Reasons to Run

Tshirts Have Taken Over My Closet

On the chore list this weekend was the dreaded task of switching over the kids closet from winter to spring/summer clothes.  They are both still young (4 and 8) so they grow out of clothes overnight and with the change of season they need different, bigger stuff .

Feeling inspired, after I finished their closets, I turned to mine.   My Tshirt shelf had taken on a life of its own.  At some point in the last year or so, my TShirt collection exploded!  It seems like I don't run that many races.  Really.  If you had asked me if I had run much in the Dscn2802_2 last 12 months, I would say, "Heck, no! I Really need to get out there more!"   But my closet held the truth.  In the last few years, I have racked up over thirty TShirts!   I couldn't believe it.   As I pulled the shirts out of the out of control shelf, it was like clowns coming out of a circus car act.  How in the world could that many shirts fit in one shelf?!? 

As I sorted through them, I remember a conversation my husband and I about 10 years back.  We were lamenting that we just didn't have enough Tshirts.  In fact, we went to a store to buy some.  Today, I found out that I have only 2 TShirts that aren't race shirts and the other almost fifty were from some race - some I barely remember.   You could tell the ones I am really proud of because they are well worn, have stains from the kids, and still have residual stink from runs.   I don't think even Fitzfabulous solution to making Tshirts more presentable would fix them.

Dscn2804 If an archeologist studied my household a million years from now, he would be able to piece together in detail my schedule for at least the last ten years just based on my tshirt collection alone.  I am a rather predictable runner.  I knew I had my favorite races, but it was seeing them lined up year after year that it hit me how many times I had done the cycle of my races.

The good news is that I have enough raw materials for at least 4 more TShirt quilts - or one big one like Running Around in CT. Soon everyone in the family can have one and not fight over my current one.  It seems like a good solution since I don't think I am ready to use them to fill up holes in my yard as this Run The Planet article suggests.  And I don't think I will be near Barney's for their Tshirt recycling program (partnership with Loomstate) between April 13 and the 27th (but it is a cool idea - check it out!)

As I finished my final chores restocking, reorganizing, and restacking the clothes in our closets, I really appreciated my trip down memory lane and the chance to remember so many good runs, runs with friends, finish lines, and cold beers in celebration.   It was a nice little pick me up for my chores and my running.   Now its time to get busy and earn some more shirts!

Everyone Should Run A Half Marathon

Yep, I know, the title is a bit over the top and has a touch of bully - but it's hard to quench my excitement for the half marathon.   It is my favorite distance! 

It's the perfect distance for most runners and especially us slower runners.   It's not too Dscn1903 long that we need to plan for the entire day away and its not so short that it is obvious how slow we are running.   Any heartful awe and wonder we don't get from the crowds with our speed we make up in their admiration of our spirit to run "that far" or for "that long".   Half marathons smile more and longer - we are the darlings of the race - at least until the marathoners get back.

The training does take time to get in the long runs, but even those are 2-ish hours can be found in the schedule.  Where the marathon asks for 12-16 weeks of training to get ready, the half marathon can be tackled with as few of 6-8 and still live to tell about it. The distance does requires training - but you can still cover it somewhat comfortably and completely with little training and good intentions when push comes to shove. 

Race day is still a big deal.   There are still the nerves and careful preparation, but you know you can't get into serious trouble in a half marathon.   You can finish in about 2-3 hours, even at a relaxed pace, which puts you on track to pick up lunch on the way home from the race and you still have the day left to play, do chores or relax.   And if your nonrunning life has kids and commitment, the half marathon is gracious enough to allow you to still live out the day without a long nap.   Although, if you are lucky enough to get one it is the icing on the cake.

It's a serious distance.  It isn't one for the weak or runner who hasn't commited.  Because it is for real runners, any runner who takes it on earns the right to buy the best running gear, gadgets and other stuff to make them look as cool as they feel.   

And even though the distance can be forgiving, it still must be respected.   Tom has said in the past, "if you run the marathon wrong, it can really hurt."   And if you have run a marathon wrong, you know "hurt" doesn't even come close to describing those feelings of pain.   For the half marathon, the same holds true.   If you break the basic rules of training, it can hurt.  But she is more gentile than her evil twin brother the marathon.  She will punish you for a day, maybe two, and three tops and then you are free to dream of your next half marathon again.

The training and distance may be a fraction of a full, but the joy and pleasure of finishing isn't reduced to a margin of a big race.   It's all still there and all still worth it.

I can't wait for my next one!

Happy Super Bowl!

With the big game upon us, I hope you have your long run or workout behind you for today and your eye is on the big game and a few party refreshments.

