Thursday, October 25, 2007
It is touch and go right now due to health issues my father is fighting right now. I do believe in the power of prayer and I do want you to know that I am thankful to and for you all.
This has been a challenging few months for me on a personal level but I continue to grow and learn with each passing moment. I feel the biggest lesson is knowing that we can only focus on what we can control in our life and that we should do our best to get up each day and think about living in the moment and just do our best.
Many of you are going through your own bumps in the road of life right now. I want you to know you are not and you are never alone. Reach out to those who love and care about you, make that phone call, send that email...again you are never alone.
The emails and the comments on my blog from people all over the World telling me they are thinking about me and praying for my father has touched me deeply in so many ways. Perfect strangers, yet I do feel we never meet a stranger. Thank you.
If you ever have something you would like to have prayers for..you just let me know, I will see that my prayer list gets your request!
Below are 2 wonderful gifts for us all to each think about each day..Thank you Will:)
*This is the credo of The Campfire Girls, an organization form the late 1800’s. Equally poignant. Take deep breaths!
The Camp Fire Law is:
Hold on to health.
The power of miracles is available to us at every moment. There are many practical steps you can take to connect with this power. They all involve finding excitement and beauty in the permanent and lasting gifts of the Creator.
— Begin the day with gratitude.
— Realize that life itself is a miracle.
— Recognize the precision and wonder of nature.
— Seek the Light in every person you meet.
— Identify the Light in all things.
Exercise these five steps today and you will have the power of miracles on your side. Create the unthinkable - for yourself, for your loved ones, and for the world!
Love to you all,
Monday, October 22, 2007
We are just back from an amazing training camp in Death Valley where we had 20 Marathon des Sables entrants for 2008..what a gas! We will post some photos this week.
To all of you...
My father David will undergo a very serious and risky operation on Wednesday, kickoff at 9:00 a.m. He will have his Aorta and a Renal Artery repaired to remove the threat of a Pararenal Aneurysm that has dramatically grown in size and now measures 6.8cm x 5.9cm. Currently he has one kidney that has ceased to function and the good kidney is down to less than 50% function. Once this high risk surgery is done, he will certainly be supported through kidney dialysis for the rest of his life.
Please pray for the surgeon’s steady hand and pray that it will be guided by the merciful hand of God. We need all the positive energy and Heaven sent prayers that you can send out into the world. Please pray that my Dad awakens from this surgery, and pray for his spirit to fight toward a successful recovery We need your help!
Thank you for your love and support
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Hi Everyone...Lisa is on her way to camp and asked me to post this for her!...-Colleen
Jay and I are so proud to join the Tucson Marathon this year as co-race directors with Pam Reed. We would love for you join us on
Visit the race website for more details:
If you were registered for the 2007 Chicago Marathon, we have a special discount registration fee offer for you. Read more.
I know many of you have asked about my students who participated in the Chicago Marathon and I am happy to report they are doing just great. Two students have been kind enough to write about their race experience and here are their stories:
In my case Lisa had already recommended a very conservative race plan. I had just finished a 2 month abstinence from running due an injury at the VT100. She had me on a steady diet of spinning, stair master, elliptical, rowing, etc. until I finally got the all-clear from my doctor 10 days before the race. Then she had me quickly work up to a base of a couple hours running using an 8/2 run/walk ratio.
For race day I was to put in 30 minutes at an easy pace before dropping into an 8/2 for each 10 minute period, and holding that until the 20 mile point. After that I would run or walk to the finish depending on what I had left.
