Friday, July 29, 2011

A Call for Stories!!!!!

Okay, I need more running stories to share.  I want stories on how you got into running, what you like about running, what keeps you motivated, tips and advice, and other cool/interesting running experiences including race stories.  If you've already shared and want to share again, do it!  If you know a runner who doesn't know about the blog, see if they'd like to contribute.  If I dont get any new stories, then all you'll hear about is me, and I'm awesome and everything, but don't you think we need some variety?

So send them in!  Include a picture too that you'd like to share.  Send them to my email,, with the subject "Running Story" in the subject line. 

Get the word out, peeps!  Bring me stories!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nite Lites 10K

So perhaps you noticed and then perhaps you didn't, that I have no report on the Iona Days 10K that I was supposed to run.  Well that's because I didn't run it.  No I didn't just skip out on it.  I didn't run it because the organizers of Iona Days did not have a 10k to run.  They had a 5k, but I've run 3 of those this summer and I wanted a 10k to run.  So I chose to leave Iona Days alone and seek after another 10k to run, one that was actually going to happen.  There has been this race listed on the Teton Running events calendar and I've been eyeing it all summer.  It's called Nite Lites.  You run it at night.  You start at a time where you think you can finish your race closest to midnight.  You run covered with reflectors and other lighted objects and are met with "surprises" along the way according to the race organizers.  Honestly, it sounded like a lot of fun.  You even get to make your own race number and they give out rewards for the coolest design.  My sister-in-law, Keersten, saw the same race and wanted to run it too.  Since we both had skipped out on running in Iona Days, we decided that we needed to run in this race.

So that is my little explanantion at to why I have yet to run a 10K.  The Nite Lites race is on August 12th.    If you're interested, they also have a 5k and a half marathon.  I believe they might also have a 1 mile walk/run too.  It's always fun to run a race, but it's cool that occasionally you get to run a really cool race like this.  I'm so excited!  Keersten and I need to find someone willing to take pics that late at night because our husbands will be at home with the kids.  Any volunteers?

Check it out!  Nite Lites.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Case for Running: Reconnect

Everytime I think I've thought of the last reason to become a runner, something new strikes me, usually while I'm running.  So here is reason #8:  Reconnecting.

Many of the people who read this blog carry on very busy and hectic lives.  Whether it's kids, jobs, other obligations, we're all busy, all the time.  Life becomes a little like working in a factory where our heads are forever turned down, paying attention only to the work in front of us.  There is, indeed, a world outside that factory, but we only get to see it on our tired way home, and then we're only seeing it, not processing it or realizing what exactly there is to behold.  But when I run, I get to reconnect.  And what is there to reconnect to?  Everything that I have ignored, whether I meant to or not. 

So I run and reconnect with nature.  It's funny how much I've come to love the outdoors since starting my running journey.  I've even started to learn what types of trees are lining my running routes.  I appreciate being away from traffic and shopping centers and feeling closer to a way of life that my ancestors had.  With each breath, I feel more infected with all of this fresh air and the natural way of things.  Focusing on the majesty of it all is usually the point in my run when that special kind of euphoria hits me and I run down the road smiling like a goon. 

I think a lot during my runs, and this is when I reconnect with myself.  I "talk" to myself about almost everything that consumes my life but that I can never really process while I'm in the throws of everything.  How to deal with Rachel's 4 year-old to find more time to read books with the to help Dani learn all the things her sister was learning at this to find more time for my to better reach my own personal goals.....and so on.  Running clears my head and I seem to always return with new ideas about how to take care of the people in my life, including myself. 

With all of this fresh air and new ideas, I always find myself thinking about my Savior and my Heavenly Father.  I wholly admit that I don't do so well with scripture study or personal prayer all the time.  I try my darndest to hold FHE each Monday and hold family prayer each night, but sometimes, even that falls through.  I feel rather guilty for it all because I feel that the more I let all of these temporal concerns and hinderances into my life, the less time there is for anything spiritual.  But then I go running.  So many answers have come to me while I struggle to make it to the top of the next hill.  So many feelings of my Savior's love for me hit me squarely in the chest while run past house after house into the great wide open spaces, surely meant for man's inspiration.  There are so many other times when I feel close to God, but running is definitely in the top 5.  I reconnect to Him and further devote myself to higher goals.  How running does this for me, I don't really know, but it does.

