. When I hit mile 35, I was past the time limit for that stage and so was pulled off the 50 and entered in the 35 mile race, in which I took second, behind the woman who won the VT 100 last year. We both had gotten lost on the 50 mile course, repeatedly, and so she dropped out at 35. I barely hobbled across the line at 35, and had no intentions of going another step. Then Hurricane Sandy hit us hard, here on the CT shore. Our shoreline was crushed. Made the downpours during the Big Brad Ultra look like nothing. We were fine since we sit on 14 foot stilts. We are thankful, and respect our good fortune. Now we are headed to Ironman Arizona, most likely our last race of the season. This is Erik's first Ironman and we hope to finish, safe and sound, together. I am going into this race incredibly undertrained and will be just cruising on my happiness for simply being our there on a long course. Hopefully the legs will hold up with my good humor. Alex and Izzy will race the Ironkids one miler the day before, which is always a highlight of the weekend. Our values this week are Optimism and Determination. I believe we will need a heavy dose of both.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rolfing to Increase CP Movement

While in Utah this spring, I was introduced to a deep tissue massage called Rolfing. The idea behind Rolfing is that you work an area from the origin of the problem. Rolfing has done a lot to reduce my pain and inflammation, while giving me greater range of motion in problem areas. Although Rolfing was not originally designed for children, I realized that much of Alex's uneven gait and limb difference comes from tight muscles and ligaments, and thought Alex might benefit from it. So, our beloved Sachi, an amazing Rolfer who finds pain where you had no idea pain existed, agreed to give Alex a shot. Alex, like most preemies, does not like massage. He loves hugs, but nothing that rubs his skin. But Sachi, working her magic, eased him into the idea and feeling of Rolfing, and now he can't wait to see her every week. He walks into her studio tight, and walks out very loose and feeling good. She has also taught me how to massage Alex's problem areas and with a little coaxing, he now allows me to give him a massage every night before bed. We work on elongating muscles in his back that shorten his leg length, loosening the areas around his spine which are pulling his spine out of place, and working his arms and hand which continue to be very tight and problematic. There is a visible difference at the end of every massage. Although Rolfing is expensive, it is worth it if you can afford it. For anyone who can not afford professional massage for a child with physical disabilities, slowing and gently introducing your child to your own hands may help. Massage has incredible healing powers. I am amazed at how it improves my body and mind, and continue to be impressed with the results we get with Alex.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Postponing An Ultra

The Grindstone 100 mile race starts tonight at 6pm. I have been training all summer and fall for the race, overcoming training interruptions such as illnesses and Alex's seizures, to get into shape to tackle this monster. On Wednesday, the morning of my departure for the race, Alex woke up having seizures, the first sign that we were all getting sick. One of the many drawbacks to having small children in school is that we spend much of the school year sick. Every year I think we will be less sick, and I plan races during the school year, and yet every year I have to bow out of some of them. Erik, worried that I would be terribly disappointed, graciously offered to tend the kids all weekend and support a 100 mile run, if I felt the need to complete the race plan this weekend. Supportive spouses are very important! But, I'm not disappointed. There are ALWAYS other races. I need to be here with Alex, who takes several days to recover from his seizures, and Izzy, who is also sick and needing her Mommy. I am an ultra distance runner, but I am Mommy first. I may sneak in a rather long trail run this weekend, though. Maybe just 25 miles or so...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Running Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Washington Presidential Range

Training in New Hampshire this summer, in preparation for the Grindstone 100 mile race, I had two excellent mountain runs which I highly recommend to anyone visiting the region. You may want to hike, not run, particularly the Presidential Range, but I''l share it with you from a runner's perspective. My husband, Erik, and I ran to the top of Mt. Chocorua, one extremely humid morning. The deer flies were thick, and the mosquitoes swarmed around our heads, even though we were drenched in bug spray. We let Harry Potter run off leash as there were few other hikers on the trail. The route we took was about 8 miles, and it quickly led us above the tree line. It's always fun to reach the tree line and to begin to breath in the scent of pine and take in views of the surrounding lakes and mountains. Harry Potter had no problem until we reached the sheer rock face. He probably would have been able to find a way up to the very tippy top, but as he was new to mountain running, we decided that I would sit with him while Erik ran to the top and back down to us. Potter put his head down and immediately fell asleep while waiting for Erik's return. He is an incredibly efficient runner. He runs, rests, cools his body in the streams, stays well-hydrated, and when resting, he falls asleep. I will try to remember all of this for the 100 miler, particularly the part about sleeping. Sometimes a short nap is all you need to get up and run another fifty miles. Later in the summer, I ran part of the Presidential Range, about 14 miles in total, alone with Potter. We started at the base of the Cog Railway, and ascended the Jewel Trail. Only about 4 miles long, this trail heads up, and up and up. You travel over 4000 feet in 4 miles, and at some point, I found myself hiking, no longer running, and wishing I had taken the longer, less rocky and less steep, Crawford Trail. Once we hit the top of Mt. Washington, we had a snack, then headed over to Mt. Jefferson, then on to Mt. Adams. About the time we had Adams in our sights, I decided it was time to check out Potter's paws. His pads were wearing thin, and concerned that they might crack and bleed and become too sore to run, we cut our trip short and turned around. This was a good move because by the time we returned to our car, after 6-7 hours of running/hiking, we were both tired and he was ready for a nap. In fact, he slept for the rest of the day, and all of the next day. He's a good, faithful dog. He has also taught me much about endurance running. Again, I will try to follow his instruction and get some sleep following my 100 miler.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Infection and Seizures