Well I had run the previous 5 Chicago Marathons and had managed a personal best last year with a , but I was shocked at how different this one felt, and knew that target finish times would have to be adjusted. It was already very hot at the start, and also very humid. Later I heard it peaked at 88 and 86 respectively, but it felt way worse coming off the pavement on that wide open course. In any case, I worked our plan, walking and running, and not pushing too hard. It wasn't long before I realized how many others were walking. But none of them seemed to have a plan. They just knew they couldn't keep up their pace. By the halfway point I started to notice an alarming number of runners breaking down all over the place. By the 20 mile point more were walking than running, and I started my run to the finish line. Somewhere around 21 the police got out into the street and announced that the race had been cancelled. We were to stay on the course until the finish line, but we were to walk the whole way. So that's what I did, finishing in !
It was almost a surreal experience out there, with ambulance sirens nonstop for hours in the distance. From a personal standpoint, I never felt any distress at all. Even with so little running in preparation for the race. I had a conservative, realistic plan. And I had enough experience to adjust it as needed. Most of all that is important when the Marathoner mentality keeps pushing to not quit or even slow down. I know that my work with Lisa has given me a different mindset: equal parts mental toughness and good judgment!
On race morning, I met Ed, Anthony, Ira and two other friends outside the Hilton Chicago and we walked to the race. By the time we had checked gear bags and used the restroom, it was about 15 minutes from the start. We had intended to line up in the front of the corral but it was so crowded that we ended up way in the back. The heat and humidity was already stifling with the temperature at at about 80 degrees. My heart rate in the corral was over 100 (I was just standing). As the cannon went off, we shuffled forward to the start and started running. Ed and I paced out together and had to zig zag quite a bit to find clear running room. Even in the first few miles you could tell this was going to be a different day. There was no breeze and the mass of runners running through the canyons of downtown
Past mile 5, Ed and I ran together for another 3 or so miles when we lost each other in the crowd. I had picked up my pace after mile 5 to make up time for the slower pace we had to run out of the corral due to the crowds. By the time, I reached mile 10 people were in obvious distress and many more were walking. This was not normal. I was also feeling very hot and my heart rate was at 90%, which was way too high for the pace and this early in the race. At around this time, I made the decision that I was going to stick to my original goal of not pushing too hard and save myself for Ironman. I knew from my heart rate, the heat, and the situation around me that pushing for a PR would be a mistake under these conditions. I stopped racing and started thinking of this as a long training run. I backed off my pace and started to focus on sticking to my hydration plan. I brought my heart rate down. By mile 16, it was a meltdown. People were dropping all over the course and the sound of ambulances was constant. At mile 20, I saw some friends who were cheering for me, including one who was to do her first marathon with me in
As I have told people, this was not a race. This was a life experience. I made it because Lisa prepared me physically and mentally. I made it because I am self-reliant and carry what I need to get me through any event. This is something that Lisa has taught me and that has served me well on the very many lonely long training rides and runs. You have to be able to adapt and overcome and you can't always rely on others to take care of you. I am very sorry for all those who got hurt. We are endurance athletes and we understand the risks, but we also have to be prepared for the conditions and make our own decisions on whether or not to step off that starting line.
Each day my back is feeling a bit better. It is numb and feels like pins and needles but the sharp pains are gone.
My knee pain is gone, the Doctor feels it is all nerve related.
Rest is a good thing! It feels good not to be training for anything right now and I will take an entire month off before I even think about training again. Injury's need rest and I do believe in active rest. Walking, the pool and stretching will be my best recovery and slow running if I feel like it.
To wake up and not have that..I need to train thought all day long is a good feeling. You know what I mean!
To be honest I miss riding my bike. I am glad I miss riding my bike and that I look forward to getting on it one day soon. I have gone for a few walks since the 508 with good friends and this has been a real joy. To stop and smell the roses. The Teton weather has been amazing. Sunny and 65 degrees. The fall colors are spectacular this year.
We leave today for Death Valley where 3 of us are putting on an invitation only training camp for Marathon des Sables runners. The camp is sold out and each camper coming is running the 2008 MDS! We are sold out with the number of runners we can take to Morocco next year and we are selling out fast for 2009. This race sells out because it is a journey of growth and exploring not so much about a race. It is an adventure and a trip of a life time.
