I am a Person Who Runs

ellen-dory-finding-nemo-2__oPtI think know I have used this Vin Diesel clip from Knockaround Guys before…I will use it again. Truth is, if I could figure out how to use it in every single post, I probably would. I think about this movie clip a lot when I run long. I know most people would assume that Rocky, Scott Jurek, Chris McDougall, or Dory, the Blue Tang fish saver, would be more likely. But no…it is, in fact, this

500 fights, that’s the number I figured when I was a kid.

500 street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy.

You need them for experience. To develop leather skin.

So I got started.

Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being the point.

You get past the silliness of it all.

But then, after, you realize that’s what you are.

Running is so much like that. You come up with a goal. That thing that will make you a “real runner.”

And so, you get started.

SavRnR

Savannah Rock ‘n Roll 2012

I saw those folks doing the Inaugural Savannah Rock and Roll marathon. That would make me a real runner. So, I put on my shoes the day after and logged 13.1 on a Monday, alone, with no medal.

I ran that same marathon a year later in under 4 hours. Surely, that makes me a real runner.

I DNF’d a race I could have easily finished. I inflated the serious of a hurt so that folks wouldn’t ask questions. Not real sure where that ranks on the “Are you a real runner” checklist. But I know one thing for certain. I am not the only one who has done it. So, I have owned it, confessed it, and forgiven myself.

Cremator

Cremator 50 mile Ultra 2013

But there is the Cremator, my darling race. That event that feels like home in my heart. It was a turning point, a game changer, if I can use the phrase. So I ran it. It was the best run of my life. I can’t wait to do it again. That must make me a real runner.

I won a race. Little bit of luck to that one as I was not the fastest female out there that day.

But that is how all races go. You run your race because you are really only competing against yourself. You can’t control others. You just do your best and see where that gets you. Certainly that must make me a real runner.

BirthdayHell, my BIRTHDAY party revolved around running. (and beer, but mostly running).

I pick up odd jobs just to keep my race fees from coming out of the family budget. Certainly that makes me a real runner.

I have secured childcare for myself and my crew chief 68 days prior to an event so that we can go freeze our asses off for 24 hours while I run around in circles trying to accumulate 100 miles to get THE Delirium buckle. By God if THAT won’t make me a real runner…

………

The truth is that this isn’t what I sat down to write about.

If I don't write about Mad Marsh...this is all you really need to know...

If I don’t write about Mad Marsh…this is all you really need to know…

I sat down on this morning in a quiet house with an awesome cup of coffee to tell you about some new cool head stuff I learned about during Mad Marsh 50k last weekend. And I still will write about them really soon because, well, I still think they are valuable if not for anyone else but me…and I would like to remember them.

But some where along paragraph 1, I realized something else again (as I think I have realized it a few times). I do, very often, refer to myself as a runner

  • When someone hasn’t seen me since the weight loss and asks, “What are you doing?”
  • When someone who is experiencing mental and emotional challenges and they ask how I cope
  • When The Dude remarks on the youthfulness of my…jeans 😉

The answer is “I am a runner.”

I think that kind of thing can get in some folks’ head (some folks’ = me). And when I have a bad run, or I skip a training day, or I sign up for a ridiculously hard race, I remember all the times I said, “I am a runner.”

And sometimes I feel like a fraud.

The truth is, I am a person who runs. While running may be one of my top five favorite things on the planet, it is still one of a thousand things that I am and do.

We are all runners

We are all runners

To the rising number of people who say to me,

Yeah I am runner too. Well, not like you, but I run.

Let me say this…

I am runner just like you, and you, just like me. Melissa has 1 kid, I have 4, Mrs. Darling has 8. We are all mommas. It’s the same thing. I have doubts and fears and insecurities. I know people who can do things I will never do. They are people who run. I am a person who runs. You are a person who runs.

And we are all just trying to get past the silliness of it all…

No Demons, Just Interesting Spirits

DD mousepad

My new mousepad for my new job 🙂

Dear Readers,

Forgive me for I have failed to write. It has been 2 months since my last blog post. I am sure you will understand or maybe not have noticed at all. I certainly noticed.

So I set out this morning (again) to write something (again) and I found it hard to be really inspired to write about anything (again). However, when The Dude walked in to grab a cup of joe, I must have looked like I could write something.

“You must be writing.”

“No, I would like to be writing.”

“Oh, well you look like you are writing. You have this inspired look on your face.”

“No such luck,” I explain. “I haven’t been inspired in months.”

He considers this thought for a moment and says something very interesting – especially since he has not yet has his first cup of coffee.