So if you're looking into becoming a runner, here is my 8th reason: Reconnecting.  What you end up reconnecting to, well that's up to you I suppose.  But I always feel like I've got a better hold on life after a good run and I'm sure you do too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Additions to the Running Mix

I'm sure many of you do this to.  You hear a really good song on the radio or somewhere else and think, "This has to go into my running mix!"  I'm constantly on the hunt for more songs to run to.  So I thought I'd do an update on songs I've found for running and maybe you guys can share some songs too so we can all have some awesome music to run to.

"Dynamite" by Taio Cruz:  I heard this one night when I did some Zumba and thought it would be good for running.  A good strong beat and it makes you wanna move!

"Rolling in the Deep" by Adele:  For whatever reason, this songs always helps me out when I feel like stopping.  Wonderful beat, but maybe it's because it's got a strong female voice.  Who knows, but it keeps me going.

"Grenade" by Bruno Mars:  I quite enjoy this artist because of his voice, but this particular songs is great because of it's beat and tempo.

"Pain" by Jimmy Eat World:  I've had this song in my collection for many years but hadn't heard it in a while.  Thank goodness for the shuffle option on my iPod that played this song for me one day.  I immediately thought, "Running!"

"Iridescent" by Linkin Park:  I used to not like Linkin Park and some of there songs still rub me the wrong way, but this one is really cool.  It kind of starts out slow, but it works up into a frenzy that is perfect for running.

"Walls" by Manic Drive:  I heard this on the radio and immediately turned up the bass on it while in the car.  That right there tells you it's a great running song.

"Test Drive" by John Powell from the soundtrack of "How To Train Your Dragon."  OKay, so this may seem weird to add a song like this, but I was watching the movie the other day with my girls and there is the part where Hiccup is doing a test run with Toothless with his new prosthetic tail.  The score during this part made me want to jump up and go running, so I'm adding it to my mix.  Sidenote:  If you haven't seen this movie, rent it now!

So there are my new additions.  Most of them are up for sampling on my playlist located at the bottom of this blog.  Please comment with maybe 2 or 3 of your favorites currently blasting in your ears while you run!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Let's Share: Kristan's Story

This story is from my sister-in-law, Kristan.  Funny enough, she is also a past high school buddy.  She is probably one of the most determined and organized people I know.  She always seems to have things under control and she is a great wife, mom, and bookeeper for my brother's (her husband's)business in Rexburg, Expedition Firearms.  I want to thank her for taking time to share her thoughts on running and her own story.  She's a new mom, so she's busy!

Kristan and her adorable little boy, Aeden.
My running story starts about 5 years ago with one day realizing I was 20 pounds over weight and felt awful about myself in more ways than one.  I had no energy, my back always hurt and every time I would buy pants it would be the next size up.  Something had to change.  The really awful part about it was I didn’t even have an excuse like having a baby to have gained all that extra weight!  I was just out of shape and needed to do something about it. 

I was never one for going to the gym so I thought what could I do on my own that wasn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg.  I looked to the great outdoors and decided my dog and I would become running buddies!  I decided on a diet a friend introduced me to, bought some running shoes and picked a time out of my busy schedule that I could devote to running.  I also decided on time over miles as my goal each day.   

The early morning was the only logical time for me plus would be cool enough so that my dog wouldn’t kill over in the hot California sun.
It wasn’t a problem for me to get up each day.  Every morning at 6am he would jump on the bed, then on me, and if that didn’t get me up, he would then crash his body into the vertical blinds making the most annoying noises – anything to wake me up.  I would finally give in and get out of bed and get ready to go.  He could barely contain his excitement as he saw that I was getting my running gear on.  How could I say no to that?   

Slowly but surely each morning got easier and easier to get out of bed and Titus’s annoying wake up calls were greatly appreciated.  Some days I didn’t even need them and was up before him.  I actually looked forward each morning to head out for 30 minutes at 6am each and everyday.  It was refreshing actually.  6am (in the summer) is actually a wonderful time of day.  I don’t know if you have ever been out early in the morning before the hussle and bussle of the town is up but it’s a very peaceful feeling to be running with just the sound of sprinkler systems in the background.  I felt so much better physically and mentally that I was now starting my day this way.  I also started making better decisions eating wise throughout the rest of the day.  How could I eat that greasy piece of pizza and wash it down with a soda when I ran for 30 minutes this morning?  I think I will have a refreshing salad instead and not undo what I did this morning. 

