Ahoy! I’m off to sea.

Late last summer I applied for a volunteer position for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. They were looking for volunteers to work on board the sailing boat ‘Silurian’, which sails from the Isle of Mull off the Scottish coast to monitor the whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Outer Hebrides.

Fast forward to October and  I was nominated through a teacher at school for the Governors School program. I knew this was a great opportunity and privilege but spent the remaining part of my day at school thinking about how I would work in my cross country running over the summer and building our team if I was away at Governors School for 5 -6 weeks of the summer, plus I was still holding out to hear from the Hebridean Trust.

When I got home from school that evening I was extremely excited to receive an acceptance email into the teen volunteer program and immediately knew I wanted to have the opportunity to volunteer in the area of marine biology over Governors School.

I will be heading to the Isle of Mull in July. During our 8 days at sea we will conduct monitoring via visual sightings and acoustic surveillance around the Hebridean Islands. As a volunteer I will be living and working onboard the sailing boat for the duration of the volunteer period. With a team of 8-10 other high school students and 2 members of the Whale and Dolphin Trust we will work, cook, clean and monitor the ocean – I am looking forward to the whole experience. This will be my first time at sea!

The Sailing boat Silurian.

One of my main concerns when I applied for the opportunity was ‘what would I eat’! I emailed the coordinator and explained that I had Celiac Disease and they were very helpful and knowledgable about my situation.  They will be able to provide the sailing boat with non gluten food items, and I will be careful during the week when we are in the galley cooking and eating together. I am looking forward to seeing what gluten free goodies the UK has to offer.

I am so looking forward to this once in a lifetime opportunity!

I will be able to share my story in August with you.





Quick lunch out for Celiacs… do they exist?

I recently earned my off-campus lunch pass – awesome…not! In theory it would be great to take sometime out from your usual lunch meal and take a break from campus, but I’ve found it particularly frustrating to just simply “go off campus”. I have to remind myself that I HAVE to look at every menu in a restaurant before hand and most times a quick look simply takes too long… I have to research….sigh!




There is so much to learn and do in life!

Hello Coach Magee – thank you for allowing me to interview you for my new blog segment – ‘Running Interviews’. It seems that we not only share having Celiac but also the same reasons why we don’t like running track. 

Not Running Related:  Basic stats:  I’m 53, married for 27 years, lived in Durham 20 years, grew up in Iowa & Michigan, mom to 2 boys, I am the oldest of 3 siblings, and my Mom lives across the street.

Various Jobs: Theater Teacher (Tech & All levels of Acting), English Teacher, writing coach, Theater Director, XC & Track Coach.

Loads of unrelated skills: Instant Costume Construction, various arts & crafts (macramé, batik, tie dye, knitting, crocheting, stenciling, soap making, candle making, linoleum prints, etc.), short order breakfast cook, interior & exterior house painter and lots of vital & trivial knowledge of literature & Durham.

Name story:  My mom was a Children’s Librarian so if I been a boy my name would have been Christopher but since I was a girl my name was Robin.

Also, it takes me forever to learn people’s names.  I will learn all the details about their lives and remember those but it takes me lots longer to remember their names.  I am very good at calling people the names of their best friends or siblings.  I even call my own family members by other family members’ names.  My grandfather used to do this and it drove me crazy when I was a kid.  Now I do it!


  1. First Running: I first started running for a team my freshman fall of high school. September 1977.  Before then I used to run home from elementary school through the woods to my neighborhood.  I loved to do that!  It was the closest I’d ever felt to flying!  Early trail running?
  1. Favorite & Least Favorite Running Workouts:

Faves:  a long distance run with friends in the woods or on dirt roads or anywhere (lots of time for chatting), a challenging hill work out, running with friends or a team.

Least Faves: anything on an indoor track!!  Hate it (the indoor track hack, the tiny turns….argh!)

  1. Other Sports: These days I practice yoga regularly which I love. I also like bicycling to get around town or to chase XC runners. I also love hiking & backpacking.

