Falls in the dirt


“A trail race isn’t complete with out at least one fall and some blood.” – Crash

Every time I run the trails, I remember this quote from Crash, the man who helped me up after being knocked off my feet at Pandora’s Box a couple years ago. It always makes me feel like another fall is around the corner. Just like life.

And today, I fell twice, trying to cross some slippery rocks. One because I didn’t have trail shoes on. Two because I didn’t want to get my left foot wet, which the second time I did.

Maybe I put it out into the Universe too much. Maybe it was karma because I had been thinking it had been a long time since I fell. I don’t know. But it happened.

After taking inventory, (cuts on my forearm, a very sore thigh) I realized I still had to make it home. Did I call my husband? Did I walk home? Oh my heavens, my thigh.
And then I laughed because Crash’s quote popped up in my head and I knew the only thing I could do was RUN.

There was no other option. It would take me longer to walk. It would take my husband 30 minutes to get to me and then he might insist going to the hospital. No, running was the only option.

So, I slowly, jogged down the steep hill, I had climbed and made it back to pavement. And you know what happened, my pace increased despite my pain. And those 4 miles turned into 5 plus.

Maybe I’m secretly I’m a masochist, but aren’t all runners?

Soaked to the bone

Often on rainy runs, I’m reminded of the time I got totally drenched without so much as a rain jacket.

You see it was a typical college morning, I woke up at 4:45 a.m, checked the radar on my 8″ TV. It showed showers off the east, I calculated I had an hour before it would hit. So I laced up and headed out the door.

Half a mile later, a downpour occurred. I could have turned around and went home, I didn’t. I continued down Lamar to Sixth and back home. Halfway through my teeth were chattering. I was soaked and it was 45 degrees, so catching a cold was becoming a factor. I tried to see if a police officer could take me home, but it wouldn’t be able to go the half mile to home. So I had to finish and I did.

I quickly stripped upon entering and toweled off and wrapped myself in a blanket. I knew I couldn’t go straight to the shower it would be too much of a shock to the body, so I waited an hour.

All of this flashed before me as I headed out this morning in similar weather. Except this time, I didn’t check the radar. I headed out the door, and it came pouring down. I continued even when I wanted to turn around. The wind whipped the rain in my face, and chilled me to the bone. It was an awful feeling.

However, I survived and now I’m wrapped up again, trying to get warm and hoping to never do it again. Knowing it probably will because that’s mother nature.

10 years of running


I’ve been thinking lately on my runs, that I’ve been running for 10 years. And it doesn’t feel that way. It doesn’t feel like 10 years since I picked up a pair of running shoes. Or 10 years since my best friend committed suicide. It doesn’t feel that way at all.

I can vividly remember the dark treadmill run/walks in the Kinsolving basement, when I first started out to lose the 20 lbs I gained freshman year from a semester of diet cokes and peanuts m&ms. Or the 1 a.m. runs in the workout room six months later to out run my grief and my tears.

You see I truly started running August 2005, when my best friend hung himself. Words that make me cringe to say because there’s never an easy way to tell people why I run. Running saved me from the grief and the pain from the dark nights when I clung to life, when I refused to cry. Running made me feel alive, when I felt dead.

For the 18 months I grieved, I ran at 4:45 a.m. When others were getting over hangovers or returning home from Sixth Street, I was running the Texas Capitol with the bats and the neon street lights. I became friends with the Texas Capitol policemen, always waving on my loops. I ran into homeless men peeing in the street. I got attacked by a bat. I ran into frat boys who had broken their arms and needed an EMT.

I never questioned my safety because in my own bubble, I was safe. One because I felt safe in the neon light. Two because I was often alone. Three because I was mentally exhausted from losing my best friend.

Within 12 months, I went from about 150-160 lbs, down to 112. I know because I spent many months trying to get down to 110. A number put in my head by a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness. It was a number I had to achieve during my grief. It was a a number I strived for and never achieved. And it’s why to this day I try to avoid the scale as much as I can.

It was at this time, I decided to do a marathon for my 21st birthday. And at the same time my family and friends started to intervene in my eating habits. In my grief and need to lose weight, I consumed 1200 calories a day. I know because I counted. I counted every one of them. I got up at 4:45 a.m. six days a week to run 4-10 miles, no break, no bend in my schedule. And it was worrying a lot of people.

So I went to the doctor who said eat more calories, more protein, more iron because I had become anemic. She didn’t care that I was a vegetarian, just that I ate more. Then I went to a nutritionist, who wanted me to stop running. And with that door open, it quickly shut.

The nutritionist was apparently not a runner, and apparently didn’t know me. She wanted my first marathon to be my last and for me to stop running after and to never run another marathon. I wanted to scream fuck you to her, but I smiled and silently cursed her in my head. After leaving her office, I decided to do it on my own. I would fix my anorexia (a term I loathe, by the way).

I began slowly to let loosen my strict calorie count. I decided to no longer be a vegetarian, but to become a pescetarian again. Then six months later a carnivore. But my running didn’t stop.

