Decisions, Decisions.

On Tuesday, Colby and I officially found out that we did not get into the NYC marathon through the lottery.
Waaah.

This is my fourth time losing out in the lottery. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone at NYRR knows about all my Red Sox gear. I’m taking it personally.

So, we have spent the past few days (along with our BRF, Diva Cindi) trying to figure out where we are running this fall. Decisions, decisions. Here’s what we have considered. Open to suggestions, comments, recommendations. Our criteria: we would prefer not to have to fly. We don’t like the heat. Doesn’t have to be a major marathon, but we don’t want to go too small. Would like something well run and either local or a place we’d have fun visiting.

1. Chicago Marathon. October 11, 2015. Lottery opens March 10 and closes April 21. Entries announced April 28. I would love to run this race. I want to run this race someday – I just don’t know if this is the year. I have a busy fall ahead and don’t think it is the year for me to fly to a race. Colby feels the same way. I’m wavering on whether to throw my name into the lottery. Fortunately, I have time.

2. Marine Corps Marathon. October 25, 2015. Lottery opens March 13 and closes March 23. I think entries are announced shortly after the lottery closes. Both Colby and I have run this race. We LOVE this race. I cannot recommend it highly enough. We could drive to this one and tear up DC. Lots of positives. The main negative is that we have already run it. I don’t think I’m going to be someone who runs 50 marathons. Do I want to repeat one? Not sure.

3. Baystate Marathon. October 18, 2015. No lottery – you can just register. Registration opened March 1. This one is looking like a strong contender. It is fast and flat. Timing is good. It is in MA, so logistics of getting there are easy. We can head into Beantown for cocktails afterward and I can see my family. Negatives? I guess the main negative is location of the course and the size. We have only run bigger marathons in big cities. Will the support be good? Energy be what we want? I have heard really good things about this race, though, so I suspect the answer to both questions is yes. If anyone has run this, please chime in.

4. Newport Marathon. October 11, 2015. Registration is open – no lottery. Timing and location are good. Should be puuuurty. I have heard glowing reviews of the half marathon, but mixed reviews for the full. It seems like the half might be the bigger race than the full here, and race support could wane as the day goes on. Not sure I want to spend the last 5 miles arm-wrestling for the last cup of water at the stations. Hmmmm. Again – anyone run this? Please give us your thoughts.

Decisions, decisions. But it has been a good distraction from the fact that the Boston Marathon is in 46 days and I am not running enough. Yes, it is snowing and icing. Again. Yes, my kids are home from school. Again. Yes, I will be taking my workout indoors today. Again. Aaargh!  

What has been your favorite fall marathon? Thoughts on the above? Any suggestions for races we may not have thought of? Where the hell should we run this fall????

Spring Training

So…who else is training for a spring marathon?

I know you’re out there. You’re the ones with the frozen hair and eyelashes. Chapped skin. Blue Lips. White fingertips. Permanent chills. Crazy eyes from looking around to make sure no cars are careening toward you. Yup, I’d know you anywhere.

This is my first time training for a spring marathon. (Colby is an old pro.)

It ain’t easy.

And it’s not the cold. I like running in the cold. I sometimes even love running in the cold. And I’ve even made my peace with running in the polar vortex/arctic blast/whatever those fools are calling the crazy bitter freezing cold these days.

It’s the damn snow and ice. IT IS KILLING ME.

And I feel bad complaining, with most of my family and many friends up in Boston, where they have gotten 70+ inches of snow in the past month. No joke. Maybe you have seen the memes below measuring the snow in ”Gronk’ s” and “Big Papi’s.”

After the next snowstorm, Gronk may be buried completely. Or at least too buried to spike a snowball.

After the next snowstorm, Gronk may be buried completely. Or at least too buried to spike a snowball. Sorry for poor image quality – it was the best I could find. You get the gist.

This was taken after the first snowstorm, when we thought there was a lot of snow. So young and naïve! I'm pretty sure Papi would be buried now.

This was taken after the first snowstorm, when we thought there was a lot of snow. So young and naïve! I’m pretty sure Papi would be just about buried now.

At approximately 3 and 3.5 apples tall, respectively, Colby and I would be fully buried. BURIED!

People have started joking that the snow will probably still be there for the Boston Marathon. But no one is laughing.

