Monday, October 28, 2013

Zane Holscher-The Pilot and the Beach

Imagine a beautiful pristine beach with clear blue water, white sands and sun. Now imagine running along that beach for 50 miles.
One of my favorite ultra marathons is the Destin Ultra Race. Not only because of its beautiful venue - but because of its origin.
 The Destin Ultra Races are the brain child of Zane Holscher. Zane is a pilot with the US Air force working with Special Forces. He found a way to combine raising money for a charity near and dear to his heart and his passion for the ultra running scene.

Zane did some running in high school on the track team, but it wasn’t until he was attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, that he really got involved with distance running. He then inspired many of his his family and friends into running marathons. In 2007 his cousin Jake asked him to pace him in the Leadville 100 . This race is a very challenging 100 miles set in the Colorado Rockies. He crewed for Jake and ran with him for the last 23 miles, and says right there he “fell in love with everything ultra running stood for."

I am very thankful that there are some people in this world who not only find a solution to their own needs, but make it an answer to others and provision along the way, Zane is one of those people. When he moved to Destin, Florida, he got involved with a charity called Special Operations Warrior Foundation( SOWF) and at the same time was trying to find an ultra race to run in the first part of the year. Consequently in February 2010 he started the Destin Ultras in Destin Florida  with proceeds going to SOWF. This nonprofit provides college funds for the children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training. It is a very personal cause for Zane, who has seen the direct results of this fund, when he got to meet with the family one of his classmates from the AF academy who was killed in Iraq.

In the first couple years he poured his money, as well as his heart into the Destin Ultras and now it is getting bigger and not only includes, a 50 K, 50 miles and 24 hour race. Over the past 3 years the race has brought in over $100,000 for the fund. Zane ran in the Leadville 100 this year (2013) and collected pledges to the SOWF for every mile he completed. He says,“For me, I know, I can always draw strength recalling the friends and teammates, I have lost in the military”.

This spring Zane, was on the support crew for the US 24-Hour Team at the World Championships in the Netherlands. His future running goals include JFK 50, another 100 mile and then finishing a mountainous 100 miler. Zane loves watching runners finish at Destin: “There is nothing I enjoy more than standing at the finish line and watching first time ultra runners finishing. There are so many great stories each year in, it makes all the time I spend all year on the race worth it.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sometimes it is the little things...

......that reminder us what the big things are.

Sunday afternoon I was laying around, contemplating a nap, and channel surfing, when I came upon the live feed from the LA Marathon. What I saw motivated me to take an unscheduled (fast as I can go run), so I wanted to share.  The race was at the point where the first male and female elite runners were in their final stretch, those last couple miles of the 26.2.

I have a hard time relating to the elites, I can understanding and feel the struggle of the guy in the back or the mass crowds in the middle; but apart from a sense of awe, I have no connection with an elite runner. However today was different…the commentary helped me to relate to these runners, in particularly to Fatuma Sado, the 20 year old female first place woman. 

In the LA Marathon, there is not only the prize money for the first place male and female, there is also an added prize of a car from Honda and $200,000 for the first finisher, male or female. Since there is a staggered start with the females leading by about 17 minutes, the overall winner Simon Njoroge was not necessarily going to win the Honda challenge as well.

As both runners made their way in, it was close. Simon was within a mile of Fatuma and both runners started to look behind them near the end. However, Fatuma actually starting to speed up during the last couple miles and Simon did not close the gap, and she won the challenge!

This was all very exciting but not what struck a chord in me. What really had me caught up in this race was something that the commentator said. He was talking about the prize money and the challenge money and said something along the lines of the fact that the prize was probably not considered a fortune to the average American, but that in Ethiopia where Fatuma is from, that amount of money could be a life changer. Not just a moment in the spotlight, but a game changer. I think that is when I understood her determined look, her speed at the end and the amount of dedication and work she had put into this win, and found myself moved to tears.

This story lingered with me on Monday, that afternoon I had a young client come in who I have been training to run. Her homework was to bring me in a quote that inspired her…

“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare” Juma Ikangaa 1989 Winner of New York Marathon

Friday, December 30, 2011

Things that Tie us Together

Many people have inspired me this year. I thought it would be great to end the first year of the blog recognizing just a few of them!

In life and running – some encourage, some convict you, and some people change you.

Jennifer lives in my town and I have seen her go through cancer and fight it, she is now in remission. She did the Avon cancer walk with her sister this fall. They walked 26.2 miles on the first day, camped overnight, and walked another 13.1 miles the next day. They raised thousands together and I knew she had been gearing up for it.

