All Posts by Liza Howard

It’s hard to explain why the trail camp we put on for veterans and surviving family members has the impact it does. It’s not because what we do is complicated. We run for two and a half days. We teach skills like hill running, technical trail running, speed work, aid station strategies, nutrition, first aid etc. etc. We do all that exceptionally well, but that’s not the reason why everyone involved from veterans to surviving family members to paying participants to the mentors themselves leave the camp feeling rejuvenated, happy and hopeful. We manage to encapsulate and simulate the experiences […]

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I took Asa to the pediatrician for his annual checkup, and I have been sick as a dog ever since. So many potent kid germs in one place, I guess. It’s like I licked the floor there or something though. I spent two and a half days like a salted slug on the coach while the kids wreaked havoc around me. I made it to the Anytime Fitness late last night determined to get a run in. I had a coughing fit about twenty minutes in, and I’m sure the other Saturday night gym weirdos thought I had TB. They […]

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Never fails. Anytime I start to really skimp on sleep, the articles about how awful that is for you start appearing.   Alright, already. You try and work from home! Saturday, we drove to Corpus Christi for Asa’s soccer game, (2.5 hours for an 11 year-old’s soccer game), went to the team lunch afterwards, then (heck, we’re here!) went to the beach, and drove home. And then it was me with the late night weirdos at Anytime Fitness at 10:30pm on a Saturday night. It was a very good day, fatigued or not. Alright, back to the CDC and the […]

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I was panning for gold on Twitter and voilà! Here’s the link to the article which AND the live cam! Two things: Halloween Costume: Check! Itinerary for Christmas visit to DC: Check! What’s making me happy: Running: 14 miles easy with 90 seconds pickups every 8 minutes

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I broke down and got a membership to Anytime Fitness. It was a coyote in the neighborhood that finally pushed me over the edge. I’ve been skittish ever since I got attacked by a dog in DC, and I’ve been running with pepper spray, and sharing the dark neighborhood streets with the coyote seemed like too much. If I lived out in the country, a coyote would be one thing, but I’m in the city. City coyotes seem like trouble. And I’m too tired for trouble right now. So it’s me and a bevy of late night weirdos at the […]

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My neighbor came over last night for a glass of wine. We’ve been neighbors for years now, but this was our first wine drinking get together. And I found out that the woman who owned the house before us died in a murder suicide a few years ago! I guess I’ll stop forwarding her mail. I also found out her husband is in jail for 20 plus years — and not because he was involved in the murder suicide. Sheesh!  Lord knows what I might have found out if we had had cocktails instead of wine. What’s making me happy: (The […]

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Eliot’s grading student papers about that trip to Costa Rica with the Honors College in August. Most of the writing is awful. I wish I could provide some samples for you. Here’s a picture of Eliot ranting about it instead. One of his actual comments on this paper: “Pro-tip: That red squiggly line under a word means it’s misspelled.” My favorite: “Why did you write this yucky sentence. You confused yourself.” It was a yucky sentence. I’m sure you all have corrected my grammar if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, but this was another level […]

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Ruby got a little flyer from her little Methodist day school today. So I asked her, “What is your favorite book character?” She responded, “The one with the colored girl.” WHAT?!? What going on with the San Antonio Methodists?? Geez!!! And then I looked at the flyer more closely. Whew. What’s making me happy: Running: 75 minutes

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300 posts!!! Good grief. 65 more to go… Here is a poem Laz put up on the ultra listserv about the Big Backyard Ultra. —– Forwarded Message —– From: lazarus <drystoneman@hotmail.com> To: ultra List <ultra@listserv.dartmouth.edu> Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 4:17:27 AM EDT Subject: 68 hours: dreamtime the race for me had become an endless repetition, as i made my way around my circuit of duties. hour after hour i went thru the same unchanging tasks. the core task was the bells and whistles. that was the one that had to happen every hour and had to happen at the same time every hour. […]

