Caren Ware's Blog

June 6, 2013

Running all over the place!

How’s this for hill repeats!  Bryce Canyon is 8300 feet.  Touched the valley floor than did 44, 72, and 94 second sprints back up till I reached the top.  This is  travel and training at 100 percent.b4 b5 b7 b9 IMAG0002_COVER IMAG0664 IMAG0665 IMAG0673 IMAG0684

February 7, 2013

Why run? Why try doing the unthinkable. The unstoppable. The improbable? Why not.

It’s not because I have something to prove.  It’s because we have something God given in us to live for. Inspire to. Grasp after. Just try.

I am reading “The Coolest Race on Earth” by John Hanc and getting a first hand account of what I am getting into in Antarctica.  His jacket cover reads, “Muddy, cold, hilly, the race is by all accounts horrible up and down a melted glacier twice, past curious penguins and hostile skuas, and finally to a bleak finish line.  Even the best runners take longer to run the Antarctica Marathon than any other.  Yet the allure of the marathon running combined with the fascinating reputation of the Last Continent has persuaded…” yes, me , “to brave a trip across the world’s most turbulent body of water, the Drake Passage, to a land of extinct volcanoes and craggy mountain peaks, lost explorers and isolated scientists, penguin rookeries and whale sightings, all for a chance to run a crazy 26.2 miles…” in what is known as the world’s most difficult marathon.  I am more afraid of the days at sea than what weather or conditions or arduous hills the continent will throw at us…us being 99 people who put in for a permit over three years ago and will all come to meet each other as we board the Russian crew ship at Ushuaia…fin del mundo.  The end of the world.

We run BECAUSE

February 6, 2013

What color is run?

IMAG0200IMAG0202IMAG0209A week has gone by and I am back to another LONG run.  21 miles today.  I  literally RAN into a moose this week on one of my 8 mile runs along a frozen creek on a snowed over bike path.   I came around a corner and startled this, huger than a horse ,female.  She never expected a crazed runner to be out in her winter territory. She stomped her hooves and puffed her sides.  No question she was disturbed. These are not good signs.  I did a dance around a bush with this frothing, oversized, very funky, but very mad  beast.  I had to plunge over a wood fence and into someone’s backyard.  Only in Jackson!

But yeah Jackson.  I run by deer and elk today…and cows and horses.  All with their extra winter coats…and me with mine.

And, yeah Jackson, it is the workout capital.  There are private gyms, yoga, and Pilates on every other street corner.  I am thankful for the solid options.  What I am not telling you about is that divorce is a tsunami.  It is a huge wave that careens through lives and obliterates, leaving a wake of emotional, financial, and relational debris.  Not only have I been training and restrengthening.  I am thankful to take the time to pick through some of the aftermath.  It has not been easy.  This runs with me and keeps me company more than I would like.

The temperatures have risen to reasonable.  Days have been between 20 to 40 degrees.  We are having what I called ‘sparkle’ days.  At least the hands and face can bear being bare in these temperatures… for a short amount of time. And the snow is pristine white.  And the skies are deep, deep blue.  And the afternoons  are pink, pink, purple.  And the hues harden into bold, solid, hard sunsets.  I run all through the valleys and tackle a 2 mile hill that ascends nearly 2000 feet.  They say we will be having to run up two glaciers in Antarctica.  There is the classiest of restuarants called the Grannary at Spring Creek Ranch that I KNOW has the best perched view in our nation.   That was my 11 mile turn around point.  It was one of the prettiest runs and rewards with a sunset.  By the way, I learned The Grannary has live Jazz, incredible musicians on Friday nights.  And it was the most rewarding place to watch the SUPERBOWL.  A fireplace, a vaulted glass view of the TETON Mountains and the game playing in the corner TVIMAG0196.  First time in 20 years I was not timing a race on this ‘national’ holiday. IMAG0206IMAG0179IMAG0197IMAG0185

January 21, 2013

Caren Ware will attempt to run 26.2 miles in Antartica. March 7, 2013

IMAG2476Living a year in Jackson definitely is adding a  winter experience.  I am getting ready to run my THIRD REMOTE CONTINENT marathon… in Antarctica. Not hard to simualte  when this winter has dipped as low as -28. Negative temperatures can turn into negative situations real fast.  They warrant caution and  preparation.  They are teaching me to include an avalanche shovel,  emergency sleeping bag,  and extra gloves, wool, and down jackets stashed in the truck and put into emergency packs whenever going ‘backcountry’.  And they are showing me that freeze framed beauty is so contrast to the summer beauty of wild flowers, meadow grasses, and waterfalls. Up here, in winter the animals are furry.  Thousands of elk have made their winter migration.  They know digging through the snow will lead to grass .   The big horn sheep are herded up on their winter bluffs. And moose and buffalo are instantly spotted, dark on a white scape , unable to hide from their hoof printed trails left in the soft snow.  The lakes are frozen and steam rises from the few rivers still flowing. The Teton Range stands like a stunning bride dressed in its white gown.  I wanted to see what a winter looked like.  More than that, I needed to FEEL what a winter was like.

