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September 2008

Announcing The Stick 21-Day Challenge

Our goal at Runners' Lounge is to connect runners with runners and also with useful running resources.  So we're excited to be working with our friends at The Stick to connect runners with this amazing device to support runners and to announce The Stick 21-Day Challenge.

The_stick_21_day_challenge What is The Stick 21-Day Challenge

Through our partnership with The Stick, The 21-Day Challenge is a chance for a group of runners to receive a free Stick, use it regularly for three weeks and to write about their results.  And we’re kicking it off at this year’s Chicago Marathon

The first round of participants in The Stick 21-Day Challenge will receive their free Stick at the expo at the Chicago Marathon.  Note: you do not need to be running the Chicago Marathon to be eligible to receive your Stick and participate in The Stick 21-Day Challenge. 

What is The Stick?

Pat_materna_3 Simply, The Stick is a non-electric self massage tool. The Stick is as simple as it is effective, involving only 30 to 60 seconds of use per muscle group.  An award-winning training tool, The Stick provides the runner with instant muscle therapy and a new understanding of the recovery of muscles.

Some of the more common conditions that The Stick effectively treats for runners are: IT Band symptoms, sore calves, achy quads, tight hamstrings, shin splints, and Achilles issues. By stimulating an immediate increase of blood flow to muscles, runners are able to recover much faster.  The Stick 21 Day Challenge is Runners' Lounge way of putting in your hands a training tool used by athletes of the US Olympic Training Centers. 

Plus it’s a lot better than using your kitchen rolling pin on your sweaty body.

How can I participate?

Simply send an e-mail to joinus@runnerslounge.com stating your interest in participating in The Stick 21-Day Challenge.  Be sure to tell us about your running—actively training, racing, or recovering?  Also mention if you’re dealing with any injuries, chronic tight areas, trouble spots for soreness, stiffness, etc, etc.  And let us know what results you hope using The Stick will produce for you.

Participants will be selected and announced on Friday, October 3rd.

What will I do?

At the Chicago Marathon Expo, participants will be personally fitted with the appropriate Stick model and provided a demonstration on the effective use of The Stick.  Then you’ll kick off your own 21-day routine of using the stick.  You’ll be asked to:

  • Join The 21-Day Stick Challenge Lounge Group forum
  • Write a "before" story describing your running in The 21-Day Stick Challenge Lounge Group
  • Post about using The Stick in the Lounge Group at least twice a week for three weeks
  • Post your "after" story and first-hand experiences about using the Stick related to your running, training, and recovery

Amy and I both own and use The Stick.  I reach for it to loosen legs after a long run or to freshen my legs before a hard run or race.  But more importantly, we want you to try it.  We believe that those participating and others following The Stick 21-Day Challenge will experience compelling results with their running! 

So let us know your interest in participating in The Stick 21-Day Challenge!


The response to The Stick 21-Day Challenge was very strong!

The participants have been chosen and they are under way using The Stick!  The participants are:


Visit the Stick 21-Day Challenge forum where the participants will be sharing their experiences with The Stick regularly during the Challenge period.

And if you are a Stick user, please feel free to join the discussion to add your input so other runners can benefit.

One Year!?! Really? Wow!

Thank you!

This week marks the first year in the Lounge!   In many ways it seems like yesterday we were launching the Lounge and hoping that someone would join us.  And now a year later, we feel 1_year_cake_rl excited and lucky to have 950 runners in the Lounge.

After a year of building, we finally feel like we have all the basics in place.   Using the analogy of building a physical "Lounge", the walls are up and painted, all the plumbing and electricity is in, even the cabinets and applicances are in and we have been using them.   And now, we are ready to make this Lounge really come to life. 

