running

A year of not running: being happy when the shit hits the fan

For runners and triathletes, not being able to run or train for any length of time feels like torture. Not being able to do it for A YEAR is generally unthinkable and horrifying. Whatever kind of athlete you are, when suddenly you can no longer do much of anything, it’s a fucking nightmare difficult transition.

Sometimes, the unthinkable happens. 

Just over a year ago, I did a half-iron triathlon. It was the fittest and strongest I have ever been in my life; yet, when I crossed the finish line after just over 7 hours, I allowed myself only a split second (no joke. maybe one full second.) worth of joy before the “could-have-done-better” began. Shortly thereafter, the shit hit the fan big time, with my body going into a year of perplexing dysfunction and often-debilitating pain. During this time, I’ve probably spent more time getting health care – with doctors (6), physical therapists (4), chiropractors (3), acupuncturists (3), the ART (active release techniques) guy (1), and, thank GOD, one truly remarkable therapist – than I have spent training. There were times, over the Winter, when the pain was at its worst, that I honestly did not think I could live with it, that I *wanted* to live with it. It is, so thankfully, much better now, but my activities are still very limited.

I’m not going to say I’ve got it all figured out, by any stretch; but I must admit, I have handled it all about a zillion times better than I would have anticipated. Early on, I thought I’d “go crazy” or “lose my mind.” I’ve done my best to stay active on the days and in the ways in which I’ve been able. And, though I’ve lost a lot of strength physically…I’ve most definitely picked up strength mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Here are a few of the things I’d like every athlete coping with an injury…or every athlete who may one day deal with an injury, so, basically every athlete…to know. And, actually, these things are just as applicable to non-athletes, too.

Let yourself truly celebrate your achievements, while staying humble and grateful. 

I can see from my new vantage point here mostly on the sidelines that a more fitting finish line response a year ago would have been sobbing tears of joy while doing cartwheels and screaming “OMFG! OMFG! OMFG! I AM ON TOP OF OF THE WORLD!!!” On the other hand, there’s something to be said for humility, which is part of what you learn from this type of experience. The universe, it seems, does not want you to have a big old arrogant head; conversely, it does not want you to relentlessly beat the crap out of yourself. And oddly enough it is very possible – commonplace, even – to do both simultaneously. If Facebook triathlon groups are any indication, I am not alone in this regard.

So, let yourself *really* feel those intensely joyful, peak experiences while also not having the arrogance to take them the least bit for granted. Because really – none of us ever knows when a race or a ride or a run or a walk for that matter may be our last for a very long time or even forever. 

Humility goes hand in hand with gratitude. For me, now, every swim, every ride when they can happen, and every one-mile jog-walk which I just now am finally able to try – is a win. It’s tempting to belittle it, but NO. It’s an absolute gift.

Learn to stay with your feelings, not run from them. 

Whether we’re aware of it or not, many of us routinely run from our feelings of insecurity, groundlessness, fear and sadness. This has been a HUGE strategy for me my whole life, and I don’t do it halfway: when my Mom and Dad were getting divorced, I picked up and moved to the other side of the country. I’m not saying this is the case for everyone by any means, but for me, triathlon training – as much as I often genuinely enjoyed it – became just another means of running from my feelings of deep dissatisfaction and of not being good enough.

In this way, being “forced” by my injury to sit still long enough to feel my feelings was a true blessing. I’d go so far as to say, as hard as it’s been, I’m grateful for it. When you sit still long enough to actually experience your not-so-happy feelings, you move through them and…guess what…then you feel the HAPPY feelings more, too. The universe is amazing that way.

To do this, instead of distracting yourself from your feelings via whatever means you traditionally do (Facebook? Cookies? Another work out when you really don’t need one?)…just hang with them. Let them be. Give them some room to breathe.

Read or listen to some Pema Chodron. She has become my favorite writer during all of this, after my therapist recommended her. And she can say all of this much better than I. When Things Fall Apart, The Places That Scare You, The Wisdom of No Escape … all incredible books that will help you through any injury and probably change your life.

The big one: Learn to listen to your true self. 

With every swim, every bike, every run, every weight lifted, I was, without awareness, on a mission to prove to myself that I was good. So much so that, even after one particular PT whom I saw only once accidentally went too far and made my injury worse, I put myself through an awful 13-mile run, which was intended to be my first training run for the Chicago Marathon. Clearly this was not in the cards; my body was telling me almost every step of that run to stop. I ignored it, and listened to the louder voice of “I can push through this.” Because I felt if I didn’t, I would have failed. I would have been less. At times, on that run, it felt like I was punishing myself for some unknown offense. I truly crossed a line.

