Forty Seven Years
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Hope Leaks Eternal

The best way to sum up 2012 is hope, hope with the peculiar quality of revealing itself in lack of faith and insecurities, because if I didn't have hope, I wouldn't stray into areas that cause me doubt. I tackled a few things which, up to this point, seemed impossible. I gave up drinking (alcohol) completely on June 1, entered a race I felt I had little chance of completing, reached out to people I felt too scarred (and scared) to reach out to, and made some financial decisions that put me in a much better place. The result was turmoil, and a lot of stress. But it was worth it, and that's not a nervous tick--that's my external pulse!

Most folks consider themselves human beings, but I feel I need activities to define myself. Most people have spouses, close friends, careers, status, and I have what I do. Without that, I resort to a bum who happened to make enough good decisions to keep himself in that category without having to worry about a job. If I'm not accepted as a bum, then I don't want to be your friend when I have status.

So in that vein, I ran a second Southern Indiana Marathon on April 14, and although my finishing time was an undistinguished 3:48:36, there were a few encouraging signs. First of all, at the halfway point (that would be 13.1 miles) I was 2:50 behind my slowest marathon—2010--but covered the second half of the course almost eight minutes faster than 2010. I never finish a marathon with anything other than hope for an end to the pain, but 2012 was different.

The finish was uphill, and all I could think of was going as fast as possible. Granted, after 25.2 miles under my legs, my sprint was a sub-eight minute mile, but it was enough for the announcer at the finish to say,”Wow! Now that's the way to finish a marathon!” When I heard that, I smiled and waved my arms at the crowd like I'd just been covered in honey and tossed in a killer bee mosh pit, then leaped across the finish line. I felt I could've run another 10 kilometers—no pain, no cramps—miraculous turn-around. An attractive young female volunteer came alongside me, put her arm around me to help support me (they do that at marathon finishes) and said,”Congratulations! Is there anything I can get you?” I thought for a moment—then replied,”Well, I haven't had a woman in a long time.”

I didn't spend weeks in Winter Park, Colorado this year, but instead drove straight out to Georgetown, Colorado, and did the Mt. Evans bicycle hill climb the next morning. I happened reach Denver as the fires that had burned 34,000 acres were smoldering, and on the morning of the Aurora “Dark Knight Rises” massacre, which cast a dark cloud over my entire trip. I didn't race much better than I did in 2011, but finished 26 minutes faster, with a time of 3:16:50, more than 30 minutes from my best and one of the slower cyclists. A storm engulfed the summit shortly after I finished and I was afraid many cyclists were stranded on that mountain in a life and death situation. I checked back after I got down and didn't hear of any injuries, but rain at 14,260 feet can be deadly in thin spandex, and nothing else. If they change the name next year, I'll know. Two days later I was in Lee's Summit, Missouri, mile 71.8 of Interstate 70 East, heading back home when I had a conversation with God. I'd been praying for guidance, for God to reveal Himself in all things, but after the race, I got nothing. I asked,”Where is the meaning in this?” Within a minute, two motorcycles flew by at 85 miles an hour and my first thought was,"That jerk--who does he think he is, going so fast on a motorcycle? Where are the cops?" William V. Oothout,

Have you ever noticed when you spend a lot of time with someone you start looking like each other?

