About Me

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What started as a little experiment in blogging has evolved into my renewed love for writing the raw, gritty truth. Running has always had so many parallels to life's ups and downs. As a new cancer survivor/fighter, running and writing has continued to be there for me in my quest to always move forward, always try to be better than yesterday. Find me: http://www.curetoday.com/community/kate or on facebook: running, cancer, and everything in between or on twitter: runliftbreathe

Monday, July 29, 2013


They say you should do something that makes you feel uncomfortable every day. Do something that makes you nervous. Get outside your comfort zone.

What if doing that meant committing a year of your life? Getting up at 5:00 am. Saying no to that second drink...okay, sometimes more like third drink. Being so tired you crawl into bed right after you put your children to bed. Would you still do it?

It's not the commitment to running for me. I already have a marriage to it. But something about clicking that registration button when I sign up for a race. That's it. It's in stone. I have to train, at least attempt to...get in my hills, intervals, pace practice...long runs...no more flying or rather running by the seat of my pants. I'm committed. I have to show up and cowboy up. It makes me want to throw up.

Every click, every race...the distance doesn't matter...when I line up at the start just before the gun goes off, I feel like I'm going to lose my stomach.  Then, at some point during the race, when my glycogen stores start to empty, I think "Why do I do this, this is so uncomfortable? I hate this. Now I know I might vomit or my legs are going to snap. Volleyball never felt this bad, I should go back to it & screw this."

And then, I see the light..which differs depending on the race/distance/and how I"m feeling that day...but when I somehow pull it together to toughen up, pick it up, & forge through the pain, knowing it's about to end... I make it through and it does end....the pain...the uncomfortable pain ends, and I don't throw up or have my body snap in two. I am left with that kick ass feeling of accomplishing what felt like the impossible...I am filled with something that I cannot even describe with words...but those of you that race, you know what I'm talking about. And so, the love affair continues because soon, I will be baited for the next uncomfortable moment....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Running Buddies

Everybody needs to have some running friends....at least one or more people who will hold you accountable, encourage you, and challenge you to become a better runner.  This has been my savior over the harsh New England winter we just had & more recently, this brutal heat wave we are in the middle of.

I wasn't always an early morning runner...until I started running with a group of women in my neighborhood who get up consistently for runs at 5:30 & 6 am depending on the day because of people's work schedules. This amazing group of women had been doing this for years, & when one of them I was acquainted with invited me to join along, I was thrilled & secretly flattered. I knew these women were pretty fast and competed in everything from Reach the Beach to Pinelands Ultra marathon. Though I was a little nervous and didn't know if I was someone who would enjoy running with a group...I was hooked right from the start.

Since I started running with these women, I've challenged myself in more ways than I thought were possible...physically and mentally. I've ran in 8 degree weather which here with the Seacoast winter winds translates to face-numbing, lung-burning cold. Three of them have showed up on my doorstep during torrential rains. They've also forced me to get uncomfortable with races I swore I would never do...Reach the Beach (the whole running and not sleeping to me before seemed ludicrous, it's probably one of my favorite now)...and more recently, my first full marathon (I always had considered myself more suited for the shorter distances because of my build) but they've been right there with me, every step of the way.

Which brings me to yesterday's brutal 16 mile run on heavy tight legs. In anticipation for this run (which I assumed I would be on my own since it was a week day instead of a Saturday or Sunday)...four of my gals showed up at 5:30am ready to help me with the first half of my run. One of them stuck with me for the whole thing...(she's one of the Ultra gals in every sense of the word). On top of that, one of my friend's who was not going to be able to make it, loaned me her Garmin (I haven't bothered with one but have been considering breaking down & making the investment). She used the excuse that she didn't know how to use it & that I could figure it out & teach her. I know she really just wanted to support me in any way she could.

Without my running buddies, I easily could have forfeited this run. Having a support system is so important in running because let's face it, as physically challenging as running training is, I think more times than not, it comes down to the mental toughness...it's so easy to just bag it when you're feeling horrible or to find an excuse to do it later or another day when it's not 90 degrees and 100% humidity, but when you have friends that are dropping off their gear, showing up at your doorstep, and then, checking in with you later to see how the rest of the run went...you don't want to let them down. Without even knowing it, you are slowly building up some of your mental toughness...after all, if they believe in you, maybe you should believe in you.