Jennifer and her sister celebrate at the finish line.
What I didn’t know was that I would see her while I was running in Charlotte’s Rocktoberfest half marathon. I was at mile ten or so when I noticed the streets lined with hundreds of beautiful pink clad Avon walkers. I was so excited and encouraged to see so many people fighting back against breast cancer and raising money.
Then I spotted my friend Jennifer! I cheered and yelled and we waved. Suddenly, I was overcome with emotion, realizing that each one of the walkers had a story. I continued running and crying, I was so moved that these women and some men were doing this. It was humbling and awesome. It was much more than just the miles.

Other people just motivate me by what they accomplish and through watching their progression. 
Daniel Lieb is one of the first people that comes to my mind in this context. We met at Thunder Road in 2009. He is a machine, as I write this he is completing Savage 7, a 7-day marathon per day race in Florida. Daniel also completed his first 100 mile race this year in the Umstead 100-Mile Endurance Run. What makes this even better is the fact that he enjoys encouraging others. From that first race I met him to this November when he ran by me at Savannah Rock-n-Roll Marathon he has always had a smile and encouraging word to share.
Another inspiring person is Bryan. We met right after he finished his first marathon at Thunder Road in 2009. Since then he has become a self described addict; he eats, sleeps, and breathes running! Last year he completed 40 miles for his 40th birthday. I was excited to share this landmark in part with him.. Later this year he completed the Hinson Lake 24 hour event. The kind of enthusiasm and energy he brings to running is contagious!

Some of the people made me remember that it’s about having fun while reaching your goals.
I first met her at Charlotte at Quintilles Marathon dressed as a surfer and carrying her mini-surfboard all 26.2 miles. She wears a race themed costume for each marathon and makes it a celebration all 26.2 miles!

I also think of another of my fellow Marathon Maniacs, Endorphin Dude. I ran past “ED” at San Diego marathon. This caped crusader has been in overdrive this year pursuing the titanium level of the maniacs and has entertained thousands every mile.

The inspiring third grader!
I was on the course cheering everyone on as they ran the 5K for the local school. At mile 1.5 there was a big hill and a little guy in coat, hat, and a huge scarf. He was struggling his way up the steep incline. From a distance I could see his lips moving, and realized he was repeating something over and over. I wondered what mantra was keeping this little guy moving.
As he got closer I heard him saying, "I can do this, I can do this…" Later at mile 2.5, he was still repeating his phrase over and over, and then as I watched him run into the finishing area, he started to get louder and louder and finally as he finished he cheered, “I DID IT!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

185 for Heroes

Clay and Ashley(right) hand off to Don and Chris(left) for the 2011 185 for Heroes.

Imagine running a marathon-a-day for 7 days straight! That’s exactly what Clay and Ashley Anderson decided to do in support of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). The brother and sister team are both in the United States Navy. They wanted to create and run an endurance event to complete together that would make a difference in some way. They decided to run 185 miles along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail (C&O), from Maryland to Washington DC, along with the aid of a bike crew and the support of the Georgetown University Running Club.  They finished the inaugural 185 For Heroes on September 11th, 2010, raising $7000 for the WWP and the severely injured military members that are served by this organization.

In 2011 Don Snook and his brother Chris committed to the event, Chris was prior military as an Army Ranger and their family has a long military heritage. Don was not sure about the challenge as he had just ran his first marathon the previous year and sustained an injury along the way. But he was 100% committed to the cause! He was extremely focused leading up to the race not only in training, but in trying to raise as much money as possible.

Life is not about what you plan, it is about what you actually complete and how you react when it doesn’t go according to “the plan.” When Don and Chris, headed out on September 4th, little did they know that like in life the best laid plans often have to be revisited. Chris has had several issues with his knees so after the first couple days he was using a stick and they had to walk. Don said it was quite an adventure with all the rain; he even got poison ivy while searching for a stick for his brother! The week of September 4th ended up being a week of heavy rainfall and flooding along the trail. At the point when the brothers had 3 days and 76.6 miles left, the canal trail was flooded and parts of the trail were closed.
Don understandably was disappointed in the situation, but he said at no point did they consider not finishing. The brothers agreed they were not going home, they were going to find a way to log the miles and get it done! They found a gym in a city along the route. For the next two days they completed 30.3 miles a day on treadmills, they had to mostly walk because of Chris’ knee. The final 16 miles were rerouted to the Washington’s Old Dominion Trail where the two met up with the Georgetown Running Club for the last three miles and fittingly passed the Marine Corp Memorial on the home stretch to the finish-line celebrations!

