Group introductions

  • Creator
  • #78142
    Shani McCullough

    Hi All,

    I thought I would start an introduction thread. I know some of you have already introduced yourselves on WhatsApp so use this as you like (or not).

    My name is Shani and I am in Southern California USA (near Mt San Jacinto for those who know the local mountains). I’m on the local Mountain SAR team and working on getting better at mountaineering and increasing my speed and resilience while hiking. This is the most structured training I’ve done so far and I think it will be good for me. For hobbies, I love doing things that have to do with water (canyoneering, ice climbing, swimming in lakes, etc. looking to start up surfing soon as I brave the ocean…) I’m pretty quiet and tend to be the takes notes in the background type of person, but I am looking forward to chatting with you all a bit as well.

    Happy to be part of the group,


  • Participant
    Alyssa Young on #78145

    Hi all. Excited to be here learning with you all. My name is Alyssa, I live up in the North Cascades. I’m mostly a skier and go on alpine rambles when I can.

    I do a lot of things outside but have never trained formally–so much to learn! My main goal here is to establish a strong baseline so I can begin training for specific objectives within the next year, and to gain a better understanding of how my body works so I can have reasonable expectations of myself (probably just as much mental training as physical training to be done on this front).

    My work is very physical at times, so I’ll also be trying to figure out how to incorporate that. I would love to hear how you all manage the juggling act!

    Laurie Doty on #78150

    Hi! I’m Laurie, I’ve loved being outdoors & in the mountains for years, but haven’t always lived near them, and now that I’m 43, I need to train formally to enjoy my time at altitude & reach my goals. I’m in Kentucky & work full time, shift work days/nights, & have 2 kids who are 9 & 5 years old. I had a tough year a few years ago after a concussion from a wakeboarding injury, with daily headaches for a year & taking meds that made me tired & had weight gain as a listed side effect. I’m off those meds & I am trying to use my time most efficiently because it takes a lot of time and effort to keep the train on the tracks at our house! So hopefully this group will add the accountability & efficiency that I need to train smart & summit Mt Rainier Aug 3-5 w AAI. Looking fwd to it.

    Alyssa Young on #78153

    Hi Laurie! Good to meet ya. Rainier is an exciting thing to have on the horizon! Sounds like you’ve got your hands full at home, props for taking the time to do this program.

    Participant on #78159

    Hi everyone! I’m Stephanie and I live in NYC! I did a short course on Kulshan (Mt. Baker) last August. It was my first mountaineering trip and it was incredible and hard and so rewarding. I do a lot of hiking with my friends and some rock climbing, and am currently working hard on my aerobic fitness so I can figure out what’s next for me on the mountaineering front. Hoping to find partners or an objective for sometime later this year. Finding a mountaineering community in NYC is hard, so I’d love to just chat with anyone about alpine objectives you’ve done before, (and especially if you’re local)! Please do reach out! ?

    Melissa Aukerman on #78203

    Hello – I’m Melissa and I live in Corvallis, OR, which is about an hour and half south of Portland. I am a trail runner, alpine skier, cross country skier (classic style), and general mountain activity skiing of person. I am also a mom to a 12 year old daughter, who is into mountain sports too, so I feel like I won the parent lottery. While not a runner, my daughter is my best training partner on her rode or mountain bike.

    I have been running for 32 years – I am 46 now. I had a few years stint as a sponsored runner in my late 20’s/early 30’s before I became a mom. I have always trained on trails and dabbled in ultras before becoming a parent, but after becoming a mom, I found it incredibly difficult to train with the commitment needed to sustain racing. I continued to log 20-30 miles a week of running, but that was more for mental sanity than actual training. A few years ago, I started getting serious about my training on the sly – running at 3 or 4 AM with a headlamp before my family woke up, to see what my middle aged body could do. As it turned out, I still had a fair amount of speed and my body could handle more training volume that I thought. The secret training turned into a spectacular three-year build for some ultra racing in 2022. That plan went caput when I had a pretty serious ski accident in January 2022 and blew out my right knee.

    Two knee surgeries, hundreds of hours in rehab, and 15 months later, I am running again and enjoying every mile. I did not think that I would ever be able to run again, so every day is a treat even if I struggle to complete a workout. I spend a lot of time working on strength and speed work these days, and I use a spinning bike for about half of my aerobic base and recovery workouts. I am hoping to rebuild my base miles enough to attempt a 50K or 50 miler in 2024, but I am taking my time with adding miles and listening to my body. The Uphill Athlete way of training has so far been very different from my previous ways of training, so I enjoying the chance to learn and see what concepts I want to integrate. I am also excited to be a part of a community and celebrate everyones’ accomplishments. It’s been a lonely 15 months in the gym doing squats, and I am feeling very inspired by all that everyone is doing.