Ultimately, with running friends like these, I can continue to build my physical strength and mental toughness for my upcoming marathon. And quite honestly, there comes that point when running training and life overlap with the high peaks and low lows...having someone waiting at your door to support you gives you the kind of confidence and strength that readies you for any physical or mental challenge that comes your way. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tips for your family during marathon training

1. Sleep:  It is critical for the spouse/significant other & children to get a good night's sleep because let's face it, if they are up sick, bedwetting, or just tossing and turning, we are going to pay for it. Nothing worse than an early morning run on little to no sleep because we are going to get up to do the run no matter what, & you don't want to see angry marathon mom after a long run with little rest. So please keep the sleepytime shitshows to a minimum.

2. Eat your own snacks:  Listen, we don't touch the Pirate Booty or the Coors light..especially in training  ...so do not go through the stash of Honey Stingers like it's Trick or Treat.Yes, they do taste good, but they are purely functional & too expensive for you to be tossing them back like gummy bears by the bag load. And by the way, the Nuun tablets are not some new flavored water product for you & the kids. Leave them be.

3. Pep talks: We know you are so sick of us talking about it...the runs, the fuel, the tightness, the wall (that would be the point during the 26.2 miles when we run out of glycogen stores, part of the training is to try to outsmart the wall)  there's so much to do to prepare the body for this race...like practicing how to fuel (refer to #2). But sometimes, as the highs & lows of training hit us, we do feel like we are screwed. When we say we had the worst run ever, & how in the heck am we going to make it through...take that as your cue to say "Honey, you have put together a plan, you are doing a great job, you will nail it."  And repeat....

4. All fun ends by 10:00 PM: Sounds prudish & rather lame...but trust me, this is for the best for all. We're happy to engage in a little cocktail hour & entertain friends & family, just make it early. You will be thankful we crawled into bed by 10 & were snoring by 10:10. Marathon training does not even come close to any other training we've done in the past. It is exhausting, & it is a huge commitment...when we're not doing it, we're thinking about it...constantly...so the exhaustion is as equally emotional as it it physical. Send us to bed & don't take it personally...& don't wake us up.

5. At the end, on race day, pat yourself on the back: We know what a sacrifice/strain this can be to the family... all those long runs throughout the training which means you are on kid duty...the early mornings which equates to a tired mom, tired wife, & tired maid...having to listen to us talk endlessly about whether Runguard is as good as Body Glide, how many chews are enough per 45 minutes, & my personal favorite, hearing us stumble down the stairs at 5am because we are so tight first thing in the morning we can really only make it down sideways or we kind of walk-fall down the stairs....but we remember, we are doing this for our family as much as we are doing it for ourselves... trying to set an example for our children, our family. It is almost as much your marathon as it is ours...so when we get to that finish line, it's every bit our finish as it is yours. After you tell us we nailed it, pat yourself on the back...you nailed it too:)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Long Run

1. The Pace: You are suppose to go at an easier (this translates to slower) pace than your speed and tempo workouts & especially your anticipated/race pace...this can be a slow, painful death depending on where you are in your training program. Ever see a turtle cross the road versus a squirrel? Both are screwed but at least the squirrel, in it's frantic race back & forth, goes out with a bang...

2. The Fuel: Anytime you are training for a longer race, think half marathon or marathon or more, you need to spend some time trying out different types of fuel to see what you like & what will not give you intestinal spasms...this can be an unnerving task...being out there & giving a new product a go...just might translate to having to go. You've got to do it, unless you have found the tried & true product that works for you...it's like Vegas, you win big or lose big, better now, than race day.

3. The Clothing: You should be dressing like it's 15-20 degrees warmer than it actually is. Your body will warm up & quickly. And word to the wise, the long run is not the time to try out some new shorts...if you question their wedgey-factor walking around, it's only going to get worse, especially when the long run chub rub kicks in.

4. Hydration Belts: Kind of geeky, yes...probably necessary though unless you have many willing friends & family willing to leave a water stop out for you along your route.

5. The Route: Speaking of...have an idea approximately what route you're going to run, but the ability to be flexible also...it doesn't have to be one long route totaling the mileage necessary..think outside the box, why not try running say a shorter loop of 8+ miles, and then, hit the trails to add on some minutes/miles to change it up, & then, reroute back out onto the pavement for the end of the run. This will keep it interesting, and allow for a possible bathroom break (remember, you will get over doing your business in the woods).

