Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Meet & Greet…

Here is a little information about some of the Dreamchasers that are running in this year's race. They have either come to a training camp of they are being coached by me.

Stage 2 was very hot, most are saying it was much like running in a frying pan. It was 120 degrees! I know this kind of heat oh so well and if you are not fueling yourself properly, staying hydrated and getting out of the sun when you can it can really drain you.

Many of our students have not been training in the heat or the sand they have been training in much the opposite! Those from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have been doing all kinds of heat training so it is no surprise to me that we have some great Aussies running in the top 30!!!

The MDS is so much about self discovery. It is a challenge that is so hard to explain to anyone that has not been there. It is a journey that will last the rest of your life. Friendships, bonding with perfect strangers..these people will be with you for the rest of your life. Many will return a changed person in some way, for the better I assure you.

They will have conquered an amazing feat and they have conquered their dream by chasing it down. First place, last place or perhaps not being able to make it to the finish line they are all heroes, they are all championships for they have set foot on the starting line and darned to live out the dream! They will be able to do anything and will be able to draw upon and reflect about their adventure.

Meet & Greet…
Dreamchaser Students and Campers
at the 2008 Marathon des Sables

Laurie Andrews

Ted Archer

Jeff Arricale
(Jeff is front row, extreme left...everyone else in the photo is at MDS this year, too. They are at the MDS Training Camp we had in October in Death Valley.)

(Me &) Jay Batchen

Leigh Corbin

Aaron Davison

M DeMarco (and me)

Mike Ehredt

Peggy Gaudet

Jeff Grant

Michele Jensen (and me)

Ed Kelly (with his daughter & Laurie Andrews)

Terry Madl

Kira Matukaitis (with Colleen)

Greg Ryan

Andrea Sloan

Georgia Stansell

Stephen Wolk

George Velasco

Elizabeth & Lara Zaitzeff

Some Thoughts From Me After Stage Two

Laurie and Mike look like they are running together and are doing very well. Mike has run this race before and has helped at our training camp so he should do well with his experience. Laurie is a very strong determined runner. They both live and train in the Tetons and have been training in blinding snow storms all winter!

Ted Archer who lives in California has been able to do a little beach running but not much heat in California this winter. Ted is so new to the sport just running his first ultra in Feb. a 50 mile race in Texas. He won the race! Ted as of today is in 32nd place just 1 hour off 10th place. If Ted can stick to the plan he is going to have one amazing race!! Look out, this Ted is going places with his running!

Jeff Arricale: training is the snow all winter. He is in the tent with Jay so I know he is in good hands. Jeff has a sat phone with him to be able to call home in case of emergency but seems that he has been calling home each day to give updates! It has been great to have his wife Jess either email or call me so I can give you a better idea of what is going on in the desert. Jeff came to our training camp and looks to be running a fine race. I am sure he is going to look forward to a nice hot shower in 5 more days!!!!! Keep it going Jeff.

Jeff Grant
: What a joy this man is to work with. He has trained in blinding snow storms, skate ski and down hill ski while living in Switzerland! Jeff is now in 61st place and I know he is having the race of his life...one very focused young man! Jeff has his own MDS blog that his wife Becky is updating during the race! http://mds2008jeff.blogspot.com/

Jay Batchen
: our sweetie..and his kids sure do miss him. Annabella sings this song for him. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you’re only a day a way. Run daddy run, go daddy…keep on running daddy! Jay is running well and smart...slowed down in the real heat today!

Kay Bellor
: celebrating her 50th Birthday by running the MDS!! Kay is doing amazing:) She started with just some walking and I slowly got her into the idea of the MDS...I know she is living a very wild dream right now and as hard as it might be at times, she is thankful...always thankful. I put her in Jay’s tent to take care of her! Kay is living in Thailand.

Leigh Corbin and George Velasco
: Good friends and training buddies, as most say - they are glued at the hip! George is like the old mother hen who looks after all of his chicks. I mean this in a very good way. These two are doing just what they set out to do and their plan from the start was to run and walk together, this is how they run all of their races…side by side. I am so proud of both of them and can only imagine the laughs going on in their tent at night! I guess Leigh is running in a skirt as well as some of our other girls and it is getting some great attention! They both live in California.

Aaron Davison
: Intensive Care Unit doctor who lives in Canada. I know his training has either been in the gym or in the snow…not too much heat training. I am so thrilled he is running the race this year but sad that I won’t get to listen to all of his jokes…one of the funniest people I have ever met! Go Aaron Go!!!

Marianne Demarco: What a hoot this woman is..she is also running is a skirt and she is running very well! You have to check out her blog! This is one women who lives in NYC and has come so far with her training. She has a bunny as her pet, runs with a group called the dogs and plays in a band! M, we love you girl!