It is our mission and passion to connect runners with runners and runners to running stuff.  We know that runners run better when they are supported in mind, spirit and body and the best support comes from other runners.  And that is where you come in.   We would love your ideas, your help, and your involvement. If you also believe in our mission to connect and support runners, there are so many ways to join in.    Here are a few ways:

  • Tell us what you like and what you don't.   Drop us a note (amy@runnerslounge.com, tom@runnerslounge.com) and let us know what you like in the Lounge, what you would like to see, and what you would like changed.   We love feedback - good and bad.   We especially want to know if something is working the way you hoped.    And ideas?  We love 'em and always need 'em.
  • Get published.   We know running information and articles are in high demand from runners.   We have collected 100's of articles, tips and blog posts on various running topics and added them to the Know How section.   But it isn't good enough.  We want more.  We want the Know How section bursting at the seams with YOUR tips, articles and blog posts.   Let us know about great posts or running tips so we can republish it.  You get published and runners learn from you.   Everyone wins!
  • Share your story.   Runners can always use motivation which is why we created the Inspirational Story section.  As you finish your races, meet your goals, or work in your running community, don't forget to share your story with other runners.
  • Tell your friends.  The Lounge is for all runners.  From beginners to veterans and every type in between, every runners is welcome and invited to the Lounge.   If you haven't joined, please do.  If you have joined and like what you see, tell your friends, your running group/club, your race director, etc.  We would like a million runners in the Lounge and know the right way to add them is by you spreading the word. 
  • Put your talents to work around your passion for running.  Tom and I are alot like you.  We love running but also have full time lives outside of our own running and the Lounge.   We have a long list of ideas for the Lounge, but find that can't always fit them into our days.   If you have a talent that you would like to put to work in the Lounge to help build the community, let us know.  We turn down no volunteer efforts.
  • Reach out to runners in the Lounge.   The runners in the Lounge joined to connect with runners.  Each time you visit, stop by the profile of someone you don't know already.   Use the advanced search features to find a runner who shares your goals or interests.  Or go the Blog Showcase and find a blog you haven't read and add them to your reading list.   Start a Lounge Group and invite runners to join you.  Get connected!

Amy & Tom

Life Lessons From Running With My Son

Today was my son's first, official 5K race.  And he finished! 

We were dead last but we were also the happiest, proudest pair of 5K runners in the world Img_0726 this morning.

If you have been reading along the last few months, you may remember that my 8 year old handsome prince has been very determinedly training for his first 5K.   He did a 2 mile race in June and couldn't wait to again experience the feeling he got from racing.

As we have trained together the last few months, I have tried to teach him what I have learned over my 13 years of running.  Things about pace, form, training schedules, what to eat, what to wear...just the basics.   But what I have learned and been reminded of in return through this experience was been priceless. 

Here are a few of the lessons running with my son has taught me:

1.  As adults, we think too much about running.  We think too much about why we can't, shouldn't, won't, or don't.  Kids...kids are still programmed to think about how and why they can.   We need to be more like kids when we think about running- and life.

It was June of 200Img_07237 when he told me that he wanted to run a 5K with me.   It was right after finishing his kids run at the end of one of my races.  I was really excited to hear those  words - words I have waited for since he was born.  It was one of my greatest dreams to run with my kids.   And of course I said "That would be great!"  But in the back of my head, I was thinking, "you are too young", "you won't stick with it", "you're built like me - not like a runner", "you have too many problems with your feet", and on and on.  Because at this same time, we realized that Tucker's feet problems weren't some passing phase, the pain and issues were serious.  At that moment in June 2007, I truly didn't believe he would run, any distance, for many, many years.  And even though he was the one dealing with that real pain daily, he never once thought it would keep him from running a 5K.

This experience has really shown me how many times I count myself, or my running out, before I even give it a chance. 

2.  The phrase "I can and I will..." can get you through more than a few miles in life.

In June when we started our training, he was fresh off his left foot reconstruction surgery and trying to get it stronger.  On those first "long runs" of only a mile or so, he was veryImg_0724 tired, very sore.  In addition, the right foot which hadn't been fixed, still carried a continual case of Plantar Facitis and tendonitis.  It was a pretty ugly site at times to see him running down the trail.   But as we did our walk/run training, in the run parts he would be in total concentration and he would tell me later that he would just keep chanting in is head, "I can and I will".   His attitude has driven him through all of his training miles.  Since then, I have pulled that trick out of my box more than a few times in long runs (and in life) and it has amazing power.

