Friday, April 27, 2007

Keeping Positive!!

I had my blister debrided on Wednesday at work. It is amazing what a little medical treatment can do. It is so much better!! I hope I can now start training without anything else getting in the way. Next weekend is Miwok 100k. That has always been a difficult run for me. Maybe it is that extra 12 miles that just kicks my butt, I don't know. It will be a real challenge this year for sure. I need to look at this race as just a training run towards my goal race (Western States). I am not going to worry about time, but only in forward progression. I hate to go into a race feeling like I am not prepared for the miles or the stress of running long. But at this point, I just need to keep a positive attitude and take care of myself. My friend Naomi, is going to pace me the last 20 miles. Wow, will I ever need her. Matt will crew me as he is the best crew anyone could ask for.
In 57 days, Western States will start. I am getting very excited about that. Of course I hope to finish in under 24 hours, so I will need to really focus from here on out and have a flawless run. Anything can happen out there, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a great run on June 23rd. In Sept. it is Wasatch 100, but I don't want to think about that quite yet. After my DNF there last year, I hope to go there and redeem myself!!

"The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disgrace to not reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for."-Benjamin E. Mays

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I love Horses

I just love horses. Arabians hold a special place in my heart. I never thought that I would be without a horse. I grew up riding and competing with Endurance riding and Ride n tie being my favorite. Just as ultra running does now, Endurance riding took me to some very special trails and lots of beautiful country. I miss those days when I could walk outside my door and ride for hours, with dogs in tow. Sometimes, our cat would slink along behind until he just couldn't keep up anymore. I would be so worried about him until I got home to find him waiting quietly on the door mat. Tonight I remember those days when life was more simple. I was young and didn't have the worries that I have today. I thank God for the incredible life I have had and for the great memories. I am so thankful for the horses and the experiences that I had with those beautiful animals. One day I will compete again. Sometimes I feel like I just can't wait until I do. I hope today brings you down memory lane to a time that was special for you. Have a good one.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

On the trails again.....

Yeah, my blister is finally healing!! Woo hoo!! That has been the longest healing sore in the history of sores! Wow, unbelievable.
I went out for a nice run today with Naomi and Bill. We ran the double dipsea. It was a beautiful day and it was so nice to be out on the trails again. My friend Ana called and asked me to pace her at Diablo 50 miler next Sunday, and I am so excited to run with her. I am only running 12 miles with her, but it will be a tough 12!! I really need some time on my feet right now, as time is ticking and I have done so little training.
Please take a moment to read Jacob's blog. He just ran the Boston Marathon and finished DFL. (dead fu@#ing last). It is funny and inspiring.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky.-Ojibwe saying

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tired but happy

It's been four days since our epic adventure. I am tired, but I feel good. My ankle held out and it feels pretty good, but my blister is just not healing. I have duoderm on it in hopes that the dressing will debride it naturally. I don't want to get osteomyelitis or something terrible like that. With the way my luck is going....Well, I don't want to think about that. I'm off to swim with the masters tonight and that is always fun. It feels so good to get into the pool and work my arms and core. I'm really glad that swimming is back into my life. I hope everyone had a great day today and remember to be thankful for being alive and for everything that we have.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tom and I

Tom Crull and I the evening before our Grand Canyon adventure. Tom is a dear friend of mine from Dallas, Tx. He is the race director of Rockledge Rumble 50k in Irving, Tx.

I feel AWESOME!!

"Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used."-Richard E. Byrd

Double Crossing of the Grand Canyon

Well, we did it!! Suzanna, Florencia, Leslie and I embarked on an epic adventure through the Grand Canyon. Let me say that another way. We ran the DOUBLE crossing of the Grand Canyon. It was awesome and invigorating, daunting and exhausting.
We started our journey at 5:30am with the outside temperature at 24 degrees. We bundled up in our warmest stuff and headed down the Bright Angel trail. Friends John and Mark started with us too. I didn't have a true feeling for how large and astounding the Grand Canyon is until I started to run INTO it. The color of the rocks are deceiving. The dramatic Redwall limestone layer which lies about half way between the rim and the river is not one uniform color. It has shades of purple, as well as brown, orange and streaks of black. Mule deer are everwhere, standing close enough to touch. Their large ears looking like jack rabbits. The trails are steep but there are many runnable sections. We stopped alot to take pictures and just to absorb the 2 billion years of earth's history carved out of limestone, sandstone, and shale of the canyon walls. Phantom Ranch is at the bottom of the canyon at 4,800 feet. It is a great place to stop and gather yourselves for the climb up to the North Rim. After departing Phantom Ranch we ran along the Bright Angel creek and enjoyed the brilliant blooms of the prickly pear cactus, the Indian Paintbrush wildflowers and the tall vertical stalks of the century plant. The trail winds through a section called The Box, which has near vertical walls soaring up to the sky. The Colorado River bisects the canyon near here, and you must cross a long suspension bridge to get to the other side. The climb up to the North Rim was hot and long. Being out of shape and with my foot taped to the max with duct tape, I really struggled along this climb. I was alone during this section, as the others ran on ahead. I fought the negative feelings that kept creeping into my mind and remembered how lucky I am to be healthy enough to attempt this incredible journey.
The North Rim was incredible with snow up at the top. I stayed for just a minute and then headed down the mountain. The journey back was awesome. Leslie stayed with me and kept me company. I feel bad that my lack of running condition prevented me from running with everyone, but that is the way life goes sometimes. I owe Leslie big time for staying with me. It is not safe to run there alone. Getting hurt while running in this beautiful canyon could have grave consequences. You must be prepared for anything. We finished at about 8pm. A full day with lots of water stops. I am tired , but I feel so ALIVE. Suzanna and Florencia ran strong and finished ahead of us. We heard them yelling when they reached the top of the South Rim. It was empowering to hear there echo through the canyon. My good friend Tom from Dallas ran the Rim to Rim that day too. He finished tired but happy for a safe, beautiful adventure. I thank God for the strength to accomplish this goal and for my partner Matt, who always supports me during all my incredible dreams.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Wise Old Man