6. Your Business: Remember what I told you about distance running, don't know what it is about longer runs, but you will find youself trying to schedule your business breaks around your training & hopefully, getting those meetings in when you're not out on the road. But if you are, remember, you won't be the 1st nor the last to duck behind a patch of trees in desparation.

7. Post Run Fuel: Yes, you should try to eat & hydrate after your long run. Something with some carbs & sugars to replace those glycogen tanks is great, especially within 30 minutes after your run. This does not give you a free pass to the all I can eat & drink diet. I like a mix of unsweetened coconut milk with good old fashioned chocolate milk from a local farm. I follow this with a real meal/bigger snack maybe 1-2 hrs after...something that includes more protein is great. Meatball pizza would not count!

8. Blinders: Keep your blinders on. Try not to notice yourself in any window/car reflections. I don't know too many runners that look cute in the middle to end of their long run. And ignore all the young 20something year olds in their little hot shorts doing their bouncy 3 miles. Some day they will be on your side of the road chasing freedom too so no need to compare yourself.

9. Compression: Once you're done, give youself some time to finish sweating while getting a good stretch in & foam roll if you have one. While you probably won't do this too much on the hot summer days, some compression socks after your run is a good idea. It will keep the swelling down & just help those fatigued muscles recover. These will help especially if you've had several babies &/or genetics for varicose veins...unfortunately, running does not help those veins, but you'll get over it & it gives you a good excuse to walk around in fun patterned knee socks...veins & swelling not cute, school-girl like compression knee socks...adorable & functional!

10. Results: Remember to keep a log/journal of how you felt during your training. Looking through it while you are training will help prepare you for other upcoming long runs. Ie: note to self, X fuel sent me running into the woods sick to my stomach...or x clothing felt light & comfortable, should get more. And if your long run that day was more of a foe than a friend, there's always next time.
Unfortunately or fortunately, long runs can be friends and foes so try to be patient, trust your training, & enjoy the ride.

Dark & Twisty

I did two things I haven’t done in a long time. I ran by myself all week, & on one run, I ran WITH music. This week was the 1st week of my marathon training & so far, it was uneventful…no trumpets playing, the usual aches & pains, but overall, I felt good physically. Emotionally…well, that’s another story.

Was it what I lovingly refer to as the shitshow (three beautiful girls, ages 4-9) & the culmination of their roller coaster ride with the end of school that had me feeling down/off…& maybe just a little blue? Or was it the doubts in my own head regarding my own insecurities running & not running? As wordy as I can be, I am not good with my words. When I’m feeling out of sorts, I would rather run it off than talk about it, throw some iron around, or just do anything physical. So why wasn’t my running and training making me feel better?

So this week, I did the unthinkable, got my ass out of bed by myself 5x throughout the week all early morning to run/weight train. The past 3 years, I’ve done nothing but run and weight train with other people…whether it be the gals I get up early to run with, the training groups I coach, or just group weight training. I had forgot what it felt like to have no one but myself to hold myself accountable….& actually, I think I needed to do it so that I could see where I was in my running training right now. No comparing myself to anyone…just seeing what I had in me, out on my own.

The thing is, we all go through our insecurities out on the road…depending on whom you run with or train with. For some reason, our natural tendencies is to compare ourselves to what our friends/group/etc are doing, how they’re doing it, & if we’re keeping up. I had gotten into my own slump, comparing myself to my light, skinny, more experienced runner friends…dark & twisty thoughts like:  god, am I keeping up, why does this feel so hard for me today & they’re just gliding along effortlessly…I don’t feel like going this pace, I’m tired,  I feel like the Clydesdale amongst gazelles . Or  maybe I’m just less athletic/less fit & conditioned…maybe I should just hang this s*** up & go back to playing volleyball (as if my Achilles could handle that & like I have that kind of time, not too many leagues playing at 5am)…& I even hit bottom with thinking, maybe I’m just not a REAL runner.

I finished my last run for the week this am & did the other unthinkable for me…I ran with music. It was actually nice for a change. It got me out the door half asleep, & I felt warmed up mentally to tackle my pace run for the morning. With no one to set the pace but myself, I hit it & probably pushed it a little too hard but it felt good. With Pink’s greatest hits blaring in my ears, I found that this morning it was just what I needed to drown out the voices in my head that had me doubting my capabilities. Surprisingly, too….Pink being a little dark & twisty herself, had me tackling some of those feelings that have been chasing me these past few weeks. By the end of the run, I felt good again…back on track.

