Barefoot Mama

"I started running barefoot in March 2008. I started one step at a time, one day at a time. I decided to start keeping a journal of sorts. Sharing my history, my journey and my adventures."

I have taken some new paths in relation to my running over the last year. This blog will still include my running adventures but I have to move on with more stories of my family and the journey we have taken together over the last year. This blog was started as a way to help me record my barefoot journey but now needs to become more than that. Please be patient as I explore ways to stay connected with family and friends.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

More from 2013

 Looking Back: April 2013 and the Boston Marathon:

I will say that my time in Boston was wonderful. My husband and I had a great time. I totally immersed myself in the marathon experience. We started in Hopkinton and drove the whole length of the course. Taking pictures and looking at all the small towns along the way. We arrived at the Expo and spent several hours roaming the aisles of goodies and we even went to a seminar and met up with Preston (Running Barefoot) and that was awesome. Here are some pics of my day.

Marathon Legends! From Left to right: Bill Rodgers, Jack Fultz, Kim Jones, Amby Burfoot, Kathrine Switzer and Greg 

Marathon morning was a little chilly. I remember that my hands were cold when I was in line for the bus that would take me to the start. I didn't have to wait long at the Athletes Village. Long enough to go to the bathroom and have a bagel and some water. I had my Gu's in my fuel belt and my huaraches on my feet. I carried my water in a hand held because I didn't want to stop at the water stops and get all yuck on my feet. My plan was to wear the huaraches for about 13 miles and then finish the last half of the marathon barefoot. I did develop some knee pain about mile 15 that slowed me down.

I had stopped once to use the porta potty.  Slowed down a bit on the hills. Worked the Heartbreak Hills with my friend Colin. He ran with me, barefoot, for a couple miles. Uphill was ok it was downhill that hurt my knees. I stopped to hand some stuff to my husband at Cleveland Circle and he jogged with me for a minute because I was wimpering. I also stopped briefly to give my friend a hug. I don't know what would have or wouldn't have happened that day. Who can speculate? I had the kind of running day I was meant to have. What changed this experience for me was what happened after I got stopped on the Marathon course, just before I was about to turn onto Hereford Street, and was told to "GO HOME". 

I was told by security officers to just "go home". What?  I had no idea where my husband was? He was suppose to be waiting for me at the family meeting area near the finish line. Confused and upset. I started walking. I made it to the first park bench I saw and sat down. I put my head in my hands and started to cry. This is not how this is suppose to end. What am I going to do? Does anyone have any info? I was starting to get cold. I finally sat up, wiped my tears and said "ok T you need a plan! What would Charles do?"  I decided that if he was okay and nothing had happened to him he would try to meet me somewhere. And I decided to try to find the Hostel we had stayed in the night before. The last spot we were together that morning.  As I walked I tried to gather some information about what had happened. I kept asking strangers if their phones were working yet. I made it to where the buses were parked, jumped the barricade and decided to try to get my bag. My phone was in my bag. I was one of the last runners to get my bag. A police officer was arguing with the bus driver to leave the bus. And she did not want to leave the belongings, they were her responsibility. The officer let her get my bag and then escorted her from the bus, walked us to the barricade and ushered us out.  From there I wandered through the city in the direction I thought I was suppose to go. After about an hour my phone rang. It was my brother! YAY! the phones worked. I then called my husband. He answered and from there we figured out where I was in relation to the Hostel. I was right!  That is where he went.  
30 minutes later we were reunited! The rest of the evening and the 4 hour drive home I was just in shock. I still hadn't come to terms with what had happened that day.

This is something my husband posted on FB. 
Hello all! Theresa wasn't running well and stopped with me for a bit when I saw her and also stopped for Jennifer Wayland. Had she not stopped she would have been at the finish when the bombs went off. I finally found her and she is OK. Cell phones are barely working. We will try and drive home tonight. The silver lining according to my Wife - Her crappiest marathon time ever won't be recorded because they stopped her on the course!

And this: I wrote on my FB page. 
I'm home. Glad to be here. Support from my community at home is as wonderful as it was while I was in Boston. Thank you from the bottom of heart to everyone. There are people to thank who's names I don't know who helped me when I had no one else. Strangers in a city that was as confused as I was. A women who gave me socks to use as arm warmers. A young man who gave me the sweatshirt of his back, to the women who huddle with me for strength and understanding. I am glad to hug my children today.

Article the Bangor Daily News wrote

This article pretty much sums up the experience. 