“That’s probably not a bad thing. When you write, you are usually exercising some demon of some kind, sorting through something jacked up in your brain. Maybe it’s ok that you have to try a little harder to get it out. Some of my favorite articles have been those you had to power through.”

I thought about that through my next cup of coffee and some Facebook scrolling. The truth is, he is right – but only partly.

Jedi Emily

My Jedi protector…this is most assuredly a post 🙂

I do write for nearly the same reason that I run – it feels good in an amazingly painful way. It is hard. Not everyone can do it. It takes practice and dedication. You have to be somewhat consistent.  All these things wrap up into an activity that feeds my appreciation of my own strength and ability. It keeps my mind right. It makes me feel capable. It helps me to be a better person.

It also tends to be very personal, so I tend to be a bit guarded. I am fairly extroverted (I know, you are shocked). To write about the deepest things requires pulling back the veil. While I may not mind this so much for myself, not everyone in my circle would appreciate that. I am hugely respectful of that.

So, pen does not go to paper, as it were, and I leave those things unpublished.

I am not trying to hide, present a white washed front, or create a superficial image – I am simply trying to be respectful. Besides, if an action meant to exercise demons actually reinforces its power, then what was really the point?

I also am not really good at writing (or running) in pieces. This plays hell with my new schedule. If I can’t lace up shoes and run for an hour, or log in and write for an hour, then I really don’t understand the point. I have a hard time accepting the face that 200 words here, 150 word there will eventually produce the post. I am trying to do better.

The truth is there has been a ton of stuff to write about and sort through.

Delirium confirmation

Yes, I agreed to attempt this…February 2014…83 days

  • I have a new job. And when I say new, I mean NEW. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it has been a real game changer.
  • I have modified my diet and it is not going as well as I would have hoped – I am still searching for balance.
  • I have signed up for a 24 hour race in an attempt to get the ever coveted ultra marathon runner belt buckle. For a multitude of reasons I am scared shitless. I have 83 days to figure it out.
  • My oldest Little is getting a class ring, and college mailers, and ideas about the future.
  • I have modified my training plan and it most assuredly has its pros and its cons. Again, it is about balance. (I am still using the word “plan” very loosely).

So, I will consider different ways to do different things. And maybe I will write about. No, I will write about it because that is what writers do. But maybe it won’t take 2 months.

100 miles...24 hours

100 miles…24 hours

 

 

Because (Unfortunately) There Are Asshat Runners (and Writers)

When I first started blogging over here at TTSW, I told a bit about why my writing, at that point, had taken a somewhat of a hiatus. That is as true today as it was then. However, this is where context is important. I was only motivated to write when I was angry. That is bad. Feeling the need to put words on a page sometimes when you are angry – totally different thing and in this case, absolutely necessary.

I get tagged in this Facebook link share. It is concerning an article titled “Plodders have a Place, but is it in a Marathon?” Ok, granted this article was written four years ago, but I didn’t know that when I read it. I did know, however, that I had just written an article on a related topic for Connect Savannah.

“The Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon is doing for the third year in a row what it has always done – creating new runners. Most training schedules are starting and there are a bunch of new gear, new questions, new excitement, and new runners.

This makes my heart big.

But real quick and without a whole lot of attention given to the offended and no attention given to the offenders, I feel compelled to mention an unfortunate presence in running. When you encounter it, it is my hope you will say to yourself, “this is what she was talking about,” and let it slow you down none.

I wish I was setting up a funny joke. Actually laugh at it. It is pretty ridiculous.

Running is like any other sport, hobby, club, or community. It is a microcosm of society and as such mostly contains wonderfully supportive folks.

Unfortunately it also contains those other kinds. There aren’t a ton of them, thank goodness. But this journey is hard, mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. One encounter, one sideways conversation can be bell ringing. It isn’t fun and if you are guilty of this you suck.

For the rest of you, allow me to be so bold as to offer you what I consider to be three truths about running.”

You can read the full article here.

First off, let me say you are more than welcome to stop reading here. The trash set forth by the quoted asshats is best handled by crumpling up the piece of shit story and going for a run – long or short, fast or not so much.

However, if you yourself are an asshat and are feeling a bit encouraged by this piece, you must continue.

More importantly, if you are a runner (and YES you ARE a runner) feeling a bit deflated by the “they”, this is most assuredly for you.

Many of those slower runners, claiming that late is better than never [because it IS], receive a finisher’s medal just like every other participant [because they EARNED it]. Having traversed the same route as the fleeter-footed runners — perhaps in twice the amount of time — they get to call themselves marathoners [because they ARE]. ~ Juliet Macur, journalist [emphasis mine]

“It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours,” said Adrienne Wald, 54, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, who ran her first marathon in 1984. “It used to be that running a marathon was worth something — there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’ ”

947107_608163062529389_922364302_nHere, Ms. Wald…let me give you some perspective. 

