Wednesday, November 28, 2012


More Than Me, an education and girls’ empowerment non-profit is gaining notoriety through its guerilla-style marketing, inspiring hundreds of people to write “I am Abigail” on their foreheads and posting the photos on Facebook.

This really begs the question, “Who the heck is Abigail?”
Abigail was an orphan in West Point, Liberia. You may have read her letter in a previous article here on the Huffington Post. At six, she was left with prostitutes. She learned to work the streets in order to get access to drinking water and food. Education was not an option.

Then Abigail met Katie Meyler, the founder of More Than Me, an organization dedicated to getting girls off the streets and into schools. Katie and Abigail became fast friends, and More Than Me has raised the money to put Abigail through school. She is learning to bake, and aspires to one day be a Senator, so she can, in turn, help other girls like her.

So, why are all these people also “Abigail”?
Abigail could be you. Abigail could be your sister, your niece, your student, or your neighbor. Remember, we live in a global community; there is no “me” without “we”, Abigail is because you are, and you are because Abigail is.
Join the community. When you’ve done that, help the community grow by spreading our story. And most of all, get inspired.

Abigail has a message for all of you:

Dear World,
My name is Abigail.
I'm 13-years-old. I live in West Point, Liberia. I don't know my parents... I was left with prostitutes when I was six-years-old. They took care of me, but life was hard. Often, I didn't have a place to sleep or food to eat. I never went to school. And I would often sleep at a video club so men could find me and then "rent" me for the night. I was abused, both in my mind and body. I didn't feel loved.
When I met the people at More Than Me, my life changed. I have a new home now and food to eat. I'm in school now. I'm happy now. I feel like I have a future now. I feel loved. I've learned how to bake, which helps me earn extra money.
Please help vote for me so I can continue in this new life and stay in school. Your vote is my future. I'll do anything to show you that I'll do my best in school and become something with my life.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hi from Mission Bay!

It's so great to write a race report that feels important in a sense.  Not only was this race the longest distance I have ran, but I couldn't have been happier to be running it for a great cause on a great team.  100 for America runs for Create Jobs for USA, working to help grow our great country.  

I first heard about this race back in May when the ultra community in San Diego started talking about it and I only pondered whether or not I could do it... Julius and Trasie were the biggest culprits. Then Trasie roped me into running for 100 for America, the team she created for her SD 100 mile race.  It's such a great cause that I feel does a lot of good and affects everyone!  

Training went well, I did the Harding Hustle 50K in the Modjeska Canyon in July, kept up the training and did a brutal Mt. Disappointment 50K August 11th.  For a recap, see friend Carlos' race report:  (*vulgar)
It's important to note that since doing the Rim2Rim2 in the Grand Canyon, most of my following races were in heat with plenty of climbs.  Including the Kauai Marathon, Diane's report:

On October 6th, Trasie, Julius, Kristin, Kristin, Carl, Nancy, Rob, Christine, John, Rebecca, Vanessa, myself, and all my other ultra-running buds in San Diego toed the line of the inaugural Cuyamaca 100K in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, approximately 1 hour from the Pacific Ocean.  The course is 3 loops, first one being 31.5, 2nd is 12.6 and the 3rd being exactly 18 miles.  I had ran the last two in training but missed the 1st one while I was in Kauai...  

Trasie and I got into a good pace and did some good talking with Kristin, a friend of our.  We created an acronym that I'll never forget:  HUM  (Hydration, Urination, Motivation).  You should definitely urinate before you feel the urge, it keeps your system cleaner and running properly.  A typical running discussion really :)  We felt great coming into all the aid stations.  First one, at Merrigan, my boyfriend David was there to get some good pics and deliver some kisses, Green Valley was uneventful and then the climb up to Cuyamaca Peak, which, after all the dreadful climbs I did all summer, this was not that bad.  It was a relief to get up there and see familiar faces at the Aid Stations.  Coming back down, we ran into Paso Picacho Aid Station, sponsored by the Running Skirts of San Diego.  We were able to get a picture with a local bud and one of my Grand Canyon partners, Keith Kirby:

