Page 1

SPECIAL SECTION: ROAD TRIPPIN’

Al geal the nee r you d Sh to GO.

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Tune Your

Bike

AUGUST 2009

TIPS TO A SMOOTH RIDE Ultra-Athlete Secrets

MEET WOMEN WHO

GO THE DISTANCE Get Blown Away LEARN TO KITEBOARD Your First Marathon

EXCLUSIVE TRAINING PROGRAM

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: SAVING THE LEATHERBACK TURTLE LESSONS FROM ADVENTURE RACING

EATING RIGHT? TEST YOUR NUTRITION I.Q. THRIVE IN THE WILD™ $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V7N4

PLUS:

August 2009 Display Until October 1 WOMENSADVENTUREMAGAZINE.COM

PORTRAIT OF AN AID WORKER, HOUSEBOATING, HIKING MAKEOVER, KEN BURNS NEW DOCUMENTARY, AVOIDING BUG-BORNE ILLNESS, FABRIC TECHNOLOGY, AND LEARNING HOW TO LOSE


Advertorial

In cooperation with the Hudson Guild, a 100-year-old community service foundation located in a public housing complex, the garden’s progress will be filmed and chronicled on Ovation TV and online at gardenburger.com. The hope is that children and residents of this high-density urban environment will discover for themselves the taste of fresh wholesome food that they have grown with their own hands.

Gardenburger

Growing into itself, and your community

F

or more than 25 years, Gardenburger® has remained committed to the same values: making the best-tasting vegetarian foods, always with real good ingredients, from this good earth. In 2009, Gardenburger® is going back to its roots with a number of exciting

initiatives including a New York Community Garden, a gardening grant program, and even a mobile café cruising cities in their target markets. With the help of renowned agricultural landscape artist Fritz Haeg, Gardenburger® is sponsoring a public garden project on a triangular plot in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

For more information on all that Gardenburger® is doing to support communities and to provide the food that matters to you and your world, please visit www.gardenburger.com or check them out on facebook at facebook.gardenburger.com.

Also this summer, Residents of Portland, Seattle, Denver, and Austin will get to experience the Gardenburger® brand through a traveling café. Serving tasty vegetarian dishes created by local chefs, the Gardenburger® GardenFresh Café will allow people to taste and experience food that matters to them and their community. For the long term, Gardenburger® is providing seed money through it’s Community Garden Grants program and will reward grants of up to $10,000 to non-profit organizations for community gardening activities and projects improving the health, vitality and quality of life of their neighborhood residents.


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AUGUST’2009”

Features 60 ITurtle Am A Midwife A skeptical voluntourist rolls up her sleeves to save leatherback turtles in Gandoca, Costa Rica.

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By Michelle Theall

Tea And Transformation Violence against women is finally being challenged around the world. On the ground, in places like Ethiopia, it takes time for traditional attitudes to change. The International Rescue Committee’s Sunita Palekar, a 27-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio, is one of the people making that change. She’s helping to inspire, support, and empower women in Ethiopia’s Somali refugee camps. By Emily Holland

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Going The

Distance More and more women are taking on the challenge of ultraevents. Let this be your warning—and your inspiration. By Kristy Holland


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Departments

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10. 38. 40.

[ THE DIRT ]

People, Places, and Things from Our Outdoor World

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23

[ LOVE ON THE ROCKS ]

The Great Indoors

Being captive by love isn’t really all that bad [ PSYCHOBABBLE ]

Losers Weepers

Even if you never win, you can still use losing to your advantage

42.

Made in El Salvador

44.

Go Fly a Kite

Excerpted from a book in progress by Mary Winston Nicklin, this passage from Chapter one of Made in El Salvador tells the story of the ragtag tour guide who eventually turns her world upside down [ TRY THIS ]

Thanks to advances in equipment, kiteboarding is no longer only for daredevils. Combining the best of snowboarding, surfing, and paragliding, kiteboarding just may be the most fun you’ve had in the water

46. 48.

52

[ WHOLE HEALTH ]

Bug-Borne Illness

p. 52

SPECIAL SECTION: ROAD TRIPPIN’

What you need to know to stay safe this summer [ YES, YOU CAN ]

For a smooth ride all summer spend some time with these hot spots on your cycle

50. 52.

Tune Your

Tune Your Bike

[ IT’S PERSONAL ]

Running With the Bulls

Facing down one-ton bulls in a rush of adrenaline

p. 48 p. 34

p. 60

AUGUST 2009

Bike

TIPS TO A SMOOTH RIDE IT TAKES A VILLAGE: SAVING THE LEATHERBACK TURTLE

Ultra-Athlete Secrets

MEET WOMEN WHO

GO THE DISTANCE Get Blown Away LEARN TO KITEBOARD

LESSONS FROM ADVENTURE RACING

Your First Marathon

EXCLUSIVE TRAINING PROGRAM

p. 20

Al ge l the needar you

Sh to GO. NO op W!

EATING RIGHT? TEST YOUR NUTRITION I.Q. THRIVE IN THE WILD™ $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V7N4

PLUS:

p. 15

PORTRAIT OF AN AID WORKER, HOUSEBOATING, HIKING MAKEOVER, KEN BURNS NEW DOCUMENTARY, AVOIDING BUG-BORNE ILLNESS, FABRIC TECHNOLOGY, AND LEARNING HOW TO LOSE

August 2009 Display Until October 1 .

p. 27

[ GEAR ROOM]

Get Gone!

Load it up and hit the road for a summer “stay-cation” 4  WAM OAUGUST’2009”

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76. Musings 80. Editorial womensadventuremagazine.com

Grand Canyon Np Museum Collection, Paul lang, krisan christensen

[ SENSE OF PLACE ]


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Editor’s Letter

Just like your summer, this issue is packed full of adventure. So much so, that there’s barely room for this editor’s letter. Whether you’re kiteboarding, training for a fall marathon, or embarking on a riverside road trip, we’ve got you covered. If you’re curious where I’m headed next, I’m off tomorrow to Disneyworld—a first-time parent rite of passage that will surely test my best survival skills. Then onto the Dolomites. And in between, trying to schedule in a trip to the Tetons and Glacier. We hope your travels bring you to Boulder, as we’d love to meet you at this year’s The Women’s Adventure EVENT in Boulder, CO on September 26 (see details at event.womensadventuremagazine.com). It’s a chance for us to get together on a single day and learn new sports, demo gear, have a massage, and win some crazy-fun raffle items. Wherever you go this summer, share your adventures with us by sending your photos to edit@ womensadventuremagazine.com. Can’t wait to see them and hear all about it! Cheers, Michelle Theall

Contributors

Emily Holland

Until recently, Emily Holland worked as senior special projects officer for the International Rescue Committee, a world leader in humanitarian relief established in 1933 at the suggestion of Albert Einstein. There, she wrote, shot, and produced advocacy films and articles about the IRC’s efforts to assist refugees, displaced people, and other victims of conflict. She documented the IRC’s work in Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Darfur, Sudan. Currently, Emily is working on a book about a Liberian woman who has spent her life gathering the stories of former child soldiers and their victims, both in her home country, Liberia, and in New York. Prior to the IRC, Emily worked for ABC News Primetime Thursday and Good Morning America and as a producer for CNN’s Paula Zahn Now and Anderson Cooper 360.

Andrea Minarcek

Andrea Minarcek is a staff editor at National Geographic Adventure magazine covering travel, personalities, and health and fitness. She currently calls the Big Apple home, but she’s a Midwesterner through and through: She was born in West Virginia, raised in Dayton, Ohio, and went to college at Indiana University, Bloomington. The only thing she loves more than Hoosier basketball is getting outside and exploring the East Coast environs beyond the concrete jungle. She’s an avid runner, hiker, and traveler and, most recently hit the jungles of Costa Rica to report this months “Roar,” page 30.

Mary Winston Nicklin Mary Winston Nicklin met her husband on a ferry dock in Panama when he asked for a tissue to blow his nose. Her first book, Made in El Salvador, or How to Start a Business with a Frenchman in the Jungle, is based on their experience together: first traveling the isthmus of Central America then working together on sustainable tourism development. This month’s “Sense of Place” on page 42 is an excerpt from the book she wrote while living in la France profonde. A Harvard graduate, Mary’s writing—most recently from her Paris home base—has appeared in Travel Agent Magazine, Luxury Travel Advisor and The Piedmont Virginian. Despite her busy schedule, she still finds time for adventure, she’s headed to Georgia for a honneymoon climb of Europe’s tallest peak. womensadventuremagazine.com


Place You’ve Been Stranded:

EDITORIAL

Editor in Chief/ Creative Director Art Director Gear Editor/Web Editor in Chief

Michelle Theall Krisan Christensen Karina Evertsen

Cycling Editor/Web Director

Susan Hayse

Associate Editor

Kristy Holland

Copy Editor

Melaina Juntti

A fisherman’s shack on one of the world’s longest beaches in Cox’s Bazzar, Bangladesh. A torrential monsoon downpour hit in the middle of an exploratory hike, but we still covered upwards of 20 miles that day.

Contributing Editor

Snowed in at my mountain house for four days with no electricity. Only had eggs and a wood stove. Had to melt snow to drink.

Jayme Otto

Contributors

Tracy Cunningham, Corinne Garcia, Charmion Harris, Emily Holland, Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, Andrea Minarcek, Sylvia Moratto, Mary Winston Nicklin, MacKenzie Ryan, Alexa Schirtzinger On an island in the Edit Intern Tara Kusumoto San Juan’s while sea kayaking....big storm, big waves, hypothermia Design Intern Jessica Damato and Department of Natural Resources officer had to rescue me. SUBMISSIONS

For contributor’s guidelines, visit www.womensadventuremagazine.com/features/contributors-guidelines. Editorial queries or submissions should be sent to edit@womensadventuremagazine.com Photo queries should be sent to photos@womensadventuremagazine.com

Women’s Adventure is always looking for new and innovative products for women. For consideration, please send non-returnable samples to 1637 Pearl Street, Suite 201, Boulder, CO 80302-5447

PUBLISHING Publisher California Sales Director

Key Accounts/Northwest Sales Director Outside Munich, Germany - missed the last train after Rockies Sales Director too many beers at Heineken Brewery. East/Midwest Ad Rep Sales Director

Advertising Interns Circulation & Marketing Director Middle of Utah - ran out of gas. Allowed me to hone my “stunt skills” by jumping into my moving truck.

Karina Evertsen Linda Bowers linda@womensadventuremagazine.com 925 324 5907 Karina Evertsen karina@womensadventuremagazine.com 303 541 1525 Theresa Ellbogen theresa@womensadventuremagazine.com 303 641 5525 Susan Sheerin sue@womensadventuremagazine.com 303 931 6057 Brittany Bilderback, Autumn Guerrieri, Marilyn Narula, Nicole Nguyen, Jenn Tadich Rick Rhinehart

Director of Events

Joanna Laubscher joanna@womensadventuremagazine.com

Marketing Interns

Lauren Bronson, Alex Lindsay, Lauren Miles, Shannon Priem, Stephanie Yoon

If you would like to carry Women’s Adventure or explore a distribution partnership, please e-mail us at michelle@womensadventuremagazine.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS

For magazine subscriptions, change of address, or missed issues, please contact Kable Fulfillment ddln@kable.com / 800 746 3910 or visit womensadventuremagazine.com/subscribe The opinions and advice expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and are not representative of the publishing company or its members. Copyright © 2009 by Big Earth Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is expressly prohibited. Women’s Adventure makes a portion of its mailing list available from time to time to third parties. If you want to request exclusion from our promotional list, please contact us at ddln@kable.com Outdoor activities are inherently risky and participation can cause injury or loss of life. Please consult your doctor prior to beginning and workout program or sports activity, and seek out a qualified instructor. Big Earth Publishing will not be held responsible for your decision to thrive in the wild. Have fun!

Check out the full story at womensadventuremagazine.com


OAUGUST’2009” Reader’s Letters }

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Breathable, water repellent comfort for intense outdoor action. The Tempo jacket employs the latest innovations in softshell technology to dramatically reduce weight, making it perfect for trail running, cool weather jogging, or any aerobic activity that calls for unobtrusive and lightweight protection. Sized just for women, reflective logos and zipper tape make it perfect for nighttime workouts, too.

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I was just browsing through your winter issue’s column, The Dirt which covers the pros and cons of base layers. I couldn’t help but notice that in your comments on cotton you did not adequately explain the most important issue, that it “holds its wetness.” Instead, you lead off with the comment, “100 percent cotton wrinkles easily.” Assuming the column is not about fashion, cotton is a terrible base layer in most climates precisely because it retains moisture. What you failed to point out is that by retaining moisture, it easily creates hot spots where there is friction such as on the feet or under straps. This can lead to chaffing and open sores. In addition, in even mild temperatures, retaining moisture next to the skin can lead to hypothermia. I would hope that the one magazine devoted to women in the outdoors would address safety issues before style. Rhonda Krafchin JUNE ISSUE CORRECTION Nova Scotia is here, not here.

Send your letters to the Editor at: edit@womensadventuremagazine.com

8  WAM OAUGUST’2009”

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Enter to win yours for free by going to womensadventuremagazine.com/marmot by August 30. The winner will be announced September 15. Click your way to adventure

On the Web Want to get the rest of the story?

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Your Adventure

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

Me (at age 3) blending into the Arctic Valley in Alaska. Still adventuring years later by diving the Great Barrier Reef. -Laura Portscheller

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To see your photos published here send images from your own adventures. edit@womensadventuremagazine.com

Poll Would you consider going on a voluntourism trip (vacation)?

10% It depends 2% No

88% Yes


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KRIS DREESSEN

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[ FAR FLUNG ]

El Sauce, Nicaragua After a two-week journey to reach El Sauce, Nicaragua, a Honduran woman takes a moment to rest during the first day of the Cristo Negro festival. For generations, families have made the month-long trek with traditional ox-drawn carts to worship at the local church where the Black Christ is housed. The Black Christ is a crucifix that features a black Jesus, created by the Catholic Church to give converts in the region a representation of Christ that looked like them. The entire community comes out to welcome the Honduran families as they roll into town. —Kris Dreesen

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[ OUT THERE ]

[ URBAN ESCAPE ]

New York, New York By Tracy Cunningham

Black asphalt, traffic exhaust, and a dense population make New York City heat almost unbearable in the late summer months. If you aren’t one of the lucky few able to escape to the Hamptons, try going green—park style.

Running along the west side of Manhattan between Battery Park and 59th Street, Hudson River Park’s 550 acres offer water sports, indoor arenas, and a bike path free of taxis. Try Pier 96 for kayaking or Chelsea Piers at 18th Street for indoor ice-skating and rock climbing. If you’re feeling really adventurous, visit Pier 40 for a breezy swing on the flying trapeze. www.hudsonriverpark.org

If Tarzan Traveled Looking to branch out from your usual travel accommodations? Consider hanging out in a designer treehouse. Michael Garnier’s Out ‘n’ About Treehouse Treesort features 18 treehouses set as high as 40 feet off the ground. Scattered among 36 woodsy acres adjacent to the Siskiyou National Forest in southwestern Oregon, these aerial abodes range from $120 to $250 per night. Open year round, the Treesort includes forts, platforms, swinging bridges up to 32 feet in the air, Tarzan swings, a ropes course, and horseback rides. We especially love the ziplines—there’s nearly one mile of zip-able cable.

Cool off in an electric boat in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park—home of the borough’s only lake. Beginning at the Audubon Center, these 20-minute tours take you through the woodlands into the park’s placid 60-acre waterway, where you can also rent a paddleboat. www.prospectpark.org

[ LUNCHTIME ADVENTURE ]

Got one hour?

Walk a shelter dog from your local Humane Society. 1

Attend an information meeting.

2

Commit to one volunteer shift per week for six months.

3

Savor your weekly dose of unconditional love.

