Stories

  • Ten and Time
    “She just doesn’t know when to quit.” I hear my mom in my head every single time I find myself in yet another stupid situation I’ve dug myself into. This time was no different. I had a quick flashback of 16-year-old me snorting another huge line of meth, knowing I’d likely just stepped into territory I couldn’t come back from, but not caring one bit. “She’s right. Why is she always right.” I cursed myself as I dug into my pack for my phone. I was sixty some odd miles into my latest 100 mile effort. It was pitch black. My headlamp battery had died, my charger wasn’t working, and I was fumbling trying to find a light–desperate for anything to help me navigate the rocky technical terrain in this section of the Pinhoti Trail. The next aid station was four miles away. Rookie mistake.
  • For Now
    “I think we should go for it, Mom.” My fourteen-year-old son, Brett, stopped to survey the rugged mountain terrain around him, looked up at the golden sun drenched sky, then back at me. Less than an hour till dark. “Yeah. It can’t be too far…” I offered in return. carefully finding my footing in old UGG boots and overalls.
  • Under Canyon Stars
    “A perfect marriage is nothing other than two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.” -unknown Simply breathtaking. There was no other way to describe it. I paused for a moment to be still and soak up the scene in front of me. The sun was slowly creeping over the Grand Canyon, casting rays of golden light onto a deep blue sea of …
  • My 5 Most Epic Ultra Fails
    I have to be honest with you. I’m sick of social media right now. The whole presentation of “this is my perfectly curated life, and my perfectly executed run” just gets old after awhile. It’s not real, guys! It’s just not. Most people have a LOT of hard stuff going on in their lives, and no a lot of it is not “instagrammable”, but it’s happening …
  • Until Then…
    Fear has never controlled me. In fact, facing and conquering it has always been quite the driving force in my life. Over the course of the last 30 years, this infatuation with fear and its ensuing adrenaline has taken many forms: diving into pools before I could swim, jumping off buildings without any kind of wings, and [ashamedly] abusing illegal substances without even the slightest concern.  …
  • Fate and the Missing Half
    For the last 8 weeks or so, I’ve been training to run a half marathon. I know what you’re thinking, if someone can run 100 miles, why would they need to prepare for 13.1? Trust me, they are NOT one and the same.  Lord have mercy.
  • Mayhem with Molly
    I know that most of you want to bury 2016, and I’ll admit, it was kind of majorly terrible for me too, but one nice little chunk of happiness did develop in my life last year. Her name is Molly. Let me tell ya’ ’bout Molly. You know that super fast friend that is always armed with an arsenal of the quickest and most sarcastically amazingly …
  • Stuck in a Pit
    This is Part 1, of a two post series about my latest adventure- the S.M.A.W. Please note that while I was in a bit of a funk last year when this was written, I’m in a much happier place! Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll stick around for the entire story. From the outside looking in, everything would seem to be flowing smoothly. But if you …
  • 40 Hours and 1 Minute
    At this point, I just have to smile. I really do. But while I was 103 miles into the hardest race of my life, screaming at the top of my lungs over howling mountain wind, convinced my husband had abandoned me… it really wasn’t all that funny. How did I get here? Everything had been perfect. How did it all go so terribly far down south? …
  • Nine Out of 100
    I wrote this in 2013, but finally decided to publish today. It took place at the 2013 Pinhoti 100, but it’s not a race report. You can learn more about that race HERE. Thanks for reading, and happy trails!
  • 100 Mile FAQs- For the Nonrunner
    I get these so often… And if you’ve ever even attempted a race longer than a marathon, I know you’ve gotten them too. It’s not their fault they don’t understand the ultra sickness. Here’s an article to toss their way to help clear up any misconceptions.
  • I Never Ran 100 to Look Good
    Not too long ago, I stepped in front of my full length mirror like I do every day. Post workout, drenched in sweat, no makeup, and completely undressed. As I looked, I felt what I’ve felt daily since I was a girl…. disappointment. I instinctively covered up my bare chest with my arms, glanced at my thighs, and sighed. I looked away from my reflection with …
  • God, Me, and Dirt
    I am a Christian woman. Born and raised deep in the South, I may not be exactly who you are picturing. I own no pearl necklaces or pastel pant suits. I have never attended a potluck dinner. I haven’t set foot in a Sunday School room since I was 12, and the word “revival” still makes me nervous. 
