Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Past Transcontinental Runs: 1984 - Annabel Marsh and Caroline Merrill

Cathy who is part of our crew for the Run Across America was fortunate enough to get to meet 2 of the women who have done the run! What inspiration this is for Louise, myself and the rest of us!! I look forward to meeting them in person myself!

Annabel Marsh and Caroline Merrill were featured speakers Friday night for the 2007 Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent. They gave an excellent slide presentation about their 1984 run across the United States. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend.

Annabel and Caroline started their crossing in Boston on April 14, and finished in San Francisco on August 21. Annabel, did not take up running until she was 47, and celebrated her 61st birthday during the run. Caroline was 42 when they did their run and had been running less than 6 years. They covered 3261 miles, running 6 days a week; 15 miles in the morning and 15 more in the afternoon. They stretched morning, evening and during their mid-day break.

Caroline Merrill and Annabel Marsh at the 2007 Pikes Peak Ascent/Marathon

They woke up every morning at 4am and had coffee, banana and chocolate chip cookie for breakfast. They ate a lot of milkshakes. They went through 12 pairs of shoes each and had many shirts, etc. They said they had to throw away the shirts they were wearing when they ran through an area that had just been hit by a tornado because they got so covered in mud and grime that they could not be cleaned. They also went through a section of oiled pavement in Nevada and said their shoes got trashed.

Later in the route Caroline's mom and sister showed up and brought along a sewing machine to repair clothing. They also sewed sleeves onto their t-shirts when they were having problems with the sun.

Someone at the presentation asked Annabel and Caroline if they ever doubted they could do it. "No." : )

What a weekendat the races!

Good morning to you all...Wow what a weekend at the races for some of the Dreamchaser students!!!
I will post some races stories today and the next few days...But to brag about a few:)
The Leadville 100...Michele Jensen was 20th overall and 2nd women!!! This is amazing. I spoke to Michele a few times in the past few days and her energy just shines, she is thrilled beyond words. She said.."I had a perfect race"!

Teri had a great race at Leadville after some very rough spots but the finish line was all hers.

Mark..3 out of 4, one left! Mark completed Leadville and said he felt great all the way! Mark is doing the Grand Slam!

Jeff: Completed the Inferno Tri. in Switzerland!!!

And Diana had a successful weekend at Pikes Peak! Below is Diana's letter for her "run with a purpose" and then her post race letter. She ran for such a great cause..Donations are still coming in!
I look forward to hearing about every ones journeys!

My weekend was great. I spent more time on my bike in 3 days than I did in a month training for Ironman..Sunday I rode with a very fast women and on Monday I was so beat up..guess that could be a good thing..Our good friend Cathy is here with us for a few weeks, she is on my 508 crew and it has been such a blessing to have her to ride with..let alone she took apart my bike, cleaned it and now it is riding like a machine:)
We have a very full plate right now getting ready for the Teton
It is not to late to sign up. Our house will be full of people, we can't wait!

Have a wonderful day

Hello Friends,
Many of you know that I love to run. Many of you know that I am involved with The Taylor Family Foundation at Camp Arroyo in Livermore.
I have learned from two very inspiring people to "Run with a Purpose" My purpose is Camp Arroyo.
My family has been involved with Camp Arroyo for almost "10" years. Camp Arroyo is a very special place, where children and their families can go
to camp and have a chance to be like every other child. These are kids who are always told "You can't do that"
At Camp Arroyo they are told "You can do that and soooo much more!" This camp was founded by a wonderful woman by the name of Eliane Taylor. The commitment of the Camp is to provide children with life-threatening diseases with the chance-of-a-lifetime to attend summer camp created just for them!
Ok, here is my goal!
*I will run PIKES PEAK ASCENT AND PIKES PEAK MARATHON on August 18th and 19th. For the "10th "time!
*Our family (our girls help at the camp!) have been involved with the foundation for "10" years!
* My goals is to send 10 kids to camp! (More than 10 would be amazing!) The cost for 1 child for 1 week is $500.00.
(Please know that any amount helps!)
Attached is a donation form:=
Please mail any donation to me or the foundation, I am grateful for any amount. They have a wonderful website to learn and see the many children they have helped at the foundation.
I want to Thank my friends Marshal Ullrich and Lisa Smith-Batchen for teaching me to "Run with a purpose" and more importantly, to
live life with a purpose.
Thank you for supporting me and the wonderful children who benefit from Camp Arroyyo.
Diana James
33 Kimberley Place
Alamo, CA 94507
PS; Please feel free to forward this to anyone who might be inspired as well:-)


Hello again,
I wanted to share with you my adventure. First of all I am overwhelmed with emotion from the response from my run and fundraising.
I truly could not have completed this run without having such a meaningful purpose.

The Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent have the title of "America's Ultimate Challenge" with a vertical gain of 7815 feet, to reach 14, 215 ft in each race. I had a wonderful run to the top on Saturday and I was inspired
by many on the climb up. I never expected the emotion I would feel when I hit the top, I was all alone and I began to sob like a baby when I realized I had completed the climb and more importantly I had made a difference in the lives of some families and children. I will leave out the ugly details about the drive down the back side of the mountain...let's just say, a school bus and a VERY winding road at high altitude are not a good mix for me...Good thing the bus driver was willing to stop and let me crawl out.
It was a very strange feeling to think I had to climb that mountain again the next day and then find a way to run back down! I really did not think about what I did the day before, only getting myself to the top again. Once again, the climb up I was inspired by many. Towards the top of the mountain and the journey back down I had to look outside myself for inspiration. This is where I began to repeat to myself (even out loud!) "RUN FOR THE KIDS" I had some stomach "issues" and some doubts entered my mind...I always had to believe I would finish- not for me but for a higher purpose, the kids. I had visions of an ugly finish...The final hour I helped a woman who had a terrible fall and I was so taken back by her "nothing will stop me" attitude. I fired up, I ran the last hour with all my heart and finished with tears (once again) down my face and a smile from ear to ear.
Thank you for helping make this dream of mine come true.
Please know that support for my run and CAMP ARROYO can still be made at any time, any amount helps!
with much love and much soreness!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Finally My Badwater x 2 story/dreaming :)


In 2006 I successfully accomplished the Badwater double and this was a wonderful dream come true.

It was difficult when I developed a fever and had to sit out of the official race for a long time in order to feel better and get my act together. :) Once I felt better I was running and walking just as I dreamed I would.

Having to wait a very long time to get the permits to climb Mt. Whitney (the first time) left us to have to start the climb in the early evening which would lead us to climb at night time. The night came and with it came the cold and to me it was bitter cold. My head started to hurt, my body was shaking from the inside out and I just had a bad feeling that I was about to freeze! We were 2 miles from the summit. The choice was made (by me) that I needed to go back down the mountain. Marshall and Mike (crew) were just amazing in helping me down the mountain. The feelings of failure did not last long. I had made the only choice I could for myself and safety is first! Once back down the mountain, my mind was running all over the place with what to do. How can we continue to feel successful and complete this dream! Marshall and Bob (both crew) simply left me with the only choice, the right climb the mountain again. You can't claim to run the Badwater double and not touch the summit of Mt. Whitney. Those of you who have never climbed Mt. Whitney must know that this is no small undertaking after you have attempted it once and failed. I failed due to feeling extreme cold and my body was just not going to allow me to carry on. We waited another day to get new permits to climb Whitney and the set off again, this time with Marshall, Jacki and George.

It was an also an absolutely perfect beautiful day, God granted us a beautiful day and a beautiful summit of Mt. Whitney. Needless to say I was over the top with emotion...we were half way.

Once we got off Mt. Whitney, about 15 hours later, I wanted to run the 12 miles down the portal road back into Lone Pine to our good friends' Ben and Denise Jones home. (Denise is the blister queen and wonderful at taking care of people and feet.) This is where the crew all were set up and waiting and this is where my confidence was strong that we would be successful and that God would allow me another crossing of Death Valley.

The 2nd part of the Double was just as the first, full of the great the good and the ugly but mentally it was better. I did not feel sick and guess what? I went back faster than I did in the official race, a true negative split. :) The feeling of gratitude for being granted my dream, the $300,000 raised for AIDS orphans, and the many miles with my wonderful crew was a bit overwhelming.


What I learned was this: Life is about Love...LOVE and then LOVE...Give, give, give until it hurts and when it hurts keep on giving. Life is about sharing, caring and life is about simplicity.

All the stuff we have, all the things we have...what does any of this mean without love, simplicity and the simple gratitude of having the gift of get up each morning. To be thankful for all and for everything.

We did it, I did it, we all were successful. I told Chris Kostman the RD of Badwater race, at the end of my race (2006) that if he got an entry form from me in the mail for the 2007 race to tear it up. I told him and I told Marshall that I felt I have learned everything that I needed to learn in Death Valley and that I did not need to run it again...well.......................