As it turns out, Alex's last seizures were caused by a strep throat. He had no throat pain, and no other symptoms except a bit of a headache and stomach ache. At the urgent care facility where we took him once he recuperated from the seizures, the doctor did not even recommend a strep test. But we insisted. We knew something had set off the seizures. Sure enough, he was positive. So, now we know that ear infections and strep will set off Alex's seizures. I suspect that the intensity of the seizure will be determined by how tired and run down he is. So, our best defense is sleep and rest. It also means that this year I will be spending even more time with my kids, because I can't leave Alex with a babysitter for a long period of time when there are so many variables concerning Alex's health. Erik met us last week where I have been training in NH, for a 2 week vacation. We have been altnating our training so that one of us is with the kids at all times. And, as I mentioned in my last blog, I ran many of my miles-40, in fact-in a 2 mile circle. Despite our difficulties, I managed to log my first 100 miles/week. I'll take 3 days to just swim and bike, and then hammer out the miles once again. Then we go home, summer over, training camps concluded, and we are back to preschool and mommy school and training at 4am and on weekends. Hopefully I will have done my homework for the Grindstone 100, which turns out to be a lot tougher than I had first thought. Only 7 women finished in the 38 hour time cutoff last year. Yikes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another Series of Seizures

My article for All Tings Healing came out today. The subject is about using running to manage the stress of caring for a child with disabilities. The timing is strange because this morning Alex suffered another series of seizures, a byproduct of his brain damage, and something that we are learning to deal with as a part of our lives. In February this year, Alex had a bad series of seizures that landed us in the ICU at Yale. At That time,the neurologist prescribed rectal Valium which I can administer at home if he had another seizure, or series of small ones, that lasted for more than five minutes. Alex got in bed with me in the middle of the night and said he couldn't sleep. Early this morning we both woke up and I started to stretch to get ready for a 30 hour period of intense training, where I would cover about 60-70 miles in three training sessions, including one night run. Alex suddenly said he had a stomach ache and needed to throw up. After about 5 minutes of standing over the toilet, without actually throwing up, he started to seize. Today's seizures were very mild, and he was able to blink and respond to me between having them. But they continued for about 30 minutes. One right after another. My brother, an ER doctor, was on vacation next door to us, so after some observation and discussion, we administered one dose of the Valium. We were a bit concerned because Valium reduces respitory rate and so we kept a close eye on his breaths, counting how many times he breathed per minute. After 5 minutes, he started to relax and fall asleep. He woke up several times and finally fell asleep for a stretch. He threw up twice while sleeping. He's sleeping now. When he wakes up later this afternoon, we'll see if he needs more medical attention. As we live with Alex's seizures, I believe I am becoming more able to spot when a seizure may be immenent. For a child with brain damage, being overtired and even mildly sick is the perfect storm. I'm not us if a seizure can be prevented once the storm has begun, but getting sleep and eating a high fat and low sugar diet might help. My training will be posoned today, and when I again schedule this intense training, I will likely be running all 60 miles by doing 2 mile loop repeats. Running may reduce my stress but staying close to home is important, just in case I'm needed again.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Training for the Grindstone 100

The Grindstone 100, a grueling 100 miler in the mountains of Virginia, with over 23,000 feet of elevation gain, takes place the first weekend of October this year. My ultra distance partner, and Team Baby Alex Foundation runner, friend and inspiration (he ran across the entire USA last year pushing his stuff in a baby jogger!) and I will have our toes on the starting line. Hopefully, before the 38 hour time limit has clicked past, we will be crossing the finish line. Training has begun in earnest. As always, we will be running for The Baby Alex Foundation, raising money for next year's grants. I've been reading Jeff's book, just published, called Running with God Across America, and I imagine Jeff will be running with prayers for the sick and in need too. His book has inspired me to push myself harder in training, to trust that my feet can take me a lot farther than I might have imagined and to be nicer to people I meet along the way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Alex's First Triathlon

Alex has been talking about his first triathlon, which took place last weekend, for three months. In Utah, he informed everyone he met that he was there with Mommy to train for his first triathlon. Back at home this summer, he continued to tell everyone that he was in training. When it finally arrived, I was concerned that the build up would lead to a let down. Fortunately, the race went well, he walked away from it without any injuries, and in the end, it was sort of just the start of another amazing summer day. Alex was in excellent company this weekend at his first TRI. This was our Team Baby Alex Foundation triathlon training camp, and we had three amazing kids training with us. All of the kids raced the triathlon and all finished. What brought tears to my eyes was watching the kids, who had just met, come together to cheer and support each other. It was incredible. Little Spencer, who finished before Alex, returned to run a second loop of the race to run by Alex's side. Justin, much older, also ran with Alex and cheered him on the whole way. The kids all ran through the finish area together and were full of hugs and high fives. I was proud of them all. When another team member asked Alex how he did in the race later that day, he said "I won." She said, "Really? You came in first?" And Alex said, "I won because I participated!" Yay, Team.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Graduating to Neighborhood Runs

When Alex and Izzy were old enough to handle running in the neighborhood, we started by going just one block at a time. Running in the neighborhood is one of the few times I crack a (metaphorical) whip, because it can be dangerous. I insisted on two things, and I recommend you do the same: 1) We run together, as a group, and not get spaced out; 2) We all stop, look and listen at every street or busy driveway. It took about a year of this kind of running to finally get my kids to stop, look and listen on their own. Although we still run together these days, I no longer have to remind them to stop, look and listen. I'm sure I sounded like a crazy woman at times when I was first teaching them running practices, and we probably woke up the neighborhood (since we run EARLY), but safety is always first. Teaching your kids to be safe on the sidewalk might save their life, as it did with Izzy. One day when she was two, she started chasing a ball toward the end of our driveway. As the ball rolled into the street, a car swerved around the corner going about 50mph. I don't think I even had time to yell to Izzy to stop, because it all happened so fast. But Izzy put on her brakes right on the edge of the driveway, to stop, look and listen. The car zoomed past. That year of teaching the kids safe running on the sidewalks gave me a few grey hairs and I lost my patience countless times. But, it was all worth it. If you take your kids to run in your neighborhood, set down the rules before you even head out the door. If you are starting from scratch, it will not be fun at first, But keep at it. And don't forget to wear your running shoes to keep up with them!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Taking Kids Running Outside

