Saturday, April 05, 2008

Oh, the Strength They’ve Gained

Most of the MDS runners are fast asleep right now, some are staying up all night to dance and celebrate. Sunday will be the wonderful post race party and awards celebration. Monday most will board a plane to go home. Get ready to hear some amazing stories, see some wonderful photos all we hope to be shared on my blog.

They will be only too happy to give up cooking their meals in plastic bags under the heat of the Saharan sun for the wonderful food they have at the awards ceremony.

Many other Dreamchasers are running a different race some where else, some are North Carolina running the Umstead 100 others are running American River 50 mile, half marathons and so on. Larry King reported that he ran a 4 hour 50k time and took 3rd place...yet another best time for Larry.

Jay called us right we he got back to the hotel and sounded wonderful. He said his feet are in perfect shape as usual and that he felt really good all the way but had a small cold and his shoulder hurt. It was so great to hear his voice. Our kids are counting the minutes for him to get home.

So…as I sit here to write this blog I am so full of emotions. It has been very hard for me and Colleen to be on this side of the race and watching from the computer but it has been a real joy to watch the progress of all of you. I bet I have had over 2,000 emails this week with people asking about all of you. Next year Colleen and I won’t be on this side of the race we will step up the starting line with all of those who dare to dream to run the 2009 MDS!!! My eyes are sore from looking at the computer so much but it has all been worth it.

It has been a long week for me in lots of ways and I feel like I have run a race. Two sick kids for close to 10 days, one after the other...I guess it was meant for me to stay close to home. I am happy to repost my father is holding his own and is getting a little better with each passing day. I am thankful.

Jeff Arricale’s wonderful wife has had her share of it to this week and feels like she ran the MDS:) Great news was baby Gracie was going home from the hospital and then their daughter Sammie got a great crack in the head and had to have a plastic surgeon repair the wound! Jeff and Jess, we are praying for all of you that this next week is full of love and laughter and that goes for everyone reading this blog post today.

It is impossible for me to single out anyone who just completed the MDS today for I am beyond thrilled at the efforts of each and every one of them.

Many placed very well in the race, and some were in the back of the pack. I have said it all along, first or last they are all heroes and champions for they have conquered something that is beyond what most can comprehend.

I have had many say to me, "I don't even drive my car that far." 152 miles in 6 days in the most harsh conditions is impressive to say the least. Bare with me on this long blog we have tonight but there is much to say:)

I tried to find one quote that would express my feelings as a coach and as a past competitor of the MDS but I could not just pick one, so here are a few.

"Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

"Only those who risk going two far can possibly find out how far one can go." -TS Elliot

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." -Theodore Roosevelt

"There is nothing like a dream to create the future." -Victor Hugo

"Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment, and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey. -Harold V. Melchert....(this one is for you daddy Jay)

I leave you today with this:

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. I can do everything through him who gives me strength! -Phil. 4:12-13


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lisa, for a beautiful and fitting wrap-up to an amazing week. I am so grateful for everything you did not only to prepare the runners, but to keep all of us waiting at home up to date with MDS. Reading your blog became a regular and frequent part of my daily routine this week, and helped me to feel like I was more connected with everything going on so far away.

Congratulations again to all the competitors. You guys are amazing.

Can't wait until Ted gets home on Monday.

- Amy

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Lisa, great stuff.
I just want you to know you missed a word in the last sentence of this post. It should say, I can DO anything.
This is one that I say each day when I wake up.


Anonymous said...