“It’s a joke to run a marathon when it really isn’t even that far,” says April Groves, 37, ultra runner badass. “I mean you are only out there, what less than 6 hours? It used to be that running distance was worth something. There used to be pride in saying you were a distance runner but not anymore. Now it’s, “I only gotta go 26.2 right? I mean, it’s just I am worried about that .2.”

Yeah, it doesn’t sound any better when you say it. And the point isn’t valid either.

That is one of the things I LOVE about the Ultra community. Do we have asshats? Sure we do. But they aren’t common and they certainly are not popular.

This mentality is so obvious that folks need about two minutes to recognize it. My husband who is not a runner finds the Lowcountry shirt hilarious because he loves the irony. “Y’all don’t even think that way,” he says.

“In Ultras you are cheering on the other people standing next to you because chances are at some time during the race you’ll need that person, even if its just a quick, ‘keep it up, man’ or a 20 mile pacing buddy,” said Tim Waz, a real runner (see how stupid that sounds, Ms. Wald) and owner of Lowcountry Ultras. “I see it as the plodders are out there working harder because they are on the course longer. Power to everyone for just getting out there regardless of distance.”

“[O]nce elite event…” Are you freaking serious? It is 26.2 MILES! Some folks wouldn’t drive that far to WORK. Walking for 6 or 7 HOURS is hard damn work. It is elite. My 8 hour marathon friends, YOU are elite.

“Purist believe…” Purist? Are we talking about the folks in the over engineered shoes, with gear that cost enough to finance a third world county, and a supplement bill to feed that same country? Because I bet she isn’t talking about half naked barefoot people who fuel on whole food and water during a race…whatever.

Then we have the elite runner and longtime marathoner Julia Given chiming in. She has a touted marathon time of 4:05:52. Oh wait, what? The MEDIAN finish time for women is 4:03:39? Oh that’s because of the slow people skewing the time. Wait? No? You mean that WAS the median time? Yeah, for women, in 1980, before the plodders. So longtime marathoner has a less than mediocre time. She would be pissed if my sub 4 running for 2 years not much younger than her self saddle up and told her slow poke behind she needed to speed up or go home.

Difference between me and her? I think her accomplishment. even if not her attitude, is amazing.

But I tend to think Ms. Given is a teller of tales. She claims that she has this conversation

I always ask those people, ‘What was your time?’ If it’s six hours or more, I say, ‘Oh great, that’s fine, but you didn’t really run it.’

She lives in Virginia. That’s too far South to talk sideways at people too many times and not get slapped. Just saying.

My beautiful, wonderful, amazing, strong, runner friends…you inspire me. You inspire a great many of us. I am cheering for you and I hope you will return the favor – either when I pass you or you pass me. Maybe on a particularly good day, we can find a few miles to run together.

 

Staying Motivated

KeepGoingFeatIn my last post I told you that the “how to get started” question is the one I am asked the most. It is, hands down. In the effort to be completely transparent, I must clarify that this is the case because I don’t consider any version of  “are you insane” to be an actual question. That wins the thing most often said to me and is therefore not in the running to win anything else.

The series of conversations usually go something like

~ How do I get started

~ You just do…I have expanded on this a bit before…you can see it here, and here, and here

~ How do I keep going

~ **Crickets**

I absolutely love these questions and conversations. I wish I did a better job answering them. I am just so keenly aware of how personal running is, I try never to say you “just have to” do anything except wake up.

But I was asked again yesterday…and the day before that. And I have promised to give you something. And I will. But know that this is just one woman’s journey. If you have something else that works, do that! (And tell me so I can try it!) If you try something you read here out and don’t like it, that’s fine too. I have tried on strategies from some of the coolest people in the game only to find out we are just practicing a different brand of cool.

I am not you. You are not me. Running any distance at all is a test. We all do what we have to do to get through it in the most body and spirit appreciating ways possible.

dc201bd1411190c7d12c96534a23e3e4Let me highlight that “any distance” part. Sometimes folks get hung up on the distance they do or don’t run. Hell I get hung up on that. Don’t. I have run 20 milers that felt like eating cotton candy and 5ks that felt like they were trying to rip my legs off. Right now as I sit here writing this I am procrastinating like a big dog to keep from running my short training run.

