Thursday, November 17, 2011

Richmond Marathon Race Recaps

Thinking of Running Richmond Full, Half or 8K?  

Well, here are a few bloggy re-caps from around the web of people who ran or spectated Richmond Marathon 2011.

Racing With Babes

Setting You Free

Life Began at Thirty

Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner of 3 (kids)

Small Beginnings

Pace of Me

Dori's Shiny Blog

Running to Stand Still

For the most part, these touch on all aspects of the race.  From the local "how do I drive in and park" to the out of town, "does the shuttle to the expo function as advertised."


Also, thinking of signing up for MTT?  Just do it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jenny's First Dance

My father is a musician.  One of my favorite pieces that he composed is a lovely little guitar solo called "Jenny's First Dance".  When I hear it, it makes me think that about the idea that the first steps are the hardest, but once you get through them, nothing can stop you.

Jenny Silver, as I've bloggy named her, ran her first marathon on Saturday.  She owned it.  For that matter, she OWNED IT FROM DAY ONE.  I'm so proud of her.  She is a testimony to why MTT is a good program for the first time marathoner.  She lived the highs, the lows, and finished on top.

Epic doesn't even come close to describing her race recap.  It makes me want to go for a run.

Congratulations Jenny Silver.  Savor this week of recovery.  You've earned it.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guest Blogger: DeNiece

DeNiece is a great friend and runner.  She's inspiring and encouraging, and confident and competitive...  pretty much, DeNiece is just like a lot of us.  Here she takes on one of those *sticky* topics we all talk about, the dreaded running partner you just can't out run....

One of my running partners claims I am her best friend, although she is NOT mine.  

Even though she is my nemesis, she plays an important part in my life.  Maybe you know someone like her – she is loud, negative and outspoken.   She is the first to tell me that I “can’t” or “won’t” do something.  She crushes my spirit, douses my confidence, destroys my self-esteem.   She is insidious.  She starts out with little comments like “boy its hot today…you don’t like the heat do you?”  Then she becomes a little more pointed, “Whew, it is really hot.  You’re only at two miles – it’s a long way to 10.”  Then, she goes in for the kill, “I don’t think you can do it.  It is really hot.  Aren’t you uncomfortable? You can’t do it”….

And the negative mantra is born….hammered into my brain, pounded in with each painful step I take -“YOU.CAN’T.DO.IT. YOU.CAN’T.DO.IT”….

She picks my weak point – “It’s hot”, “too cold”, “you’re sore, tired or hungover”, “they’re faster than you” and throws it up in my face until I am repeating the negative mantra with her… 


And yet, she has run with me for years.   I found myself listening to her, wondering where she was when she was quiet.  I try to drown her out by chatting with friends or listening to music (she also likes hip hop and rap) but she can be incessant, loud and dominating.

 It is lucky, for me, that I am so likable, charming, personable, and fun… because when the posse runs with me, they run with her.   

Last year, I started marathon training.  It turned out that she was not as fit as I am.  While I love the long, LONG runs, she does not.  She figured out quickly, though, that there were plenty of places she could jump in on the long run.  So while she wouldn’t join us for 20 milers, she’d pop in for 6 or 8 miles to make me miserable. 

As I become fitter and stronger physically, she became weaker.   As I developed more and more friendships with runners, their voices could drown her out.   Those friends were supportive, kicking her to the curb when she tried to run with us.  I toughened up mentally, found ways to shut her up, leave her behind or better yet, avoid running with her.  Her power over me was dissipating…

Last night I woke up and began to think about all my marathon fears:  it’s two half-marathons and that second one is REALLY hard;  my husband is not meeting me at mile 21 so I will have to run the last “half” by myself; can I really meet my goals?; what if I hit a wall?; what if it hurts?  – ALL of these things are about a fear of physical pain and mental anguish.  When I realized this, I tried to tease out which was worse - the physical or mental.   Which would come first…does physical pain lead to the wall or vice versa?  

Then like a flash, I realized this was all her doing – she had snuck into my room and was whispering her bullsh** into my ear.    