3.  Being able to "see" where you are going is very motivating.

When we started training, I used the Couch to 5K program.  Great program!  The only issue for him was that he couldn't "see" the end of 60 seconds or 90 seconds.   He wanted to know where we were starting and ending, he would get frustrated at every interval because he didn't know what to expect.  After a few runs, I switched tactics and we ran telephone pole to telephone pole.   This was a turning point for him.  He found that when he could help choose the milestones and he could see where we were going, he could run longer than before.   I find that this is true with running and life,  when I choose and visualize my goals clearly and keep them in view, it is much easier then when my goals are unclear.

4.  "Run your own race", is one of my favorite sayings.  I think the nonrunning translation is "Be your own person".

You just can't be good at all things.  You can't be like other people.  And who would want to be anyway?!?  :}  Sure, there is a part of me (and Tucker) who would love to be like the other kids in the race today who easily pulled away and finished the race with good times and with no pain.   As a parent, I can't help but sometimes wish that Tucker was as fortunate as other boys and ran carefree and happy down the street.   But what he lacks on the physical side he makes up for with heart and determination.  Through this training, I have seen him already understand the power of dedicated effort, working through challenges, and understanding his god given strengths.   I couldn't ask for more from my 8 year old.

Img_0720 And so tomorrow, we take these life lessons with us on his next adventure.  It's "righties" (right foot) turn for surgery.  It's been just long enough to forget most of the last 7 months and for the left foot to gain strength back.    And if you ask him about his surgery and hospital stay, he's not worried.  In fact, he will tell you that he's done it once, he knows what to expect and he is looking to get through the rehab faster and stronger. 

In fact, last night while we were out for a quick bite, a Des Moines Marathon advertisement was sitting on our table.  He looked at for a few minutes and noticed that is was favorable for walkers and it had a relay.  Without missing a beat, he asked if he could do a 10K in the summer and then if I could help him find a relay team.   He told me it was an important step if he was going to run a half marathon by 10 and marathon by 13.   

I just smiled and said, "That would be great!".    Lesson #1 strikes again.

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Open Mic Friday: Marathon Dude Bill

Open_mic_friday Today we welcome Bill (aka Marathon Dude Bill as we first came to know him many months ago) to Open Mic Friday.  Through his blog, Bill has continued to be a real and virtual inspiration to many runners due to the combination of his disciplined training, fantastic speed and utmost humility about his own running.   Heck, who doesn't want to be like Bill?   I know I have personally appreciated his support and kind words when my running is going well and even when it isn't - and I know I am not alone.   And because Bill has 17 marathons under his belt, we were also excited to learn some of his advice and tips for managing the disatnce.   

Welcome Bill!