It is a race that you can race to win or a race that you can power walk and still be successful.
The MDS is one of my favorite events for a few reasons. I love the desert, the people and the bonding of people that just does not happen on a daily basis. The organization is top notch and it is such a joy to see so many people learn and tap into deep wells of strength that they never knew they had.
My husband Jay has been the first American at MDS for 3 years in a row now, I have won the MDS so we feel very confident in our ability to coach and teach anyone who wants to share in this journey. Last year we took 75 runners to the MDS only 2 did not finish. One was sick and the other found out she was allergic to the sand!!! It is a race for you all to consider one day.
My job at this camp will be to stay with those who are going to walk the MDS..Jay is such a fast runner now that I can't even think about keeping up any longer besides I have only run 4 times since July and I am not sure I remember how!
As all of this is going on we wait for news about my father. Today he will see the surgeon and have many tests done. My sister Julie is with him which has made me feel better. The surgery was going to be this Thursday but they have had to change the date. Obviously if the surgery was going to be this week I would not be going to camp. God has the plan and I keep praying and trusting in his plan. I have a strong feeling I will be getting on a plane this weekend and the surgery will be the first of next week. It has been very emotional for me to know where to go and where to spend my time right now. We all have commitments in life, we all have a full plate and we all get torn in many directions. I pray about my choices and I pray that I make the right ones. The learning and growing these past few months has been worth it all.
Hold tight to your family and loved ones, take deep breathes, live in the moment and live each day to its fullest. Things may not always turn out or work out the way you hope them to but then again if we can see the learning behind it all, its worth it.
Have a great week.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
My back pain was manageable until my knee started to hurt..then trying to deal with both at the same time became something that I just could not tolerate any longer and time was running out. I made it to 400 miles without my legs ever feeling very tired. My butt did not hurt and so much was going so much better than I could have ever hoped for with the little training I was able to do. I am thankful for the opportunity and I am not disappointed at all.
Never say never:) I will go back to the 508 one day and for the DV cup again. Next time I will have a much greater idea of what a short climb on a bike really looks like! :)
Getting to the top of Towns Pass on a bike scared the pants off of me, but I did it and I also passed 5 people on this climb. The mile stones I was able to accomplish on a bike that seemed so difficult are now feathers in my cap.
It is such a joy to watch you all accomplish your own mile stones.
So many people had to deal with adversity this weekend at races all over the World. From the 508 to the Chicago marathon, 100 mile races, 24 hour races. I can say this: I know that we all set out to do our very best and the best is all we have to give. I can promise you that I gave the 508 my best and I walked away sad with not being able to finish but a much stronger person in so many ways.
I have spent a long time thinking about the 508 and now have a clear understanding of what it really is all about:) You can read about the course and look at the profiles of the 35,000 feet of climbing you will do but this is just not the same as actually doing it on the bike!
Riding a bike at a level of speed that I am not comfortable with at night scared the pants off me.
Pot holes in the road, gravel, cold, wind..all of the many obstacles along the way that I feel really slowed me down will be easier the next time around.
The respect I have for the many who did complete the 508..well done! I heard a few times from the very experienced bike racers: "its only 500 miles"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have heard this many times in the sport of Ultra running.."its only a 100 miles"!!!!!!!!!!
I now see that the sports are very much the same it just depends where you spend your time:)
Running Badwater (135 miles) I know I can do this..many I spoke to who are bike racers could not even comprehend how one could run this far..
Simple and the same: I was wondering the same about riding 508 miles on a bike:)
I know I can ride the bike 508 miles, I was sure of this when I made the choice along with my crew to pull out of the race at 400 miles. It was not for thinking I was not going to make it, it was all about possible injury and debilitating pain.
As a coach I don't agree with the idea of pushing to a place of no return or that your mind is your limitation...if your body is begging you to stop due to pain and it is going to limit your ability to continue on with a healthy life then you might want to think about the live to race another day mind set.