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Take a dip in Central Park’s Lasker Pool, located near 108th Street and open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free. After drying off, explore the wooded northern end of the park, possibly the shadiest area in Manhattan. Follow the winding trails for views of wildlife and a trickling waterfall. www.centralparknyc.org

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They’re already taking reservations for 2010 visits. www.treehouses.com


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TRAVEL Pennsylvania West Virginia

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Maryland

[ TOWN SPOTLIGHT ]

Fayetteville, WV y ck

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Population: 2,754 Elevation: 1,818 feet Town motto: Gateway to the New River Gorge Access: One-hour drive from Charleston, the state capital

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1. Family fun: New River Gorge Adventure Center

4 . Local flavor: Cathedral Café Locals meet here prior to setting out on their aventure du jour. Located in Fayetteville’s national historic district, towering stainedglass windows and lofty cathedral ceilings reveal the café’s former life as a turn-of-the-century church.

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Offers rafting for kids ages 6 and up, as well as rock climbing, horseback riding, and fishing for children as young as 8 and biking for those 10 and older.

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2 . Après-sport: Pies and Pints

3 . Claim to fame: Bridge Day What do you do with a 900-foot steel bridge strung across the New River? BASEjump or rappel it, of course. The festivities at the New River Gorge Bridge October 17 will draw hundreds of BASE jumpers and nearly 80,000 spectators.

Home of the best pizza in West Virginia, if not the world, Pies and Pints features handcrafted pies and premium beer. Try the Thai Pie, made with homemade curry sauce.

5 . Recommended reading: New River Gorge, Meadow River and Summersville Lake Rock Climbers’ Guidebook by Steve Cater (King Coal Propaganda, 2006) Simply the most comprehensive climbing guide to the area, now in full color. The third version includes 300 new routes and a two-star grading system.

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Perched on the rim of the 800-feet-deep New River Gorge, nothing says summertime fun like scenic Fayetteville, West Virginia. The gorge’s world-class recreation includes climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. Historic charm, curious shops, and unique restaurants make Fayetteville a perfect extreme-adventure getaway.


[ TRAVEL TREND ]

Houseboating Become a drifter on your own floating peninsula

S

urrounded by silence, I stretch out on my back and gaze up into the deep, dark night sky. Millions of stars wink back. This is the kind of isolation felt only deep in the backcountry, the proverbial “middle of nowhere.” Except my middle of nowhere is a far-flung bank of Lake Powell on the upper deck of a houseboat. If your next adventure involves a group of friends or family and water, consider a houseboat rental instead of camping, hostel hopping, or staying at a hotel or vacation property. These 59- to 75-foot transportable homes-away-from-home are equipped with all the amenities you need to explore, eat, and sleep in comfort. They offer a way to get into the wild without roughing it. With four bedrooms, state-of-the-art kitchens, gas grills, top-deck hot tubs, and even waterslides, houseboats are proof base camp can be remote without being primitive.

Frank Talbot

Prices vary by location, but taking the Antelope Point Marina on Lake Powell as an example, you’re looking at $95 to $175 per person for a group of 12 during peak season, which is May 21 through September 7. The price also varies depending on the size and features of the houseboat. No boating experience? No problem, according to Karie Stupek of Forever Resorts, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based company that focuses on vacations to natural places. “Upon arrival at the marina, you watch an orientation video followed by a one-hour instructional session with a pilot who teaches you how to drive the houseboat, how to beach it, and how to stake it,” Karie explains. “The pilot even takes you out onto open water, so you don’t have to worry about navigating around the marina or the break wall.” If you’re still not comfortable, Karie says the marina will handle the driving and beaching on an on-demand basis.

Roughing it on Lake Powell 1 Arizona’s Antelope Point Marina on Lake Powell

Lake Powell and the encircling Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are located in the spectacular high desert of the southwestern U.S. Antelope is the closest land-based marina to the world-famous Rainbow Bridge National Monument and is adjacent to popular Antelope and Navajo canyons. www.antelopepointlakepowell.com 2 California’s Lake Don Pedro Marina

This recreational treasure in the Sierra Nevada foothills and Stanislaus National Forest is near the communities of Moccasin and La Grange, bordering the northwestern corner of Yosemite National Park. www.donpedromarina.com 3 Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks Marina

Lake of the Ozarks has over 1,100 miles of shoreline in four different Missouri counties; it’s the largest manmade lake in the Midwest. www.lakeoftheozarksmarina.com For more information on houseboating adventures across the U.S., visit www.houseboating.org.


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[ PRO/CON ]

Paying for Performance Lately, personal trainers have been gaining in popularity. So, do you need a coach?

NO

A good coach or personal trainer can help you get the most out of any workout by correcting your form, motivating you with positive feedback, and holding you accountable. They customize your training based on your goals and keep your routine fresh. Your body adjusts to a certain level of activity and range of motion, meaning that at some point, you’re getting diminishing returns for the same amount of effort. One hour on the trail can be used a million different ways, and a coach will make sure you get the most benefit out of that time.

[ GANNETT’S GREEN TIPS ]

A

If you’re bogged down by unrequested catalogs that appear in your mailbox, go to www.DMAchoice.org. You can block junk mail, get off mailing lists, and handpick the catalogs you really want to receive. Bring your own coffee mug or stainless steel thermos to the local barista for your regular java jolt. Also, air-dry your hands in public restrooms and forgo paper napkins and tissues whenever possible. These small gestures can really make a difference in our consumption and waste.

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Got an opinion? Weigh in on the debate at the womensadventuremagazine.com forum pages.

Save Tree

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You already know what to do and how to do it, so why pay someone else? Trainers are time consuming and difficult to fit into a busy schedule. Plus, you’re not trying to make the Olympics—you just want to go out for a nice, evenly paced run at lunch. Save your money for a new pair of running shoes, and try to shake up your routine when you get into a rut.

The Bumblebee Poison Dart Frog lives in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Though tiny (just 3 to 4 centimeters), this frog has no problem defending itself: it secretes a nerve toxin through its skin to disable predators.

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istock; CORRYNN COCHRAN; istock

YES


[ ACTION ]

Campaign for Congo Running hard to raise money

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he women of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been suffering a humanitarian crisis characterized by rape, abuse, and sexual violence for two decades. Since 1998, over 5.4 million people have died, nearly half of them children. But Lisa Shannon didn’t know any of this until one day in 2005 when she was at home sick, watching The Oprah Winfrey Show. “I didn’t even know where the Congo was,” says Lisa, founder of the nonprofit Run for Congo Women (RFCW). “We’re looking at the deadliest war since World War II, and I had never even heard of it.” Once she saw Oprah’s special, Lisa was eager to do whatever she could, and she signed up to sponsor two Congolese women through the nonprofit Women for Women International. But it wasn’t enough. Lisa decided to run 30 miles—“far enough to reflect the seriousness of the suffering in the Congo,” she later wrote—and gathered donations to support Congolese women. After four months of training (in secret, in case she couldn’t finish), Lisa ran the entire length of Portland, Oregon’s Wildwood Trail and raised $6,000. Run for Congo Women was born. “I didn’t expect it to take off,” Lisa says of her nonprofit. But last year over 1,700 women in several states and countries participated in RFCW’s group runs, raising over $100,000 to directly assist 72 Congolese women. “I was amazed that American women really wanted to get involved,” she says. “I’ve found it’s become almost a lifestyle.” This is the case for Robin Potawsky, a 51-year-old selfdescribed “nontraditional college student” who saw the same Oprah

special. When she heard about RFCW, she immediately started training. In September 2006, alone on a North Carolina trail, Robin embarked on her own 12-mile run. She’d run before, but never this far, and her son rode his bike alongside her, passing her candy bars when she was hungry. “I kept running, and it wasn’t that hard!” Robin says. But it wasn’t just candy bars that kept her going: “It was spiritual,” she explains. “I was alone, yet I wasn’t alone. I had some of the women with me saying, ‘You can do it.’” Imagining the suffering of women half a world away helped Robin take her mind off her aching feet. She vowed to keep running for the Congo’s women, and in 2008, she organized a group of runners and raised $11,500 in donations. These days, Robin doesn’t have to channel the women of the Congo—they come naturally, “just like they’re a part of me,” she says. In 2007, Lisa got her first chance to meet some of these Congolese women in the flesh. “When I describe my 30-mile trail run and all the American women who are doing this, they’re shocked that [we] would ‘accept to suffer’ for them,” Lisa says. But that knowledge helps combat the dehumanizing effects of a conflict that has left so many nameless dead in its wake. “Consistently I heard, ‘We feel like human beings again,’” Lisa says. “When we talk about the Congo, it’s easy to look at it as a pit of despair. But there’s a spirit in Congolese women that is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered. There’s a real resilience.” The same could be said of a woman who runs 30 miles. —Alexa Schirtzinger


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[ AROUND THE WORLD ]

courage of those first 15 players. The team doubled in size within six months. Four years later the program was so successful that Felicité formed the Association of Kigali Women in Sport (AKWOS) with the missions of empowering women in Rwanda through sports and education, enhancing unity and reconciliation efforts, improving women’s rights, boosting self-confidence, and preventing HIV and AIDS. In 2006 AKWOS expanded to include basketball, volleyball, and running. It even nabbed a sponsorship from Nike.

Girl Power

How sports are helping a ravaged Rwanda heal

I

n Rwanda 15 years ago, genocide against the Tutsi peaked, leaving more than 1 million people dead. The bloodshed orphaned about 400,000 children and widowed thousands of women. Many women were raped and are now HIV-positive. The last thing on these women’s minds had been playing ball. But 50-year-old Felicité Rwemalika thought women should do just that.

Inspired by women athletes in neighboring Uganda, Felicité envisioned reaching out to genocide survivors through sports. She tried to start a women’s soccer club in 1997. It took her two years to convince enough girls (and their mothers) to play. Societal norms relegating women to household chores were only one barrier to participation, according to Felicité. “Soccer was a challenging sport to start with because it was unheard of for Rwandan woman to use the feet,” she says. “It was believed that women must only do activities such as cultural dancing or sports with the hands.” Once Felicité had momentum, her club started to grow. The first team was called Urumuli, which means light, referring to the

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Overall, Rwanda’s recent track record with women has been stellar: Women hold one-third of all government cabinet positions, and last fall its parliament became the first in the world in which women claimed the majority. Nevertheless, there’s still work to be done in sports, because only 3 percent of women currently play. To that end, AKWOS began hosting an international conference on gender equity in sports for social change. This year’s third annual conference in July included a 10K women’s run in which more than 1,000 women participated. “It’s taken a lot of patience to achieve this for Rwanda,” says Felicité. “The genocide left many of the women survivors traumatized, with little value left in their lives. Sports are a way to wake those women up and to instill hope in their children.”

womensadventuremagazine.com

Will Chesser

AKWOS founder, Felicité Rwemalika, leaning against a goal post in a Kigali schoolyard

Today AKWOS boasts 15 soccer teams of more than 400 girls. Rwanda has a thriving national league for women’s soccer, as well as a national team that hopes to compete in the African Women’s Cup. AKWOS has set up a network of professionally trained female soccer coaches and has prepared 100 primary school teachers who are now teaching more than 5,000 girls in 50 schools.


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FUN STUFF

[ QUIZ ]

What’s Your Nutrition IQ?

You might know how much you weigh, but when it comes to sports nutrition, knowing the numbers can help you perform your best— not to mention slash your recovery time. Take this quiz to see if your nutrition IQ stacks up like a ton of bricks or a pile of pancakes. you know your metabolic type? a) No, but I eat steak before I race and know that carbs are my kiss of death. b) I’m a fast oxidizer and live off low-purine proteins. Tofu? Turkey? Tuna? Totally! c) Do you mean, like, my favorite food?

2

If you’re trying to lower your glycemic load, which tasty tidbit should you avoid? a) Macaroni and cheese b) White bread c) Peanuts

3

Electrolytes: a) Are helping to flight global warming. I just replaced all my household bulbs. b) Come in pill form, too. I keep a few tucked in my running belt for long-distance days. c) Are in Gatorade, right? G2 Strawberry is my favorite after a long ride!

4

Running your last marathon, you fueled up on: a) Race-eve pasta and a rest-stop orange or two en route. b) Your body’s fat reserves—and you bonked at mile 22. c) Energy-bar bites and gels that kept you running hard the whole time.

5

Nutritional acronyms abound, but what does the food-label abbreviation “DV” stand for? a) Daily value b) Dietary value c) Doughnut value

6

You burned 750 calories rock climbing this afternoon. What comes closest to replenishing the loss? a) A 16-ounce Starbucks hot chocolate with whipped cream b) Four Big Macs and a super-sized order of fries c) Nine glorious inches of a Subway tuna sandwich

7

A healthy proportion of dietary fat would make up what percent of your diet? a) 10 to 25 b) 15 to 35 c) 40 to 50

8

Drenched in sweat, your postworkout weigh-in puts you down two pounds. You should: a) Start a diet right away to capitalize on the jump start. b) Hydrate. You’ll need 40 to 48 ounces to replenish the waterweight loss. c) Eat a light, salty snack and drink a tall glass of water.

9

Which combo is helping you get the most bang for your nutritional buck? a) Mandarin oranges on your spinach salad b) Coffee and doughnuts c) Marinara-tossed pasta

10

To make a healthy change without losing too much freedom—or flavor—which dietary switch is worth the trouble? a) Local produce for organic b) White rice for brown rice c) Extra-virgin olive oil for light olive oil

If you scored: 10-17: Your genetics may be helping you look fit—or not—

but your knowledge of food facts and figures weighs in well below healthy. Even if you’re happy with your fitness or too busy to cook, consider studying a little about healthy eating and the pros and cons of food choices. Knowing the difference between white and wholewheat won’t make you a fanatic, and it might help you perform better on the trail.

18-24:

You understand enough about nutrition to know you should care, but you sometimes forget the details when it comes to taking your daily vitamin or picking the “best” of the billion apples in the produce department. The variety and balance that keeps you healthy includes reading up on the facts, weighing in with healthy choices when you can, and an occasional nacho-fueled night on the town.

25-30:

You may know every nutritional detail published since Adam stole that apple from the Garden of Eden, but obsessing about food, calories, and nutrition isn’t as healthy as an occasional indulgence. Limiting choices can steal some of life’s flavor, so consider spicing things up by enjoying the social aspects of food: sharing and preparation with friends.

Add up your points: 1) a. 2, b. 3, c. 1; 2) a. 1, b. 2, c. 3; 3) a. 1, b. 3, c. 2; 4) a. 2, b. 1, c. 3; 5) a. 3, b. 2, c. 1; 6) a. 2, b. 1, c. 3; 7) a. 3, b. 2, c. 1; 8) a. 1, b. 3, c. 2; 9) a. 3, b. 1, c. 2; 10) a. 2, b. 3, c. 1.

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istock

1 You know your weight, but do


[ WORDSWORTH ]

—Dara Torres, the oldest Olympian to win a medal in swimming, at age 41 in Beijing. Excerpted from her new book Age is Just a Number (Broadway Books, 2009, $24.95).

Surfing Jargon Blown Out │ Snap

blown out (‘blōn aut) 1. adjective. swollen or bloated. 2. adjective. no longer lit, as in birthday candles. 3. adjective. waves and surf turned choppy by strong winds. egg (‘āg) 1. verb. to incite to action. 2. noun. the hard-shelled reproductive body produced by a bird. 3. noun. a retro surfboard style often with only a single fin. fetch (‘fech) 1. verb. to go and get something and bring it back. 2. noun. an exclamation yelled at dogs. 3. noun. distance over which wind blows in a swell generation event; along with duration and velocity, one of the important factors in wave generation. pearl (‘p r(- )l) 1. noun. a dense, variously colored growth within the shell of some mollusks, used as a gem. 2. verb. to form into small round grains. 3. verb. when the nose of a surfboard goes under the water upon a take off, usually precedes a wipe out. e

ă pat/ā pay/âr care/ä father/b bib/ ch church/d deed/ĕ pet/ē be/f fife/g gag/ hat/

[ WHAT IN THE WORLD? ] Test yourself by identifying the image.

ANSWER: Leatherback turtle’s eggs at night. (See article on pg.60)

Al Messerschmid; istock; Pokin yeung

e

“I wanted to prove to the world that you don’t have to put an age limit on your dreams, that the real reason most of us fear middle age is that middle age is when we give up on ourselves.”