The weight came off and my dog loved me for all the exercise and exploring he got to do.  It was a win win.  The downfall however for using the great outdoors is that at some point you have to take your running indoors.  Running combined with snow and ice does not equal fun to me – but that is just my opinion. 

I continued my running career and was able to maintain my goal weight until I became pregnant.  Running turned into jogging.  Jogging turned into fast walking.  Fast walking came to a screeching halt when my hips couldn’t take it anymore.   I had to stop.  It was really disappointing especially to Titus.  He didn’t understand what the hold up was.  The weather soon turned cold and we were stuck inside for that reason as well.  "Get your lazy butt on a treadmill," you might be thinking.  Well I didn’t have one of those nor did I have the extra cash to spend on one as all the “extra” money needed to be spent on the little bundle of joy that was on the way.   

I now find myself back in the same boat of needing to lose weight again – at least this time I have an excuse of just having had a baby. It is finally spring, my 6 week postpartum is up and I am out of excuses.  Thanks to my sister-in-law Anna, I am now re-motivated to get back out there! Finding that time is now my enemy but I will prevail and drop those baby pounds!  

To sum up I would say the best thing to do to stay motivated or become motivated would be to have a running buddy whether it be the two-legged or four-legged kind.  I also recommend buying a snazzy pair of running shoes (I recommend Sketchers Shape-ups) and maybe a cute pair of pants to run in doesn’t hurt either.  (Does wonders for the old self esteem).  I highly recommend purchasing an ipod as well (or in my case winning one!) Nothing makes the time fly by faster than a good tune in your head.   I also recommend switching up your route.  If you keep running the same streets day in and day out, you will get bored and your running days will be over.

Thanks a bunch, Kristan!  Her story is very much like a lot of other women I know.  Like I said, she's determined and the part about getting up early morning after morning surely proves that.  I'm looking forward to running a race with her sometime next summer! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Running with My Daughter

My 4 year-old, Rachel, came up to me a few days ago and asked if she could come running with me up to the windmills.  I replied with, "Well, that's a long ways, so perhaps we should just drive up there if you want to see the windmills." 
"No, mom," says Rachel, "I want to run there like you did."

I later convinced her that an 8-mile round trip might be a bit too much for her right now and we should do a smaller run.  "Okay, mom, at 3 o'clock tomorrow, we will go for a run.  Don't forget!"
How could I forget?  My daughter wants to run with me.  That's awesome!  Between the time she asked me to go running and when we actually went running, it was all she could talk about. 
"I want you to train me to run races, mom, like you do."
"Do you think you'll be able to keep up with me, mom?"
"Can I run with you in your next race?"
"I'm going to be a runner!"

Rachel running to first base
at her t-ball game.
Needless to say, she was excited.  I was too.  Over the many miles, I've often day-dreamed about one day running alongside my kids.   Way before the twins were even a twinkle in my eye, and I just had my two girls (Rachel and Dani), my mind would bring up images of running with my teenage daughters, helping them train for their next track meet.  But I thought it wouldn't be until then that I would be able to get them interested in running.  For the most part, people don't get into running until adulthood.  But at the tender age of 4, my daughter wanted to run.  To be completely honest, she runs all the time.  If you ask her to walk from point A to point B, she actually has to concentrate because her natural mode of travel is always to run.  But like most little kids, they run for a short burst and then stop.  Rachel wanted to run for long distances, so that is what I would help her do. 

The time was upon us.  It was time to run.  She got her tennis shoes on and watched me as I laced up my running shoes.  I asked her if she wanted me to put her hair in a ponytail.  She declined.  She hates getting her hair done, so this was no surprise.  We bid Arik, Dani, and the boys farewell and headed out the door.  Our neighborhood is a loop.  Going around once is about a half a mile.  I figured we'd try to go around twice for one complete mile; Rachel's first mile. 
I showed her how to warm up and quick like a bunny she was off and I ran after her.  She kept looking over at me to mimic my movements.  She was dead serious and if you know my daughter, that's something.  She insisted on talking the whole way, which I totally knew she would, which meant she got out of breath quite often.  She'd jabber on about how you shouldn't run over rocks or dirt, or how those birds up there better watch out, or how she could feel her legs getting stronger which meant that she was positive she could be up to that 8-mile windmill run by, most likely, tomorrow. 
I told her that if she needed to, we could walk for a bit.  About half way through the first loop, she admitted that she, "might like to walk for a bit."
So we walked for a bit and I showed her how to stop for a minute and do some stretches.  She took a lot of joy is taking off mid-stretch, leaving me in her dust.  "Come on, slow poke!", she'd say.
It continued on like this as we ran/walked through her first mile.  I tried teaching her about pacing, but that was more than a little confusing for her.  Instead, I'd say, "Just stay with me."
When we had one more corner to go before we got back to the house, I told Rachel we should run without stopping until we got to the house.  She immediately declared, "We should race!"
"On your mark, get set, go!"
She practically giggled through the whole race as she was gasping for breath.  She just couldn't help herself; racing was too much fun.  I kept telling her it would be easier to breathe if she wouldn't talk.  "Okay, mom, I'll stop talking right now."  Ten miliseconds later...."Hey mom, do you think I could beat a hawk in a race?"  Oh, Rachel.