  • Transitional Grit
    For the past week, I have been in bed battling a nasty bout of Pneumonia. This morning, I finally felt a slight spark of energy to go for a short run. I laced up, dropped my kids at my Mom’s, and headed to the nearest trailhead. By the time I got to the park, I was feeling deathly ill again. It was 90 degrees with full …
  • To The 15-Year-Old Me
    I was driving home from a trail run the other day, windows down, feeling amazing, listening to my favorite radio morning show on KLove. Ahh… endorphins flowing, sun shining… everything is just… right. The host began a discussion that instantly grabbed my attention: “What if you could somehow write a letter to your 15-year-old self?” he said, “What would you say?” Ha… I thought, everything wasn’t …
  • Grindstone 100: Hanging On To Hope
    It wasn’t a normal 100 for me …if there is such a thing as a normal 100. Most hundreds hurt in more ways than one. But this one– it was pure mental, emotional, and physical hell for reasons I could not have foreseen…
  • Get Yourself Out Of That Funk !
    Feeling low? Slow, burned out, fatigued? Sick of it, done with it, over it–all of it?! I’m there too. And trust me, I know it’s a rough place to be. My mileage is currently the lowest its ever been in my entire running history. Many days I don’t even feel like running. I’m currently battling some serious life hurdles, and working hard to stave off the depression …
  • 9 Ultrarunning Norms You Can Break
    I have always been a rebel. It’s in my DNA. Always has been, always will be. This personality trait is evident in every area of my life. I like to think for myself, and refuse to accept societal norms. Seeing as running is a huge part of my life, it should come as no surprise that I shattered a few running standards there. Here are a …
  • The Pistol Vendetta
    It was cold in Alcoa, Tennessee that January day. Really cold for a Georgia girl; fourteen degrees to be exact. I was bundled up tightly in my heavy WeatherEdge jacket, old thermal gloves, and layers of sweats, but nothing could ease the bite of the windchill. I pulled my jacket up a little higher over my mouth, and I breathed in and out to feel some …
  • Study: Hidden Health Benefits of Ultrarunning
    If you’re an ultrarunner, you have probably noticed that our sport has become a little more mainstream in the past year or two. Not 100% mainstream, yet, but definitely more normal. Among runners, the idea of pushing past the marathon is no longer that insane, and many have embraced the idea or added it to their bucket list.
  • 7 Ways To Secure A Good DNF
    I have a 100 this weekend. I know I never wrote about the one I did in November. I have a story to share, but I’ll get around to it. Anyway, about this race, I am a little sketched out because it’s a full on pavement course. I’m confident I can handle it for the most part, but man I know it’s going to hurt. BAD. I …
  • RUN…
    Run… But not until you’re tired. Not until you’ve had enough.
  • Stubborn Ankles
    Hands in the leaves, briers scraping my arms, tears streaming down my sweaty face: “I just gotta get to the road.” The scene was all too familiar. Here I was, broken yet again, alone as usual, and crawling through the woods on hands and knees. Completely taken out by one tiny root, and one tiny ankle.
  • What You Need to Finish a 100
    Before I write, let me backtrack a little bit. Summer was amazing! After Amber and I road tripped from San Diego to San Francisco, I took off to the beach, and then spent the remainder of my summer with my 5 and 7 year old, Brett and Brooklyn, in the Smoky mountains. My goal was to just break away and focus on some serious family time. …
  • It Doesn’t Count Unless
    Do you run? Awesome!!! Want to make sure you REALLY run? Well honestly, your sweat, endorphin flow, and great mood really aren’t enough evidence. There are some critical steps you must take to ensure your run credibility and legitimacy. See below…
  • Going Rogue at Salton Sea
    If you are here looking for a traditional race report on the inagaural Badwater: Salton Sea, you’re not going to find it. If you’re wanting mileage splits, blister pictures, and name dropping,…you’re in the wrong place. This is my story about a journey…and running… it’s always about running.
  • Walk the Line
    A few months ago, the editor of a major running magazine spent a long time interviewing me for an article about addiction in running. I poured my heart out, but never saw it published. So I battled back and forth for awhile, torn between letting the story go, if I wanted to go there, yada yada, until I finally just said …ya know what? Screw it…. …
  • Drinking in a Desert
    You can’t break away from it. That thirst–that insatiable wretched beautiful thirst–it calls to you like a siren.
  • Knoxville: Happy and Hungry
    For the past three years, I’ve attempted to take my running journey from “Ultra Crazy Runner” to just “Crazy Runner” by participating in my favorite marathon: the annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. I would say it’s tradition, but really it’s just more of a personal running vendetta.