So, I broke up with her for good.  

Her power over me and my life is gone.  I am happy, centered, energetic and relaxed.  I have balance between the marathon and my family life, even if it is just for this week and it is GOOD…
…but watch out, fellow runners, she will be out on the prowl and the marathon will have lots of potential clients.  

So be wary of her….or maybe you’ve already met her – her name is Debbie.  Debbie DOWNER…

Monday, November 7, 2011

and then what V?

My husbands stupid cat woke me up at o'Freaking Early hour this morning.

Stupid cat.

Doesn't he know it's race week?

Doesn't he get it?

I'm supposed to be sleeping late every day this week. I'm supposed to be cozy in my bed, snuggled in under 2 extra blankets.

Instead I found myself hobbling down the stairs to set him free.  He danced a ballet of celebration, floating through the dark.  My gait was awkward.  A straight jacket posing as a sock cinched my foot into a contortionist pose.  I could barely manage an igor-like hobble through the dark house.

The cold tile floor bit into my feet on a hiss.

Wretched cat.

My eyes were half closed, or perhaps, half open as I fumbled with the locking mechanism on the door.

Will Feral, the aptly named wretched cat, laced his soft orange body through my legs humming like an electric razor.  His entire body vibrated with his purring song.

Finally, successful, I flung the door open.

The shock of cold air immobilized my companion.

The shock of cold air immobilized me.

We stared into the morning.  The vastness was overwhelming, leaving me empty and insignificant.  I looked up into the stars, and I felt the sky look back into me.  It brushed my soul, leaving only a dewy finger print.

A perfect letter V was etched into the inky curtain, and it taunted me.  I breathed a sigh as the magic washed over me.

V... victory.
V.... and then what V?....
V.... for V, my dear friend...

It's a sign.  A sign of greatness.  A sign of the moment that lays before us.  It's...

...nothing special.  Seriously.  These stars have been here for ~like~ a hundred million years.  There is nothing special about them today.  They are not flaunting their V.  They are not displaying this perfection for me alone, it is simply a high pressure system keeping the clouds at bay.

There's no magic.  It's just a Monday.  Get over yourself....

As thought this, I closed my hand over the door to slide it closed, and a shooting star lanced across the sky.  I couldn't stop the smile.

Message received....

oh yes.... There is magic out there waiting for us every day.  Even on Mondays.

~savor the run~

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Letter to MTT "Alaska"


Yeah I'm out that Brooklyn.

Now I'm down in Tribeca.
Right next to DeNiro

But I'll be heard forever

I'm the new Sinatra

And since (you) made it here
(you) can make it anywhere
(Yeah we love you everywhere)

Cruising down 8th street
Off-white Tall Socks
 Driving so slow 

(but Birch, it's from Texas!!) 

Me I'm out that BedStuy

Home of that boy Biggie
now I live on Billboard
and I brought my posse with me

Say what up to gba, 
still sipping Mimosas

...tell by my attitude that I'm MOST DEFINITELY RUNNING IN…

New York!!!!
 Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,

There's nothing you can’t do,

Now you're in New York!!!

These streets will make you feel brand new,

the lights will inspire you…

Let's hear it for Birch cos he’s out running New York!

Dear Birch,

So…  I was listening to this a few weeks ago, and heard the Texas line and thought – hellz to the yeaH!

First things first:  Don’t get over heated on Race Day.  Got that?

You are a great coach.  I know you have a plan.  Of course, you know when I’m running a marathon and things get tough, I have some race strategies of my own to get me through.  I thought, I should SHARE THESE bits of BRILLIANCE with Birch...  Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re all going to work for you.  

You’re JUST not going to look as good as I do in tall socks and a short skirt so people will cheer for you.

Instead, I think maybe, just maybe, we need to go in a different direction with you…

On Race Day, if you get to a spot that feels rough or you start to doubt, just remember that you’re like ALASKA.  You have an inner strength that is FOUR TIMES the size of TEXAS.  Believe that.

And if you feel tired, it’s ALWAYS ok to ask for MORE COWBELL!