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FUN STUFF

[ MEDIA ROOM ]

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea Your summer visit to Yellowstone or Yosemite—or even to San Antonio Missions or Ellis Island—may not feel like the culmination of a historic struggle, or exercising your democratic rights. But The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, a 12-hour documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns, might change all that. “We think it’s the Declaration of Independence applied to the landscape,” says Burns, whose 30year filmmaking career has produced some of America’s most powerful historical documentaries to date, including The Civil War and Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery “For the very first time in human history, land was set aside not for kings or noblemen or the very rich, but for everybody and for all time,” says Burns. On Film: Bison grazing, molten lava boiling at the edges of the Pacific, and clouds swirling below Denali’s summit: These images of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea are a microcosm of the national parks—so too are the documentary’s stories. In the six-part

The story begins in 1851 and includes familiar national-park heroes, such as Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir. But Burns adds names you’ve likely never heard to the roster: Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a Florida reporter who helped save the Everglades; George Melendez Wright, one of the National Park Service’s first biologists, who financed a comprehensive wildlife study of the parks; and dozens of other individuals who break the traditional mold of historical American heroes. Burns and Duncan propose that the creation of the national parks was a truly revolutionary idea; they offer a complicated retrospective of issues that continue to affect environmental policy today. Though the film maintains a historical perspective, Burns suggests that the cycle of park threats is, in fact, a cycle—and that understanding previous challenges and ecosystem integrity can help inform present-day conservation debates.

archival footage, and signature narrative style, combined with compelling interviews with wellspoken park staff and writers, make The National Parks: America’s Best Idea yet another must-see documentary from this Oscar-winning filmmaker. While watching the series won’t solve the logistics of your next national-park vacation, it will enhance your appreciation of the people who’ve created what Burns calls the best bargain he’s ever seen: a system of public lands for all to enjoy. In Print: At a hefty 432 pages, the tome of the same name that accompanies the film series expands on the stories of each national park and includes full interviews pulled from the film—including one with writer Terry Tempest Williams and activist. Available September 8, the book is stocked with striking photographs, both contemporary and archival, and includes a removable full-color map of the national park system. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009; $50)

Harpers Ferry Center, Historic Photo Collection

series debuting on PBS September 27, Burns and writer Dayton Duncan delve into the origin of America’s national parks by piecing together large and small tales, up-close and big-picture perspectives, and their own personal experiences intertwined with our nation’s collective memory.

With the help of photographer Tuan Luong—whose personal story is featured in the series—the films include breathtaking images from all 58 of the natural national parks and several of the 333 monuments and historic sites administered by the National Park Service. The images and narrative also illustrate the changing roles of the Park Service since its founding in 1916. Burns’ extensive research, complicated historical analysis,

After the world premiere of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea at May’s Mountainfilm in Telluride festival, WAM associate editor Kristy Holland spoke with Burns about the series, the future of our national parks, and the role of women in park history. Read the full interview transcript and view a clip from their conversation at: womensadventuremagazine.com

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womensadventuremagazine.com


[ KIDS CORNER ]

Kids Rock!

[ EVOLUTION ]

Of Navigation 3500 B.C

Celestial Navigation The angle of the North Star above the horizon is the same as the latitudinal location.

c. 13th century

Mariner’s Compass The compass needle points to magnetic north but the difference between magnetic and true left early mariners wandering.

1730 From dropping over the edge of a crib to shimmying up a backyard oak, most kids have at least some experience with parent-scaring climbs. “Kids are natural climbers,” says Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou, a four-time World Cup champion climber who runs a youngster-specific climbing and bouldering program, ABC for Kids. “Anytime you put your hands and feet on a wall, it’s cross-brain movement and training, and that helps kids develop.”

istock

When it comes to kids and climbing, basic instruction is key, says Robyn, but most local climbing gyms offer family or discounted child memberships and summer or after-school programs for kids as young as 3. Competitive climbing teams offer a social sport alternative for kids who aren’t interested in soccer or scouting. Even if you’re not a climber, don’t let mind-boggling heights or a fear of gear failure ground pint-sized talent. Check out these resources for getting kids into climbing: •

Extreme Kids by Scott Graham (Wilderness Press, 2006; $17) makes suggestions for connecting kids to adventure activities based on their ages, your location, your comfort level, and their interests and needs.

Fun Climbs Colorado by Sibylle Hechtel (Sharp End Publishing, 2008; $22) highlights climbing routes, logistical details, and even non-climbing activities in nine of Colorado’s most kid-friendly climbing destinations. Won’t feel comfortable without cell phone service? Hope to avoid poison ivy–packed base areas? This book has all the info you’ll need to feel comfortable taking your kids someplace new.

[ GET OUT OF WORK EXCUSE ]

Need a little time off? We’ve got you covered.

Sextant More accurately determines latitude by measuring the angle of the sun and stars above the horizon.

1764

Seagoing chronometer British clockmaker John Harrison invented this time keeping device that standardized navigational measurements.

1935

Radar Bouncing radio waves off out-of-sight objects to determine their distance, altitude, speed and direction revoutionized navigation pre WWII.

1973

GPS Super accurate space-based radionavigation system uses 24 satellites to triangulate 2 and 3-dimensional positions on earth.

One hour: Rehydrating from morning run. Half day: Dogs got skunked. All day: Swine flu relapse

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[ GOTTA HAVE ]

Your Best Friend’s Best Friend Don’t Sweat It: A New Gadget for Cool Kids A bit hokey for adults to carry around, the Genexus Handy Cooler attaches to strollers and increases the cool factor for your tots. This portable evaporative air cooler works best in very hot, dry conditions (think Vegas or Arizona) and literally reduces the temperature of the air within your baby jogger (or tent). It’s easy to use, lightweight, and way better than cutting short your run or your trip to Disneyworld. $49. www.myhandycooler.com

Summer’s here, and you and Fido are ready to cool off in your favorite watering hole. (And we don’t mean your corner bar!) Just because many dogs love to jump in and play at the beach, don’t assume all dogs are natural swimmers. Ruff Wear has recently introduced two new canine life jackets, the Portage Float Coat and the Big Eddy Float Coat, to provide safety and security in all types of water. Try the Portage on canoe, sailing, or lake trips over smooth waters and the Big Eddy for long swims in rough oceans or rivers. Both coats utilize technology that supports your pup in a natural horizontal swimming position. $50. Portage Float Coat; $75. Big Eddy Float Coat. www.ruffwear.com

Sound Waves for Swimmers Studies have proven that listening to music while working out improves your endurance threshold, motivation, and enjoyment. And there’s no reason for lap swimmers to miss out on all the fun. H20 Audio’s Interval, used by 2008 Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin, allows you to hit the pool with your favorite playlist. The waterproof case holds your iPod or MP3 player, and the headphones are customizable. Feel the beat, but try not to sing along. $80. www.h2oaudio.com

—Sylvia Moratto [ HAHA, LOL, ROTFL ]

© 2008 Tundra Comics

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INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION

[ DREAM JOB ]

Meet Christine Bender

Age: 54 Stomping grounds: Boise, Idaho, and coastal historical wreckage Job: Historical fiction writer

Sailing on replicas of the Nina and Santa Maria inspired historical novelist Christine Bender to write her first book about Christopher Columbus, and in May she released her third, The Whaler’s Forge (Caxton Press, 2009; $16.95). Chalk it up to her overactive sense of curiosity—or the archeological dig she did last summer—but Christine loves the research as much as the writing. She takes a break from studying up on dead reckoning, poring over 17th century log books, and bringing historical figures to life to tell WAM what she loves about being a writer.

What was so special about the dig? My ancestors were Basque and came from a small whaling village on the coast of Spain, so it was really tantalizing that I could be peeking into their lives. Near the St. Lawrence River, we looked at a cooperage and blacksmith shop that had burned to the ground. While I was working one area, I found a musket ball and realized that the building had been fired upon before burning down. It was a moment of possibility that I could integrate into my stories and describe with absolute clarity. 26  WAM OAUGUST’2009”

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What makes you a good writer? I’ve been told I’m not afraid to do wild things—such as go on a dig that takes 46 hours of traveling. For one of my stories, I crossed the river with the Bannock Indian tribe when others in my group turned back. There’s a thrill-seeker side of me that wants that firsthand experience to really understand my characters. I tend to be very organized but also flexible; I let my characters develop in my mind, but I let them write their own stories.

What else do you love about your job? Really, the learning. Learning about other people is a reward in and of itself. I’m constantly trying to stretch myself and increase my knowledge and wisdom about the world. In my next story, and in the stories I hope to write, I’m searching for that.

Susan Stemke; Bruce Linder

How did you decide to focus on historical fiction? I fell I love with writing in college, but I went into business and had a family—two sets of twins. In 1997, I got to a point where I could no longer not write. So I started researching my first book about the voyage of Christopher Columbus. I got to sail on replicas of his ships, but it wasn’t until I really experienced that that I got hooked. The research is actually equally compelling and as exciting as the actual writing. The archaeological dig I did last summer, researching Basque whalers in Quebec, is another example.

What’s a typical day at work? I spend about 30 percent of my time researching, 50 percent writing and 20 percent promoting. I’m in my office by 8 a.m. I hesitate to say it, but I’ve never had writer’s block. When I sit down to the computer, it’s like someone has to hold me back. I learn so much before I even start.

womensadventuremagazine.com


[ RED CARPET ]

10-minute Sports Makeover When Kim Phillips, 28, hits the trail—for work or play—she doesn’t much care what she’s wearing, just as long as she gets her time in the mountains. This Idaho native works with GPS-toting hikers and bikers all over the country but likes to keep it low-tech when it comes to her own outfitting. REI manager Anna Ransdell of Boulder, Colorado, worked with us to update Kim’s day-hike attire with fabrics, cuts, and accessories that’ll help her cover more miles—comfortably— on the trail. Polarized Smith sunglasses help cut glare on alpine lakes and latesummer snowfields. No head or eye protection from harsh alpine sunshine Cotton T-shirt without layers is a recipe for discomfort in changing weather conditions. Oversized backpack with out supportive belt or structural reinforcements

Short-sleeved nylon–polyester blend shirt dries in a snap and has underarm ventilation and an SPF of 30. REI’s Stoke 19 women’s pack has eggcrate foam to cushion, ventilate, and give shoulder and back support. Small size holds up to 10 pounds of day gear; easyaccess pockets on the hip belt are a plus. A 45-ounce CamelBak shifts carrying weight to your pack, lets you sip while you walk, and keeps water cool. Lightweight Shock Light Titanal poles adjust to heights between 80 and 125 centimeters to accommodate tall and petite hikers and different angles of terrain.

Ancient BPAleaking water bottle Khaki shorts “look the part” but lack stretch, quick-drying ability, zippered pockets, and versatility. Paper map is out-of date and won’t hold up to heavy trail use. Cotton crew-height socks Worn-out tennis shoes let trail dirt in and offer little support.

Garmin’s waterproof Oregon 300 has a sunlight-readable touch screen, 16-hour battery life, and a built-in shaded base map. More stylish than firstgeneration convertibles, REI’s Rendezvous capris offer coverage on overgrown trails. Zippered pockets, four-way stretch, and a center gusset for increased range of motion.

Ben fullerton

Organic merino hiking socks have extra heel and toe cushioning and stay warm (and dry quickly) after creek crossings. To enter to win your own sports makeover, go to: womensadventuremagazine.com

Low-top Vasque Briza GTX boot, with a fabric and leather upper provides ankle support on rough, rocky trails but are lighter and more comfortable than serious backcountry boots. WAM OAUGUST’2009” 

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[ NEWS ]

ComputerChip Medicine

On March 11, President Obama established a special council to analyze the specific issues affecting women and girls in America and ensure that the federal government is responsive to those needs. Obama stressed that when women and girls suffer, the whole country suffers. He cited ongoing inequities for American women, including lower pay than male counterparts; underrepresentation in science, engineering, and technology fields; and lack of health insurance and maternity leave, along with the global prevalence of violence against women and girls and the challenge of ensuring equal educational opportunities. This month the council members will present their recommendations for efforts to further the progress and advancement of women and girls. Obama’s executive order can be found at: www.whitehouse.gov. What this will do: Give women and girls a stronger voice in government programs, funding, and policy.

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Who this will benefit: Patients with Crohn’s disease, colitis, and colon cancer

Plasma of the Cuttlefish

While cuttlefish might not be much to look at, engineers at MIT have replicated the fish’s rare ability to change color to match an environment in a new technology to be used in television screens. The screen works by reflecting light instead of producing it, meaning the screen will be cheap, light, and easy to assemble. The current prototype is only 1 micron thick. Why we care: The new screen uses one-hundredth of the power of current television screens.

womensadventuremagazine.com

MANDEL NGAN; istock

In Case You Blinked and Missed It…White House Establishes Council on Women and Girls

Coming soon to a digestive tract near you, research and development teams at Philips (yes, the same company that makes plasma televisions) have produced the first intelligent drug capsule—the Philips iPill. The iPill (moving into clinical trial phase) uses onboard sensors to detect pH levels in the digestive system—information it uses to navigate from the stomach to the colon—where it can dispense medication to specific disease sites. It also allows for metered and monitored dosing on the fly.


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INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION

[ ROAR ]

Robyn Benincasa

Without slowing down, she’s in it to win it

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n her 15-year career as a professional adventure racer, Robyn Benincasa has competed in close to 40 expedition-length events—gnarly, multiday, multisport killers such as Primal Quest and Eco-Challenge. She’s biked through jungles in Borneo, climbed Himalayan giants in Nepal, trekked across lava fields in Fiji, rafted rapids in Chile—and racked up multiple world championship titles along the way. In her spare time, Robyn, 42, is a full-time firefighter in San Diego, on the nation’s first allfemale crew. She previously competed in college-level diving and gymnastics and raced six Ironman triathlons. Robyn might know better than anyone how to push through sore muscles and achy joints.

courtesy of project athena

But at the Adventure Racing World Championships in Scotland in 2007, Robyn was hit with sudden pain in her hips so severe she almost couldn’t finish the race. She had entered the competition with her team as a favorite but wound up barely able to make it across the finish line. She literally picked up each leg and placed it in front of her, dragging herself up the last few mountains of the course. Back home, doctors diagnosed Robyn with osteoarthritis and proclaimed her days of professional racing over. She was crushed. But her competitive spirit wasn’t quiet for long. In fact, Robyn’s love of adventure racing is what kept her afloat through the difficult time after her diagnosis. Competing again, “is the mental carrot I dangled in front of myself to get well,” she says. Soon after, Robyn founded the Project Athena Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women who’ve endured medical setbacks achieve their athletic dreams, whether it means climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or running a local 10K. The goal? To encourage survivors not just to

survive—but to thrive in the wake of their diagnoses. Robyn recruited four of her closest friends, all survivors and top endurance athletes in their own rights, as cofounders. Adventure racer Danelle Ballengee had suffered a 60-foot fall in the desert that broke her pelvis in five places. She spent three freezing nights out in the elements before her dog found help that saved her life. Melissa Cleary, a firefighter on Robyn’s squad and veteran of 40 marathons, continues to run with rheumatoid arthritis. And triathletes Louise Cooper and Florence Debout have both survived bouts with cancer. Thanks in large part to private donations, the foundation has already granted three “Athenaships” in its first full year of operation. The first went to a breast cancer survivor who fulfilled her dream of hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Then in February, Sara Jones, a two-time breast cancer survivor, competed alongside Robyn, Florence, and Melissa in a six-day race across the central mountains of Costa Rica. And in May, Melissa ran the Great Wall Marathon with Kerrie Larson-Kerkman, a 35-year-old with a degenerative spinal condition. Now, “the organization is growing so quickly that people are coming out of the woodwork to help,” Robyn says. The simplest way to contribute (and become an Athena-dubbed God or Goddess) is to donate dollars through the group’s website, projectathena.org. Another more active (and more fun) option is signing on with Robyn and her pals for a fund-raising trip, such as their three-day ascent of Mount Whitney

this September; all of the proceeds go directly to the Athenaship fund. “We want to cast our net a little wider, to include even more people,” Robyn says. “So we’re creating a new racing series for women who want to do something amazing for others—and do it in an adventurous way.” If all goes as planned, the first AthenaGirl Adventure Challenge will kick off in Robyn’s home base of San Diego early next year—and expand to other cities coast to coast by 2011. The multisport event, Robyn says, “will be about a lot more than just walking. We plan on mixing it up with trail running, hiking, and team challenges like getting each other up and over a wall. We want this to be about quality time spent with your girls and your family—not about racing.” The theme of the Challenge, appropriately enough, is “Bring your sisters; leave your watch at home.” Robyn, however, is back in full competition mode. After successful hip-resurfacing surgery in 2007, she has recovered and returned full force to the sport she loves. This month she’ll lead Team Merrell/ Zanfel Adventure at Primal Quest Badlands, a 600-mile adventure race across the canyons, caves, and hills of South Dakota. She’s in it to win it, of course, but now she has a new goal: raising awareness for the Project Athena Foundation—and showing other survivors that medical setbacks don’t mean the end of athletic goals. Sometimes, in fact, they can lead to better things. Track Robyn’s progress August 14-23 at www.ecoprimalquest.com

—Andrea Minarcek

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[ LESSONS FROM THE FIELD ]

[ YOUR HEALTH ]

Got Immunization?