From there, we returned back to the campground and got ready to start loop 2 at mile 31.5. We refilled our backs and bottles, ate a little and got moving.  This loop was only 12.6 miles and there was only 1 aid station.  Both of us were a little caffeinated at this point.  I normally wait until at least being halfway through a race to do the pop/soda.  The highlight of this loop was Trasie's comment to a hiker about her huge smile.  We both normally great others on the trail with a smile and a "Beautiful day, eh?"  But this was a little enthusiastic.  "That's a great smile!  WOW!  You can see your molars in that smile!!!"  I was cracking up for the rest of the loop, when we ran in Dave coming into the East Mesa 'Gator' Aid Station, I couldn't wait to tell him!  AND, this aid station had TWIX.  Apparently, Trasie was getting increasingly annoyed by my eating.  At this point, we had met up with Nancy, another runner who asked us about cutoff.  Thus was formed the AWESOME THREESOME.

Coming back into the Camp at mile 44.1, they had burritos.  WOW.  I loved every bite of it. Thank you Terry and Dave for your help.  We all bundled up at this point; put on sleeves, windbreakers, tutus, gloves, and headlamps.  It was getting dark and cold fast and this loop had a section on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is always windy.  

Getting up to Sunrise was slow.  Bellies were not doing well and therefore caloric intake was down.  However, we were still urinating.  At least, I was, and congratulating others when they did as well.  Huge accomplish after running all day.  Coming into Sunrise, Trasie's arch-enemy, we loaded up on hot soup and beverages and headed out on the PCT.  I was worried about Dave since he wasn't there and I had expected him there but I figured they thought they missed us since we had taken a while.  The PCT was windy.  Here, we got into a run 3 mins, walk 2 mins pattern that seemed to work well.  Coming into Pedro Fages, we loved seeing the same aid station volunteers from Sunrise, dedicated folks!  And, it was a relief to see Dave! This was the last stretch and he was going to take us in!  At 55 miles, we had 6.8 to go.  Starting slow and moving through some interesting conversations, we got back into a pattern of 3/2.  At this point, we were no longer quite so energetic and bubbly.  More like zombies, with headlamps and tutus.  So, I decided to sing "Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music.  And we all listed our favorite things...  It was a great bonding moment.

With that, Dave had us pick up the pace and we ran the last 3 miles in!  It was a slow run, like a jog, and I'm pretty sure my stride was kinda off at this point.  It would have loved to get a video of us.  Instead, we got a jumping picture at the finish line:

It was such a great time, I'll definitely do it again.  I have two races I'm registered for right now, the Quad Dipsea in November in the Bay area and a wintery 50K in Northern IN December 29th with my brother!

In addition, Trasie and I will continue to run for and support Create Jobs for USA.  Supporting those neighborhoods and towns that help run America is so important in order to keep America and our values strong.  Here is where you can get more information:

Thanks for reading, love you all!!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

100 for America

On the Eve of Independence Day 2012 in San Diego, CA, I am sitting in the Chilean Miner I contemplating the American Dream.  A dream that is very much alive and well around the country.  A dream that I myself didn't realize I had built in me until very recently.

This next paragraph reads textbook.  I assure you I wrote it from the heart.

The American Dream has many variations and directions.  Immigrants have come in search of every kind of freedom that we sometimes take for granted.  Religious freedoms, the freedom to choose their leaders and the freedom of speech, whether to speak their own language in peace or simply to express their opinions in public.  Native Americans and United States citizens whose families have been here for generations have that  dream within them as well.  Whether it be to make a lot of money in our ever-changing capitalist society, or to simply raise a family, those dreams are powerful and drive our country.