4:  A favorite race:  I have two favorite races the mile and a 5k XC race. From my high school career my two favorite races were the 1979 Class D State XC meet and the 1980 County Meet of Champions (track).  Locally I have 2 favorite races: The Pumpkin Run (in Chapel Hill) & the Miracle Mile (in downtown Raleigh).  They are both fun & benefit good causes.

5: Fuel the body:  Wow, that is a tough question because I didn’t find out I had celiac until well after my running and racing career were over.  My go to fuel is one of four types of Lara Bars.  They are great for any time my I’m feeling hungry.  I always have one in my purse.

Nowadays (if I were racing) my answer would be I would make sure to have plenty of carbohydrates and protein throughout the week.

My diet tends to be paleo because I can’t eat dairy anymore (wah!) & I’m even sensitive to some GF grains (I think it is because I didn’t learn until my early 40s, so I became sensitive to lots of foods along the way).

In the winter: Hot Chicken & Rice, salads, Beef stews, Chili, meatloaf & veg’s, sweet potatoes & eggs, giant stir fry dinners, Tomato Soup & Rice (some of my favorite dishes), slow cooked root veggies & a really awesome steak.

In the summer:  more fresh veggies, fresh salads, fish dishes, cold chicken salad, tuna salad, Rice Salads (loads of veg, cold meat & balsamic vinaigrette).

Anytime of year: spaghetti & meatballs, King Arthur Mix pancakes with blueberries, Lara Bars & Tanka Bars.

6: Favorite Person to Run with:  a good friend or anyone who I want to get to know.  Nowadays I’m more likely to go walking with my friends than running.

7: Favorite Running Outfit or lucky item:  I didn’t really have “lucky” items but I do have some historical stories about what we wore back in the mid 70s & early 80s.

Summer:  I used to love running in XL t-shirts because they were so roomy (lots of air circulation).  For some reason I didn’t wear tank tops.  Running bras had not been invented yet so there was no way to run “shirtless” like the guys.  But then the weather wasn’t too hot & humid in Michigan during the summer as it is in North Carolina.

Winter Competition:  Running tights had not been invented yet so we used to wear waffle weave cotton* long underwear under our uniforms.  My mom used to knit me the cutest lightweight wool running hats for competitions.  One time, when I was competing at the age group XC Nationals in Kansas, I showed up a little unprepared for the weather.  It was below zero with snow everywhere.  The course we ran on was hard packed snow so spikes were essential! I had forgotten the long underwear for my legs so my coach took me to a store to buy pantyhose to wear under my uniform.  The only type of pantyhose was control top (which had a weird weave from the knees up).  I looked ridiculous but I was a bit warmer!

*by 1979 the Duo-fold long underwear company invented a warm wool-cotton blend with super cute prints & colors.  This became my winter running gear of choice for late season competitions & my base layer for winter outdoor training.  Fortunately wind suits for running had been invented by 1979 so wearing one really helped make training more comfortable during the seasons with cold wind (fall, winter & spring).

8: Fitting running in with my family:  I usually walk or run right after the kids go to school.  If I wait too long then I never get around to it.  When one of my boys ran with the Durham Striders, I would go jogging while he was doing a workout.  That was great because then I was sure to run 3 days a week!

9: Running Bucket List:  I don’t have one yet. I do have some places I’d like to hike…parts of the John Muir wilderness in California, Canadian Rockies, the 100-mile Wilderness in Maine, various regions of Switzerland, France, Spain, Scotland, the Lake Country of Britain, and some of the trails in New Zealand.

10:  Team:  In high school my team was vital to my success and enthusiasm for running.  When I first started and could barely run a mile my coach and my team mates were so kind and encouraging and ran with me.  Once I got in shape it was lots of fun.  We had so few girls running XC and track that everyone was welcoming and encouraging.  Each member of the team was valuable.

In college some people were inspiring generous people and some were unpleasantly competitive.  It was a big team so I could train and enjoy the people who suited me.

11:  Who inspires you?  On any given day I could come up with a different list of people who inspire me. There are so many people who inspire me. I’ve been lucky to meet, to work with, and to be friends with some truly incredible people. There is so much to learn and do in life!

Coach Magee

50th blog post- Thank you!

Today marks the day of my 50th blogpost- thank you for reading my blogs.