Why Did You Start Running?
I actually starting running in May of 2003.  If I am being completely honest there are actually two reasons that I started in the first place.  The first reason is common knowledge as I had put on a ton of weight and actually hit 215 pounds.  At that point I had a 36+ inch waist and couldn't have run a mile if I was being chased by the devil himself.  I was quite the couch potato and could eat a whole bag of tortilla chips at one sitting... and not the low fat, low calorie variety!  The second reason is a little more complicated.  When my son Aidan was born on September 3rd 2002 that was the happiest day of my life.  But as time went by we realized that Aidan was going to be a very special individual.  I soon found myself so stressed out and worried about my son that I would literally go for days without more than a couple hours of sleep.  It was almost a relief when Aidan was finally Bill_suntrust diagnosed with high functioning autism at around age 2.  By that time, I was heavily into running and I credit that for saving me from I don't know what.  My son is doing great now and both Donna and I feel so fortunate to be both his home school teachers and parents.  And I actually sleep about 6 good hours a night.
What Advice Do You Have For Marathoners?
I think the first thing I would tell someone aspiring to do their first marathon is "Congratulations!".  To have the courage to even contemplate doing something like a marathon is something so few people will ever do.  The next thing I would tell them is to check out one of the excellent training programs that are so easily accessible.  Excellent examples include Galloway, Daniels, Higdon, and my personal favorite The Competitive Runner's Guide by Bob Glover.  They all have incredible knowledge about how to train for and successfully complete a marathon. Unfortunately, there was noone to give me advice when I started out.  I trained for my first marathon by running a couple times a week and having my longest run max out at 10 miles.  As you can imagine, my first marathon was a gut wrenching experience as I ran, walked, stumbled, and suffered through the last 12 miles of the 2003 Detroit Free Press Marathon.  And for some reason all that pain made me want to do it all over again.  My last piece of advice would be to enjoy the experience.  The marathon is so long and so hard that you really do have to pace yourself and just take it all in.  Don't run your first 5 marthons for time let alone your first one.  Enjoy the experience from both a sensory standpoint as you take in the course and also from a physical standpoint as your body meets the challenge of 26.2 miles.  It will change you forever.... I promise.

What Advice Do You Have For Beginning Runners?
I think the most important thing for the beginning runner is to find a way to make running a life long habit.  I believe so strongly in both the physical and mentalBill_with_family benefits of running that I know we could change the world if we could just make it a world of runners.  So how does  one become a life long runner??  Thats easy.  All you really have to do is find the joy in running.  It could be a nature filled trail on a beautiful morning with the sun coming up behind you.  Or maybe a run through the city after work as the moon comes up on a fall night with everyone stuck in traffic except you.  Maybe its the run itself or maybe it is those wonderful post run endorphins... and I'll be the first to admit that I am quite the endorphin junkie myself!  Whatever.  Find the joy in running and the beginning runner will not only become a life long runner, but start converting their non running friends as well.
Tell Us About Your Cheering And Support Section.
I have quite an extended family, but only my nephew from Cleveland has ever come to one of my races.  Outside of that, I have a 2 person cheering section who I think are just the best.  My wife Donna will admit to thinking runners are a little nutty.  Outside of her making fun of us runners, she is incredibly supportive.  She has been to 16 of my 18 marathons and cheered in  thunderstorms, a monsoon, a Noreaster, a blizzard, searing heat, and even the occasional nice day.  She is always there for me through the good runs and the days when things don't go quite as planned.  And that is not to mention those post long run leg rubs....
My son Aidan just turned 6 years old and although he has the body of a young offensive tackle, I can tell he is probably going to be a great ultramarathon guy.  In the meantime, he does a great job of cheering me on at  races.  He has perfected the skill of wielding 2 clappers and shouting "Go Carter go!" all at the same time.
What Has Been Your Biggest Running Accomplishment?
I think there are 3 things that stand out in my mind.  The first was qualifying for the Boston MarathoBill_bostonn.  This happened for me when I ran a 3:15:28 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in '06.  I honestly never thought I would do it and when it happened I honestly broke down and cried.  The marathon meant so much to me even back then and doing the Boston Marathon twice has been such an honor.  The second was breaking the 3 hour mark for the marathon at the 2007 Richmond Marathon.  I had trained so hard for that race and just had one of those days where everything went right.  I felt so good all the way to the finish and immediately after the race Donna and I drove to Washington D.C. for my first visit.  We walked all over that city and you would never have known I ran 26.2 miles a few hours earlier.  My third accomplishment is that I have become a life long runner.  It won't matter if I get injured, sick, or whatever.  I will always come back to running.  I will certainly come back for the health benefits, but I have found my joy in running and I need it as much as a fish needs water.
What Life Lessons Has The Marathon Taught You?
The marathon has taught me 2 major things that are applicable to life in general.  The first is that hard work and having a well formulated plan can allow you to achieve something really special.  The marathon certainly requires a lot of dedication and you really do have to put in the miles to have a chance of completing the distance.  Also, you have to stick to the plan and trust that it will be enough when it is finally time to show your stuff.  The second life lesson is all about perserverance.  The marathon is a test of your willpower and your ability to keep going despite everything your body is telling you.  There are so many stories of people surviving terrible disasters because they just refused to die.  That is the marathon.... just refuse to stop and you never will.  It really is as simple as that. 
Who Are Your Running Heroes?
This is the easiest question of all and one that I couldn't wait to answer.  My running heroes are the people who run the marathon in 5 or even 6 hours.  Or the people who take 2 and half hours or 3 hours to do a half marathon.  Before she had figured out that runners ARE crazy, I talked Donna into doing the 2004 Detroit Free Press Half Marathon which she completed in 3:15:18. I don't know if I conveyed to her how proud I was that day, but I would like to do it right here.  I always say to my blog running friends that "Some people are in a hurry and others like to take their time and really enjoy the course."  And maybe just maybe that finish line means a little more to that second group of athletes. 
We all run for different reasons and at our own pace.  That is the beauty of running.  The fact that our main competition for 99.9% of us is ourself.  When we run, we all win.  And that could never be a bad thing.

