For this months’ member highlight, I interviewed one of my most favorite people in the whole world, someone from whom I draw so much inspiration… my little sister, Lynette. I knew she’d have some free time in the evenings to respond to my questions right now, being stranded on a remote island for a few weeks, with little human contact but with access to internet in the camp. I also got her to do a write-up on what it’s like up there in the frigid north country.
I encourage any of you to reach out to her, if you’d like to plan a dream trail-running vacation on “her” island next summer – 99% wilderness area, hundreds of miles of trails, and hardly any people.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in a small town in Upper Michigan, near the shores of Lake Michigan. I now split my time between a slightly larger town in Upper Michigan, Houghton, near the shores of Lake Superior, and on Isle Royale National Park, a remote archipelago of over 400 islands, including the largest island in Lake Superior.
When did you begin running?
I began running in high school, but really got into it when I moved to Houghton 10+ years ago and started trail running.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? if not racing, what motivates you?
I do race, and find it to be great motivation to train, however I’m primarily motivated by exploring trails and being outside. Being on a remote island for 6 months of the year, and living in a place with 250 inches of snow every winter is limiting my ability to race at the moment.
Do you have any dream races or dream runs (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
No dream races but my current goal is to run across Isle Royale, a distance of 40 miles. It’d be my longest run to date.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy? Favorite post-run meal or beverage?
I’m a big fan of Honey Stinger energy chews and Clif Bars on longer runs. I also graze on blueberries, thimbleberries, or apples – whatever is growing that’s edible on the side of the trail. After a run I usually snack on yogurt and granola or bread and peanut butter.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share?
Cachapas! These are a great simple meal are a good source of protein.
Cachapas (Venezuelan sweet corn pancakes)
2 cans corn (strained)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
Blend ingredients (in food processor or blender), cook like a pancake, and fill with black beans, avocado, shredded cheese, and salsa.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
On Christmas morning I got to run with two of my favorite people, Jenelle and my boyfriend Evan, through the trails of Martis Camp. Evan and I arrived in Truckee on Christmas Eve and it was amazing to wake up and head out Jenelle’s back door for a snowy adventure on quiet trails. No speed or distance records were broken but I can’t think of a better morning run all year.
Most inspiring book you’ve read lately?
I’m a total slouch and can’t remember the last time I made it through an entire book. I’m currently reading Command and Control by Eric Schlosser (also wrote Fast Food Nation). It is an account of the history of nuclear weapons in the US and details the Damascus incident, not super inspiring but very interesting.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year, running or otherwise?
This October I backpacked across Isle Royale at the end of my field season. I have not backpacked in probably 8 years or so, but I had been carrying gear in a pack for the past 5 months. I loaded up my pack with 2 sleeping bags, multiple layers of down and wool, and extra socks. Unfortunately my food planning was poor and the first night after many miles on the trail I sat down to a dinner of half a pack of ramen and half a snickers bar. The nights were cold and I woke to a frosty tent, where I remained until the sun warmed things up. My feet were covered in blisters but the hike was beautiful, and the fall colors in all their glory. When I arrived in Windigo, the end of the trail, I was greeted with an unexpected hot shower, brats, and Old Milwaukee.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I hoping my next big adventure is to run across Isle Royale this summer. I was counting on Jenelle Potvin to join me on the summer solstice for the run, but now apparently she has a little race called Western States coming up.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I work as an Ecologist for Isle Royale National Park. In the summer my job can be physically demanding – hiking, canoeing, carrying gear around – so I get a lot of activity on the job. When I want to run farther than the 2.5 mile loop on the small island I live on I have to get in my kayak and paddle to the big island. Once there the options are endless and the benefits of being on an isolated rock in Lake Superior means few chores or other obligations to get in the way!
What led you to join the DPMR?
My sister Jenelle. I’m also a member of the Keweenaw Running Group, a fun group of runners in Houghton that meet up for a run and beers every Wednesday, even on the coldest and windiest of days.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
Reading the newsletter and living vicariously through all the epic ultra runs DPMR’s embark on.
Favorite Truckee-area trail?
The Sawtooth trails and the Truckee River trail are great trails to start out on when getting used to the elevation, but I love the views on the climbs up to Castle Peak and Mt. Rose.
Favorite trail where you live?
On Isle Royale, the Greenstone Trail offers the best views of Lake Superior and frequent moose encounters. On the mainland the Copper Harbor Trails are amazing. If you find yourself in the Upper Peninsula in July, check out the Run the Keweenaw event
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
I love pretty much any activity that gets me outside. Mountain biking, road biking, and kayaking in the summer and skate skiing and snow biking in the winter. I’m also a big fan of shoveling snow and stacking firewood.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
I am currently on Isle Royale at Winter Study. I arrived by helicopter from Canada and spend my days trekking by ski or snowshoe through knee deep snow looking for signs of Marten, setting up monitors to track amphibians in the early spring, and supporting operations. We get our water from a hole in the ice, take saunas every few days, and watch moose and fox through the cabin window.
Editor’s Note: read more about Lynette’s experience at Winter Study in this trip report.