Posted in Writings

Relentless Forward Motion

Relentless. Forward. Motion. Those words carried me through my first 50-mile finish. Ten years earlier, life seemed less complicated. I was younger, married and Mormon.  I thought I was strong then, but life had different plans. One thing is certain. Whatever mental or physical threshold I believed to possess, I learned in the coming years that I could always take it a step further.

With each passing year, my relationship with my husband diminished. He began working long hours at the office. We rarely spoke. My days were filled with driving the kids to and from school and taking them to various extracurricular activities. The kids and religion kept us together. We were going to get through this because divorce was not an option. Running became the way to cope with our deteriorating marriage. I took up marathons as if every passing mile could magically heal what was broken between us, but it did not.

He convinced me that a change of scenery might help. We left family and friends and moved from Washington State to Florida. Perhaps we just needed some sunshine. Instead, he retreated into a world of late night computer gaming and slept the day away only to repeat what he had done the previous night. I took care of our children and lived my life of structure within the confines of the Mormon religion. Sunday? I was at church. Monday? Family Home Evening. Tuesday? Leading Youth Activities. Thursday? Visiting other church members.

One evening, he came to me in tears. “I’m going to lose everything. I knew it was wrong, but the money was too good. I know I should have told you.”

I hugged him close and cried with him, not knowing what his confession meant.

As things began to unfold, I learned that his business partner signed hundreds of fraudulent loan modifications. The FBI had been investigating him for some time, but they had trouble finding my husband. He felt that it didn’t concern him since he only covered the marketing side of the business. He did not take into consideration that since they split profits 50/50, he was just as guilty.  His lawyer gave him three options: 1) Take your family and go to Canada and never come back to the States. 2) Lie, but know they will uncover the truth and you will be forced to spend 20 years in prison or 3) Tell the truth and face the consequences.

He chose the third option. During my birthday weekend in the middle of October, we flew up to Washington, D.C. I watched as my husband of 15 years and father of our children stood helplessly in front of a judge awaiting his sentence. He wore dark blue dress pants, a bright blue long sleeve buttoned-down shirt, and a blazer. He was clean-shaven, and his rust-colored hair took on an orange hue from the courtroom lighting. His six-foot frame hid the weight he gained through the years, and the bags under his eyes showed the internal battles he faced without me. I felt numb inside, while he read an apologetic letter to the judge, pleading to have a reduced sentence. “The real victims are my wife and my children. I am truly sorry for the pain that I have caused.” He tried his best to fight back the tears. Minutes later, he was formally sentenced to five years in Federal Prison for mortgage fraud.

A couple of months after he went away, I filed for divorce. I spent nights awake thinking about the next five years. I couldn’t handle the thought of living life in a sort of limbo waiting for him to get out. The damage he had done to our family was irreversible. I felt that if I didn’t end it now, I might live my life in regret wishing I had. I began running more. This time I ran to heal myself.

One evening my bishop called me in for a meeting. “I have seen a lot of Facebook posts of you running races, and I’m a little concerned that it’s taking you away from your children. They need their mother, especially during a time like this. You may want to consider not running as much.”

I left the meeting, stunned that he would suggest I run less. A bishop’s “suggestions” are regarded as a command, and the more I thought about his words, the angrier I became. I stopped going to church and eventually had my name taken off church records. He knew very little about me and did not understand that running was the thing that held me together. After 20 years, the religion that governed my life was gone. Church member “friends” quickly disappeared.  I was broken, and there wasn’t anyone who could pick up the pieces.

Ultrarunning became my obsession. Participating in races beyond 26.2 miles cleared my head. My mental state became free from long harbored feelings of oppression I felt from my ex-husband and the religion we built our life around. Ultrarunning became my therapy, and the ultra-community were my family. I was no longer alone and broken. The miles shared with friends slowly put me back together. I decided this was the time to tackle something beyond my comfort zone. The goal? To finish The Keys 100-mile ultramarathon under 32 hours. Was I strong enough?

