Friday, April 30, 2010

Almost 500!

At the end of the day, Lisa will have reached 500 miles! Wow! She's been saying it will get easier after the first ten days according to what she's been told. We shall see right?!

Yesterday was a beautiful day in State College, PA. Lisa's pace was quick and she did great! Our State College friends were amazing! Sherry Tirko, a former coaching student of Lisa's in high school, housed us at her home about 25 minutes from Penn State. State Captain, Elizabeth Desser was there bright and early to meet us. The PA team was amazing! They brought food, drinks, hung inspirational signs around campus for Lisa while she was running, and were ready and willing to help us out in any way. What a great team! Thank you Team PA!

Here is a picture of Lisa and the crew in front of the RV in PA!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

400 Miles down!

Lisa has 400 miles down! Go Lisa! She ran the last 50 in the cold and snow up in Pittsfield, Vermont. We are now on our way to State College, Pennsylvania (where it's supposed to be warmer and sunny...what a difference!). Our time in Vermont was at Amee Farm and the Desena's took such good care of us! Courtney Desena housed us in a BEAUTIFUL guest house at her home and cooked a delicious meal for Lisa and the crew. What a treat it was to stay with them. Lisa had a massage this morning and feels SO much better. We are incredibly thankful for all the help we have been getting. I continue to say that but we are just so grateful! Below is a picture Lisa took on her run yesterday in Pittsfield.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snowing and Killington!

Lisa took this photo this morning at Killington on her run! She is now running outside in the snow!


Lisa is running in the rain today in Vermont. She's a trooper and keeps on going no matter what! We are at Amee Farm and what a great place it is here. It's too bad the weather isn't better because it's absolutely beautiful here and we are staying at an amazing place. The Desena's are putting us up in their guest house and it's wonderful.

I'm posting a picture of Lisa sporting her Injinji gear with the Ipod in hand! Wishing it was as sunny today as it was in this picture!

Monday, April 26, 2010


It's a gorgeous, sunny day today here at the beach! Lisa is doing great and we have such amazing people here helping us. Frank is providing us with dinner tonight and has been so giving to us all day with whatever our needs might be. Sherpa John is our captain here in Portsmouth and he's been so great to hang out with us all day and also help with anything we need. What great people we have had with us on our journey. Frank's daughter donated her First Communion money this morning. How cute is that?

Have I mentioned how beautiful the beach is? There are shells along the beach, and Lisa is looking forward to sitting in the water after her run. The cold water will soothe her muscles, and walking/sitting in the sand will be great after a long run right?

In Portsmouth today at the beach!

To the right is Lisa and Sister Mary Beth at Jamaica Pond in Boston, Massachusetts. Isn't it beautiful? They walked/ran this path around the pond all day that day.

Yesterday, Lisa suffered some pain in her right shin. We iced her up and took as good of care of her as we could. Her route was a bit hilly so we adjusted it and recalculated to make it better for her leg. We had the most giving people with us yesterday and were well taken care of. We had hotels sponsor us. The Hilton here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where we are running today gave us two rooms for the night, and were overly kind to us providing whatever we might need. A top notch restaurant in Maine gave us a free meal last night and we were all treated with excellent service and food at Federal Jack's after Lisa ran. It was right in Kennebunkport and the scenery was beautiful...right at the port itself.

Today, Lisa is feeling better, and running right along the beach in Portsmouth. It's gorgeous here. Continue praying for her leg please! More pictures will come soon!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lisa is about halfway done with her run today here in Kennebunk! We have set up our "homebase" in front of an awesome little bicycle shop on Arundel Road (?). The people have been fabulous! We had people come out from the very start to run with Lisa and everyone has been so kind to us. It's yet another beautiful day as well!

We are less than five miles away from one of George Bush's homes! Cool eh? Currently, the boys have gone away to dump our poop so we are without the RV for a couple hours. No worries...they left everything here that we will need for Lisa and Sister Mary Beth! Debi Rix has been a big help here running errands with us (groceries), helping us find a place to dump our RV, finding hotels, and anything we need. And thank you Tom for letting us be here at the bike shop for the day! What a great place.