For 2 months after the completion of the 2006 double I was very emotional. I cried often. I felt elated beyond words and God continued to give me more and more. I spoke to my dear friend Sister Marybeth and told her my next dream and asked her to pray about it for me. She wrote me an email and said, "YES LISA, I have prayed about this next dream for you and you are to do it and you are to start in May of 2008." She also, at the same time, told me that she prayed God would allow me to live to be at least 100 and that my legs would continue to carry me many miles because we have so much work to do! I spoke to my friend Frank McKinney and he said, "In order to raise more money you need to think of doing something bigger than the double," and little did he know I already had a plan. :)

The 2007 Badwater double is not the big dream, but part of the process of getting there. I really yearned for the desert. I yearned to go back to the simple way of life, to feel that love and elation I felt in Death Valley during the 2006 double. I wanted to go back and do the double with only climbing Mt. Whitney once, not twice, and see if I could move faster. My training was very, very different. I felt fitter and faster this year (2007).


I had a smaller crew and many things lead me to hit the send button to enter the Badwater race again. I use the word "yearn"' because I can't find a better word to describe how I feel about the desert, Badwater, and all that is means to me personally. The truth is, I have not learned all I need to learn and I hope I never do.

The official race this year was going better than ever, I was happy and then the ball dropped. My stomach went at 71 miles.

I was running at a happy pace and never over 135 heart rate. I spent a great deal of time running with my great friend Greg Pressler. Lisa Bliss and I were back and forth for hours on end. She is so darn tough and I am so thrilled for her and her 1st place women in the race!

My stomach. At the top of Father Crowley, I started having to pee every 5-10 min. It was not a little pee. It was a cup at a time. This went on all night and it went on all the way to the finish line. Each time I would start to run I had to pee. This has happened before, but only at night. This continued all day long. I felt drained and my body would not hold onto the calories I was trying to give it. This is still a mystery to me and when Lisa Bliss (Dr. Lisa) gets a few moments I would love to talk to her about it. God bless her crew. They saw my butt one too many times on the course, but promised they did not take any photos. :)

It was my choice to stake out and drive to Lone Pine where we spent 4 hours at the hotel. I took a shower, and just lied flat so my stomach could calm down. Once back on the road I felt great and we were moving fast. Once I hit the portal road and darkness came again so did the non-stop peeing and I could not keep my head up from lack of calories as hard as I tried...7 hours for 12 miles...HA!!! My good friend Marshall Ulrich passed me on the portal road with 2 miles left to go, this was his 20th crossing on Death Valley. Having heard what he had gone through during the first part of his race I was happy to see him and thrilled to watch him power walk like a champ to the finish line. What a joy to have he and his wife Heather be the ones to greet me and my crew for my finish of the race!

Needless to say, I don't wear a watch when I race so I had NO idea what my finish time would be. Chris Kostman (RD) said, 41:52, and I about fell on the ground. I could not believe after all that I had broken 48 hours. My first goal to finish in 60 hours, 2nd 48 hours, 3rd top 5 for the women. The real goal, fun and safety first.

Time to head up Whitney, but not a chance the storms are over the mountain. We had to wait all day. I kept telling myself to be patient that this is God's plan not mine.


Sky clears and we head off at the same time we left last year. (Crew: Scott, Mike, Laurie) I felt great and then night time came, the peeing came again and the extreme cold about 2 miles from the summit! Not again, not again, I thought to myself. I asked my crew if we could rest and get in our sleeping bags, but I was the only one with a sleeping bag. My mind was racing, my head was starting to hurt and that uncontrollable shaking from the cold was about to take over again. I said a silent prayer to myself and I said, "Let's go back down. I am going to freeze and I know that with 2 miles left to go it is going to only get colder and colder, and with this comes ice."

Safety first, not just for me, but for my 3 friends on the mountain with me too. I call this wisdom. I call this taking responsibility and being smart. I cried for about 1 minute to myself knowing it was over and that I was not willing to try again the next day. When I cried, I prayed and said, "I don't want to throw in the towel. I feel too good. My legs don't even hurt for goodness sake." I asked for an answer, in the spirit of the fundraising, how could we continue on. The relay hit me head on, a team relay where my crew of 6 amazing people could have a chance to run parts of the Badwater course and experience what I did and feel the joy.


We got off the mountain and it took me some time to make my mind up 100% that we were not going back up Mt. Whitney. This would have caused us to have to change plane tickets and do everything exactly the way we did it last year. I did not need to do it again this way. I spoke to my chief crew, Marie Boyd (who has already offered to be on my crew for next year :) ) and told her my thought about the relay. Her response was, "OK, let's get the others together and tell them the plan." She was more thrilled about this than I was!