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I paced CJ from 9pm-ish to 4am- ish and it was fun and she was wonderful, but now I am toast. Here’s an article to read about one of the campers who will be coming to trail camp in November while I make my way back to San Antonio. “He was a flunk-out from Texas A&M’s Aggie Guide Dogs and Service Dogs program—not because of his skills (or lack thereof), but because of his height.”   http://www.austinfitmagazine.com/March-2013/Healing-the-Unseen-Wounds-of-War-2/ What’s making me happy: Rob and CJ’s Sprinter van. Running: 20.5 miles

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I’m in North Carolina this weekend pacing my friend CJ at the Uwharrie 100. I’ll let you know exactly how unrelenting it all was tomorrow night. I’m hoping “The Soul Crusher” hill isn’t too crushing just one or two times through. I’m flying into Charlotte on a 5am flight, and then driving out to Uwharrie National Forest. If all goes well, I should be out there crewing and guzzling coffee by 10:30am. What’s making me happy: Running: 20.5 miles pacing CJ at Uwharrie sometime tonight

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A friend and runner I’m coaching has a friend who is a vet who said it’d be fine to take the puppies outside to go to the bathroom. Game changer!! Oh my gosh, I can’t even tell you how much better my life is now that half of it isn’t taken up cleaning the tiles in Asa’s bedroom and the openings in the dog crate. The ADL folks had said the puppies couldn’t go outside until they were old enough to get all their shots.  Here’s to friends with vet friends who think that that’s crazy talk! What’s making me happy: […]

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I put our name on the Animal Defense League’s foster puppy list. I thought it would be a way to ease us into being dog owners. And, you know, I was trying to find a way to inject a bit more crazy around here. Picture me up before 5am tending to lonely puppies with active intestines. Now picture me a bit more crazed. Where was the rest of the family? The ones who really wanted a puppy? Fast asleep and warm in bed. I gave everybody the silent treatment while I inhaled coffee later. They were oblivious to my frazzled […]

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I stayed up most of last night and cleaned the kitchen and living room. It had to be done, and I couldn’t see a way to make it happen otherwise. So, sure, maybe I feel like an absolute wreck today, but at least I can lie down on the clean floor and feel sorry for myself. What’s making me happy: Running: 40 minutes easy (SLOG.)

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Today was a lost day. I taught Asa a day of 6th grade, drove Ruby too and from school, drove Asa to and from swimming and then choir. I went to the supermarket, and I checked on my coaching clients and talked with a few of these wonderful folks on the phone. And then it was 10pm. Fast forward. What’s making me happy: More Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonny Son from Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You Running: ZERO! (I was supposed to do 40, but the day squashed me flat.)

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Oh my gosh! I am toast. I slept for a few hours this morning, talked(taught) for four more hours, ran up and down the street in front of the school, almost missed my flight due to traffic, walked zombie-like through the airport in Dallas, got home around midnight. Eliot was waiting up to give me some dinner. I scarfed it down and fell asleep on the couch thinking about tomorrow’s To Do list. What’s making me happy: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new book with Jonny Sun, Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You Running: 64 minutes and a sprint to the […]

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Oh my gosh, I’m beat. I ran this morning before class, wolfed down breakfast, taught for eight hours, ran again and then came into the little cabin they have me in, and took a nap until 11pm. Not the smartest strategy, but the rest of my work is done — and I’ll take another “nap” until morning. I’m in my running clothes to make it as easy as possible to go on a run before class. I’m also starving to death, so that’ll make it easy to get up. The lunch they served at the branch was soup, and dinner […]

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I’m a single instructor for this WFA course. Just me and 15 NOLS semester students. I got in well past midnight last night and I stumbled around in the dark for a while looking for my cabin out behind the wash house.  I decided to run after class was over today in order to get at least 6.5 hours of sleep. It seemed like a good idea this morning lying in bed at 6:30. It was a grim prospect after teaching for  8 hours. But I got it done despite the crazy early sunset time here in Tucson. 6pm! I  […]