Summer has finally set in, and as in the past couple of years, it is hot!! My run yesterday in mid-90 degree heat brought our dog to a complete standstill. I had to run him home and then go back out to finish training. I love the heat, but most bodies are not made for it like mine. So, if you are taking your kids outside this summer to run, bring lots of water bottles, run during the cool times of day (morning and evening), take lots of breaks, go for a swim or bath afterward to cool down, and don't overdo it. Once our kids were ready to graduate from running inside, I took them to the local track. The track is great for kids because it is usually mostly enclosed by a fence (we often had to jump over the fence to get in if the gate was locked), which means that your kids can't wander off. They can run freely with YOU around the track or just run sprints back and forth on the football field counting the large numbers on the field. I have no idea if there are rules against these things but no one has ever given me a hard time about it. Can you really ask a Mommy with a 2 and 3 year old to leave the track? As we did in the kitchen, I made a game out of running. We counted laps and I gave away all kinds of "awards", like the Gold Star, which my kids have finally figured out doesn't exist in any physical form, but just means that they did a good job. The very best award of all is to go for an ice cream after your run, or buy containers of ice cream and cones for home and make special treats at home. If it's hot, spray your kids with the water hose when you get home. A run, playing in the water hose, then ice cream...that's a full summer morning and your kids will be ready for some quiet time afterward.

Follow Articles on All Things Healing

The first of my articles has come out on All Things Healing ( Here is the link:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Introducing Children to Running

Alex ran his first race when he was 20 months old. He could barely shuffle back then, and I had to hold him up as he race, but he finished his first 60 meters with a smile on his face. The race series was held by my running club and included a 60 meter course for the little guys, a 400 meter run for older kids and longer distances for the older or braver. The video of Alex running his first race is featured on our website ( The following week, we took Alex back to the track for his second race. This time, he refused to hold my hand, no matter how many times he fell during the race, and when he stumbled across the finish line, he kept going. We used to call him Forest Gump. Alex is not physiologically designed to run. He has cerebral palsy, suffers from uneven leg lengths, has hip pain and lower back pain, and can barely raise his left foot to clear the ground. But, he is a natural born runner. He runs, and runs and runs and runs, and sometimes we have to pull him off a running path and make him take a break. So, how did we introduce Alex to running? We started with circles around the island in our kitchen. I ran with the kids and we made it into a game. We pretended we were cars or motorcycles or animals. We counted our laps in English and Italian and Japanese. I gave out award and rewards for laps run. We made everything fun. If you have kids who need to run, for whatever reason, I recommend the following: 1) Start them young (Izzy started running at 18 months). 2) Run in a safe location so you don't really have any rules; let them run freely. 3) Turn the running into a game: count laps, pretend to be cars or animals, give prizes. 4) And finally, the most important point: RUN WITH YOUR KIDS. You will get into shape, have fun and share time. Once you get them running, you can move them outdoors. I will write more on that in the next blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Running with Jurek

For the past week, I've been running with ultramarathon legend, Scott Jurek. Not literally, but I've been reading his book Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, and I can't get his story, or his training, out of my head. Erik thinks he must be a long lost cousin because of the similarities in our personalities, the fact that as children we were both inducted into our family low-bush wild blueberry picking and endless fly fishing trips, both of which included swarms of mosquitoes and unsympathetic grandparents, his dream of going to Dartmouth, and his use of running to solve everything. He eats healthier than I could ever dream to, as I am madly in love and married to ice cream and chocolate and the occasional mojito. His book is amazing, whether you are a runner or not, because it is not just about running, but as he states, about finding your way out of a rut. For Jurek, and for me and for most people who run long distances, the answer to all of life's problems is running. And it seems, for most of us, our distances increase and our destinations become more remote and challenging as we age, or as in my case, an my children age. I have recently been asked to be a contributing writer for an amazing website called All Thing Healing ( My articles this year are about the benefits of running, of going longer and farther than you might have thought your body capable of going, of introducing your children to running, and of the benefits of running on the brain. In one of them, I write about being the parent of a child with disabilities, and how that stress can wear on the body and brain. My solution has been to run. Whether during Alex's time in the hospital or today, when our day-to-day challenges include meltdowns (for both of us) over getting dressed in the morning, I run. Running lowers the levels of Cortisol in the brain, which when produced in large amounts over long periods of time, wears at the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain and causes long-term negative effects. There are myriad other benefits that running brings to the brain. For me, lowering my stress and elevating my mood are the most immediate and observable benefits that I gain from running every day. Recently, I have noticed that Alex has started to use running the way I do. When he gets really frustrated, particularly with his fine motor skills, he often tells me that he needs to take a break and go for a run, and then return to his task. I have introduced my children to the idea that running makes you smarter (by increasing brain derived neurotrophic factor, which is miracle grow on your synapses) and calms you down (by regulating the neurotransmitters Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine, which affect mood, anger control, attention, motivation), and they have begun to put their running to use when they realize their brains are not behaving. This month, I am going to include a running plan for anyone who wants to begin running with children, even as young as 3 years old. In the meantime, I recommend that everyone read Jurek's book. A good read and great motivation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The 2012 Zion 100/50