**Update – I did go run…in case you were curious 🙂 **

It is any given day. Just because you felt it yesterday doesn’t mean that you will feel it today. When I use the words “run” and “love” in the same sentence – I mean it. And I am one of those people who put “love” in the verb category – it is not something I feel, it is something I choose to do.

But it isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it is so hard, it doesn’t happen. And in all honesty – 9 times out 10 it is a mental failure, not a physical one.

282272_405509929495292_1880671413_nLet me clarify a few things in that sentence. First there are some times that you really shouldn’t run. I am not a doctor or anything, but I am pretty certain that rest, recovery, and rejuvenation are vital. I am not talking about not running on those days. As I have said – there is a difference being being smart and punking out. You know what that difference is.

Second – I did use the word failure and I meant it. If I intend to do something, am capable of doing that thing, and choose not to do that thing in a way that I feel guilty about later – that is, in my book, a failure, You may call it whatever you like. To me, that’s about as close to textbook failure as a person can get.

So here are a few of the things that work for me more often than they don’t…

Pain is temporary Be accountable

I tell people about my insanity. Do my facebook posts seem obnoxious to you? Does the fact that I blog about this stuff seem self indulgent? Do you know that when I am in a room the topic of running will probably come up? Yeah, I know all that stuff too. When I am thinking about bagging a run, skipping it all together, or otherwise under performing, I know you will see me.

It is my fishbowl accountability. I hate the punk out. It makes my soul hurt. I am not public about all this stuff simply because I am proud and seek accolades. I do it because I am scared and have the tendency to be a lazy cow. I do it to keep my laurels from getting comfortable. I know there are folks either making better choices because of my story or poised ready for me to look stupid.  I plan on being a serious win for one and a huge waste of time for the other.

600672_539915602739929_1109972797_nKnow Your Why

You need to know why you do it. You need to know what makes you want to what it is you are doing. And don’t let others feel self conscious about your why. I have some who say they run because others can’t, to raise money, to save humanity. Others run for beer, chocolate, and chicks. Hey man, whatever. This is your race. Just know what it is.

Run with a Friend

Long runs have become an incredible time of bonding with friends. It is also a great way to pass the time and learn new techniques. In some places, it is also way safer. Buddy running or group running can seriously energize an otherwise halfhearted run.

Run Alone

Yeah, I know what I just said. But sometimes, spending 4 to 6 hours with another person is more painful than the run itself. There is a lot of mental stability that comes with spending that time with yourself. It is also quite possible it will happen in a race. You need to know how to deal on your own just in case the need ever arises.

Read

This has been an amazing technique for me. I have Audible on my phone and some really great books. While I hardly ever have time to sit down and flip pages, you can cover a ton of chapters during a multi-hour run.  Podcasts work really great too!

Pray

God and I have the most wonderful conversations on my runs. It has been some of the most powerful prayer moments that I can remember. I have found apps to put The Bible, The Liturgy of the Hours, and The Rosary on my phone. Talking to the Creator, using the body He created in the midst of His creation…just awesome.

This is still a work in progress for most people I know so I would love to get your feedback on it.

A Little Bit on Getting Started

Just Go Run“What do I need to do?”

That is probably the single most asked question I get. And while the last More than Miles column from Connect Savannah is obviously not all encompassing, it is a great (in my not so humble opinion) overview of some of the resources available to new and aspiring runners.

You can read the full article here. I suggest it as I was able to work Memorial Day, a 100 mile race, and Zombies all into one 800 word article. However, if you know nothing else, know that I said this…

One of the best things about running is pretty easy to start. You don’t have to really do anything that most of us aren’t already equipped to do.

I subscribe to a pretty pared down version of running. I don’t own a lot of clothes, gear, or shoes. In fact, if I was certain I wouldn’t cut my feet open, I would drop the shoes too.

I don’t wear a heart rate monitor or a super sexy multi-sport, waterproof, laser shooting, GPS watch either (although I totally would if I could bring myself to buy one). Therefore, you will find that I subscribe to the “just get started” school of thought.

Mareesa TorresBig thanks to Mareesa Torres, a Savannah attorney and Fleet Feet CREW coach, and Mary Seigel, Ultra Runner extraordinaire and Savannah Strider member, for helping me with this piece.

These amazing women do more than just run for themselves – they carry those of us wanting to be better further along. They support and encourage making us all better runner and better people.

You can check out CREW training here.

Savannah Striders can be found here.
Mary Siegel
For my facebook folks, I encourage you to check out Running Bloggers and Savannah Moms Run This Town. Both groups are a wealth of information on all topics. For this article, they were very helpful in gauging which apps were the most (and least!) helpful, useful, and popular. However, don’t blame them for the Zombie thing…

all that blame belongs to Massuto and Waz 🙂

Why I Run…

For whatever reason, this question has come up a few times in the last couple of weeks from a couple of different angles.