But it is not our training or our race times or our accomplishments that makes us good. We all have innate goodness (or Buddha nature, if you’re into that, as I am). Sometimes we need to learn to listen to THAT voice…not the voice of our egos but the voice of our deeper selves. If there is a nagging “doubt” in your mind, you might need to listen.

As endurance athletes, we all walk a fine line. Sometimes it is completely appropriate to listen to that voice in our head that drives us, that pushes us farther than we’ve gone before, the voice of motivation and determination. And, sometimes, as I have now learned the hard way (actually, there IS no easy way), the voice that whispers “stop” is more true. Learning to distinguish between the two has been an absolutely invaluable lesson.

Thank you, Universe. 

For the first time in my life, even though I can’t run even a mile, even though I have regained some of the weight I lost three years ago, even though I am not racing these summer weekends like so many of my friends, I can honestly say that I believe I am good. It’s a very peaceful feeling.

If you are dealing with an injury or the shit has hit the fan and you want to chat, drop me a line. I understand.

Stronger body, Stronger life

How Taking Great Care of Your Body Can Strengthen Your Mind, Your Spirit and Your Purpose

Recently, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking on this topic at a women’s retreat. I really enjoyed having the chance to meet these wonderful women and share my story. My hope was (is) that it might inspire even one woman to make positive changes. So here ’tis…

 

This is my mother, Eunice. When she died in 1995, she was morbidly obese, chain smoked, had drinking and gambling problems (at least I considered them problems…she considered them hobbies), and hadn’t been to a doctor until her cancer was too advanced for her to stand a chance. She was also a terrific mother, with a huge heart, who went to church religiously, delivered meals to the elderly and was greatly loved by many for her outgoing spirit and absurd sense of humor. Who knows, perhaps if she had taken better care of her body, my son Griffin would have had the chance to know her spirit. Or perhaps not. Regardless, I’m certain that witnessing her terrible physical decline has been a powerful influence on where I am today, at 45, in by far the best physical shape of my life, talking to you about the power of a strong body in building a strong life.

GROWING UP WITH THE MAGIC PANTRY OF CRAP

If genetics and environment are responsible for one’s bodily strength as an adult, I was in serious trouble on both counts. My brothers and I grew up with a kitchen pantry that magically replenished itself with Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, Cheetos, Doritos and all the other -itos. Fried ring bologna and liver sausage were permanently on the menu, along with a German delicacy of bacon wrapped in beef slathered in gravy. I had learned to swallow carrots whole, but didn’t know green vegetables existed until I was 20. It’s not shocking, then, that by third grade or so, I was wearing a combination of clothes from the “chubby” section at JC Penney, and clothing made *specially* for me.

HELLOOOOOOOOO “200″

As an adult, although I learned better nutrition in college (thank you, God) and always liked exercise, I hit the big “200″ on the scale in the year 2000, shortly after I moved to Milwaukee with a Moroccan who liked to feed me and throw things. Fortunately that chapter was short. And all photographic evidence has been systematically destroyed.

I hired a nutritionist and a personal trainer. I love the nutritionist to this day for helping me fit in my dress…that I wore when I married the personal trainer.

I found the lost weight again when I was pregnant with our son, two weeks later. I went from a full on vegan diet to summer sausage and pickle sandwiches, and gained 60 pounds. I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on calling weight “baby weight,” but I’m fairly certain it’s less than 8 years. Yet as recently as 18 months ago, I remained 40 pounds overweight, mostly sedentary, and not a happy camper. (Oddly enough, there are also few remaining photos from this time period…)

Seeking a healthful weight and a strong body has been a life-long roller coaster ride. And then..a light bulb went on.

HOLY CRAP. MY BODY IS A GIFT WITH WHICH I CAN DO AMAZING THINGS.

Everyone’s bodily gifts are different. And everyone’s journey to find the light will be different. In my case, I was asked to run a half marathon on a charity team in honor of a beautiful baby boy named Paxton Andrews, who was battling cancer. I wasn’t a runner, and hadn’t attempted it in over a decade. But, the right inspiration can overcome almost anything, and four months later, I crossed my first half marathon finish line.

My run raised over $2,000 for MACC Fund, to fight childhood cancer. Sadly, however, Paxton ended his battle with cancer that July, at just four months old. And pediatric cancer research remains woefully underfunded. NOT. ACCEPTABLE. I encourage you to learn more about the Paxton Andrews Foundation and support their amazing work.