    Melissa Aukerman on #78210

    Laurie – I feel you where you are in stage of life/parenting. I struggled to train in those years between my child being too old to take with on a training in a jogging stroller and two young to leave at home alone while I went for a training run. It was also hard to give the best of myself to my family and have something left in the tank emotionally to support my training. I am here for you if you just need to vent or if you want advice. My daughter is 12 now, and it is still frequently a $h!+ show at home with juggling family and training. I may be deluding myself, but I am hopeful that my daughter is learning some life lessons in this process though.

    Abby Wall on #78228

    Hi All,

    I’m Abby, I live over in the Central Cascades of Washington (Leavenworth). I had big life changes over the past couple years that with the extra stress made me drop a lot of the outdoor objectives I had. So now I’m back and training for a couple upcoming events, Ski mountaineering Baker June 1-4 with PGS, and alpine climbs with my partner later in the summer (Sloan, Glacier, Rainier…).

    I hate feeling like the slow one in the group so, I want to improve my aerobic fitness so I can do some epic adventures.

    Message me if you want to meet up to train or do something cool in the PNW (climbing, skiing, mountaineering, hiking).


    Beth Long on #78277

    Hi friends!

    I’m Beth. I’m quite new to trail running but not new to FUA — I’ve been doing the program off and on since it started, and really love the progress I’ve seen with this training. I joined not long after my second cancer diagnosis. My first was lymphoma fifteen years ago, and then in 2020 I had thyroid cancer. I didn’t get COVID but I did get cancer. 😛 Fortunately they were able to remove it all with a relatively minor surgery, but it was still a kick in the pants and it inspired me to get over my fears that “I can’t run” and learn trail running.

    I live in Portland (hello fellow PNW athletes!). I’ve been working for a while on a goal of being able to run Portland’s Wildwood Trail in a day. It’s 31 miles in beautiful Forest Park. My next milestone is to do a “trail run trial run” in November of this year.

    Like many of you, my schedule has made consistent training a challenge. Between work, family, and other commitments, it can be hard to get the needed volume, and the Uphill Athlete programs have been the only way I’ve seen consistent progress. I recently left a pretty intense job at a tech startup and started a new job that has a lot more flexibility and a lot less stress, so I’m really looking forward to stepping up the training again.

    I’m helping out as a mentor for this training round. My lack of prior mountain training may have been a weird advantage for me because I didn’t have existing habits to overwrite, and I’ve been gobsmacked by how effective this training program has been even for a relative newcomer. It’s also been awesome to see the improvements the team has made with each new FUA cohort. I’m excited to train and grow with all of you this season!


    Ginger Stout on #78327

    Hello All,

    My name is Ginger and I live in Salt Lake City. I work as a wildlife veterinarian so I do a lot of physical things for work but I joined because my schedule is so insane and I haven’t had good accountability to do a training program. I am thinking about doing the half marathon in the Tusher Mountains in Aug. and I really want to climb some peaks in the Tetons and Winds, hopefully the Grand this summer.

    If anyone lives in Salt Lake and wants to train together, let me know! Luckily I have the foothills in my backyard so it’s easy to get out even on busy days. I enjoy backcountry skiing, hiking, and am trying to get more into mountaineering.

    Kari Hoover on #78388

    Hi, I’m Kari. I am primarily a runner, and I love spending time in the mountains! That has led me to slowly add more winter sports to my skillet.

    I grew up in Western Washington but currently live in the central part of the state, which has all four seasons. I am learning to love winter, I enjoy snowshoeing and am currently trying to learn to ski.

    I’ve had some injuries in the past, and my current work schedule is crazy, do I definitely appreciate the accountability of this program.

    Ruth Blackshaw on #78852

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for starting this thread! I’m Ruth and I’m based between Gryon and Geneva, Switzerland. I’m originally from the Scottish Highlands.
    I’ve always been a mountain lover and am keen to get into some more events etc this year. I did my first skimo event earlier this year and am signed up to my first trail run event this weekend! I also do some easy mountaineering and road biking in the summers and lots of ski mountaineering/touring in the winters + cross-country skiing (classic + skate).
    Great to meet you all! Ruth

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