51, a 28 year police veteran and his partner were the motorcyclists, and as that thought crossed my mind, Bill lost control and did a face plant on the rumble strip just in front of me as his helmet popped off. For a moment I didn't believe what I'd just seen, but I pulled to the shoulder and scurried over to Bill with another motorist who also witnessed the accident. Bill was face down and bleeding heavily from the head, with no movement except for a twitching leg. His partner, just ahead, ran to Bill and upon seeing him face down in his own blood, started banging his head on his motorcycle shouting,"NO! NO!" The other motorist leaned next to Bill, who looked to be on his last moments, and spoke gently to him and seemed to know what he was doing, so I started bringing him things--he said we needed a first aid kit. So I ran up and down the line of slowed cars, banging on windows, asking for band aids, first aid, and medical professionals. I snatched up two or three nurses who joined the police officer and other motorist with Bill. My anticipation of a quiet drive back to Evansville had me wearing a hospital scrub top, and big shorts that wouldn't stay up without a belt. I was so close to finally being Dr. Mr. Horsey, but every time I'd approach someone who hadn't seen me I'd say,”I'm not a doctor!” I didn't want them taking orders from me--my training is in Intelligence analysis. Then I'd run past, holding my shorts up with both hands, which helped eliminate any grand illusion of me being an authority. It was crazy for a while and I think we all thought Bill was gone. I passed bicycle clothing to the nurse and other motorist to use as a pillow to support his head and hold the parts in while we waited for an ambulance. A nurse shouted to me,"We need water!" Bill's partner was overheating in one of the hottest summers on record. I found a bottle of water in my front seat and ran it to Bill's parner. I later discovered I'd given him Gizmo's water--not Gizmo's clean water, but water that Gizmo drank from and didn't finish. The heat was so bad, I poured the dirty water back into the bottle for future use--and that's what Bill's partner drank. He didn't complain. I guess he was having such a ruff time he didn't notice it tasted like Purina Beneful.

Just before Bill was life-flighted to St. Luke's Hospital, I asked a nurse if she wanted to pray--she grabbed others and we huddled to pray over Bill, and he was off to the waiting chopper, which I followed as far as I could. When I arrived home, I googled Bill and found his injuries, though serious, were not life threatening. I don't see how a man can hit a rumble strip with his head at 85 miles an hour, no helmet, and survive, but I know we called on the Lord to save him.


May 2
My Starry Night in Clay
Starry Night for my 3D Design Class
Apr 14
SIC Marathon
Southern Indiana Classic Marathon
May 12
Gizmo & Squeaky Friend
Gizmo & Squeaky Friend
July 17
Gizmo Turns 10 Video
Gizmo Turns 10
July 17
Gizmo Turns 10
Gizmo Turns 10
Jul 21
Race up Mt. Evans
Race up Mt. Evans
Jul 21
Finish at Mt. Evans
Finish at Mt. Evans Summit
Jul 21
Return from Race Video
Returning from race to Mt. Evans
Jul 23
Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycle Crash


In my book, "The Complete Guide to Climbing (By Bike)" Mt. Evans was rated 3.88, "hors de category" in difficulty, meaning in the international rating of bicycle climbs, from category 4 to 1 (hardest being 1), that Mt. Evans was so hard it could not be rated--it was beyond rating, and it played out for me, that every time I raced up the 27.4 mile climb, I wanted to quit--it ws so painful. Now, Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, in that same rating scale was rated 66% harder than Evans, and I'd signed up to race it on August 18. Mt. Washington was only 7.6 miles long, but with an average gradient of 11.9%, and extended sections of 18%. Tour de France champions have declared Mt. Washington the hardest mountain they ever climbed, and now me, a simple horsewife from southern Indiana was hoping to plant my flag on the summit. No one here could conceive of this mountain, but there is Burdette Park Hill which locals find pretty hard to cycle up. By comparison, Mt. Washington is 23% steeper and 35 times longer. The rules say you have to pre-arrange a drive down from the finish because it's too dangerous to bicycle down. It's also known for having the worst weather in the world, with stories of cyclist being blown off the mountain. I wish I hadn't kept telling people these things because I scared myself. I left Indiana on August 16th, driving to what looked to be a mountain that would kill me. It would likely defeat me, but defeat was something I wasn't prepared to handle. Once again I was alone and scared--the story of my life.

The nice thing about Mt. Washington is its length--I'd just have to give it everything for 7.6 miles, a relatively short distance, although at that pitch, the record bicycle speed was only 9.2 miles an hour. As we lined up to start the race on the morning of August 18, I spoke to Peter Savage, an Englishman from Long Island who said his best time up the mountain was 1:29. I thought I could do 1:30ish, but really didn't know. I expected to be overwhelmed and simply prayed for courage. Peter told me that when I hit the last corner that goes to 22% gradient (if you're on the shallow part of the road), to enter on the left side of the lane and come out on the right, and STAND HARD ON THE PEDALS!