It was around 2 am, no time for a nap. Lani had been awake the same amount of time. Her long brown hair coifed in a tight bun and her clothes smelled of lavender laundry detergent. I took two steps for her one. She had the body of a ballet dancer and made running appear graceful and effortless. Her primary job at this hour was to keep me awake and moving. Kevin was in the van a few miles down the road, waiting for our arrival. They took turns running alongside me, filled my water bottles and provided ice to put around my neck. They fed me when I was hungry and made me eat when I wasn’t, changed my socks, taped up my blisters and kept me moving along. They were like my pit crew, and I was the car.

The race began at 6:30 am the previous day. Awake for nearly 24 hours, my run had turned into a stumbling walk along A1A.  Walking lulled me to sleep. My eyes would open for a few seconds, and then I was dreaming. The sound of waves hitting the shore and the pungent smell of salt water jolted me awake, followed by a heart-pounding realization that I was still walking.

I was through the worst of the race. For most of the day, I was held hostage by the sun. No relief came from the heat and humidity. The mangrove trees hovered by the water’s edge, not close enough to create any shade along the sidewalks and asphalt we ran along. I wore a long sleeve white shirt and a white hat with a flap to protect my neck and deflect the permeating heat. The spandex shorts underneath my shorts provided protection against chaffing, at least the brunt of it.  A handheld water bottle filled with fluids and ice wrapped around my neck kept me from nausea and cramping.

Lani and I walked along a sidewalk in silence, until an oncoming car stopped a few yards abruptly in front of us.  The headlights glared, and we squinted towards the light. Lani jumped in front of me, ready to defend me from a potential attacker.

A middle-aged man hopped out of his car and jogged towards us. He wore a fluorescent orange shirt with the words “Race Marshal” in black written across his chest. Race Marshals are the rule enforcers when the Race Director can’t be everywhere at once. Bob Becker, the Race Director, conducted all the affairs of the race enlisted marshals to ensure the event ran smoothly. “I’m going to have to take your chip.”

“What?! Nope.” I put my hands on my hips and shook my head. Giving up my race chip would mean the end of the race for me. It was a way to track the runners on the course. He scratched his head and looked at Lani with raised eyebrows. She shrugged her shoulders and looked at me.

“You’re not going to make it before the cut-off. I’ve got to pull you out of the race.” Mr. Race Marshall said. He folded his arms and puffed out his chest.

“Can’t you call Bob? CALL BOB!”  My shrill voice filled the night air. I did not know Bob on a personal level, but I was not about to quit now.

“He’s sleeping. He gave me the jurisdiction to take timing chips if I know they aren’t going to make it. At this rate, you’re not going to make it to the aid station in time. Your next checkpoint is five miles away.”

“Just tell me how much time I have left and I will be there.” I began walking away but turned my head slightly to hear what he had to say.

“You have an hour and a half to make it to the next aid station. If you don’t make it, I’m going to have to take your chip for sure.”

I nodded back at him in reply. We met up with Kevin a half mile down the road. He took over as pacer. His lean body was ready for the task that lay before him. He fastened on his headlamp over his short blonde hair and started up his Garmin that calculated our current running speed. He told me when I needed to pick up the pace and when to take a break and speed walk.

The miles ticked by and we arrived at the aid station with an hour to spare. We kept pushing along. I had less than 11 miles to go, and the sun was beginning its descent on us. We passed those that had “the lean.” Their minds had taken over, contorted into a hunchback struggle; their bodies had no choice but to follow.

My lady parts were burning up from the salty sweat and continual friction of spandex shorts. I had to adjust and readjust, but nothing I did could alleviate the rash burn now. I just needed to get to the finish line.  My feet stung from blisters I popped by stomping my feet hard into the asphalt as I ran and walked.

As I approached mile 96, my eyes welled up with tears. It was at this intersection that I decided to quit the year before. I was tired, hurting and crewless. The DNF (Did Not Finish), brought questions from friends and acquaintances that would ask “Why would you stop at mile 96? You only had four more miles to go!” My mind was running on empty, and when the mind decides it’s over, it is over, besides I had missed the cut-off by two hours. But this year was a different story. Today, I would finish what I had started.

