On Being a Role Model

Running a lot is my passion. It’s also my single greatest source of “mommy guilt.” I love my weekends in the mountains, testing my limits; exercising my heart and lungs and muscles and soul; and feasting on fresh air, views, and the expanse of nature.

Those weekends in the mountains also mean that I’m away from my twin 8-year-old daughters. They’re pretty good at letting me know how they feel about it too: “Are you running again, Mom?” or, upon seeing the weekly family calendar, “Mom, why can’t you be here when I wake up on the weekends?”

Now, I did stop working full-time outside the home so that I could spend more time with my girls, and I volunteer at their school—in their classroom, on the PTA board, on field trips, etc.—take them to swim lessons, join them on hikes with their Brownie troop (1.2 mi. in 55 minutes was brutal!), and just generally adore them.

I’ve also tried to include them whenever I can. They joined me at the Corral Pass Aid Station a few years ago to support runners at White River 50, and they helped my husband crew me at Black Canyon 100K. We also run(walk) 5Ks together, and they come with me to summer track sessions and do some of the drills.

But … I’ve wondered: Is it enough?

Yesterday, in one of the Mother’s Day messages from one of my girls, I think I found out.

For context, when Meg found out we were going to Arizona for me to run a 100K, she asked, “Why are you doing that when you couldn’t even run 50 miles?” First: OUCH! Second, it was a good question. I did DNF White River last year. I told her that it was because it was something I really wanted to do, and that I had learned a lot from that race that I thought would help me finished Black Canyon. And, I wondered if my message was heard … or understood.

In that Mother’s Day message, Abby listed adjectives she would use to describe me. One of them was, “Never gives up.”


YES! That’s a lesson I hope they both carry through their lives. While I’m certainly no Desi Linden, I love her statement: “Keep showing up.” Mine may be a little different, “Never give up,” but either way I think it’s about knowing what you want, making sure what you want feeds your passion and your heart and your soul, and then pursuing it—through the bumps and failures and challenges and successes. Because then you know who you are, and you know how strong you truly are.

I hope they never give up, keep showing up, and find their passion too.


By the way, I’m apparently also a cooker, a sleeper, and sneaky (so watch out!).


The Meteor Shower

I heard once that lyrics in John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High were inspired by a night he was in the mountains soaking in a hot spring (and probably smoking pot and skinny dipping, but that wasn’t part of the story) and watching the Perseid meteor shower. He described them as “rainin’ fire in the sky,” and I have always loved the imagery in that phrase.

     But the Colorado rocky mountain high
     I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
     The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
     Rocky mountain high (Colorado)

So on August 11, I packed up the girls and headed down to Crystal Mountain for an evening of star and meteor gazing atop the ski area.

Elevator up! (Meg’s not so sure this is a good idea.)

The forecast called for some possible lightning, and I was worried that either the smoke of the past couple of weeks or clouds (or both, I guess) would hinder our view. As we loaded onto the gondola, the operator warned us that if the forecasted lightning came in, we’d need to evacuate. Eek! But little is gained with no risk, and up we went.

We arrived just before sunset, and wandered a bit looking for a good place to set down our chairs and blankets.

Rainier and the setting sun. Glorious moment that made my soul soar!

Once we were settled, we had a long wait for it to get truly dark. Thus ensued trips to the bathroom and the gift shop (where I finally caved and let everyone—including me—buy candy), and of course some spats between the girls.


Finally, with a nice window framed by smoke on one side and clouds on the other, the stars began to appear. Abby, who had been begging me to leave because she was afraid of the lightning and I think of being outside in the dark under that huge sky, was the first to see a meteor. Meg and I missed it, but the crowd all “ooooohed” and “ahhhhhhed” so it must have been a good one.

Then Meg and I saw a ginormous meteor streak most of the way across the sky, its long tail glittering and sparkling as it tore across the Big Dipper and over toward Mt. Rainier. So we were happy too.

We spent another 45 minutes watching the show—for a show it was, indeed—before Meg began begging me to take her home so she could go to sleep and for Abby to say she’d had enough.

As we descended the mountain in the gondola, it was quiet and dark and I felt like the three of us were in this special little bubble traveling through space. And Meg said, “This is so peaceful, Mommy.”

My evening was sealed with a bow when Abby said to me, “Thank you for taking us there, Mommy. That was so awesome!”