Last year, I joined the Racers Against Childhood Cancer running and triathlon team, to continue doing what I can to help raise funds. (My page is here and your support in any amount is appreciated from the bottom of my heart.) In the past six months, I’ve done my second half marathon, ridden a century (100 miles) on my bike, and learned to swim. I’m in training for the Door County Half Iron Distance triathlon this July…a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56-mile bike ride followed by a half marathon…and for a fall marathon. With every intention of doing a full IronMan triathlon one day. Maybe soon…maybe when I am 70.

I AM BLESSED. SO, SO BLESSED.

The ability to do all of this is a HUGE GIFT. For many people, including some of my friends, it is sadly not a possibility. Which makes it that much MORE of a gift. I am trying to keep that top of mind. And I am trying to make the most of it while it lasts.

DO WHAT MOVES YOU.

If running is your thing, when you start, your body might only want to run a block or two. If you persist, it can run like you never thought possible. It can run three, five, ten, 13.1, twenty or more miles. And, in doing so, completely change your view of WHAT IS POSSIBLE. Which is the real magic. If running is not your thing, try biking or swimming or roller derby or anything that intrigues YOU. Just try something, and then try something else, until you find some things you love.

DO SOME GOOD STRENGTH TRAINING.

My happy place…the weight room

I cannot recommend it highly enough. For anyone of any age. But particularly as we age, it is VITAL to help us maintain muscle mass and metabolism and bone density. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym and pump iron, if you aren’t comfortable doing that, though I recommend it. Use your body and do pushups and squats and other body weight exercises, at a minimum.

EAT REAL FOOD!!!

You can exercise all day long, and if you’re pumping junk into your body, you’re still going to feel like junk. Eat real, unprocessed food. And do what you need to do to hold yourself accountable for the quality and the amount of what you’re eating. There’s an app for that…it’s called MyFitnessPal. Answer to question asked in retreat: NO, LEAN CUISINE IS NOT REAL FOOD.

IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING.

I promise you, as your body gets stronger, your life will be stronger in sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many ways.

Foremost among them: even when you think you CAN’T do something…there’s NO WAY…you will come to learn that you CAN. I can remember thinking “there is no way I will ever be able to run 5 miles.” Then, eventually, I ran 20. This new knowledge that you CAN will replace the conversation in your head about why you can’t, and create all sorts of new possibility.

As my friend Lynn, who just added a strength training program to her world, said, “Staying fit and strong means there are less “no”s in your life.” I LOVE that thought.

As Heidi, who just lost 100 pounds, said, “I just can feel my strength…when I work out, I feel strong. It’s a feeling of confidence that I can accomplish big things because I have gotten myself to be really healthy.”

Then there’s Deb, who ran her first marathon in 2012: “The biggest benefit was increased confidence and the knowledge that I’m strong enough to take on just about anything. At one point I could not run a mile, but then I ran 26.2. Slowly yes, but it took a lot of physical and more mental strength to do it. You gain confidence that the next step will be a steady one. You gain confidence that the next step will bring amazing people into your life. You gain confidence that what you’re doing isn’t selfish or self-serving but that you’re actually influencing others.”

And Tracey: “I feel like it has given me confidence more than anything. I went from being a shy, introverted stay-at-home mom to not only running ultramarathons, but organizing races, teaching bootcamps, coaching, and actually getting excited about meeting new people. I think it translates to so many more things in life outside of just being physically strong.”

So, yes, a stronger body CAN bring NEW CONFIDENCE and POWER and PURPOSE and MEANING to your entire life.

If you’re a parent, it can help make you the kind of positive, energetic parent that you want to be. And you will pass the knowledge that you CAN do big things on to your children. If you’re a professional, it can help make you the kind of positive, energetic, confident professional that you want to be. Whatever you are, whatever you do, I promise you that discovering the power and strength of your body will make you a better one.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see just how strong and beautiful my body can get before I die. And what more I can do with it.So, regardless of what your bodily gift is and what your journey of choice is – I encourage you to not waste it.

Remember: YOUR BODY IS A GIFT WITH WHICH YOU CAN DO AMAZING THINGS. 

Seven lessons from training for a marathon and getting injured

Imma just put this right here for later.

NOT FUNNY, UNIVERSE. NOT FUNNY.