A race marshal leaned against a parked car. His grin was infectious. “You’re almost there! Only three more miles. We’ll see you at the finish.” Three more miles? I felt a blister pop and the liquid oozed between my toes.

The scenic route shaped like a bell led us towards Higgs Beach. The crowds of tourists began to thicken as we approached the path leading to there. I looked up ahead and was in between a string of runners making their way to the finish. The onlookers stared in disbelief at our ragged sunburnt faces. I overheard a few say, “You’re only a few yards away!”

A man yelled out, “Runner up!” He ushered me to the left onto a different surface.

The final steps through the cushy sand took the miles of pressure off my aching body. I was only a few feet from the finish line. My knees felt wobbly in the sand, and the thought of collapsing face first crossed my mind. I trudged through the sand and raised my arms in triumph with a smile that hurt my sunburnt face and chapped lips. People beneath the finisher’s tent turned to cheer me on and clap. It was finally over. A race volunteer handed me the coveted buckle. This piece of metal signified all that I had gone through from the past few years to arrive at this moment. Pain, relief, joy, and accomplishment rushed through me.

For six solid months, I dedicated myself to training. I logged 50 or more miles per week and peaked at 100 miles three weeks before the race. Each Saturday was filled with long runs of 20 miles or more, pounding the pavement to get my body accustomed to time on my feet. I imagined the end of the race during those training runs, but all the dreaming paled in comparison to the real thing.

I felt invincible. I overcame my body when I thought that I could not take another step and forced my mind to think beyond the pain I was experiencing throughout the last 30 hours. I staggered over to an empty camping chair surrounded by other participants in a similar state. Someone handed me a hamburger wrapped in tin foil and a beer; neither one sounded appealing.  All I wanted to do was take off my shoes. I unlaced them carefully and slid them off. Then I peeled off my sweat-drenched socks spotted with a tinge of blood. Blisters developed between my toes and on the pads of my feet. A blood blister had formed underneath a toenail. It had burst leaving my toenail tender to the touch. Any small movement I made, spurred on a series of cramps in my buttocks, thighs, and calves. My stomach and shoulders cramped while taking off my shoes. I would have to deal with the blisters later. I slowly leaned back in the chair and propped my feet on a cooler. I closed my eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep to the sound of quiet chatter and waves crashing along the beach. I had finally answered my question. I was strong enough.

Posted in Uncategorized

You Know My Name, But Not My Story

Did I get your attention? I heard the title of this post from my nearly 14 yr old daughter a few months ago for the first time. She says it to me every once in a while, to stop me from going all Mominator on her. She knows it makes me laugh and she starts/finishes her chores without complaints.


Do you see some people you know? This is my other family. It’s my ultra tribe (not all of them are pictured here). The term family extends beyond my immediate one. And I will tear up anytime I think of them, don’t worry they are all happy tears. They have all completed ultra events. Ultras are not to be confused with marathons. They are distances from 50k-100 miles +.  There is a transcendent effect that reaches the spiritual. but it’s something that can only be experienced in those magical miles. 50 miles is where mine took place and went even further after completing 100 miles. Again, the journey doesn’t stop there. Once you run 100 miles, you’ll want to run another and once that happens, you can never go back. You won’t want to or rather you’ll want to but there’s not denying that feeling of Zen. 

You want to learn about yourself? Run 100 miles. 

Here’s a brief timeline when it occurred. I was new to running, training for my first marathon (on a training plan), reading everything I could find on running, form, nutrition, and gear, when I came across Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes. 50 miles? 100 miles? What the freak? I wanted to know more. I watched “Running on the Sun” and read Pam Reed’s The Extra Mile. I was hungry.

In 2008, after my first marathon, I went to my running sage, Paul (owner of Fleet Feet in Bonney Lake and Tacoma) and talked to him about Karnazes. He stopped me and said, “But have you heard of Scott Jurek?” Nope I hadn’t. Most importantly I wanted to run my first ultra.

You can run Chuckanut Mountain Race. That’s next month. If you can do a marathon you do this. 