I left the 508 feeling good about my choice..sad but good. I will ride my bike again, I won't hang it up and let the dust settle on it or give it away. My plan now is to let my back and knee heal, spend time with my family and then get back on the saddle as I cross train my way to Run Across America with my buddy Louise.
Thanks to my awesome crew who taught me so much. I am a better athlete, better on the bike and will be a better coach with all the information I gained during the 508.
Thanks to all of you for the phone calls, the emails, the blog posts...we are all in this together that is what I love most about endurance sports.
Thank you for your support
I leave you today with a very good quote that was sent to me from my friend Jackie.
“Keep your mind open to change all the time. Welcome it. Court it. It is only by examining and reexamining your opinions and ideas that you can progress.”- Dale Carnegie
Monday, October 08, 2007
She said that even though she had spoken with many who had done the race and read lots about it, the challenge of it all just was something beyond her comprehension until actually experiencing it. Some of the challenges she mentioned were navigating the pot holes at night, braving the cold temps - esp on downhills, dealing with car traffic, and pain in her hands from gripping the breaks.
She mentioned some of the exhilarating parts, too - seeing the mountains far off and climbing Towne's Pass with strength and determination (Cathy mentioned to me that Lisa passed 5 riders on this climb).
I'm not sure if Lisa will get to the computer today, but she certainly will later this week.
Thank you to each of you for checking in on Lisa over the weekend. Your thoughts and prayers are so much of what helped Lisa ride as far as she did.
Lisa was not able to complete the Furnace Creek 508. I don't have many details to offer you just yet. I do know Lisa had very painful lower back issues but it seems something occurred with her knee as well.
I know this was a big race weekend for Lisa's students and I know she would love to hear from you guys on the Blog...so feel free to post updates and messages to Lisa. I think she'll have computer access to the Blog today. Otherwise, we have been texting her messages, too.
Take good care everyone!
Sunday, October 07, 2007
I have had many e-mails asking about how Lisa made it through the night. I don't have word yet...
I tried contacting Cathy by mobile/ text, but Cathy, Lisa, Paul & Bill must be in an area where cell reception is unavailable.
So like you, I am going to the race website: http://www.the508.com/2007web/
and waiting for a time to be posted for the next checkmark, which is about 252 miles into the course. Lisa will be halfway finished with the race when we get that confirmation.
I will post another entry to the Blog when I get word from Cathy, but for now I encourage you to keep checking the race website (once you get to the website address listed above, click on the section called ‘Solo and Relay Time Splits (updated throughout the race!)’, listed under Race Links on the left-hand side of the page)
Lisa - we're thinking of you and knowing the Empress Penguin stayed strong through night # 1!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Colleen here…just woke up to find e-mails from Lisa and Cathy Cramer in my In Box. Since its Saturday morning and they are at the 508, I was a little surprised to hear from them. But maybe by now I shouldn’t be…Cathy and Lisa are two connected people!
Cathy supplied the photos provided in the last Blog post and Lisa provided a little insight into her mind frame this morning. I bet many of you who read this post are Lisa’s students…well, despite all the chaos that I imagine precedes a start of a race like this, Lisa wanted me to tell those of you racing this weekend to stay focused and not lose sight of all that you have done to get to the start line. And she said, “Tell them to write to me…I’d love to get reports about their races as I sit on my bike for two days!”
Here’s what else Lisa had to say:
crazy trying to get out of here
i am starting in barbs jersey:) (Colleen: Barb Lindquist, Lisa’s fellow athlete, neighbor, and just another Mom who pulls her kids up steep mountains on her bike with ease!)
we are off..shaking as I write this email
Last thing about Lisa’s start…she shared an e-mail from her friend Cole that is helping guide her bike journey:
Good morning Lisa,
As Brian Robinson, first Briton to finish the Tour de France (1955) said to himself: I looked at the other guys and thought, they’re the same as me - if they can do it, I can. Good reasoning because there’s no ducking the argument. It’s simple: I can’t go on. I must go on. I will go on.