You’re not a child. You’re not traveling abroad. Why immunization still matters Each year, thousands of adults are infected with vaccine-preventable diseases. According to the National Coalition for Adult Immunization, more than 40,000 adults die from these diseases (or complications of them) each year. Think your youthful days of doctor’s-office injections are long gone? Think again. During National Immunization Awareness Month, take stock and consider these three vaccines: Tetanus-Diphtheria Booster

Getting better, one relationship at a time

I

n the sport of adventure racing, teams combine athletics, navigation, and strategy over 20-, 50-, or even 600-mile distances, yet it’s the team members’ similarities and differences that increase a group’s odds of success. In this team sport, phone calls and cappuccino communication sessions aren’t enough. Talk is cheap, and the real learning curve in endurance races usually comes somewhere after mile 35. Teammates may know each other—or not. And while it’s likely they’ve identified some common traits and goals (a sense of adventure and competitive spirit), they may differ in a plethora of others (age, gender, skill, fitness). Without a shared consciousness or understanding of individual and team goals, they’re likely to build resentment—or worse—before the finish line. Many of life’s incredible adventures can be embarked upon solo, offering confidence, a clear perspective, and a sense of control over risks, rewards, and outcomes. But in adventure racing—just as in relationships with family, friends and coworkers—convenience, control, and going it alone can’t sustain true growth and happiness. As a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, coworker, and teammate, it’s individuality that allows you to make a meaningful contribution to a family or community, big or small. As part of a team, it’s possible to redefine limits, venture outside personal comfort zones, and achieve more than is possible alone. Especially when the group invests time to skew the odds of success with everyone’s combined experience. Prioritizing relationships—developing them and maintaining them—is what makes navigating through tough times and 50-mile races a worthwhile journey toward a successful finish. —Charmion Harris

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Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) A three-part vaccine, Gardasil prevents the types of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause most cases of cervical cancer and genital warts. Approved by the FDA in 2006 for women between the ages of 11 and 26, new research is underway to test Gardasil’s efficacy in older women. If you’re under 30, it’s worth asking your doctor about now, and if you’re older, stay tuned—and stay on top of your cervical health with annual Pap smears. Nearly 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women die of the disease annually. Seasonal Influenza Vaccine (Flu Shot or LAIV) Each year, as many as one in five of us suffers from the flu, more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized because of it, and about 36,000 people die from the virus. The vaccine isn’t perfect—the three flu strains it targets are pre-flu-season predictions. But in a good year, a single-shot or a nasal-spray dose of the vaccine will prevent the flu in 70 to 90 percent of healthy folks under age 65. Good year or not, pregnant women, kids between 6 months and 19 years old, adults over 50, and anyone with close contact to people at high risk for flu complications should consider getting the vaccine as soon as it becomes available in September.

womensadventuremagazine.com

courtesy of project athena

Trying Teammates

If you’re the extreme-sports or outdoors sort (ahem, that’s you, girlie), you don’t want to overlook the tetanus-diphtheria booster. This 10-year vaccine protects against tetanus (also known as lockjaw), a disease that kills approximately 30 percent of those it infects. Tetanus is caused by bacteria that live in soil, dust, and the intestines of many animals and is usually transmitted to humans via deep, dirty cuts and scratches. Do you remember the last time you had your booster shot?


[ BY DESIGN ] Ever sat on a tropical beach and sipped a frilly drink from a coconut shell? Well, the industrial world likes these shells, too. They extract activated carbon particles from the shells to use for filtration purposes. Most of you know that carbon can make water taste better, both in your backcountry water pump and out of your kitchen tap. Similarly, when used in air filters, carbon removes nasty odors and unwanted organisms. Now imagine these functions built into your shirt.

How Did They Do That? The ins and outs of fabric technology

E

ver wondered how your favorite jacket keeps you dry in a torrential downpour? Or how that running shirt magically moves moisture away from your body, allowing your sweat to evaporate? How about this burning question: How can something be both waterproof and breathable?

istock

The simple answer is fabric technology. But what does that mean? If we were to stop here, you’d be left scratching your head as you swipe your credit card, hoping you’re buying the right piece of gear for your needs. Don’t worry: We won’t leave you hanging. A full understanding of fabric technology could require heading back to college for a second degree—but since few of us have that kind of time or interest, we’ve done some work for you to help you better understand what makes apparel “performance” or “technical.” Remember the yellow rain slicker you had as a kid? Your body would get all sticky with sweat, even though the jacket kept rain at bay. If you’re too young to remember this, just know it wasn’t long ago that these slickers were made merely of plastic and were the only way to stay dry in wet weather.

Many companies have gone to great lengths to improve how plastic performs, so it’s no longer just waterproof (that’s the easy part) but also breathable in order to eliminate uncomfortable clamminess. Each company has a unique, proprietary formula for how it has improved its materials. In other words, different companies apply varying technologies to achieve the same results. When explaining how the Gore-Tex membrane works, Cynthia Amon, Gore-Tex public relations director, asks us to imagine a chain-link fence. The fence is the membrane. Now picture a basketball as a water molecule. You can throw the basketball at the chain-link fence all day long and it’s not going to get through. Now think of marbles as your body’s sweat molecules. You can easily toss these marbles through the same fence, right? Translation: The water molecules are much larger than the membrane structure, which makes them unable to pass through the fabric. But sweat molecules are tiny enough to escape the same membrane with ease. This is how you get performance outerwear that’s waterproof and breathable.

Colorado-based Cocona, Inc. takes particles that are too small for industrial uses and would otherwise end up in dumps and turns them into fibers. These fibers are blended with wool, polyester, or cotton into a Cocona fabric. The real magic of the fibers is they do several jobs at once. Ultraviolet Protection Factor is naturally in the fiber, giving the garments sun protection. The activated carbon yarn weaved into the fabric neutralizes odor. Finally, the fabric’s construction allows moisture from your body to move away from your skin and dry quickly. John Erb, CMO of Cocona, Inc., stresses that the performance is inherent in the fabric with this type of technology. Nothing is added topically. So what about when you throw on a cozy soft shell in windy or drizzly weather and you’re miraculously warm and protected from wetness? Then when dirt doesn’t stick to your jacket or pants, you wonder how this is possible, and whether you can buy an entire wardrobe in the same material for your 3-year-old. Leave it to a Swiss company to develop a way to make this level of protection happen. Schoeller mimics what occurs naturally in nature with its NanoSphere technology. (Ever wonder how dirt and water are impenetrable to certain leaves?) At a microscopic level, the surface of this fabric has millions of “mountains.” When a water or dirt particle touches it, there is very little surface area for that molecule to attach to. These mountains make it easy to slough off dirt and water and also make the fabric abrasion resistant. The technology is even used on natural fibers such as wools and cottons, which are typically soft and less than desirable in inclement weather. —Karina Evertsen

Green Tip:

Check out the hangtags on items you consider purchasing. These tell you tons about the product, the manufacturer, and the item’s intended usages. If you care about buying more environmentally friendly items, then look to see if the company is Bluesign certified, which ensures that the manufacturing process wasn’t in any way harmful to people or the environment. WAM OAUGUST’2009” 

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INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION

[ THE EDGE ]

Focus on your long runs. The most important part of any marathon training program is the long run. The purpose of long runs is to develop endurance—particularly in the leg muscles and the connective tissue—and to develop the fitness of your cardiovascular system so that your body can withstand the rigors of the marathon distance. It’s imperative that you do the majority of these long runs; they’re the bread and butter of your training program. If you have to skip a day of running, then forgo one of the shorter runs during the week or switch training days around so that you can do your long run on a different day.

Pay attention to time, not miles. The training program below will have you running by length of time as opposed to distance. Running by the clock is simple and more convenient for most women because they don’t necessarily have measured routes nearby. It’s also less intimidating for first-time marathoners, who may find that a 20-mile training run sounds rather impossible. Obviously, different women will run these workouts at different places, which means that some will cover more miles than others. Don’t worry about your mileage in this program.

Women’s Running Hit the road for marathon training Summer leads into fall and winter, so it’s prime time to ramp up your training for upcoming marathon season. Whether it’s your first time taking on the 26.2 defining miles, or your first time tackling it in a while, Dagny Scott Barrios’ tips and training schedule will lead you down the right path to the big day. “I’m going to do a marathon.” More recreational women runners are uttering those words every year, surprising family, friends, coworkers, and even themselves. Heather, 27, is typical. After years of inactivity, she joined a running group, completing one mile in her first workout. Two months later, she’d worked up to 13 miles and was well on her way to her first marathon.

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There’s a tendency in first-time marathoners to feel that they must cover a full 26.2 miles on a training day before the race so that they know they can go the distance. Trust me, this can do more harm than good. The longest run in this program is 3.5 hours, enough for a woman running 10-minute miles to cover 21 miles. That’s the most any runner need cover before tackling a marathon. But most important, even if you are going slower than 10 minutes per mile, you needn’t run any farther. Three-anda-half hours should be considered

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Don’t worry about going the distance ahead of time.


the upper limit for any training run, no matter what mileage you cover. Anything longer and you risk getting injured or sick before the race. You don’t want to use up the incredible amount of energy it takes to complete 26.2 miles before that.

five months out.

Be flexible.

Choose your race carefully.

Rigidity is a good way to get injured or sick. Adapt the schedule to your own needs and commitments. If the weather’s bad or if you have to work late on a Wednesday, run on Thursday. If you need to switch days, space your runs so that you’re not working out three or four days in a row, then skipping three. The schedule puts long runs on the weekends because that’s when most people have the time. Note that off days surround the long run; try to maintain that pattern if you flip days around. If you must miss a day, try to skip one of the shorter runs during the week instead of a long run.

Completing a marathon can make an ordinary runner feel like a hero. Courses are lined with bands and entertainment. Cities turn out to cheer participants for miles on end. Food, drink, music, and coveted finisher’s medals await runners at the finish, along with a supreme feeling of accomplishment. But frankly, all races are not created equal. When choosing a first-time marathon when the emphasis is on fun, research your choices. Sometimes the best race will not be the one in your backyard. Consider the following:

Build in some rest. Note that Weeks 8, 11, and 14 in the schedule are rest weeks. You won’t stop running, but you will decrease your training time considerably by reducing your long runs. This gives your body a chance to recover from your training, and it builds in a “safety valve” to avoid injury and exhaustion. Again, feel free to adapt this to your own schedule. If you know that you have an exceptionally hard week coming up at work or that you’ll be away on vacation, it might be a good time for your rest week.

Give yourself plenty of time to train. Depending on your starting point, five to six months is a reasonable amount of time to prepare for a marathon. The program offered here assumes that you can run comfortably for 30 minutes four times a week. Work up to that point first, if necessary, and then choose a race no sooner than

By leaving a few extra weeks in the plan, you’ll allow for setbacks. An old saying goes, “The one guarantee in marathons is that nothing is guaranteed.”

* Size. In general, the larger the event, the more race-related activities and entertainment it will include. You’ll also have some company over hours and miles. * The course. City courses tend to have more crowd support. Rural courses are often very beautiful. Think about which of the two better fits your personality. * Hills and altitude. Both can make the race much tougher to complete. * Average race temperature. The hotter and more humid the race conditions, the harder the marathon will feel. Use the basic marathon training program on page 36 as a guide to prepare for your next race

Excerpted from Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running by Dagny Scott Barrios. Copyright 2007 by Dagny Scott Barrios. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc.


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INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION

Beginner Marathon Training Schedule Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Week 1

Off

30 min

30 min

Off

30 min

Off

40 min

Week 2

Off

30 min

35 min

Off

30 min

Off

50 min

Week 3

Off

30 min

35 min

Off

30 min

Off

1 hr

Week 4

Off

30 min

35 min

Off

30 min

Off

1 hr, 15 min

Week 5

Off

20 min

40 min

Off

30 min

Off

1 hr, 30 min

Week 6

Off

20 min

40 min

Off

30 min

Off

1 hr, 45 min

Week 7

Off

20 min

40 min

Off

30 min

Off

2 hrs

Week 8

Off

20 min

Off

Off

20 min

Off

1 hr

Week 9

Off

20 min

40 min

Off

30 min

Off

2 hrs, 15 min

Week 10

Off

20 min

45 min

Off

30 min

Off

2 hrs, 30 min

Week 11

Off

20 min

45 min

Off

30 min

Off

1 hr

Week 12

Off

20 min

45 min

Off

30 min

Off

2 hrs, 45 min

Week 13

Off

20 min

45 min

Off

30 min

Off

3 hrs

Week 14

Off

30 min

45 min

Off

30 min

Off

1 hr

Week 15

Off

30 min

45 min

Off

30 min

Off

3 hrs, 15 min

Week 16

Off

30 min

45 min

Off

30 min

Off

3 hrs, 30 min

Week 17

Off

30 min

45 min

Off

30 min

Off

1 hr

Week 18

Off

20 min

30 min

Off

30 min

Off

45 min

Week 19

Off

20 min

20 min

Off

20 min

Off

Race

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The Great Indoors Being captive by love isn’t really all that bad By Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

After three hours and 230 miles on the road, we’d made it to our particular brand of paradise: a cabin perched on a hillside overlooking Colorado’s San Luis Valley and the sugar-dusted Sangre de

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Cristo range beyond. We could be sand skiing in our boots at the Great Sand Dunes within 45 minutes, scaling the Spanish Peaks in an hour, even kicking around Taos, New Mexico, by lunchtime if we left early. Two mountain bikes waited in the basement, and massive Blanca Peak and its sister summits were right out the back door. We must have been all atingle to get out there, right? Well … I blame the dress. I had shimmied into it when this boy told me to pick out something pretty because he’d be taking me out for a surprise dinner at a joint where candlelight flickered and wine flowed. Look, I’ve never been one for gazing into eyes, clutching knees under

the table, or stealing kisses between bites—but we did it all with wild abandon. I admit it, we were disgusting. But we just … couldn’t … help … it. It had been this way since the start. How many $3 happy-hour specials had we missed out on because we’d spent too long making out feverishly in the parking lot? How could I expect to resist his all-encompassing gravitational pull just because a few mountains beckoned outside? The funny thing is, our mutual passion for alpine starts and marathon adventures was one of the sparks that had brought us together in the first place. Things were new between us, yeah, but

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e pulled up to the silent cabin at two o’clock in the morning, seven miles of rutted dirt road between us and the lonely state highway. The sky was ultra-starry in a way that you’ll only see on a chilly mountain night. My black cocktail dress provided all the insulation of a bikini— and my strappy sandals offered my toes up like a sacrifice to the gods of frostbite—but I enjoyed the way the guy in the driver’s seat was looking at me way too much to cover up.


when he took my hand, I saw the entire world laid out in front of us. That is, if we could make it out the door. The cabin had so much to offer, though. Surely we’d want to take full advantage? Ha! When I saw the down blanket spread next to the woodstove and the edge of his tattoo peeking out of his T-shirt, an alpine start became the last thing on my mind. I know what you’re thinking: mountain cabin, roaring fire, probably a frickin’ bearskin rug—please. It’s nauseating, but I was too stuffed with moony happiness to care. We fell asleep late and woke even later. So much for Taos. By this time, the sun had warmed the valley enough for us to sip coffee out on the cabin’s deck, my legs stretched across his lap. He pointed out the various Sangre peaks, and we vowed to conquer them all. One of us pointed out that we could still make it to the sand dunes if we got moving. And then we promptly went back to the bedroom and spent a solid hour giggling at each other under the covers. Oh my God. This was ridiculous. Horrified, I envisioned us taking that Patagonia trip we’d been batting around, only to miss the ragged peaks of Torres del Paine because we were too entranced on a cheap hostel bunk bed to leave the room. How was this possible? We were doers, not merely daydreamers— roaming around outside was our thing. In coming together, were we somehow stripping away one of our coolest characteristics? Were we doomed to become—gasp!—one of those insufferable couples for whom adventure fades from an ever-evolving lifestyle to an archive of photos and boring stories that everyone’s already heard? Somehow we made it out of the cabin. Even if we had only an hour and a half of daylight remaining to climb into the mountains, and even if we burned a significant chunk of that time kissing at the trailhead, we made it out. It was no small victory. Maybe—maybe—there’s hope for us yet.