Evidently the universe, which is usually quite good to me, thought it would be comical to have me run through all sorts of winter darkness and ice and grossness, and then, on the VERY FIRST gorgeous warm sunny day of Spring, tell me that I have a stress fracture in my calcaneous (heel bone). Pending MRI confirmation on Monday/Tuesday, but we’re 99% sure. Frustrating…check. Sad…oh yeah, big time. Not at all amusing…at least not yet.

I feel asinine even posting this, less than two weeks after Boston. Believe me, I am *fully* cognizant of the fact that there are people much, much more gravely injured than I. I particularly think about the dancer who lost her foot in the bombings, who has vowed to run next year’s marathon. Unbelievable resilience.

I just feel that the best way to process/deal with this at this point is to think about what I’ve learned in the *process* of training and getting injured, partially to comfort myself, in lieu of ice cream, and partially in hopes that it might help someone else at some point. There’s a lot I would do differently, knowing what I know now.

1. SCREW “SKINNY.” GET STRONG.

The fitness and beauty industries overall conspire in many ways to focus on our aspirations to be skinny, and much less so on our desire to KICK ASS AND TAKE NAMES. We owe it to ourselves to know better than that.

Through the first 10 weeks of my training this year, I was very focused on limiting my daily calories to drop some lbs. before the marathon. Yes, valid goal. Yes, I dropped 13 lbs and am at a healthier, happier weight. Yes, I feel less gross (except for this whole sitting-on-my-ass-all-Spring-now thing). BUT. Little did I know that somewhere along the way, while obsessing over tracking every calorie, I was developing a slight Vitamin D deficiency, even though I was taking a 1,000 IU Vitamin D supplement every day along with a multivitamin.

2. FOOD IS NOT THE ENEMY. HALLEFREAKINGLUJAH.

With the help of this experience and nutritionist-to-the-stars and rockstar runner and triathlete Amy Friese, from Fearless Nutrition, I’ve learned that food is FUEL, not something to be feared.

Wait. What?! I’ve spent my whole life trying to learn to eat LESS. The experience of NEEDING to eat MORE to fuel training and a LOT of it…*mind completely blown*.

3. DRINK YOUR MILK.

The thing about Vitamin D? It needs FAT to get absorbed. So if you’re using skim milk to stay skinny and think you are getting enough Vitamin D in your body, to ensure you can absorb calcium and keep your bones strong, you *might* be wrong. I’ll never know if my outcome would have been any different if I was enjoying a couple of glasses of 1%-2% (chocolate!) milk every day, but it’s entirely possible. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten my vitamin levels checked BEFORE I started training; I’d also suggest that to anyone training for something like a marathon…especially when you are rapidly heading over the hill like me. ;) There are of course other ways to get calcium and Vitamin D for those who can’t do dairy…the milk thing works for me, not for everyone. I recommend it if you can.

4. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. THEN LISTEN HARDER.

For newbie runners like me (or for anyone I suppose), it’s hard sometimes to know when you are running through a little “ordinary” pain and when it’s time to STOP and get it checked out. We train ourselves to just keep running, and that can mean not listening well to the signs of an injury. Denial, as they say, is not just a river…

A stress fracture is weird in that the pain comes and goes, so it can trick you into thinking that you’re OK. My foot started hurting about 6 weeks ago. At first, I could get about 6 miles into a run before it would hurt. Then 3 or 4. Then 1. Then…crap…it hurts all the time. I’d better go to a doctor. I wish with all my heart that I had gotten checked when it first started hurting, instead of doing two 20-mile runs with a stress fracture. I’d be in a very different place right now that it’s FINALLY SPRING.

The moral of the story: be smarter than me. If something hurts, GO TO THE FREAKING DOCTOR. If it turns out to be nothing, that’s a bonus.

5. RELATED, ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE/THERAPIES SOMETIMES AREN’T ENOUGH.

Even once I admitted to myself that I am injured, I didn’t go to a “traditional” doctor / orthopedist right away as I should have, in hindsight. I went to a (terrific) physical therapist. I went to an orthotics-guy-acupuncturist. I finally went to the orthopedist seeking clearance to race and peace of mind. I really didn’t think he was going to find anything. HA. HAHAHA. BWAHAHAHAHA *cries*.

Seriously, stress fractures are sneaky little bastards. Don’t be fooled.

6. PEOPLE ARE GENERALLY AWESOME.

Everyone knows the community of runners is amaziballs and my experience during marathon training was no exception. There were people like Anne who offered to be there for support and early morning winter complaints. Like Deb, who offered to chat about nutrition and share her experience. Like Tracey from PowerUp Fitness, who whooped my ass (in a good way) in bootcamps and training sessions and was generally *beyond* awesome. And like COUNTLESS others who offered support and encouragement. Thank. You. All of you.