In 2010 Clay and Ashley, decided to dedicate each day of the event to a specific wounded soldier. Don said that thinking about some of the men individually really motivated him and made it very meaningful. Don and Chris and the team helped raise over $14,000 this year, that went in full to the WWP.
This all started with a brother and sister with a passion and an idea and has become an annual event to help many. It really makes you think……

Picture of Don and Chris Meeting Robert Bartlett, USA SGT Retired

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Calico Racing and Joyce Forier

As I wrote the blog about Pam and Running with the devil, I became intrigued with the Calico Racing site and reading more about the various races. I also have a friend who ran in the Calico Racing, E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon (10K and 51K), which takes place near the infamous “Area 51.” 

As a woman business owner myself, I was even more interested to find out that this company was the brain child of a woman.  Joyce Forier is the race director, but also so much more. She founded the company in 2007, after being inspired by the scenic view on a drive home from a 50K! Joyce has since poured her heart and soul into her events, which is now composed of 8 races a year! The races mix the beauty of the scenery in Nevada with fun themes and chip-timed races of all different events from a 5K to Ultra marathon distance! The logistics, course set up, registration, awards productions, paperwork and promotion are a fulltime job for Joyce. She still maintains a running schedule and keeps up her own pursuit of races including marathons and ultras. She is not only creative with the themes, but also with the distances, giving runners the opportunity to do back-to-back races and combinations based on their own goals! Of course, she is too busy to enjoy running at her own events, but makes sure that everyone gets all they can out of the Calico racing experience. The personality and humor injected into the race themes along with the scenic courses make a Calico event not to be missed.

Joyce is inspired as a runner by the natural beauty of the West. She loves the magnitude of the desert and mountain landscapes. The idea for her business came when Joyce on a 10-mile run at Red Rock Canyon. She has turned her passion for running and the love of the outdoors into a career and a way to share these experiences with others as a hostess! She has also found a way to contribute to a nonprofit called BigCat Rescue through her races.
Initially, Calico Racing was like any new business and her own training suffered and she got very little sleep. This can still be true around race time, but she has learned how to streamline the events and finds time to participate in 15-20 races a year. According to her website Joyce has participated in “64 marathons in 35 states, 8 Ironman triathlons, 12 ultramarathons (including Comrades and 2 x 100 milers), and done crew/ pacing for Badwater 5 times”.  
Joyce making an award

Joyce genuinely cares for the participants, which is reflected by the many people who return to her races year after year! It is very important to her that everyone feels welcomed. She says that the joy and satisfaction she gets from seeing others finish a race and achieve what they might not have thought possible is very rewarding! She recalls a man who was running in the “Labor of Love” event, which takes place in Lovell canyon (one her favorite venues). This runner wanted to do the marathon on the Saturday and the 50K on the Sunday! She remembers how he struggled during those two days, but remembers his determination. The runner had started the 50K early on the Sunday, to try to meet the cut off time, sure enough it was getting late and there were about 3 runners left out on the course. Joyce was at the finish line which was practically empty at that point. She recalls how she saw him, in the distance coming in at his last 10th of a mile, she said she ran to him and finished with him. They were both moved to tears! That is putting your heart into it! Joyce says her races equally welcome the 3-hour marathoner as well as the 3-hour half marathoner! I’d say that running your own racing series is indeed an “Ultra.” She is truly an endurance athlete. Joyce, you rock!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pam Looby: 50 miles in the Mojave Desert.

Pam and her husband Gary at her 2005 Ironman
Pam Looby has been my friend and midweek running companion since 2008. She has always been encouraging to me and to others in her capacity as a group fitness director at the YMCA. I remember when I thought about doing a triathlon, it was Pam who encouraged me to go to the masters swim classes. What a daunting idea to someone like me, who was scared to put their face in the water! But she was right, I could do it and learn to swim and complete a triathlon in a lake!

When we were running one day, she told me about doing her first half-Ironman in September 2004. She then decided to complete the Panama City Beach Ironman on November 5, 2005. She is not afraid to take on a challenge and train hard and alone. So when Pam told me she was going to do her first 50-mile race in the Mojave Desert in the middle of the summer over blacktop, I was not surprised. She trained like a maniac, even layering clothing and running in the hottest part of the day with the least amount of shade possible. Her training involved back-to-back days of incredibly long runs, almost all of them done alone. She was relentless in her training, and it paid off! Once she gets a goal in her sights she is going to work as hard as she can to complete it!