And if someone says “Just keep going, just keep going!”, the proper response is “That’s what she said!”

And remember that You’ve got GREAT STAMINA…. call me!


Run like SNOT!

You are Galactically Bada**.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Taper Madness

My gmail calendar just sent a new, "Shared Event Reminder" from my H's calendar:

10 days until Richmond Marathon

and I just have to think that I'm not as cool as I think I am...

Or that Taper Madness is like an infectious protein I learned about in Microbiology...

but probably I'm just not as cool as I think I am.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thanks for letting me be a part of this blog!!

So here I stand, peeking over the edge of the cliff, knowing that I have the potential to mark one more thing off of my bucket list. Please, somebody push me, I believe my feet are stuck….


You know, there are life altering things that occur when you least expect it and you decide you need to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Bucket lists are formed and your life does indeed get changed in so many ways. When you’re diagnosed with a potentially debilitating disease it gives you pause. Makes you think long and hard about things in your life.

Would I have any more children? Would I go blind? Would I need a wheelchair, a cane, a walker? I would be damned if this disease defined me. Damn it all to hell, I was going to be me.

Fast forward to today, almost the eve of the most monumental thing I have ever done besides having children. But this is one of those things that got added to my bucket list in my head when I flipped off MS. The things I had to do before my body betrays me. My training showed me that certain things are changing for me, changing for maybe ever. But I will be an Ironman, or woman as it were, if I can just make it through. I have to do this.

Thank you to my friends for your never ending cheerleading. Telling me I have this when it could be a very real possibility that my body doesn’t but I am going to try anyway. Your enthusiasm and confidence in me meant more then I can begin to tell you!

Thank you to my husband and girls for supporting me along the way, and believing in me and cheering me on. Your patience and love mean so much to me. I love you more then I can ever say. I cannot wait to see you on the other side!

And thank you to my best friend Heather (this is, after all, all your fault). A training partner extraordinaire, we logged miles, secrets, laughs and tears along the way. You have become a part of my heart and family through all of this madness and I truly wouldn’t be here without you being beside me every lap, pedal stroke and step. Run your race, I will run mine. I know in my heart how well you will do!!! Rock it girl, I cannot wait to see you when I finally finish!

I know no matter what my time is that I am truly blessed to have made it through with everything I have had heaped on my physically. I wish training could have been easier too, all of the road rash, sprains, jelly fish stings and concussions will be worth it after I am done. I’ll take whatever time I get and know in my heart I am lucky to have made it this far at all.

I am ready, I am doing this, I WILL BE AN IRONMAN “we all step up to the starting line with something…no excuses”

Ginny thanks for including me on this blog!!! I was flattered when you asked me, I admire your writing, your running, your being a mom, wife and student. This has been the most remarkable journey, and I have been able to chronicle it for posterity! You're a total GBA and I am honored to be thought of as such by you!!

In your immortal words---SAVOR the run (or IM lol)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Words for Wednesday

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 21, 2011


I'm training for a marathon.

I'm also a student.

It's mid-terms this week.  As in, mid term exams?  Yeah, Freaktastic, I assure you.

I have no free time to write.

h*ll, I can barely function as a normal adult much less be creative.

So todays post is ~lame~.

No but seriously, I published a post about 20 milers and why they don't suck even when they suck over at NofSahm.  If you're desperately craving some GBA_GF wisdom before the run this weekend, well, that's where you're going to want to go.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Words for Wednesday

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

~ Aristotle

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Words for Wednesday

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
Henry David Thoreau

Monday, October 10, 2011

And it's been awhile since I could stand on my own two feet again

Ok, ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I was just listening to that Staind song. Three weeks ago I did have had a bit more trouble standing on my own two feet, but the ninny in me thought driving was perfectly acceptable. Let me explain...

Training has taken over my normally jam packed life. I had been told I would get to this phase when the miles we trained started going into goofy territory.