While the snow here isn’t as bad as Boston, it is here. And we have had 2 separate ice storms in the past few weeks, which is 10 times worse than snow. How the hell do you get a long run in when the days are short, the sidewalks are buried, and the roads are icy and narrow? Ugh. Yaktrax are great for traction, but even they don’t help if there is nowhere to use them.

What’s a runner to do? Improvise and strategize, I guess. I have seen some people taking their runs indoors.

That, my friends, I just can’t do.

Or won’t do.

I hate saying can’t.

BUT, running long on the treadmill might push me over the edge into complete insanity, and I don’t want that. I’m hovering on the edge as it is.

I was supposed to run 18 tomorrow, but the forecasted combo of subzero temps, wind gusts and snow squalls made me revise my game plan. Instead, I got up and made a last-minute decision to run 18 on Wednesday, with the first 10 miles being laps on my dead-end road to avoid having to run in morning traffic. That’s 5 complete loops of my road before the traffic died down and I headed out into the big, wide world. And if I had to do all 10 loops on my road to get my 18 in, I would have. Despite the strange looks I got from neighbors.

One silver lining is that I ran the Philly marathon in November, so I never really fell out of “long run” mode. If I ever run a spring marathon again, I will be sure to sign up for a marathon the fall before so I can build a good running base before winter fully hits.

Already being used to longer distances has kept me from completely freaking out. Emphasis on “completely.” Because, rest assured, I am still kind of freaking out. Oh, yes, I am. And did I mention that more snow is on the way?

Are you training for a spring race? How are you getting your runs in (Floridians need not answer)? How deep is the snow by you (Floridians, don’t you dare answer!)???

Superbowl Musings

So, almost a week has passed since the Superbowl. Parades have been celebrated, Gronk appears to have clocked around 75 seconds of sleep, Memes have been multiplying like rabbits, endless discussion, rehashing, Monday/ Tuesday/ Wednesday/ Thursday/ Friday morning quarterbacking, has ensued.

And oh, yeah, my beloved Pats won. In a spectacularly Disney-like way, with an incredible pick in the endzone by an undrafted free agent and former Popeye’s employee. #truestory

I love football. I come from a big football-watching family. But let’s be honest. Isn’t football just a backdrop for the commercials and halftime show at the Superbowl? Let’s chat about the real important stuff, shall we?

Nationwide: Oh, Nationwide. What made you think that I wanted to watch dead children during the Superbowl? One minute, I’m happily sitting with a Shock Top in my left hand and Tortilla chips in my right. A mere 60 seconds later, I’m on the floor consoling my shell-shocked children and explaining to them all the precautions we have taken in our home to prevent those childhood accidents that could kill them. WTF? If I wanted to watch dead children talk on TV, I would put on “The Sixth Sense,” not the freaking Superbowl. And I’d make my kids leave the room. Way to kill the Superbowl buzz, Nationwide.

NationwideMeme

Although I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed all the parodies that followed. Almost made the therapy my kids now need worth it. Almost.

Budweiser: I don’t care that they manipulate my heartstrings ever year with something that is written for the sole purpose of making me cry or go, “Awwwwww.” I fall for it every time and actually look forward to it. Put those puppies and Clydesdales together in front of a frigging green screen and I’ll just cry at this point. It’s all good.

Shamelessly playing with my emotions. And I loved every second of it.

Shamelessly playing with my emotions. And I loved every second of it.

Toyota Camry: Didn’t really get the connection to the Camry, but loved watching Amy Purdy – World Class Paralympic Athlete – kick ass at, well, life, and I’m always happy to listen to Muhammad Ali do his thing, so I liked it. It would have been a perfect Warren Miller-like mini-movie if they just removed all the parts that had the Camry in it.

Awesome.

Awesome.

Always: Colby and I have always been fans of this commercial. Love that it was shown during the Superbowl. Love all the discussion it has prompted. And love that a Superbowl ad for feminine products was the one that probably received the most positive attention this year. My, have times changed since Superbowl I.

Special shout out to my 11-year old daughter, N, whose Instagram tagline reads “Playing Like a Girl Doesn’t Mean What it Used to.” Sometimes spying on your kids’ social media activity brings pleasant surprises. That’s our girl, Colby!!

