Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 Ugly Christmas Sweater Run a Huge Success!

A huge thank you to all who helped and participated in this years ugly Christmas Sweater Fun Run!

Runners Tim Fromm, Andrea Cichosz, Brian Newsome, and Anita Fromm were greeted with a light snow as they ran through the sidewalks of Manitou, enjoying the beautiful holiday lights.

Andrea won the women's running division, while Tim and Brian tied for first in the mens. As far as who had the ugliest holiday sweater contest, well... it was quite the fashion show down!. Andrea showed up in a red, beaded, what appeared to be rein deer ensemble, while Brian's bright red sweater with the huge Christmas tree complete with shoulder pads made for an unforgettable fashion statement. Anita's mismatched beige, snowflake turtleneck sweater and red holiday vest with reindeer heads and green buttons and fuzzy pink Santa hat screamed "fashion alert!". Her long suffering husband Tim made it clear that he was more into running than fashion, but still wore the stupid green and red reindeer antlers that his wife made him wear.

We sincerely hope that next year this becomes an official, family friendly running event, supporting local businesses and charities.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ugly Sweater Run Map and Updates

Hey Everybody!!! It's less than one day to go until our Ugly Christmas Sweater Fun Run! I hope you're as excited as I am. Be sure and remember to dress warmly, as the weather now is calling for a chance of snow. And don't forget to bring a headlamp or flashlight!

Here is a map of our course. I will have additional maps with me as well.

Hope to see you tomorrow at 6:30 pm, in beautiful Manitou Springs, at Memorial Park!

Warmest Regards,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Ugly Christmas Sweater Run is Almost Here!!!!!

It's hard to believe that Christmas will be this Friday! Hopefully everybody has their shopping done and has time to relax and be with friends and loved ones. For those of us who are doing the Ugly Christmas Sweater Run, on Tuesday December 22nd, at 6:30 pm, at Memorial Park in Manitou Springs, here are a few updates:

Again, this is a FREE, no t-shirt, fun run. It is not competitive. There are NO COURSE MARKINGS, so hopefully my directions will be helpful, and even better, all of us stay together for the 3.5 miles. PLEASE BRING A STRONG FLASHLIGHT or HEADLAMP!!!!!


1. Meet at Memorial Park. Go WEST on Manitou Avenue. Stay ON THE SIDEWALK, running past the police department, the Stagecoach Restaurant, Black Cat Book Store, and then cross Canon Ave, staying LEFT of the town clock and statue of Hebe ( Greek Goddess of eternal youth. Also the patron Goddess of Botox, I believe). Stay on the sidewalk that parallels Manitou Avenue, all the way to the end of Soda Springs Park. You will go past the Mate Factor, which is the last business before you come to Soda Springs Park. (who knows. we might get tired and stop at the Mate for a cup of tea to energize us before continuing on our strenuous quest)

2. Go all the way to the end of the sidewalk the runs past Fountain Creek, and is on the right side of Manitou Avenue. Go over and around the little bridge that takes you to the other side of Soda Springs Park. The sidewalk is icy and narrow on this side, so you might want to run SINGLE FILE heading east, (back in the direction you came). You will run past the historic Clif House on your left on Canon Ave. Watch for ice!! You will be able to run on the sidewalk now, and will run past the candy store (we might stop there if we need further nourishment) past the town clock again, past the Glass Blowers, past the Keg (might stop for a burger or beer), and back past Black Cat Books and the Police Department.( it should look familiar)

3. You will now run by Memorial Park again. Keep heading east on El Paso Blvd. It is best to stay single file, because there isn't any shoulder of sidewalk on El Paso. Go up the hill on El Paso, until you come to Mayfair Ave. Go RIGHT on MAYFAIR. It is across from the Craftwood Inn. Again, watch for ice going down Mayfair Ave. Mayfair Ave is downhill, and very short. It will take you back to Manitou Ave. DO NOT GO TO Manitou Ave!!! There is a trail just before you get to the Chamber of Commerce. Make a SHARP LEFT on this trail. Head east!

4. Now that you are on this trail, you will go behind the Manitou Campground, the Manitou Swimming Pool,(the trail will turn to pavement) UNDER Highway 24,and all the way to the end of The Fields Park, (by the skateboard park). Circle back towards Manitou, staying on the sidewalk, back under the highway, past the swimming pool, back to Mayfair Ave.

5. GO RIGHT, uphill, on Mayfair Ave, back to El Paso Blvd. Once you get to El Paso Blvd,turn left, staying SINGLE FILE, back to Memorial Park.

6. You're done!!!!! Now you can tell whoever bought you that lovely sweater that you really, honestly did wear it out. ( you don't have to tell them it was dark) Some of us might go to Adams, or the Mate Factor afterwards.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ugly Christmas Sweater Run!!!!!

