I started running at a very young age, but never found the solace or the meaning behind every step until I hit my 30's and developed autoimmune issues. I realized that it wasn't an apple that would keep the doctors away, but rather the miles. Like oil to the joints, and antifreeze to the system! 14 years later, I still start my day by eating some hills for breakfast, with my dog by my side. I went from running with a rest day here and there, to running daily - and it turned the tides for me. I never believed I could run a marathon because I wasn't sure how I would fuel along the way, not being able to eat the commercial food offered, and I also always said, "I have no desire to run that far." 13 miles was my jam. BUT, then I got into the NYC marathon lottery for 2017 and decided, well, that's a gift - let me train and see if I can make it. I made my own gels, my own food, and packed the pockets of my running pants so much so that my legs looked like the cheeks of a chipmunk! Never more nervous in my life, my run was blessed and I had negative splits to the finish line after mile 13. I passed my kids at mile 23, who wondered why I was running up 5th Avenue as if I were in a 5k race. The look on their faces reminded me that I was modeling a strong lesson: try, commit, perservere in any way you can. Despite my autoimmune issues, I finished the race with reserves and the desire to run more. When I crossed the finish line, elated, and proud that I followed through on a challenge that was outside my comfort zone I said, "I would love to run an Ultra...in the mountains...through beautiful green. I just want to try and see if I can do it, even if I crawl to the finish line." There are these hurdles in life that challenge you beyond what you imagine, and they help you grow as an individual. They can make you fierce when you feel daunted. There have been many hurdles in mine. I've learned that running gets me out of my head, and right into my body...it shuffles the cards of the deck...mutes the negative chatter...and changes my channel daily to positive FM. The day is always brighter after a run. So here I am, ready to Rock the Ridge and try my first Ultra.
Rock The Ridge is a 50-mile endurance challenge and environmental fundraiser set in the natural beauty of Mohonk Preserve. The goal is to run, walk or hike the course within 24 hours.
Rock The Ridge supports a great cause: preserving over 8,000 acres of Mohonk Preserve in the Shawangunk Mountains region.
Mohonk Preserve is a place where people and nature thrive. Over 8,000 acres provide a safe refuge for wildlife such as birds, mammals, and plants, and more. It’s a place for active recreation such as rock climbing, trail running, biking or hiking and also a place for quiet walks beside babbling streams, breathtaking vistas and moments of quiet reflection.
Our mission at the Preserve is to protect the Shawangunk Mountains region and inspire people to care for, enjoy and explore their natural world. We work tirelessly to accomplish this mission each and every day through the following award-winning programs:
- Education — In 2017, Mohonk Preserve served over 14,500 children including many through STEM education programs which connects at-risk children from nearby cities to innovative outdoor education programs, engaging their senses and inspiring them through nature.
- Land Protection — Protecting key recreation areas, fragile habitats, and scenic viewsheds is only the beginning.
- Land Stewardship — Managing over 8,000 acres takes work! The Preserve helps provide a safe, participatory experience in nature for over 200,000 visitors each year. The Preserve’s team of highly skilled search and rescue Rangers are always on call and ready to assist visitors in trouble.
- Conservation Science — The Preserve’s team of scientists monitor the changing ecology of the Shawangunks and use data to help sustain this regionally important ecosystem.
Fundraisers such as Rock the Ridge enables Mohonk Preserve to keep the land open and accessible to all visitors. We hope that you will give generously in support of your friends and family members who are participating in this year’s 50-mile endurance challenge. Thank you so very much!