How it all started . . .
So how did a self-proclaimed non-runner find herself registered as number 67 for one of the toughest endurance races in the world, the Himalayan 100? After riding the cancer rollercoaster and successfully kicked its butt, I discovered that I can and want to do so much more than I ever thought possible. . .
Day 1 – February 26, 2009 at the White Rock Boathouse in Dallas and 20 Pounds Heavier than Today
The journey to fitness and health started in February 2009. After making a serious committment to getting in shape, I was referred by Sam Leake of Lone Star Row to sport/wellness physiologist, Darvin McBrayer. With extensive metabolic on an indoor rowing machine, and general fitness testing, he showed me how you can use science to tailor a fitness program unique to your own body’s aerobic and anaerobic processes. While rowing faithfully to the metabolic based guidelines, I dropped from 148 to 136 lbs in 8 weeks!
DAY OF CHANGE: Being more lean brought an unexpected find as in May 2009 – drying after a shower… I discovered a small lump in my breast that I probably would not have felt if I had not lost body fat I had in February.
Note: I had just had a “clear” mammogram in December 2008. And on June 9th, 2009 at 8:30am my doctor called to tell me the biopsy came back as cancer. At that moment my life changed forever.
My fitness training ceased as two lumpectomies and radiation treatment took its toll. Times were tough but family, friends and luck kept me together for the duration. Finally I was given permission to resume exercise by Fall 2009. My exercise guy introduced me to a “winter” fitness concept: NORDIC WALKING. This is a very simple activity, walking with a type of ski pole – made for land. Discovering Nordic Power Walking after my breast cancer treatments was a revelation. I never knew that one can achieve fitness results with this low trauma impact sport.
Endurance & Adventure Racing Keeps Me Fit!
Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race – October 2010
I was searching for the ultimate physical and emotional challenge that I realistically could train for and complete. After researching many endurance events all over the world, I found the Himalayan 100 Stage Race. There was an instant connection and the more I read about the event the more I knew that it was the place I wanted to be on October 23, 2010!
I received and e-mail from Mr Pandey, the race director (check out their website www.Himalayan.com with the following description:
The Primitive Trail of the World: A Journey of Rediscovery
During the Race, views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga (4 out of 5 of the world’s highest peaks) are visible. Regardless of your level of ability – whether a 10K, marathon, or ultramarathon runner – you can run at your own pace. There are no age limits or stage cutoff times. Five daily stages of 24 – 20 – 26 – 13 – 17 miles (Oct. 23 – 30, 2010) are designed for middle distance runners. Alternating running and walking, you can easily take in mountain views, catch a glimpse of national Park wildlife, and chat with villagers at fully stocked aid stations every few miles. This event was first held in 1991.
There are thousands of mountain trails in the world. But the Himalayan Stage Race trail is a primitive and characteristic trail regarded by runners and walkers as it offers an opportunity to experience the culture, heritage of thousands of years, religion, peculiar customs and traditions besides the thrilling adventure enjoyment.
Himalayan 100 results: I came 47 out of 63! Total time 35 hours and 28 minutes!
El Misti Volcano, Arequipa, Peru – May 2011
The mountain I had a score to settle with! It took almost 2 years to be back and this time I stood on the summit at 19,100 feet (5,800 meters) instead of seeign it from the window of the intensive care after I was told I had a heart attack and that half of my heart had died! But . . . , in the end, it was a heart virus, pericarditis.
The GORE-TEX® TransRockies Run course runs from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek, through the heart of the White River and San Isabel National Forests. The course includes a mix of singletrack and forest road with nearly 25,000 feet of elevation gain, reaching altitudes of over 12,500 ft. Six stages. Six days. Six reasons.
Everyone comes to an endurance race for his or her own personal reasons. For some it will be the pursuit of a new and truly authentic experience, some will be looking to set a new benchmark for their life, and some will simply show up for some amazing, outrageous fun. What they all can count on is that the GORE-TEX® TransRockies Run will set the stage, and stages, for them to pursue their goals.