FL or Bust and I had a 100 mile Heart of VA ride planned a few weekends ago. It was a good day for it, not a ton of sun, not a lot of humidity, a relaxed start, good times ahead! We met up with another Ironman participant we ride with from time to time and off we went. This was a dress rehearsal of sorts. Practice nutrition, pace, etc. We had Chesapeake Man Ultra distance aquavelo the next weekend, I needed another Century ride under my belt to feel comfortable.

And then IT happened......

I was on the pavement trying to remember how the crash happened. People were screaming at me not to move, I think I screamed that I got hurt, I think I was crying, but I don't remember. I was feeling rather dazed and confused. I went down, as a good cycling friend of mine referred to it. Road rash, yeah a little.

I flew out of my clips, how, still don't know, but I landed pretty squarely on my head. I guess a Sheriff was across the street from where the accident happened and said he heard my head hit, blech...So instead of 100 miles on my bike I got 11 miles on my bike, an ambulance ride, one CT scan, two motrin, some lovely road rash, a really nasty whiplash and a Concussion just for me....sounded like the 12 Days of Christmas almost. I'd rather have the guys jumping around or some geese dropping eggs everywhere.

I could sit and tell you how I said I was ok, insisted on driving myself home (stupid stupid stupid!) and telling everyone I was just freaking fine, but in hindsight, I wasn't. My brain was totally rattled. The headaches and nausea lasted all week, but I didn't let on that it was really bothering me. In my stupid opinion doing Chesapeake Man was all that mattered. And I did it, I did, but did I mention that that was pretty stupid?

I struggled hard. Took way longer on my swim then I should have, between the jellyfish stings to the face, maybe that was God's way of trying to get my stupid ass out of the water and resting, and the pain in my neck and shoulder, I suffered through that swim. I suffered through the bike, I suffered for nearly 9 hours of my life. I don't want to think of the damage I might have done, but done is done. Riding 112 miles and not being able to get aero was a very difficult way to have to ride. I hurt more then I'd care to remember, the pictures of me show it etched on my face, I hate looking at them. Don't know what I was thinking or expecting.

Lesson learned, sort of, now I am training rather gingerly. I stopped swimming the other morning because I got too dizzy during a particularly difficult set. I listened to my body and didn't push it. I missed a group ride on Saturday this week because my head was not feeling all too great. When it felt better I got on the trainer for two hours. Woke up yesterday with no headache so I went to MTT. I was able to run a really great 20 miles, I never would have believed there was such a thing. I was thrilled to run the whole thing, to run and not hurt, not a great deal of dizziness. Fl or Bust and I needed a great run like that. I am happy to report I woke up with no headache again today.

It has been awhile, "but everything I can't remember, as eff'd up as it may seem, the consequences that I've rendered, I've stretched myself beyond my means", story of my life, for now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Words for Wednesday

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sunny Side Up

I got the nicest compliment today. 

I was whining ~ I know right? ~ and my friend said it was OK, because I “always come out on the right side”.  And I chuckled.  The RIGHT side?  Would that be like coming out:

Sunny Side UP?

Seriously though, in marathoning there is A FREAKING LOT to be said about keeping a positive attitude.  If you’re feeling the need to complain about aching feet, consider this… 

The people around you have aching feet too.  But they’re not saying anything about it, because they believe what I believe - speaking about evil makes it stronger.…  And trust me, at mile 20, aching feet are evil.  They’re the base of evil.

The truth is, complaining about hurting feet or the long a** hill or tired legs isn’t really going to do anything useful.  Maybe everyone around you agrees.  Maybe they even say so.  But now you’re a group of runners talking about pain.  That just doesn’t sound that fun to me, to be honest.

Forming a mental image of success?  Now that is a useful way to spend a training run.

Consider this:  I recently did a research project involving guided imagery as pain management in postoperative patients.  Do you know what the excessively boring research indicated?  It works. 

Better than meds.  The patients were instructed to create a mental image of moving without pain.  And, in the 5 different studies I looked at, the success rate was exceptional.  I mean I’m here blogging about it right now because I think there’s something to this.

