Why Do I Run?

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I signed up for the Salmon Creek 50K after a cold, snowy winter. My first winter in Reno, Nevada. I had never experienced living months on end in frozen conditions having lived in Las Vegas for 30 years. It was never too cold in Vegas to bundle up and go outside for a run. Reno was a new experience for sure. I moved to Reno for many reasons( my family and loved ones!) but also the incredible trails and mountains. Nestled in the middle of the Sierra Mountains Reno is a gem of rolling mountains and thick forests.
How hard could it be to run in the snow?

My first venture outside landed me squarely on my backside hitting the frozen pave-stone in eight inches of snow. This was tricky. 19 degrees was a shocker. How do people do this? I half heartedly ventured out, partly walking, partly hiking through fields of unending ice and snow. My running dwindled down to a crawl during that first dark winter. Right at the end of the season I discovered snowshoeing! Wow, movement in the white stuff was actually fun. But, alas, my weeks and weeks of un-movement made me sluggish and slow.

My first 50K in the Spring was a shocker. My legs felt sluggish underneath me. On the smooth trail I felt as if I was at a slow crawl even though I was giving my full effort. The first six miles was horrid and full of mindless worry. My daughter Taylor and my son-in-law-to-be Chad had screamed down the trail in front of me. Ah youth! Where did you go? My mind kept telling me that I wasn’t going to make it! The long winter had taken my strength! Where was my inner Superwoman? She was buried deep under negative emotions and fear. Fear of losing my strength, fear and worry that maybe my running days were over. For the first time that I can remember I was having seriously negative thoughts and finding excuses on why I couldn’t run.

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I turned a corner and looked out over the vast, winding, beautiful trails tucked into a silent canyon of yellow wild flowers. I stopped and studied the landscape. I felt the wind blow back my hair and was surprised at the power that rose up through my feet on the ground. Then Superwomen rose up out of the depths of my soul. She said, “Shut up and RUN! Geezuz, SHUT UP! LOOK AROUND YOU! The world is at your feet. You are free! You are healthy! You have everything you need to move forward. MOVE!!”
And, I did!

I let my Superwoman, Badass runner, rise up inside, past the doom and gloom and lead me fleeing through the forest, climbing mountains effortlessly, looking out over the horizon of green forests and down the shady path of life and abundance.

I choose running to always bring me back to the sanity of peace, happiness and self discovery over and over again. She doesn’t always stay with me, but I know that I can find her on the trails and paths of nature’s wilderness.

I rocked down the trails and just kept moving…..running and walking and filling myself with strength and clarity, fun and joy, power and kickass happiness.
It seems so simple but how easily I forget…Always keep moving. Walk, Run, Move!! Just shut up and MOVE!

Back to Jeju Island and the Volcano, Mt Hallasan

My book, Running Past Midnight ” has been launched! Funny thing was having my first official book signing in South Korea!

The people in South Korea and Jeju Island are so warm and accepting. The language barrier was broken by the fact that health and fitness are understood Internationally. I loved every minute returning there, my second glorious visit. This time I was able to run up and over the dormant volcano with Bill. The friends we made there hand made us traditional Korean clothes called hanbok. It was an incredible visit filled with adventure!

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Great Wall of China

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It’s interesting how so much can change in just a couple of months. The end of last year, 2014, was full of challenges with the death of my adorable Dad, then a torn tendon in my ankle sidelined me. It was awful to force myself to slow down from running and all activity in a time when running seemed to be the one outlet I needed most.

Time does heal. After resorting to pool running and light exercises while I pondered life’s mysteries and sorted through the passing of my dad I seemed to move quietly through the dark transition into Spring and a great trip to South Korea ( see post below). After my return I headed to China to run the Great Wall Marathon with my two kids, 22 year old Taylor and 32 year old Devin. It was a rewarding trip simply to be able to run again in such an exotic place and to share that experience with my kids. It was a tough and demanding race…but so is life. The only thing to do is move through it with as much strength and grace as possible and, when you get to that finish line, or that quiet place of reflection, look back over the challenges you overcame and hang on to the confidence that you have gained. It will carry you through.

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South Korea!

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I was fortunate enough to get invited by Bill to Seoul, South Korea where he was invited to speak at an anti aging conference. I had never been to that part of the world and since I love to travel I jumped at the opportunity. We had planned to run across the 32 miles of Jeju Island while we were there. Jeju is south of Mainland Korea and I was anxious to run across the forests and streams in that subtropical location. Unfortunately when we arrived the dormant volcano in the middle of the island was covered in snow and the weather conditions were not accommodating.

Nevertheless we were able to get a great run in at the national Forest of Jeju at the base of Mt Halla, the 6,000 ft volcano.
South Korean people were lovely. Everyone we met was gracious and welcoming.

My book, ‘Running Past Midnight’ was delivered to Seoul while I was there and we celebrated the arrival of my first novel. The organization that invited Bill to speak asked me to come back with him in May to do my own presentation on running and fitness. They want to have my book translated into Korean.

The highlights of the trip were meeting an incredible artist named Lee Young Soo, an 80 year old revered national treasure of Korea. He created all the artwork years ago for the Seoul Olympics and is a highly acclaimed artist. He graciously invited a group of us to his home and showered us with gifts. What amazing energy for 80! He presented Bill with a painting he made of a white tiger and he presented both of us with his hand painted scrolls and fans. Incredibly beautiful art!