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon I had a hard time returning to my running and my running community. It was easier for me to distance myself from what I loved than to immerse myself in it. I was suppose to run a 50 Mile race in May and I did the 50K event instead because I couldn't bring myself to train as much as I should have. My heart just wouldn't let me.Pineland Trail Running Festival  

I participated in a wonderful fundraiser called One Run For Boston in June 2013. I ran in the last two stages,  which was  the last half of the Boston Marathon course, to raise money for the bombing victims and that helped me have some closure while helping others. The BAA was generous enough to send those of us who did not finish our medals in the mail. I did not open mine. I did not earn it. My husband graciously kept it hidden for me. On the day I crossed the finish line in June, running for the One Run For Boston, my oldest daughter hung the medal around my neck.   ( One Run for Boston 2; Started in March 2014 in CA and ended in Boston on April 13th)
My friend Colin and I at the finish line for One Run for Boston Event.

I went on to run another marathon in October. It was both rewarding to finish a marathon and place in my age group. I wore my $8.00 minimalist sneakers. I finally felt a small sense of relief. At the beginning of the marathon, I stood with my friend and told him that this was the scary part for me. Being surrounded by all the people and very nervous about going the distance and the unknown out there waiting for me. I was shaking and told him if I break down it is ok. I will pull myself together and run when it is time. I was just scared. As we were all standing there waiting, the race director had arranged for a bagpiper to march through the crowd to the starting line. This was a very moving moment. All I could do was hide my head under my cap as the tears rolled down my face. I did pull myself together, stand tall, wipe my tears, and begin to run. I did it. I ran for 3:51:56 and nothing bad happened to me. The MDI Marathon, Maine 

My family saw me struggle through the summer. Behind closed doors I was not as well as I put forth in public. That being said I still struggle with large crowds, small spaces and large noises. But I had some of those issues before April 2013.  We believe I suffer from PTSD from the events that surrounded the Boston Marathon. I feel that with every new event I participate in I am getting better. 

I will be at the starting line for the 2014 Boston Marathon. I will probably have tears in my eyes then as well. But I have to go...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2013 - And the rest of the story...

 June 2013: Mt. Katahdin and the Appalachian Trail:

What a fun adventure and here are some pictures of the highlights.
We made it to the top of Katahdin.

A view from of Katahdin from 10+ miles away. 
The sign we saw on day two. 10 miles into our hike. We made it to Hurd Brook Lean-to. But decided to keep pushing on to see if we could make it to Rainbow Ledges Camping area. We didn't make it.  A HUGE storm pushed us back to the Lean-to. Thank goodness there was room for us at the lodge because it was a cool, windy and rainy night. 
We had endured over 30 minutes under a tarp on the side of mountain before we decided to descend and make our way back instead of push on up the mountain. It was the biggest hail I have ever seen. Pouring rain, lightning, thunder and WIND. (We found out later that there were tornados in the area). It was the scariest thing I have ever been in. We were outside under a tarp, kneeling on top of our backpacks and shaking uncontrollably from cold. 

Earlier in the day when we could hear the thunder in the background, the sun was out and we thought it would pass to our north. Then the skies got darker and darker and we knew we needed to get up and over the mountain before the storm hit but we couldn't climb that fast. (We had already hiked nearly 14 miles and it was about 1300ft. elevation).  A group of guys 3 guys were climbing the rock staircase that makes up part of Rainbow Ledges right behind us as it started to pour and the lightning got REAL scary. We got off the trail, which was flooded with mountain runoff and up to our ankles, because we didn't want to stand in running water in a storm. But the guys kept hiking up! They walked off into the rain and were gone! I remember saying to my friend,"they left us, they left us!" I realized they could not help us any more than we could them...then we felt totally alone. The things we thought of to "try" to be safe in retrospect were just crazy! I will also admit that while standing off the trail, under the smallest tree we could find, huddled together for warmth, I peed my pants. I was so scared! I laugh about it now but up there it only made the situation seem worse. 

Most of the trail looked like this on day two.

Day three took us on a 22 mile adventure: Which included wading across the rushing Hurd Brook in crotch deep water, going off the trail to go around many trees that had fallen in the storm, walking most of the trail in ankle deep water and sloshing through lots of mud, crossing Rainbow Stream on a thin board and hiking up and down a total of about 1600 feet in elevation. We were tired and sore and I had fallen twice. Charles (my husband) was going to resupply us every 3-4 days at previous marked locations. These locations were access roads and places he could hike to in order to connect with us. The plan was that if we were not at any of the locations he would leave our supplies hanging in a tree with a note. Well, I guess we really looked in rough shape when we connected at Wadleigh Stream Lean-to because he told us he really thought we should seriously think about calling it quits. I hate to quit things but he was right. We were done. Physically and emotionally.

