Thar’s a Bahr!

Weekly miles run: 28.7
Total mileage this season: 444.55
Fundraising total: $3150 (63%)
Bears encountered: 2
Awards received: 1

Dear Adoring Fans,

I found out last week that one of the women that I run in honor of, who has already successfully battled both lung and breast cancer, was just diagnosed with lymphoma. I have a big, long list of people in whose memory and honor I run, but this past week I have been thinking about her in particular.

I usually save my fundraising update for the end of my post, but in light of that, I am going to jump right in and ask for your support, because it is so, so needed. At the beginning of this season I said that I wanted to raise $5,000 to bring my total raised for TNT since 2005 to $25,000, for the 25th Anniversary of TNT. Well, I finally sat down and did the math, and friends, to date, since 2005, together we have raised $35,659 to help find a cure for blood cancers. Can you believe that? Words seem inadequate, but thank you, just the same.

This season, so far we have raised a spectacular $3,150. That’s well over half-way to my goal of $5,000. Thanks so much to everyone who has donated last month to help me reach my mini-goal of $3,000. My next goal? To reach $4,000 by midnight on October 4, 2013–THIS FRIDAY. That’s just a measly $850–surely we can do it. (And fair warning: my next mini-goal will be to reach $5,000 before gun time on October 20). If you have already donated, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. If you haven’t yet, please consider making a contribution to help find a cure. No amount is too small, truly. It all adds up.

I’ve been traveling quite a bit for the past month and a half, which has made getting my miles in a little bit challenging. For a few weeks I was contemplating dropping back to the half marathon distance, but now that I’m on the other side of most of my travel (as well as my long run yesterday), I’m excited to run the full marathon on October 20th.

In early August I got to spend time in the field co-leading VENT’s Camp Chiricahua, working with my friends Michael and Louise to lead a great group of 13 young birders from across the country, exploring the birds and habitats of southeastern Arizona. It was a great group, and there are so many good memories, but here are a few of my favorites (click on any of the images to make them bigger):

Ringtail! We found this little fella one night when we were out herping/owling.

Ringtail! We found this little fella one night when we were out herping/owling.

Baby greater short-horned lizard. Is there much cuter than this in the world, I ask you? I think not.

Baby greater short-horned lizard. Is there much cuter than this in the world, I ask you? I think not.

Western Hercules Beetle. This male flew in and hit me square in the back. He was big.

Western Hercules Beetle. This male flew in and hit me square in the back. He was big.

Blue-throated Hummingbird at the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, AZ.

Blue-throated Hummingbird at the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, AZ.

Hiking at Cave Creek.

Hiking at Cave Creek.

Just before camp started I found this sweet girl roaming the streets of my neighborhood. It was a long story, but she is now in a good home.

Just before camp started I found this sweet girl roaming the streets of my neighborhood. It was a long story, but she is now in a good home.

From Camp Chiricahua I headed to California for a visit and to spend my birthday with C. My birthday was a low-key affair, but celebrated with a delicious dinner and some kayaking the following day on Lake Almanor. I was honored to receive one of the 2012 Partners In Flight Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Bird Conservation, and although I wasn’t able to be at the conference for the awards ceremony (on my birthday, no less), they patched me in and I got to hear the entire conference sing me happy birthday. It was actually pretty neat, and although of course I would have rather been there in person, this was a close second. Some friends accepted the award on my behalf and then brought it back to California and after transferring it to about three different folks, they got it to me. (For the non-birder readers among you, that is a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a bird that I have worked with in both Sonora and Arizona).

I couldn't be at the conference in person to accept my award, but through the wonders of technology, I was able to be there on the phone.

I couldn’t be at the conference in person to accept my award, but through the wonders of technology, I was able to be there on the phone.

One of C’s coworkers is a runner, she gave me some ideas for routes for my long runs while I was up there visiting. I decided on a 16 mile route where I parked my car in the middle and then ran 4 miles out and then 4 back to my car, refueled, and ran 4 miles out and back the other way. The first four miles went great. I turned to head back to the car and at about mile 5 I heard a loud crashing in the woods. Now, the woman who recommended this route told me that she’d seen a bear there, so that is immediately where my head went. The only other thing that would make that much noise running through the woods is a person, and there weren’t any people around. I got a little nervous and initially slowed down and talked loudly to the bear, telling it to move along. After a minute or two I realized that I needed to get back to the car one way or another, so I kept running. At mile 7, I looked up and saw what I thought was a large boulder in the middle of the road, maybe 25 yards ahead. “That’s funny,” I thought. “I don’t remember driving around a large boulder. ” Well, of course, the boulder then raised its head and looked at me, and a black bear and I were staring each other in the face. It promptly turned tail and loped off into the woods, and I was left behind, running down the road and talking loudly to myself/the bear as I went. “Oh BEAAAAARRRRRRR! I’m HEEEEEEEERRRRRRRE, running down the ROOOOOAAAAAAAAD. It’s just me! How about you stay in the woods and I’ll stay on the road and we’ll all be good?” I think I also sang The Bear Song (if you’ve been to Girl Scout Camp, you know the one). Well, suffice it to say that I did not get eaten. But after that 8 mile adventure, I didn’t feel comfortable running down the road for another 4 miles and back, so I drove to another spot with a road that got some traffic (and hence not many bears) and finished the run.

The weekend after my birthday C and I drove down to Monterey, where we went out on a pelagic trip with my friend Debi of Shearwater Journeys. I have spent plenty of time on boats in the Gulf of California, but this was my first pelagic on the Pacific. The weather wasn’t the best, but I still saw four new life birds, as well as a couple of life mammals (blue whale–good heavens, they are large! and Risso’s Dolphin). I did a beautiful 14 mile run along the ocean and into Pacific Grove, got to spend a night visiting with friends down in Davenport and Oakland, and generally enjoying the California Coast.

Pelagic!

Pelagic!

Black-footed Albatross--lifer!

Black-footed Albatross–lifer!

After returning to Arizona, I took a whirlwind trip to Lakeside, Ohio, to lead a young birder event at the Midwest Birding Symposium for the American Birding Association. (I also did a 16 mile run while there and was reminded about that thing called “humidity.” At the end of my run I looked like I had just stepped out of a swimming pool.) Flying to the east for a long weekend isn’t something I generally recommend, but the event was a lot of fun, and I was so impressed by the young birders who participated.

Ethan Rising, Nathan Martineau, and Doug Whitman at the 2013 Midwest Birding Symposium.

Ethan Rising, Nathan Martineau, and Doug Whitman at the 2013 Midwest Birding Symposium.

Now I’m back in Arizona for three whole weeks. Three whole weeks! I almost don’t know what to do with myself! This weekend was our longest training run, and I ended up doing 21 miles, and feeling great! I ended up with a nice blister on one of my toes, but considering the fact that I was out there running for 3.5 hours, that’s not too bad. I’m going to head out for about 7 miles later this evening, and then the taper will officially begin. The week before the race, assuming the government doesn’t shut down, I’m headed down to Chiapas, Mexico, for a bird conservation conference. I get home from that and immediately turn around and fly to San Francisco for the race. More whirlwind!

This is what 21 miles looks like.

This is what 21 miles looks like.

So that’s what’s been going on in my life lately. How are you?