A man of 92 years, short, very well presented, who takes great care in his appearance is moving into an old people's home today.

His wife of 70 has recently died, and his is obliged to leave his home.

After waiting several hours in the retirement home lobby, he gently smiles as he is told that his room is ready.

As he slowly walks to the elevator,using his cane, I describe his small room to him, including the sheet hung at the window which serves as a curtain.

-"I like it very much", he says, with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old boy who has just been given a puppy.

_"M.Gagne, you haven't even seen the room yet, hang on a moment, we are almost there."

"That has nothing to do with it", he replies.

"Happiness is something I choose in advance. Whether of not I like the room does not depend on the furniture, or the decor- rather it depends on how I decide to see it".

"It is already decided in my mind that I like my room. It is a decision I make every morning when I wake up".

"I can choose. I can spend my day in bed enumerating all the difficulties that I have with the parts of my body that no longer work very well, or I can get up and give thanks to heaven for those parts that are still in working order".

"Everyday is a gift, and as long as I can open my eyes, I will focus on the new day, and all the happy memories that I have built up during my life".

"Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw in later life what you have deposited along the way".

So, my advice to you is to deposit all the happiness you can in your bank account of memories.

Thank you for your part in filling my acccount with happy memories, which I am still continuing to fill.....

Remember these simple guidelines for happiness.

Free your heart from hate.
Free your mind from worry.
Live simply.
Give more.
Expect less. -Author unknown

Monday, April 9, 2007

Colorado Beauty

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves"-Edmund Hillary

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

One step forward and two steps back---that is what my training has been like since August. I noticed in August that I was tired and feeling rundown. Lab tests showed that I was anemic. In September I DNF'd at Wasatch after starting the race with a flu virus and then getting very sick on the trail to find that I had Rhabdomyolysis. After a 20lb weight loss and three months to recover, I started to train again. I ran my first race after Wasatch at the end of December (33k), and felt pretty good with a first place finish. I still felt like I had a lot of work to do to feel strong again. In February, my right ankle which had at times been bothering me, started to really flare up. After x-rays, a bone scan, and a MRI, it was concluded that I had a severe tendonosis of my posterior tibial tendon. I wore a boot cast for 4 weeks and then anxious to start running again, I went for a long run. Stupid. In new shoes much less!! Well, to make a very long story short, I got a huge quarter size blister on my heel. One hour into my 10 hour run!! Damn! What was I thinking? So now I sit here frustrated and depressed because I am kind of back to square one again! Somewhere I read a quote that said, "Walk in the direction you wish to be going." I keep on moving forward, eating right, getting into the pool and swimming mindless laps, and trying to be the healthiest I can be, but somehow, I just keep missing the mark. Friday, I leave for a running adventure. We are planning to run the double crossing of the Grand Canyon. I am apprehensive and uneasy. I hope my ankle and my blister don't cause me problems. Ultra runners tend to push the envelope when it comes to training. I plead guilty on that one. So on Saturday morning I will treat my blister, duct tape my heel,and take off on an adventure that I have looked forward to for a long time. I will take it slow and steady and remember to enjoy the journey as many of us forget to do in this race called life. I hope that you will all take time to enjoy your next long run. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Make the most of your run TODAY!!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Training in the Canyons

Friday was a great training day. Suzanna, Florencia, Paul, Leslie, Eva, and I went up to the Western States Trail and ran the canyons. We ran from Foresthill to Last Chance. A couple of us, (me included), turned around at the swinging bridge before the big climb up to Last Chance. It was a beautiful day with very little snow up high. It was incredibly beautiful with lots of downed trees in El Dorado Canyon and it was exciting talking about the race and all the other stuff you talk about on long runs. I have the worst stomach on long races, so we traded ideas about which foods, gels, and electrolyte drinks worked or didn't work for us. I had forgotten, and it didn't take me long to remember, how greuling Devils Thumb, Michigan Bluff and Volcano Canyon can be. That was my first real run since my boot came off last week, so I was really working it on those canyons. Boy, was I BEAT!!! Don't forget to bring lots of water and salt tabs when you train there. You don't want to get caught out there unprepared. I hope you all had a great day as I did. Thanks Matt, for all the support you give me when I am doing an "all dayer". My GPS said that I ran about 30 miles.

"Life is short, running WS makes it seem longer."-unknown