What a beast. What a nasty beastly, beast of a race. For the last two nights I've been falling asleep with visions of ledges and deathly drops swimming through my head. Fortunately, during the race, my only thought was "don't look down!" the race was awesome, and I am considering the 100 miler for 2013. It started on a lovely dirt trail that headed straight for an enormous mesa(which is a mountain with a flat top) and we then climbed, a lot, for about a mile, straight up. I thought things would ease up at the top, but we then proceeded to traverse 11 miles on undulating sandstone rock as we ran the very edge of the mesa. The views were so amazing. I stopped frequently to take photos. But the rock, the ups and downs, and the uneven surfaces all took an amazing tole on my quads. Added to that, I quickly realized that getting to mile 27 in 7 hours was actually going to be a stretch for me and about 50 others. My pacer, Jeff, who had traveled 7 hours the night before just to pace me home from mile 27 was waiting for me, and the thought of ruining his weekend by not making the cutoff was enough to push me on. I made it in 6:30. As soon as Jeff joined me, things got better. Well, actually, they got much worse for a minute because a runner passed us and just as he passed, a 3 foot rattle snake lunged out with fangs bared to strike and the runner vaulted up over his running poles and we all had to stop a minute to cath our breath, but then things got better. Jeff entertained me with tails of his run across America, which will be coming out in a book in June. He took care of me at the aide stations and when I found my second wind at mile 40, he took off at my request, exactly at my speed, which allowed me to do only one thing: focus on his footsteps and run. Toward the end, we had the illusion of being the only people running on the Jem Trail, which winds through the most breathtaking terrain, with mountains all around, and then joins the Virgin River and runs the rim. I looked up and thought to myself, this is my final hour of running this unforgettable country this year, after an amazing month in Utah, and I tried to soak it all in. We finished in 12:28, and I took 13th place woman and 38th place overall. The finish was awesome, with music and cheering. The pizza guys were making pizza in their portable wood fired pizza oven and the local BBQ restaurant was serving up BBQ and baked beans, and everywhere you looked, runners were throwing up their guts. Having a stomach of steel, I thought to myself, "what is wrong with these people?" and then I sat down and sniffed the BBQ and's been 48 hours and I still get nauseous at the smell of food, although I manage to eat. Amazing day overall, and when I got home at 9pm, little Alex snuck out of his room, because he had been waiting up for mommy. We snuggled and held my finishered medalian. When I woke up the next day, Alex was on one side of me and Izzy was on the other side and we were all wrapped up. It was Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two Days to the Zion 100/50

Two days to go to the biggie. Jeff Grabowski, who ran across the entire USA last year, wearing a Foundation t-shirt for part of it, will be pacing me the last 23 miles. I have complete faith that he will keep me pointed in the right direction when logic fades away. Izzy told me yesterday that I was getting fat since I started tapering. Guess I'm ready for a long run. Daily massages and lots of rest this week have helped me prepare. Erik arrives friday am, and the kids are counting down the hours. So am I. This race will be hot. Over 15 miles of the race covers wide open desert, and the rest runs on mostly single track trails through Zion National Park and surrounding areas. I love the heat, I love the limitless mountains, I love the trails, and I love the a full day of running is my Mother's Day present to myself. Anything could happen in a race this long and the key is to just stay calm, fix what isn't working and keep puttingone foot in front of the other. At the Ironman this weekend, which started in a reservoir in Hurricane, Utah, hurricane force winds wreaked havock. A local commented to me, "The town is called Hurricane for a reason." Uh, oh, okay. So, the Zion 100/50 starts in a town called Virgin. Hmmm. Anyway, the organizers of this race are locals and they are amazing. Just to give an idea of how cool they are, their mom is making the chicken soup for one of the aid stations, and they are serving up amazing grub at the aid stations, like burritos and snow cones! Alex and Izzy think this is the coolest race too. We ran about 2 miles on single track this morning, and Alex was truly in him element. The difficult trails challenge his balance, and I have to keep myself from saying "be careful!" every minute. This morning he fell, picked himself up and said, "It's alright Mom. That's life. You fall, you get back up and keep going." I'll try to keep that in mind on Saturday. To track my progress-I'm number 785:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ironman St. George 2012

Saturday's Ironman St. George was a bit disastrous. Literally at the sound of the starting horn, winds came up and swept across the reservoir, producing 5 foot waves. The swim was so dangerous that boat engines died, swimmers were screaming for help, and several hundred were pulled from the water. Many were allowed to continue the race without a timing chip. Our teammate, Bob, with countless races under his belt, including the triple ironman distance, said it was the worst race conditions he had ever experienced. After battling winds and hills for the first loop of the bike, he pulled out in favor of an afternoon at the pool, sushi and beers before getting on a plane for NYC. He had been mountain biking across Arizona prior to the race, so had a good trip overall. Tough day for racers. It sounds like the Ironman here is going to be replaced by a half, which may suit this beautiful place better.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Alex ran his first major race last night, the Ironkids 1 miler. It was an awesome experience for him, and me. The race was packed and we chose to run in the final start wave. I was concerned because it was hot, there were loads of people and total chaos, andirons was held at 6pm, which is not our best hour to do anything but sleep! But both kids had taken naps in preparation for the event and everyone remained in good spirits, although Izzy got so nervous seeing all the runners, that she clung to me and refused to run. So, I propped her up on my shoulders because I wanted her to experience the race nonetheless. Alex took off and ran the entire mile with only two quick stops for a sip of my camelpak. He was hot, tired, a bit overwhelmed with all the Ironman hoopla, but he ran with all his heart. It is something special to watch Alex run. He runs with a smile on his face the entire way. He works hard to swing his left foot around and get his left arm in motion with his right. He is working so hard, and it is obvious to everyone watching. He steals the hearts of the crowds and people ran into the course to give him high fives. We were dead last the entire way, but all Alex could say was that he was winning. My mantra for the kids is that it doesn't matter if you cross the finish line first. You win if you participate. Alex was so proud of himself for crossing the finish line, and receiving a medal. And so was I. He sleeps with his metal next to his bed, along with my metal from the 50k.