THANK YOU!!!!!!!! You are a phenomenal coach! You pushed me and made me believe that I was capable of reaching a level far, far beyond what I had accepted as my maximum potential. A year ago I thought that an MDS Finish was out of reach and two weeks ago I thought that Top 100 was way beyond my ability. You encouraged me to push my lmits and push them hard. I followed your race plan exactly and while it was never easy, it worked to perfection. I went on an epic personal journey on the long day - one that I'll remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Sure, it hurt a little and it challenged my mind in ways like never before, but that one day created a glorious moment in time that I still can't believe could happen to a former fat guy and decade-long middle of the packer. 24th place on that stage - can you believe it? I still can't! The joy is only compounded by sharing in the victories, hardships, laughs, cries, and final exuberance of my new friends - I'd give up race positions, times, medals, and t-shirts any day if I had to choose between these symbols and the irreplacable and very special camaraderie of the MDS. Ted is amazing and humble; Michle is a rock star (2nd again today!) - the rest (including all my new friends outside of our tent) are all wonderful and kind people. Too many stories to share via Blackberry, so I'll close this one like I started it by offering you my sincere gratitude for your wonderful coaching and support the past year.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Hi, Lisa!
Another incredible journey is about to end but the memories will last forever. I finished the final stage yesterday in 2 hr 11 mins and ran the entire way. Although I had a cold and bronchitis the entire week and was coughing day and night, I refused to let that get in my way. I followed your race plan like a good soldier and what a surprise - it worked beautifully. I really do not care what position I finished in because in my heart I know I did the best I could. I could have pushed no harder. What is it about this experience that makes it so special? It occurs in a couple different areas. It is competing in the toughest footrace in the world and finishing it. It is about finding the mental and physical limits and then pushing beyond them - which sets new limits.It is about courage and strength being drawn from within when you are at your lowest (during the last 10 miles of the long stage I was nausious, had the runs, felt like crap, did not want to eat anymore, was tired, did not want to drink anymore, my headlamp batteries were running low but I was too tired to change them - it was then that Terry Madl willed be thru it). It is about having others such as Terry there to provide support and encouragement when it is needed most. Camradarie, that was my biggest gift. Spending 7 days together in a dingy tent with 7 others who I have become extremely close to. We have laughed, suffered and recovered together. A lifetime bond has been formed. This is so much more than just a race.
Thank you Lisa for your unending support, guidance and encouragement coupled with a perfect training and race plan. You have taken me to a new level. I look forward to the future challenges.
Your dearest friend and student,

"Sherpa" John Lacroix said...

Man what a phenomenal event. Though I must admit.. the race in Attacama look a little more intriguing to me.

Let me know when you go to chile for that one.. I'm coming with.

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Thank you for such wonderful notes!
I can't wait to talk to all of you in person:):)

John, we won't be going to the Attacama race but I am sure it is a good race. Attacama had 80 runner's and MDS had close to 900, they are very different in many, many ways but through deserts:)

Becky said...

Simply amazing! I am so very, very proud of all the superstars who experienced MDS - and EVERYONE who was there is a superstar! What an amazing journey, I can't wait to hear the stories. Count me in for next year!!

Lisa - thank you for all the great updates. You did a great job of keeping us up to date on how everyone was doing and I also really appreciated the "behind the scenes" insight into what they were going through and how this is much more than just a race.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lady – you must be so excited right about now! Congratulations on doing such a superb coaching job for so many athletes. Looks like our band of superheroes did so well, and no doubt will have wonderful stories to share.
Marie Boyd

Anonymous said...

Your life-long commitment to pushing yourself, as well as all others that are drawn to you, toward higher goals of personal bests is truly remarkable. You have touched and changed the lives of countless athletes who once struggled with mediocrity, but who now see the boundries of their own potential success and achievment as limitless.
I'm a great admirer of your special talents, spiritual encouragement, compassionate understanding, personal achievemnets and boundless enthusiasim.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa,
It appears that your team of "desert rats" kicked some serious international butt and made a membership in the infamous Dreamchaser club something to be extremely proud of.
Congratulations to you, to Jay, and to all other Dreamchaser members that so wonderfully represented the US in one of the worlds most challenging international competitions.
Love you, Mike

krenap said...

Here's wishing my sis well as she journey's back to Thailand and any new adventure she dreams of. I can't believe she has done this. WOW!!!!
Love you much Kay, well done.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to Sherpa John to want to go and do some race that these blog postings are not even talking about. Wonder why he would not want to go with this group? Just shows how young and stupid he is.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations to all the MDS runners. It has been great fun following your progress and hearing about the race by someone as experienced as Lisa. Best wishes for a safe trip home and a speedy recovery. I am looking forward to seeing you all out on the trails and hearing about your adventures. Wait a second, I would never keep up on the trails with you MDS animals, I guess I had better get you to tell your stories around the campfire.

Mark Wieneke

Anonymous said...

that's it! i'm going next year!! you guys did an awesome job! i thought about you guys this week quite alot, what your going through and what you are's an inspiration to everyone. hey mike and laurie, call me when you get back and i'll come over and take you two out for beers and such!
michael e.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, Is that you with the camel?

Looking good!


olga said...

Loved the quotes from the camp:) Congrats again to everybody! And thank you Lisa for great updates, jusr amazing info and much fun!

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Hi all! that is not me with the camel, I have a photo with a camel but this is not me, she sure is cute! I am touched by all the wonderful comments posted. I feel Colleen and I did a good job covering the race and it was great fun to. blog is only used to post nice comments about people..If John wants to run another desert race other than this one good for him!