Monday, October 29, 2007


As I sat on the ferry to Mackinaw Island I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous, it was only two hours before the start of my first running race (track in high school doesn’t count). It automatically made me think back to my first motocross race. Of course only being 8 at the time I don’t remember much about it. But I do remember being extremely nervous and feeling like I might pee my pants, and just thinking about that day brings back the butterflies. I have been nervous for plenty of races since then but I haven’t felt that roller coaster drop of nervousness in my stomach since those early days. Thinking about my new challenge ahead of me though just for a second I thought I felt a tingling in my stomach. But on second thought it must have been motion sickness from the boat rocking back and forth on the waves.

Like I said I have never participated in anything like this before, but my older brother Terry did a couple of 5Ks before so knew a little about sign up and the whole process. We got our numbers and then waited for everything to start. My younger brother Ben and Krystal (Terry’s girlfriend) were going to run the 5.7 mile, while Terry and I did the half marathon (13.1 miles). Unlike a motocross race where I can sit inside my motor home in between motos to keep warm, here we had to stand outside. As I said the race was held on Mackinaw Island where they don’t allow any motorized vehicles, the only transportation being bicycles, horses or like today feet. And I know I have been complaining about the weather in Northern Michigan lately but today was the worst yet. I heard it was only 36 degrees out and did I mention it was raining? I am a major wimp when it comes to cold and I am not afraid to admit it. I was actually shaking I was shivering so much before the race and didn’t know how others were dressed in shorts and short sleeves. I had on long spandex pants with wind breakers on over top and a long sleeve under armor shirt with a super thick running jacket on over top of that and a head band to keep my ears warm. I have seen people ski in less, but I still couldn’t get warm.

Now I didn’t go into this race with very high expectations, I just wanted to finish and not get last. If I could beat my brother, that would be pretty awesome too. I mostly just wanted a learning experience and I got it. I knew when I over heard other runners in line for the bathroom before the race talk about running the Chicago marathon that there were some people there a lot more serious about running than me. I have never been much of a runner. I was always an active child running and playing, but I remember the one time a year when we had to run the mile in gym I thought I was going to die. In JR high and High school I ran track but was a sprinter and hurdler. I obviously started running more to train for motocross but usually just ran my block, of course being in the country my block is 2 ½ miles long. It wasn’t until I went to France in ’05 and trained with Pierrick Paget that I started (ok more like forced) to run further and actually enjoy running.

But today there wasn’t much enjoyment, it was cold and wet and because I was shaking so badly I couldn’t warm my muscles up properly and I threw my back out by mile three. It sounds pathetic I know, only old out of shape people are supposed to throw their backs out. But I think I learned something else this weekend, the “shape” of a person doesn’t necessarily determine the shape they are in. Our society puts so much pressure on people to be stick thin and that’s supposed to mean healthy. But I got passed by some ladies who should not have been wearing spandex and I realized size doesn’t mean anything. Now thick, skinny, old or young it didn’t matter I am competitive and I didn’t like getting passed by anyone. But I had to remind myself that though I am in great shape for riding, running is completely different. And most people in my age group are a lot more serious about running and have been training properly for it. If I got any of these people on a track it would be a different story.

However I am glad to say I ran the whole thing, and there were quite a few people walking by the end. And I finished 14th in my age group out of 25, in 2 hours and 16 minutes. Not really that good but I didn’t get last and I did beat Terry so I achieved my goals. Next time I will be more prepared and will know what I am up against. I have been super competitive my whole life, I hate losing and while this is great for racing it has also held me back from trying new things. But I have made a resolution to broaden my horizons, while motocross is my life I should have other interest and hobbies. So I am going to keep on running even if at mile twelve I thought it was the worst thing I have done and hopefully someday I will finish a full marathon. I also have my first belt test next month in Karate and Ju Jitsu, which I am super nervous for. I have been racing for so long that it is kind of exciting to not be a “veteran” anymore and try things out for the first time. But as for right now I am headed to the chiropractor to get my old back put back into place. I can barely walk right now let alone run, ride or throw a round house kick.
(Pictured from left to right, Krystal, Terry, Ben and me)

Friday, October 26, 2007


I know many people love this time of year, but not me. First it starts getting colder, I hate cold weather and don't like having to worry about putting on a sweatshirt before I go outside. Then what do you do when you want to run? You have to put on warm clothes at first because its chilly and you don't want to get sick, only to find yourself working up a sweat and peeling off your layers on the trail and now trying to run with a hoodie tied around your waist. I would rather just run in 9o degree weather wearing a T-shirt (I learned a long time ago to never run in my sports bra after I saw the same red truck pass me three times within a mile!) and shorts and sweat it out. Some people swear that fall is the best time to ride (the wimps that can't handle the heat of summer) and although I agree my track is in excellent condition with all the rain, it gets dark too early now and by the time my riding buddies get home from work its too dark to ride. I am stuck riding by myself. Another sad thing about fall to me is my schedule slows down. I know that this may seem like a good thing, and for the first two weeks after steel city it was great. But I haven't been on an air plane in a month now and I'm having a hard time staying in one place for too long. I have rested up and recovered from a hectic race season, now I am ready to go again, I just don't have anywhere I have to be right now. But the biggest problem I have with fall is with it being the off season it is also contract time. Even though I have an agent who handles all of the hard work, it is still a very stressful time for me as it is for a lot of riders. Racing isn't always fun and games, there is a business side to it and it is something I don't necessarily enjoy. Its an awful feeling not knowing what I will be doing next year yet. And I hate to admit that this time of year I am usually a little cranky due to lack of sleep. Unfortunately obsessive worrying is something my father passed down to me, along with his big nose.