Peggy Gaudet
: Miss Peggy, the wonderful school teacher. I am so sure all the kids just love her! Guess what? She is running is a skirt as well.
Peggy has sent 2 emails home…here they are...this just shows you how great it is where they are and what they are doing. Peggy is such a beautiful soul and I am sure she will continue to rock in the desert! Peggy did most of her training in the snow as well. Idaho.

Peggy sent this e-mail out after one of the stages:The evenings are great, with everyone comparing their stories for the day. Thank you so much for all the emails, today when I was struggling, I thought back to all the support you’ve given me; really wonderful. The sunset just set so I am off to sleep. I am a little nervous for tomorrow. Constant forward motion! Today was very hard, 22 miles and it was very hot 115! Yesterday was better. My feet have a few more blisters and my back is very sore from my pack. The terrain today reminded me so much of AZ and Hopi, tall beautiful mesas, we ran through a village, little kids came out to greet us. It was a very long day, but when I got to camp my tent mates are great and take care of me.

Michele Jensen
: 1st American women right now and in the top 13 for women. I know she slowed it down today to stick to the race plan we set out for her. Michele is a very strong runner. I stuck her in the tent with Ted and Jeff knowing they would be able to help push her:)Go Michele Go..top 10 baby, you can do it. Colorado is where she trained so guess what? snow training!

Ed Kelly
: running for the 2nd time, can't stay away. Ed ran so well on the 2nd day and moved up about 100 spots. Living in Chicago has not been great training at all but he has pulled it off. Hot yoga, hockey and lots of indoor training set him up for a very good run!Ed..keep up the great effort my friend.

Terry Madl: Like Ed he lives in Chicago and even goes to hot yoga with Ed. Guess who got Terry to run the MDS…you said it Ed! Ed it is all your fault:) Terry’s goal is to place in the top 100-150 and I know he can do it. He is running very smart…slow and steady. Both Terry and Ed are in Jay’s tent. Terry has a very special race number this year. He is running for his friend Sue who passed away just a few weeks ago and her Birthday is May 12th, Terry’s race number is 512. What a special gift this is!!!

Kira Matukaitis
: running well and running to complete some unfinished business! I am so proud of her that she decided to step up and go back and I know this will be a different experience. Her friend Greg was featured on the MDS web site today as Mr. Hollywood so we know she is in good hands. She is also in a tent with George so we know he is looking after her as well. Kira was 2nd at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in Feb. having an amazing personal best. Go girl!

Greg Ryan
: Kira’s friend and tent mate, training partner!!! Looks like they came in very close together today so perhaps they are running together. Greg is very new to ultra running but sure makes it all look so easy! By the looks of your photo on the web site today you don’t even look dirty yet! Maybe he should run harder:)

Andrea Sloan
: Lives in Canada and is so, so funny. When she came to camp she had us rolling on the floor laughing. She is in good hands with some other campers, besides Ted, Jeff and Michele get to the tent and have it all set up for her:) Andrea, I can't wait to hear about your journey!

Georgia Stansell
: Lives in Alaska! Love this woman. She is a yoga teacher, massage therapist and has the best attitude. She may be the 1st person from Alaska to ever run the MDS? Guess what? She already plans to go back next year and bring her friends and husband! She is having a great race.

Stephen Wolk
: Training is the cold, ice and snow like so many others. He came off an injury and made it happen for himself! Steve has been to 3 training camps so we now call him a groupie:) We have a few of them. I can feel the smile on Steve’s face even if it is 120 degrees, he is just where he has longed to be for a long time. Keep it going Steve!

Lara and Elizabeth Zaitzeff
: Go these sisters (twins) have got to impress everyone. They have come to camp and they have run 1 race in their life before this??? A 50 miler in Texas...They have not even run a 5k!!! Oh...they are walking all of the MDS and they are walking strong as ever. These two girls are so impressive with the very little training they did going into this and never really doing anything before this. Many times trying to back out, I would not let them and I hope when they get home, they will not beat me up:) They both live in NYC so no heat training for them either.

You see..anyone can complete the Marathon des Sables.
You can walk it, run it, hike it...maybe this adventure waits for you too??

"Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; the point is who you become as you get past the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals. That's what gives you a true and long-lasting sense of fulfillment."

--Anthony Robbins


Becky said...

Thanks for the pictures and stories! They are some really AMAZING people, chasing their dreams!

Anonymous said...

Lisa: Loved the Jeff arricale blurb. IS he in Jays tent. His sense of humour will clearly get him to he finish. Will pop him an email tonight. !