Here is something that I took from my facebook page: 
Home. Pulled from the trail by my concerned hubby, Charles Weidman. 40 miles of Appalachian Trail in 3 days and 7 miles of side trails. He'll take me back to finish when my shoulder and back recover. No major injuries just sore from a couple of falls with a heavy back pack. Proud of what I did. Miles of wilderness seen. BEAUTIFUL! A few good stories and and some adventure with a friend. AND Moose are stupid.

So I will go back and start where we left off near Jo-Mary Road sometime in 2014.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Appalachian Trail Adventure /Support the American Cancer Society

All winter I have been planning a hiking trip with my friend Paula. We will start at Mount Katahdin and hike the Appalachian Trail south as far as we can. We are hoping to cover 10-20 miles a day but we will have to take into account weather, steep mountain climbs and how well our gear works. Just like any event I have completed; sometimes there are things that we cannot control and we'll  have to learn to roll with the punches.

The planning process has involved reading many books about the Appalachian Trail, studying maps and trail guides, talking with other people who have hiked the trail, buying the right backpack, learning what to bring and testing out the equipment. I have learned that since I only weight 105 pounds that I am limited to the amount of stuff I can physically carry. I have gone through several trials and have come to the conclusion that the most I can comfortably carry is about 27 pounds. And that can only include my survival gear, a few necessary clothing items, a sleeping bag with a bivy sack, 1 change of shoes and 3 days of food. Needing to take calorie dense food and about 2200 calories day is what I have come up with as well as water. My friend is carrying the water filter.

I did a hike to test my gear and my ability to carry it.  I carried my 21 pound pack 8.5 miles in 3 1/2 hours. The mountains I climbed were only about 1200 feet. The ones I will encounter on my hike will be 3000-5000+ feet.  I feel like my gear survived the test. I stopped to  take some pictures, stopped at the top of the last mountain for a 10 minute break and stopped once to pee. I think I can manage a little more weight but some other things will have to be eliminated in order for me to be comfortable. I really would like my pack to weigh closer to 25 pounds not the 27 it currently weighs. 2 pounds makes a huge difference. I still need to test some food options and see if I should really carry a walking stick or not. I also can't decide if I want to carry my hammock or just the sleeping bag.

Why am I doing this? There are several reasons:  One is that I need to prove to myself that I can do this. Hiking in the woods seems to be what I need. I LOVE trail running and hiking. The more I think about it the more excited I become. Second, I was inspired by my friend and fellow Crow member who did his own trip from Maine to Washington DC last November and I believe that we are capable of doing anything we set our minds to.  I'll only know if I can -  if I do. This will be another thing to cross of my Bucket List as well. Why wait ? If I put it off I may never have the opportunity to do it. This just seems like the right time. And this will give me the opportunity to put in the training I need to run well in my next 50K which will be a National Championship.

I also thought that this would be a good way to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society celebrates its 100 year anniversary this month. I hope to cover more than 100 miles to help them celebrate. And I will return from my hike and  join my family in our local Relay for Life event. Our team "One Family Fighting Back" will relay around the track for 12 hours to honor and remember our family and friends who have had to deal with cancer.

In an earlier post I wrote: "Another great adventure (and the JFK 50)" I stated that I hoped my next adventure would include my family.  My children will see me off at the start and my husband will meet me every 3-4 days to resupply me with food. The children will be a part of this adventure through texts and information  they receive from their father and they will follow along with me on a map with their highlighters. I hope to be able to text in information so they know I am safe but other than that I will try not to contact anyone.

I still need to test more gear, hike one last hike with my pack, prepare the family for my absence and run in a 50K at Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival before my adventure.

My husband will take over my Blog while I am gone to keep everyone posted on how I am doing on the trail. He will also post on my Facebook page. AND to answer the question: Will I go barefoot? I'll just have to wait and see what the trail has to offer before I make that decision.

If you would like to make a donation to my American Cancer Society's Relay for Life Team here is a link. Please don't feel any pressure to do so. My favorite saying is, "It's all good" Hugs to all. :) Birthday

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We survived the winter...