Currently, Lisa is in some pain in her shin, but we have attached an ice pack to her and she's using walking poles for a few miles around. Pray she feels better. We have measured out the route for her to finish this evening at the beach, so she should have a great finish later on today!

Thank you!


M here again.

Yes, I'm a little late. In fact, we're on Day 6, and I'm only just now doing a Day 3 report. But it's hard keeping up these Hollywood types.

Lisa's really changed. Now that people recognize her on the street (folks recognize her from CNN) she's taken to wearing sunglasses at all times. Even at night. You wouldn't even believe Sister Mary Beth. Yesterday she punched out a photographer that got in her face. She's started hanging out with Sean Penn, too.

Avon, Connecticut was great -- weather was perfect and the run was an out-and-back on a Rails to Trails path. The only damper was a call from Sister Mary Beth who had been in New Jersey the previous night and was driving up from Morristown to Connecticut; she told me her car had broken down right by the Tappanzee Bridge. But I knew better -- Sister's always in rough shape the morning after when she hangs out with Lindsay Lohan.

Meanwhile two Shenipsit Striders showed up and banged out a good 50K with Lisa and Sister Mary Beth while Mike and Mike set-up and handled logistics, Ashley made one PB&J sandwich after another and I fielded requests from the media (seriously.)

Sister made her way to the run thanks to her good friend Pat, who not only picked her up and brought her to Avon, but was nuts enough to drive to Providence as well.

CT NBC showed up for an interview, a link to which I can't find anywhere - I promise to call the producer today. Then the lovely Kristine Thompson from the Orphan Foundation of America called with an interview request from CNN.

The day ended around 6:30 and Lisa came back to Juan's for a few sips of wine (I thoughtfully finished the glass for her so she wouldn't look ungrateful), an ice bath, a great spaghetti and turkey meatball dinner and a drive to Providence, RI.

The next morning while we drove to the location at 4 in the morning, Pat drove Sister Mary Beth back to Morristown so she could receive an award from the Girl Scouts of America that evening. I suppose it was just a "coincidence" that the Sisters were having a rave at Villa Walsh at that time.

I'm telling you- things have changed. But of course I'll keep you updated about that.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Today in Boston, Lisa is sporting one of our Spud T-shirts! Spud Drive-In, located in Idaho, is one of our top sponsors!
Lisa is more than 2/3 of the way through the run today and still feeling great. We've been so lucky to meet some great people from the Orphan Foundation who have come to meet us and walk/run with Lisa. They are orphans who this foundation has helped and gotten them to where they are today. What a blessing it has been to meet these incredible young people!

Above is Lisa and Sister Mary Beth in NYC! Isn't it beautiful?
Today we are in Boston running around Jamaica Pond! It's such a beautiful day out and Lisa is feeling good. We had a little bit of trouble with parking this morning but other than that, it's a great day and things seem to be going smoothly. There are geese out, the pond is so pretty, and the sun is shining.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lisa and Sister Mary Beth on CNN

Click HERE for this special CNN segment.


M here with RHTA updates.

Lisa is beginning to understand a little just why Naomi Campbell hurls cell phones at people. Media attention is wonderful, but it's exhausting. Granted, it's more exhausting after running 200 miles than it is after getting a facial, but you get the point.


Central Park Reservoir winds up being perfect, except for the crowds. I live in NYC, so I'm used to it. But Lisa lives in Driggs, where there are more elk than humans and the only traffic jams are caused by stoned-looking bison. So Lisa was a little more than unused to folks checking their blackberries as they run. Apparently bison are late coming to mobile technology.

Personal Motivation Coach Connie Carpenter came on board and kept Lisa going when she was at her most vulnerable. Lisa appreciates real friends as opposed to all those groupies and hangers on.
Speaking of groupies, Robin Roberts of Good Morning America came by hoping Lisa might let her run with her. Lisa graciously let her do a few laps.

And as bothersome as the papparazzi and groupies are, being famous means celebrity treatment and that is nothing to sneeze at. Thanks to Connie & John, Lisa gets picked up in NYC by a stretch limo that makes that one you rented for the prom seem like a Pinto.
Ashley and Mike Smith live the movie star life by driving the RV from Jersey.