When I first started blogging I thought it would be easy to upload a blog every other day, but it has proved to be tough to be consistent and to fill my posts with good content. Especially whilst being in a pivotal year at school- and feeling like I’m practically drowning in school work.

Blogging has felt like an outlet to discuss the hardships of Celiac disease, and other daily life events- as well as all things running!

Looking forward to celebrating the 100th blog post with you.



Too much Splenda

Day four of being on 10 sachets of Splenda and Budesonide.

I usually have pretty good skin as I have a very healthy diet due to not being able to eat my favorite sweet and yummy things.  So,  I am blaming the 10 packets of Splenda a day to have caused my face to break out. Also the Budesonide has made me quite wheezy and my throat has been itching.  My family has decided that I should stop the medication to see if the wheezing goes away. Will update you all on this in a week or so.


Hmm… A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…

Today I received my medication for my EOE Disease.  The idea is that the Budesonide will reduce the inflammation in my Esophagus. Initially the Dr. gave me a inhaler to use with spray medication. However at $400 for a 4 week prescription my Mum declined the medication and we requested something a little more affordable, especially due to the fact that I may have to take this for a long period of time.

This morning I had to mix the 2 ml of syrup with 5 sachets of Splenda sugar. The Splenda helps the syrup stick to my Esophagus and not go directly into my intestine. I then have to wait 30 minutes before I can eat or drink again.


I will be doing this morning and evening. Not sure what I am expecting from this, as I am usually unaware that my Esophagus is inflamed.



Cosmic Appreciation Post!

There is a hidden gem in Downtown 9th street, a place that can only be reached by taking a flight of stairs and going through a series of doors (that lead to other local stores on the street)! Cosmic is a restaurant that serves authentic Mexican food, a personal favorite of mine.

Usually I ask for no cross contact with the flour tortillas and other products, of which they accommodate for including a note to the chef. I order the corn products to avoid gluten consumption.

Always a reasonable price for a teenager just looking for a great and fast meal.

Cosmic serves food to- go or for in restaurant eating. If you are interested (I would definitely recommend it!) here is the link to the menu: http://www.cosmiccantina.com/.

My fave order: Two chicken tacos with rice, beans, salsa, and cheese.

This has been a quick appreciative post of a local restaurant, because after all it is ‘support local stores Saturday’!



Must see…

When I saw this screen shot of a birthday card (possibly a birthday card, I have no idea what other occasion this would be for), I actually laughed out loud 🙂

Anyone who is gluten- free or has Celiac disease can definitely agree and relate to this!

Very funny!

Hope this brighten’s your day…!





Adidas XC Challenge

Our cross country team headed over to the Adidas XC Challenge early yesterday morning. Varsity ran in the invitational and JV ran the 11.35 JV White race. Our Varsity team usually competes in the Championship race at 8:35, it was a bummer to have to compete in the mid- morning sun. However, there were benefits to running in the invitational as you will see from the results.

Our team did our usual pre- race warm up by running the outside fields and on the gravel trails outside the meet area. We stretched on the line because we had to check in 20 minutes prior to our actual race time.

After the stretching we returned back to the line, and prepared to start. We were told the usual three command start, and before we knew it the race had started.

The start of the Invitational race!

I had a good sprint start, but I had a group cut in front of me separating me from my teammate who I wanted to run with. I was discouraged by my start and it meant that I had to pick up speed during the 2nd and 3rd miles.

My first mile time was around 6:10, a very fast first mile, to be followed by two other miles and a .1. In the second mile I picked up my pace and passed a few girls. I could still see the teammate I had mentioned I had wanted to run with, but she was quite a bit away from me.The infamous hill the Adidas Cross Country Challenge has, is run on twice during the race and is a very exhausting one at that. The course was very dry and dusty which was causing breathing problems for me.

Climbing the hill on my last mile was very tiring, but I knew the finish was at the top, and I was almost done. My asthma got worse when I ran up the hill and I really needed my inhaler by the finish.

After all my teammates finished we headed back to our tent, where we had heard from our boys team that we might have gotten second (as a team) in the race!

Our award!

Sure enough it was true, and we took pride in holding our award on the podium!

What a great end to a good day of racing!