We got the other 5 together and sat by the pool for 30 min. and talked about this. I have to tell you the fire and light in these people's eyes were something I have never seen. It was like they had been given a million dollars each. Within 2 hours George and Scott were running down the portal road back to the hotel and off we went to form the "so not normal relay". I was the crew and driver as long as I could stay awake. I had to help take care of all of them the way they cared for me. It was one of the most amazing journeys of my life.


They all set time goals for how long it would take to reach Badwater and the person who won would gain a free entry into the Teton 100 which is Sept. 1st! 27 hours! Scott Morgan won and you bet, he will be here to run the 100. In the spirit of the dream, the goal, the fundraising, these 6 people made the dream even grander than I ever knew it was possible to be. They took turns running, they tagged water bottles, they bonded and they gave and gave until we reached the finish line arm and arm just the way I dreamed it.

But the ending was different. This was not about me running 300 miles. This was about giving, sharing, loving, simplicity, teaching and me watching these 6 people learn what I learned last year. I have also learned that I should and never will again climb at night. I am not meant for the cold weather, my body does not enjoy the cold even with all the right clothing on.

This year I set up to raise money for another cause that became close to my heart, the MPD foundation. I knew that in 2008 I would be doing a very large fundraising event for the kids and felt really called to run for the MPD foundation. We may not have raised the amount of money for the goal we have set (yet) but we were able to raise a great deal of awareness about the MPD foundation which is a great feeling. It is not too late to make a donation!


You see, the learning will never stop, the growing will continue. Change is inevitable, but the one thing that will always remain constant is love, true love. In the end, what I learned from my need to go back and do the double again was something I did not truly grasp before, something that I already have right here at home with Jay and my 2 beautiful children. What I learned was this: Life is about Love...LOVE, and then LOVE...Then give, give, give until it hurts and when it hurts keep on giving. Life is about sharing, caring, and life is about simplicity.

All the stuff we have, all the things we have...what does any of this mean without love, simplicity and the simple gratitude of having the gift of life, to get up each morning, to be thankful for all and for everything. We can all have this each and everyday if we just stop, look and listen. Live in the present and in the moment. Clear your mind of negative thoughts and surround yourself with loving people.


I thank both of my crews for both Badwater doubles from the bottom to the top. I would like to thank Nilsa McKinney for coming on board last year and Cathy Cramer for coming on board this year to help crew the 2nd half, what a joy you both are in our life! Thank you to my family for always putting up with me and Colleen Woods for all her support with the blog. Thank you to Shannon who does my web site for her donating her time for the fundraising. Thank you to Barb Batchen who helped look after my children. Without all of you none of this would have been possible.

I would like to thank Chris Kostman, the race director of Badwater 135. This was my 9th time running the race and my 8th official finish. My goal is to run 10 Badwater races, God willing. I thank Chris for all the time, effort and energy that he has put into this race over the years and for putting on one of the best races in the World. This race has come so far and each year it gets better and better and each year the energy surrounding the race becomes more alive!

The Badwater double is not an official race. I do have to say that the past 2 years I feel that I have missed out on a large part of the true meaning of the Badwater race and what it means to me. My doing the BW double left me missing the post race awards, the party, and the socialization with the many other runners, families, crews and friends that I look forward to seeing each year. This year I felt stress around my race and feel that if I ever do the double again it will not be right after the official race or have anything to do with the official race. I sit back and imagine the quiet, the simple desert, alone with a few friends...this is a much different experience than running the race and taking on the full meaning of what the race means to me. I want to see all get their belt buckles and be there next year clapping for each and everyone who has completed the Badwater 9th!

You can go and check out my blog for many wonderful stories and updates on my blog.


Before the next "big dream" I have a few races that I will take part in; the Furnace Creek 508 bike race, to do my best to accomplish the Death Valley Cup. To be honest I feel better running 508 miles but I am looking forward to this new challenge. Perhaps a 24 hour race in Nov., RR 100 in Feb., Marathon des Sables in March.

So...what's next? What did Sister Marybeth pray about 1 year ago and say, "YES LISA, YOU ARE TO DO THIS?......RUN ACROSS AMERICA!!!" LET THE JOURNEY BEGIN. Continue to read my blog and and check our website..The RAA/Trans Con :) The team is set, the goals have been made, the course has been confirmed and now...let the training begin!


