Monday, August 27, 2012

In the "spotlight" with Michelle from Indiana

Meet Michelle from Indiana, a marathoner, a wife, a mother of 6, she's amazingly beautiful at the young age of 43 and she had baby # 6 at the age of 40! 
"You have how many kids?" is the normal response I get when I meet people for the first time. Yes, being the mother of a half dozen children, ages 17 to 3, tends to raise a few eyebrows. When people learn how many marathons I run, they are really shocked; wondering how I juggle the responsibilities of a large family with the challenges of marathon training.
Running is my oxygen mask. It's the weapon I use to handle the stress in my life. Occasionally, being the mother of six leaves me feeling overwhelmed and overextended. Running is the one activity that allows me to have a sliver of time to myself. Often, it is the only time during the week in which I can hear my own thoughts. While running, I prioritize my "to do" lists; plan my family's schedule; and think about each child's needs.
How did I get involved in marathon running? I don't have an amazing transformation story to tell. I have been passionate about fitness since my teenage years. I have worked out religiously all of my adult life, exercising right up until the day of delivery with all six of my pregnancies. Six years ago, I joined my husband as he began a training program for his first marathon. Little did I know that I would learn to fall in love with the marathon distance and it's endless challenges.
Three years ago, I had my sixth child. Although I opted not to run marathons during this pregnancy, I picked up my training shortly after my son's delivery. In the past five years, I have run a total of 45 marathons in 37 different states. My family supports and encourages me to pursue my goal of the completion of a marathon in each of the 50 states plus DC. I hope to see my dream fulfilled by the fall of 2013. Soon, I will also tackle my goal of running a marathon on each of the seven continents. In February, I am taking a week long trip to the Southern Hemisphere where I will run marathons in both Chile and Antarctica.
Another unique feature of my personal marathon story is the history of my race times. Over time (and the more marathons I run), I seem to be consistently improving my race times. I have diligently worked to reduce my marathon finish times in hopes of one day qualifying for Boston. It took me more than 30 marathons and a little over five years to get my times down to the Boston qualification standards. In the past three months, I have run Boston qualifying times at five different marathons.
As a woman who made the choice to leave a promising career 15 years ago to stay home with my children, I want to encourage others to never lose sight of their own dreams. The tangible, measurable goal that I am accomplishing through my marathon running has increased my self-esteem. The renewed sense of zest for life that I have gained through the fulfillment of this dream has benefitted not only me but my family.

The next time you are on a plane, listen closely. In the event of an emergency, it is always advised that you, the adult, put on your oxygen mask before your child's. As I check off marathons in each state, I am putting on my oxygen mask. I am more mentally and physically nourished. I am better able to give my best to my husband and six children.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Spearfish South Dakota
The Leading Ladies Marathon held in beautiful Spearfish South Dakota is an all ladies marathon. I was honored to be this years guest speaker.  The course was spectacular!!!  We ran through the scenic Spearfish Canyons which was a picture perfect scenery...
The course was beautiful and all down hill...
It was cold at the start...Low 40's...
I got to chat with the fabulous Diane..Good seeing you lady...

I love my quiet time...It's spiritual for me...
I stepped out of my comfort zone and faced my fears.  Public speaking is not my favorite thing to do.  Being invited to speak at the Leading Ladies Marathons was an honor but intimidating.  My son RJ is getting a double Masters in Business Communications and I was blessed to have him help me with my speech.  RJ gave me a C- on my final speech and my audience gave me a A-.  I had the courage to show up!...Yay!!!
My marathon buddy Cyndie

I finished in 6:18...

Beautiful shirt and medal...Thank you Elaine for a wonderful and fabulous weekend...

Crystal Springs Trail Marathon & Skyline 50K

Woodside California
Crystal Springs trail was held in Woodside California near San Francisco.  I have done many of Coastal Trail Runs events but never Crystal Springs.  We ran through the beautiful redwoods at Huddart Park.  The course was hard and the weather didn't help much with over 90 degrees.  I finished 7:20:09.
It's always good to see Pete and Chris...

I got third place in my age group...Thanks Coastal Trail Runs !

SKYLINE 50K - 8/12/2012
Castro Valley California

I have done Skyline 50K a few time and each time it's still challenging and the course is beautiful.  I got to see my marathon friend Emmett "Tall Guy"...I finished 8:29:23

Beautiful Lake Cabot

I stopped and picked wild blue berries...

Find your true path,
It's so easy to become
someone we don't want to be,
without even realizing it's happening. 
We are created by
the choices we make every day.
-Bernie Siegel, M.D.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ET Marathon and Running the Fullerton Trails 8/4/2012

ET MARATHON - 8/4/2012
Rachel Nevada
This was my 5th year doing ET Marathon and far the most fun!  It's always a party before the 2.5 hour bus ride to Rachel Nevada.  ET marathon is run along the mysterious Area 51 highway and it's known to have an overwhelming number of reported UFO sightings.  I didn't get abducted, nor did I see any UFO"s.  Bummer. I finished 6:39:50. (pictures by Giovanni and Dave Mari)
Got a picture with the pretty Casey!
Dave Mari gave us ladies a friendship flower...My flower is white, Dreamer. To show grace and courage. To embrace the challenge and welcome new beginnings.  Putting yourself out there.  Doing it scared.  I will run through the fear to feel the joy. 
Bloom, baby, Bloom.  Thank you Dave!