Masumi, a runner who blows my brain on a regular basis, seems to be his usual contemplative self.

Why do you run?….was curious….three reasons why you run please in no specific order….I’ll comment on mine later….no doubt we all have some of the same reasons….and also some contrast….carpe diem

Then there is Carey, owner and Ultimate Badass Warrior of Daughtry ATA Martial Arts.

I have a lot of FB friends who run. I don’t see what is so great about running… it seems boring and tedious to me… (then again, I like to punch and kick stuff) but there has to be more to it for so many of you to do it. So, I’d love to know why you enjoy it, why you do it…? I’ll tag as many as I can recall, but I know there are more of you… I’d love to take a look into your world… because you have me curious. Would you please share? 😀

Did you notice that little smiley thing at the end? She put that there because she just knows she talked smack about my sport. Which I love. And then tagged me in the post. But I will overlook it because she really doesn’t mean it. And I love her. And she can kick my ass.

The answer is kinda hard and it took me a while to chew through it. Truth is, I still don’t think I have the answer yet. More specifically, I don’t think I will ever have the answer. It, unlike the finish line, is a constantly moving, sentient being with its own existence. Sounds a little woowoo, I know. Distance running is a little woowoo.

I started running because it was the simplest thing I could do. Upright? Check! Ready? Check! Go? Check! That’s all it takes. If anyone tells you any different, they are selling something. Or trying to squash something. Or trying to pretend to be something.

I have, at the moment of this writing, narrowed it down to three things as requested by Masumi. And no, they are not three things I mentioned in response to his original facebook post

  1. Shoes
  2. Beer
  3. Zombies

Not necessarily in that order…while important…however, of course I jest.

I run for…Runner’s Ass

Seriously. This is a condition that directly counteracts another condition known as “I was born a long time ago and I have a ton kids” Ass. I was working on the latter. I prefer the former.

In all seriousness (even though I said “seriously” just now when I was being less than serious), running reminds me that my body wants to be strong. Whether it is or not is a choice I make. Daily. My body wants to be healthy, capable, prepared, ready. My body wants to channel Gus from that Kevin Costner baseball movie. Not Bull Durham – the other one.

The boys are all here for you. We’ll back you up, we’ll be there, because, Billy, we don’t stink right now. We’re the best team in baseball, right now, right this minute, because of you. You’re the reason. We’re not gonna screw that up. We’re gonna be awesome for you right now. Just throw.

So I just run.

I run for…Runner’s Spirit

This is not to be confused with its sister condition, Runner’s Brain. I wanted to clarify this distinction as many folks outside of the running community – especially outside of the ultra running community – regularly doubt the idea that we have one. Throw in the fact that you are training for a 50 miler, in Beaufort, in July – all doubt ceases.

There is something about running distance. Something about working your body that hard for that long. Something about being alone with yourself in that state for extended, regular periods of time.

It is damn near impossible not to eventually have the “Am I a good person?” question come up in your head. Any runner who says different…well, I think that’s just not likely.

This question is usually accompanied by…am I good enough… am I strong enough…have I earned it…was I wrong…did I do it right…can I do it again…interestingly enough, the subject of these questions are hardly ever about running.

If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.
~Chris McDougall, Born to Run

I run for…Runner’s Family

This trait is multifaceted.

First, there is the DNA family. Few things are cooler than watching your husband beam with pride when he tells your last race story. Or your 6 year old finishing her first 5k and the 15 year old her first mud run. Or your rockstar sister calling asking for running advice. Or your Pops considering it for himself. Or your sister in law showing more heart and determination than she thought she was ever capable of. Seeing these things and knowing you had a small hand is rewarding to say the least.

Then there are the support folks. The poster board makers, the crowd cheerers, the road liners. There are the aid station folks. God bless the aid station folks. Being able to see unselfish behavior that strives to do nothing more than raise up and support the ability of another. Yeah, that’s living.

Then there is my mileage family. Those folks that will get up at dark to go with, bring the Fizz when you forgot, cry with you when you are injured, console you when you are down, kick your ass when it is time to get back up, drive for hours just to race with you, wait at the finish line to cheer you on when they themselves are so tired they just want a bath. I believe being around greatness is a key to being a better person…these folks make me a better person.

So, for today…I am going to go for a run…and that’s kinda why.