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Pancake breakfast in bed for the birthday girl. And a birthday party with lots and lots of little girls and a few older brothers. (Not pictured: 6 more little girls.) Eliot’s amazing piñata: And check out the heart cakes I made! Strawberry cakes with strawberry frosting. The little boy at the end took a bite and told me loudly that he didn’t like it at all. His mom was pretty embarrassed. I told her I was very offended as I had spent all of $1.54 on this creation. The party was from 3:30-5:30pm. And I survived the mom scene. Then […]

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Asa and I read “Macbeth” yesterday, and it made me feel pretty productive when Eliot got home. “What did you do today?” “I read “Macbeth” with our son.” (I did not, however, prepare any dinner.) I’m a bit stressed about Ruby’s birthday party tomorrow. I never worried about Asa’s August parties at the pool much. Invite a bunch of boys to the pool. Provide pizza and a cake. Done!  Tired boys. Huge success. I feel like little girls require more entertaining somehow. I know I shouldn’t feel that way. But I do. Little girls make me nervous. Or, really, the […]

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Today was consumed with trail camp business. So much talking and emailing. I love it. I also need another day to do my actual jobs — and clean the house… or at least the bathrooms. There are still a few big items that I have to chase down to make the camp work well. (A few = 97.) What’s making me happy: This idea for Ruby’s birthday party. Seems like a choking hazard, but I really want to do it, so I can participate. Also where are these donuts hanging from in this picture? Running: 60 minutes of thinking about […]

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How is it 7pm???? There is still so much to do! The trail camp took over my day. The ratio of people who received emails from me about camp today to everyone in the world must be something like 4:1. And now I’m about to do a conference call with the lead mentors. I need to eat a lot of  ice cream. Speaking of eating lots: What’s making me happy: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/10/9/17955432/fat-bear-week-katmai-national-park-409-747-salmon The Winner!! Running: 40 minutes easy concentrating on not turning my foot out.

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Alison (friend, PT and longtime MUT runner extraordinaire) says that if I concentrate on keeping my foot hitting the ground straight, and not inadvertently turning out sideways to protect my pinky toe, my heel and hip should stop hurting. She gave me a few foot stretches and strengthening exercises (and some additional core work because I asked) and says I can keep training as long as the pain doesn’t get worse. We watched the video of me running in slow motion. (Nothing to make one question their wardrobe and haircut choices like a little slo-mo video watching.) Boy am I really […]

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The Marcello Family wedding reception in Sarasota, Florida was wonderful! Here are all us older cousins. I’m the most old. And here all but two of the rest of the cousins. (For the record, I am not actually the shortest cousin.) It was Jen’s (in white) wedding reception that brought us all together for the first time in nine years. It seems like my folks are going to move to Sarasota to be with the family, so hopefully we’ll be getting together much more often. Bagels on the beach for Christmas morning. What’s making me happy: Running: Zero on Saturday. […]

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I’m on a plane flying to Sarasota, Florida for a family wedding reception. I haven’t seen my aunts and cousins in years, and I’m really happy to be going, even though it made me really notice all the gray hair Ruby’s given me recently. “Well, Liza certainly looks distinguished.” My mom called to let me know that I wouldn’t need to dress up too much for the reception. No problem! And that I should wear comfortable shoes. Really no problem! My sister is actually bringing me a pair of pretty sandals because, while I have comfortable shoes, they are not […]

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Boy did I step in it today. I accidentally copied someone on an email that wasn’t meant for them. They didn’t read anything horrible about themselves, but I certainly demolished a friendly working relationship. Dang! Double dang!! I sent an apology as soon as I realized what I’d done, (OH Nooooooo!!!!) but the damage had been done. Sigh. Well, this brings the count of people who think I’m a jerk up to at least… Well, let’s not do that exercise. I certainly didn’t start the day worried about being a jerk. I guess the lesson is: Assume all your emails will […]