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Take It and Run Thursday: Marathon Tips

Take_it_and_run_thursday_2 Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday! 

It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

Today's theme is ....How to Conquer the Marathon in 26 words (or less).  Share your advice for how to finish the marathon in 26 words or less - 1 for every mile.   And if you are doing a half, then you can share how to conquer the half marathon in 13 words or less.      Everyone is welcome to join in!  Put your own spin on it.  Drop off your advice or 26 words of encouragement if you have done a marathon, watched a marathon, or about to run your first or hundredth.   

Just fill in your name/title of your post and your URL below.

Next weeks theme is .... Life Lessons Learned From Running.    This week's topic idea is from our Lounge friend, bvccollins.  A frequent TIaRT and Lounge contributor, Ben passed along this theme and we thought it was a great topic for this time of year as many of us have amassed many running lessons and life lessons through training and racing. 

And if you have ideas of TIaRT themes, please leave a note on Tom or my profile with your ideas.  We would love to hear from you!

Click here for a link to all the great posts and advice on the Marathon.

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Conquering the Marathon in 26 words

We love concise nuggets of running expertise and the storehouse of wisdom they become.

The challenge for this week's Take It And Run Thursday is stuffing great marathon advice is 26 words or less. 

My 26 words come largely from reversing the mistakes I've made.

Treat the marathon as your best long run ever.

Run patient and relaxed in every step.

Feed off runners; don’t compete against them.

Banish negative thoughts!

We're excited about learning everyone's champion and conquering  wisdom at tomorrow's Take It and Run Thursday.

How To Conquer the Marathon in 26 words*

Run the marathon one mile at a time. 

The miles behind you are history and the miles ahead are still a dream. 

Just enjoy each moment. **

*I am looking forward to hearing your advice on how to conquer the marathon in 26 words or less  (or half marathon in 13 words or less) as part of Take It and Run Thursday.  Feel free to replace "conquer" with any other term that best fits your advice.

** Hey, this is the first time I didn't break my own TIaRT rules!  :}

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It’s Monday, so it must be time to announce winners of the Runners’ Lounge Giveaway.

Thank you to those who contributed another great collection of idea—this week about your tips, tricks, and advice for pre-race preparation. All your ideas are now compiled in an article you've helped create for others to enjoy in the Know-How Section under the Race Distances section.

This week’s winners are:

A Men's picture frame—Jason at RecastInIron

Women's frame—Penny at Running Ragged

A small wardrobe of running shirts—RunJess - who really needed a new shirt!

A very cool collection of running hats—JoyRuN—who just yesterday completed the Philadelphia Distance Run.  Congratulations!

This merchandise is made possible by our friend Joe and his team at Runolution. The Runolution Cafe provides unique, classy gifts for runners, including picture frames, medallion display cases, greeting cards, blankets, pillows, and of course some great technical running apparel.  We encourage you to check out Runolution for more ideas to celebrate and preserve the memories of your running.  Thank you, Joe!