It's hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon us once again! Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I love celebrating it with all my friends and loved ones. This year, friend and training partner Melissa Marr and I have come up with a new way for our running buddies to come together and celebrate the holiday season by doing something we love: RUN!

SO, December 22nd, at 6:30pm, in Manitou Springs, CO, we are having a fun, informal, and totally free UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER FUN RUN!

Here are all the who, whats, and wheres:

WHO: you! and anyone else you think might want to join us.

WHERE: Memorial Park, Manitou Springs, CO

WHAT TIME: 6:30pm, Tuesday December 22nd

HOW FAR: about 3.5 miles

WHAT TO WEAR: That ugly Christmas sweater you swore you'd never be caught dead in! (be sure and wear something warm underneath!)A stupid Santa hat is highly recommended too.


DO I HAVE TO BE FAST? NO! In fact, I recommend you run slowly, so that everyone will see just how fashionable you look.

HOW WILL I KNOW WHERE TO RUN? We will have a map for you, although we are going to try and stick together. We will also briefly explain the course shortly before the run, and in a future posting on my blog.

CAN I BRING MY DOG OR CAT? Of course! Everybody knows how pets love to be dressed up in holiday apparel. Just be sure and have them on a leash.

IS THIS AN ORGANIZED RACE THAT I HAVE TO PAY TO GET IN? No! It is FREE, although some of us might go to Adam's Mountain Cafe for dinner afterwards.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Palo Duro 50 Mile Run, Palo Duro Canyon, TX

Three 50 mile races in 14 days! Despite being tired and a little achy,every foot step is a blessing. Especially when that footstep narrowly missed a tarantula crawling across the race course of the beautiful Palo Duro 50 mile ultramarathon in Palo Duro Canyon, TX, which is just outside of Amarillo , TX. They say they make things BIG in Texas. This must include the spiders.

I managed to tie for third place, along side a friend and running partner of mine. Although bad weather and poor traveling conditions forced me to stay put for my fourth planned 50 miler, I still plan on running at least two more races of at least marathon distance before the year is out.

Here are some cool photos of what the locals call the "Grand Canyon of Texas."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

#2 Le Grizz 50 Mile Ultra Hungry Horse, MT

I love the Le Grizz 50 Mile Ultramarathon! The scenery is spectacular, the RD is very nice, and the course is runnable, and if you are looking to PR at a 50, this is a good course for that.

This year's race presented quite a challenge. A cold front moved through, and it was zero at the start! Hard to believe that I was running in a lush, warm, deciduous forest just seven days ago, and now I was standing in the middle of a boreal forest on an icey, snow covered road. What was even more amazing was that a record number of people showed up at the start! Including an 83 year old man, and a man who ran the race now 28 times! There goes my "now that I am approaching 40 I can slow down a bit " excuse.....

My quads were hammered from Tussey, and I was getting over a cold, but I still managed to finish in 9 hours and 39 minutes, with the help of my husband, and mom, dad, and youngest, (most lovely) sister, who came up to beautiful Hungry Horse Montana to crew and cheer me on. Thanks you guys!!!

Here are some pictures of the coldest le grizz 50 Mile Ultramarathon on record.

Four 50 Mile Runs in One Month. #1 Tussey Mountainback

The Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon in Boalsburg, PA was the first of what will hopefully be four 50 miles ultra-marathons in the month of October.

Fall colors and temperatures in the mid 60's and low 70's greeted my crew and I along this moderately difficult course. But the fall colors of Pennsylvania helped make up for any discomfort,( and there was quite a bit) along with great race organization and one very fat timber rattlesnake. I read that a rattle snake's venom is more potent in the fall, and that over the past few decades, their venom has become more toxic. I don't care to find out!

I ended up finishing third female overall, in 7 hours and 56 minutes. Here are some pictures of this beautiful, hilly course.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lots of Running!

My how the summer has flown! Before I knew it, it was time for the infamous Leadville Trail 100, Augst 22nd and 23rd. With the help of two dedicated crew members, I managed to cross the finish line just under the 30 hour cut-off in a time of 29:40:16. As far as I am concerned, any time is a good time at Leadville, provided that you finish!

Just two weeks later, I ran a PR at the beautiful American Discovery Trail Marathon in Colorado Springs, CO. I crossed the finish line in 2nd place overall in the women's division, in a time of 3:26:00. My goal was to break 3:30:00, and I did. I really believe that if you believe you can do something, and you train hard for it, you can accomplish it.

Less than a week later, I came in 2nd place yet again at the lovely Mountain Air Marathon. This marathon takes place in lovely Crested Butte, CO., and goes to Gunnison, CO. It starts at 8800 feet, and runs down to 7700 feet. You couldn't ask for a nicer race director, and the post race food and awards were a nice ending to another beautiful day in the mountains. Tim too had a nice time when he got to go fly fishing on the way home.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Its Been a While.....