We made it back to the house, completed a few more stretches and then went inside for a big glass of water.  Later that night, Rachel was rubbing her legs.  I asked if they hurt.  "No, mom, I'm just trying to see if my muscles are bigger now."

At bedtime, as I tucked her in, she asked if we could go running again.  "You bet!", I said.
"Cause I want to be a runner, mom, just like you."
I think I left my heart in a puddle right there. 

I now have a new reason to keep doing this; in hopes that I might pass this down to my kids.  Pass down the importance of taking care of your body and of committing yourself to reach goals you once thought impossible.  Without even knowing it, I was making an impression on my daughter and now she's decided to join me and become part of my running journey.  Nothing can be sweeter than that.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Running with Wolves (or At Least with Large, Slobbery Dogs)

Below you will find a running/writing piece contributed by my friend, Ericka Birch.  She is an avid runner (with a few races under her belt), an unbelievably talented writer, a mother of 3 (2 of which are twin girls), and a rock climber.  In other words, she's a flippin' rockstar.  She probably does more with her time than I know about, but I think I got the highlights.  Anyway, enjoy her musings on running with dogs.

    If you have been running for very long, you have probably experienced what happened to me recently. I made a friend. It was a huge brown Labrador retriever. I had so been looking forward to getting some fresh air, but instead found myself stuck in a cloud of dog B.O. For three miles. That’s three miles of him jumping up on me and delivering affectionate nose nudges to my rear end. He wasn’t aggressive. He was totally friendly—just a big dumb ball of excitement. I could practically hear him thinking, “I’m a dog! ImadogImadogImadog!”
    I was running on a 50 MPH country road, and my buddy was really ticking off passing drivers by running into the road. Needless to say, I was getting the occasional…gesture. Or wild arm motion, which I’m sure meant, “Jeez, lady, put your dog on a leash!” I responded with my own elaborate shrug and arm wave in an attempt to convey the thought, “He’s not MY dog! I would never own such a stupid dog! PLEASE hit him!” There were no takers, so he just stayed with me the whole time, finishing his jaunt by taking a giant leak in my garage.
    Since runner-chasing dogs are a common occurrence, here are a few tips to help you deal with similar situations:
1. DO NOT yell, wave your arms, make small, fake-aggressive hops, or otherwise try to scare the dog away. The dog’s whole point in chasing you is to try to elicit this type of idiotic behavior in public where passersby can see. Many of you have probably tried this tactic on a dog whose only reaction was to stare and pant at you with a silly grin on his face. Trust me, the dog was enjoying himself at your expense.

2. DO NOT play dead. Your mom probably always told you that if you ignore a pest, he will go away. This is not true of dogs. If you lie down and pretend to be dead, the dog will probably drag you off and bury you in his special hidey-hole. Also, for futher reasons to avoid playing dead, please see tip #1.
3. DO NOT throw rocks at the dog. It will think you want to play fetch. It will catch a rock in its teeth with a bone-shivering, grinding squeal. Then it will bring the rock back to you and drop it on your feet.
4. DO give me a call if you figure out how to make a furry friend just freakin’ go away.
Ericka, you're hilarious!!  Thanks again for contributing.  Look forward to some more stuff by Ericka as she will be sharing (hopefully) some running tips of her own soon. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Case for Running: Exploration