Meanwhile, super-star Sister Mary Beth is being feted in New Jersey as she accepts a "Women of Achievement" award from the Girl Scouts of New Jersey.

Limo pulls into Lisa's friend Juan's driveway where she is ushered to an ice bath (Naomi doesn't do those) with a glass of white wine. Meanwhile, Ashley and Mike are in the RV somewhere near Toledo, Ohio.

After the bath and wine, Lisa slips under a down comforter and drifts off to slumberland. Eight hours later, Ashley & Mike pull into the driveway.
They sleep in the RV. Not being famous stinks.

Yeah, Lisa's got a pretty chushy life right now. Except for that 2,500 mile thing.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update from the Big Apple!

Go 'head & leave a comment...

Lisa may not read them now, but I know she'll love to look back and read them when she's done! :-)


This is Lisa’s friend, Colleen Woods. I had the opportunity to see the Run Hope Team yesterday as they came through NY. It was awesome to see them and it was really cool to see Lisa going so strong. As she looped the Reservoir of Central Park many times, she was smiling and happy for all the friends who came to run with her…including one student who completed all 50 miles.

So Lisa has now completed 100 miles (50 in New Jersey and 50 in NY) and is she is in Avon, CT to bang out another 50. Ay caramba!

Here are a few things I noticed this week:

FAMILY: Lisa is so happy that she has been joined by three of her siblings for the start of Running Hope through America. The Smith siblings have been enjoying a great reunion!

ENERGY: The energy of each state seems to be building already. Lisa was glowing about NJ, so touched by the Villa Walsh Academy girls that showed up at the start with her, the friends who did all 50 miles, and the “freshies”, the term the group started to use as new people came and joined in for some miles.

Read more about the NJ 50 miles.

GENEROSITY: The generosity of people who come to see Lisa is enormous. People were arriving with chocolate chip cookies, warm out of the oven. One woman just up and gave Lisa her iPod so Lisa would have some new and interesting music for the miles to come. Her students brought watermelon and sandwiches. And the contributions to the special charities that will benefit from the run are mounting already.

In fact, there is so much generosity going on, it’s hard to keep track! But maybe I’ll just mention a few of my friends here…including:

For sending Lisa off with high hopes and much love, the Teton Valley gals (Heather, Nancy, Susy, Tammy, Sharon, & Corina) who just scored their own hardware in Las Vegas

For making sure Lisa had a great arrival to the East Coast, there’s awesome Will Abrams

For hosting a big party at a great bar in Manhattan to mark the start of this epic adventure, there’s Heidi Weinkam

For supporting the idea of this whole big adventure, there’s Ed Mafoud. I wanted to make a special shout-out to Ed and his company, Damascus Bakeries…and it is not just because yesterday Ed gave me the most yummy pitas that I am munching on right now with some hummus! Ed lives in NY and I met him out in the Tetons back in 2006 when he came out for a Dreamchasers camp. Actually, we first met even earlier when we were both training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Team in Training group. Ed is a guy who is so generous…his family is clearly his priority, and he accepts his responsibility as a role model for his children so gracefully. He contributes his time and support to numerous charities and his special connection with Sister Mary Beth is really touching. Ed did 50 miles in NJ with Lisa and came to NY yesterday to bring her in for the last 10 miles in NY. Go Ed!

And Connie Carpenter, who called her brother Daniel Carpenter of Simsbury CT., who donated the ride from Perfect Rides Limo company Way to travel in style!

CAMARADERIE: It is so cool to see how people show up and bond with each other – reminds me of ultra races. People are coming out in numbers to show their support, including runners, walkers, their spouses, their kids, even some unsuspecting work colleagues who want to check out what this is all about.

THE CREW: I am sure each crew member will be acknowledged as the miles build, but I just want to point out how generous it is of these individuals (Marianne DeMarco, Mike Smith, Mike Evans, and Ashley) to contribute their time and energy to making this happen. I am sure it will be a dare-to-be-great experience for them, too!

Keep on truckin’…you guys rock!

ps – Thanks to Lucimar Araujo for the great pics from NY!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Off and running.....

The Boston Marathon just started about 8 minutes ago, and Lisa's already logged 21 miles.