The thing is, I think we should all enjoy the company of running with a group; it is rewarding, fun & it can get your butt out the door, plus with the right group, it can be a place to vent & share the tougher moments in life.  I also still think it’s important to learn how to be “unplugged” when we run, otherwise, we might miss all those friendly hellos from fellow runners, not see the deer bounding away next to us out on the trails, or not hear the waves crash behind us when we stop on the beach mid-run for a Stinger/Gu break. But, there is a place in your training for those solo runs just as there is a place for some runs with music. You have to do what works for you, especially when you’re feeling dark & twisty…set your own pace, know what your strengths/weaknesses are, & remember, music or no music, solo or with a group, if you lace up, you are a REAL runner.

Born to Run

We are not born to run. I’m serious…the majority of us out there are NOT born to run. And yes, I have read the book & while it can capture you initially with all its’ kumbaya & peace, love & run free…I’m not buying it…& I’m the gal who’s motto is eat, pray, & run. I love to run and if you don’t know that by now, then, obviously I need to work on my communication skills. But in all seriousness, the majority of us do not have the body/build/genetics to run daily…& when I say daily, I mean some mileage, mixed in with some speed, every day without cross-training, weight training, and all the other things most of us need to do to be able to run and stay injury free.
Most of us have bodies that will break down, eventually. We are not made to run daily. Whether we have tight, rigid  muscles that make us more prone to injuries…or bigger builds, that translate to more weight of impact coming down, or a history that puts us more prone to overuse injuries. Now you can try to blame the shoe industry if you’re drinking the Kool-aid that book suggests…but really? Sure, I wish it were that easy… my shoes are to blame for my tight calves, tight Achilles, 5’10 & 155 lbs on an average week pounding on my poor over used feet…throw in some overtraining during my college years, oh, & being a collegiate volleyball player who had high expectations (at least in theory when you’re on scholarship)…plus some training fundamentals that revolved around  the theory “more is always better”…yep, it probably has to do with those shoes. I should ditch them, go barefoot, Vibram, or  minimalist shoes & all my problems will be solved. I was born to run, after all…that’s all I need to solve all my injuries, aches, & pains…
So listen, “Jesus” does exist in my town & he doesn’t run, he glides…& he is fast, really fast. He doesn’t need stability shoes, but he does wear running sneakers. I happen to know for a fact “Jesus” doesn’t  wear Vibrams, & he does on occasion, foam roll like the rest of us mere mortals. He was born to run. He has that build that you envision someone who can effortlessly glide at a 5:20 per mile pace would look like. He may be one of the few people I know that just may be born to run…but he still uses that foam roller. So the moral of the story, stop drinking the Kool-aid, get some good running shoes, x-train & foam roll & give “Jesus” a thumbs up when you see him…he will be the one gliding in his running sneakers.

Why Run?

I figure quite honestly if you think about it, there are only really two reasons why we run. We are either running away from something or chasing something down.  Any given day it could be either but for the most part, whatever your reason, it comes down to one of those two things.
I already told you how I became a distance runner…two babies, one year a part…then, throw a 3rd child into the mix and you can imagine, that yes, my love affair continued. Some days I was probably running away from my life…not that I don’t absolutely adore my three children & my husband, but let’s face it…being a stay-at-home mom in the throes of baby/toddler/preschool  stages, your daily goals become quite simplified. Yes! Today I managed to get all three dressed, fed, & I remembered to brush my teeth! Bonus, I even got a load of laundry in (the fact that it took me 2 days to get it dried & put away is irrelevant).  And, no, I have not in fact showered yet & am still in my sweaty running clothes.
Running was an escape from the fear that I would never be more than a professional butt wiper, snot extractor & sorter of little tiny socks that always seem to disappear & end up as singles.  That fear took my running to a new level…what if I never became anything more than that? And so out on the road, I would let it all go & escape that fear that I would never actually accomplish even keeping the house clean, getting the laundry put away & keep three people alive with only minimal scarring. I could fly & run fast…challenge myself & see how tough I really was…after all, I actually got 7 hours of sleep with only three interruptions during the night.
And then, there is running to chase something down. With time, and as my children have grown to be mildy more independent…I have more runs now where I am chasing the dream.  Sometimes it is when I am in training for a specific race wanting to hit a specific time…others times it can be pure vanity…nothing like a good run to define my hard-earned muscles prior to hitting the beach.  Chasing the dream is a beautiful thing. You feel alive…you feel like you are running for all the right reasons…trying to attain a goal for yourself…whether it be for your cardiovascular health, for those sculpted muscles…or sometimes, the best times…when you aren’t escaping anything or training for anything but you just are running towards that feeling that you get after you come back from a good run…that feeling of being alive, cleansed & ready to conquer anything…knowing if you don’t,  there’s always another day and another run awaiting you.