Post Script ~ before the baseball gods descend on my calves during my run, yes, I know that the movie is called For the Love of the Game. It is, in fact, one of my all time favorite movies. But that didn’t feel nearly as funny…

Teed Up for 2013

There is a ton of anticipation for 2013. Ok, so there was a lot of anticipation for 2012 that didn’t quite bust the bubble it was supposed to.

But there is a difference…and I am feeling totally teed up.

Personally, Professionally…Privately, Publicly…Awesomesauce!

Trying to make this idea flow, inspiration comes from a very typical source ~ my smart as hell friends. Madeline wrote this amazing post. Then I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with her (aka we went on a run together). It took me more time to get my heart rate up than it did to realize she is a wonderful person. I love it when that happens with my blogger buddies.

So, because I like her so much, I am stealing it 🙂 The answers to these questions form my tee box…and I am super ready to swing away 🙂

1. Best Race Experience 

My blog – I am picking 2. CrimeStoppers Azalea Run 10k and the Color Vibe 5k.

I picked up 2 notable running buddies this year. My beautiful sister in law and my amazing 6 year old.

Melissa and I started working out together early this year. By some manner of deception, I convinced her to start running with me. By May, she was hooked and agreed to her first race, CrimeStoppers Azalea Run 10k – no baby steps for her 🙂 Now Melissa routinely leaves me in the fetal position crying in the gym. On the open road however, she struggles with temperature regulation and hydration balance. What she doesn’t struggle with is heart.

That 6.2 miles was not the easiest thing she had ever done. It was a cake walk for me. She ran the better race. She accomplished the bigger thing. She was the better runner.

Mel and April and EmilyWatching her do what she did inspired me to not be a wuss. There is no improvement, no heart, no accomplishment in doing that which is easy.

2013 has been given the inspiration and the example to go big.

Being with her reminded me that go fast, go hard, go best does not always equal winning. Sometimes being that team player is the best thing you can do. How appreciative I am of Taryn, Madeline, Tony, Dan, and my other runner family members who turn off their bionic abilities and pretend to be mortal for me so that I can get better.

2013 is the year of community of helping hands.

My last race of the year was one for the books. My Turtle (her nickname bestowed far before we realized she was a runner) ran her first 5k! She ran that race with an average pace of 12:57/mile. And it was fun!

PorgieI have loved being a mommy at every single stage of the journey. And I really love babies. But I don’t have any babies any more. That milestone was crossed when I sat on the kitchen floor and cried when the baby lost her first tooth (which caused Porgie to cry because she had made mommy sad – it was not my finest moment).

But my children are becoming (far too quickly) people. They have interests and abilities and talents. They can be involved in very real ways.

2013 is the year that I commit to seeing my children with better vision and involve myself more fully into thriving – not just surviving.

2. Best Run

Marathon2012 was the year of my first marathon. I was supremely nervous. The training was going great until I fractured my right heel. Then I got nervous…really nervous. Then the demons started lurking in my head. Could I really even do it? Am I really a runner? What was I thinking getting into this running business anyway? Well meaning folks didn’t help very much. There was a lot of “consolation” and interestingly worded “I told you so”s. I don’t count it against anyone’s character. Most folks really were trying to be helpful and concerned. They didn’t realize that they were feeding the witch that was already in my head.

As race day got closer, I couldn’t help but remember what it looked like the year before. I resolved to run the race. I figured I could to it in under 5 hours. After my first run back, I settled on a goal time of 4:30. After my last long training run, my mind dared to toy with a sub 4 hour time.

I finished 3:59:43. 7th overall from Richmond Hill. The 1st 31324 woman across the finish line.

2013 is the year of confidence and self esteem.

3. Best new piece of gear

On Valentine’s Day my husband bought me the Breville Juice Fountain. What? That doesn’t sound like running gear to you? I assert that it absolutely is. This piece of kitchen equipment is the symbol of my commitment to take better care of this body God has given me. There have been some monumental changes in my approach to health. Those changes have positively enhanced every single area of my life, not the least of which is being a better runner.

2013 is the year of follow through. Great changes are only effective if they become habit, not fad.

4. Best running advice you received

“Honey, you seem a little irritable. Maybe you should go for a run.” ~ Love, The Husband

2013 is the year of remembering my spirit and nurturing my heart.

5. Most inspirational runner

I am going to admit, there is a laundry list I could put here. The running community that I have had the privilege of being involved with includes some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Along with those already mentioned here, I also have come into the amazing presence of

  • Tim Waz, the ultimate cool kid who takes the time to make everyone else feel like the cool kid too
  • Victoria Hickling, who I am convinced doesn’t even know the meaning of the phrase “negative thought”
  • Dawn Baker, embodies the word “tenacity” and single-handedly made me the coolest big sister. Ever.
  • Gary Davis who has the keenest ability to place encouragement in the perfect way, at the perfect time

And I could continue…for quite some time.