Spring has arrived and the loons are back in the pond. Ducks and geese are here. We hear the loons calling at night and it's a wonderful sound. Being in the woods on the edge of a pond really made the winter special. Just heard the coyotes a few nights ago, right outside the door. The dogs went crazy! We can hear them call at night. I think they are watching us. It's funny because one daughter leaves her shade open so she can look out and see the night and all it's glory and the other daughter closes her shade to block out all the "scary" things in the night. I'm hoping it's a stage and she'll eventually keep her shade open so she can look out into the night. We kept a small patch of the ice clear of snow for ice skating and I went snowshoeing and cross country skiing across the ice until MARCH! The dogs had a blast running across the ice and playing in the snow. We didn't get out the ice fishing gear and we never had a bon fire on the ice. We were toasty warm with our propane heat. We only experienced about 3 days of frozen water pipes. It was a bit chilly on the below freezing mornings to go out and use the outside facilities but we managed all winter with very few complaints from the children.

To give ourselves a break from the Maine winter and to visit with family and friends. We took a much needed vacation to the south for 2 weeks in February. It was fun to be barefoot all day and to run barefoot on the beach everyday. I also did a 10K trail race in southern Florida. The race director had just finished the miami half marathon barefoot and it was nice to meet him. He had great enthusiasm for running and fitness. We came back to face the task of digging our way back to the camper through 3 feet of snow.

The kids love it here. Call it home and it is. It wasn't all fun and glory. We had times when the tight/small space would get on our nerves and we'd need a break from each other. But for the most part things were ok. We taught the kids to play cribbage this winter and my 10 year old loves it. She's competitive like her mama and has beaten me on several occasions. We had two pigs that went off to the butcher before it got too cold. It was a sad day but we knew they would feed us all winter and every time we have bacon the kids ask me which pig it is. It sounds like a terrible thing but they wanted to say thanks for their food and honor the right pig.

The fiddleheads passed before I could pick any. :( The dandelions are ready to be picked but I don't have the space to process the jam this year.  I still have a few jars left from last spring though. I went out to my cold frame and opened it up and low and behold we have kale and swisschard growing. YUM! I haven't planted the garden yet. We just had another 32 degree night so the garden will have to wait a couple more weeks. But our compost pile is growing by the day and the hay bales that we put around the bottom of the camper this winter for insulation are going to be the new home for my potatoes. A friend gave me a Jerusalem Artichoke, which is a root vegetable, and I've planted that and am hoping for the best. My raspberries over wintered and are gonna be strong and tall this summer as well. Things are growing like crazy and turning green and we are excited about it all.

Looking forward to the summer....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My quest for my first 50 miler. (written ages ago and never posted)

I attended the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival May 27-28. It was a BIG weekend. They have everything from 5K's to 50 miles. I entered the 5K Canicross with my dog Zeke and I ran the Barefoot 5K about 1 hour later on Saturday. And my youngest daughter  ran the 5K, her second trail run of the season. Then on Sunday morning we got an early start on the 50 miler. I finished in 9:43:28. This was a trail that ran through logging roads and fields. Unrelenting rolling hills. I  hit the wall around mile 33. I had to sit down, put on some Traumeel, and vaseline and eat some food. The aid stations were AWESOME. It was the most unbelievable experience to come out of the woods and see a buffet set up on tables in the middle of a field. I didn't carry anything on my because I knew there would be so much support on the course. I wore my Merrell trail gloves for the whole distance. Although later I would regret this choice at the time it seemed appropriate. I ended up hurting my foot from wearing the shoes for so long. It took a couple of months for it to work itself out. In those months after I went barefoot as much as I possibly could, which helped. I think I will follow some expert advise and switch up my footwear during my next 50 miler. I hope that will help. I also was able to run through the wall I hit and after about 30 minutes I came out on the other side and felt great! I started to run faster and I felt lighter. It may have all been in my head of course but that is what it felt like. I kept thinking to myself  and probably talking to myself too, that how could I feel this good after running over 40 miles? A great weekend! Was able to meet up with some fellow barefoot runners from the New England Barefoot Runners group too.
Myself, Heather and Jason R. getting ready for the start.
hot and tired

Our Humble Abode and a new winter adventure

Here is a picture of where we are spending our winter. And so far it is working out. We had to put up the tarp to prevent leaking. And the hay bales are helping to insulate. We are warm(heat with propane) and we have water. Not hot water but who needs that right? :) We have plumbing but are using the outdoor plumbing too. The kids have defined their own space by calling their bunk beds their "rooms" and they seem to be enjoying their minimalist experience. We are looking forward to skating on the pond and I am excited to break out the snowshoes and get on the trails in those 50 acres of woods. Bring on the snow and let the good times roll!
Outdoor plumbing
the kitchen
the backyard
the view from the window

Maine2DC Run:

This is an event one of my friends and Crow Teammates is doing. Just thought I would pass on. He needs all the support we can give