Currently, how I see it, we have reached a point where not every citizen feels they have these rights nor the liberty to pursue your happiness.  Truth is, there are prejudices everywhere.  In the job market, in schools, even within families perhaps. It ranges from race, to length of hair, to what kind of work you do, car you drive, etc.  However, we are still able to set goals, make a plan and charge forward to make it happen for ourselves.  We see it in immigrants that have recently come to this country and individuals that have been here for generations. This is the Pursuit of Happiness.

Me personally, after having lived in a kingdom that functions as a socialist democracy, a country coming out of communism and a developing country that yearns to be capitalist, I can appreciate the way we've developed.  In traveling to foreign lands, I've been told, "That's what makes you American.", when I show my determination to accomplish a goal.  I've also caused a fight when saying that I am American, as well as had my picture taken with random citizens that want to be seen with the "North American".

I could ramble on.

Lately, a force that once drove our country has been leaving our country.  Manufacturing. Unfortunately, businesses have found it easier to set up factories and use foreign lands and economies to drive their companies.  Makes sense if our 'developed' country wants to set minimum wage laws, child labor laws and equal opportunity laws that do not accommodate most businesses.  Same reason our government recently amended our health care laws.

Let's bring manufacturing back to US.  We run 100 miles or 100 kilometers and you donate $100.  
October 7th, 2012, I will be running a 100K for 100 for America.  Please view the website:  Trasie Phan, a good friend of mine, has teamed up with Opportunity Finance Network and Create Jobs for USA in order to help stimulate our economy and support disadvantaged communities.  This is a cause that affects us all.

Please contact me for more information:

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Labor of Love 50K Race Report

In preparation for the RimtoRimtoRim adventure I'm doing with my new-found ultra-running friends in San Diego, and since I needed an April race, I signed up for a desert 50K April 22nd, Earth Day.  In the Lovell Canyon, just outside of Las Vegas, with starting elevation at 4600 ft and going up.  

I stayed with couchsurfer, (, who has recently gotten into races and is doing the Tough Mudder in October.  After checking out a buffet at the Cosmopolitan, and some of the other sights I hadn't seen before, we decided to go check out the course and make sure I knew where I was going for the following day at 5am.  The course was just on the other side of the Red Rock Canyon.  We talked to a guy that had just finished the 50mile race in 11hr, 6 mins. He said what saved him was putting ice in his pack at the aid stations and his white hat with the cape to cover the back of his neck. 

The only other time I had seen people running with these was on the Badwater website ( or at the Marathon Des Sables (  Naturally, I had to get one!!  So, we made a stop at REI before heading home, me too sleep, Del to met up with some friends.

In the morning, there was some relay happening, still not sure what it was but it was fully supported, each runner had the same blinking vests on and a car following right behind them....  I arrived around 5:15, got my bib and started preparing, sunscreen, body glide, shoes, etc.  I left a bag in the pile of bags with some things I thought I might need.  I ended up grabbing my camera from the bag at mile 11.

Starting out, I felt TERRIBLE!!!  Somehow I started talking to a fellow runner named Melissa and she had ran the half marathon the day before, since she's training for Comrades:  She said the same thing, the elevation gets you in the beginning.  I said I felt like I hadn't trained at all and she said she felt like she hadn't ran in a month!  And she had ran 11 marathons since February!!!  And, she's a maniac.  A Marathon Maniac, part of an exclusive club that I don't qualify for yet!

We got to the first aid station  after around 5 miles or so, running on a slow smooth incline, passing a few 100milers that were still finishing from 7am the day before!!  Most of them were able to smile at us or thank us when we congratulated them or cheered them on.  One of them just looked at us.  We both know he wanted to smile and thank us but in the condition he was in, he could only lift his head.  Melissa and I, arriving at the aid station, yapped to the volunteers about him and then realized they had become zombies overnight too since they just looked at us.

The next aid station was at mile 11, just before the road changed to trail.  I still had my Vibram Five Fingers on and asked how rocky the terrain was and they said it wasn't too bad.  It was kinda rocky and I probably should have changed my shoes into my trail shoes but I didn't and I was fine anyway...