Halftime Show: I am not a big Katy Perry fan, but she did put on a Really Big Show. Missy Elliott rocked (of course). But we all know the real star of the halftime show: The Left Shark. I love the Left Shark. I want to be The Left Shark when I grow up: Unafraid to do my thing, even if it is the wrong thing and in front of millions of people. Brave enough to express my own individuality even when trapped in a matching shark costume and with choreographed steps. A lot can be learned from The Left Shark. Left Shark embodies “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.” Even if they are! Millions and millions of them!

If they ever publish The Tao of The Left Shark – and they should – I will be the first in line to buy it.

Did you watch the Superbowl? What was your favorite ad? What did you think of the halftime show? Do you love The Left Shark as much as I do??

Who Do You Run 4?

Run4

I run for myself, of course. But I also run 4 Belle – an adorable 8 year old with Down’s Syndrome, who likes all things Disney, The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and cheerleading.

Last year, Colby and I both signed up to be matched through “I Run 4” with someone who is unable to run. Each Runner is matched with a Buddy. We run for them. We dedicate our training runs to them, posting updates to a closed group on Facebook a few times each week, to let them know we are thinking of them and running for them. We run our races for them, marking ourselves with tattoos or marker indicating that we “Run 4” them. Many races will provide us with extra medals to give to them, and we also send other race swag, since it is their race, too.

I Run 4 was started 2 years ago by Timothy Boyle. Timothy had taken up running and was inspired by the “I Run…” meme above. He shared the meme one day and a friend named Michael with Down’s Syndrome replied with, “You can run for me!”

And thus “I Run 4,” which now has 30,000 members in 28 countries, was born.

Reading through the posts on the page can be heartbreaking some days. There are so many people with real challenges. You are often reminded of the saying “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” But it is uplifting, too. The utter strength of people affected by special challenges is inspiring. The progress that buddies make in their recoveries and in their development is wonderful to watch. And all who read the pages are made aware that people can suffer very difficult conditions and yet have wonderful lives.

When you see someone with special needs from afar, sometimes your first emotion is pity. But when you connect with someone who has special needs, the pity disappears. It is replaced with awe, respect, understanding and acceptance. You feel compassion. Empathy. Not pity. People with special needs might be traveling different paths, but their lives are just as rich, their accomplishments just as joyful, as anyone else’s. If not more so.

The connections between runner and buddy are heartwarming and inspiring. I love the look on the buddies’ faces as they wear their medals. The support that members with similar issues can provide to each other is truly awesome. And the connections that people forge around the world: just incredible.

There is still a lot of good in this world and much of it can be seen on the I Run 4 page.

One recent post will not leave my mind. A runner had promised her buddy that she would run one mile per day for him in January. She posted that one night, she got into bed before realizing that she had not run her mile. Her first though was to just add the mile to her run the following day. But then she thought: No. He has to live with his own challenges every day. No days off. No opportunity to leave it for a day. So she got out of bed, threw on some running clothes and a headlamp and ran her mile.

Colby and I both have nephews with special needs and are familiar with the daily challenges that they and their parents face. We both know that even if they never wear a timing chip, they conquer marathons every day. And that makes them the real champions in our book.

If you are interested in running 4 someone, visit I Run 4 Michael.

Crazy Train

 BAASymbol

A week ago, I mentioned that I hadn’t settled on a training plan for the Boston Marathon yet. Well, now I have. Drumroll, please:

I’m not using one.

Whoever is with Colby as she reads this better get her smelling salts and a cocktail – STAT – because I’m pretty sure she just fainted.

I am as By The Book as they come. You give me a plan and I will follow it to a T, and no, I never round up. As if you had to ask.

Which is why I’m ditching the idea of a formal training plan altogether.

For my first marathon – the Marine Corps Marathon – I followed Marathon Rookie’s Beginner Marathon Training Plan religiously. My first marathon training came at a brief period in my life when I kinda had too much time on my hands. All 3 kids had started full school days and work was slow. I liked having something (Beginner Marathon Training Plan) to obsess over and provide a schedule for my days and weeks.