It has been quite a while since I updated my blog. Since my last post I have been all over the country, following or running races.

Here are some pictures from the Barr Trail Mountain Race, in Manitou Springs, CO. I was fortunate enough to be a volunteer in this unique race, where all the race's proceeds go back to the mountain, and supports local schools. The day before, I was breathless in Leadville , CO, where I ran the Mosquito Pass Marathon. As usual, I was treated to wonderful Leadville weather.

Just two weeks later, I got to run the scenic Silver Rush 50 Mile Trail Run, again in Leadville. Despite a slower than anticipated time, I still had fun, and once again was treated to wonderful Leadville weather, (rain, lightening, hail, thunder, temperature variations, all above 10,000 feet!)

Just one day later, after running and freezing in a hail and lightening storm in Leadville, I was in Death valley, where is was over 120 degrees. It was nice watching the runners from all over the world run and finish the badwater 135. Have to admit, I felt myself wanting to run it again next year........

Soon, I will find myself on the summit of Pikes Peak, as a runner and volunteer for the Pikes Peak Ascent next weekend. You knw you are ready for the Leadville Trail 100 when a training run consists of a run up a 14,000+ feet mountain. lets hope all the runners and volunteers have better weather than last year! There's me, breathless on a training run in Leadville, on Sugar Loaf.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


This afternoon, my husband and I decided we would once again go "owling". Owling is a word we made up for wondering around whatever military base we are assigned, and try and take pictures of owls of various sorts. Although we created a bit of a stir with some well meaning MP's, who took their job of keeping the base and its secrets secure very seriously, ( a big thank you to them for doing such a great job and serving their country))they seemed amused that an "old couple", (hey, Tim's 40, and I almost am. Old to those in their early twenties) would actually go out and take pictures of owls. The following pictures of cute, little burrowing owls, who couldn't wait for Tim and I to leave them alone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Every Foot Step is a Blessing......

It has been a while, but here are some photos of some of the races I have run since that 100km in April. Most of them have been training runs for the fast approaching Leadville Trail 100, but despite having a 50 miler on my legs just one week earlier (Squaw Peak 50 in Orem, UT), and a fast 15 mile run the day before, I managed to take third place female overall at the Estes Peak marathon. The Estes Park marathon is one of my favorite marathons to run. It is so beautiful, with great support from the whole community from start to finish, and a friendly race director who loves running.

If you haven't run the Joe Colton races, you are missing out. It is absolutely beautiful, with races of various distances for all runners, and their families. A series of folk music bands played great music out along the course, in the background was the sound of a very spirited Rocky mountain stream. Snow capped mountains, blue birds, and swallows greated the runners too. Great food, a raffle, and more music greated the runners and families at the finish. I ran it on June 13th, taking 6th woman, a slight improvement from last year, and my husband ran it with me.

The next morning I ran the Estes Park Marathon. It is very hilly, with some very prolonged climbs at over 7000 feet in elevation, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. For the women's field, it ended up being a 26.2 mile cat fight between the four leading ladies. Although I was in second place for the first 17 miles, my tired legs just couldn't keep the pace, and I dropped to third. When my husband shouted out to me that the fourth place woman was gaining on me, and she was in her twenties, I was like, "hell no!" and took off, beating her by less than a minute, coming in third. All four of us were less than 2 and 1/2 minutes apart.

A big thank you to the Marshall family for their hospitality, and Tim's family for being there along the course to cheer me on, and for being there at the finish, at one of the most competitive and intense marathons I have run.

Here are some pictures of the past few weeks races:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

WSU 100km

The WSU 100km, (and relay) was my first 100km race. I am so glad I chose this race as my first 100km. Not only was it safe, friendly, well marked and absolutely beautiful, but it was low key and low stress. No noisy, long and dragged out pre-race meetings, just a quiet, peaceful race in the verdant, rolling farmland outside of Washingston State University with a kind and personable race director. Although it was a very hilly course, it was quite runnable, and any physical discomfort could be comforted by the ever changing geology and farmland. The addition of a relay added to the fun, as the relay runners were fresh and enthusiastic, full of support for the solo division.

This race was held near the Washington - Idaho border, in and around Palouse. It started and ended at Washington State University. Running a 100km was a lot different than running a 50 miler, ( of which I have run nearly 50) or a 100 miler. Hitting 50 miles, (in 8:28) knowing I had nearly a half marathon to go was mentally quite challenging. But I managed to run the last 12 miles in just over 2 hours, with a finishing time of 10:35:15. A 1st place female finish, 2nd overall, albiet not a lot of competition. It was a bitter sweet finish, however. My goal was to run sub 10:30:00, to meet two of the qualifications of the 153 mile long Spatathlon in Greece.