My quest to run a remote marathon with remote people on every continent would have to pardon the remote people for one continent….Antarctica.  There are only two marathon opportunities on the most remote of remote places.  There are only 100 slots for each of these two.  Due to the popularity to do all 7 continents as a bucket list of life to dos, making the waiting list now takes three to four years.  Buzz back to the origin of my blog and see that I put that permit in 4 years ago.  It has just come up as ‘my turn’ to be running in Antarctica on March 7, 2013.  I will share with you the training I have found here amoung a region of mountain athletes.

Going to Antartica to run is a commitment.  It takes almost a month to travel to and from and involves a lot of days out at sea in seas known only as the roaring forties.  Waves.  Wind. Cold. Anything can happen on that one day we get to disembark and RUN 26.2 miles on a huge slab of ice.  And it takes some hefty coins.  Luckily, I started paying for it four years ago.  But in those four years, an additonal 2,800 to go was tacked on.

So I am training in Jackson, Wyoming. Try running in this!!! I have been experimenting with what I would need in Antarctica.  Good thing.  Though I had a Patagonia down hoodie sweater, a Northface Windstopper zip up, and an Arcteryx shell jacket as outer layers, I ran in -2 with a cotton jog bra and cotton panties.  About 6 miles into a twelve mile run I started to crunch.  My sweat was freezing the under garments to my body! Wow. Really. These were not the idea places to invite potential frost bite.  I now own Icebreaker wool briefs and bras.  This is a New Zealand wool from high mountain sheep that does not itch…kinda.   I also added Smartwood socks to my collection. Another respectable wool product company that  doesn’t itch.  Kinda.

Try this for a combination training goal…to run this remotest of remote Antarctica marathon and than return and hit the track and be trained for the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Track & Field to be held in Brazil, October of 2013.  Follow the blog to see how I will possibly make that happen.  But for now, blog along as I get ready for Antarctica.  Im testing out clothing in these pictures. It is -15 degrees. My fingers and face are questioning my choice to do this.  Watch the video below and get an idea of the terrain I will be running on.IMAG2481

July 10, 2012

The plunge

This time I took the most indirect route to Jackson, Wyoming, spontaneously and purposely. I headed out of Los Angeles over the Grapevine, dumping into the San Joaquin Valley.  The outside temperature was a searing 108 degrees. Baking Bakersfield and Fresno went by on Hwy 99.  Onto Hwy 40 and after Oakhurst, I pulled off and up through the pines and headed to Bass Lake, California.  I rolled down the windows and there was that spicy, sweet smell of this area’s particular pines.  The lake came in view and the inviting sounds of jet skis and boats cracked a smile in my heart I hoped it could.  Bass lake had been a great stomping place for me.  I worked for Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp the four years I was in college.  The camp was intimate and isolated, but attached to the lake for skiing.  Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp took cheery, chattering busloads of campers to climbing and hiking in Yosemite.  I was one of their term camp counselors that taught water skiing and climbing, and guided backpacking trips and hikes to the top of Half Dome.  The summers were organized and very focused on the joys and experiences of the campers, but we counselors were the better benefactors from solid summers spent there.  It was a Christian camp dedicated to providing super trips that taught kids about themselves, relationships, and who God could be in their lives.  I was so impressed with how this impacted and changed lives through just being outdoors. I minored in Camp and Recreation Administration.  I hoped for the opportunity to use outdoors as a means to affect lives. My husband and I had even taken positions one summer at running the kitchen and camp maintenance when our kids were toddlers.  That is how much I loved this camp.  And the outdoors.  Someone told me as I struggled to find direction from the divorce to go back to where I think I first lost the sock. So ponder… I never lost my socks when I was in the outdoors.  I was heading back to that spot.