PSYCHOBABBLE

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Losers Weepers

Even if you never win, you can still use losing to your advantage By Corinne Garcia

In individual sports there is only one winner. Duh, right? This is something we all know when we sign up for a race, yet what most of us don’t know is how losing may affect us. Ultramarathon runner Nikki Kimball, 37, doesn’t have much experience losing as of late. She’s made a name for herself over the past five years by both winning and setting new records. But she has experienced depression, as losing used to be overwhelming. “I didn’t cope with losing well in high school or college,” she says. “I would be upset for days after a bad race, almost pathological … I would cry and nobody could console me. It was a huge, huge deal.” Looking back, Kimball is certain she’d been suffering from undiagnosed depression. In 1994 she hit a low that almost killed her. After digging herself out, however, losing lost some of its value. “Now losing hasn’t been such a big deal,” Kimball says. “Where my name is on a results list isn’t as important as before … almost dying makes you think

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about how relatively unimportant it is in the large scheme.” But Kimball has also experienced much success, wins she describes as incomparable highs. “Emotionally, you just feel this attention—you’re the center,” she says. Kimball strives to win to recapture that feeling and believes winning helps offset the depression associated with losing. But some women aren’t so lucky—some, like my aunt, never win. Kay Porter, PhD, a sports psychology consultant in Eugene, Oregon, and author of The Mental Athlete (Human Kinetics, 2003), says competitive athletes who are frustrated with losing may have to let go of their initial goal. “I recommend a visualization thinking back over the career,” Porter says. “The people, how you felt, the joy of competition, letting go of that particular goal of winning, and looking forward to the future.” Porter preaches about the journey rather than the outcome and councils athletes to “appreciate what you have gotten and how you can apply some of the skills you’ve acquired to the future.” After losing, she recommends letting go of the loss and the mistakes in order to refocus on the next race. Sounds easy, but for many, like my aunt, it’s not. For those who can’t get losses out of their heads, those who let them “fester,” Porter recommends an energy psychology technique: blinking rapidly, squeezing the eyes shut, breathing deeply, and turning the head left and right to help release mental images. The goal is to enjoy the sport for reasons other than simply winning—and to remember to do so.

Mimi Reeves, 42, a personal trainer and triathlon coach from Corral Springs, Florida, thrives on competition. She races in numerous triathlons and road running races each year and is currently training for her second Ironman. Although she occasionally wins small, local races, she’s used to not coming in first, and she’s fine with that. “I don’t think it’s so much about being No. 1,” Reeves says. “It’s just seeing how far I can push myself. I know I can always do better.” Although she exhibits a healthy relationship with losing, Reeves was surprised at how much not qualifying for the Boston Marathon last spring affected her. “It was a huge disappointment,” she says. “I was surprised at myself when I started crying at the end. I hadn’t expected it to mean that much to me.” But Reeves follows Porter’s advice and shakes off her disappointing results. When she loses a race, she looks at it introspectively. “Did I have my best performance? Maybe I did, but others were better. I try to learn from that and apply it to the next race,” she says. For all the years my aunt dedicated to athletics, I hope she enjoyed the other pleasing aspects of competition and wasn’t consumed solely by whether or not she made it to the podium. I just wish she’d realized she had won just by getting out there. “It’s one part of your life, this training,” says Reeves. “And the people who love you love you regardless. Just getting to the starting line is a huge accomplishment; many don’t even think to make it there.”

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y aunt was as competitive as they come, trying out for the U.S. Olympic ski and track teams in the mid-1950s. She didn’t make either, but she kept racing. Whether a triathlon or marathon, she loved the competition—or so we’d thought. My aunt took her own life 20 years ago, and after uncovering some of her writing, we discovered that not winning and not making either Olympic team was a big part of the depression that eventually led to her death. Losing crushed her spirit to a point beyond her control. Could she have done something— anything—to have been a better loser?


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SENSE OF PLACE

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Tacuba, Manolo’s family residence was framed by red geraniums and guarded by a tame white goose.

Nicklin, this passage from Chapter One of Made in El Salvador tells the story of the ragtag tour guide who eventually turns her world upside down. By Mary Winston Nicklin

S

hirtless, wearing a backward baseball cap, Manolo slammed on the truck brakes and screeched to a halt in front of the bus stop. As one of the only cars in town, the gray Nissan—full of dents and holes in the passenger-side flooring—already commanded a lot of attention. The elderly couples seated outside their adobe houses for their evening ritual, watching the day sink into dusk, raised eyebrows when the truck backfired, echoing down the cobblestone street like a shotgun. “Welcome to Tacuba,” Manolo grinned, resting his elbow in the truck window. His Spanish spiraled through my ear canals like a speeding tornado. Just as quickly as he spoke, he lit a cigarette, tossed the match out the window, adjusted his enormous dark sunglasses, turned the dial on the radio, and commenced singing a Spanish pop song from the ’80s. “Lobo en Parissss!” he screamed as we piled our packs in the back of the truck. This half-loco, ADD-afflicted tour guide had promised us an adventurous outing in Parque Nacional El Imposible, one of the last remaining rainforests in El Salvador and heartily endorsed by the backpacker’s bible, Lonely Planet—which had catapulted Manolo into the tourism industry in the early part of the decade.

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I watched the goose waddle through each room of the house, then stop to rest its head on the blue-jeaned lap of Manolo’s father, Osiris. Reclining in the hammock, Osiris stroked its head and Manolo didn’t bother to tell us this was explained its infatuation: “Está enamothe largest ecoregion in El Salvador, or rado de mi!” Though the smitten goose about the controversial history of the followed Osiris throughout the house, park’s establishment, or even about the many trails from which we could choose his status as family pet was a direct result of Manolo’s wild antics. Driving for the next morning’s adventure. home drunk one night from the neighboring city of Ahuachapán, Manolo But Manolo’s appeal as a tour guide was startled by the large bird, which soon became obvious: He loved people he picked up, threw in the back of the (especially drinking with them); he truck, and then forgot knew every about. When he opened the single armacar door the next morning, dillo track in the he realized he’d swiped forest (from his “His Spanish a new pet to add to the previous professpiraled eclectic and slightly dyssion as a hunter functional family of beasts in the very same through my at the Hostal: the fat blond national park); spaniel named Rex he was totally ear canals like cocker (the best looking dog in Taspastic (and cuba), a persistently pregthus had the a speeding nant cat named Wilson, energy necesand a small brown duck sary for this tornado.” that chased the cat and her kind of work); prolific spawn. and he adored women (mostly The night before our adventure in the European girls traveling solo through national park, we laughed and talked Central America, though he displayed remarkable open-mindedness in pursuit late into the night, swinging in hammocks and listening to Osiris strum of Norteamericanas, as well.) a guitar, his face stern and weather hardened. Manolo played along with When we arrived, Hostal Mama y Papa him, belting out the mariachi tunes, his seemed innocuous enough with a lit cigarette carefully propped in the top colorfully painted sign hung outside to of the guitar struts. mark the nondescript entrance. Situated at the top of the hill, with a rooftop porch overlooking the red-tiled roofs of

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Made in El Salvador Excerpted from a book in progress by Mary Winston

The front door remained open to the dusk, the inside rooms facing an openair terrace and central garden full of mandarin and lemon trees. Manolo’s mother, Lydia, embraced us and led us to the kitchen table, where we sat with the family to enjoy a feast of soup, chicken, frijoles and cheese, warm tortillas, fried sweet plantains, and freshly squeezed fruit juice, followed by rich locally grown coffee.


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TRY THIS

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Go Fly a Kite Thanks to advances in equipment, kiteboarding is no longer only for daredevils. Combining the best of snowboarding, surfing, and paragliding, kiteboarding just may be the most fun you’ve ever had in the water. By Jayme Otto

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y first morning in Aruba, I woke before the alarm. Kiteboarding lessons started at 8 a.m. and I couldn’t wait to get into the ocean. Bikini, sunblock, rash guard, board shorts. Check, check, check, check! I wondered if I’d manage to keep my sunglasses while careening on a kite-propelled board across the water. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.

Kiteboarding—wind-propelled surfing over water—is the brainchild of French brothers Bruno and Dominique Legai-

Getting There You can’t beat the warm water of the Caribbean for your first lesson. Palm Beach, located just seven miles from the Aruba airport, has an unobstructed ocean breeze on the west end, making for a perfect kiting zone. Stay oceanside at the Aruba Marriott Resort where the Mandara Spa complements your classes. www.arubamarriott.com

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womensadventuremagazine.com

Paul Lang

“First we learn to control the kites on the land,” said Thjis, my 23-year-old Dutch instructor, as he led me and three other neophytes to an open field. The kites lifted easily off the ground when he launched them—but crashed even more readily when I took a turn. Lesson No. 1: how to not crash your kite.


gnoux, who developed board designs to enable skimming atop the water in the 1970s. In 1984, the brothers patented an inflatable kite design. Then in 1994, American Bill Roeseler, a Boeing aerospace engineer, and his son Corey patented the KiteSki system. By the late ninetiess, equipment had standardized, and the sport really took off when bigwave surfer Laird Hamilton got into the action in 1996. The first competition was held on Maui in 1998, and over the past 10 years, innovations in kite design, safetyrelease systems, and instruction have made the sport accessible to beginners. There was no mistaking the fact I was a beginner. If my pasty-white skin and DayGlo sunscreen didn’t give me away, my kite—the kiteboarding equivalent of a training bra—certainly did. “Keep your kite out of the power zone,” Thjis said, grabbing the back of my safety vest as my heels lifted toward Cuba. After two hours on land, we headed for the water. The kites were bigger, about 15 feet wide, but the premise was the same. We donned helmets, strapped on safety vests, and took hold of the 2-foot bar controlling the whole thing. The trick: Grasp the bar with hands shoulder-width apart and arms relaxed. “Don’t pull,” Thjis kept saying. “You’ll power up the kite!” For the next two hours I stood waisthigh in the Caribbean, keeping my kite in the neutral position, not in the power zone—for the most part. I occasionally goofed, getting yanked out of the water and experiencing the power of the wind firsthand when I face-planted back into the surf. On September 18, 2008, during the Luderitz Speed Challenge in Namibia, kiteboarding became the fastest way to sail on water when American Robert

Douglas clocked 57.4 miles per hour. His record held for 12 days before Frenchman Sebastien Cattelan hit 57.5 miles per hour on his kite in early October and kiteboarder Alex Caizergue, also from France, topped 58.2 miles per hour the day after that. Caizergue’s record still stands. As for my lessons, on Day 3 Thjis introduced me to the board and demonstrated powering the kite by pulling the bar in, giving it a twist, turning it back to neutral while curling his body forward, standing up, and pulling the board across the water. Simple, right? Right. In ready position—butt in the water, knees bent, board parallel to the shore— Thjis commanded me to go. “Alright, pull in,” he yelled several times. But I hesitated. I wanted to move with grace. To stand, in control of my body and kite. Finally, I pulled the bar in to power up. And I stood. And zipped across the water. The roar of the waves sounded like a crowded football stadium. Snowboarders and wakeboarders take to kiteboarding easily, due in part to their comfort on a board. The kiteboard is a bidirectional board, but there are many variations for different styles and conditions: wave-riding versus big-air tricks, for example. There are also different kites: for all-around riding, for getting maximum hang time, and for doing unhooked (meaning unhooked from your harness) tricks. I wanted to see what hang time was all about. After our lesson, Thjis invited us to a local beach to watch “real” kiteboarders. I watched them speed across the ocean, leap off choppy waves, launch into the air, and combine grace, power, and speed into a form of aerial acrobatics I’d never seen. I was completely hooked. I wanted to fly again.

The Dare2Fly Kiteboarding School is located on the Marriott’s beach, just steps away from the kite launch. The school is the only one in Aruba certified by the International Kiteboarding Organization. The beginner’s package includes three hours of lessons for $375. www.dare2flyaruba.com

Top 10

Hotspots Experts at Cabrihna Kiteboarding tipped us off to these 10 breezy bastions of the sport: Maui, Hawaii

The mecca of kiteboarding, Kite Beach is the destination for die-hard boarders.

Dominican Republic Cabarete is known for beautiful beaches and consistent conditions.

Key West, Florida

Flat, warm water off this southernmost U.S. city is best post hurricane season from late October to June.

The Gorge, Oregon Mount Hood and the Columbia River combine as the epicenter for wind-, water-, and snow-based recreation.

San Francisco, California

Home to an active boarding scene and the annual U.S. Kiteboarding National Championship every summer.

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Popular for the long down-winders that blow through from March to November

Bahamas

Picturesque lagoons, Atlantic winds, and stunning white-sand beaches—need we say more?

La Ventana, Mexico

Less than 100 miles south of the border, it’s a wind-blown destination weekend for serious SoCal borders.

Philippines

Try beautiful Boracay December through March for a mix of both flat water and waves.

Antigua

Perfect for any level of riding and a destination-worthy tropical setting

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WHOLE HEALTH

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Bug-Borne Illnesses What you need to know to stay safe this summer By Jayme Otto

Or so it seemed. “Suddenly I couldn’t keep up on team training rides,” she says. “And I wasn’t recovering from my workouts; I was always sore and seemed to always have a slight headache.” Julia did what most of us would: She pared back her schedule and turned in earlier at night. But it wasn’t enough. When she realized her glands were sore and swollen, she self-diagnosed the flu. But her symptoms persisted for seven days; it took the onset of a rash to send her to the doctor. After a series of blood tests, she received a diagnosis. “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had West Nile [virus],” Julia says. She had been infected by a mosquito. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 3,630 cases of the severest form of West Nile virus were reported in the U.S. in 2007, along with 124 deaths. Less severe versions of the virus, like the one Julia had, often go undetected, dismissed as fatigue or the flu. But it’s estimated that one in 150 persons infected with West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of the disease. “I feel really lucky that I wasn’t that one person,” says Julia. “I had no idea that

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risks like this existed from a mosquito bite. You hear a lot about malaria but not much about West Nile.” While there’s no specific treatment for West Nile virus, serious cases often involve hospitalization, intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support, and prevention and treatment of secondary health issues such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. With an average of 250 to 1,200 cases reported annually— a record of 1,514 cases was set in 2004—Rocky Mountain spotted fever is another bug-borne disease that can lead to serious complications and hospitalization. The bacterium that causes the disease is transmitted by ticks and is at its height between April and September. Though the disease is named for the geographic region where it first appeared in 1896, the ticks that transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever are spread throughout the country, from the East Coast to the Great Plains to parts of California. They’re even in Alaska and Hawaii. More than half of all cases occur between the midAtlantic and southern regions of the U.S., with North Carolina and Oklahoma reporting the greatest number of people infected with the fever. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is identified by a distinctive rash that often starts as flat pink spots on the wrists, forearms, and ankles that turn pale when you apply pressure. Some people never develop the rash, however.

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ulia was exhausted. She had spent the summer racing for Title Nine, Colorado’s top-ranked amateur women’s cycling team, and was juggling graduate school on top of that. Normally an energetic athlete, she thought she’d merely come down with the flu.


Also spread by ticks, Lyme disease is the most prevalent bug-borne illness in the U.S. According to the CDC, 20,000 new cases are reported each year, but at least 10 times that many go unreported. One tiny tick bite—actually, the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi that’s transmitted by ticks—can cause fever, headache, fatigue, depression, and a bull’s-eye-shaped skin rash that appears on 70 to 80 percent of sufferers within three to 30 days of infection.

odorless alternative approved in 2005), and lemon-eucalyptus oil (an au naturel solution) all qualify.