Here are some great pictures of some of the beautiful horses and farmland that greeted the runners at every turn. A big thank you to all who helped make this great event take place!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bataan Memorial Marathon

Out of the nearly four dozen marathons I've run, the Bataan Death March Memorial Marathon has got to be one of the most moving and memorable. It is run in memory of the World War II veterans who were forced to march for days in the terrible heat and humidity of the Philippine jungle in 1942. Some of the surviving veterans were there at the start and finish, and one even shared his story with my husband and I.

Bataan is an incredible event. There are several catagories you can run in. Civilian light, civilian heavy, ( carrying at least 35 pounds) military light, and military heavy. Thousands come out to run or march this unique event, held every march on White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The attention to detail in the race race organization is to be both admired and appreciated. Hopefully I will be able to make it out once again next year for this extraordinary event.

Pictures are of my husband and I after the race, another of the marchers as they climb up one of the many long and often sandy hills on the course, and one of a very happy, fat cat after the race.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Carl Touchstone 50km and 50 Miler

There's something about the way southern men talk that keep drawing me to this great race I discovered in 2007. Anyone who talks with a southern accent can pace me any day!

At any rate, I decided to give the Carl Touchstone 50 another go, this time with my husband Tim, who ran the 50km ,as his first ultra. The women's field was tough, and I didn't think I would finish as strong as I did in 07, and with hotter temperatures in the mid 80's with humidity to match, this course definetly ate its young fast, as nearly a third of those who signed up for the 50 miler opted to wimp out and do the 50km. Can't say I blame them, as I wasn't sure I coud even come in under 9 hours.

After nearly ten years of living in the desert, I was looking forward to the greenery of the course. Unfortunaly the forest service had other plans, and had done a controled burn, forcing the RD to change the course. The new course had numerous mud bogs, and stream crossings, slowing times even further. But one things stands out in my mind about this years race more than anything else: THE WOMEN KICKED ASS! I was 13th overall, and half of the top ten places went to women.

My husband, who quickly found out that runnng ultras is MUCH easier than being married to me, won his first ultra, coming in ahead of the second place guy by over 20 minutes. I am so proud of him. Coming in 6th woman, it's time to work cut back on the Little Debbies and get serious for the LT100.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You Can't Win Then All

After a miserable attempt at a 100 in Florida last May, The Keys 100,the ROAD KILL 100, as I have named it, due to all the traffic which you encounter the entire length of the Florida Leys, with no safety signs or markings put out by the incompetent RD, I decided to give Florida one more chance, opting for a 100 miler outside of Jacksonville, on an old, unimproved rails to trails path.

Having run on just about every survace imaginable on this planet with the 100+ ultras I have done, I thought, "piece of cake!" Flat, out and backs, and not all the horrible traffic that I encountered at Road Kill.

Indeed, the RD of the Iron Horse was first class all way. A retired Marine, he truly cared about the runners. Unfortunately for me, the well water they served didn't agree with me. No problem, I paid a volunteer a few bucks to get me some water from a gas station, and although slightly weakened from not keeping anything in or down for 30 miles, I began to feel better. Until the cramps started, forcing me to slow my pace, making it impossible to maintain a fast enough pace to stay warm. After 2 hours of uncontrollable shivering, I made the tough choice to call it quits at 75 miles. I hate DNFing a race, but sometimes it's best to stay safe and save your strength for another race. On to the next race....

Although I didn't take any pictures, and have vowed NEVER to return to Florida again, here is a token picture of my beloved cat, Pricess, feeling like her mommy after a DNF.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sedona Marathon 2009

Having run dozens of marathons, and upwards of 100 ultra marathons, I can say with confidence that the Sedona Marathon, in beautiful Sedona, AZ, is the best organized marathon I have ever run. Never having won a marathon before, I wasn't expecting to win, but I did want to set a PR, which was 3:43. Being an out and back course, it soon became visibly apparent to me that I was in third. Which was fine with me, given that I train soley for ultramarathons. Even when I caught up with the second place female, I didn't plan on winning. But life doesn't always go according to plan. With less than a mile to go, my husband, who had come along with me, yelled out that I was just 20 seocnds behind the first place woman. Could it be possible for me to win a marathon?! With $1400 dollars in air fare prize money, plus hundreds of dollars in restaurant and spa treatments at stake, I kicked it in, and ended up winning by just seconds. The woman in front of me was tough! I honor her for making me work for that overall win, and for her grace and class at the finish line. Although not a course record, I did manage to set a PR, winning in a time of 3:35:52, 1st female, and 17th overall. A huge thank you to all the amazing volunteers who helped make this race a safe and successful victory!