Camp was in session so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to interrupt.  I pulled into a marina and went for a short trail run.  It was hot even at this altitude.  Coming back very sweaty, I plunged into the lake, luckily, feet first.  I was met with a surprising jar and a searing pain.  What appeared to be emerald and deep water was actually shallow.  I had hit a rock only a few inches below the surface. It made me mad at how stupid I was to misjudge the depth and not check first what the consequences of taking such a plunge would be. The gash could have used stiches.  I refused to baby it.  I deserved the scar it would leave. Stupid,  Caren, to plunge without knowing what lie underneath.  It was a great parallel of the reality of the same stupidity I had to face in the consequences of plunging into a relationship while still married. It looked so cool and refreshing. The pain from both my new injury and the ones the relationship plunge had caused racked my body.  Tears rolled.  Mad tears. Hurt tears.  How could I have been so stupid?  Needy.  Wreckless.  I rocked and writhed, wet and muddy on the dirt path.  Both inflicted rightful pain I deserved.  Both gashes will leave scars.

I finally grappled myself together, wrapped my wound from my truck first aid kit, changed from my soiled running outfit in the bath house, and visited the camp. I was thrilled to find it unchanged.  Though years had gone by, the campers bouncing by with paddles and life vests, swinging on ropes courses, and nets, they were just the same.  And the camp owner’s daughter, my exact age now, was the new camp director. We high fived each other over turning fifty.  And the counselors?  Many were the sons and daughters of the counselors I had worked with years before.  De ju vue.  It is one of the best run camps around.  Definitely, in my book, one of the most effective and well rounded. I didn’t stay long, but it was a detour I needed to remind myself of.  Felt like I self-imposed a scene from Scrooge and Christmas Past. Felt like it reminded me that the outdoors is that powerful teaching environment.  It was refreshing to know that nature, credit it God’s creation, hadn’t changed that much.

Romans 1:20. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made….”  God’s invisible attributes are seen in the things He has created.  I personally cannot deny that.

June 30, 2012

BRAVE

Taking a fully loaded truck and trailer and orderly decorating a 460 square foot studio apartment required minute and maximum space planning, much like living aboard a sail boat would require.  The only similarity I had to this was the four years I lived in college dorms and those same summers in summer camp cabins or a tent.   The timing of the 4TH OF July races was triumph, and I was ready to head back to Jackson, Wyoming. But somehow, I had managed to fill the Toyota Tundra truck to the brim with another load with the “ just in case I need this” es.  The passenger seat of my truck was now filled with books, publisher volumes, school catalogs, journals and letters, and framed photos of my kids and all their years, phases, places and things we had done. They were seat belted beside me.

Behind the seat, very gingerly intertwined, were my new summer companians.  I rewarded my hard earned year with the purchase of a Cannondale duel suspension, top of the line Mountain bike ,and an equally slick, light weight, carbon fiber, electronic shifting road bike.  Ask me their exact brand models and know you are asking a girl?!.  I’ll tell you the mountain bike is a flashy, brilliant green and yellow and the road bike is a prim and styling black and white, standing there like its ready to accompany you to a black tie affair. I dubbed the mountain bike ‘MUD BUD” and affectioned  the roadie bike , “ESCORT”.

I purchased the bikes from Scott MacAfee, the owner of Don’s Bicycle Shop in Rialto.  I started producing cycling events and moved to timing them twenty years ago about when Scott took on building bikes and being the sought after bike shop of So California.  Another one that has boundless energy, he uses it well to run the stores and play husband and dad, having four kids.  I took ESCORT out on a road ride to say good bye to a triathlete and good friend.  Val and I rode from Snow Valley to Big Bear and back.  The bike did great. The rider,me, well… a little weak.

Somehow, buying the bikes at Don’s Bike Shop was my way of giving my inanimate objects a personhood, a birth. I knew what their purpose would be. They were going to be my solid company. As if the running  industry would ever think of thanking me for the events I started, and timed, and the years of services rendered.  No.  No job ever does.  So I thanked myself with my bikes.  I pulled away from the shop, the area, my now empty warehouse, and the house I raised my kids in the mountains.  The San Bernardino Mountains were in my rearview mirror.  PRIME TIME was now snuggly in a wisely moved to local and closer to the races.  The new Orange County office has easy freeway access.  My home in the mountains had been sold and was now repainted a different color and they added a decorated wood garage door.  It was now someone else’s home.

My divorce was a slash right down the middle of my entire being, like the lawyer papers read and any good judge would sign. It had been an upheaval, emotional, accusatory, and forever damaging few years.  Would that wound ever heal?  All the memories, regrets, triumphs, successes, failures, moments…raising the kids, providing and guiding had been so numbed by this past year.    Grief, inevitable grief hopped into the truck with me.  I knew I had no other choice, but to embrace this unwanted traveling champion.  But it was this grief that was making me head north.