And as long as I went, I would come back to Sandra. An unexpected blessing in my life, Sandra opened a natural running store, Georgia Game Changers, right here in my little town. The store would be freaking awesome just because of its inventory. But its owner makes it exceptional. If ever an individual could be described as coming from contribution, it would be Sandra. A lot of folks will say it’s not about the money. Sandra is one of the few times I believe it.

2013 is the year of professional focus. Good business changes lives.

6.  If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Teed Up

🙂

Merrell Christmas to All and to All a Good Trail Run

Christmas came a little early this year to this runner. Not that couldn’t have waited until Christmas. I totally could have. Unfortunately, my training couldn’t.

Thanksgiving morning I had the opportunity to meet up with some run buddies at Rails to Trails for a pre-turkey binge run. This was my first time running the trail in my beloved Vibram Bikilas. The small gravel and dirt portions were fine. The rocky sections – not so much. I had to start considering whether or not these were, in fact, the only shoe I would ever need.

Understand that barefoot and minimalist running changed a lot about who I am as a runner and a person. It was the catalyst into a more natural approach to life in general. It solved my knee and hip issues and shaved my time. Actual barefoot running is one of the most fun things I have done in a long time. Talk about feeling 8 years old again! Couple that with the fact that the last time I ran in “regular” shoes, I got shin splints (a condition I am still dealing with).

2012-07-23 06.52.57I am not interested in “real” shoes.

However, I am not unreasonable. I am not interested in rock bruises either.

Then came the run out at Savage Island. This is a beautiful run…but it is rocky in sections. The choice was clear. If I was going to run a 50k in January on rough terrain, I needed new shoes now.

So where in Richmond Hill does a runner go for new shoes? Georgia Game Changers of course! Sandra and I went through a couple of options and I narrowed it down to two. Awesomely enough, Sandra has a BOX OF ROCKS in the store so that I could get a real idea of the differences. The best method I found of choosing between the two was to wear each of them at the same time time.

Merrell Mix MastersI preferred the other shoe as it was thinner and closer in feel to my Bikilas. However, the whole reason I needed new shoes was protection from rough terrain. And the Merrell Mix Masters in that Island Green was an awesome looking shoe!

After logging a few runs in them I can tell you this – I bought a great shoe.

In all honesty, I do not like then as much as my Vibrams. However, I never expected to. While they only outweigh the Bikilas by less than 5 ounces, they feel heavy and clunky on my feet. This feeling has decreased a bit over time. InjinjiI have also found that wearing the Injinji socks gives a little normalcy to my feet even when I am not in the Vibrams.

However, the benefits clearly overcome this as they perform beautifully for the purpose for which I bought them.

They have a slight 4mm drop from heel to toe. This is small enough so that I don’t feel my stride or strike affected a whole lot by the change. The first mile or so takes a bit more concentration, but it settles in quickly.

I can feel the ground without feeling the ground. The sole is thick enough to protect the balls of my feet from the rougher surfaces. However, it is still thin enough that I can feel the ground and make stride corrections naturally.

My time still tracks with my Bikilas. I don’t have to slow down or get nervous while crossing the tougher terrain.

Look out Ledesma Rails to Trails 50k. I am geared up now 🙂

Other notes

  • shoe costs around $100 and comes in a variety of colors (none as awesome as the Island Green though)
  • I usually wear a size 9. I bought a 10. It feels big for about the first mile and then settles in fine. My foot feels able to spread, stretch, and expand. And…I haven’t lost a toenail yet!
  • I have tried different varieties of Injinji socks. Midweight has been my go to in the Bikilas but the thinner ones work fine in the Merrells
  • When in doubt, ask Sandra
  • The Ledesma Rails to Trails run offers 5k and 25k options as well so click on over and sign up. You can do a 5k. If you just ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, you can do a 25k. If you did the full, the 50k is only a few more miles. Let’s go!
  • I have received no compensation for any of the products listed in this article (but I am totally open to the idea 😉 )

I said I would run WHAT?!?!

I’m still not sure how I came across the post originally. It could have been the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge Group. It could have been my feed-reader. Maybe a random stumble on. I don’t know. But I found it…

And it is true, I am a sucker for great marketing and coolio little badge thingys. I adore social groupy stuff. Little bit of friendly challenge/competition  Heehee I love it. And it’s running too? And I was already a bit revved up on wild changes. So, when these things combined for a 2013 challenge to run 13 races in 2013, I was obviously interested. And they didn’t all have to be super long distances. I could shoot for the halves with a few fulls and ultras sprinkled for variety and still be in…so what did this all create??