Pam on the 50 mile course
Pam picked a race In Nevada in the Calico Racing series in June.  The average temperature at that time of year in June is 110 degrees. The course is composed of rolling hills and is thru the desert without shade, I guess that is why the race is aptly called, “Running with the Devil”! I was so excited to hear about it and of course the website had warnings about the heat. Pam used supplements to avoid losing too much water during the long runs and weighed herself, as they do doing the race to make sure she didn’t lose too much water and become dehydrated, in the race that would mean she would be pulled for health and safety.

On June 25th, 2011, thirty-five people started the race and only twenty-two FINISHED the 50-mile course across the dessert. I asked her what she did when it got hard. Well, it may have been called “Running with the Devil” but Pam says she was definitely running with God. She used lots of prayers to keep her going. Pam said, “The last 6 miles were the toughest to keep going, although I never considered stopping. Having determination and focus is critical to just take one step at a time. I do thank God for my ability to run and for giving me the strength to be able to run 50 miles.”

Pam recalls how she met up with another runner Ed Ettinghausen ,who has a great running story himself and is an experienced ultra runner. He gave Pam the encouragement she needed for that extra kick at the end that helped her finish in her goal of under 12 hour. She finished in 11:49:18. Pam was not only the 1st Woman Overall, she was the only woman to finish the 50 miles course!
Pam says “Don't be afraid to try and don't be afraid to fail. No matter what the end result, you didn't fail if you tried and gave it your all, because you will never know if you don't try.” Pam respected the challenge and knew that training was key. She says, “Train hard and be prepared with hydration and nutrition. Don't take it too seriously. Enjoy! It is just running.”

As our mutual friend Johnathan Savage would say, “How hard can it be?” The truth…. pretty darn hard, but that’s why we train! Way to show how training hard can really pay off Pam!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dane and the "Fiddy2"

Do you have a weekend ritual? Some people go out for coffee every Saturday morning, maybe see a movie, or have dinner with friends. But how about traveling to and completing a 26.2-mile race every weekend for a year! Dane Rauschenberg decided to run a marathon every week of 2006. He called this project his “Fiddy2” and ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks.

Dane with members of L'Arche, Mobile at First Light Marathon

The commitment to this goal was substantial, all the time, travel and money. Running a marathon a week is a physical challenge for sure, but also what a logistical feat! Did I mention that at the same time he maintained a full time job practicing law, some Mondays going to work with no or little sleep from the Sunday-night flight. Another thing about this quest I really like is that Dane was able to make it more then achieving a personal goal. He used it to raise money for the Mobile, Alabama Chapter of L’Arche. This organization devotes their work to helping the mentally and physically challenged. Oh yeah, what also grabbed my attention was the fact that Dane actually got faster as the year progressed and near the end of his goal achieved a sub three hour marathon! Wow, seriously!

His “Fiddy2” experience taught him a lot about himself and about others too! Dane said, “It changed me in every way possible! My outlook on what I wanted to do in life shifted. My perspective on what is achievable by normal people was completely thrown for a loop. I learned enormous amounts about both the kindness of people and in the ridiculousness of others. I was taught patience – which I readily admit it is not my strong suit.”

Leadville Trail Marathon, CO

While reading his book, “See Dane Run”, that highlights every race and the experiences during the year, I was literally pulled in to the adventure. I laughed out-loud at times, and cried a couple times. I felt myself in the races with him at times, I imagined the freezing temperatures of the Mercedes Marathon the rugged hills of Estes Park Marathon , CO Marathon, and the travel issues as well as the challenging course of the Leadville Trail Marathon, that very next week! The hardest part of it for Dane was, “the unknown”. Dane said, “Having just started running again (after surgery), I wasn’t sure if my body could handle the rigors. To complete the task today would be infinitely easier simply because I know it can be done. But to leap into the endeavor with both feet having just entered the world of running was far and away the biggest challenge.”

Dane and I at San Diego RnR Marathon Expo 2011

What a whirlwind 2006 must have been for Dane! There is no doubt that it must have changed him to go thru this, so I asked if he had experienced a pivotal moment during the year. Dane said, “Without a doubt, surprisingly running my first ever sub-3 hour marathon in the 42nd marathon of the year was both shocking and a turning point. Only 6 marathons previous to this had I ran my first 3:10 of the year (so to set a new personal best by 6 minutes). This race showed me that ignoring the seemingly impossible was how I should live the rest of my life.”

What would you try if you were to live like that?

To learn more about Dane’s incredible experiences or his book "See Dane Run", take a moment to look at his Facebook page and his blog.