North to Jackson, where they had miles and miles of paved bike paths, and thousands of miles of dirt roads and single track.  Where mountain ranges went in all directions and trails that would take a lifetime to explore.  Where I could put MUD BUD and ESCORT to the task of riding grief right out of me.   Where I could put on trail shoes and explore my way back into condition.  Where hiking boots could reteach me the simplicity and peace of just being outdoors.  Lord, I pray I discover Who you are again. Divorce annihilates direction.  I had to find and get my bearings.  Divorce drains esteem right out of you.  To the very last drop.  I had to inject some back into my veins… somehow.  And I had to let grief just settle right in with the conscious choice that it was not welcome to stay too long.

The phone rang.  My daughter asked if I would postpone driving away and join her for a movie before I left.  I parked my truck in the furthest end of the parking lot, embarrassed by its full load. We bought two tickets to see the cartooned movie, BRAVE.  She had seen it and thought the characters were us.  The story line was everything to do with a strained, but hope determined relationship between a character of a daughter and an instructive, hardworking, well-meaning mom who was robbing herself and her daughter of a loving relationship because she was too self-protected and too guarded to show genuine affection.  In rare moments, the mom would let her guard down and the beauty of true connection would happen.  Carrie wanted us to have that connection.  “‘See that one mom…don’t blink.  That sparkle moment.  We had those.  We can have those.  Mom.  I want that more than anything.”  We sat in her car and fought back the tears, relating all too well.

And yet, even in her car, even being transparent, hugging each other as we left for summers of growth and unknown, my walls were up.  They were tall.  The layers of bricks were built with some strong mortar.

I had some riding, and walking to do.

Be BRAVE, Caren.  Be BRAVE.

June 20, 2012

Up the Creek with TOO many paddles

 My little trip north left me in the middle of the night with a GPS Navigator that announced, “Lost signal” and that is exactly what I did. Got lost. After veering off the interstate at Salt Lake, I wandered around for miles that turned into long, dark, middle of the night hours. In the dark, I was passing hay ranches, lakes, one lane roads, and dodging deer and moose. And I was sincerely cris crossing my way through Wyoming’s back roads which were rarely heading north. It can get really dark out here and makes your courage dimishingly small. Somehow, it took me until dusk to find signs that pointed me to Jackson. Opps. But anyone that has driven into Jackson, Wyoming from any direction KNOWS the reward of this stunning, beauty peaked area. All was forgiven, save the opps of hauling a California KING bed thinking it would cozily fit in a 460 square foot apartment. It got packed right back in the trailer to be sent back to the state it was named after. A trundle day bed was ordered so I could walk to the bathroom instead of crawl over my bed just to pee.

All I had time to do in Jackson was be thrilled I was a trot away from the healthiest, bubbling creek. Over the most refreshing foot bridge were trails, specifically one that switch backed to the top of the ridge and sported a 360 degree, panoramic view of the Tetons, and all kinds of Mountain ranges. Thrill.  Look fast. Below in the town were so many restaurant choices and coffee nooks, bagel shops and special delis.  Yum.

But no basking.  I had to make a fast high tail it back to So California. We had June and 4th of July races to do. And they needed me and this trailer.

So begins a few months of commuting from Wyoming to So California!  That middle of the night…wandering through the two than one lane roads to catch cheap flights from Salt Lake, became a weekly vigil. I was hiking and biking during the week and there with you at your races on the weekends!  It was quite the trick.  But I was about to learn what it meant to trully BE IN THE DARK.

November 2, 2011

Being a SPORT

Photogrpaher, David Palmer ,captures my sport with a professional artist eye.

Photos from when “I got shot”.

September 23, 2011

Boys A LA CART

So I look up feeling like I have asked the enduring and impossible of any crew…to do all these hours  and days in the sweltering tropic sun with little sleep.  No problem for them. They always find their own fun.  They cheered in their escape of racing down the road in the ‘borrowed’ Westin luggage cart as we lingered for the last finishers. Salt stained their sweat wet shirts, but they still were handsome.  And as they glided by, sun tanned and alive, they announced, “ meet BOYS A LA CART!”

PRIME TIME has a great cart full. A big thanks to my son, John, for staying so focused on the computers, and Ben for being at the back of the chutes, and Steve, Nick, and Garret for tending to this crowd start to finish.  And a big thanks for  Cris , Ray, Kevin, and Mitch for manning the mainland races so we could Maui it.  Mahalo.  Mahalo.  Mahalo.  I only hope we get to experience the islands someday like everyone else…on a vacation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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