There were also more than 20 people who donated to Racers Against Childhood Cancer in sponsorship of my run. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

7.”EVERY SETBACK IS A SET FOR AN EVEN BIGGER COMEBACK.” ~THE ROCK

OK. So here’s the deal. I’ve cried a LOT yesterday and today. And while I can’t guarantee I won’t continue feeling a little sad over the next several weeks while I am sidelined (the absence of endorphins is a BITCH, yo) and watching people run by my window, what I can promise is that I am going to do everything I possibly can to stay motivated and strong and do what I can physically do during this period (which I don’t really know yet.) Yoga. Recumbent bike *woooohoooo (sarcasm)* Upper body weights. CORE. And I’m drinking my milk, and not obsessing over every single calorie…just eating healthy and trying like hell to not let food be my source of comfort…which is a real challenge for me at the moment.

So that, hopefully, 6-8 weeks from now, I can start running again, and maybe, just maybe, if people smarter than me say it’s semi-reasonable, build back up in time for a fall marathon.

‘Cause that Kelly Clarkson, you know, she may not *seem* like the sharpest knife in the drawer…but that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” shit? That’s the real deal.

So, while I can’t that Racers Against Childhood Cancer race shirt right now, it’s hanging where I can see it every single day. And know that someday I’m going to cross a marathon finish line in it, and it’s going to be EVEN. BETTER.

If you’ve dealt with a running injury, what advice would you add? And how do I not go crazy?

Running for RACC Fund: Racers Against Childhood Cancer

When I started running last May, it was for a higher purpose: childhood cancer. This cause still calls to me and pushes me forward, which is why I recently joined the great team of people who run for Racers Against Childhood Cancer. This group was founded here in Milwaukee in 2007 by a couple, Cole Braun and his wife Jenny, who have been working together to raise money for childhood cancer research since 1984. {Bravo!} Cole knows from his extensive personal racing experience that many athletes are motivated by something *beyond themselves*, and has put that to work in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Racers Against Childhood Cancer logo

Supporting THREE childhood cancer causes.

THREE CHILDHOOD CANCER CAUSES WRAPPED IN ONE.

One of the many things I love about RACC is that the funds raised go to support *three* wonderful pediatric cancer causes: Cure Search, MACC Fund, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Cure Search for Children’s Cancer funds and supports research, and provides information and resources to those affected by this dreadful disease. MACC Fund is dedicated to funding research on childhood cancer and related blood disorders; its goal is to be cured out of existence. {Gooooooo MACC Fund!} And Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is known for state-of-the-art research.

IF YOU, TOO, ARE CALLED BY THIS CAUSE, I NEED YOUR HELP.

Imagine, being a parent that has to tell your little son or daughter that he or she has cancer, if he or she is even old enough to talk. I can’t. I can’t even imagine. Yet, 46 kids will be given this news today.

My goal is to raise at *least* $1,000 – and my *dream* is to raise $2,620 – in the six weeks remaining before I run the Wisconsin Marathon for Team RACC on May 4…just under six weeks from now. Truly, ANY amount of help that you can give, $5, $20, $26 (dollar a mile, yo) or more, will be appreciated from the bottom of my heart, and will be used well by these tremendous causes. We got almost 20% of the way to my base goal the first day, which seriously made me verklempt – you guys are just amazing.

WHERE DO I GO TO CONTRIBUTE?

If you are able to help, please do so on my RACC fundraising page.

OH YEAH, RUNNING.

As for the running, I’m 275 training miles into this marathon program in the past 12 weeks, including an 18-miler this past Saturday. And I’ve got 168 training miles to go before the big 26.2. I’m feeling relatively good about it and as long as my tweaky right ankle holds out for another 6 weeks, I’ll be crossing that finish line with a big grin on my face, and a HUGE smile in my heart because of your support. Truly…I think of you, my amazing supporters, when I run. You keep me going, big time.

Love. Spaight

Marathon training: halfway! and my new team

Photo credit: Mike Baird

There’s a lot to be learned from marathon training, or any other endurance training. I think it makes you more optimistic. And more persistent. More of a believer, because you have to be, to get out day after day and get the miles in.

I’m nine weeks into training, and frankly I’m still feeling a bit…stunned. I ran 37 miles last week (WTF!?!) and while I felt great after my Saturday long run, the next day after yoga class my legs just…stopped. Laying around, eating and feeling my legs throb seemed like a good time to reflect on the first half of training, what I’m learning, what’s driving me, what anyone might take away.