Reach the Beach

Imagine a group of slightly wild and a little off kilter... physically fit & athletically attractive in every body build possible...running 200 miles in 24 hours...imagine 2 vans for each team...pit stops to cheer on your runner...camp sites for when your van is off...lots of cheering props & possibly the occasional other beverage of choice...oh, and no sleep other than pulling your sleeping bag up to a tree for a nap.
This is Woodstock for athletes in a running format. And without all the illegal drugs & actual sex. Thank god, the 1st & possibly last time I participated on a Reach the Beach team I was an overtired, 37 year old married mother of 3 on a kick-ass fast team of other women trying to compete for a 1st place team for our local running specialty store. I remember thinking, wow, kind of like being in a candy store for the physically fit. You can't help but gawk behind your Natives at the physiques out there.
My first encounter with another van was when we, a group of 6 attractive & obnoxiously fit women, pulled into a pit stop to wait for our runner...it was like a frat party...10 other testosterone-driven manly men throwing a football around waiting for their runners to come by. "Coming in hot"...was their response to our van as we pulled up.
Maybe a little cheesy and inappropriate, but for some reason, it was kind of funny...kind of complimentary and appropriate for the event. Running races seem to be so quiet and serious, conservative....and solo. You're out there pushing yourself with some spectators here and there, maybe clapping, maybe some cheering...but for the most part, it's you racing the course. Here, everyone's pulling for each other to make it through the absurdity of the event, all the while, checking each other out appreciatively.
This event turns running into a team sport. The comraderie amongst not only your van-mates & team but with the other 500 teams out there...it's unlike anything else you will ever experience. It's a perfect mix of challenge, wild fun, & pure joy. Between the cheering & random conversations, to the passing around of Nuun tablets & extra water...it's really unlike anything else.
If this race had been around when I was in my 20's, it would have been kind of like a spring break but healthier on so many levels. Instead of waiting in line to do shots from a box, you're waiting in line for a crappy cup of coffee at 2am at a transition area. Cheering your friend on in a bikini contest versus cheering your friend on during her 9 mile descend in Franconia Notch...Going out for greasy pancakes at noon the next day to rehash all the nights events....going out for any meal at a place that has working plumbing to rehash the past 24 hours & wait out the results.
Like spring break, I never thought I would live through it & survive to tell all the hilarious encounters, close calls & crazy stories from those 24 hours. But unlike spring break, I would do it all over again...just to relive that feeling that this event embraces unlike any other...so if you are looking for that challenge...because make no mistake, this race is not for the weak, but you also want a wild adventure, this is the one to do....

Virgin Territory

Why is it that the 1st time we attempt to do something new and out of our comfort zone, we put huge expectations on it...as if it will completely alter our lives? And even worse, that somehow, we're going to be excellent at it and achieve better than mediocore goals?

This is what I do when I make first attempts at anything that involves strength, athleticism, & sports....I don't give a s*** about competing with anyone, but man, do I compete with myself...way too competitive, way too hard on myself too.

This is how I am feeling about what will hopefully be my first attempt at a full marathon...where I actually make it through the training & show up at the start. My first attempt to train for a full marathon got me no start & almost 9 months of no running (yes, I did cheat a bit & yes, I didn't take the doctors orders & be in a walking boot)...so why in the hell would I put such huge time expectations/goals on myself when I should be grateful to do it if I do survive the gruelling training and still make it to race day? Most days, I am grateful just to be running again because I know how brutal I am when I can't.