The local news was here to shine a big bright light in Lisa's eyes and capture it on film. And we were incredibly lucky that the unbelievably talented Tom Sperduto showed up which means we'll have more incredible photos like the one to the left.

Are they cute runners, or what? Hubba hubba.

We'll start tweetin' soon so look for information on that. And while you're keeping a look out for new stuff, we'll let you know when you can start tracking us all across the country with our fancy-pants Satellite GPS Messenger from Spot!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Stage 3 of The Marathon des Sables

Hi everyone! Well the fast pace has hurt many people as well as the heat. Many have had to pull from the race, are sick from the heat...This race is so much about pace and staying in your own race. Many of the Dreamchasers are doing so awesome! Meghan Hicks, Jenny Vogel, Mike Waridan, our Jay Batchen:) Send them emails...the long day is on Wed. it is going to be one very hard, long day for all of them. One very long, hot test. The journey will be something I look forward to hearing about.
Below is a GREAT update from Jen Waridan, Mikes beautiful wife.
Thanks so much

Hi all, Stage 3 was a tough day for Mike. He finished 16th today which bumps him back to 4th overall, 1 hour and 4 minutes back from the leader, 30 minutes back from 3rd place.

He called this afternoon and we had a long chat -- he said the lead group went out strong and kept a fast pace, he held on for as long as he could but the heat got to him. He regrets not slowing down sooner, he thinks if he had backed down 10 seconds per mile he would have had a stronger finish but in true Mike fashion said, "I couldn't let them just run away from me." He walked into CP 3, vomitted a few times and kept walking for quite some time. He sounded weak when I spoke with him and was stunned to hear he was as far back as he is. He assured me he's OK and has been drinking a lot of water and will be able to handle tomorrow's long stage.

He also said one of his tentmates was bitten several times by a spider in her sleeping bag and was foced to drop out when her leg inflamed. He was more concerned about this than his own state!

Apparently there's a one day delay in messages being sent each way so please keep sending notes, he's very greatful for all of the e-mails!

Here's the link to send messages, sometimes it jams up and you have to retry, again he's number 698:

Here's the race's recap of Stage 3:
Check point 1 (km 12.8) is only reached at great pains by many competitors.Including Touda Didi (D3-MAR), last years’ winner on the women’s side, who struggles to follow the pace set by her challenger Monica Viladomiu Aguilera (1020-SP). 10 minutes behind the Spanish runner, Didi is dehydrated and has to get medical help. Sadly, the Moroccan icon must withdraw from the race. She probably couldn’t recover from the huge efforts she had to make yesterday to try to keep up with her Spanish rival.Further along the track, Michael Wardian (698-USA) tries to keep up with the pace imposed by the two Jordan runners, Salameh Al Aqra (391 -JOR) and Mohammad Alswaiti (D390- JOR), whilst Mohamad Ahansal (1 - MOR) seems to be waiting, ambushed in a group just behind, with the rest of the top ten runners.Today’s stage features no major technical difficulties but endless straight lines and a hellish heat (especially after midday when the cloudy veil protecting the competitors evaporated) that reminds everyone that the sun is sole master here.
Heat stroke for Michael Wardian (698-USA)
Mohamad Ahansal (1 - MOR) yet again wins the stage, before Salameh Al Aqra (391 -JOR) and Jorge Aubeso Martinez (989-SP) who gives an astonishing performance, whilst US runner Michael Wardian (698-USA) loses 46’ 29’’, a victim to his eagerness to stick to the top of the race.The best runners reach the bivouac around midday, their faces sometimes showing clear signs of exhaustion. For the lesser runners, the stage has now begun to feel like martyrdom.

And here's an e-mail I received yesterday from Mike recapping Stage 2:
Jennifer & All, feeling good now, had some stomach problems last night but took immodium and feeling marvelous today. Some huge climbs (could you follow with the GPS?), want to get pictures, they were epic, unbelieveable running right on the edge of these huge mountains (they had safety ropes) and then jaw dropping decents though dried out river beds with huge rocks and boulders. It was so beautiful but Mohammed was very strong, really incredible, he dropped us all and gained another 9 mins, I was able to put some good time into people too but not 9 mins, that is unbelieveable. Aziz, the guy that was 2nd last year dropped (he helped me on the 1st day by telling me where to run like a dog, snapping at me) and Muatfha (#4) had a tough day so I need to stay strong and well and I should be able to continue to improve. Need to catch a break with Mohammed, I am not giving up, he has to beat me each and every day but I am impressed. My tent is good, food is great (enjoying your granola bars now).