I have been running all weekend in order to fully enjoy a few of my favorite things....yes, beer and cookies!   And in that spirit, I leave you with this short video which provides both an interesting idea for a run as well as sound advice.

Video on YouTube by Remmy

With running friends, it is never...

Too SnowyDscn2615

Too Cold

Too Windy

Too Dark

Too Late

Too Much of A Hassle

With running friends, running is always just right!

Thanks Art and Nancy for getting me out there last night in a one heck of a snow storm.  It was the most fun, relaxing run I have had in a long time.   Let's do it again and bring a friend.  Mike?  Kirk?  Kent?  David?

If this winter has left you wondering if you really even want to run, find a running friend and head out on a few miles.  It will adjust your perspective about running.   As a runner, it was a good reminder that I started running for many physical reasons but I keep running because of other runners.

Running with friends keeps the momentum going.

Why I Run

I have provided many, many reasons why I run over the last year.   But, last night, I was reminded again of one of my many reasons.

I run ... to eat cookies!Dscn2598

Meet the enemy. 

Meet my sweet savior.

Meet Triple Flavor Big Batch.   

She is one sweet combination of peanut butter, oatmeal, cocoa, and chocolate chip perfection.  It doesn't even matter how many kids "help" me make them - they always turn out perfectly.

Last night, someone in my house said they needed something sweet.  The next thing I know I am standing over a big bowl of something that should be illegial.  I am not sure it is even within FCC regulations to be able to share such an addictive recipe across the airways.   This cookie is strong enough to bring down even the best athlete and reduce them to an uncontrolled cookie addict hiding in a corner sneaking one to many between gulps of whole milk.

I had originally planned a simple 3 or 4 mile run today.   Looks like it will be 5 or 6.

Yes, this is why I run.

For noncookie related reasons why other reasons run, check out:

  • Little Runners' post from end of December who runs because she can as she stays in remission from scleroderma and gets ready to run Disney on January 13th, and
  • Greg D Cruz's post about running to develop inner strength

Run well this weekend and remember all the reasons you run.

New Year's Day Running Tradition At the 11th Hour

I rarely post about my runs, but yesterday’s run seems worthy.

Snowy_street_at_night_2 Spending the last several weeks out of town, last night we drove home, arriving to a warm house around 8:30.  The day’s hectic schedule kept me from running, the frigid temperatures so unfriendly.  But I hated to miss my tradition of running on New Year’s Day.

There’s something just so right and important about running on January 1st.  I’m not talking about the New Year’s resolutions.  Instead, a run on January 1st kicks off the rest of the year with hope and renewed commitment for all the other runs that follow.  It’s invigorating, a christening that launches the full range of runs throughout the year—the ordinary, the rotten, the awesome, the hot and humid, the what-was-I-thinking, and the it-doesn’t-get-any-better-than-this runs.  But today, I’d missed my run—and my New Year’s Day running tradition.

So with Mary and the kids away or in bed, I sat at the laptop e-mailing. reading posts, and doing some real work-work before returning to the office.  The 10:00 news come and went.  Boring. The temp in the house began dropping. 

11th_hour_2 Then at 10:51, I hear the chime from my computer  announcing an e-mail message.  It’s a wonderful comment from Nat in response to a post, and she wishes me “many ‘hell yeah!’ runs, perfect weather conditions, and body glide in the right places.”

What a wish!  What a friend!  What an inspiration! 

In a nanosecond the possibility flashed through my mind.  “It’s not too late,” I thought.  Scrambling to the basement I gathered my running gear.  Dashed upstairs to change into my running clothes and I dialed the number to hear the time and temperature.   11:02 p.m. and 4°.  Count ‘em.  Four degrees!

Pulling the layers and shoes on, it’s a few minutes past 11:00 p.m., and I’m out the door.  A wonderful easy run!  Five miles later I’m finishing my all-time favorite neighborhood course, all the while thinking about “the tradition” of my New Year’s Day run. 

With several blocks to go, it’s Tradition Time.  My family knows just what it is.  I stop under a street light, take off my gloves and hat and then peel off every layer from the waist up.   I’m still warm from the run but know I’m only a few seconds before the chill arrives. 

Dashing the final blocks and careening down the hill that dumps me into my driveway, I’m breathless from the pace and the arctic air.  Carrying my clothes in one arm, I raise my other arm and pump my fist in the air. 

I arrive in the house before midnight.  The tradition of the New Year’s Day topless finish continues for another year! 

Thanks, Nat!  Hell Yeah!

If it wasn’t for the 11th hour,

a lot of things wouldn’t get done!