So keeping your chin up is going to do more than just hold you in good form.  It’s also going to keep the positive energy flowing around you. 

I believe that mental imagery is half the battle. 

I use it all the time in my training.  If I feel my feet shuffling, I expend a little energy imagining that they’re light and swift.  And you know what happened last week when I did that?  My split time for that mile was 9 seconds faster than the mile before it.  When you start getting into those high double digit numbers, that’s a pretty impressive feeling.
I look at the racecourse each time I run it, and I try to embed a positive memory.  For example, the week I ran with Coach Black and we blew from The Diamond up to the Pope Arch, I remember thinking, “This isn’t that long”.  On race day, I’m going to try to remember that it’s not that far from The Diamond to The Arch.

And one week when I was doing a 13 mile run that took me over The Bump on the Blvd in my last mile, and I felt SUPER STRONG, I remember thinking, “it’s the last real bump on the race course, and look, you’re running an X:14 over it right now, so it can’t be that big or steep or scary.”

So as we all go out for a recovery week this weekend, I recommend building a strong positive memory on the run.  It’s an ideal time.  The weather will be cool, like race day (we hope).  And the miles will feel short (ha ha, I caught myself today, “It’s only 12 miles on Sunday, so…”).  Take your light feet and your strong legs, and as you run along the marathon course, make your own positive memory.  You can use it as a base for your mental imagery, or, if you’d rather not use it for that, at least you’ll have something really nice to remember when you reflect on the time you spent with MTT.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Words for Wednesday

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

~ Oscar Wilde

Saturday, September 24, 2011



Gonna Be Awesome?

God Bless America?

Great Big Attitude?

Galactically Bad A**.

There’s only one GBA.  

And that’s why this morning T & I put our run off for over an hour so we could go run 8 miles with 3L, WineNotWhine, Kristiß needs a bloggy name, KC and Dot in the middle of their 20 miler. 

See, there was NO WAY I was missing 3L’s first 20 miler.  No. freaking. Way.

But I’ve been running a low grade fever off and on for a few days, so I really had to run on Sunday of this week in the hopes that the fever completely breaks by the time it’s Sunday Funday Runday.  

Thus, no 20 on Saturday with Team Purple.

Thus, the AMBUSH.


we didn't plan it, but we're both wearing our Skull socks.
T & I didn’t even tell them we were coming.  We just showed up at a mid point on the route, parked our JEEP, and waited at the Grove SAG with SpeeDee & THE MAN until we started seeing runners.  

We chatted with THE MAN, cheered for the runners, called out Coach Black, got Shh'd by THE MAN, and in general, spent our 10 minutes waiting being cute.  MTTographer snapped a photo of our hotness whilst we waited.  How fabulous are we?

We saw The Posse coming from up the street and jumped in behind the MTTographer waving our arms & cheering (softly, as not to disturb the sleeping city of Richmond... ahem).

I know just the moment 3L saw us, and guess what?  MTTographer caught it on film. 

KC, WNW, Dot (2nd row), Kristi & 3L
Today I ran 8 miles- a few at MRP, and it felt easy.  And while that was great, it was the time spent with my favorite Posse that made today so perfect.

Today made me realize that sometimes doing something nice for someone is as easy as going for a run.

~Savor the Run~

And for the most part, the fever is gone, the exhaustion is waning, and I think if I get a good night’s sleep tonight that I should be able to tackle my 20 tomorrow.  IT’s the big 2.0.  And really, what kind of sicko am I that I can’t wait?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mapped Out

My non-running family loves mocking me.  And my hobby.

Yeah, cos what I do is a “hobby”. 

You see, not that long ago, my running was just sort of a thing I did, and not an entity of my identity.  When I first started running I didn’t run when I was out of town, so the extended parts of my family never saw me do it.  I would rearrange my 3 scheduled runs to fall when I wasn’t with my family, and that was sort of that.  I ran a few 5K’s, and even trained for and completed 2 half marathons while flying under the radar of my family.