Friday, May 4, 2012

T-Bone to Powerline Trails

Yesterday afternoon, our team member, Bob, and I, headed back out to the Red Cliffs Desert Trails behind Dixie Rock. We started on the T-Bone Trail, crossed over and up onto Turkey Farm Road, then down the Powerline Trail. Powerlines the whole way, but beautiful nonetheless. I kept thinking my poles might become electrified. Good 90 minute run at a faster clip than I usually take alone. Always good to train with buddies from time to time. We followed up the hot run with a trip to Mr. Frost Top for soda floats, yum. This morning we found some new mountain biking trails along the Santa Clara River Preerve. These were the best trails we have found so far. No powerlines, just well-marked trails and mountains for as far as we could see. The kids and I dropped off Bob, who took off on his bike down the trailhead. The kids and I ran about a mile in total, then headed back in town for ice cream and the splash pool. Alex is so into his trail running, which really challenges him to find his center of gravity and balance. Some days Izzy would rather hike...she is only three after all. Today she hiked up the trail and raced at top speed back down. I kept thinking of the warnings about keeping small children close by because of the mountain lions... Tonight we race the Ironkids race, so everyone is napping in preparation. Tomorrow is the Ironman.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hiking with Melanie Webb of Sol Fitness Adventures

Today, I met up with Melanie Webb, owner and operator of Sol Fitness Adventures (, a company which specializes in customized experiences for outdoor athletes and adventure travelers. I met Melanie through her work as an Athleta 2012 Featured Athlete. We hiked up and around Dixie Rock, though an amazing crack in the rock that allowed us to inch our way up and out, then into the Red Cliff Desert Preserve. A great time on the trail with an impressive athlete and entrepreneur. Now that I am tapering, I am making time for more adventure and less training. I put in a 30 minute run and 30 minute swim this morning, then a 35 minute trail run and 90 minute hike. My legs feel tight and tired still and my chronic hamstring continues to bother me. But, I feel much stronger than when I arrived 3 weeks ago. Tmorrow will be one last long trail run, and then it will be all short runs and swimming, maybe another spin session or two, and then a final couple days of rest before the 50 mile. The Ironpeople are all descending upon St. George, which has brought the town to life. Alex, Izzy and I made a stop at Judd's, an old fashioned candy and ice cream shop and we sat out on a bench and watched the many incredible athletes ride by on their tri bikes. Both kids are fired up for their race Friday evening, a one mile fun run that ends at the Ironman finish line. After ice cream, we rode the carousel and splashed in the splash pools. A great day for all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sand Hollow State Park

Yeterday, Alex, Izzy and I rented an ATV and zoomed all over Sand Hollow State Park. We happened to see an ad in a local paper for ATV rentals. We knew nothing about the company, but after speaking with the owner, we decided to give it a shot. The family who runs the company lives just a few minutes from where we are staying. Really nice people who run this rental company on the side of their real lives. They dropped us at the back entrance to Sand Hollow State Park, just a few minutes from our place, and off we went. The entire park was empty, except for a few horses and some cows. For as far as we could see, lavender mountains and red cliff mesas surroundedus, and ATV trails branched off from the main dirt road and got lost from sight. At first, we stayed on the main road. I was a tiny bit nervous about being in the middle of nowhere with the kids an an ATV, which I had never driven before. But after an hour or so, we settled in and took some offshoots of the main path. Our final destination point was a spot where Dilophosaurus tracks have been preserved in rock, and are open for people to visit and touch. This adventure was a highlight of our trip. Being able to take the kids deep into the mountains and then having the added excitement of placing our hands in the very nicely preserved Dino tracks was pretty incredible. We watched the sunrise come up and hit the red rocks, then had lunch and headed back. Izzy fell asleep. The bumpier, the better for this little one. I went back to the same road junction for my afternoon run. I immediately left the dirt road and took the trails up to the top of the towering rocks, then back down into the valley, then back up. I was covered in red dust by the end and had drained my entire camelpak in just 90 minutes. Again, I wished for a running partner for this one. Tomorrow, our teammate Bob will arrive in preparation for Saturday's Ironman and another friend will be in town briefly to hike, so we'll have a few good days of team training.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Red Cliffs Desert Preserve Run

Yesterday, I ran across the trailhead which led me into the heart of the Red Cliffs Desert Resereve. The first section took me high on top of hard packed red rock with amazing views of St. George. The urban sprawl in this city has truly ruined the charm of this historic and lovely little town, but once you turn your back and start down the trails, you disappear into never, never land. I had no map and no agenda, so I just took a trail and ran. Within minutes I was surrounded by mountains. Most of the trail was hard packed red earth, but some of it was red sand, which made footing a bit more challenging. I stopped occasionally to take pictures and was struck each time with the peaceful silence of the mountains. I was out for several hours and saw only one figure, far off on an adjacent trail. I'm not comfortable running in these remote locations alone, and so eventually turned back, wishing for a dog. I think part of the lure of ultra running is seeing an immense mountain range and looking into a distance that appears remote, and knowing I have the power to get there, by foot alone. My legs were feeling better than they had all week. I have been training on very tired legs. I took Friday mostly off so yesterday I felt better. The run got me pumped up for the 50. When I got home, I picked up the kids and brought them to the trail. We jogged a couple miles before they were exhausted by the heat. The kids are slowly getting used to the heat, but it has been tough for them. Little bodies don't acclimate as quickly as adults. We went out to a drive up ice cream joint and then headed off to a splash park. Great day for everyone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mommy School in Utah

