Friday, June 15, 2012

Moving On

Hi Mascara fans!

And running fans, outdoor fans, adventure fans, fans of fans and friends and family! Hi Mom.

Apologies for the sudden departure, the long dry spell since our last post in January, the lack of good-byes or explanations or a simple redirect to let you know that we're still alive.

Runs with Mascara had a great run in 2011 - literally and figuratively. We ran mountains and trails, across streams and meadows, seeing sunsets and sun rises, with new friends and old. We ran in new places, ran in new skirts, ran in new mascaras, ran our first 50 miler and signed up for our first 100 miler (SPOILER ALERT: which we SO conquered).

Dana in the early morning hours at Zion 100
All along the way having our little venture, Runs with Mascara, made it more than just running and racing. It got us fired up with ideas, it got us laughing, it got us attention (Hello, Tracey Garneau!). It brought tears of laughter to our eyes as we conspired and planned and got friends jumping on the bandwagon to take Runs with Mascara to multi-sport, multi-state, as-seen-on-Ellen DeGeneres levels. It spoke to the essence of who we are and what we wanted to promote. Healthy, happy living and fun.

With 2012, Runs with Mascara went through changes both personally and professionally and it became apparent, that while the spirit of RWM would live on, we couldn't continue the focus as we had in 2011.

Dana found a true calling in long, long distance trail running and as she embarked on her first 100 mile race this past May she switched other gears, leaving office life to launch a personal training business, Ultra-U, and moving to Portland, Oregon.

I went in for surgery to remove a couple of meniscus tears in March after months of trying everything else to get better. It was my first surgery, my first knee issue. It jacked my ski season, my running, my chance to pace Dana at her 100M. To be honest, it maimed a bit of my heart and drive and passion. But I'm slowly on the mend.

And so, as Dana switched focus to creating her own incredible blog and brilliant website and I plundered into my personal dark space, it was time to put Runs with Mascara to bed. For now.

We'll still be out there on the blogs, just not here at RWM. Thank you for the support, the comments and the love! And the mascara, Blink!

For Dana, follow Ultra-U to keep tabs on her training adventures or to talk to her about your own personal training program.

For me? I'll still be throwing words around at, hopefully with more consistency. I think a chunk of my creativity was in my meniscus?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Jersey dreamin!

With lots of long runs on my training schedule I have been looking for some good races to help me get in the mileage this winter and spring. Not knowing where work travel may lead me (Bulgaria in February!?! 90% chance) I can't really commit solidly to anything. I am hoping my first race of 2012 will be in NEW JERSEY. Yes, you heard me correctly. I am heading back to PA to visit my family and while I am there I am going to sneak away for a bit to run the Febapple Frozen Fifty.

The Febapple Frozen Fifty is Feb 25 in New Jersey, awesome, right?! The Febapple looks like a figure eight from the start/finish with mostly trails and fire road. As for elevation the site says: “Good combination of level patches, rolling hills, moderate climbs, and a few very steep ascents and descents” I have no idea what that means for NJ and with no elevation gain/loss figures I will just have to wait and find out. The race looks super small and I imagine not many people have this as a destination race, but hey, who doesn't love NJ in the winter!

The next day I am hoping to do another event with my sister called the Ugly Mudder 7 Mile Trail Run, in Reading, PA. The appealing thing about this race is that the race director(s) has(have) an awesome sense of humor. From the race website: “It is not Boston nor the Olympics or even a line item on a bucket list of someone who desperately needs to get a life. It is, instead, a wonderful regional trail event thru whatever winter conditions cover the mountain overlooking the onetime Factory Outlet Capital of the World. It is an assortment of rustic trails covered by dirt & debris, rocks & roots, deer pellets & discarded undergarments, somewhat unique aide stations & fare, with constant undulation throughout, but nothing that requires a Sherpa.” It goes on to say, "This medium challenge race attracts 600-800 crazies a year, and for good reason; what else are you going to do in Reading in late Feb now that Bingo games here have gone "smokeless".

Bring on the fun, east coast style!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


And she's down! Funny to go from absolute runner's high to crumpled ball of tears on the ground in less than half a second. But just one day after writing about my favorite fancy new wonderful light, I go out for an easy run with no headlamp at 5:00am and exactly at the furthest point I will be from home I hit what feels like a trip wire and I go down hard. No hands out to brace me, nothing but net. Well okay, nothing but right elbow, ribs and thigh. I feel like I even skipped a bit like a stone on a pond but that may have just been my imagination. So I fell, shed a few tears (okay, they were giant tears with no air- that was knocked out of me, so I imagine I had that face little kids make when they aren't sure whether it hurts or not but when their parent looks at them they explode in a screaming teary mess) but then I got up and went back to look for the trip wire in the road. See below...

Me and my wire ring of pain. (I am trying to make a mad face but I am not so good at it!)