Left untreated, approximately 60 percent of patients will begin to have intermittent bouts of arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling. Large joints are most often affected, particularly the knees. As many as 5 percent of untreated patients develop chronic neurological issues—shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, or problems with concentration and shortterm memory—months or years after infection. Most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics, especially if treatment is begun early in the course of illness.

Ticks prefer wooded and bushy areas with high grass and lots of leaf litter. These are areas to avoid, particularly in the summer when ticks are most active. If you do enter a tick-infested area, walk in the center of the trail to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter.

When in high-risk areas, mainly places with standing water, consider sleeping in—stay inside your tent until after dawn. Also take cover at dusk. Be extra careful around the bonfire, since the mosquitoes that spread malaria are mainly active after dark. When in doubt, cover up.

Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks off your skin. Wearing light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily and tucking in pant legs and shirts— or even taping them together— will help prevent ticks from crawling under your clothes. Once you’re out of the tick zone, have a friend check your body for stowaways and wash your clothes with hot water before wearing them again.

“There are some very simple precautions you can take that nearly negate your risks.”

While the facts surrounding bug-borne illnesses are grim, they don’t have to keep you inside all summer. “Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk,” says Chana Goussetis, health communications specialist for Boulder County, Colorado’s public health department. “Unfortunately, in the summer, these are the times most runners and cyclists tend to exercise because it’s cooler. But there are some very simple precautions you can take that nearly negate your risks.” Banish mosquitoes and ticks with insect repellents containing active ingredients approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use on skin and clothing. DEET, Picaridin (a nearly

If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours (see sidebar), your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small. But just to be safe, monitor your health closely after a tick bite. Check out www.cdc.gov for more information on bug-borne illnesses.

Malaria Widespread in tropical and subtropical regions including parts of Central and South America, Asia, and Africa, malaria is another serious mosquitoborne illness and a serious risk for travelers. Although the number of infections acquired in the U.S. has dropped to almost nil since the early 1900s, malaria still infects approximately 515 million people in the world annually, killing between 1 and 3 million each year. The main symptoms of malaria include fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting, anemia, and convulsions. For most people, symptoms begin 10 days to four weeks after infection from a mosquito bite, although a person may feel ill as soon as seven days or as late as one year later. No vaccine is currently available for malaria. If you’re traveling to a high-risk area, preventive drugs must be taken to reduce the risk of infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travelers’ Health destination pages give detailed information on the proper drugs to take for the area you are visiting and specific prevention tips. www.cdc.gov/travel

How to Remove

a Tick If the creepy is crawling, just give him a flick. If the little sucker’s sunk his teeth in, that’s a whole other story. Grasp the tick with tweezers as close as to the surface of your skin as possible. Don’t use your hands, as you can pick up bacteria—as well as Lyme disease. Gently but firmly pull the tick straight out, working for several seconds if necessary until it loosens and comes free. Occasionally, parts of the tick’s mouth become separated from the rest of its body; if they do, pull them out separately. Dispose of the tick by throwing it in the fire, or squish it with a tissue and flush it down the toilet. Don’t forget to clean the area of skin with soap and water and wash your hands.

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YES YOU CAN

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Tune your bike For a smooth ride all summer spend some time with these hot spots on your cycle By Kristy Holland

Begin with a gentle soapand-water wash-down to keep moving parts clean and grit free. But wipe your bike down by hand, recommends James Keller, service manager at Boulder, Colorado’s Full Cycle. By caressing your frame, you’ll be more likely to notice a change in alignment or performance before it can turn into a ride-stopping problem. James zeroes in on eight zones that may deserve extra attention. 1. Tires: Check for cracks in the rubber casing and look for dry rot on the tire sidewall, which is thinner and more fragile than the contact patch. Age and UV light zap rubber’s tackiness and resilience, so consider replacing your tires if you notice signs of age—or if you see any part of the tube bulging through.

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2. Brake cables: On mechanical or cable brakes, look for corrosion or fraying on the cables, as well as friction between the cable and housing that manifests as cracks, kinks, or metal protrusions. For hydraulic brakes, check the hoses for kinks or creases, especially after a crash. They typically won’t leak externally, but if hydraulic fluid drains between the internal and external sheath, the brakes will fail. 3. Skewers: “I have seen wheels just come flying off of bikes—it’s never pretty,” James says. Especially in an external cam skewer— in which the pivoting parts are exposed—the friction you feel upon tightening may be caused by dry or corroded contact points rather than by the actual clamping of the cam. Work a small amount of lube into the joint before tightening to ensure a snug fit, but be careful to keep lube away from disc brakes, which are easily contaminated. 4. Wheels: “In a vacuum, a wheel would stay true forever,”

James says. But even with normal riding or—ouch! the curb—spoke tension and damaged rims result in a wobbly ride. No problem if you have disc brakes, but if you have the rim-actuating caliper or V variety, a lessthan-perfect wheel may wear pads unevenly and can even compromise stopping power. 5a. Rear derailleur cable: All of your brake and shifter cables (and housings) should be clean and lubed and show no signs of corrosion or wear. But the rear derailleur cable is, by far, the most likely to cause problems. More gears are jammed into a standard width between the stays, which means less margin for error when shifting. But cable stretch and wear can lead to sloppy shifting adjustments. Annual replacement of this cable and housing is one of the easiest ways to ensure a smooth shift.

replace because they expect it to bend,” James says. If it’s bent too far, shifting into your lowest gear can push your derailleur into your spokes for what James calls a “catastrophic failure.” 6. Brake pads: Most traditional, rim-actuating brake pads have vertical lines indicating the pad depth. If you’ve worn them to the point that these lines aren’t visible, replace the pads. For disc brakes, a pad less than half a millimeter thick is enough to potentially damage the caliper, so check for wear on disc types, too.

5b. Rear derailleur hanger: If you’ve crashed on your drive side, or are careless when stashing your bike, it’s easy to break or bend the tiny rear derailleur hanger that holds the whole thing in place. “They make it easy to

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t’s midsummer cycling season and by now your transportationtoned legs can pedal you across town, barely breaking a sweat. But when you started riding this spring, did you have your wheels overhauled? Or did you simply hose off the bike and hop right on? We suspect the latter. Either way, by midseason your bike may not need a full-blown tune, but its nether regions can likely use a little TLC.


2

Stop,

Drop,

and Roll 7. Chain: The most important thing about a chain is that it’s lubricated, but tight links, length, and wear can also be causes for concern. If your chain is dry, drop oil onto the rollers along the inside of the chain; wipe off the excess to avoid grimy buildup. Use a chain tool to adjust bushings that cause tight joints, and if you’ve replaced or removed any links, consider buying a new chain.

The drop test can help you determine if vital bearings, bolts, pivots, or hubs on your bike are loose. “Anything that’s loose you should address as soon as you can,” advises James Keller, service manager at Boulder, Colorado’s Full Cycle. Aside from being a safety issue, “things could deteriorate rapidly and you risk damage to other parts, too. If you love your bike and it’s making noise, have it checked out,” James says. To test: Grab your bike, lift it a few inches off the ground, and drop it onto its tires. Listen for a dead “thud” sound. If something is loose and about to fall off, you’ll hear a jingling metallic sound. If you lift the bike high enough (James says just a few inches), you’ll hear the chain slap the frame. But any other metallic sound could be the sign of a bigger problem.


IT’S PERSONAL

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Running With the Bulls Facing down one-ton bulls in a rush of adrenaline

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unched over my knees, a half-full wine sac slung over my shoulder, I nod in and out of sleep on a littered sidewalk in downtown Pamplona. My two friends, Jose and Eliza, are draped over each other, out like lights. Tourists dressed in the traditional garb of the Feste de San Fermín —white shirt, white pants, and a red handkerchief—let out bellows of drunken laughter as they pass. One couple stops to take a candid photo of the odd-looking trio collapsed in fatigue on the sidewalk. We are staking out our spot. Fewer than 100 yards to our right, tall wooden gates will open at 8 a.m. and release several furious ton-and-a-half bulls. Sunrise is only a few hours away. It is surprisingly cold despite the orange wool sweater I bought for 20 euros from a tiny Ecuadorian woman. During the short spells in which I’m awake, I rub my arms and pull my legs closer to my chest.

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The days leading up to this feel like a month ago. We took a humid, five-hour bus ride from our university in western Spain to the Pyrenees hills in northeastern Basque country. We crashed on stiff bunk beds in a small convent outside city limits. Nuns served us glazed croissants and café con leche in the morning. They each made a sign of the cross as we left for the festival. Jose had spent most of the time questioning locals about the bull run—where to start, his likelihood of getting gored in the ass, how long it would last, and so on. From his various interviews, he deduced that we’d need to stay overnight to ensure our place on the route and begin running on a street corner known as Dead Man’s Curve. “The bulls can’t make the sharp right-hand turn,” Jose said. “They slip and fall or bash against the building on left side of the street. So we start on the right side of the street.”

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Denis Doyle/Stringer

By MacKenzie Ryan


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As daylight breaks, a police officer taps me on the shoulder. He hands me a small card with a message printed in red ink: “Running with the bulls is very dangerous. Please do not run under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Please do not taunt the bulls. If you fall down, cover your head and stay on the ground until the run is over.” He wakes up Jose and Eliza, gives them the same warning, and then walks toward another group of runners.

“Nervous?” asks a voice in English. To my left, a 30-something American stretches his legs.

I toss my sac on the ground and the three of us walk toward the plaza. Except for the drunken Canadian girl donning her nation’s flag as a shirt, Eliza and I are the only women packed like sardines in the crowded town square. There isn’t even room for me to bend over and tie my shoelaces.

“Once the second rocket goes off, start moving just to get the blood flowing. Run in the middle of the street, but try to get to the right or the left as much as you can. If you stay in the middle, they’ll trample you.”

After a long wait, the first rocket shoots off. The Spaniards and the Basque begin to chant, “We ask San Fermín, being our patron saint, to guide us in the bull run and give us his blessing.” In the corral behind the wooden gates where we’d slept, the bulls are waiting to be released. Suddenly the crowd begins to move. I’m not walking but being pushed forward with my feet a few inches off the ground. One thousand people spill onto sidewalks and cobblestone streets. I turn around to laugh off the uneasiness in my stomach with my running mates, who are being escorted off the course by a police officer. Dangling over his shoulder is Eliza’s video camera. Another police officer grabs my arm forcefully, pulling me off the route. He snatches the disposable camera from my back pocket and smashes it on the street. I wriggle my arm free. He notices me eyeing the route, ready to dart into the crowd. The officer throws up his hands, points to the street and yells, “Corre!” as if to say, “Fine, have your little bull run.” Back on the street, relief stays for less than a minute.

“Yeah, my friends just got thrown out. I’m by myself.” “You’ll be fine. I’ve done this six times. It’s a rush. I’m Mike, by the way.” “MacKenzie” I offer as an introduction, “this is my first time.”

The second rocket blasts before I can thank him. Sprinting at full speed, I weave between spectators with rolledup newspapers aimed to slap the bulls’ posteriors and I try to breath enough to prevent my heart from arresting. The runners around me pick up speed. The street begins to vibrate beneath my feet. Hooves clap against cobblestone. A few feet to my left is a massive 6-foot steer— the lead bull. Part of me wants to reach out and touch the bull as I run next to it—then I see his horns. He speeds past me. I am nearing the bullring. Its doors are shut. As is the custom, the runners push open the doors and burst into the ring. Thousands cheer in the stands. Not two seconds after we enter the ring, someone screams, “To the left! To the right!” We part like the Red Sea, just in time to let the remaining bulls run through the doors, through the ring, and into a corral. Whether it’s adrenaline or lack of breakfast, I feel almost certain I will vomit at any moment. My hands shake uncontrollably. I climb the circular wall that lines the bullring and perch on top to watch the bedlam. The bulls are released into the ring again. As the crowd applauds behind me, bulls chase down white-clothed runners and hurl them into thin air.


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Get Gone!

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womensadventuremagazine.com


Load it up and hit the road for a summer “stay-cation”

The economy sucks, but the wildflowers, mountains, rivers, and wildlife don’t seem to notice. Lucky you...the great outdoors is your favorite playground, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Hop in your hybrid, pack all your favorite toys (plus a few loved ones—furry or otherwise), and get to your favorite camp spot pronto. You’ll have deluxe accommodations with down bedding, starlit nights, a cozy campfire, and a sweeping view. If you’re missing any gear or have the cash to upgrade, you’ll want to look at the latest accessories for adventure camping on the following pages. With all the money you’ll save on hotels and food this month, why not treat yourself?

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Gear Room

Kelty Shiro 4 Tent ($549.95; kelty.com) Enter to win this tent at womensadventuremagazine.com/kelty and enter the code: Thrive Yakima Racks (ForkLift: $139.00; SkyBox Pro 12: $510.00; yakima.com)

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Gear Room

Brunton Brewfire Coffee Pot ($119.95; brunton.com) Snowpeak Carry On Chopsticks ($29.95; snowpeak.com) Therm-a-rest pad, sheet and bag set (Fitted Sheet $20.95 to $24.95 (3 sizes); Ventra Down Comforter $199.95 regular, $229.95 large; cascadedesigns.com) GSI Bugaboo Backpacker ($59.95; gsioutdoors.com) Snowpeak Single Action Table (Low) ($119.95; snowpeak.com) Primus Atle BBQ Stove ($97; primuscamping.com) Enter to win this stove at womensadventuremagazine.com/primus and enter the code: Thrive

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Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock ($64.95; $19.95 (for a set of Slap Straps); eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com) Brunton Solar Panel Solaris 6 ($136.95; brunton.com) REI Comfort LTG Chair ($34.50; rei.com)

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Gear Room

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Mad Rock HERA Pad ($139.95; madrockclimbing.com) Mammut Goblin Climbing shoes ($129.95; mammut.ch) Metolius climbing gear (Ultralight Power Cam: $56.50 (sizes #00- #6); $62.50 (sizes #7- #8); Ultralight Curve Nut: $14.50 each (sizes #1- #10); $130.00 (Set of 10); Curve Hex: $10.50 (sizes #1- #4); $13.50 (sizes #5 #6); $15.50 (sizes #7- #8); $17.50 (sizes #9- #10); $119.00 (Set of 10); Multi-Loop Gear Sling: $24.00; metoliusclimbing.com) Mammut Express Element Key Lock Draws ($16.95 each; $84.98 (Set of 5); mammut.ch) Metolius Monster Rope ($175 (9.8mm x 60m); metoliusclimbing.com)

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I Am A Turtle Midwife A skeptical voluntourist rolls up her sleeves to save leatherback turtles in Gandoca, Costa Rica.

by Michelle Theall We walk the beach. Foam percolates at the edges of the busy ocean. The whitecaps, and the fireflies gliding over the black-sand playa, are all we can see. Didiher ChaconChaverri, our Widecast Turtle Conservation Project guide, is our eyes. After 20 years working this beach, he sees like a Costa Rican bat. “Aqui,” he says and points to a leatherback turtle’s tracks. But she is no longer here. She’s returned to the water, but not before leaving behind her flipper prints— an embossed invitation to her baby shower. For three hours, our group of volunteers bobs and weaves in step behind Didiher, hoping to find the sea turtle laying her eggs—and trying to stay upright. “Ahora, we rest aqui por veinte minutos, and la esperamos.” When we pass the other night patrol, we hear, “No veo nada.” Six hours on a bus from San Jose has brought us to Gandoca, and we are weary travelers. I am here to write a piece on the burgeoning trend of voluntourism, but like the others, I’ve yet to get a full night’s sleep. So during every 20-minute break, our virgin crew nods off—like guilty apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane. Didiher has pity on us. He lets us go back to our cabins at the homestay, where we try to fall asleep on the Caribbean coast, beneath mosquito-net canopies and to the fiesta of howler monkeys just outside the doors. Our cabins, were they a few miles down the potholed main road, would be in Panama. The next morning, lathered in bug spray and sunscreen, I head to the beach to sit in the rain. I am completely alone, 60  WAM OAUGUST’2009”

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except for a machete-wielding local man whacking the tops off of coconuts. I’m unarmed, but worry isn’t necessary. Gandoca is a safe place where everyone knows one another, and the population is 178. One bar. One “store.” One restaurant. But Gandoca was born from blood—from 15th-century turtle hunters who set up the first camps here, dried the turtle’s flesh for meat, carved her tortoise shell for jewelry, and stole her eggs for aphrodisiacs. And well before the banana plantations and road improvements came, the killing was probably done at sustainable levels. After all, in the 17th and 18th centuries, thousands of sea turtles cruised the oceans of Central America in flotillas so dense they altered the movement of ships. But by the late 20th century, the turtle armadas had all but disappeared.