Although we came to Utah and Colorado this spring to train and race for Team Baby Alex Foundation, this month is proving to be a tremendous educational opportunity for the kids. Before we left, we studied the important points concerning Utah and Colorado-things like poisonous snakes and spiders and what states sit on the border-and now we are living what we studied, synthesizing our studies. The downside is that I have become so crazed about snakes and spiders that I can hardly sleep, and when I ran into two dead rattlers last weekend on my run, I jumped. One of the coolest things we have done so far is to visit the local dinasour museum. We had been studying dinosaurs and watching the Nick Jr. Tv show Dino Dan, and we read about fossils and archeologists and how they go about unearthing fossils, etc. I learned a lot and fortunately Alex remembers everything because I just can't seem to retain it all. So when we visited the museum this week, Alex informed the curators all about which Dino's run as fast as horses and which had 3 toes, and basically spit out everything we had been studying. Izzy was intent on finding a T-Rex fossil at the museum, and when we did find a T-Rex footprint (so big both kids could fit inside it), she new exactly what it was and was blown away by the fact that a real, live T-Rex, her favorite, had walked on the same ground she was walking on. She talked about it all day. I have been concerned that the kids might not get as much out of the trip as I am, but the trip is proving to be good for them, thankfully. Today, Alex bit into the edge of a piece of bread and said, "Look, Mommy, I turned it into the shape of Utah". Small victories. Mommy School is exhausting and I never dreamed I would be staying home to educate my kids, but it is so incredibly rewarding. I plan to send them part time to school this fall but I'll continue with Mommy School, and maybe we will take off for another trip depending on our studies, although I think two weeks would be long enough. So, today we went to the local river bed and after viewing flash floods on the computer, we examined why flash floods happen...we are expecting terrible weather tonight so I figured we might as well understand it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Values of the Month: Adventuresomeness and Appreciation

Our value for 2012 is Adventuresomeness, and it seemed appropriate to make that the value of the month since we are in Utah training and racing. But once our trip got underway, I realized that we need to add Appreciation, because an adventure without appreciation for all we are doing and seeing just does not tap into the essence of the experience. Appreciation is one of those values my kids love to talk about, but have trouble living. In fact, I think appreciation gives us all a lot of trouble. We tell people we love them and appreciate them, but living a truly appreciative life is difficult. When we are busy or irritated or tired, we tend to loose sight of all we have to appreciate. This weekend, we got a dose of appreciation, which unfortunately often comes about because of a tragedy. One of the runners traveling to the 50k was killed in a car accident. We all ran with blue ribbons to celebrate his life, and to remember him on the run. I had never met him, but his loss really affected me. Toward the end of the race, when the pain set in, I found myself telling my mind to simply appreciate the fact that I was able to run that day. I recently took the kids to see The Lorax movie, which I highly recommend. It is a great story and leads to all kinds of discussions about appreciation: of the environment, of family and friends, of animals and nature. So, if you are following the values on the blog, good luck with appreciation. I think the best way to ingrain it into your children's psyches is simply to take moment over a meal or in the car enroute to school, to talk about something you appreciate that day. Many of the great mentors and success giants, like Darren Hardy, recommend book ending your day with a few thoughts about what you appreciate from that day. If you lead, your children will follow and absorb more than you realize.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Red Mountain 50k

The Red Mountain 50k is by far the most scenic race I've done. We started in the pitch dark, our path illuminated by headlamps. Just 50 runners, and a dog. The first half waved through the mountains of southern Utah on access roads, with views of the surrounding peaks as they turned purple in the sunrise. Hard packed red clay proved difficult footing. You didn't want to turn an ankle because there was no give to the earth. Nice hills and some descent and the a long stretch on a deserted gravel road. I had to take off the side flaps from my cap because the wind flapped them too hard against my ears. A couple hours later, as we circled the Gunlocks Reservoir, the sun beat so hard against my neck I reattached the flaps and secured it shut. Definitely recommend a full coverage run hat for desertous terrain. The race was well supported but still i could not have finished without a fully stocked camelpak, with electrolyte water and plenty Of snacks on board. The last half of the race was on country roads, traveled primarily by serious bikers, mostly on aero bars, training for the upcoming Ironman. The last 2 miles of the race was a brutal, unforgiving hilly section that seemed to extend forever, and suddenly at the top of the last hill, we turned left and were soon running through the finish shoot. My first thought, after fueling up on chocolate milk, was whether Erik was surviving the heat in the desert sun. I went out in the car and found him, finishing well, considering his body's inability to manage the heat and his recent recovery from three weeks of illness. He wasn't the happiest person last night, but he seems to be recovering. My legs are more tired than I had hoped, not a good sign for the 50 miler in three weeks. I have a lot of work to put in over the next two weeks, but it proves to be hot and I plan to train in the heart of the afternoon sun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Race the Nipmuck 16 Miler

Last week, Erik and I ran our first race of the season, a very hilly and single track 16 mile trail race in northern CT, The Nipmuck 16M. This was a big training weekend, so my morning began at 6am with a 10 mile warmup run. I showered, ate breakfast, nursed an injury, and then headed off for the race with Erik. Unfortunately, Erik was coming down with the stomach bug, so he did not have a very pleasant race. He spent the next three days in bed. I took 7th overall for women. The top 4 women were very impressive, and I hope to be up there with them once we get into the heart of racing this summer. We're off to some major training and racing in Utah and Colorado, with various team members joining at different times. We're all looking forward to the wide, hard packed surfaces of the western trails, the incredible views of rock and mountain, and the dry, hot air.

Alex and Izzy had a major training day last week, which brought another issue to our attention concerning Alex's stride. I took them on a training run/hike (in preparation for our trail running in Utah) up and down a mountain in northern CT. I estimate we covered nearly 4 miles, most of which Alex ran. He loves to run, then stop for us all to catch up, then run some more. We are working on a steadier pace, where we all run together. Although the best therapy for Alex's leg is running, and indeed it has improved his balance and helped keep both legs strong and nearly an equal size (whereas his left hand, with less therapy, is weak and smaller than his right), it also gives him some stiffness. Our concern is that his hip is not developing correctly, despite our best efforts at stretching and yoga. So, we fear there is bone rubbing on bone. We have consulted with his orthopedic surgeon, who says that a brace won't help and we need to do more stretching, more yoga, more pool time, etc. We do our best, but despite our efforts, he still complains of pain at times. The good news is that he has stopped tripping. He still occasionally wipes out, but so do Erik, Izzy and I on the trails.