I finished in 41 hours and cherish my medal and finisher shirt and I will keep the memory close . . .
New York City Marathon – November 2011
I ran for Team Hole in the Wall. They enable terminally ill kids to attend summer camp while continuing to receive medical care at camp. 215 charity runners raised more than $880,000!
Kalahari Augrabies Extreme 155 Mile Marathon – October 2012
South-Africa’s “Big Daddy”! The South African Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, a unique race filled with adventure and determination, will once again be held in the beautiful and contrasting landscape of the Northern Cape’s “Green Kalahari”.
The Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon is a self-sufficiency run held over six legs in seven days with set distances for each day, ranging from 28km to 75km. Participants must carry all their supplies, clothes and compulsory safety/survival equipment for the duration of the event. Overnight shelter in camps, and water, which is strictly controlled and distributed during the race, is supplied. The event goes way beyond merely covering 250 kilometers in extreme conditions; it is a challenge to get past what normal people would regard as crazy, and achieve one’s personal goals.
Race results: I did not finish and withdrew from the race on Day 2 when it was 122 degrees in the shade.
Grand To Grand 170 Mile Self Supported Race – September 2013
It is the first stage race to start from the awe inspiring north rim of the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and finish on the summit of the Grand Staircase, one of the world’s most iconic geological formations. The course takes you through a high desert landscape of sand dunes, red rock canyons, buttes, mesas and hoodoos. You will navigate compelling slot canyons and experience the remotest part of continental America in the way of the earliest settlers, Navajo and Paiute Indian tribes. This is where Montezuma’s gold is still reputed to be buried.
Observe nature up close in an environment rich in flora and wildlife – from unusual and threatened cacti to big horn sheep to the endangered California Condor, the largest bird in America. Challenge yourself in the company of an international group of participants who are all eager to complete a world-class course, one which has been experienced by few adventurers. Check out their website: Grand to Grand Ultra
My Race Results: I completed the race and was NOT last! Proud moment when I crossed the finish line!
Chicago Marathon – October 2014
I tore my ACL and had full reconstruction surgery in April 2014. How did I tear it, you may ask? Dancing in 4-inch thigh high suede boots! I was devastated. I just received my lottery entry to run the Chicago Marathon. My doctor promised me I could walk-run the race if I execute every part of my rehab program. I did and lined up at the start line. I finished the race within the allotted time and got my finisher medal!
The Ancient Khmer Path 140 Miles – Cambodia, November 2015
Start the race in Buddhist temple were monks will be wishing you the best of luck for the race, camp in ancient temples which served as filming location for the movie “Indiana Jones” and refresh your senses underneath 25m high waterfalls.
Run through temple ruins built more than 1000 years ago and finish the race in front of the world heritage site of Angkor Wat! The Ancient Khmer Path -Yeah! Loved my time in Southeast Asia.
The Way of Legends – Burgos, Spain September 2016
The Way of Legends is a six day ultra stage race and consists of 5 successive stages longer than the legendary marathon distance of 42km followed by a final much shorter 6th stage along the historic pilgrimage path of Saint James to the finish line at the Cathedral of Burgos, a magnificent world heritage site.
The Way of Legends is a fantastic opportunity to experience the natural beauty, culture, and gastronomy of this diverse region nestled between the two largest Spanish rivers The Ebro and The Duero. Burgos province has always been a frontier region and crossroads of many civilizations and cultures and has without doubt been witness through the centuries of many significant historical events. The Way of Legends traverses this unique region with each stage crossing through a different landscape and engulfed by a unique Local Legend.
The Hidden Treasure – Albania, September 2017
Imagine running through cultural mysteries in unexplored nature. Experience the most undiscovered Balkan country, which was just opened for visitors a few years ago. Start the race in the World Heritage city of Berat and finish in the spectacular amphitheater in the ancient Greek/Roman city and World Heritage Site of Butrint, which is beautifully located at the Ionian Sea.
Enter a challenging race off the beaten tracks with stunning scenery. Immerse in a cultural rich country and interact with the locals – Albania was an amazing race!