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lung Busting on the Treadmill at the OR Show!

Posted by Colleen:

If you were to take a guess where Marshall (Ulrich) and Lisa would go for a run were they to meet up in Utah, you’d probably guess some place really beautiful like the Wasatch Mountains. But on Friday, together for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007 show in Salt Lake City, they chose to run side by side on treadmills instead!

Lisa and Marshall participated in the Uphill Challenge at the OR Show that was presented by Trail Runner Magazine and GoLite. The Challenge set up two athletes at a time on treadmills and had them go for a 15 min. run at a lung-busting 15% Incline .

Each athlete earned an official score determined by the mileage covered when the Uphill Challenge official declared 15 minutes had passed. The Challenge offered some great pairings to watch: Scott Jurek vs Karl Meltzer and Krissy Moehl vs Nikki Kimball to name a few…

So when it came down to the Badwater Badasses (Lisa vs Marshall), Lisa won the duel and earned a bottle of red wine in the process…one I am sure she’d gladly share with Marshall!

Below are a few photos to share with you of our friends in action.

Lisa's Warm-up: Some Strength training carrying the girls

The Stage is Set...

And They're Off!

Treadmill Incline

heart rates

Lisa's loudest cheerleader!

Montrail’s Idaho Gals!

Sometimes It Takes Going to Another State to Meet Your Neighbors!

Posted by Colleen:

Here’s a photo of Lisa with one of her Montrail Running Teammates: Joelle Vaught. Joelle won the Uphill Challenge!!! Turns out Lisa and Joelle are both living in Idaho these days…Joelle in Boise and Lisa in Teton Valley.

Wonder if we can inspire Joelle to make her way across the state for the Grand Teton Races at the end of the month? Hope so!

Monday, August 06, 2007

For Your Listening Pleasure

Hello Everyone,

Before this year's Badwater Challenge, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Adam Jacobs. Enjoy the interview - you can even download it to your MP3 player and listen to it while you run.

Happy Feet!


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Happy day to you all!!!

Good morning! much to say and I will once I get my story straight in my mind about my BW journey.
I can tell you this: it was the great, the good and the ugly.
I would like to thank you all for the love and support given to me, my family and crew. We have NO regrets, it was wonderful is so many ways. Thank you sister Marybeth for your love and prayers and that you to the MPD foundation for giving me a great purpose to run for!
First I would like to thank Colleen for her amazing blogging during the event, Cathy Crammer for sticking around after she was done working the official race, my family for putting up with me and my amazing crew. Next I would like to tell Lisa Bliss that is was beautiful watching the stars line up for her as she crossed the finish line in 1st place, a real joy for all of us!
It was a real joy for me to see so many of my students from past and present on the course, way to go to all:) was more than fine for me to have my good friend Marshall pass me with only a few miles to go..are you kidding! This is a race not a social event. I am proud that Marshall caught up to me, bounced back from being sick..(I did to) and we wished each other well and off he went into the night. Who better for me to finish right behind than Marshall who was waiting for me at the finish line with a big hug..this was very special, his 20th crossing..Amazing what this man has accomplished. My 9th crossing and all because of Marshalls influence in my life.
So there:):)

My story will come in a few days..It would be so great if those of you sending me personal emails could post them to the blog as well. I do read all my posts and I do read all my emails and I know others would love to know your thoughts as well.

I leave you today with some great things:
#1 Randy Miller whom I coach ran his first 100 mile at Vermont...He was 10th over all at 47 year's young..he sent me this quote and I just love it!!!

"Unless you test yourself, you stagnate. Unless you try to go way
beyond what you've been able to do before, you won't develop and grow.
When you go for it 100%, when you don't have the fear of "what if I
fail," that's when you learn. That's when you're really living."

Wow..this say's it all to me:)

Last..sent from my friend Annie, I think this is so wonderful.

The River Three men were hiking through a forest when they came upon a large, raging violent river. Needing to get on the other side, the first man prayed, "God, please give me the strength to cross the river." Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs and he was able to swim across in about 2 hours, having almost drowned twice. After witnessing that, the second man prayed, "God, please give me strength and the tools to cross the river." Poof! God gave him a rowboat and strong arms and strong legs and he was able to row across in about an hour after almost capsizing once. Seeing what happened to the first two men, the third man prayed, "God, please give me the strength, the tools and the e intelligence to cross this river." Poof! He was turned into a woman. She checked the map, hiked one hundred yards up stream and walked across the bridge.

Have a blessed day