So, the next race is the 50K out in Utah. We are fundraising this season through First Giving. Our page is: Our goal is to raise $20,000 for research through our racing this season.

Last week we awarded $60,000 for our 2012 grants to three projects at Children's Hospital Boston, all of which are truly groundbreaking and have the potential to change pediatric brain injury medicine. To read about those, visit our website and click on our Accomplishments at the bottom of the home page.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Resources from Last Blog

I mentioned the Chinese DVD's which we use with our kids. You could start kids as young as 1 on these DVD's I think.

Journeys to the East, The River Dragon King (games and activities at
Early Start Mandarin Chinese with Bao Bei the Panda (several volumes, all good)
Let's Go Guange

We also watch Ni Hao, Kai Lan and have her movie about traveling to China.

We started Chinese because we were scheduled to move to Singapore. That move was canceled, but we are keeping up with the Chinese. Basically, if you want your kids to learn a second language, there are great dvd's for just about all of them. A recent article in the New York Times highlighted new studies about people who speak two languages fluently. Among other benefits, these dual language speakers developed an increased ability to think creatively and problem-solve.

Another great resource we found for Alex has been a website called This site has all kinds of tools for kids with myriad disabilities. We found an awesome weight for Alex's left hand which is basically a glove full of beans that attaches to either the back or front of his left hand, simply and easily. It means that whatever he does with lefty, he has added weight which will help build his arm and shoulder muscles. Also, the very fact that something is touching that hand seems to wake it up and remind it to move more throughout the day. Alex wears this thing for a good chunk of the day and doesn't complain too much.

And finally, on happiness...we were tipped off that this book might change our lives. It certainly has given us reason to examine how we live and our daily interactions and make some changes, that's for sure. I recommend it to anyone. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Continued Progress

Alex was finally able to point with his left hand this morning, which means that his pointer finger is recovering from the seizures. It has been nearly 7 weeks since his seizures and still we are making our recovery. Alex is still exhausted in the afternoons, so we take our afternoon easy. I am a firm believer in setting up the kids for success, so we make the most of our mornings with Mommy School, our athletics and any errands that might require good behavior, and save the afternoons for quiet activities, long baths and cartoons.

Mommy School has been an incredible journey for all of us. Alex is thriving. Izzy is less than thrilled. Entertaining and educating two so different children has been a challenge. Alex has gone from being able to write only his name to writing all the big and small letters in the alphabet. Since he was already reading well, he is now able to write. We keep a daily journal, and it has inspired him to write full sentences. We have also started copy work, where he copies sentences from books or which I write on a dry erase.

After tapping maple trees at Grandma's, we created a How-To book about tapping maple trees, which we published via Apple on our computer. We also have hand created a book about our upcoming trip out west. We have studied Utah and Colorado and made pictures and text about the important things we wanted to study--the kinds of snakes and dangerous spiders, our rendition of the dinosaurs who roamed that area, etc. This we will bind with string and take with us.

One of the most incredible advances over the last 7 weeks has been the kids' Chinese language. We discovered several excellent DVD's which they love to watch, and both of them are speaking the words they are learning. I watch and study with the kids to keep up with them, although I can't remember even a fraction of what they remember.

Their math skills have also taken off. Alex does a page of addition, subtraction and multiplication every day, and Izzy is practicing counting, simple addition and writing her numbers.

Mommy School has been awesome. It has also been challenging. Alex has left his stage of pinching and now has full blown temper tantrums when he can't do things he wants to do. It is made all the harder because Izzy tries to help him, which just makes him madder. She is so physically capable and he sees her ease with everything. Learning to deal with these frustrations is difficult for all of us. We use a number of techniques to help Alex calm down and get back to his task. The best one is to stop everything and get some exercise. We have him run around our kitchen island or we all go out for a short run. We also gave him a soft frog to hug against his face when he is mad. We have tried counting to ten, folding his hands, etc. We realize a lot of 4-year olds go through this stage, and although Alex's situation is made harder due to his disabilities, we try to treat him with understanding but firmness. He needs to learn to deal with frustrations now, because it will only get harder as he gets older.

Most of all, we try to be happy every day. Teaching my kids how to find happiness is probably one of the most important things I can give them to set them up for a lifetime of happiness and success. We celebrate progress, we appreciate challenges, we run trails and along the beach and connect to nature, we think of ways to bring happiness to others, and we spend time with the people we love.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Road to Recovery

Alex is on the mend. Strangely, the seizures, or perhaps the medicines he took while in the hospital, have relaxed his left leg and allowed him to run with a smoother gait. I don't think I'm dreaming this, because Erik noticed it independently of me. We don't know if it will last, but it is allowing him to build some muscle strength in his lefty leg. His left hand is weaker than it was before the seizures, or maybe it's also just very relaxed. CP by definition is where the muscles are constantly engaged, and can't relax. So, with some relaxation, Alex's CP has decreased.

Rather than cast his right arm this spring (which is inconvenient, because we still have ski season and lots of swimming we like to do, and we are keep into our hand writing exercises in Mommy School), we using a glove for an hour at time, several times a day. I don't necessarily try to do therapy during that hour, just let Alex go through the normal activities of his day. The minute we glove rightly, lefty comes to life. He is definitely making a left brain to right brain switch, kind of like when you go from thinking in your native language to thinking in a foreign language--your brain does a shift. Alex is finally at an age where he understands he must wear the glove, and an hour is just short enough that he tolerates it. Anything longer would not work. Half hours work better when he's tired.