Snowy Streets on Flickr by Yonder Wall

Clock on Flickr by MindWind

Come Along On My Favorite Fall Run

Fall running.   ahhhhh.....  There is nothing like heading out on a run during one of the six perfect weeks we have here in Iowa to catch a glipse of the leaves of fall or get a lung full of that crisp cool air.  These six weeks make the remaining 46 weeks of the year when it is too hot, too cold, too windy, too dusty, too dark, too rainy/icy/snowy or downright unpleasant just a bit more bearable.

My favorite fall run is the trail that loops around the outside of our property. It is close to home and easy to access.  I indulged a few years ago and had this trail "blazed" as a present to myself and running.  It is the crowing jewel of living out here off a dusty country road.   An extra bonus is that I always have the company of my dog Buddy for every step and I usually have a pacer or two (my kids) for the first or last lap.   

I would love to have each of you join me in a run on this trail, but I know how tight schedules are, so I took my camera along last week and grabbed some photos while I ran along.  While it takes about 10 minutes to complete the loop, I condensed my run in video to about a minute and 30 seconds.  I added my favorite trail tune to the picture show - so if you are at work, hit mute or grab the headphones.  Hope you enjoy the ride!

If you have a favorite fall run, let me know where it is.  I have a wish list of runs that I someday hope to exhaust - but in the meantime, I will keep adding them on.  Check out Database Diva's run in pics.

Happy fall running!

Running For Something Bigger Than Ourselves

Last week at the Des Moines marathon, Tom and I were excited to give away a few hundred bracelets for a small donation to the three charities that were aligned to the marathon.   It was a small way we could give back and support three tremendous causes that do great work on the behalf of the dollars that runners raise.   I have a deep respect for the runners who take the time to train for an event, but also put in the extra time to support a cause, raise money, or honor a special person.   

There are a few runners out there right now who are doing this in a big way.  If you haven't had a chance to check out Scott, Paul, and Wade's stories, here is a glimpse of the good they are doing:

For the last week, I have been following Scott Giddings quest to complete his journeyScott_giddings_pose that he started this spring.  Scott started a run across Nebraska in mid April with a goal of completing the 480 miles across the state.  About 11 days into the run, with 232 miles behind him, he had an injury to his leg which caused him to change plans, stop and recover.   

On October 20th, he picked up his journey where he had left off and began running the last 240 miles, ending at the Missouri River in Omaha.   Scott didn't take on this journey simply as a test to his own endurance, he took it on as a way to raise awareness and honor the Girls and Boys Town where he works and specifically the Aftercare program .  In his posts, he talks about how important it is to be a role model and fulfill the promises he made to the kids and himself, how he needs to adjust to life's curveballs, and of course, that like this run, life is a marathon, not a sprint.    As he finishes his last leg today - drop him a note of congratulations and encouragement.   

Paul_staso And Paul Staso.  In 2006, Paul ran across the United States, unsupported, pushing a jogging stroller.  He did this heroic feat as a way to promote P.A.C.E - Promoting Active Children Everywhere.  In 182 days, Paul is going to take on a challenge again and run across his homestate of Montana, all 610 miles of it, and ask kids to race with him virtually.   Students from Kindergarten to High School can run along by acquiring mileage at school and track his journey through Montana.  Pass on the link to your teachers - it would be a fun and educational program at school!

Paul is an amazing person.  Not only because he is a phenominial runner and he is coordinated enough to push a jogging stroller for that long a distance.  But he does all of this while also being a father of four, running alot, running a small business and of course, starting the PACE Fitness Foundation.   He is hanging out in the Runners' Lounge too - so drop him a note on his site or in the Lounge and cheer him on!

Fitness of our kids is personally a strong belief of mine that someday in the future I hope to find a way to support in impactful way that Paul is doing today. 

Don't forget to check out Wade's story too!  Wade Mitzel is running across NorthWadenkids  Dakota for Operation Christmas Child.   The program allows us to contribute shoeboxes filled with small gifts and deliver them to children living in desparate conditions in the world.  Wade is from North Dakota but personally experienced the poor conditions of children in his mission trips to China and Africa.   He knows firsthand the joy from children of receiving a small gift or kind note.   He started on his journey a few days ago - so stop by his blog and leave him a comment and cheer him on - he just passed the 100 mile mark on Sunday.  I can't imagine running a marathon everyday - and much less in the very cool weather of North Dakota.

Way to go guys!  You make being a runner a pretty special thing!

Why I Run, Really

Why do we run? 