I've posted a few times about different running routes I've taken.  Routes where I kept going because I just felt like running.  Recently, I've gone on a few runs simply because I wanted to see what was around the bend.  That's the cool thing about going for a run; the exploration aspect.  Sure you can go explore things in a car, in a boat, on a train, with a goat, or in the rain (wait that's Green Eggs and Ham).  Let me begin again.....Sure you can go explore things in a car, but you're driving fast and most of the cool things worth seeing, you never see because it's all a green and brown blur as you go past.  You see the big things, but not the small things.  And there are some places a car can't go, like down a trail.  To me, exploring a new place is best done on foot and if you're going to be on foot, you might as well be running. 
The view from atop of one of the hills I ran on Saturday.
This evening I went for a run (well before the sun went down, mind you) and I took a route recommended to me by my sister-in-law.  I ran it because it was a 6 mile loop and I'm currently training for a 10k. But since I had not run this route before, I got to explore it.  It was a fantastic loop!  There were parts of it that reminded me of my trip to the Midwest and Nauvoo with it's towering trees along a wide canal and the miles and miles of green.  The air was heavy too because of the impending rain storm and so the run even felt like I was back in Illinois at the Keokuk camp ground (where I fell in love with my husband, so I was naturally in a good mood during the entire run).  Then the run became hilly and I ran past these large estates with massive amounts of pasture and huge houses on top.  I ran past cows and some really gorgeous horses.  I ran alongside a thunderstorm and through loopy and squirmy roads that seem to announce "Yes, you're in the country now!"  I got to explore a part of Iona I hadn't before and it was a beautiful run.     This is what I love about running, just being out there, getting to decide where you want to go.
No this is not a picture of the storm I ran in. 
It's rather hard to run with a Nikon
strapped to you.
But there is another aspect to this exploration I speak of.  There's the part where you're exploring your own limits and what your body is made of.  As I got to the hills and when the wind storm announced the arrival of the thunderstorm 2 miles before I got home, I got to explore my limitations as a runner.  Could I keep myself from walking this last hill?  Can I make it back home despite the fact that I'm sure these winds surely mean that a tornado is barking at my heels?  Can I keep going?  For some reason 6 miles is a lot longer when you're running a new route, and so I got to explore my 6-mile self in untested territory.  You can learn a lot about yourself that way.

So if you're looking into becoming a runner, here is my 7th reason (I've lost count by now, but I think it's the 7th reason): The Exploration!!

Here's my challenge:  If you've been running the same route over and over, stop it!  Go out and run and make different decisions.  Decide right then where you'll go and go somewhere you haven't gone before.  I'm a big believer in driving to a running route as well.  If you live in a place where you just don't get inspired or it's hard to find a new running route, go drive to a different spot and start running there.  I highly recommend running in my area here in Iona.  If you want directions let me know, I'll even come with you!  I have recently dubbed Iona as "The Land of Beautiful and Inspiring Running Routes."  You won't be disappointed.  So, once you've explored a new route, tell me about it!  I want more stories (and more followers, hint hint).  So go out and run and then shoot me an email,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shin Splints and Side Aches

These are my two biggest complaints when running.  I don't always get side aches, just once in a while and for some reason when running down a steep hill.  Shin splints come and go and are quite annoying.  I'm guessing that many of you have experienced these same ailments.  So I thought I'd devote a post to identifying causes and treatments for shin splints and side aches.

When I attempted to run track in 7th grade, my coach gave a long speech about shin splints.  I cannot remember a single word he said because once he said shin splints, my mind was off thinking about having my shins splinter and disintergrate while I was running.  Luckily, that's not what actually happens. 
"The term shin splints is a name often given to any pain at the front of the lower leg. However, true shin splints symptoms occur at the front inside of the shin bone and can arise from a number of causes."  My "true" shin splints occur when I run fast or down a hill.  However, many people experience shin splints all of the sudden without any change in running terrain or speed.  These people are probably experiencing shin splints because of overuse.  All of these things can cause inflammation in the shins and that's where the shin splints come from. 

Symptoms include:
  • Pain over the inside lower half of the shin.

  • Pain at the start of exercise which often eases as the session continues

  • Pain often returns after activity and may be at its worse the next morning.

  • Sometimes some swelling.

  • Lumps and bumps may be felt when feeling the inside of the shin bone.

  • Pain when the toes or foot are bent downwards.

  • A redness over the inside of the shin (not always present).