By the time training for last year’s Philly Marathon rolled around, I was in a much different place. I had started working more and my kids had become really busy with their own sports. Between my job as a lawyer and my job as head chauffeur (not to mention COO) of The Family, I did not have time to find a new training plan to obsess over. Instead, I dusted off Beginner Marathon Training Plan, added a few miles to each of the long runs because I was already runner longer than the schedule provided, and ran with it {see what I did there!}. I was a little nervous that I wasn’t stepping up my game enough – I still stuck to the plan’s weekday runs, which were pretty short for where I was – but, alas, that was all my schedule permitted.

And in the end, it didn’t matter. I had a massive allergic reaction the afternoon before the race, made a game time decision to race anyway, and finished. It wasn’t pretty, but my issues were not due to lack of training, and I finished at just under 4:02 despite the lingering effects of Benadryl, recovering from a brush with anaphylaxis and 4 separate porta-potty stops during the last half. I dare say my training served me pretty well.

On Saturday night, we went to a birthday party for our dear friend Diva Cindi  and one of Diva Cindi’s friends asked me about training plans. She had read my post about taking 3 unscheduled days off and took note of the fact that I mentioned that I am a schedule freak. She had also met me once before, so probably already knew that. Diva Cindi’s Friend asked what plan I was thinking of for Boston, since she is considering running her first marathon this year. I told her that I would recommend the beginner plan at Marathon Rookie for her, but that I was not yet decided on what I would use for myself. And it got me thinking….

And I realized I don’t want a plan. I’m busy. I have a lot of schedules to manage. I have too many “plans” as it is. I doubt I would be able to stick to a plan religiously and that would make me nuts. I guess I’m too much of a planner to use a plan if I can’t use it perfectly. Does that make sense in a weird & twisted way?

Plus, I’m crazy-excited for Boston. I don’t want to set myself up for stress and feelings of failure as I train for it. So, for probably the first time in 45 years, I’m gonna wing it. (YES,COLBY! YOU READ THAT RIGHT!) I will keep holy The Long Run and I will run and rest as needed during the week. But I want the next few months to be more about my love of distance running and excitement for the race than a slavish adherence to a plan.

We’ll see how it goes. Come April 20, I could finish strong or collapse upon myself like a dying star. Whatever happens in the race itself, though, I’m pretty sure that the months leading up to Boston will be a lot more fun for me now that I have made my plan to ditch the plan.

Note – just remembered the one other time I have “winged it” – I moved to NYC after college with an awesome roommate, a reasonably priced apartment, but no job. One of the best decisions I ever made. 😉 So this is the second time I have winged it. I’m practically a hippie.

Are you “by the book” or “by the seat of your pants?” Love a Plan or hate a plan? Ever trained for a marathon without a formal plan (feel free to tell me you did and came in first)?

What’s Your Number?

winter running

So many of us are stuck in a deep freeze right now…

…except for Darling Colby, who has been in Sunny Florida for the past week! If I didn’t love her so much, I would hate her…

They’re calling this cold snap the “Arctic Blast.” I guess “Polar Vortex” is sooooo 2014, so someone came up with a new catchphrase. Whatever. “They” are calling it the Arctic Blast and “they” sure are talking about it a lot. Cold temps, wind chill, deep freeze, snow squalls…yeah, yeah, I get it. It’s cold. Once it’s cold, I don’t really want to hear or talk about the minutiae of the different ways in which it is cold, but it is hard to avoid the chatter.

The Arctic Blast got me thinking about my temperature limits for running outside. Figuring out what the magic number is that will force me inside on the ‘mill. Because I really, really, hate the ‘mill.

Before last year’s Peak Snowshoe challenge, I might have said 10. But after having snowshoed up a mountain in weather that was in low single digits at the base and lived to tell, I’m a little more flexible now. Today I ran 4 miles in low teens and was HOT. Sweating, even. It was sunny and despite all the talk about wind chills lately, I barely felt a breeze. I was not bundled up like a character in “A Christmas Story,” either: I wore running tights with thermals under them, wool socks, a turtleneck baselayer, my Bundle Me running jacket and hat and gloves. The only part of me that wasn’t warm was my nose, and it was not painfully cold. Just not warm. I think the sun made all the difference. I also find that any run is more comfortable if I don’t listen to the weather report first. Honestly, all the drama and talk are more annoying than the cold itself.