That's from an essay I came across yesterday that you might enjoy, can be found here: http://www.rapha.cc/index.php?page=131.
"I can’t go on. I must go on. I will go on." Nice mantra, I'll use that sometime.
Hopefully the 508 will post updates so I can follow along. In any case I'm positive you'll do great.
Wanted to share some photos from the start of Lisa's 508 Bike Race:
Lisa with her crew: Bill Cook, Paul and Cathy Cramer
THE CREW VAN
Decorated with Lisa's Race Name, Empress Penguin.
Lisa's kids absolutely love the movie Happy Feet,
so what better name for their Mom
to use while she rides 508 Miles??
Lisa sitting next to her friend & fellow competitor, Joe DeSena
LISA & LOUISE
Look at these gals! Read about their upcoming adventure for 2008!
And Lisa is OFF - ready to go the distance.
Nice to see she choose her signature braids again!
Friday, October 05, 2007
Paul is here as he and Cathy are getting the van put together:) We are still waiting for Bill to get here.
This is all so new and different to me. I welcome the new feeling of very new territory, never being in a bike race and having NO idea how or what I am going to feel like past 16 hour's which was my longest ride going into this.
Paul told me this morning that I have much less miles on my bike going into this race than anyone he knows that has finished the 508...well..time was a big issue and so was the back pain. We have decided that mental fortitude as we all know will be the key for me to be successful in this race.
We spent time this morning going over a race plan and thoughts about how it might all go..I feel good about it and I know that with Cathy, Paul and Bill crewing for me that I am in very good hands. Paul will be the one I will lean on most of the time due to his experience with the race. We will use hand signals to keep me on pace and the big deal is to not go out to fast. They won't have to worry about this from me. All of you who know me know that I really feel the go slow go fast is the way to go and that the 2nd half of the race is where the race is. In the 508 my race will start at 300 miles:)
Back pain is 50% gone, not great but I will take it. On the short bike ride Cathy and I did on Thursday the pain was almost gone, this morning it was back. So..we shall see. I have made it to this point I pray I will make it to the next point.
We are not staying at the race hotel, we are staying a few blocks away. I decided that I wanted to try and have some quiet and space to reflect on many things before starting this event. My fathers illness has taken it's toll on me emotionally. Feeling helpless and needing answers. Some answers regarding his major open heart surgery have been made known to us in the past day and I feel better having this information. My father has a 6.7 cm aortic aneurism, this is a very serious operation. I will do this ride for you Dad!!! I will think about and pray for you and this operation that you come through just fine. We will all be there with you and get you through this, one step at a time.
Our parents teach us so many things growing up and they continue to teach us many things as adults. I am one of 5 children.
I am the mother of 2 children. How is the world my parents raised 5 children is beyond me. The time, effort and energy it takes to raise 2 let alone 5!!! My parents taught me about hard work, commitment and follow through with things that are important to us.
I thank both of my parents for there endless years, days and hours or support to me for without this I would not be here about to ride a bike for 508 miles. I thank them for all the opportunities they gave to me as a child and for all the continued opportunities they continue to believe I can and should go for.
This one is for you dad..I love you to the heaven, the stars and the moon and back
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
The end result: today we will pack up the bikes and hit the road and by the grace of God I will put my best pedal forward to complete the Furnace Creek 508.
The journey of this event has come with my father being very ill again. My emotions of do I need to be with him right now or do I follow through with this race.
God has tested me over and over, has brought me to tears many times.
My father will have yet another open heart operation in a few weeks and the date was just decided yesterday. There is not anywhere I would be but right there with him if the operation was going to be this weekend! He wants me to follow through with my dream of completing the Death Valley Cup and God willing I will. The emotions of ill friends and and ill parent is the reason I will get through this 508 miles. So many people are suffering, I will ride to honor them and pray for Gods healing.