I was a junior in college, trying to heal from a life taken, trying to fix myself, train for a marathon and finish college. Writing it now seemed like such a momentous task and it was. I trained morning, noon and night.

I never logged my miles in college. I only assume that I was logging at least 50 miles a week if not more. How I never got injured is beyond me. But probably had to do with the morning run and afternoon yoga.

I completed my first marathon near my 21st birthday in Arizona in 28 degrees. I would complete my second five months later in San Diego. After that, I wouldn’t complete a marathon (I would train for 2 but got injured during both), I would however, complete 16 half marathons.

You see, I never quit like the nutritionist wanted me to. No, that would be giving up on me and my passion. Running saved me from my own hell and breathed life into me. Running is my church and my religion. It’s there when my grief hits me like a ton of bricks, when my husband and I fight, when work frustrates me, when the sun is shining and I want to feel my lungs burn. Without it I don’t know who I would be. Without it I’m not me.

And I’m excited to see where running takes me in the next 10. Maybe I’ll finish another marathon, maybe not. It’s my decision to make and no one elses.


Finding history

A couple months ago, I decided to try an off road trail. Or what I thought was an off road trail.

The dirt road took me up a steep hill to what seemed to be a pond with a bench near it, a house in the distance and a sign. I ran to the sign expecting it to be in German. Part of it was, part of it was in English. My eyes became very wide, very quickly.

Behind me was not a pond, it was a holy Roman spring. Buh, what? Continued reading. It dated back to 2-4th century. It was used for human sacrifice and other pagan holidays.

I turned around and stared at it for a minute or two. I had randomly found Roman history in my backyard. Literally about 1.85 miles from my house.


I told everyone about my find. I even told a couple directions because they wanted to see it after discussing Roman history in the United Kingdom.

This random find has caused me to take the unbeaten path more often. I sometimes get lost. But most of the time I find something new and exciting to come back too. And about once a week, I run past the pond, running the hills to Kindsbach, finding history along the way.

Feeling of spring

I can feel it in my bones. Spring is just around the corner. The air is lighter and warmer. The winds are becoming stronger. Winter is being blown out and I love it.

This morning, what was supposed to me a non-running day, quickly became a running day. You see the sun was shining and with a very dreary winter, when the sun is out you lace up around here. Even if the winds are strong because you want to feel the sun shining down on you. Plus, the body seemed to be craving a run.

So I laced up, bounced out the door in shorts and long sleeves, and bounded down the street.

The wind pushed me forward and down the street. I went down to one of my favorite dirt trails and bounced in and out of puddles for fun. I’m pretty sure the German lady looked at me like I was crazy, but that’s ok.

The run was refreshing and the sunshine definitely put a smile on my face. With spring just around the corner, I hope for more days like this.


While my posts may be far and few between, my running hasn’t stopped. Actually it’s ramped up and stalled a little.

You see i haven’t signed up for a half yet, so I run 5, 6, 7 mile long runs and ramp back down and then back up. It’s been a vicious cycle for the past month or two now. And it’s starting to bug me. Not having a race in my sights or a race calendar is making my legs mad. They know the work, they know they can do it. Without a race, I feel well useless.

Usually by now, I know my halfs for the next year (plus my whole race schedule), but after my ankle sprain in June, I scratched a half in 2014 because it was a year of injury and recovery. Now I’m setting my sights on 2015. There are races EVERYWHERE! No lack of races here in Germany. Plus, I’m looking outside to Belgium and the Netherlands. Why not travel to races while here? See Europe and race, win, win for me.

Now to do the research, pay the fees and stop stalling.

Virtual pacer

The words virtual pacer always made me cringe. It was a feature, I always discussed when talking about GPSes to customers.

“And here’s the feature if you want to consistently know your pace and be told if you are ahead or behind.”

Most people said no. I said no for the past three years. To me I didn’t need to be told I was behind.

To me it was high school PE. We had to finish 2 miles in 20 minutes. We trained in school, but I never made a 10 minute mile. (I wouldn’t do it until college.) I also, wasn’t training outside of school. I hated running in school, why was I going to practice. So when the test came, I jogged (ick) 7 laps. I never stopped. I never walked. I jogged the 7 laps for that I was proud and so was my coach. However, he pulled me out before I finished and I always felt I was cheated. I knew I had another lap in me, but he said I did good and gave me an A.

That’s how I viewed the pacer. It was only going to tell me I was behind. Some little stick figure was going to taunt me, my whole run.

However, I decided one morning recently that I would try it out on my Forerunner. And well, I changed my mind.

10:40 pace was the goal. Seemed reasonable. I knew it was a pace I did on my faster half marathons and it was only 3-4 miles. And it was reasonable.

My body knew the motions and there was no stick figure mocking me. My only issue was the 6 mph wind on the return trip home that’s when I got behind. However, the watch only beeped once and it wasn’t consistent, so I didn’t want to throw it in the toilet when I got home.

It maybe my new favorite feature. I’ll see though. I still really like the run/walk feature for intervals.


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