So, I’m going to go out on a ledge and say that my limit for a short- or –mid length run is zero, assuming no snow or crazy wind. I could definitely add layers to what I was wearing today and make it through some lower temps. And I would definitely prefer that to the treadmill.

It’s the other end of the temperature spectrum that kills me. Heat and humidity. Ugh. I’ll take a day like today over an August dog day anytime, anywhere. I think my heat limit for running is 80-85 degrees and you can be sure that I will bitch the whole way. And feel like crap afterward. In New England, if it is over 70, it is bound to be humid, so the heat & humidity are a package deal and any 80 degree run is going to feel like a jaunt through the rainforest. I’m uncomfortable just thinking about it. I have heard about this magical thing called dry heat, but it rarely visits Connecticut. Sigh. The cold can be uncomfortable, but to me, heat, and especially, humidity are downright intolerable. I see people running in the middle of the day during the summer and am just amazed. How do they do it without passing out?

Are you a hot weather runner or a cold weather runner? Do you have limits for when you will exercise outside? What’s your number?

And the World Didn’t End

A funny thing happened this past weekend. I didn’t run for three days straight. Even though I could have. And the world didn’t end.

I’m in week 2 of training for the Boston Marathon, and while I was not feeling well, I didn’t have a fever, or strep, or bronchitis, or an injury, or anything else serious enough to make running impossible.

I was tired, had a scratchy throat and felt achy. And went with it and hung up my shoes for three days. During marathon training. Even though I definitely could have pushed myself for at least a short run each day.

And the world didn’t end. The sun continued to rise in the east, the world kept spinning and I saw no signs of locusts.

On Friday, I sat on the couch next to my dad for over 3 hours watching bad TV and making fun of it together, and capped it off with an evening of more TV (this time, sports), wine and pizza.

On Saturday, I did a 20 minute yoga video with my youngest, which, had we YouTube’d it, would have gone viral. He is probably the only person in the world who is less flexible than I am. It was quite a sight and no, it did not qualify as a workout. My oldest, who is actually good at yoga, couldn’t even bear to watch. I spent the rest of the day driving through crappy winter weather to get back to CT. Running was so far from my mind, I almost forgot to pack my running shoes before heading home.

On Sunday, I took down Christmas decorations and napped like a newborn. The closest I came to running was when I bought a new pair of running shoes, which I tried on and promptly put back in the box. Even though it was 50 degrees outside and I saw people running outside in shorts, I took a second nap instead of lacing up and heading out.

And the world didn’t end. Heck, it didn’t even slow down.

This morning, I woke up, felt more like myself and went out for a great 12 mile run. I was rested and felt good. I had not forgotten how to run. My muscles still worked. I had not magically fallen out of shape.

It was good to be back.

It was also good to take a break.

Everything written on marathon training makes it pretty clear that much success in training and racing comes from getting out there and running even – maybe especially – when you don’t want to. I completely agree.

But I also think that much success in life comes from listening to yourself when you really just don’t feel up for something. Even –maybe especially – during marathon training.

If I fall apart during the Boston Marathon, I highly doubt it will be because I took 3 days off in January. And if it does, well, then, I guess I can serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of you.  You can thank me then.

Either way, though, I can say one thing with certainty – I took 3 days off from running. And the world didn’t end.

12 Months of Racing

On this, the 5th day of Christmas, a 2014 recap of sorts. Go ahead: sing out loud. You know you want to.

The Happy Finishers!

xo Colby and Tina

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
A lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
2 marathons
And a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
And a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
And a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
Obstacles at Fenway
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
A single-digit snowshoe race (brrr!)
Obstacles at Fenway
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
And a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
Races in 4 states,
A single-digit snowshoe race (brrr!)
Obstacles at Fenway
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
Yes, a lot of stuff between us two

In the year 2014, Colby and I did do:
Raise $15K for the PMC
Races in 4 states,
A single-digit snowshoe race (brrr!)
Obstacles at Fenway
A new 5K PR (Tina)
A freaking trail Ultra (Colby)
12 miles in Central Park
103 blog posts (so far)
4 centuries for cancer
3 hilly half’s
2 marathons
PHEW! That’s a lot of stuff between us two!!

CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT 2015 BRINGS!!