My back has been hurting to the point of tears. We have tried every possible thing on the bike to help the pain but it never went away and it continued to get worse and worse.
I have had many doubts that I would be able to take the pain for such a long period of time. Yesterday I went to see a Sports Medicine Doctor and she gave me a great deal of hope! I woke up today and the pain is 30% gone, by Sat. it may be gone!
My pelvis has rotated around close to an inch, causing me to look like my left leg is one inch shorter than the right leg. This has caused a great deal of pain to the SI joint in the lower back. All the nerves and muscles have been fighting against each other. I went to the Chiropractor (a friend who I trust and adore) it would feel better but right when I would start to ride again it would begin to hurt. The pelvis would not stay in place.
The muscle spasms started with my lower back and ended up going all the way up to my shoulder. Only on the right side and my back would burn and go numb with pain.
Doctor put me on a high dose of 2 medications to help relax the nerves and the muscles so that the pelvis could shift itself back into place.
This morning I can bend over!
Wow..I have learned so much through all of this training and pain.
Those of you who have chronic back pain, I understand the level of how debilitating this can be. I pray that you can find an answer to the pain.
I have never in my carrier gone back and forth about will I or can I do this race. It was so dependent on many things. God has taught me even more that my family comes first..balance comes first...your training and the race is lower on the list.
I have not come this far without the help, love, support and prayers of many people.
My family who has sacrificed there time with me so I could train. I pulled my kids on some rides and this was wonderful, but you can only ask a child to sit for so long:) I feel these rides pulling 50-75 pounds has given my legs strength that they have never had before but many have also been part of the back issues.
Cathy who has spent hours fixing bikes, watching me cry and has never given up on me so how could I give up..
Colleen: who did some rides with us but also had to listen to my whimpers:) Thank you for your help watching our kids to!
Barb Lindquist who I did some rides with: she pulls her twin boys!
The list goes on and on and you who are reading this blog are a big part of it all.
Thank you for the emails, blog posts with your love and support but really your belief in me as a friend, athlete and coach. This means the world to me. I will be looking forward to getting your race report on this blog about your races this weekend as well. My crew will be doing live updates and they will be able to tell me how you did at your own event so I can draw on your energy:)
Tracy Fawns: who read my blog about my sore butt and offered to send me her bike saddles to ride on. Tracy has done the 508 and RAAM. Thank you Tracy...I think your seats just my save my butt:):)
Crew: Paul Byron...check out his web site for his beautiful work:) Great gift ideas. Paul will be giving photos for some of the 508 awards!
Sparrow Hawk Photography
Wildlife and Nature Photography
So...ready or not??? This is the first bike race I have ever competed in. I will go to participate and to finish. I have a race plan but this will be dependent on many thing. The weather foracast looks like it will be much cooler than they expected but it also looks like high winds. Wind..I can deal with, bring it on. I am ready now emotionally, no more turning back. Ready physically: we shall find out. Never have doing a bike race it is hard to know if you are ready. I will give it my best and leave the rest up to Gods plan.
Here's a little more detailed forcast for specific points along the route:
This looks good...could be the coolest 508 in history (it usually gets up to about 105 out by Amboy on the 2nd day). The wind might be a little problem.
I have 3 bike jerseys that I will wear and they all have great meaning behind them.
1. Barb Lindquist, Olympic Triathlete gave me one of hers to train in and I will wear it with pride and drawn on all the energy she used while wearing it!
2. Paul Byron: sent me his 508 jersey..trust me this one is going to really help me when the going gets tough.
3. My husband Jay's one and only jersey that he said: you can wear it if you want to:):) I will wear it and hold my family close to my heart
I leave you with this today: sent to me from my friend Lauire.
"In my dream, the angel shrugged and said, if we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination and then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand".
May we all go and have a weekend full of grace, dignity and gratitude.