There were so many wonderful people that we met. And so many incredible wonders in that country. Like the Mysterious Road….a road where you put your car in neutral and it magically drives all by itself ( it’s a mystery but Bill says he thinks it’s a highly magnetic area)
After 2 weeks in Korea it’s hard to adjust to arriving back home in the states. Everything is changed!
I love exotic countries where traditions are so opposite from ours. You can learn so much about yourself as a person and you get such a different perspective of your own life when you travel abroad. Everyday stress is reduced because you realize that your problems aren’t that big. Life really does become more simple as you concentrate on the amazing planet we live in and the beautiful trails and forests of the world. Stress melts away and clarity is formed.

Returning to your own world seems different. You realize you have been changed by the situations that you experienced. I think that’s a good thing. Every now and then you need to be inspired and awakened by new adventures.
Hmmmm, when is my next adventure!?  Ahhh yes,  Beijing, China in 4 weeks!

The Truth about the Holidays

When the bottom drops out how do you gracefully deal with it?

I’d been running well building miles and feeling strong and happy. Life was good. I had a goal to complete a 100 mile race to qualify for Western States. My running resume was solid, Badwater Ultramarathon, Marathon Des Sables, lots of ultra distance, and  I was the first US woman to attempt and complete 138 miles In the Himalayas. Not bad for an average runner.

Then the dreaded freak-day happened, Thursday, Dec 5. I was walking down stairs outside a friends house towards my car. Gazing out at the beautiful lights of distant Reno my foot missed the last step, I felt my body lose balance as my ankle made a horrible pop and the wrenching pain shot up my leg.

I whirled in mid air trying to break my fall, my arm bent behind me and twisted to an unnatural position. My hip smacked the pavement followed by my elbow and hand.

At first I was so shocked I just sat there. Then unbelievable pain wheeled up my body and I sobbed with disbelief and agony. Bill, my dear Buddy, was a few steps beside me, helplessly watching me tumble, unable to reach me in time.
I couldn’t stop crying. The pain was excruciating.

“You need to get to a hospital Molly” he said quietly as I lay trying to compose myself.

“No!” I sobbed. “I am not going to a stupid hospital!”

I was acting like a frightened two year old reduced to kindergarten conversation. Bill helped me into the car as I continued to sob. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I had been running so well. I had a great goal of overcoming a bad running season, bombing at the last several races. I had lost my focus and the shifting sands of a rough year had taken a toll. I was happy to be leaving 2013 behind me. It was not a good year. It seemed like every aspect of my life had been shaken. My dad had also just recently passed away and it had shattered me to the core. I was floating in insecure territory and now the thin thread of stability was pulled out from under me.

I had been hanging on to my new goal of running Umstead 100 in April, 2014. Working out and running has always been a stable, consistent part of my life. If all else fails I have running to fall back on. I received comfort and serenity with my peaceful meditational running in the morning. It quieted my mind and lifted my spirits. What would I do if that was taken from me?

Bill got me into the house and half carried me to the sofa. I sobbed inconsolably. Bill quietly looked over my leg. I hurt so bad I could not stop the tears. But still, I was not ready to surrender to a doctor.

“Molly, your leg could be broken. I really think we should head to ER.” Bill looked at me compassionately.

“No! Doctors are stupid and they don’t know anything and I’m going to spend a bunch of money for them to tell me to go home and ice it…..forget it!” I was yelling and throwing a ridiculous tirade but I couldn’t help myself.

Then there was the pain. I couldn’t remember hurting so bad. It was becoming excruciating. I looked down at my ankle and it was misshapen, swollen and purple. The reality started to set in. I needed help.

“Okay, let’s frickin go see the stupid doctors at the stupid hospital and get the stupid Ice pack!”

Bill was smart enough to stay quiet. I so badly wanted to just keeping yelling at anyone around me and he was the only one. I wanted to punch something. I wanted to scream that it wasn’t fair.

Bill drove me to the hospital as I sobbed. I started to feel bad that I was acting so irrational.

The nurse on duty was so kind and understanding. She grabbed an ice pack and I was suddenly grateful. The doc told me I had torn a major tendon in my ankle and needed crutches. No running for a couple months. It was time to face reality and the needs of my body. It was time to chill out. I didn’t really have a choice. The first 2 weeks I had to deal with the shooting pains up my leg. And I had to get a grip. Both my daughters were graduating from college a week a part. Bailey was graduating from University of Reno. Taylor was graduating from University of Las Vegas, Nevada. I needed to quit moping and appreciate the blessings in my life. I was so proud of my girls. I needed to grab the crutches and keep moving.

So the holidays sped by. I attended and celebrated at the graduation parties. I appreciated the quiet time I had and slowly reflected on new goals and a new direction. I put together a new work plan for my business and I focused my attention on 2014.

I decided (after talking to my awesome foot doc) that I would keep the goal of Umstead 100 mile race in April on my schedule.

Bill invited me to go to South Korea to a science conference and we are running across JeJu Island off the coast while we are there. After the Umstead 100 mile I am leaving for China to run the Great Wall Marathon with a group of runners including my daughter Taylor and my son Devin ( Bailey is working and can’t make this one!)

Will I be able to complete all those goals in the next couple of months? I don’t know. But I’m giving it my best shot. When the challenges hit hard in December it took me awhile to see past them. The new goals helped. It took the focus off the negative and propelled me into a reflective time in the present and a promising future of adventure. We all can get inspired by one another with our goals and dreams. What goals are ahead for you?

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