Patrice Clapacs

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Good morning to all of you.
It is thrilling to watch the race on-line but also hard:)
I would so love it if you would post your comments to my blog in place of sending me emails. Trust me everyone else would love to know your thoughts!
Ted is worried about starting the long day with the top 50..I hope he re-thinks this plan..because this is the group he should be racing with. it is very hard to make up so much time being below 50th place when you are capable of being in the top 10-20. So many are doing outstanding, they are all doing outstanding with the heat the way it is this year and the hardest course in the history of the race.
Keep it going team Dreamchasers


Anonymous said...

That Mike Wardian is amazing!!! Will he go back to MDS...seems like he could do some damage.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lisa:

Just a quick note to let you know how much my husband and I are enjoying
your website! Our friendship with Jeff and Jess Arricale developed when
they bought our house in Monkton, MD and have found them to be the most delightful people.
The Dreamchasers, as well as you, are such an inspiration to us- it has
made me rethink my life, go the extra distance on the treadmill and
consider starting to participate in some "walking marathons" at home.
From there on out who knows what the future will bring!

Thank you for all the long hard work you are putting into updates, etc.
from the Marathon des Sables. God Love all of them and get them to the finish line safely!
Take good care! Michael and Nancy Buck

olga said...

Lisa, dear, to follow your updates! Thanks for putting it up! Cute boys, are they single? How do I meet them? :) Best to everybody!

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Hi Olga!!

Yes some are single:):)

So many are doing so well that you know..very fun to follow. Miss being there but happy to be here to.
Best to you to

Sam said...

How much does it cost to do MdS? I would love to do this race one day too and I would really like to use it as an opportunity to raise money for a to-be-determined organization!

I would want to structure my run as a fund raising event and it is an effort that my company could support and promote but I don't have much experience with fund raising, so I would have to work to put together a road map to get from here to a point where I felt like my effort was worth while...

How much money is typical to raise for a running related fund drive? I know that this seems like a difficult question to answer but do you have a sense for what a good goal would be?

As always, thanks for you guidance!


Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Hi Sam!

The price to run MDS varies from person to person. The entry fee is the same for all but the airfare will depend on where you live. The other thing to consider is the equipment you need to do the race, if you have most of it or can borrow it the cost is less. I can help you with this!
If this race is on your dream list there is always a way to make it happen.

Raising money for causes and running for a purpose is such a great way to run. First find the cause that is close to your heart and then we can talk about some steps to raise money.

Thanks for asking

Bob Gentile said...

Great ReCap Coach, I have been sending emails to some of the runners from the MDS site.

GO GO GO GO !!!! They all are doing Awesome!!

Alan said...

Incredible!!! Thanks for posting the updates. As always, very informative and fun to read.

Anonymous said...

hi from work. good luck and best wishes to Laurie and Mike, George and Leigh, and especially to you, Jay, for having the courage to take 80 people on such an incredible adventure, and participate yourself! Following along with great interest. Best of luck to all of you, and remember the Bishop High Sierra Ultras await.
Marie and Andy Boyd.

Dane said...

Best of luck to each and everyone of these inspiring competitors.

Anonymous said...


I am not and would not run this race but I have run many different races
with Kay, I have run with her to save a refugee, I have run with her to
fight a battle in DC, I have run with her to have a good time.

I was with Kay in Bangkok when she decided she needed to work towards
her 50th birthday, we talked about Paris. It was over dinner with a
whole group of people in Bangkok last February. She was going to run
the Paris marathon and we were all going to meet her there. She wanted
something all her own, that she did for herself. We said we would throw
her a party!

I have not worried about Kay with this race but I have wondered from
time to time why. But it has been amazing that I have thought about Kay
every day in this last week. I wonder how her feet are, I wonder how the
sand is, I wonder if she is drinking enough water, I wonder if her
muscles are cramping to bad and if anybody is giving her any ice, I
wonder if the tent is comfortable and I wonder how much this will change
her forever. I have never been prouder of my friend. Three of us
talked to her as she stepped onto the plane, I wish we could be there to
greet her when she crosses the finish line.

Keep her well! Thank you.

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Here is the link to send emails to all MDS runners...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the postings Lisa.

I have been following your Blog and the Dartaround site as well. The courage and determination of all the atheletes is amazing. The descriptions of just how deep everyone has to go to summon the strength is so awesome.

All of you are AMAZING!

Keep it going and see it through guys!

Cheers, Marc Bremner, (2010 MDS Hopeful!)

Anonymous said...

Well done. Good looking people I have to say.


Anonymous said...

Dream Big, Lisa can get there!

Anonymous said...

What a group of people this is that you write about. How did you get to meet so many people from so many different places?
Is this all from your coaching the computer?
Have you met all of these people in person?

Rock on.