KEEPING YOURSELF HONEST

When I jumped into this in January, I presumed I’d be doing it for a dual purpose: 1) to keep myself honest and disciplined through the winter and 2) to raise funds for a childhood cancer charity. Not necessarily in that order.

As it turns out, it has been great for keeping me honest; crappy winter weather and all, I haven’t missed a single run/workout in the past nine weeks. Many days, I’ve doubled up. I’ve run 187 miles since January 1 and dropped just over 10 pounds – through a combination of the running and nutritional obsessiveness – and yes, I’m damn proud of that. Yet as I’m about to cross the threshold this week between merely crazy-hard and completely batshit (15 miles? At ONCE? Say what?), that just doesn’t seem like enough of a REASON to start running 15, 16, 18, 20 miles at a time. It should, perhaps, but it doesn’t. There has to be more to it.

TELL ME, ARE YOU JUST GETTING BY?

Last year at this time, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping. I sure as hell couldn’t run 5 or 10 or 13 miles. I’ve been “just getting by” for a long, LONG time. There’s a line in the P!nk song “Try” that gets me every time – “When you’re out there doin’ what you’re doin’, tell me, are you just getting by?”

My answer, now? NO. HELL NO. I am NOT just getting by. I am PUSHING. More. Better. Faster. Stronger. Every. Single. Day.

It stupefies me, to be thinking “Sweet, I *only* need to run 10 miles today?” This is SO ridiculously far outside anything I’ve ever pushed myself to do before, that it is absolutely SHATTERING long-held negative perceptions of myself. Not only is it making me more optimistic, it is, in fact, making me BELIEVE THAT I CAN. Maybe – just MAYBE – even that I’m GOOD ENOUGH. *Maybe.*

Life is short, friends. And pushing yourself, in whatever way you wish, feels a hell of a lot better than just getting by. Whether you are an athlete or not, I would say to you: are you just getting by? Think about it. How might you stretch yourself a bit more?

FINDING A HIGHER PURPOSE

I’ll spare you the details of how frustrating it has been the past couple of months, trying to find a childhood cancer cause, or a child, to represent this year. Tenuous relationships, state law, the IRS, politics and PR…all got in the way. Three strikes later, I really thought about giving up, and *just* running for me. But it still felt…hollow. Then, I remembered the perfect answer.

I could not be happier and more proud to share that this year I will be running for Racers Against Childhood Cancer.

Founded in 2007 right here in the Milwaukee area, RACC is a team of runners, riders and triathletes that uses their passion and competitive spirit to raise awareness and money for research and the fight to defeat childhood cancer. The funds raised go to THREE wonderful causes: Cure Search, MACC Fund, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

46 children are told that they have cancer every day. And children’s cancer kills more kids than all other diseases combined. I hope you will join me in this fight; I will share my fundraising page in the days to come.

Not hollow any more.

These next 250+ training miles, and the 26.2, 60 days from now, are for the kids.

The pure joy of running through life…”eyes skimming disembodied through the air”

People run for a lot of different reasons. I started running for a cause. I kept running because I suddenly love it (who knew?)…and because I like to eat.

Yesterday, though, I had what felt like a bit of an a-ha/holy shit moment. And I realized that without even consciously thinking about it, I’ve been planning to run through the rest of my life. Here’s why.

I love few things more in life than seeing the sun rise. Had I not become a runner earlier this year, I could not have quickly gotten to the end of Navy Pier in Chicago yesterday in the limited time that I had before a meeting…for this.

Given a choice, why would I want to miss this?! The simple, practical truth is, not only does running help me control my weight, feel better, have more energy, be more healthy, lower my stress, etcetera, it helps me cover more ground in life. To see more. To do more.

I read this quote recently on Facebook that I really adore because it comes closer to describing the feeling of a *good* run than I’ve been able to:

“We need almost nothing at all to find our happiness. Only a few hours, a stretch of road, perhaps a friend, or even better a competitor. We hide in our spindled chests an unusually large and heaving heart, and in our heads a warbled tune, a song, as we move on down the road.

Do you know the feeling I know? When your legs have disappeared, and there is only your heart, your lungs, and your eyes skimming disembodied through the air? We are Aristotle’s featherless bipeds, we runners. Though we have no wings, we have taught ourselves to fly.

~Jeff Edmonds

I’m beyond grateful that I have discovered this about myself, heading into my 44th year…and that I have the good health required to do it.

If you run, or find joy in another sport, why do you do it? What does it feel like?

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