Race_ready_scaled_3_3 Our next FREE STUFF Giveaway Partner: Race Ready!

More than just an apparel retailer, Race Ready has been has been supporting runners on training runs and race days for fifteen years.  Their signature product are shorts with built-in mini mesh pockets.  If you’ve fussed with carrying, pinning your sport gels and small items, you can appreciate the convenience of shorts designed to hold your stuff. 

Mens_ld_shorts_2 Manufactured with Coolmax material, Race Ready shorts offer four smaller compartments ideal for gels, energy foods, inhalers, IPods, cell phones, and other small items.  Plus one wide compartment for running gloves, sweat rag, sunglasses, or empty gel wrappers.  All that plus built with a double-mesh design to hug pocket items and reduce bounce, and you've got shorts that are truly race-ready.

Behind Race Ready are two wonderful running enthusiasts, Gerry Hans and his wife, Mary Button.  Mary is a sub-elite marathoner who has twice qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials, including for her second time at age 40.  Workout_singlet Mary answers questions for runners about training, racing and everything running on their Race Ready web site. Gerry and Mary are personally behind their runners.  No order goes out the door without a hand-written note and signature from them.  What a nice touch!

This week, Race Ready is generously giving away a pair of shorts from their LD (Long Distance) line—and a workout singlet.

Everyone can become eligible to win

Since Runners’ Lounge is dedicated to sharing useful resources, simply contribute advice or a tip to the Giveaway Question. Your advice can be something you have tried, learned along the way, something you have read, a link to a great post (yours or someone else’s), or a link to others’ advice on another running site.

This week's Giveaway Question:

What advice, tips and cheers do you have for your friends and family who support you as spectators?

All Loungers who contribute to the Giveaway Question from September 22 - Oct 4 will be eligible to win this Race Ready giveaway merchandise. Runners’ Lounge will select and announce the winner on October 6th.

So do yourself a favor: Go to the Lounge and leave your tip today in the forum to become eligible!

Even if you don’t win Race Ready gear, you will be a winner in the Lounge.  Runners’ Lounge will compile all the responses in a combined article for all Loungers to enjoy.

Open Mic Friday: Nancy

Open_mic_friday When we choose the theme of running blogs this week, it took us about two seconds to decide who to interview for Open Mic Friday.  We turned to one of the Queens of the Running Blogs - our friend Nancy.   In addition to offering tremendous support, she also shares great thoughts about running and life in her blog.  Being a fellow back-of-the-packer, I know that I immediately appreciated her blog when we stumbled upon her early in 2007.  We were also lucky to find that we lived in the same community and now know each other outside of our blogging.  So we salute blogs, for their ability to bring runners together, and Nancy who represents the heart and soul of running bloggers.

Why did you start blogging?
My husband and I decided about a year and half ago that we were going to do the Non-Nancy_i_finished Runner's Marathon Trainer.  We were looking around on the internet for reviews or people that had done it when we ran onto a couple blogs.  I started reading and I was hooked.  Loved the creativity.  Loved the stories.  Loved the support.  My husband surprised me a few days later with the blog already started!  I was going to track my progress on that original plan but it soon became so much more for me.

Had you blogged before?
I had an idea what blogs were but I thought they were mostly political or techie stuff.  I hadn't been on them and I certainly had no idea they came in so many varieties! 

How has blogging helped your running?
Well, I've definitely stayed more consistent than ever before.  I love to blog and really feel like I should be running if I am going to write posts or offer comments to others.  I don't want to be a total imposter although I am pretty slow so sometimes I feel like one anyway.  I've gotten great advice from other bloggers and learned a lot; I've been inspired over and over; I've laughed and cried with a few blogger friends and mainly just stayed eNancy_kids_and_mom_mile_7_cropped xcited about running.  Blogging has brought me to some great running buddies that have kept me interested and moving as well. 