The race started with a cannon blast (pointed away from us), and it caught me by surprise because I'd been relieving stress by chatting with Peter and becoming his best friend! I even started liking the Queen! I locked into my pedals, the peloton split around a pylon, took a sharp left turn, and there it was, the big one, a road that looked like it had been painted on a wall. I took it like I take a vaccination,"Here we go--this is going to hurt." I pedaled a few minutes and thought,"This must be the easy part--I'm not screaming in pain." In fact, at 9.6%, the first two kilometers are the easiest part, if you call that easy. Mt.

Evans only briefly reached that pitch. What I noticed immediately was that I could talk. I could breathe. The high altitude issues I dealt with on Evans were not a problem here, as the race finish at Mt. Washington was 1300 feet lower than the race start at Mt. Evans. Ahead of me was a sea of cyclists, flailing to keep from dying on this almost insurmountable mountain, like the scene from the Titanic where the great ship has just gone down, the camera pulls away, and there are hundreds of screaming, freezing, drowning passengers. I said out loud,"I feel like I'm on the Titanic.” No one answered. I talked all the way up, making jokes, and most people just nodded and if they'd had more strength, likely would've given me a water bottle to the groin. This didn't seem near as hard as Mt. Evans, although experts would voraciously say otherwise and slap me across the face with a trout. The hardest part, in my opinion, was a mile of packed dirt about 3/4 of the way up the climb, average 18% in pitch. About 100 feet behind me a cyclist cried out in pain, which was very disturbing for the rest of us. I thought he was giving birth. I passed a guy, he glanced over and said,"I feel like he sounds." It was too slippery to stand on the pedals, and even if I did, I had to worry about the front wheel coming off the ground--very hard--the photos make it look insane. I passed another guy who had a tiny video camera on his helmet and talked to the camera for a while. I don't remember what I said, but I know it was something stupid.

We entered a fog cloud about a kilometer from the finish. I smelled smoke and heard yelling, bells, clapping, engines firing, but couldn't see a thing. As I grew closer, I realized it was the cog railway at the top--I was almost there, and now all I had to do was make that last corner without falling over. The road was lined with what seemed to be thousands of screaming spectators, reminiscent of mountain finishes in the Tour de France. Through the cowbells, bullhorns, and a loud public address system, I took that corner on the far left, just like Peter told me, but when I hit the second sharp turn on that wall of a road, I pulled too hard on the handlebars, tensed up too much, and nearly crashed into the crowd. I yanked it back as hard as I could, nearly flipping it, and aimed for the big FINISH sign ahead, blowing past two other cyclist and I did it! The summit, drowned in fog, was like a dream. I still get a rush when I think of it--I'd heard of this mountain for 23 years but I'd never seen it, and now I was here! A volunteer threw a Polartec blanket over me and I was smiling so wide, I thought the sides of my mouth would bust and spray teeth on the crowd. "I'm here! I'm here! Thank you GOD!" I kept saying over and over again. It was the highlight of the year.


Aug 18
Mt. Washington, New Hampshire
Mt. Washington Auto Road, New Hampshire, world's toughest hill climb
Aug 18
Racing up Mt. Washington
Racing up Mt. Washington Auto Road
Aug 18
Finish atop Mt. Washington
Mt. Washington finish line
Aug 18
Throwing bike off Mt. Washington
Throwing bike off Mt. Washington--just kidding
Aug 18
Finishing stretch video, Mt. Washington
Throwing bike off Mt. Washington--just kidding
Aug 18
Video of finish line, Mt. Washington
Throwing bike off Mt. Washington--just kidding
Aug 18
Mt. Washington Summit view
View from Summit of Mt. Washington
Aug 18
Video of drive down Mt. Washington
Driving down Mt. Washington
Aug 18
Drive down Mt. Washington
Driving down Mt. Washington, New Hampshire


I started my senior year in college and switched back to running. With the assistance of a chiropractor, I got some flexibility back, and the result was faster runs, which put me in the lead of the long-run series (a combination of the 10K, 15K and Half Marathon) for my age group, by four minutes. I bagged my first outright win since 1998, a small 5K race in Boonville, Indiana of which no photos exist called the "Helping-Hands 5K".

