“You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.”  – Annie Dillard

When I became a single mom in 2004, my son was 4 and balance was something I was desperately seeking but sorely lacking. I suddenly found myself child-free every weekend & knee-deep in a grimy sludge of insecurity, fear, and loneliness. High drama, inappropriate men & loads of wine seemed to give me some sort of (destructive) momentary respite from the lingering knowledge that my self-esteem was in the toilet.

Moderation is not my specialty.  My life had lost any sort of healthy balance.

When I look at my life now, it’s still messy.  But rather than fumbling with fiery blobs of crazy, I feel I am juggling bright colorful balls of promise.


Running the way I want to (i.e. a ton and in the mountains) is, by definition, quite a selfish pursuit.  I’m asking a lot of those around me when I go for a 4 hour run or travel for 2 to 3 days at a time for a big race.  The 100 mile race goal doesn’t necessarily seem like the smartest choice for a single working mama.

My son has his own dreams:


and they’re pretty awesome.


I gain so much from watching him work hard, fight, and do what he loves, even when it hurts or isn’t very fun. (repetitive ‘suicides’ up and down the basketball court? ouch.)

I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by loved ones who have been right there to pick up the slack when I take time to pursue my running goals.


Grandpa makes everything fun…


….and Grandma is “a riot”.  (that’s a good thing, mom!)

My son is even getting in on a little ultrarunning action himself…


(volunteering at Cascade Crest 100 miler, summer 2012)

Despite outward appearances (ratty hair, jungle-like yard), I’m feeling pretty balanced these days.  This is clearly due in no small part to the wonderful people in my life. The likelihood of my remaining stuck in that old sludge was greatly reduced by a select few of you.

Looking ahead, I plan to follow this recipe for balance, as it seems to be working: head up, heart open, pay attention, ask for help.  I have so many moments ahead that I don’t dare miss.



5 thoughts on “balance

  1. Hi Erin,

    I also volunteered at Cascade Crest last year (2012) at Stampede Pass, that is my white truck in the background of the picture of your son. Funny how I am lurking about on your blog site and discovered this. I am enjoying reading your great insight and commentary. You have quite the gift.
    Ha ha…I remember you now, but sorry I didn’t recognize you during the race this year. I was kind of “out of it” too, it was a tough one. Sometimes I am kinda embarrassed for being dead last, then I am proud for finishing, all in the same emotional context. I just can’t imagine running it any faster, yet I hope to try again.

    Will you?


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