But all this changed when my interested morphed into a passion that borders on addiction.  By my 3rd Half Marathon there was no hiding this any more.  In 2009 I would slowly emerge from my “closet”, and in November of that year I completed my first Marathon.  By March of 2010 I was holding a steady 40 mile week base.

Now, of course, I run the SportsBackers MTT sanctioned training plan for 24, or so, weeks of my year.  It’s a pretty normal looking schedule, with 5 running days, a cross day and a rest day.  And I never miss a run unless my ankle, knees, quad, or most likely, my hamstring tells me to take the day off.  I’m dedicated to my body, and I’m dedicated to my run.  Ok, ok, I love my run.  Only running 5 days a week is just as hard for me as running 5 days a week.

I said dedicated twice because marathon training takes twice as much dedication as hard work.

Recently at the dinner table, my non-running father made a comment about the location of X in relation to Y on the island of Cape Hatteras, and I said, “It’s ¾ of a mile from here to there”.  A knowing look passed between him and my non-running step-mother.  What ever, I laughed to myself.  I need to know that incase I want to run down that road tomorrow.

Then on the run in the Twickory, not that long ago, we were adjusting our mid-week run to accommodate the new schedule increases, and I suggested adding a mile by way of a particular road.  My thought process was along the lines of, “it’s .4 from here to there, and .7 from there to here, it will be just about 1 mile”.  There was dissention among the GBA’s, until my running mate 3L said something that sounded a lot like, “I’m going with g.  If GBA GF says it will be 8 miles, it will be exactly 8 miles.”  My watch beeped exactly 8 miles as I rolled into the parking lot.  But it made me think of what my father had said.

On the fly a few weeks ago I had to make a call about which way to run when we got off course.  “Look, it’s a mile from here to the Stadium, and then it’s 3 miles out and back from the Stadium to the Pope Arch.  We’re set.  We need 4 more miles.  Boom.  Done.”  And I turned and ran and guess what?  It was 4 miles.  Spot on.

So, what am I bragging about?  That I’m a total geek who memorizes that it’s .7 miles from Deep Run Highschool to the intersection near the SG YMCA, or who knows from where on Boulevard or Broad Street it’s going to be 1 mile to the SB Stadium?  Pretty much. 


No seriously.  What I’m bragging about is that no matter where I go, I mentally break down my run into smaller sections.  This is helpful for mapping and routing, yes.  If you’re into cartography.

But I’m not. 

I’m into marathoning.

As I look at the route THE MAN sends each week, I quickly scan it for obvious break points.  I use bridges, overpasses, and sometimes, major street crossings that occur at numbered mile points.  Then, I break my long runs into pieces.  Once one piece is done, I put it behind me, check it off, and try not to dwell on it, how it went, etc.  I can do that later. I’m now on the next segment of my run, focusing on the now, and being in the moment. 

This is why it’s perfectly logical to find me at mile 6 of a run struggling and cussing, and an hour later, at mile 12 of the same run, in a total state of run-love gushing and giggling about how much I love to run.

OK, endorphins and a runners high is also a possible source of run-love-slash-giggling.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Words for Wednesday

You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world's happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.
Dale Carnegie

(in other words, Thank the SAG volunteers)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nice Guys

They say "nice guys finish last".

I bet that's true about 50% of the time.

I mean, let's face it here people.  Not everyone is nice.

So a few weeks ago I volunteered at the Patrick Henry Half Marathon in a hurricane.  True story.  I worked a very well organized water stop with one of my favorite tall weird people.  The last time she & I volunteered together, the weather was a TOTAL FAIL.  So as soon as we saw each other in the dark, we knew the weather was going to be bad.  

There was something that happened that day at the Hurricane Half that I never told you all about.  It's bothered me off and on over the last weeks as I tried to figure out if it was blog worthy.  My 18 miler this weekend made me think that it is.

I've concluded there are different types of runners.

Some would rather take a DNF than go out and not PR ~ never mind finishing last.

Some would gladly run every mile regardless of pace simply because they love it that much, regardless of where they finish in the "pack".

Some will fight for every breath, hating every step they take, with determination and grit, as the pack leaves them.