I was thinking all this last Thursday...July 4th on my 2 hour long run in the 90 degree heat up in the Lakes Region...yes, I might definitely have a few marbles loose for even thinking about doing that run out there, let alone succeeding...but this is what I learned on that awful, uncomfortable run.

Okay, it can't get any wose than this. This pretty much is what I am going to feel like come mile 20 when I hit that marathon wall...though I should be lucky to make it to mile 20...assuming I make it through this damn run, let alone that actual race. And if I make it through this absolutely ridiculous run, there is no way in hell, I am not going to make it through my training. Afterall, I am well aware of my short-comings, and I have a plan to find a way to work my way through them (less running, more balance).

And in between dunking my head in the lake at a boat launch and then, finishing up my last 5 miles, I realized...I am in fact a virgin...I've never ran 26.2 miles...ever...in a race, in a row, ever...so why am I putting all this pressure on myself? Yes, I have already wished that I was 40 years old...alas, I will be 39 in the fall...you runners know what that really means...in the back of my self-absorbed, overly confident, conceited head I had already figured out what time I needed for the big BQ and not being 40 meant I needed to be that much faster. What the hell am I thinking? I should be focused on the start and the finish...that in itself is an enormous accomplishment.

And let's face it...when you are a virgin and you finally set the date...you put all these preconceived notions about how wonderful it's going to be...& for some, it's just awful...for others, maybe a flicker of light...but for most, just a quick, minor milestone that you would probably no sooner forget.

So being a virgin...I'm taking all pressure off right now....I'm going to relax & not worry so damn much about it nor am I going to put all these high expectations on it especially since I know it will probably not be exactly how I imagine it to be...for good and for bad...and instead, I will try to enjoy the journey of my training & see where it takes me. And when I line up on the start...I will remind myself, you are a virgin...this is the first...no other will be quite the same (for good and for bad) so enjoy the ride....


Starting: 6/15/2013
Why is it that every new adventure has to have this gut wrenching moment when it begins? Why can't we just suddenely be emerged into the task we've set out at hand? There's always that moment of pulling the trigger...it happens all the time if you think about it.
Remember that conversation, "do we want to have children? are we ready to keep another person alive & mold them with all our idiosynchracies?" Kind of a life changer so I expect that feeling of wanting to vomit the moment I imagine being responsible for another human being for at least the next 21 years.
But what about the less live changing decisions... like I really am not loving the color of this room...do we paint it? We spend hours mulling over paint swatches, lurking in the paint department at the Depot. Why can't we just pick a color & start? Immerse ourselves in paint, just go for it.
Recently, I'm sitting in the abyss of "Holy c***!" I can't believe I signed up for the marathon. MInd you, I registered about almost 4 months ago & had already decided over a year ago that I would do this one.  Now that I am about to start my training...I want to throw up...just thinking about the task at hand. It is a cardio workout in itself...I start sweating, & I imagine all the horrible things that could go wrong. What if I get hurt during training? What if I realistically have taken on too much? What if I can't finsish the race? What if I poop myself during the race (who could forget that elite runner years ago at the Boston Marathon)...somehow, I don't think me pooping myself & forging forward would be quite as graceful.
Coming back from my last run before the training officially begins (as if the trumpets are going to alert everyone on day 1)...I confide to one of my runner friends that I am in fact doing a marathon. I swear her to secrecy like somehow word is going to spread like wildfire & everyone has nothing better to do than talk about me training for the marathon. Pretty egocentric, I know! So what am I afraid of? I express my doubts & how I don't feel ready but the training starts next week. Her reply was " Well, you just have to start."
‎You just have to start, period. No drama, no back & forth...no doubts. Just start. That's it. No need to over complicate things. And that's how running should always be. Whether you are running 26.2 miles or your 1st 5k...or your first run around the block. Just start.  And so the journey begins...no drama, no vomit, and hopefully, very little poop...