How did the virtual races start?
When I finished the first season of a couple races (10 mile and HM), I worried that I would start to slack off and lose my base if I didn't have a training plan in place or a race on the calendar.  I had become completely dedicated to a schedule rain or shine, but suddenly I was faced with no schedule.  I was on a friend's blog talking about this and commented, we could always start our own race. 

That first race, 8 on the 8th brought a lot of bloggers together to run 8 miles "together" over the same weekend.  I had so much fun with the creative side and was really humbled by everyone running with me simply because I needed something on the schedule.  I've done a few since then and they do keep me moving, plus I love to read everyone's crazy reports and see the pictures and funny things they come up with.

Cavewoman What is your favorite post?
Probably the one that comes to mind the most is the day I created Cavegirl_running_3 Cavegirl.  I was trying to run a fast 3 to see what I could do and it was getting a little tough, although I was having a good run.  All these negative thoughts were coming one by one and I was countering with all sorts of postitives.  I started imagining beating off the negative thoughts with a club and soon had a post in mind.  I came home and searched for a cute little cavey girl picture and voila, Cavegirl was born.  I began offering my virtual club to anyone who needed it to beat back the "baddies".  The day I met the crew from Runner's Lounge I wore a new Cavegirl outfit complete with club! 

Has blogging and/or running impacted your personal life?
I've been used to being fairly decent at whatever I try, and that hasn't given me great skills when I fail or when things are difficult.  I've had to learn to be positive through theNancy_and_husband_5   realization that I am not really built for running and as a result, I may never run a marathon and I am usually waaaay at the back of the pack!  But I can still analyze what went wrong and learn something every time I go out, I can improve in small ways, I can perservere and I can certainly enjoy and make the most of what I can do.  I definitely have to use my club when I run!!  I've worked to translate those things to life skills and not just an attitude about running.  My husband and I have also created a personal blog for each other and for our marriage and it has helped us to express things and brought us closer.  I'm not sure this would have happened if I hadn't found the blogging through running in the first place!

Tell us abouNancy_family_2t your cheering section.

Well my guys are really my life.  I have a devoted husband who I am certain I was brought to for a reason.  He has made me such a better person.  We have two great kids who are very active and sportsminded.  They often ask about my races and whether or not I got last -- they know mom is not leading the pack but that's okay.  They still see me out there.  Life is busy and racing and running and blogging have to be balanced with all of these wonderful blessings plus work (oh yeah, I work too and love my work in outcomes research and medical education!).  Rarely do I feel like I get to do enough blogging, enough running, enough mom time, enough wife time, etc.   I used to think of it as juggling but I find I do a lot better if my attitude is about balance.   

What advice would you give other back-of-the-packers?
Don't leave home with out your club!!  You will have negative thoughts, you will put yourself down, you will wish you were faster.  You will need to be strong.  You will need to make it fun.  Find a friend, enjoy the scenery, do it for a cause, think about those who cannot, de-stress, cherish the alone time, blog...it's not going to be about speed so do something to make it meaningful and worthwhile for you!!   I would also highly recommend The Courage to Start to find the right attitude to hang at the back of the pack. 

Take It and Run Thursday: BYFB

Take_it_and_run_thursday_2 Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday! 

It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

Today's theme is ....BYFB.  Bring Your Favorite Blogs.  We love running blogs!  Can't get enough of them!  We would love to know who are some of your favorite running blogs and why.  Share your private and not so private stash and let us know which running bloggers keep you running, laughing, thinking, learning, and reading.

Just fill in your name/title of your post and your URL below.

Next weeks theme is .... How to Conquer the Marathon in 26 words (or less).  Share your advice for how to conquer the marathon in 26 words or less - 1 for every mile.   And if you are doing a half, then you can share how to conquer the half marathon in 13 words or less.      Everyone is welcome to join in!  Put your own spin on it.  Drop off your advice or 26 words of encouragement if you have done a marathon, watched a marathon, or about to run your first or hundredth.   

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