On October 7, I began the Evansville Half Marathon feeling I could run my best race since 2009. I had goals--to stay ahead in the long-run series, but more than that, I thought it would be fun to actually beat the 2nd place in that series in the same race he beat me by three minutes in 2011! I also wanted a sub-seven minute mile. If that was possible, I thought it would be absolutely amazing if I bested my 2009 time, and then, I had a neighbor who was a top female runner in the city and had beaten me every race we ran since we met--two weeks earlier, she took nearly two minutes out of me in a 10K race. It was frustrating to not give her a good challenge, but if she beat my by two minutes in 6.2 miles, it only made sense she'd beat me by more in 13.1 miles. But by the final kilometer of the Evansville Half Marathon, I was minutes ahead of 2009, well under a seven minute mile, and although my neighbor passed me at mile four in 2011, I hadn't seen her in this race--did she not run this year? I crossed the line in 1:28:18, ten minutes faster than 2011, two minutes faster than 2009, 6:44/mile pace, and placed 48th out of 1922 runners. Not only did the second place in the long series not pass me, I took seven minutes out of him! I grabbed a Gatorade, had one of those complimentary finish photos (I was so arrogant, I tucked in the finished medal they give EVERYONE--I like to think I'm well past the point of being thrilled just to finish). I walked back to the finish and there was my neighbor, bent over, panting. Looking up, she seemed puzzled and asked me something she never asked me before,"What was your time?" She'd beaten her personal best by three minutes, finished as fastest female runner, and I was a minute ahead of her, so it was a very good day for both of us. The prize for my placing 2nd in my age group was a cork coaster. Now if I ever get a pool, I'll have something to put my drinks on so not to leave a ring on the water.

Three weeks later I repeated the Norwegian Road March (30 kilometers, carrying 25 pounds and water, full military gear, under 4 1/2 hours). I moved from 5th to 2nd place in the last half of the march, taking 23 minutes out of the 5th place finisher. It was hard to imagine that when I started this march in 2011, I put my optimistic finish time at five hours, and now I was a front-runner. I knew if I didn't give in to the temptation to walk, I could do some damage--although most of my self-talk was,"This is too hard--I need to walk a little--wait, I shouldn't walk if I can run." My Camelbak was so messed up I could only get a trickled of water, so there is one major area I could improve if I decided to abuse myself again in 2013. I came within a minute of breaking a ten minute mile and finished 2nd against a strong field of 181 ROTC and Army whose average age was 25.83 years. Now if I could just kill the winner, also an old guy at 43 years, who beat me by 12 minutes! The spread on the top ten competitors was 48 minutes. Again, I have to praise God for carrying me through that, because after I'd eaten, I sauntered out to the finish and guys who were 30 minutes behind me were crossing the line. It was ugly. One fell to the ground with his legs cramped and was dragged to a wheelchair, and another's hip gave out at 15 miles and he didn't look pretty. Only 141 finished. God could've broken my legs at any time. Now if he could just make my feet look like they hadn't gotten caught in a shredder.

My counselor, Soozi, has always stressed that when we don't feel God, when God is not tangible, we should remember when God moved in our lives and He would be real. I grow tired of making these annual reports, I wonder why I am spending all this time, but God has moved in my life, and I pray He moves in those I miss so much. If not, God is real, God has moved, God is with me, and if you read between the lines even on the highlights, you'll see proof. Has I witnessed every instance in the past year, it would take a book. My repeated disappointment with people I thought would be close friends for life just shows me that I needed to grab onto and never let go of Jesus, because He was all I could ever depend on.



Sep 14
10th Anniversary
10th anniversary with Gizmo
Oct 7
Evansville Half Marathon
Evansville Half Marathon
Oct 7
Race finish
Evansville Half Marathon last kilometer
Oct 7
Cheesy Finish Photo
Cheesy Finish Photo
Oct 7
Sneak photo at race
Photographer sneaked this photo of us at the Half Marathon which appeared on the website
Oct 27
Norwegian Foot March
Starting line of Norwegian Foot March
Oct 27
Norwegian March Finish
Approaching finish and praying God doesn't break my legs
Dec 12 Birthday
w/Mark & Cindy
Sushi with Mark, Cindy, and Mom in Owensboro, Kentucky