No photos of him from Stage 3 posted though they add throughout the day so perhaps there will be something here later:

No Stage 3 videos yet either.
Tomorrow is the long day, runners will have Wednesday & Thursday to complete 82.2K. He said he'd call tomorrow when he's done Stage 4.

Not sure how much rest I'll get tonight but I'm very relieved he'll still have his race-issued GPS for tomorrow's stage!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Marathon des Sables Stage 2

The photo below is Katherine from the UK, both Men's and Women's Winner last year! Mohamad Ahansal and Didi Taida! Right now Mohamad is leading the race and Didi is in 2nd place. I spoke to Mohamad before the race and he said he was going to take it easy the first few days and that he has trained harder this year for the race then any other year. Looks like Mohamad may be working harder then he thought he would have to with USA Mike Wardian running on his heals! This year the course looks so amazing. It was warm enough last night that they did not even have to sleep in there sleeping bags! I have a strong feeling the race is really going to heat up and many positions are going to change on day 4 the long day. Many people have gone out way to fast for the heat to come and the course which I have run before. More people have dropped out by day 2 then in the past years, always sad to see anyone name on the list who have had to stop the race. It takes such dedication, drive to get there. Sending them all our very best!
Right now in the lead for the Men:
Mohamad Ahansal
Mike Wardian who is about 9 min. behind 1st
Salameh Al Agra who is about 3 min. behind 2nd

For the USA:2nd overall is Kyle McCoy
3rd overall is Meghan Hicks who is running awesome. She is 1:35 behind the lead women
4th overall for the USA is Ed Ackerly
5th is our Jay Batchen!!! Honest..he has run 10 miles a week and played ice hockey 3-4 times a weeek!

6th overall Greg Pressler!
7th Lane Vogel
8th Jenny Vogel

The leaders for the Women:

Monica Aguilera
Didi Taida: she is just 7 min. behind Monica
Jolanda Linshooten: she is 11 min. behind Didi

Here it is where you can read more...send them ALL is such a joy to get emails. The bring them to your tent at night:)


Stage 2 (35K) another great day for Mike -- he finished 2nd again, less than 2 minutes back from the leader and is now about 9 minutes off of 1st place. He also lengthened his lead over 3rd place to 3 minutes.

I received this message from him earlier:
Today was great, I ran strong but Mohammed got away (think he has 8 mins) on a climb and I thought I would roll him up on the flat (like the other guys) but he was strong and ran smart. I am feeling fantastic and while I ran hard I didn't expend all my energy and have been able to eat and rehydrate since the finish so I will be in good shape for tomorrow. My pack is terrific and the water bottle holder is $$$, I was through the CP (check point) as fast as the Moroccians/Jordians and much faster than the guys with bottles, so cool and I am so glad that I decided to go with this pack. I did have one scary moment where I looked down (don't know why) and saw that the front pack was open and my Compass and Roadbook (both required) were exposed. I zipped up and rolled up the 2nd guy but was freaking that I was going to get a penalty or DQ, I didn't. Pack was 8.4K after stage.

Here's a snippet from the race's recap of Stage 2:
Just after CP 3, at the foot of the mountain, hell starts.The sensation is of thighs in fire and lungs gasping for a bit of oxygen in the overheated air.Mohamad Ahansal (1 - MOR) is top of the race when he gets there and he climbs calmly but with great determination. He stops once in a while to relax his legs but he never looks back. A few minutes behind him is US runner Mickael Wardian (698-USA) who doesn’t seem to be suffering too much either. Further down, Salameh Al Aqra (91 -JOR) seem to be playing it safe in this particularmly difficult area.

Here's a good shot of him (currently image 2 of 14) from Stage 2 today (Monday):

He's also featured in the 3rd video on this page:
And again, here's the link to send him a message, (he's #698):