Well, at PHHM, the girl who ran by the first water stop in last place... was crying.  The police car was idling behind her as she ran through the carnage of empty water cups and windblown volunteers.  Here she was, at mile #2 of a half marathon, and she was crying.

Personally, I don't find half marathons to feel that long any more.  But I remember my first 3... and they felt like ~ well ~ a HALF a freaking MARATHON.  

And those suckers are REALLY long.

I thought, "mentally, that girl has a tough road ahead" as I saw the tears...  I stood there for a nano-second contemplating...

What's a GBA to do?

I mean...  I was wearing running clothes.

I jumped onto the course and fell in beside her.  We ran for a few steps in silence as I listened to her hiccup and sniffle.  First off.  I didn't know what to say because I didn't actually know her.  Secondly, she was obviously feeling badly.  (or, was she feeling bad?)  Finally, I wondered what would make me feel less bad if I was her.... wait a minute.  We're running in a hurricane...

Suddenly she opens up, and gushing tears and words, she explains that she can't believe she's last.  Again.  Why is she last?  "Again?!"

As she finishes telling me how bad she sucks, I cheerfully said to her, "Don't you get it?  You're bad ass.  You're hard core.  The people who would be last didn't come today.  They stayed in bed.  They made excuses.  You are running a Half Marathon in a hurricane because you are AMAZING.  YOU go own YOUR race, and stop worrying about where everyone else is running.  This is YOUR RACE."

I dropped off.  She ran on, and I've often wondered how it went for her.

Saturday I ran MTT.  My posse was strong and secure in their run, and I... well.... go here and read this if you want to see how it went down.  It wasn't pretty.  (it was f'ugly)

I had a moment (or 9) where I wanted to quit.  And then I remembered the PHHM runner and thought, you know what?  I am HARD CORE.  This is MY RUN.  It doesn't matter what ANYONE ELSE IS DOING.


I suffered through and made it to the end.

Would I ever want to repeat that?  No.  No I really wouldn't.

The run was that bad.

But this tragic run made me appreciate that I am the kind of person who would rather suffer through and make it happen, than quit and always wonder if I could've done it.

~savor the run~

I need to add an UPDATE here.  Last week I spotted the Crying Runner running in Richmond.  I recognized her from the PHHM, so I crossed the street and asked how she was, and what she was up to, etc.  She DNF'd at PHHM.  She fell behind the time cut off.  But you want to know why I still admire her?  She was out running again when I saw her, running strong I might add, training for the marathon.  Yup, it turns out she's MTT.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Words for Wednesday

Most dreams die a slow death. They're conceived in a moment of passion, with the prospect of endless possibility, but often languish and are not pursued with the same heartfelt intensity as when first born. Slowly, subtly, a dream becomes elusive and ephemeral. People who've lost their own dreams become pessimists and cynics. They feel like the time and devotion spent on chasing their dreams were wasted. The emotional scars last forever.
Dean Karnazes

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Blogger: Volkswagon Blond

VWB is a posse member who runs with us in Twickory.   I adore her.  Her laugh makes me laugh.  Every time.  Here is Volkswagon Blond's Lemonade Stand:

After running my first ½ marathon in the fall of 2009, naturally the next step is to sign up for the Richmond Marathon.  I thought long and hard about this decision, over a year actually, and my mind was made up, this is the year I’m committing to running my first full marathon.

I’m not an easily discouraged individual, so once I set my mind to do something, I do it wholeheartedly.  

Up to this point in my the training, I’ve met each early morning 95% humidity run, each blister on my foot, each chaffed arm, and most recently a 13 mile run in a hurricane with a smile on my face.  I have tried hard not to let any factors outside of my control ruin this experience for me.  

Until the other day…

I set out to do my eight miles, as the training manual says to do, with no less enthusiasm than usual.  Except its 11:30 (I usually run at 5:30), and I didn’t sleep very good last night (no power=no a/c), and it’s really…well, hot.  No big deal, I’ve run in hot, humid weather all summer – let’s go.

