Category Archives: west

Running West and East

In 10 days I will be running with Marathon Glenn. Finally. It’s been the longest, coldest, and darkest four months of winter running. Ever.

We are wicked excited. We say “wicked” a lot in New Hampshuh’.

Wicked takes Excited to a whole new level, don’t you think?

This is where we can look back and remember the cold winter mornings.road

Oh how fondly I remember this day. When the running program said “Run 15 miles.” But the roads apparently ignored the memo and were covered with ice and snow. Um, hello?? I showed up and this is what you’re giving me to work with??

longjohns

The most oft-asked question: “Why did we decide to train during the coldest part of the year?” When we had to wear two layers – long johns and running tights – and were still cold the entire run.

This was always the answer: It will be worth it in April!

I wasn’t always so sure, like that time I came home and cried, when my hands hurt so much I thought they would have to be amputated.

Or that time last weekend when my poor little baby toe swelled up to the size of an orange and I was performing emergency surgery at 2:45 in the morning, cursing those things called BLISTERS.

There were chapped lips, black toenails, lost toenails, less sleep, less writing time, unidentifiable aches and pains, weird dietary changes.

When our conversations consisted of chafing, fuel, VO2 max, pit stops, shoes, wicking socks, and whether the altitude change will kill me or not.

There were other conversations too, ones that only happen out there on the road; conversations of family, children, grief, God, turning another year older, and whether or not we should go gray naturally. A firm no has been decided 🙂

These are the moments that bond women together for life.

There were days when the only time we could fit in a run was before the sun was up.buddies

We had to wear fluorescent running vests so we wouldn’t be mistaken for deer, so cars driving in the dark could see us. We had to wear hats, mittens, face masks. We often had to wear head lamps to even see the road, and then it became so cold and slippery, that the run had to wait for the sun.

Why do we look so happy in this picture? Oh yeah…it was…fun.

I’ve said it before: I couldn’t have done it without the buddies.

cold

Yes, there were times we questioned our sanity.

longrun

And because it was winter, sometimes the run had to be done on the dreaded treadmill, a psychological weapon which I have already spoken about and won’t go into until next December. Oh spring, I love you!

Now, two roads diverge in a barren wood…we will part ways and each run our own race.slc

Headed west. In 10 days I will run at the base of the mighty Rockies.

Running buddy will go east and run in the famed Boston which, after last year’s tragedy, is going to be the greatest marathon the city has ever seen, with the fastest qualifying times ever recorded. Where American runner and Boston runner, Shalane Flanagan, will seek redemption. She wants to win it bad. For all of us.

We’re all looking to prove something to ourselves, that all the training over four long winter months was worth it. It’s a funny thing, this hard thing. You can run your guts out, throw up at the finish line, and say, “that was awesome.”

Now, as the weather is finally starting to warm, as the mountains of snow are mere hills, when we are in the best shape of our lives, and all the training that can be done, is done…I can look back fondly at how hard it was to get from there to here.

Anyone can run. But it won’t always come easy. And that’s what makes it so great.

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Headed West and Finding Butch Cassidy

It’s been thousands of miles
since we last met

A few days ago we took off from Boston, left the big city and headed west

Let us digress for one moment and say that I’ve discovered instagram
Has life ever been so exciting?
I wanted my secret code name to be Maisymak, but someone had already TAKEN MY NAME.  So I’m going by something even more creative…amymakechnie.
Yeah.
Find me there and follow my every move
and then I can follow your every move

I’m quite thrilled with the quality of the little iPhone.  I’m snapping pictures left and right.  Don’t you love clouds?  I had one small moment of panic when I looked out the window – it was like extreme vertigo – and everything was small and I was so HIGH.  Some self-therapy talk snapped me back to reality.

We had a delay on the tarmac – 45 minutes of waiting. I watched this mama in front of me look at her husband.  I thought she might cry.  I remember those days – both the kindness and inconsiderate comments about having to sit by my crying brood.

The mama was utterly exhausted; bags under her eyes from late, sleepless nights and crawling, sweating, crying babies all over her in a tight, confined space.  This is the rule:  NO ONE complains about the babies.  I would have to glare you into a shrinking spot on the airplane floor. 

Flying over the ocean; leaving Boston Harbor

Newark was cool.  Because of the cupcakes

Flying over my homeland; the vast midwest.  That’s where your corn comes from!

And then we decided to fly to the HOTTEST place on the planet:  The deserts of Arizona.

Where we have spent hours by the pool just to stay alive.  I was reminded why I feel sick for three days every time we come to the desert in July; it’s just heat acclimation.  Last year I actually took a pregnancy test I was so convinced nausea meant baby… 

The kids love grandma and grandpa’s.  They discovered my old toys and cabbage patch baby. Her name is Annie Bessie.

The day after we landed I boarded another plane all by myself and flew to Provo, Utah

Flying over Utah Lake, a vast expanse of water in the middle of another desert

And saw my aunties who were best aunties during my childhood.  Margaret is suffering with the gene her and Angelina share.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t caught early.  But Margie is a trooper and Joanne is the sister you want by your side in such cases.

The next day I got in the car with my sister and four of her children for an 11-hour road trip.  We headed back down to Arizona…and drove through Butch Cassidy country.  He was from a nice Mormon family with 14 kids.  Actually I don’t know if they were nice.  I have a slight obsession with Butch after watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid about a million times.  This is southern Utah, with lots of bluffs and rocks for shoot-outs with the law.  Just in case the need ever arises, you’ll know.

Now.  You are allowed to complain about children if you go on an 11-hour road trip with them.  But they were angels and I never needed to complain.  We heard, “Are we there yet?” at least 200 times.  No.  We were never there yet.

The red rocks of Utah; taken with an iPhone in a moving car.  That’s pretty much what I did the whole time.  I couldn’t help it.  We drove past Brice Canyon and Lake Powell – gorgeous.

We passed into Arizona country where the flags are lowered to half-mast to honor the Prescott Arizona Hot Shots; the 19 firemen who lost their lives fighting a treacherous fire. 

There was a long detour through utter desolation.  This is Navajo/Hopi country and I can’t believe anyone lives out here.  My father thinks I live in the sticks, but this – there wasn’t even a stick.  
Finally.  HOT BRKFAST in Williams, Arizona!  We arrived on Cope’s 14th birthday…is it really true?  Did I really bring her home 14 years ago?  Time is too short.
Paige had suffered greatly without her Mama

I gave my oldest, underwear for her birthday because it’s a long story about her asking me for some for her birthday and me writing an article about it.  “Look super thrilled about your underwear!” I said.  “Thanks, Mom – this is the best present ever!”  It’s so good to see you.  And my hair isn’t all that horrible – even after three days of traveling without a shower.  Yes, this time I was wearing deoderant.

Then we hit the road again and headed to the Grand Canyon.  But that’s a post by itself.

Happy trails! 
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