NIGHT 2: SECTOR B Our group of eight volunteers plus two biologists and two guides march the beach from 8 p.m. to midnight. It looks and feels like military boot camp or prison—and we were lucky enough to get the early shift. The guides rattle off phrases in Spanish, their forms barely visible against the negra sand and sky. We wear dark clothing and headlamps with red lights, but we are not allowed to use them unless it is an emergency—and tripping over downed trees and uneven sand does not constitute one. And because the turtles are sensitive to smell, as well as to light, we’re banned from using bug spray on patrol. Our lightly salted, sweaty skin draws mosquitoes like vultures to roadkill—making it more difficult to appreciate that access to this protected beach from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. is a privilege womensadventuremagazine.com

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NIGHT 1: SECTOR A


reserved for people who work for the turtle project. Despite the risks of malaria and dengue fever, night patrols provide one of the few opportunities to see the endangered leatherback turtle as she nests and lays her eggs. Volunteers pay money to come here to do just this. They are part of a staggering number of people opting into voluntourism—which at the moment seems like senseless torture to me.

Pokin Yeugen; michelle theall

In four hours, we see nothing. No tracks. No turtles. It’s a bust. Finding polar bears in Canada in the summertime had been easier. Two nights of traipsing all over the shore, stumbling and swearing in the dark have me wondering, Why do I even care if the leatherback goes extinct? Because it’s becoming abundantly clear that, without human intervention, that will be her fate. The Widecast Turtle Conservation Project started in 1984 after the leatherback population had declined from thousands to just a few hundred. Modern-day problems of beach erosion, light pollution, commercial development, and rising water levels due to climate change, combined with centuries of poaching, had all but decimated the ocean giants. With Images Clockwise: hatch rates a dismal 10 percent, Fresh coconut from Widecast’s chief goals were to Gerrardo; Turtle stats inspire the people of Gandoca to after night patrol; become passionate about saving Andrey, a fourth-generaturtles—despite a culture in which tion turtle guide; Family is killing them was accepted— and first in Gandoca

to atone (by way of intercession) for man’s part in destroying the leatherback’s natural habitat. “It takes a female leatherback 15 to 20 years to reach maturity and return to the beach to lay her eggs,” Andrey Castillo, a 24-year-old fourth generation Gandocan, explains to our group as we gather beneath a tent, lifting our feet so the cutter ants don’t bite us or try to carry us away along with our folding chairs. “A lot can happen in two decades. So even if the turtle lives that long, she may come back to find that her nesting grounds have been razed for seaside condos. She also navigates by the whitecaps of the waves, so porch lights or signs from nearby cantinas can disorient her. She’ll walk in circles for hours and then abort her eggs into the ocean.” Having walked every sector of the 5.5-mile protected stretch of beach, I know firsthand that there are no oceanfront resorts or throngs of tourists. It’s refreshing and sobering to see the difference this makes—and not just for the turtles. Volunteers stay with families who are compensated by tourism companies. These families have never heard of Facebook or iPods or American Idol. They do not have Internet access or cell phones or television. Instead they engage with the environment around them—their land, their village, one another, and of course the leatherbacks. There is no indoor dining, no windows to separate people from the sound of the Caribbean Sea or the sweet smell of the jungle. We take a break from our electronic gadgets and the media and politics. We eat freshly prepared authentic Latin American food, including sopapilla-like breads served WAM OAUGUST’2009” 

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“It’s muy importante,” Andrey explains, using the photo album in his lap as a visual aid, “that we get as many eggs to hatch as possible, because only one out of every thousand will live long enough to come back and reproduce.” We learn from Andrey that baby turtles have their own host of enemies. Newly hatched turtles must get to the sea quickly before feral dogs, crabs, and birds pick them off. And like their moms, they use the white foam of the ocean—or anything white for that matter, including headlamps, porch lights, even white “I’m With Stupid” tourist T-shirts—to guide them to safety. Once in the ocean, as they grow in size, many are snagged by long line or trawling fishermen or suffocate by swallowing plastic bags and other basura that finds its way into the sea. Turtles eat jellyfish, and nothing looks more like a jellyfish than a floating plastic bag (the kind nearby banana plantations use by the thousands). As for defense against ocean predators, sea turtles don’t retract their heads, and the leatherback’s 62  WAM OAUGUST’2009”

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shell is soft and vulnerable; the only thing she has going for her is her immense size—if she manages to reach adulthood.

NIGHT 3: SECTOR B We walk again. Our patrol stops short. Eric, our guide, moves ahead while we wait. Nicki Wheeler, a British expat who also works to save sharks (which, she emphasizes, are very misunderstood), points toward the ocean. If I squint, I can make out a dark blob 40 feet away. It could be a mound of kelp or a log, I can’t be sure. I’m told it’s a turtle. Eric has spotted her digging her nest and the hole keeps filling up with water. Still she keeps digging too close to the ocean, oblivious as the waves crash over her and break against her Images Clockwise: shell. Even though there are no The Turtle Station dorm; lights to disorient the turtles and Local banana plantation plenty of viable places for them utilizing plastic bags to ripen to build nests, over 70 percent of fruit; The author/voluntourthe turtles, like this one, choose to ist clearing the beach for lay their eggs in places where— turtle nests; Howler monkey without volunteers to relocate heaven; Purse made from them—the ocean will swallow trash; Local woman weavthem up and kill them. “Turtles ing (go to womensadvenaren’t the cleverest things,” Nicki turemagazine.com to watch tells me. We wait to see what the a video and learn how the leatherback does. An hour later, bags are made.) womensadventuremagazine.com

Pokin Yeugen; michelle theall

warm and dipped in melting peanut butter, and bananas and coconuts straight from the trees. Our guides, including Andrey, also live a simple existence in what amounts to no more than a tree house: boards up on stilts, no electricity or hot water, and holes for windows—a rough-hewn home called the turtle station. Their yard never needs to be mowed. And their alarm clocks, screeching monkeys and toucans, hover above them in a rainforest canopy that I count to be nine different shades of green.


she disappears back into the ocean without finishing her nest. I am searching for some evolutionary purpose for this animal, some reason why we should care if the leatherback continues to exist. Because it seems a Herculean task— stopping just short of trying to reproduce them in a lab—to save them. I ask Nicki about the value of the leatherback; surely they are an irreplaceable link in the delicate chain of our ecosystem. She explains that the turtles save coral reefs by feeding on a certain type of bacteria, and they keep the jellyfish population in check, which protects tourism and commercial fishing. It’s not the answer I’d hoped for, because I already know that whales, sunfish, and blue rockfish do a good job stripping the same type of bacteria off coral reefs, and tourism and commercial fishing are two of the primary factors causing the leatherback’s extinction in the first place. While I’m not insensitive to the turtle’s plight, it seems as if the course of evolution has made itself quite clear. So, I have to ask myself, do turtles deserve extinction if they are as dumb as a bag of rocks and seemingly

without purpose? And further, if jellyfish were going extinct, would we go to such great lengths to save them? In the morning, we gather beneath the turtle-station tent, smelling of sunscreen, sweat, and DEET. I admit that I am starting to feel like a cast member of Lost, pressing in a code over and over again at the hatch, because someone told me it would save the world. Now Nicki stands in front of the group with three local women next to her. There are piles of plastic bags on the table next to them. “Years ago, the people living in and around this area made money from the death of turtles,” Nicki says. “Now the community makes money from turtles a different way—by saving them.” One of the women holds up a colorful purse while another displays a small sculpture of a whale. Nicki explains how the women collect trash from the beaches, roads, and land surrounding the banana plantations. They salvage the plastic bags, cut the tops and bottoms off, scrub them with Chlorox, sort them by color, and then weave them into purses or melt them into hard molds to carve into animal shapes. Widecast purchases these finished items for around

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NIGHT 4: SECTOR C After spending the afternoon clearing logs and debris from a recent flood (to give the leatherback more high-and-dry places to dig her nest), we form two lines and walk the beach again. I have yet to see a turtle up close or laying her eggs, although at breakfast other patrol members wax poetic about their experiences with the turtles on other shifts. Some actually cry. But, I’m more relaxed than I’ve been in months, away from the office, and traffic, and taking care of the many “things” I’ve accumulated. I’m finding instead that night patrols provide plenty of time to think, pray, and contemplate the complexities of profound life and death issues—especially during our breaks. In the dark, sitting and resting with the others in the sand, I see the building waves and my eyes play tricks on me. I can’t make out the horizon. Just a black wall rising. It makes my heart race. I think about my beautiful friend Kelly Hillgrove, who died five years ago when a tsunami hit Sri Lanka. She was eating breakfast with her fiancé and was swept away. When they found her, she was holding the hand of a small child. It would be like Kelly to have tried to save the little boy, or to have simply comforted him if that were all she had left to offer. I wonder how anyone here in Gandoca would ever know if an earthquake had hit somewhere far away and caused a wave that swallowed up everything in its path, turtle eggs and all. It seems to me that, like Kelly, they would have spent their last days trying to save a living thing and interacting with the people they love, instead of being caught, like me, playing marathon games of Scrabble on my iPhone or watching 30 Rock. I have a 3-year-old son back home, missing me—it is my choice to be so far away for this moment, to take a break from being a parent. I close my eyes, and when I open them, the haze of clouds above evaporates and I see every star in the sky. Along the horizon, fireflies mirror the Milky Way blinking across the sand. At once I understand how turtles can become disoriented by artificial lights and lose their way. I think that even if I do not see a turtle, I am still one of the luckiest people on the planet.

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NIGHT 5: SECTOR B It is our last night of patrol. Volunteers from Sector A radio Eric, our turtle—whisperer guide, that they passed a leatherback on their way through our area. We all but run, blind and in formation, about a mile. No turtle. We rest. And it is okay. I get lost in the drumming of the waves and the repetitive din of cicadas and frogs. The rainforest and the ocean say to me, “We are alive.” And I respond, “Yes, it is a powerful and important thing we share, this being alive.” I rise to my feet. And then, we find her. A Volkswagen of a leatherback, robotically digging a nest too close to the ocean. Eric hands me gloves and a plastic bag, and just like that, I am a turtle midwife. I lie flat, position the bag beneath her tail, and let her back flippers press in rhythm against my hands. White eggs the size of cue balls drop from her in clumps of two or three. Eric measures the depth and width of the nest, as well as the length of her flipper, so that he can recreate the nest for her in a safer place. She lays 118 viable eggs, then eight randomly sized unfertile eggs on top for insulation. I take the bag away as she begins to cover the nest with sand. While she camouflages her now empty nest, we measure her and examine her for scars and injuries. Her shell is medieval, a spiky armor of nondescript color. At no point do we shine a white light or walk in front of her. The whole process takes at least an hour. When we leave her to finish our shift, all I really want to do is stay and watch her until she disappears into the sea. In 60 days, my turtles will hatch and try to make their way to the surf. Were I to return to Gandoca in 2029, I might see one of them again, coming in from the ocean to lay her eggs. But the odds are against it. I go home. I hug my son. Talk to him about my turtle. Tell him that she was almost eight feet long. Watch his eyes grow wide at the thought of her. Saving these reptiles seems a futile and tedious task. They are dinosaurs, vestiges of some forgotten time, and they will exist for only as long as we deem the work of saving them important. By the time I leave Gandoca, I get it. We save the leatherback simply because we can. To have that ability and not use it would kill not only the turtles but the heart and soul of a village that depends on her. With a 90 percent hatch rate, and the first Images left to right: groups of tagged turtles returning Entrance to the Turtle from their 20 years at sea, the Station; Uninhabited black leatherbacks and the community sand beach where night of Gandoca remain committed to patrols take place; At the invaluable work of saving and last, a leatherback laying healing each other. her eggs

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Pokin Yeugen; michelle theall; bob Dannenhold

$15 apiece and then resells them to turtle-station visitors for $20. It takes a woman three days to finish a single purse. But each plastic bag recycled and sold is one less choking or killing a sea turtle. And of equal importance, this practice feeds and employs the women of Gandoca. Saving the leatherback turtle takes a village, but saving Gandoca takes the leatherback turtle.


What is voluntourism? An organized trip paid for by the traveler, usually to a foreign country, to aid conservation, teaching, building, humanitarian, health-care, or community-development efforts.

Is voluntourism for you? If you’re flexible, hard working, big hearted, and open to immersing yourself in foreign communities—with a certain amount of structure and safety provided—you may never come down from the high that such an authentic and culturally rich sabbatical provides. However, if you’re looking for a catered vacation, the kind with down pillows, Western plumbing, and gourmet food, coupled with rest and relaxation, head to the Four Seasons instead.

How do I know which trip and provider are right for me? Resources like www.voluntourismguru.com can help arrange the perfect fit for you. Volunteer: A Traveler’s Guide to Making a Difference Around the World (Lonely Planet, 2007, $20) and Mapping Your Volunteer Vacation (Where Is She Heading, 2009, $20), a workbook by Jane Stanfield, can help you plan your excursion and prepare for it with confidence.

Intrepid Travel

i-to-i

Intrepid Travel offers many different types of trips, including 24 voluntourism options, rated for you by level of culture shock and physical abilities. All 24 are centered on teaching and building homes, schools, and other infrastructure in rural areas for two to six weeks. Cost: Trips start around $1,200

Founded over 15 years ago, i-to-i has sent over 20,000 volunteers abroad on projects ranging from saving the leatherback turtles in Latin America to working with children in orphanages in Mombasa, Kenya. Most trips range from two to four weeks; the longer ones include a bit more adventure. Climbing Kilimanjaro, anyone? Cost: Trips start around $1,000

ISTOCK; COURTESY OF I-TOI; Mollie Elkman

A few of our favorites: • Join a Peruvian village at the base of the Andes to teach local children and build homes and schools for their community. Take time to see Incan ruins and pathways. • Work alongside local Nadi builders and become an essential part of a rural Fijian community. Explore lush, tropical surroundings on your days off. • Head to Tanzania, Africa, and contribute to projects in impoverished sections of Moshi, the gateway city to Mount Kilimanjaro. Stay extra days to enjoy a safari or rest on a beach in Zanzibar.

www.intrepidtravel.com

Global Volunteers With over 25 years of experience connecting volunteers with foreign community projects, Global Volunteers is one of the pioneers of the voluntourism movement. The organization assists over 100 host communities in 19 countries on five continents. Cost: Trips start around $800

A few of our favorites: • Work with white lions and other large predators at a lion education center in Gauteng Province, South Africa. The trip ends with a safari. • Hop atop an elephant and camp in the jungle on game drives to monitor populations of Bengal tigers in Arunachai Pradesh, India. • Enjoy dramatic scenery and the cultural warmth of a homestay family as you build schools and houses in La Esperanza, Honduras. • Care for orphaned children living at a shelter in Samrong Village, Cambodia. Teach English, life skills, and the joy of play.