  • I Don’t Want To Run This Marathon
    So after my crazy emotional breakdown at Ancient Oaks 100, I switched my ultramarathon focus to something a little more intimidating for me: running a fast marathon. I chose the Knoxville Marathon as my cardio killer of choice, and the ensuing training has nearly killed me in more ways than one. Being a carefree fun loving ultrarunner, I almost forgot about all of the breakdowns I …
  • The Day of Reckoning
    Okay… if you google “The Day of Reckoning” you get this… The Day of Reckoning: “A time when one’s past mistakes or misdeeds catch up with one.” “A day at the end of time following armageddon when God will decree the fates of all individual human.” …annnd this post has absolutely nothing to do with any of that…Now you know.
  • Why You Front’n?!
    So not too long ago, Jimmy Dean Freeman asked me to join him on another synchronized blogging topic: Freedom to Confront Your Past.
  • Okay Let’s Talk: Pandora’s 100 Mile Box
    Ahh… this should be a fun post. Do me a favor and read ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM. Things aren’t always as they seem!…. running Ancient Oaks 2012- photo by Caleb Wilson
  • Under Ancient Oaks
    It’s hard for me to believe that it was two and a half years ago when I ran my first ultra race: Strolling Jim 40 Mile Run. I was bound and determined to prove to myself, my family, my friends..anybody and everybody.. that I could turn my once drug addicted self into someone inspirational. Someone worthwhile. 
  • #AASugar- Would You Buy It?
    I’ve always been so fascinated with brand power.
  • The Heart of a Runner
    A few months ago while I was out at Badwater, I got a text from my good friend, Beth McCurdy: “Hey girl, I want to talk to you about something, I have an idea. Call me when you get back to Georgia.” At the time, I was out exploring Red Rock, the Grand Canyon, and working at the greatest races of all time in Death Valley …
  • Shoes.Laces.Trail.Dirt.
  • Badwater, Branding & Deep Thoughts
    After Jen and I road tripped all the way from Vegas to Death Valley, it was time to ditch the wheels and find the party. We then joined the race director, Chris Kostman, and his soon-to-be wife Laurie Streff, lounging by the pool drinking fruity drinks and waiting for runners… Bahhhaha! Just kidding. No actually we found the pair doing exactly what you’d expect an RD …
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover!
    One important thing I’ve learned while living my life as a blonde: People judge. They assume, guess, and conclude- all without knowing a person at all.
  • Road Trippin’ with a Prophet to Badwater
    I like to give people nicknames.. mainly people I really like..(well- or dislike, because I give those people interesting nicksnames too..) But for people I like, it’s just a way for me to show affection. I mean, really if you know someone better than most people do, then the world deserves to know that you gave that person a legit nickname. Take Jen Vogel, for instance: …
  • Seeking Out Inspiration in Death Valley
    Let me be straight with you guys…ahh geez this is gonna get ugly- I can feel it. I lost interest in ultrarunning earlier this year… Yeah I kind of hinted around at it in a few posts, and, if you follow any of the ridiculous stuff I write on twitter with Jen.. You most definitely would have picked up on it.
  • Sedona – Moving Forward
    After we finished our canyon run, Amber and I hopped in the jeep and headed south for yet another run through the enchanted red rocks of Sedona. During our road trip- filled with more music, laughter, and sharing- I realized at that moment, I had never before felt so free.
  • Blooming in the Desert: The Decision (Ch. 4)
    (Please read Chapters 1, 2, & 3 before this post!) The Sign “So whad’ya think, Ambs?” Amber and I were going back and forth- taking turns between Devil’s Advocate and Gutsy Adventurer- trying to decide exactly what we should do at this point. Do we finish out our adventure of a lifetime? Do we play it safe and turn around? Our guts were telling us to turn …
  • Blooming in the Desert: The Adventure (Ch.3)
    (Please read Blooming in the Desert Chapters 1 & 2 before continuing.) Let’s Do This. Trying to contain an overwhelming excitement, one that has been growing and building for months, is like trying to keep a juicy secret from your best friend. You just can’t do it… You always cave.
  • Blooming in the Desert: The Intrigue (Ch.2)
    (Please read Blooming in the Desert: The Buildup (Ch.1) before reading this post. ) We couldn’t wait any longer, Amber and I had to see this giant piece of Earth we had traveled so far to see. So we hopped in the jeep and set out to find the best view of the South Rim. We drove around, still unable to catch that first glimpse, until …