So I find the wire ring of pain on the road. Could it be that I stepped on one side of the ring and then caught the other side with my toe on the other foot? That seems like something that would only happen in a cartoon with Roadrunner. What are the chances of that? I probably couldn't land like that if I tried it in the light. So I did what any logical, teary runner would do, I picked it up, slung it over my head and started running slowly home. It turned out no major damage, just a few spots of road rash and a super sore elbow. The other bright spot... I now have a nice wire ring to make a mobile of all the great and not so great things I met on my journey to running 100 miles. I am going to start combing the road for some great things now that I will always be wearing a light!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Killer New Light by Go Motion

The light does not sag when you are standing or running, just having weird posture to take a self portrait!

I just got this new AWESOME light as photographed so poorly above. The light is the Sternum Light Kit 100 by Go Motion. I got it as a gift from one of my fans, Neil Dicker, aka, stepdad. When he heard I would be running through the night at races he wanted me to have the best light and gave me discretion to pick one out. I have seen people with headlamps around their waist and was intrigued. I decided on the Go Motion Sternum light as I love having my handsfree and my headlamps are all annoying for one reason or another. One is super bright but the size makes it so I need to wear a brimmed hat to keep it from creeping down over my eyes. This is great except some of the light shines on the brim making it less effective. If I tighten it and wear it without a hat there is a divot in my forehead for a week. The other headlamp points in any direction it wants due to some loose plastic that is just a poor design.
The sternum design of the Go Motion is awesome. Basically the sides of the light have cushioned velcro loops that allow you to hook it onto any pack you have. The battery pack fits nicely into the pack you are using and the cord connecting the light with the pack went easily out of the way. The battery pack has a blinky red light, great for visibility if you want it.

I tried it out on a short night run that I was doing to see how it would perform. I was running barefoot on a local soccer field. While it is not technical terrain it is important to look out for dog poo, dropped forks and other hazards lurking. The light was fantastic! First, you can really focus the beam and it stays where you put it. It is 100 lumens so that is a fantastic amount of light. It has a low setting so you can tone it down for longer battery life. While the light felt heavy in the package, I didn't feel it at all on my pack and it didn't bounce, jostle or get annoying at all. It was easy to put on and take off and it makes me want to go out for my long runs in the dark just so I can use it more.

No idea how well the battery will perform. It says it lasts 8 hours on high which would be amazing. Even if it lasts 6 that would be great. This is definitely going to Zion with me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Great Christmas = 40 miles of hiking in Yosemite

Brian and I went to Yosemite for 3 nights over Christmas this year and although we had a cross country ski trip planned it was glorious even without snow. I have been to more National Parks than I can count on my fingers and toes but I had never been to Yosemite. A crime, I know, especially since it is so close relative to San Francisco. We stayed in tents in Curry Village the first night which was cold but awesome. The valley floor was 19 degrees, thank you sleeping bag for being tough as nails! The next two nights we stayed in the Glacier Point Lodge. The lodge is a store and cafe in summer and converts to a ski in lodge in the winter when the road is closed. We hiked in since there is no parking overnight and had 2 nights of quiet, starry skies. I think I remarked on how lucky we were about once per hour. No people, lots of sun, crisp temps. Enjoy the pics!

Top of Lambert Dome

Where's the snow? Never mind, we are having fun anyway!
Half Dome in the distance.

One of the points on the way to Dewey Point.

Me, upon seeing Yosemite for the first time!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Half Marathon, Portland, OR

I am in Portland, OR this weekend visiting friends tacked on to a work trip. As luck would have it I was also able to run the Holiday Half Marathon. The course was flat, had people singing carols and it was NOT RAINING. On the other hand it was 35 degrees and my heart rate monitor (which I was planning to use as my guide) was showing a heart rate of 215 for most of the race. I had a great time and let me tell you, it was easy!!! Not trying to brag but the rest of the day was rough!Look at these adorable trolls I got to spend the rest of the day with (below). These kids have enough energy to make you beg for another 13 miles. I hid under the bed for a monster game of hide and seek. We colored, we glued googly eyes and read stories. We walked to the store for cookies and then it was still only 3:00!!! It feels like running a race you aren't trained for and have no GU. These kids win their age group for sure!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pure joy!

This weekend was the North Face Endurance Challenge. I was able to join friends on my mountain bike and head out on the course to watch the speedsters and mere mortals run by. I could go on and on but I will let these two pictures (thanks for taking them Sam) speak for themselves. Above is Cheyenne. Cheyenne is one of the busiest people I know. While training for the 50k she also was planning a wedding (the week before the race, talk about a taper strategy), building a business, training, networking and getting in some time with friends. In a run before the race she told me how running was "pure joy". I get goosebumps just looking at that picture because Sam caught that pure joy completely. Awesome work Cheyenne, keep on spreading the joy!

The above picture is our training grounds here in the San Francisco Bay Area. When people ask me why I run ultra distance, why I run on trails, aren't I bored, I just need to direct them here. Pure joy (I think I can see one of the trails smiling)...