A few of our favorites: • Bring English–teaching skills to middle and high school students in the Puglia region of Italy. Enjoy views of the rocky cliffs over the Adriatic Sea, along with the people, food, and spirit of the community. • Teach reading to Maori youth in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands of the South Pacific, and join conservation efforts at the Whale Center and Takitumu Conservation Area. • Stay put. Global Volunteers hosts projects in the U.S., including work on the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. Near Glacier National Park, it’s a breathtaking backdrop for volunteering and learning more about day-to-day life on the reservation.

www.i-to-i.com

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Violence against women is finally being challenged around the world. On the ground, in places like Ethiopia, it takes time for traditional attitudes to change. The International Rescue Committee’s Sunita Palekar, a 27-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio, is one of the people making that change. She’s helping to inspire, support, and empower women in Ethiopia’s Somali refugee camps. by Emily Holland

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More and more women are taking on the challenge of ultraevents. Let this be your warning—and your inspiration. By Kristy Holland

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n the spring of 2003, Bree Wee decided to run to the beach to check the surf. Her home was two miles from Kona’s nearest breaks and she couldn’t make it to the water without stopping to rest. She set a goal to run the four round-trip miles without stopping and, with the support of friends, she completed her first marathon later that year. Six years and thousands of training hours later, 27-year-old Bree has a new career—she’s a professional triathlete—and a new goal: finishing this year’s Ironman World Championship in under nine hours and 26 minutes. That’s less time than it took to deliver her son three years ago. When Pat Gallant-Charette started swimming 11 years ago at age 46, she couldn’t swim 15 consecutive minutes in the YMCA pool. But, the Maine native was determined to swim the 2.4-mile Peaks to Portland in memory of her endurance-swimming brother who’d recently died. It took her more than a year to qualify for the open-water

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event. Since then, the longest she gone without stopping is 16 hours. And leading up to her bid to cross the English Chanel this summer, she expected to spend 18 hours in the 60-degree water. Bree’s Ironman races and Pat’s 35-mile English Channel swim fall into the category of endurance, or ultra-distance, events. These include feats of a greater distance than a sport’s longest standard event—26.2 miles for running and 200 miles for cycling—along with multisport stage and multiday adventure races. Although Bree’s relatively short career and Pat’s nonprofessional one put them on the growing fringes of ultra-athletes, more and more women are taking to long-distance events—and they’re performing better than ever. Women are part of the growing army of endurance athletes saddling up, hitting the trails, and diving into training programs that add as many as 25 hours a week to schedules already bursting with work, family, and “real womensadventuremagazine.com


life” obligations. So what’s inspiring these women to push themselves toward longer and longer distances?

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heories as to what’s driving women’s mounting interest and participation in ultra-distance challenges over the past two decades include the increasing media coverage and mainstreaming of these events. Bree admits she didn’t know how long a marathon was before she started training for her first race in 2003, or that amateur Ironman records even existed until just before she shattered the 25–29 age-group record at the World Championship in 2007.

Courtesy of bree wee

But even the intermittent coverage of ultra-athletes and ultraevents has raised awareness of these opportunities and therefore brought exponential growth. In 1982, Julie Moss’ ABC-broadcast crawl across the Ironman Hawaii finish line captivated television audiences and helped spawn the mid-’80s triathlon boom. Lance Armstrong’s dominance at the Tour de France inspired American interest in longdistance cycling, and late-’90s network coverage of the Eco-Challenge made multiday expedition-style adventure races fashionable. The Olympic marathon swim debuted in Beijing last year, and in March, National Geographic Adventure ranked the world’s most difficult races, crowning the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile Death Valley run, with top honors.

thousand miles in 2007. Steven Munatones, a former openwater swimming world champion who has been covering marathon swimming for nearly 30 years, calls the growth of his sport explosive. “In the last 10 years—at a minimum— our sport has quadrupled,” he says. “But we’ve seen most of that growth in the last two years.” Women are drawn to endurance events due to increasing accessibility and social support systems—think running clubs, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Team In Training. An older, more social crowd is becoming the norm. “The growth is primarily the baby boomers—not the young, elite athletes,” Hughes says about ultracycling. “They’ve raised their families, made marks in their careers, and are looking for the next challenge.” As many as 65 percent of marathon swimmers are men, so Munatones pins his sport’s growth potential on the increasing interest of women. “The minute they cross the finish line, they’re part of a community,” he says. “Women especially appreciate that camaraderie and shared experience, and that’s not only helping to drive open-water and ultraswimming, but also marathons and other extreme events.”

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Dan Brannen, executive director of the American Ultrarunning Association, estimates that the number of participants in ultrarunning events has easily doubled in the last 10 years. And, according to one recent study, of the 53 100-mile ultrarunning events held in 2008, women made up 20 percent of finishers. John Hughes, managing director of the UltraMarathon Cycling Association, calls the growth of ultracycling in the past 10 years “dramatic.” His organization has seen a 250 percent increase in participants in its 3,000-mile Race Across America, and participation in its most popular race series, the Year-Rounder Challenge, has multiplied 10 times in 10 years with 267 cyclists racking-up over 619 WAM OAUGUST’2009” 

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By the time an athlete has been running for two hours, she may have lost four to eight pounds of water in sweat and respiration and an entire day’s worth of salt.

Whether women have an increasing advantage over men in ultra-long distances is disputed, and individual women superstars are too few to prove a real physiological edge. But there is building scientific evidence that biology may in fact favor the female body for longer endurance events. In a 2001 article titled “Gender and Endurance Performance,” researcher Greg Crowther notes that women’s generally smaller body sizes make them better able to dissipate body heat and less likely to succumb to overheating—a common concern among ultra-athletes. He also suggests that, in some cases, estrogen may protect muscles from exerciseinduced damage. The hormone might also be what causes women to utilize more fat than carbohydrate for energy, allowing their bodies to pull from stored reserves of easy-access glycogen for longer periods of time. There are certain reasons men tend to be faster than women—typically a higher VO2 maximum, which corresponds to cardiorespiratory endurance. However, “when men and women with equivalent marathon times are pitted against each other in ultras, the women tend to win,” Crowther wrote. In late May at annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, research director for the Western States Endurance Run, Martin Hoffman, MD, presented evidence suggesting that among elite athletes in that race, the trend is that women are getting faster but men are not. In 1980 top women runners of the 100mile event were 25 percent slower than men on average, but that difference has decreased to around 15 percent today. “The results are different when considering the trend across all 100-mile races,” says Hoffman, but in the Western States the field of elite female athletes has gotten progressively stronger over recent years. Women may be getting better, but when it comes to a 100-mile or any ultra-distance race, dealing with physical 74  WAM OAUGUST’2009”

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and mental stress turns into serious business. “At a halfIronman event with 1,500 people, there might be a few in the medical tent at race end, but at an Ironman, there will be several hundred,” says Paul Regensberg, triathlon coach and cofounder of LifeSport, Ironman’s official coaching organization. “Even among the pros—very conditioned athletes—at some point half of them are walking because something has physiologically shut them down.” Super-fit professionals have the cardiorespiratory endurance, lactate threshold, energy efficiency, and experience to race competitively. But according to Jay Hoffman in his book Physiological Aspects of Sport Training and Performance (Human Kinetics, 2002), training is only part of the formula. Some key indicators of endurance performance have a huge genetic component. VO2 max, for example, is one of the best indicators of cardiorespiratory endurance, and genetics account for as much as 25 to 50 percent VO2 max variations among similarly conditioned individuals. Though training can help, the woman with the genetic edge can run harder and longer than her wellconditioned competitor ever could.

Genetics and conditioning play a major role, but the challenge to overcome the limits of our body’s energy stores in endurance events is a “numbers game,” according to Regensberg. By the time an athlete has been running for two hours, she may have lost four to eight pounds of water in sweat and respiration and an entire day’s worth of salt. If dehydration sets in, the blood becomes thicker, and for every one percent of body weight she drops, her heart beats an extra seven times per minute. She’s likely used up the 1,800 to 2,000 calories worth of easy-access glycogen stored in her blood and liver. And at this point, if she doesn’t womensadventuremagazine.com

Courtesy of charette family

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omen’s participation in endurance events is growing, but female athletes have been raising the bar for ultraevents for generations. In May, ultrarunner Pam Reed broke the American record for the sixday run by 43 miles. German triathlete Astrid Benöhr’s 1999 record for a deca-Ironman— that’s 24 miles of swimming; 1,120 miles of biking; and 262 miles of running—bests the men’s record by more than five hours. And for 22 of the last 40 years, women have held the record times for crossing the English Channel.


replace calories, sodium, and liquid as fast as she burns through them, her brain could shut down her muscles to ensure it gets enough juice to keep functioning—in other words, she’ll bonk. “If you do the straight math, after four to six hours, that diminishing return catches up with her,” Regensberg says. By the six-hour mark, mechanical stress on joints, blisters, chafing, sleep deprivation, and the gradual breakdown of muscle fibers are just beginning, and the physical discomfort gets worse as hours and miles go by. The top athletes in an Ironman will race longer than eight hours, and many participants’ finish times stretch closer to the 17-hour cutoff, just a fraction of the on-the-clock time for longer, multiday endurance events. Even if athletes stay on top of the numbers game, when the brain competes with muscles for energy the mental game gets more difficult. “The biggest challenge for me is staying focused in the middle of the race,” Bree says. “When you’re going for a long time, you really have to be able to pull yourself together to stay in it. In my best races, my physical and mental games were on, giving me an extra boost.”

balancing act. She stays up at night to work out so she can spend time with her husband and grandson between swims and shifts at the hospital. “I was a full-time teacher and had just had a baby,” says Bree who juggled her training around her teaching career before getting her triathlete pro-card last year. “My son makes me think of my training as more of a job. But even now, I have to plan my travels and racing around motherhood,” she says. The mental strength and determination it takes to handle that balance and stay focused is a huge part of what makes endurance athletes successful. All other factors being equal, “the outcome of big races is virtually 100% mental” says Terry Orlick, PhD, a sport psychologist and author of In Pursuit of Excellence (Human Kinetics, 2000). “It is definitely a mental game. Your focus leads you for better or for worse,” says Orlick. Motivation, commitment, emotional control, resilience, and an ability to overcome setbacks and disappointments are all key for endurance athletes whose best performances will likely correspond to moments of mental clarity and control. “Endurance is a massive confidence game,” agrees Regensberg.

Even if athletes stay on top of the numbers game, when the brain competes with muscles for energy, the mental game gets more difficult.

“Athletes in these endurance-type sports are driven; they are so focused you could call it an addiction,” Regensberg says. Though placing and finishing times are important for elites and professionals, for most ultra-athletes, the challenge of training for and completing a 50mile run, 300-mile bicycle ride, or 1-mile swim is an accomplishment in itself. Overcoming the mental and physical challenges to motivation keep them satisfied. In a survey of Ironman-distance athletes conducted by University of Ottawa graduate student Karine Grand’Maison, 38 percent of respondents said that motivation comes from the challenge itself. Lisa Mensink, a 32-year-old professional triathlete agrees, “especially at longer distances, I’m thinking, I don’t know if I can make it. I like the challenge of seeing how hard I can run or bike or swim.” In the same survey, another 30 percent of athletes called out their satisfaction with achieving personal goals and witnessing progress, while 19 percent identified their motivation as a sense of achievement that comes from completing a specific goal. “I just wanted to run the Honolulu marathon,” says Bree recalling her first race, “but every day of training was another chance for my competitive self to come out.” Not surprisingly, the biggest obstacle for many athletes is the time commitment it takes to train. Over half of the athletes in Grand’Maison’s survey named time as their major challenge to racing and competing. Pat’s busy nursing career and family make training a constant

When everything falls into place—the physical conditioning, nutrition, planning, determination, and confidence—finishing an ultraevent provides a huge sense of personal accomplishment, which is the payback and reward for most. “When I finished [my first marathon swim],” says Pat, who swam that first 2.4-miler 11 years ago as a tribute to her brother, “my family was waiting at the finish line, and I found out why he loved sports so much. The camaraderie was incredible and I was just hooked.” For some the incentive to compete comes from the increasing prize purses—this year’s the North Face Endurance Challenge awards $10,000 for first place, the largest for an ultra-trail-running event to date. But for many, especially nonprofessional athletes and people new to ultradistances, it’s that shared experience and camaraderie that motivates them to endure the long training sessions, friends-and-family balancing act, and physical discomfort that comes with pushing the simple mechanical machine of the human body to extremes. Bree, who’s vying for the Ironman World Championship in Kona this fall—the finish line is just 187 steps from her front door—puts it another way: “I’ve seen moms who are six months pregnant, people with one arm, and people with no legs doing an Ironman. There are even 80-yearolds who do it. It comes down to how mentally tough you can be. Maybe not everyone can race at an elite level, but anyone who has a goal to test their character can do it.” WAM OAUGUST’2009” 

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Do something every day that scares you. -Eleanor Roosevelt

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Woods Wheatcroft / Aurora Photos

Musings


September 26, 2009

What is The Women’s Adventure? It’s an all-day, non-competitive event where you can demo products, try new sports, attend clinics, win gear, and sample food, wine, and beer in the beautiful outdoor setting of Boulder, Colorado!

Can’t make the trip to Colorado for the day? Buy a raffle ticket for your chance to win top of the line gear and apparel. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Women’s Wilderness Institute!

Register or buy raffle tickets today! event.womensadventuremagazine.com


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September 26, 2009 in Boulder, CO REGISTER TODAY! event.womensadventuremagazine.com

Women’s Adventure (ISSN 1945-1946), Volume 7, Issue 4, August 2009, is published bi-monthly - Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec - for $17.95 per year by Big Earth Publishing, 1637 Pearl Street, Suite 201, Boulder, CO 80302-5447. Periodicals Postage paid at Boulder, CO and at additional mailing offices. Canada Agreement# 40063731. Returns to: Pitney Bowes IMS, Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ON N9A 6J5. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Women’s Adventure, PO Box 408, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0408.


Special Advertising Section

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OAUGUST’2009”

Editorial

The Runner I am undone shoelaces and praying- mantis flailing arms and legs. I am field day circling a small-town grassy track alongside the Dairy Queen. I am fast and powerful, and I never realized I could be those things until today. I am 10. I am a runner. I am new spikes, Runner’s World magazine, and superstition. I am rebellion, 104-degree Texas heat, and baggy clothes. I am less than ladylike. I am lost innocence, obsession, fear, and survival. I am 14. I am a runner who is running away. I am the scripture written on threering notebook paper stuffed inside my shoe. I am more heart than talent—more hard work than genes. I am shin splints and two-a-days, desperation and tears. I am a dream to run in college. A prayer. I am a false start. Disqualified. Undone. I am 18. I am a runner. I am competing in the NCAA Division I. I am pulled hamstrings, ultrasounds, and pre-race nervous stomach. I am Type A. Balancing my studies. A 4.0 GPA. Alone. I am trying to figure out who I am—and finding myself … lost. I am running in circles. I am my last race. I am 21. I am a runner. I am corporate and Fortune 500 and dressed in uncomfortable clothes and shoes. I am my first apartment, car, and dogs. I am 300,000 frequent flyer miles. I am becoming my parents’ version of me. I am burned out, a hamster on a wheel, going nowhere fast. 80  WAM OAUGUST’2009”

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I am at odds with everyone, including myself. I am 25. I am a runner who no longer runs. I am Colorado dirt trails, pine trees, and jagged peaks. I am the first sign of spring, the hummingbirds’ return, surprising a herd of elk. I am the smell of lavender and sap and afternoon rain. I am a house in the mountains. The Continental Divide. Ten acres of my own. I am uphill running serpentine through stands of gold aspens. I am racing the wind. I am returning to myself. I am 30. I am a runner. I am running, tripping, and falling. I am helped home by strangers. I am neurologists and MRIs and spinal taps. I am walking and stumbling and weak and worried. I am injections, twitches, spasms, and sleep. I am starting a magazine featuring adventures I may never be able to take. I am envious of joggers. I am doubting I can still go anywhere I want on my own power. I am 35. I am not sure who I am or will become if I am no longer a runner.

I am a sports magazine, a writer, a speaker for the National MS Society. I am eating right, watching my stress. I am a baby jogger, the farmers’ market, herbs with names I can’t pronounce. I am running the block, the street, five miles. I am taking things at my own pace. I am problem solving and creating as I sweat. I am a wave to another runner, a lostdog finder, a crisp morning stretch, a deep breath. I am step by step finding my way. I am 40. I am a runner. I am ankles that pop down stairs, hips and shoulders that grind. I am gray wisps and flat arches and sunweathered skin. I am scarred hands and knees with good stories. I am a pescatarian, organic, homegrown, and healthy. I am friends with my parents. I am family life, my 4-year-old’s laughter, tag. I am work that I love, home, and trips all over the world. I am more afraid of missing out on life than I am of lightning, grizzlies, E. coli, or terrorists. I am appreciative, alert, and sometimes—still—fast. I am finding that age does not matter. I am a runner. -Michelle Theall

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August 2009 Women's Adventure  

The magazine for women who ride, run, climb, ski, snowboard, backpack, hike, and travel.

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