Perfect storm for this post >>>>

And so what do you do when

  1. You really like to run (and a half marathon distance wants to be your favorite)
  2. A chick who rocks hard enough to SHAVE HER HEAD for charity says you can do it
  3. The female with the physique you use as motivation says go for it
  4. A run buddy uses the pronoun “we”

You sign up…

Seriously…

What the hell was I thinking 🙂

Actually, I think it will be a lot of fun.

How does this involve you? Well, a few ways

  1. Join in with us (See Jennifer, I am so comfortable with that idea – “Inadvertent” or otherwise!). Check out Jill’s blog and pick the challenge that works best for you.
  2. Root me on! Subscribe to TTSW and watch for my updates. The comment section here, my facebook page, and my twitter are great places for tidbits of encouragement. *Side note – I promise to return the favor!
  3. Help me out. Finding different races and paying for it all can be a bit tough. If you know of a neat race (at least a half marathon in distance), have ways to find discounts and reduced rates on entry, travel, and lodging, or know of a business that would love to be bragged on for their awesomeness in exchange for not having to run the race themselves 🙂 let me know.

I do have a few planned already ~~~~

  1. 01/12/2013 ~ Ledesma Rails to Trails Ultra Marathon (50k)
  2. 02/02/2013 ~ Critz Tybee Run Fest Half Marathon (13.1) 
  3. 06/22/2013 ~ Bad Marsh Night Ultra (50k)

Last year I would have thought the above list was pretty impressive…now it’s less than 25% of what I have committed to… perhaps I need to BE committed…

…LOVE MY RUN FAMILY 🙂

I saw that run going differently in my mind…

Oftentimes 99% of the time, a thing will happen and then I will write about that thing. Today was the 1%.

After a slight change in schedule, I found myself with the opportunity to take a midday run in Fort McAllister. This is something I have wanted to do for quite sometime and have never had the occasion. Today was that day.

I had it all played out in my mind. The run would be great, the pictures would be beautiful, the ease and wonderfulness would make for a great post. I set out to run the post I already had written in my mind.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/r_zDeHhJox8?t=2m15s]

Don’t get me wrong. It was a beautiful run. The weather was perfect. The air had that coastal smell. I headed out down Redbird Creek Trail first. It was my first real trail run. It was amazing.

Most of miles three and four were ok, but rocky. The road that leads from the park area to Savage Island is pretty rough rock. I ran on the shoulder mostly. It was alright.

Savage Island reminded me why I love the outdoors and why I really want to get the family into camping. There is another trail there. I enjoyed Redbird Creek Trail so much, I took it.

During mile six, Mother Nature reminded me that she, not me, was in control of my day. I think somebody told her that I already had this post written. She was not amused.

A root reached up, grabbed my right big toe, and I went flying.

I landed on the same hand that still hurts from the fall at mile 25 of the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. I fortunately landed on a different knee, but I busted my head and left shoulder in the same spot. It hurt. But I am about two miles from the car. So I run anyway. And the pain eases and I figure I can still log double digits.

So I take another lap to hit some of the offshoots I missed. And I fell. Again. Same hand. Other knee. Thank God no head. Didn’t really hurt, but it pissed me off. And I kept going.

Mile nine I realize that I still have enough time to circle Redbird Creek Trail one more time and hit that double digit goal. During mile 10…yep…I fell. Again. That one got my elbow. But I had to get back to the car. So I just kept running. Back to the van. Logged 12 miles.

In my opinion, you have no choice but to reflect on an ass whooping like that. And if you don’t salvage something from the mess, you might as well stay home. I didn’t stay home. I won’t stay home tomorrow.

So what do I know now? Nothing I didn’t already know. But reminders can be useful.

  • As much as I love my shoes, I need more than one pair. Even Barefoot Ted and the Tarahumara rock the  Huaraches.
  • Getting up is only part of the battle. Moving forward is only another piece. Doing the exact same thing that knocked me on my ass (or head) to begin with because I know I can make it work – that’s the win.
  • Things don’t always go the way I have them planned it. Suck it up, Buttercup – that’s life.
  • Don’t write the story before the story. It’s a waste of time.
  • I AM just that tough.

I logged those mile. I will log more. I will log more there. In fact, I already have a play date scheduled with the wonderful Madeline of Food, Fitness, and Family fame…unless I have freaked her out with this tale. Which I doubt. She’s pretty freaking tough too.