My writing history: I've been an editor and writer with Outside Magazine for almost 20 years (gulp--I started when I was 10, child prodigy!). I created and write the Raising Rippers column on Outside Online, about bringing up adventurous children. And I'm working on my first book, a memoir about ultra running as a path through the grief of losing my father.
“A Speck Through Space” is: a story about experiencing the transformative power of ultra running for the first time. I was running my first 50- mile race, filled with doubt and fear, much of which had accumulated in recent years after the death of my father. As I ran, I felt my mind and all its whirring, relentless thoughts and anxieties recede, and I became merely a body running, absorbing all the astounding details around me. I could tell something deep had shifted inside of me and I would never again be the same.
My elevator pitch for ultra-running: When you go long and far through the wilderness on your own two feet, it's like traveling without leaving town. You travel through space but also into your own heart and mind. It's a kind of prolonged meditation, with moments of agony and many, many moments of ecstasy and, almost always, a deep, rare presence. Ultra running is my way to be wild and still be home for dinner.
Recent memorable run: In late April, I competed in my first race since breaking my knee in the fall. This was the 10K in Virginia, near my father's farm, that had been my first race and that I went on to race for many years during my childhood. This time, I brought my daughter, who is six, and she ran her first race, and first 10K. My stepmother also ran her first 10K in more than 30 years. My daughter was the youngest finisher, in 1:38 (I was blown away by her stamina and determination—I know how far 10K feels when you are that small!), my stepmother won her 70+ age group, and I won the women's overall. As a family, we were presentd the family award for three generations of runners with a long history at the Fodderstack 10.
Recent horrible run: After I broke my knee mid-strike, in a freak muscle spasm while running, I have a new benchmark for horrible runs and a new appreciation for being able to run, period. Nothing recent comes remotely close to that, thank God.
Next up on my running calendar: I hope to train up for a 50K in late June, on my way back to another 100K in the fall and, I hope, my first 100 miler in January 2016.