A nonrunning friend posed this question to me as I recounted a few of the stories from Chicago marathon on Sunday.  He had listened patiently, but honestly wasn't convinced that these stories were anything more than a bunch of crazy people with nothing better to do on a hot Sunday morning.   It was in this discussion that he asked: "Why do people run?...  Why do runners push themselves so hard?...  So hard that it hurts or they are in pain?...  Are you just plain crazy?"

I don't have the one universal answer to his questions.  But I tried to explain a few of the I_run_2 reasons why people run.  You know I love this topic so I have an arsenal full of great reasons from lots of great runners.  So I told him about all the great reasons from many wonderful runners like:

My list at the end of July list, and how Rob chatted about "fighting the desire to quit". 

My early August list that had many examples showing that running isn't about an activity, but instead about becoming something more.

My late August list of "Why I Run", Ian's  description of running being almost like meditation.

And then to my mid September list, where Lora's reason still rings in my head.  She says she runs for "soulful experiences, powerful situations and deep moments of appreciation".

And to sum it up, I borrowed a great phrase from Jennifer from last week, who says: 

I am a runner. I love it. It's no longer what I do, but it is an important part of who I am. Passions are like that; they grip us.

Passion.  That is a great word to describe the feelings many runners have about this "sport". 

But yet, he was unmoved.  He just didn't get it.

Made me feel kinda' bad for this fellow not to know what I was talking about. Not one to give up, I took a deep breath and unleashed a rambling, realistic view of why I run.  I tried to put it in terms he could understand.  It went something like this:

I run so...I have the patience to explain to my kids for the thousandth time that candy Just_run corn is not a vegetable.  It is merely a coincidence that they harvest the corn around our house at the same time it shows up in stores.  And that they shouldn't bite into a real pumpkin because it tastes nothing like the little candy pumpkins that are next to the little candy corns.

I run so... I can stand the sound of flip-flops... I have the will power to sit and smile patiently through unplanned drop in's of coworkers ranting about topics that don't matter... I have the endurance to work through lunch and sometimes dinner... I have the brainpower to finish the mind-numbing complex work that has to be done in minimal time and with not enough money or resources.   

I run so...I can listen to a 20 minute nonstop dissertation on the best and worst Pokemon, which kid has what card, what Pokemon crap we desparately need - and do so with a "I am so interested in what you are saying" smile the entire time...I can reward myself with time on the floor with my kids playing puzzles or coloring without thinking how I need to get up and do something.

I run so...I can eat cookies in large quantities but mitigate the effects...I can stay in the same size jeans - because shopping for jeans that need to be a size larger is a hundred times worse than running for hours...My beer tastes even better.

I run so...I have a few minutes of peace to myself...I allow myself to do only one thing at a time while running - there are no phones, email, or urgent other issues....I have a chance to catch my breath even though sometimes I run hard enough I lose it.

I run so...I have the core strength to vaccuum at super human speeds...My legs are strong enough to chase after kids who escape...I spend 30 minutes less in my house each day looking at the corners and cobwebs that need to be cleaned.

I run so...nonrunners seem less annoying.  :}  I did throw that into the end just to see if he was still listening to my ranting. 

I think I may have got through to him on the "few minutes of peace"....

Whatever your reasons (share 'em!), best wishes for a great fall run today!

Bumper sticker by bryanbope

Just Run by jc1985

My New World Record

At 7:22 a.m. this morning, I set a new land speed record for the 1/3 mile distance.  What?  You say that isn't an official race distance?  And I bet you are wondering how me, one of the slowest runners on the planet, would now hold the record.  Here's how it happened:

My lovely 3 1/2 year old daughter quietly put on her bright pink cowboy boots and let herself Dscn1746 out the door and ran to our neighbors house.  What makes this an adventure is the fact we live in a rural area, this neighbor is about 1/3 mile away. 

Best guess is that it was about 2 minutes when I realized that she wasn't sitting in the mudroom playing with her boots and that she was gone.   She had been asking to go the neighbors daily for the last few days so I knew in an instant where she had gone.  By the way, my daughter is a really fast little girl - even in flashy boots!

With a mixture of absolute fear of losing her and horror that she had invited herself to the neighbors house at early o'clock on a Saturday, I set a blistering pace through the grass and woods, without shoes.  I am pretty sure that I left a trail of fire behind me. 

Sure enough, there she was, with our dog Buddy by her side, posed to ring their doorbell as I flew into the rescue.    But, alas, too late!  The ringing had commenced, and she had knocked loudly, yelling (so they tell me)..."it's me Sophie, it's morning time..."    (here is where humiliation and profuse apologies commenced....).

So my dilemma of whether my back was ok to run or should I run fast or slow today....yeah, it's out the window.   With that amazing show of speed, I think my work here is done today.

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