So even though people might think that fall colors (a northern thing) are pretty I look at the orange and yellow leaves and think of cold weather and stress. Before long winter, my least favorite season will be here. The only upside to that is I should have all of my contracts signed by then and the new race season is just around the corner.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

This morning I sat in the same church where my parents were married exactly 29 years ago. I just wanted to say congratulations and thank you for having me (and my brothers) and putting our needs before you own all these years. I couldn't be here without you. Literally:) Love you two, Happy Anniversary.

(oh I would have posted thier wedding picture but I guess digital cameras weren't around back then? Was film even invented at that time? Just kidding.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rain rain go away!

OK I am starting to get mad. Northern Michigan weather has not been cooperating with me. I never was one of those kids that cries during thunder storms, I usually find them more soothing than anything. The pitter patter of rain drops on my roof top puts me into a nice deep sleep where I usually dream of mud races. However when I woke up this morning to the sound of rain I just got aggravated. I haven't seen the sun shine in almost two weeks now, if its not raining it is just plain cold and cloudy. Right now it is only 42 degrees outside, I had planned on running today but yet again I will be confined to the gym. If there is one thing I hate in this world its running on a treadmill. I love running outside, breathing the fresh air and most of all actually going somewhere, seeing new scenery instead of just watching the wall or a TV. Whats even more irritating is I have two big events coming up, most importantly the WMA Cup in Texas over Thanksgiving which has been hard to train for when the weather wont let up. And secondly though weighing a little more on my mind because it is just around the corner, being only 9 days away, is the half marathon I am running with my brothers. I had a whole training schedule planned out that would have me running the full 13 miles two weeks ago. But because it has been so cold I ended up getting sick and in bed for almost a week, then after feeling a little better but still not 100% I am forced to only run when its nice out. I should explain that since getting sick in '04 my immune system is shot, I come down with a cold about once a month and any time I get chilled usually leaves me in bed with a fever. I want to actually be healthy on race day so I have to be careful. I have never ran a half marathon before but I have talked to people who have and said they never ran more than 5 or 6 miles before hand and its just pure determination that allows you to finish. My brother on the other hand disagrees, though its possible he is trying to scare me, telling me I wont finish. We tend to be a little too competitive. As it stands today I have only ran 9 miles. And considering they are calling for tornadoes (not normal for "Normi") I doubt my feet will be hitting anything other than the treadmill today, so you can bet I wont be going far as I hate the feeling of being a hamster in a wheel. Here's praying the rain goes away so I can get back on the bike and on the trail!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


As I wrote in my last column I made a bet with my dad if I won Steel City I could get a puppy. Well my dad hates dogs but went ahead and agreed knowing with how my season had been going up to that point the chances of me winning were pretty slim. I think I was more excited about getting a puppy than actually winning. I spent the next month looking on line for the perfect one. A male harlequin great dane, that lives within driving distance because I am too cheap to pay an extra $300 for shipping. And finally I found him, named John Travolta when I bought him I changed it to Frank, or Frankie. That's him next to my mastiff-cross Endo, he is only 3 months old now but by the time he is 6 months he will be bigger than Endo. He is my pride and joy, I will keep you posted on how he is doing and maybe you will get the chance to meet him at a race sometime next summer:)

Get well soon, Christy!

My friend Christy (pictured here on the left, next to Kelly Yancy) had surgery yesterday, and I just want to wish her a speedy recovery. I live with Christy in California during the winter months when it is too cold in Michigan. She always makes sure I have a place to stay. And as you can see by her shirt in this picture, taken last year at the Glen Helen Prequel, she is one of my biggest supporters! Get well soon! Temperatures are dropping and I expect to be heading west soon. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My first time

Hey, everyone! It seems I am a "virgin blogger." I've been writing a column called "Sarah Smile" in Racer X Illustrated for some time, and now I'm going to move over here to Racer X's little family of blogs instead. (Be sure to check out Jason Weigandt's awesome blog, Blogandt, as well as Steve Bruhn's popular weekend journal spot, the Weekend Window. Stay tuned for more Racer X blogs in the near future.)

I'm not very good at this computer stuff, but I will try my best to keep everyone posted on all the latest and greatest things I've been up to. I think it's going to be fun.

For starters, I'm going to be doing a half-marathon soon, so I'll probably post about that. And everyone knows that the off-season is when the "business" of being a pro-racer is at the forefront, and I'll keep you up-to-date on that stuff as well.

Beyond that, I'm not really sure where this thing is going to go, but I'm looking forward to finding out. Oh, and respectful comments are very much welcomed (they'll be moderated by a Racer X editor). If you read my stuff in the magazine, I hope you'll follow me here, and if you're new, I hope you'll stick around!