I ran it in 6:45. I went back to the store after a few days, (4 miles of an unforgiving downhill left me hurting as I crawled up and down our two-story home).

So, when can I run 50 miles?

I’m putting together a 50 mile event from the base of Mt. Rainier to Ruston in Tacoma. You can run that. 

I looked at him like he had horns growing out of his head.

You’ll be fine. If you can run a 50k you can run 50 miles. It’s all mental. 

It’s all mental.

I have taken his words to heart and shared them with many who have begun their new life in the ultra world, which include my husband. Sometimes he listens, but most times he learns from experience, which has been the best teacher. I have had my share of humble pie and have watched others who come back to earth after a DNF. It’s tough, but we learn and grow. It has shaped me into the person I’m still becoming.

With all that said, I’m wanting to start a blog series on some of the living legends, who have taught me a thing or two about ultras. I’ll be reaching out to Amy Costa, Terri Hayes, George Maxwell, Matt Mahoney, Jim Schroeder, Dan Miller, Gary Griffin, Stephanie Miller, Bernadette DuBois and the young and talented Andy Matthews. I have many other folks in mind, so continue to stay tuned. I hope they accept my invitation. I’m not sure on the frequency, but I know it will all come together.  If you have suggestions of other living legends that you’ve shared some miles with, let me know. In the mean time, happy running!

Posted in Races

Keep on Keepin’ on (PLEASE READ to the end)

I have experienced many successes in my short time as runner. I’ve qualified for both Boston and Western States. I still have yet to run either of them. I’ve completed several marathons and ultras (certified and uncertified distances up to 100 miles). I’ve also had some DNS (did not start) and DNF’d (did not finish) because my mental capabilities or finances kept me from the very thing that saved me.

Life happens followed by failure in a nearly 14 year marriage (not counting the year that I filed for divorce) and mental break downs that left me questioning my very existence and my relationship with God. I’ve lost many “friends” when I left the LDS (Mormon) church and through that I’ve found who my true friends are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart (cliché but absolute truth). Ending a marriage, coupled with a religion was devastating, other things (which I’ll discuss another day) were happening through all of this, but by the grace of God I got through it.

I kept running.

God is the ultimate Master of positivity. My strength is powered by Him. He has a way of putting some of the greatest people in my path many of which I have met through running or met through a happy coincidence and for that I am forever grateful.

I haven’t wanted to post until we were there, but I could really use some words of encouragement. I feed off your positive energy and will be carrying a piece of paper with your words in my vest. I don’t like flying, but I like to travel. Terrible, isn’t it?


There you have it. Comment here or post something to my FB/IG. I need your positive vibes more than you know. Thank you all! Keep on Keepin’ on my friends :).

Posted in Uncategorized

Thoughts on the Run

Sunrise never gets old. 

4 miles: I’m definitely doing some yoga tomorrow.

4.2 miles: Is that a squirrel? Gummy bears. I need gummy bears!


4.3 miles: Nope. It’s that plant. Gets me every time!


4.5 miles: Yes to yoga, but first a 50k today!

5 miles: I really want to get my nose re-pierced. I should call Megan!

5.5 miles: I’m gonna do a 50k!

6 miles: Yeah, I’m only doing 20. This sand sucks!

6.2 miles: I love the sand! Especially on the down hill. I would totally do Wild Sebastian. Sand isn’t that bad.

6.3 miles: That is going to suck going back up. What is that awful smell? Landfill. Note to self: not running out this way again. Stinky and a little sketchy. I should have brought my pepper spray.

6.3-7 miles: What? I’ve only gone how far… C’mon! Ooh someone lost their keys to their four-wheeler. I’ll put that right up here.

7.5 miles: Yep. Definitely just 20 today. Would people just stop dumping their garbage out here!


8 miles: I’m done with this area. I’m taking the rest of my miles to Suncoast Trail. I miss seeing people. Maybe I’ll finish my run out here and have Oscar pick me up in Brooksville…

10 miles: Yea, Suncoast Trail. Asphalt, I’ve never been this happy to see you!