  • What's the treatment, doc?  I've found several different things you can do for treatment.  The biggest one is to rest the legs.  Tone down the training or give yourself a few days to recover.  Whatever you do, just rest a bit.  You might try something with low-impact like swimming for a while.  Massage (which helps condition the legs muscles), icing and using heat also help.  If you choose massage, I highly recommend going to a professional.  If done incorrectly, you could actually make the situation worse.  You can also use some anti-inflammatory painkillers for relief, but in the end, you need to look at your running technique and what you strap to your feet before a run.  If your feet turn outward or inward while running, this is a problem.  If your shoes are not supportive enough, this too is a problem.  Fix these problems and your days with shin splints might just go away.   A good shoe can fix many of the woes we experience as runners. 

    Rarely, shin splints are actually caused by small stress fractures in the shin.  This is rare, but possible.  I would suggest that if the above methods are doing anything, then you need to get checked out. 

    Source:  The Sports Injury Clinic


    You know where the side ache occurs.  In your side, duh!  But what did you do to deserve such an annoying and performance hindering ache?  Researchers are still looking into what the pain actually is, whether it's the ligaments and muscles or the diaphram and liver or all of the above.  Frankly, I could care less, I just want it to stop.  What researchers DO know is that it's all a breathing issue.  "The diaphragm - and other stomach muscles - participate in the breathing process. They move every time we breath in or out. When we inhale, we move air into the lungs, expanding them. This forces the diaphragm and other muscles down. When we exhale, we expel the air and as the lungs shrink these muscles move back up. Some think rapid moving up and down can eventually cause a spasm of the diaphragm or other related muscles or ligaments." 
    There are a few things you can do to help you quickly recover, while running, and get rid of your side ache.  Obviously stopping will help, but what if you don't want to stop.  Well then, check your breathing.  If you're taking short, rapid breaths, you need to concentrate on taking in longer, deeper breaths.  You might need to accompany this with a slower pace for a while.   "This technique alone will often bring many runners some relief. Then, as you pick up speed again, remember to add a very deep breath every so often."

    "Other methods are also related to how and when we breath during running. Some runners have reported relief from side stitches by focusing on somewhat forceful exhaling while running hard. They purse their lips and force the air out for several breaths, as if blowing out candles on a birthday cake. "

    You'll probably need to try several different methods of breathing before you find what works for you.  It all depends on what is causing the ache, so experiment and soon that side ache will subside.  You may also want to check your posture.  If you are leaning too far foward or backward, you could be putting to much strain on the muscles and ligaments surrounding your abdomen and diaphragm.  I find that the straighter I keep my posture when running, the better I run and the easier I run.

    Source:  The Dreaded Side Stitch

    Comment time:  What have you done to successfully get rid of either side aches or shin splints in the past?  Share your experiences with us!

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Words of Encouragement

    You marry a specific person for a reason, right?  You want someone who "clicks" with you.  They don't have to be exactly what you are, they simply need to be exactly what you need.   So it goes with a coach.  To have someone really help you out and achieve your fitness goals, you need a coach you just click with.  I'm guessing that none of the people who read this blog have a coach or a trainer, but you have to admit, it would be nice to have one sometimes.  Coaches, to me, are also your source of encouragement.  Well, I thought today's  post would be some Words of Encouragment.  Below, you'll find some words of encouragement I've found that were specifically for runners.  Take all you need as long as it keeps you running.

    "You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."
    - Steve Prefontaine

    "I always loved was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs."
    -Jesse Owens

    "In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that."
    -Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

    "Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you're young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don't let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself."
    -John Bingham, running speaker and writer

    "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"
    - Peter Maher, Canadian marathon runner

    "We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable."
    -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

    "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
    -John Bingham

    "Every day is a good day when you run."
    -Kevin Nelson

    "What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate."
    -John Bingham, running writer and speaker

    "If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don't spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it."
    -Priscilla Welch

    "Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get."
    - Joe Catalano

    "If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion."
    - Robert Pirsig

    "If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run."
    --John Bingham

    "To know you are one with what you are doing, to know that you are a complete athlete, begins with believing you are a runner."
    -- George Sheehan

    "Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too."
    --Richard O'Brien

    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
    T.S. Eliot  

    "I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart."
    "There is nothing to be intimidated about - it's just another long run where a few more people show up and they happen to wear numbers."
    Wesley Stafford  

    "Running takes balls. Other sports just play with them."  This one is one of my favorites!
    "Running isn't about winning or losing, it's neither about glory or achievement, it's all about not quitting."
    Ben Vachon

