Tuesday, April 9, 2013


When I was in the seventh grade, I tried out for the basketball team at my school in Racine, Wisconsin. I was an awkward, skinny kid, but I was also six-two, six inches taller than the other boys. And, my older brother Gary was a friend of the coach and Gary had been the star of his high school team. So I thought I had a shot. I was cut after the first practice.

The coach told Gary, “Your brother is the most uncoordinated kid I’ve seen in my life.” Gary repeated that description of me to our mom. She broadcast it to her bridge club. They all laughed. I was humiliated. I felt like a failure. Gary was a basketball hero. I wasn’t worthy of a seat on the bench.  The “uncoordinated kid” label became stuck in my mind. It haunted me. When I finished college, I was desperate to leave the cold of Wisconsin for a different life in California.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Yukon Arctic Ultra Race Report

The Yukon Arctic Ultra, “the world’s coldest and toughest ultramarathon,”  kicked off in Whitehorse yesterday morning at 10:30 a.m. For most participants, the race is still going on and will continue to do so for as much as 12 days as runners attempt to make it as far as Dawson, some 430 miles away. Race day weather was unusual for Yukon in February: low twenties for the high, skies were overcast, wind was negligible.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hot Diggity Dog

This is the biggest weekend of the year for Yukon sports, but it may surprise faithful readers of My Polar Adventure to learn that the race I’m participating in, the Yukon Arctic Ultra, isn’t even a blip on the local radar. Here in Whitehorse, dogs are king. This morning it appeared that half the residents of the town, as well as tourists, photographers and journalists from Japan, Germany, England, Brazil, Australia and other points along the globe, filed out in the morning chill to watch the start of the Yukon Quest.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Compared to Kangerlussuaq, where I ran in 2011, Whitehorse is a metropolis. It has roads. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart, the three pillars of Western Civilization, each have franchises here. There is even a public library. Kangerlussuaq only had a book.

Me standing in front of the Sacred Totem of Whichikaka.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On the Road to Whitehorse

My Polar Adventure is leaving town. On Thursday, I travel to Vancouver, then board a flight to Whitehorse. I’ll be blogging and posting photos daily beginning on Friday, reporting not only on preparations for the Yukon Arctic Ultra, but also on the Yukon Quest, an 1000-mile dog sled race that begins on Saturday.

In a turn of luck, my trip also coincides with the 2013 MissWhitehorse Beauty Pageant. I was fortunate to snag a late entry and am feeling pretty smug about my chances as the two female residents of Whitehorse are both north of 80 and have endured many harsh winters.

On Sunday is the main event, the Yukon Artic Ultra. I’ll be aiming for a Top Ten finish in the marathon and also feel confident of my chances there. There are precisely ten entrants.

Follow all the exciting events at My Polar Adventure and on my Facebook page. You won’t want to miss a moment as I attempt to cheat death and ride gossamer wings to glory in the 2013 Yukon Arctic Ultra.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


In his classic story To Build a Fire, Jack London describes a chechaquo, or “newcomer,” who attempts to walk between a pair of small mining camps in the Yukon during the days of the Klondike Gold Rush. It was a very cold day. Impossibly cold. Seventy-five degrees below zero Fahrenheit. So cold that the man's spit froze before it reached the ground. Participants in the longest distance of next month’s Yukon Artic Ultra, 430 miles, will retrace the steps of London’s fictional protagonist on the frozen Yukon River south of Dawson. (As a marathon participant, I will run on the same river, but a few hundred miles to the south.)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Well-Tempered Sub-Arctic Runner

For participants in next month’s Yukon Arctic Ultra, careful preparation is essential. There’s nothing like losing a big toe to frostbite to spoil your day. In getting ready to tackle the marathon portion of the race, I have selected my gear with care. Each and every item was chosen for warmth, weight, flexibility, comfort and the way it accents my naturally girlish figure.

Proper layering is the ticket. The photo below shows my base layer. It includes a Craft PXC Thermal Top, Sugoi Subzero Tights and Seal Skinz Waterproof Socks. (Not shown: Hot Jewlz Battery-Heated Jock Strap).