Truths about Running

1. Chub-Rub: You will get chub-rub...chubby thighs or not, your inner thighs over time & mileage will get a bit scuffed up...unless of course you are a Canadian hockey player, then maybe you can skip the Bodyglide. Otherwise, use it for any run over 10 miles or during the hot sticky weather.
2. Quite literally Number 2: You will get over your fear of pooping in public. Or in the woods, behind a tree, in the port-o-potty you're pretty sure a dead body is dumped in. It will happen. Get over it; your run will be much more enjoyable and efficient.
3. Running in public: No one is looking at you wondering why the hell you are out there in the first place. Why? Because runners are self-absorbed...we're too busy counting our cadence, thinking about our form, wondering if we'll ever make that PR (personal best record/race). Or we're too busy feeling self-conscious ourselves...or wishing we had put on that Bodyglide afterall.
4. Crossing the finish: If you run a race & run your hardest, you will pee...if only a little as your crossing the finish line. This is not gender-biased. Many a fast running males will admit to a little finish line pee. And those of us who've had babies, well, just plant a fresh pair of shorts for the post-race celebration.
5. Music vs. no music: I use to be a music person. I thought I couldn't run without it. Then, when you do & you take notice of everything around you & the discipline it takes to run a certain pace with only the thoughts in your head playing in your ears...that takes toughness. Want to be a better runner? Ditch the earbuds...plus they are a big no-no in races.
6. It hurts. No really, it hurts all the time in different & varying degrees. Early morning down the stairs...the occasional twinge moving laterally to chase down a kickball...& those 1st steps, yards, miles when you first head out for your run. It's not for the faint at heart.
7. Body type: Running won't change your body. You'll still have short legs, skinny legs, broad shoulders, big ass, no ass, tree-trunk legs, big boobs, no boobs...your genetics determine your body. Running will make you stronger, build muscle, & make you aerobically awesome...you want to change your body, add in weight training, good nutrition, & a plastic surgeon.
8. Training: It takes training to improve. That doesn't mean running fast all the time. That doesn't mean running slow & easy all the time. It takes different runs of varying mileage/speed/terrain to improve. And even then, you may be only as fast as your genetics predetermine you to be. Sucks, huh?
9. Clarity: You will do your best thinking when you are out on a long run. It's like finding God. You find yourself & all those answers you've been looking for somewhere down that long road with many miles behind you.
10. Lace'em up: Really all you need is to lace up and go. That's the beauty of it. You can have all the high tech gear you want, but if you don't head out, what's the point? If you have nothing but a pair of sneakers & you lace up and hit the road, you are a runner, a REAL runner. Happy trails:)

My Love Affair

I had never officially trained for a race....well, unless you count showing
up to local 5k and 10ks prior to the shots & many beers & margaritas
that would be consumed following a few random races I had hopped into. Make no
mistake, I wasn't your average non-runner...I was a washed up college volleyball
player who for a volleyball player could run.  I ran recreationally to stay in
shape and even turned down an offer to run track at my university my senior
year. But running fast 3 milers hardly made me a seasoned distance runner.

Then, I hit that fork in the road so to speak...I had just left a job I had
loved to stay home with my 1 year old & newborn...yes, two babies in one
year...you can imagine where this is going. So after the honeymoon of being home
with my own babies had worn off; reality hit...I felt I could go in any
direction. I was exhausted, out of shape, & probably had the blues. I
remember being at my gym (where I worked Saturdays just to escape the house)
thinking how am I going to make it? I could do drugs....nah, I'm too much of a
rule follower. I could get really, really fat...just forget my healthy habits
& sit around the house eating bon bons & watching soaps. I could start
drinking...heavily...after all, alcoholism runs in my family, I'd probably be
pretty good at it &I could numb myself safely...or..it was then, that I
literally looked up & noticed a flier for a brand new half marathon coming
to the area. That's it...I knew it immediately. That's my ticket to sanity.
I had not ran more than 3 miles in maybe 3 years. Even though I had a
personal training certification, I had no idea how to apply it to distance
running. Yes, I'm going to run 13.1 miles, and I am going to figure out how to
train myself to do it. Why not? Beats being a drunken fat housewife who watches
soaps all day.

And so that is how my love affair began. I trained myself...had no clue what
I was doing & had to do most of my runs on a treadmill at the gym while my
babies were in the gym nursery, but I did it...start to finish. I even managed
to run the race in just under an 8:00 minute a mile pace. More than that though,
I got a piece of myself back. The part of me that knew I deserved that time to
myself...that I needed that time. Also I rediscovered that person I forgot I was
when I became a mother...I was an athlete...someone who thrives on
competition...loves to push limits...& feels more beautiful and comfortable
in my skin when I'm sweaty and working my ass off...on the road, in the weight
room...just being me. Thanks to my love affair with distance running, I learned
how to love myself again.