12 miles: Nope. I’m turning around. I’m tired of these cyclists and I don’t like running on asphalt. I miss my ultra tribe. Okay sand, I’m coming back for you.


13 miles: Crossing Ponce de Leon is scary business.


17 miles: Is that Oscar?


17 miles: Yea, it is Oscar!!!!


18 miles: Is that L?

18.5 miles: Yep, that’s her!

19 miles: C’mon L, you’ve gotta run! Walking will just keep you out here longer.

She’s a speck in the background.

19.5 miles: I feel like Frodo running through the neighborhood after a big adventure on the trails.

20 miles: Glad I made the decision not to go run another 10ish miles. I’m good. I think I’ll go pick up L. She was walking a slugs pace out there.


She was relieved to see me and caught off guard. She had just watched a CSI episode where a girl was kidnapped, because she was test driving some random guys vehicle. I asked her what she would you do in that situation? She says, “I’d kick and scream.” and I said, “How about not get in the car in the first place!”

More notes to self: Didn’t pack enough Skratch or Cytomax. Need to bring more water and pepper spray.

Happy Props: No chaffing (Thanks to Trail Toes), didn’t have to wear long spandex,  knees didn’t give me any grief. Glad I packed the Torins. And R&F sunscreen left me sunburnless. Thank you Megs!!

Posted in Uncategorized

Pain Makes Me Feel Alive…I Beg to Differ

2014 Zion 

In 2008, I had written about the reason I run long distance. “Running long distances and the pain I experience, make me feel alive.” My current self would think this woman was suffering something short of a mental breakdown.

Let me take you back to my world in 2008, I was a stay at home mom and my girls were 4 and 5 years old (16 mths apart). I was living an entirely different existence. My days were predictable. My marriage was suffering, but I didn’t know how to fix it. My husband was working long hours in his real estate ventures and I would be with the kids. I drove them to school and took them to gymnastics. I wanted to be the “perfect” mom. I fell short every time to my preconceived notion of being the perfect mom. I felt inadequate in everything… but running.

This is only a glimpse of my previous life, but in more times than one, running has saved me or I should really say God gave me running to heal from the unseen pain. My then husband once said, “Ultras are for broken people.” I replied, “But aren’t we all broken?”

Running gives me time to meditate and like I’ve said in my IG posts, it’s like a massage for my soul.



Posted in Uncategorized

Power of 10


Have you ever gotten to the point at a race, a training run or even a day when you didn’t think you could keep on going? You dig deep, you run to the next trail marker, tree, pebble, bush or blaze, but you somehow find it within yourself to keep on keepin’ on.


I wanted to create something that would be right there with me physically, when all hell breaks lose in my brain, body or both. Wear it on your wrist or tie it to your pack. Smiling like a lunatic can only help so much.

10 blue beads– to represent the 10 seconds and to bring you back to mental peace.

Red beads-to remind you of the energy and passion that running brings.

So, when that fury of hell does come, I count to ten by tapping my thumb to each finger on my right hand, until I can get a hold of my mental state. Adapted from one of my ultra tribe sister’s, Nancy, at an 8 Hours of Hell Race Series, which she recalled from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:

“I learned a long time ago that a person can stand just about anything for 10 seconds, then you just start on a new 10 seconds. All you’ve got to do is take it 10 seconds at a time.”

Happy Running!

*These bracelets will be available on my Etsy store in the following month or by request. The one shown here is making its way to a friend. I can’t wait for her to get it!

Posted in Uncategorized

Rest and Recovery


Don’t be alarmed when you see me with KT tape. It’s all good. I did a short 2 mile recovery walk today, not even the power walking kind. I’m not in pain, just sore. This is what 50 miles feels like on me. Ultras bring out pains that have healed over the years. I’m not talking about where the KT tape is currently…other ones that spring up the day before a race or during a certain mile.

It hits me in different places like an old scar that says, Remember that? … To that I reply, “Oh yes, yes I do. That was an awesome day!”

Sore spots also tell me where I need to improve, different exercises, and stretches that I need incorporate or get rid of completely. Every body’s different and I just keep learning every day what’s good for mine, not that I always listen ;).