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I broke my “Sleep 8 Hours” vow and stayed up most of last night working. I just couldn’t stomach another day not having my work done or trying, unsuccessfully, to get it done while kid chaos reigned.  I did go to bed at 9pm as scheduled, so it wasn’t a complete break down. I just got up three hours later at midnight. I put out all the fires, and now, it’s just two more hours until bedtime. So excited. I’m going to start Strava-ing again tomorrow — now that my baby toe is no longer useless. What’s making me happy: Asa’s newest […]

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Here’s the finished product of the article I was whining about writing for irunfar last week. Check out the rest here! Behind the scenes! So I made this splint one-handed. I would have tightened those buffs down if I’d had another hand, but it’s not so easy to tie knots with one hand. Also, it was in the 90s when I made this thing and I was so happy when I was able to rip it all off and get back inside to the air conditioning. We had to drag Asa out of the garage and put him on some […]

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Eliot copied me on one of his work emails today. Man, do I love that guy. What’s making me happy: (Besides witty ol’ Eliot) Reading the Trumpeter of Krakow with Asa and teaching him words like halberd and brazier. Running: 40 minutes easy. Actual workouts will start tomorrow! My toe is still cooperating.

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I’m sitting poolside while Asa swims. He really wants to join the swim team, but I’ve been lax with lessons, and he’s about five levels from being able to join.  He’s been trying to get out of level 5 for two months now. Apparently, he’s not rolling from side to side enough on his freestyle. Takes after his mother. I had this great brainstorm about our final run at the trail camp when I was running on Saturday. We used to do this crazy obstacle course when we held the camp here in Texas. But the camp in California doesn’t […]

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It turns out the Hokas I was wearing were the culprits behind the foot, knee, hip and ankle pain I was having. I didn’t have any issues when I switched back to my old New Balance 1400s yesterday. You’d think shoe culpability would have occurred to me earlier, but you’d be wrong. I’d been wearing the Hokas because they have a bigger toe box that didn’t put pressure on my grumpy toe. I’ve got some hip tightness I need to deal with now, but I think I’m going to be able to really get back to training. What’s making me […]

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Eliot’s office got a bunch of tickets to the UTSA football game. Box seats. I ate my body weight in free guacamole. What’s making me happy: The halftime show. UTSA’s marching band played an ode to 90s grunge music. I am not kidding. I swear to God. It was so horrible. Sometimes that level of horrible makes for happiness. (I believe they’re playing Nirvana in this shot.) Running: 1 hour in different shoes.

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The chickens have escaped!! Well, the four young ones anyway. They’ve hopped our backyard fence and they’re in a narrow wooded area between our house and some restaurants. Asa and I tried to cajole them back into our yard with food and kitchen scraps. They were disinterested. Too much new land to scratch. It seems like chasing them just cause them to run further into the neighborhood, so, right now, I’ve said a little chicken prayer and I’m hoping they’ll just wander back into the yard at bedtime. Keep your fingers crossed. So the car broke down yesterday, the chickens escaped today. […]

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The car battery died in the parking lot of Asa’s swim lessons, and we sat there for about an hour an a half waiting for help to revive it. Happily, we had a book about pilgrimages in the Middle Ages, (Poor Asa!), and I think I was able to make the feudal system more memorable to Asa. Pumpkin: Lord Asa: Vassal (Pictured here pledging fealty) Ruby: Sub-vassal Serfs: The backyard chickens. (Not an actual picture of our chickens, but they look just like that. Clearly, serfs don’t have time for tether ball.) The King and the Church:  The tow truck arrived […]

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The next trail first aid article for irunfar.com is about unusable musculoskeletal injuries. Broken bones. I’d planned to take pictures of my Wilderness First Aid students’ splints the weekend before last, but I forgot. Consequently, I had to make a splint for my forearm myself yesterday AND take pictures of it! It actually turned out pretty darn well. I’ll link to the article when it’s published next week, so you can be impressed with me too. ???? I had to use Asa for the lower leg splint. I’m only so talented / flexible. The best part of the article is […]