Everything I Needed to Know About Getting Through Tough Times I Learned Through Running

changeyourlife

Dearly Beloved, We are gathered here today to get through this thing called Life. Electric word, Life – it means forever, and that’s a mighty long time….

Bonus points for whoever guesses the crazy 80’s song that kicks off with these lyrics!

Colby and I have hit some rough spots lately – health issues, family health issues and loved ones who are simply hurting. One thing we have in common is that we both are people that others turn to in times of crisis. People know we can deal. We can comfort. We won’t lose our sh*t. And we’ll never turn away from someone in time of need. We both love this about ourselves (if we do say so {pats back}).

Not surprisingly, I think that some of this ability to keep it together –no matter what– has been developed, or at least strengthened, through running. Talk about bang for your buck in an exercise session.

I honestly believe that if someone takes up running and it doesn’t change them in some important way on the inside, they’re not doing it right.

Here are some of the things that running has taught me about getting through the tougher parts of this crazy thing called life:

1. Just because it hurts doesn’t mean you stop. Of course it’s going to hurt sometimes. Any time you put yourself out there, you risk getting hurt. This doesn’t mean that you just stop running. Or stop living. Or stay in bed and avoid people. Acknowledge the pain, respect the pain, but keep moving. Unless you truly can’t. Because…

2. Sometimes being hurt actually does mean you stop. Know yourself. Know when a strain has become a tear. Or a break. Develop confidence from pushing through pain and difficult times when you are able, so that you will know when the pain is too much and you just need to STOP. And rest. And heal. And regroup so you can move on when you are ready.

3. There will always be bumps in the road. Count on it. Try to avoid them. When you can’t, face them head on with your eyes wide open and tackle them as best you can. (Can’t help but mention that anytime there is a literal bump in the road, Colby and I seem to trip over it and fall flat on our faces. We do much better with the figurative ones, thankfully.)

4. Pain is temporary, Glory is forever. Of course you will end up broken down and in pain at some point. But the pain itself will probably be temporary, and how you handle the situation will affect how you feel about yourself forever. It is almost always easier to stop. Give up. Give in to the pain. Avoid the person or situation that is the source of the pain. But if you give up, how will you feel about it later? Most people seem proudest not of their PR races, but of the difficult races that they refused to quit. The races where they showed strength, courage and grace. Years later, you will no longer feel the pain so deeply, but you will still feel the pride of knowing you didn’t give in and didn’t give up.

5. You’re never truly alone. There is always someone else who has gone through whatever it is that hurts you. Someone who can relate. Someone who cares. Someone who can help you. And sometimes it is a random bystander who touches you in some way and helps you to keep moving…so be open to every source of support.

6. But in the end, it’s all up to you. You might not be alone, but you are definitely the only one living your life. Just like you are the only one running your race. So in the end, all the support in the world cannot carry you through difficult patches. The buck stops with you, and you have to be able to reach inside of yourself for strength, too. Make sure it is there.

7. Keep your eyes on the prize. The prize will vary based on what you are facing. If you are having a great race, the prize might be a PR. But if you are tired, injured, hot, cold, sick, the goal might be just to cross the finish line. And that in itself is always a worthy goal. Keep your focus and go for that goal – and that goal only. When life throws you a curveball, the prize should be getting through it in the best way possible, not getting through it perfectly while going for your black belt in karate and running for PTA President and renovating your house and training for a marathon. So when you are handed a curveball, it’s time for a little triage.  STOP. Breathe. Assess. Reflect. Prioritize. Then focus on your goal and let the rest fall away. There will be other races. And there will be other times to pursue different goals.

8. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. We have all had the race that started one way and ended quite differently. Don’t write off an experience, a challenge, a person, until it is truly over. If you are not at the finish line yet, there is always hope that things will improve. Circumstances can change in ways you never could have imagined. It’s just part of the wonderful, challenging, magical mystery of life (and racing).

9. It’s a Marathon. And a Sprint. Sure is. Some parts of life fly by at lightning speed and your challenge is to control your pace in order to slow down enough to enjoy them. Others are difficult, seem to drag on forever and you need to draw on your endurance to get through them. If you can’t handle both? Well, then, I’d say it’s time to revisit your training.

What have you learned through running? How has it changed you as a person?