This is where the incline really started, see the map:  So we slowly but surely started heading up the climb.  It's great to meet someone in a race with your heart pumping and endorphins going.  You end up talking to complete strangers about your entire life, without thinking twice about it.  Personal details come out when you're in the heat of the moment...  the view at the top was AMAZING!

At the turnaround point, mile 15.5, the aid station was fully stocked.  I had a little more of my PB & J, some heed, and decided to try a cup of de-carbonated warm pepsi, another delicacy these ultrarunners drink.  For someone who rarely drinks any kind of pop/soda, I felt like a million bucks!  LITERALLY

Melissa and I headed back up the mountain behind another runner we had met, Steve.  Steve had ran the marathon the day before and did the early start for the 50K.  He is also a maniac, distinguishing his 'single' weekends from his 'double' weekends.  This weekend was a double.  We climbed back up to the top with him, got some pictures and jammed all the way down.  He was an older guy and loved that he was running with some 'hot' girls.  Everytime he said it we responded that we were indeed hot, revealing our sweat.  

At the next aid station, I was pleased that I had to use the bathroom, since this is the best way to judge your hydration levels.  I had been sipping from my Nathan waterpack, given to me by my good friend Trasie, every 15 mins and eating something every half hour, as she recommended.  I also recalled that in my last 50K in Rockford, IL, in September 2009, with minimal heat, I hit the wall around mile 27 because I hadn't started consuming calories until at least 10 miles in, which was way too late.  I read somewhere, "Eat early and often".  I also had a cup of Mountain Dew (dangerous) at this aid station and put some ice in my water pack.  

After that aid station, the 3 of us separated, Melissa took off, finishing a half hour b4 me!!!  Steve finished around another half hour after me.  The next aid station, around mile 25 or so, my back was still cool from the ice and I was still feeling great.  So, I did a handstand for the cameraman!!!  He had just arrived on the scene, after taking some shots of the 10k'ers.  He said he had never seen that before.  As I took off, the volunteer told me sarcastically to be sure to have fun.  She knew I was lovin' life to the extreme.

A bit down the road, I ran into Mike.  Unfortunately, I didn't grab a picture but I can explain what I saw.  He was leaning over to his right side, nearly about to topple over, walking with a drunk swagger.  It was exactly what I had hoped to see in a desert ultramarathon.  An older guy that was determined to keep going no matter what it took.  He looked like he was doing Badwater, still had his headlamp on, in black tights and long white sleeves and he had a waterpack too.  I could have sworn he was going to be delirious and tell me he there were little elephants on the side of the road.  He wasn't!!  He did say, however, that it was the worst thing he had ever done.  He had done the race last year too and apparently it was about 40 degrees cooler!!  I bid him farewell and ran off.

Then I ran into another aid station that was just setting up, all they had to offer me was water.  Good thing I had grabbed some gummy bears from the last aid station and I still had some GU.  I then ran into two guys from Atlanta that commented on my Five Fingers and the weather.  I gave the one guy some H2O from my pack since he had been out for the past 5 miles and we still had two to go.  I ran on, still feeling great!  Even better since I had just passed two tough-looking guys from Atlanta!!  

Coming up to the finish, I tightened my pack, hoping to bust out a cartwheel and then forgot to when I crossed the line.  But, I did put my arms up and smile quite a bit!  thWhen the race director handed me my award for being 1st in my age division, a potted cactus that matched my skirt, I was thrilled!  I ate a bit, drank some, gave my email address to Melissa and there comes Mike...  this time, he DID topple over!!!!!!!  Right into the dried up bushes!  The race director just laughed and said, "He does this EVERY time". Melissa and I ran to go get him and help him to the finish.  Steve was there too with us and they carried each other to the finish.  

I came in at 6:58, 16th out of 30, the 6th woman.  I met a lot of great people, runners and volunteers alike, pushed my limits and feel more prepared than ever for my next event:  Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon, a 44 mile run, May 5th.  

The drive home was WONDERFUL, even though there was traffic, I was still feeling the Pepsi and Mountain Dew.