He is slowly regaining his strength and building stamina after the trauma of his seizures. And so am I. Adrenaline must actually do cell damage because my muscles continue to ache, and I have been knocked back about 2 months in my training. I don't think this is all mental. So, as Alex must do, so must patient and slowly rebuild, physically and mentally. The weather is improving and on warm days we head to the trails, our favorite place to run. We also went back to the pool yesterday for our first swim session. Baby steps. That's what I always tell the kids, and now it applies to all of us. Baby steps, small incremental progress toward a larger goal.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


So, this is an ad, but it is inspiring. I often ask myself the question it poses, which is, "How strong am I?" Just strong enough? Or strong without measure...

Monday, February 13, 2012


Premature babies run a higher risk than term babies for all kinds of medical issues, from autism to ADHD. Last week, we discovered that Alex's prematurity, or perhaps the brain damage that resulted from that prematurity, has put him at risk for seizures. I suppose we should have assumed he was risk, but as he has been a relatively healthy boy for 4 years, we had never even considered the possibility.

Since Alex started going to preschool in June, he has been sick. Like all children who start school, the first year is a doozy with illnesses. I think this winter is worse than ever-I blame the unusually warm weather. Alex catches everything and recovers very slowly. His immune system is not as strong as his sister's and when he is sick, he won't eat, loses weight, and in general gets completely worn down. Apparently, the cumulative effect on his little body was to create the perfect opportunity for a seizure.

I won't go into the horror of finding Alex in his bed, post-seizure, looking as though he were taking his last breaths of life, or the terror of not knowing what had happened, so quietly, in the early hours of the morning when I was downstairs enjoying a cup of coffee. He seized for over 90 minutes, and we spent a lovely overnight in the Yale ICU. Five days have passed, and I still can't run. I was training about 12-15 hours/week for my upcoming ultra season, which begins in Utah on April 21. But when I try to take a step, everything hurts, especially my psyche. There is no pain like the pain you feel for your children.

It took Alex a long time to recover too. Fortunately, he remembers nothing of the event. It took him days to be able to sit up on his own, walk, talk...he's better today.

And poor Izzy, who witnessed her brother seizing, watched the medics take him away on a stretcher, then observed him plugged into machines and sucking on oxygen, and then had to stay alone at her Grandma's overnight, which she had previously made me promise I would not do to her--not because she doesn't love her Grandma, but because she gets so homesick to be anywhere without Alex. When we were all reunited, Izzy was shocked at the state Alex was in, and asked us repeatedly when he was going to be better.

When you are the family of a preemie, you wrap your arms around each other and face each new obstacle as it comes. Preemies don't just get better and move on. We can't live our every day in fear, but I'm sure there is an underlying sadness in Erik and my psyche that wasn't there when we got married. A friend of Erik's, whose wife and daughter have faced some serious health issues, commented to me the other day, "I know why you run so far. Like you, I need to see the sunrise every day."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

40 on 40

This week, Erik turned 40. After much discussion about how to celebrate this achievement, Erik decided he wanted to run 40 miles. So on Saturday, we ran. Our course took us through the back roads and hills of Litchfield County, CT, which is notoriously hilly, and in January, it's cold. In fact, it was blizzarding.

For the first 20 miles, which covered about 1200 of elevation gain, we met less than a dozen cars, not a single snowplow and it was the morning was magical. We shuffled our way through inches of fresh snow, which made everyone stay inside, except us, spending a romantic day together doing what we love, running. By the second 20 miles, a flatter double loop around the Farmington River, every snowplow in the county was out, and what had been fluffy snow, with a decent grip and soft landing on the feet, because a slushy, slipper mess. Our shoes were soaked, blisters formed, and our quads aches as we slipped backward with every step. Amazingly, we kept it together emotionally, and enjoyed each other's company right up to the last minutes of the 10 hour day. I guess we were both in need of a long, quiet run. I was sore on Sunday, but ready to get back out there for another long workout, which was a good sign in terms of my ultra training. I think Erik took Sunday off, but he seemed in much better shape than I have seen him after any long run before.

Normally, I dislike the cold. I have recently been reading about Badwater, where temps reach over 120 degrees, and it is tempting me to train harder to be invited to this race someday. I remember running in Iraq in August, when evening temps went above 120 degrees. Back then I worried about kidney damage, but had no way of monitoring that, really. I just ran, and tried to monitor whether I was feeling faint. I never did. When training and racing in Louisville, KY last year, in a record hot summer, I never felt like I was overheating. I love running in hot, hot temps. But, I have learned to dress for the weather, so last weekend, running for 10 hours in 15 degree weather, I dressed well, covered all skin, and carried all of my food and water, and actually, it wasn't that bad. Freezing camelpak tubes required frequent drinking, and that probably aided in my hydration. I have also recently discovered that wearing your hair in braids at your ears helps keep them warm. Still next year, our 41 on 41 will probably take place someplace warm.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012: The Year of Adventure

Every January our family chooses a moto for the year. 2012 is our year of adventure! Whether planning more trips to the Y to swim, or heading out west for spring ultra training, we are making more of an effort than ever to enjoy travel and adventure together as a family.

Travel is an education. We started traveling at a young age with our children and they still talk about what they have learned from trips we have taken as a family. I am amazed at how the kids grow when they have hands-on, real world, new life experiences. Not only do they learn about regional animals, cultures and cuisines, geography and languages, they have become more curious about the world around them. Since much of our travel so far has been based around my ultra training and racing, they also have fallen in love with trail running (where most of the training and racing takes place). This year, we head to Utah and Colorado, which will include two major ultras, a 50K and a 50 miler. Alex is already talking about how he can't wait to do some awesome trail running as a family.

Running is one of the best therapies we have done with Alex. He has strengthened his left leg, improved his balance, worked out his frustrations, and has fallen in love with the feeling of movement through space. And always, Izzy is by his side. Trail running is tougher for both kids, because the terrain is more uneven. I may try to have Alex wear light gloves this year, so that when he falls, he will have some protection on his hands, which often take the brunt of the fall. Many athletes in the X-Terra races wear half gloves to protect their hands--that's where I got the idea. We'll give it a try.