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The rain and warm weather has brought a plague of flies to our house. It was somewhat amusing to watch the cats chase them for a while, but it’s time to bring out the vacuum cleaner and suck them into oblivion. Today’s trail camp business: Send in the sock sizes to Drymax. I’m so excited about these socks. I’ll let you all know when they’re for sale. What’s making me happy: Running: 40 (whole) minutes

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Oh my gosh! you guys. The trail camp took over my life today. Wonderful Pam Harght of The Austin Trail Running Company is donating Patagonia shirts with our Band of Runners logo to everybody at camp.  (Just like she did last year!) And all the sizes were due today. Sounds like a simple task, right? Not so much. Anyhoo, I got it done. And then we figured out the menus. Mostly, I just listened to Meredith Terranova and Eliot talk while Ruby created chaos in the public library. I took the phone off mute and added important tidbits like “No Lemonade!” […]

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We got up and cleaned the yard up a bit today. Well, Asa and I cleaned. Eliot is building a mystery project in the back yard with a lot of lumber and Ruby mostly just got eaten by mosquitoes while she redistributed rocks around the yard. Then I worked on the trail camp. November and Veterans Day weekend is barreling towards us, and there are a lot of bits and pieces to arrange. Who will lend us 10 pairs of trekking poles? Which mentors will volunteer in the kitchen and when? Should we teach technical trail running before or after […]

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I’m going to spend most of today finalizing the curriculum and schedule for the trail camp with my buddy, Brian. I’d hoped to mow the grass, so the house would be visible from the street again, but it seems unlikely that’s going to happen.  Ruby made it through another day without being carried off by mosquitoes, so that’s a win. So this was on sale outside the classroom where I was teaching at REI last weekend. I think it’s supposed to be a bathing suit. Thoughts? What’s making me happy: Running: Going to try to do 10 and see how […]

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The 100km in Croatia 100km + travel + jet lag + post race blues + home schooling Asa + Ruby is 4 + 2 jobs combo got the best of me. So there’s going to be a gap in my blog o’ day endeavor, but I’m just going to saddle up and keep moving. Day 270! Asa’s working on his Spanish while I write. He’s translating a passage of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for me and he’s very grumpy that I’m making him look up words he doesn’t know in a dictionary rather than on the computer. Having old parents […]

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We met as a big team for the first time this morning on the hotel patio and got the low down on where our aid table would be at the race (at the end because: United States) and what time we’d need to go through the check in together. The husbands who are here are referring to themselves as The Athletic Supporters. That’s Eliot, Meghan’s husband, Mark, and Gina Slaby’s husband, Steve. Or maybe just Eliot is referring to them that way. That little train next to us tours the local wineries. I’m hoping to hop on it after the […]

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I wrote this article about lighting for irunfar and I’m hoping it might be useful to you. Here’s the link!

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Here’s the bedscape in our hotel in Croatia. I am uncomfortable with what may have inspired this particular piece. What’s making me happy: Mine would be ending every other sentence with a smiley face.  ???? Running: Nope.

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The trip to Croatia started off rocky with a canceled flight at 4am in San Antonio. It took us twice as long to fly to Houston as it would have to drive there. But the reroute and seven hour layover in Frankfurt could not have been better.   What’s making me (particularly) happy:  After this breakfast/lunch/dinner, we discovered these comfy chairs and lounged for 3 hours.   Running: Toe still hurting.

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I spent the last year trying to qualify to run at the IAU World 100km Championships in Croatia. I did and now it is done. And it was good. All the details including baton twirling majorettes and Croatian Krepusi to come! What’s making me happy: See that horizontal picture above. Running: Still have the mostly broken toe, so no running.

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I ran for 25 minutes yesterday before the toe pain was enough that I was hobbling like Quasimodo. It’s good progress considering I couldn’t take a step with a running shoe on Sunday morning. I’m going to take some ibuprofen this morning and see what I can do. Asa’s first day of home schooling went really well. We’re starting social studies with the invasion of the barbarians and the Fall of Rome. Visigoths and Vandals seem like the best place to start a boy’s 6th grade year. Off to try to run! What’s making me happy: Ruby is back in […]

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