Cyndie and I with Giovanni and his beautiful hair...

Cyndie and I at the start...

The awesome "Marathon Mitch"

Getting ready...

Bummer I saw no aliens...

Beautiful sunrise and always nice to see Louie...
6am and Fran and I are still smiling...

I finished with my marathon buddy Hector...

Bus ride back to Vegas sitting next to Mark...

I love the shirt, medal and bib...  Thanks Joyce!!!
check out "Once in a Blue Moon 12 , 6 Hour Run" August 31, 2012

Fullerton California
I finished Running the Fullerton Trails and headed to Las Vegas for the my favorite race.  ET Marathon!!!  I'm excited...6:33:40

I choose Health Strength Determination Power
I've learned how to fight my weaknesses
Live in the moment
Love myself
I'm in Control
I'm Strong
I'm a Woman
I'm a Badass
-Natalia Muntean-

Monday, August 6, 2012

He's a Badass10 times Badwater finisher

He's a badass 10 time Badwater finisher!  Meet the amazingly awesome Dan!
Let me start out by saying I’m not a born runner. At 5’10” 195 pounds,  I was made much more for farming than for long distance running.  That being said I’m as stubborn as a mule and tenacity has served me well over the years at Badwater.  Additionally, I have an enduring passion for the sport and have always been a believer that this is equally as important as natural ability. Secondly, understanding my weaknesses I am in a constant state of transition, each year trying to focus on my weaknesses to allow myself to survive against the field of awesome athletes that show-up at the starting line each year. This year I had focused heavily on hill training.

I arrive in Death Valley this year extremely excited knowing I would be the first person to complete 10 Badwaters in 10 years. I was also nervous as I had decided to run a Double Badwater in celebration of my 10 anniversary. As my previous record was 155 miles attempting to 292 miles was nothing short of intimidating but then again the greatest adventures in life are those that challenge your limits.

Race morning came quickly with my top notch team ready to push me. I had circulated a schedule that would improve my previous record by 2 hour and 20 minutes.

Starting at 6 am I went out fast trying to take advantage of the sub-100 temperatures. Everything went very smoothly and I arrived at Furnace Creek 3 minutes behind my PR but feeling strong.

I continued the push on my way to Stovepipe Wells, I have always considered this part of the race the make-or-break as this is where the heat can damage the body and leave you unable to finish. A milder year than normal I was able to maintain a constant jog and reached the 120 degree Mesquite Flat Dunes with a 7 minute PR, in good shape but not without damage as my Hoka running shoes had failed me for the first time and blistered both heals. Repairing the damage I switched into my 2 year old Bär shoes and realized I had made my first mistake of the race as I had tried to save $200 dollars by not replacing these proven companions.

Climbing the cruel 17 mile route up Townes Pass I realized that my hill training wasn’t going to help me as fatigue made my advance slow, the good push over the first day had taken its toll.  Badwater is a team sport and my crew went to work keeping me positive and stuffing me like a Thanksgiving turkey with constant food. I took a 20 minute nap atthe top of the pass and continued until finally reaching the 72 mile check-in station at Panamint Springs just after 3am, a weak hour and ten minutes behind my PR. 
Not wanting to disappoint my day crew I pressed-hard up Father Crowley trying to get to the top before they came for their 6am shift start and only missed my goal by ½ mile. Energized by the sunrise I reached the Darwin checkpoint 26 minutes over my best.
The day went better than it had ever gone in past years, having learned last year that constant food intake significantly improved my finished I had a full pantry to choose from and kept stuffing my face. My energy remained high, my crew kept me motivated with jokes, stories, trivia questions and a light hearted spirit,  we were having a party in the desert! I arrived at Lone Pine 1 hour and 20 minutes faster than any of the previous 9 years, things were looking optimistic.

The lower section of Whitney went well, I consumed Gu every half mile in hopes to prevent any late stage crash. As I reached the switch backs I gave it everything I had using an odd but efficient speed walk. We counted road kill as I continued to pass other runner 5,6,7, although many of these racers had later starting times having the ability to pass them kept me motivated; the hill training that was not used on Townes Pass was now paying off. I reached the finish line 42 hours 42 minutes after I had started, a 2 hour 4 minute PR.
It was a truly incredible year, with the new PR we set out for Whitney 3 hours after the award ceremony, feeling incredible we were within one mile when thunderstorms hit the peak and we were forced to turn around. Knowing I had more to give I continued down the mountain, took a few hour break and went to the finish line for my return trip back to the start. This was a truly amazing adventure, with family and friends supporting me we completed the brutal 290 mile trip and an official Badwater 135 Double 54 hours and 55 minutes later with a total elapse time of 141 hours and 10 minute having only 11 hours of sleep along the way. I tell people that ask “why do you run” that I’m always trying to find my limit. I truly believe that I found it over this one week journey but it will go down as one of the greatest times of my life.
-Dan, 10 time Badwater finisher-