    So I hope you found a good quote to stick on the fridge.  Sometimes we all just need someone to pat us on the back, to scream at us to keep going and to be there with a Gatorade when we're done. 
    If I might add one last bit of encouragement, I would say this: 

    I'm truly touched by the readers who have written to me to say that they've signed up for a race and have begun training.  I'm unbelievably excited to know that many of you are reaching your running goals each day and that you keep setting new goals.  I didn't really know what would happen if I started this blog.  I thought I might just be writing to my mom (she happens to be my biggest fan, love ya, mom!).  I had no idea I would get emails and facebook messages saying that someone else had started their journey to start running because they read my blog.   I feel embarasssed each time sometimes uses my name and the word "inspiring" in the same sentence. 
    To be completely honest, it's all of these emails and messages that have kept me going along on my own running journey.  I have so many reasons to quit each day.  So many things keep getting thrown into my lap and it's getting harder and harder to find the time and energy to keep doing this. But whenever I feel like I don't want to go on, I get an email from someone saying that they've been inspired to start training for a 10k or have started their running journey and are so excited they could burst.  It's give me what I need and I get my butt back out on that road and keep going.  So as for my own words of encouragment I guess I just want to say that if you'll keep running, so will I.  We'll all run together despite the many challenges that face each of us.  We'll all have bad days and good days, but let's NOT STOP.  Don't ever stop.  I've never felt so good as when I run and I know you guys feel the same way too.  So keep the emails coming, as well as the comments and facebook messages.  You guys inspire me!!! 

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    Liberty 5K

        So, running a race WITH someone is so much cooler than running a race by yourself.  Of course, when you run a race, you're not really alone because they are hundreds of runners around you, but in a way you are by yourself, meaning you are the only one who knows you.
        On Saturday, I ran the Liberty 5K in Rexburg.  My sister-in-law, Keersten, ran with me.  It was an odd race, but so much fun with her there.  It was on a golf course for the most part, which was weird since I've never run on grass, and then it went through the nature park, which was pretty in some parts and awkward in others as we ran past campers just getting up for the day, gawking at us with a "What the?" expression on their faces.  Keers and I were constantly having to balance ourselves as our feet met with uneven ground, gravel, and narrowing channels that funneled 50 runners into a 2 foot space.  Once again, my lungs were hard at work so I must of been going faster than my usual pace, but that grass makes you feel like a Clydesdale. 
    See the look on our faces?  That's called "determination"....
    ...or "exhaustion."  Could be either one.
        I'm glad Keersten was there, running beside me, because at times the rough terrain made me feel like walking, but then I'd spot her out of the corner of my eye running hard and I would decide to stay with her.  Toward the end, I THOUGHT I was sprinting until Keersten shot past me.  She is one fast cookie, and cookies are fast (ever heard of the Gingerbread man?).  So I kicked it into the highest gear I have and finished the race in a dead sprint.  So I bet you'd like to know my time right. 
        As you recall, my time for the Scenic River Classic was 30:39, which is 6 minutes shorter than at the Teton Dam.  Well, I did get my time, but it seemed suspicious.  It was too fast.  I finished too fast.  Some of you might say, "What's wrong with finishing fast?"  I'll tell you.  If you finish with a time that is 10 whole minutes better than your last time, it, at first, feels great, until you think, "Did I really get 10 minutes faster?"  After talking to some other runners, Keers and I found out that the 5K we just ran, was most likely NOT a 5K, which is 3.1 miles.  It was more likely 2 and a quarter.  It's funny, but most of the runner's were visibly peeved about this.  You'd think that allowing us to run a short 5K would delight us.  But a runner wants to run the distance they signed up for, otherwise, what's the point?  So my finishing time was 21:18 which is awesome, but not accurate for a 5K, most likely.  Doing some math, we did figure out what my pace was and I came in with a 9:41 mile.  My last pace was a 9:52 mile.  So I was indeed faster.  Doing some more math, if I had run the entire 3.1 miles, I would have had a time of 29:15.  So, I guess I did beat my last time, but I'd like something a little more official than just my math skills.  Keersten pulled in one second ahead of me at 21:17.  Thank goodness she was there, because I may not have pushed myself like I did if I were running "alone."

    To the people that organized the Liberty 5K of Rexburg: 1)  Let's start the race on time next year,  2)  Allow us to pick up races packets the day before the race, not the day of and 3)  Please, please let us run the distance we signed up for next time.  We're kind of picky about that.

    To Keersten:  You're a great runner!  Let's do it again!