Mile one…ugh….ok, this is just warming up, getting in my groove…

Mile two…am I warmed up or just plain hot..I can do this…one foot in front of the other…

Mile three…hydration beverage nearing empty (as am I)…

Mile four…practice the “mental training” I just read about…picture yourself at the end of your run…Ack….I see myself passed out in my front yard from heat….ok, that didn’t work…

Mile five…IF I can make it over this hill….I could turn left to head home…6 is pretty close…but wait…what is that…kids...cooler…stand…(birds singing, bells ringing) it’s a lemonade/water stand!!!  50¢ for a bottle?  Here’s a dollar, keep the change!  Thank you lemonade stand girls!!!

As I turned right to complete my 8, I smiled up at the bright sun in the beautiful blue sky and pictured myself finishing strong.  You thought you had me heat, but not today…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Yes, it Was Good For Me Too!

I had to post a quickie *muah*. Stop thinking like that!

I know I have said in the past I hate running, and I still do. In training for this Ironman I have put my run training last in order of priority. I HAD to get my swim technique dialed in, I had to gain my confidence back on my bike. After my ankle injury, and having to wear a brace on my left ankle, that's the side I prefer to clip into and out of my pedals on, I lost my balance and subsequently fell A LOT. I would look at my bike and she would fricking jump me, so I rode as little as possible. We needed to make peace, I am going to have to be with her for 112 miles. I want it to be like I am hanging with my best friend, not riding my ex-boyfriend. No awkwardness, just good times.

Running, she became my muse in reverse. Someone would say we had whatever distance we had to run on our training plan and I would cringe whether it 3 miles or 16. I'd rather be living in Caiina in Inferno for crying out loud! Toss me in that last circle of Hell because that's how I was feeling about running. What to do, what to do? I am breaking out in a cold sweat worrying about this.

I had my A-HA moment today. Last year I liked running way better then I do this year, why? Last year I focused only on my running. Was religious with my hill repeats and track workouts, had really worked hard with the 10k training team before MTT. Rarely missed a training run.

Duh, I need to get back to basics. Those basics were hills for me today. And as I ran up and down that hill 11 times like a honey badger, I felt better and better. My times reflect that too.

I will be training in reverse these next few weeks. Dialing my distances back a little, including hill repeats in my weekly workouts, and not missing a training run during the week. I am hoping by the end of a few weeks my little experiment will boost my running and my confidence. I am thinking it will. We'll see.

I want to be able to say, and truly mean it, when my husband looks at me when we're done running and asks, "My run was great today, how was it for you babe?"

"honey, it was good for me too!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Words for Wednesday

For those who like that sort of thing, it's the sort of thing that they like.

~ Oscar Wilde

Monday, August 22, 2011

All Work & No Play makes g....

Ok, so lest you think I'm a total bore.  I did get out to work on Sunday Funday.  ... it's just that unlike every government official in the United States, I know how to balance things like a budget, er, I mean, work...

 Here I am, at WORK.  In the moment with my run, staying in my ZONE.
Focus and determination combine nicely with...
...a slight misunderstanding of when the photo was actually being snapped

and... here I am at PLAY.  In the moment with my MTT POSSE of Yellow SNOW!
Michelle, g., 3L, Kc, Kristi
Super Hero Formation has nothing on us.  We rock.
(why Yes Safety Nazi, we are running 5 across in the street.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Running and biking and tris oh my...and waking up at 4AM, oh why???

You know, there's something to be said for sleeping. I like it a lot. I like to go to sleep early, and sleep until I can't sleep anymore. My bed is such a warm, down filled place, all 600 thread count softness of it. I love my bed. When my alarm clock screams at me at 4AM and disturbs my bed bonding time, I get a little angry.

I have been angry since Friday morning, and why you might ask? Were there hammer moments involved here once again? Naturally, story of my life!

Let's rewind a little *insert wavy dream sequence lines here*

I convinced a straight up running friend of mine she wanted to do a triathlon with me. She lives in the City and trains in Central Park, how cool is that, and I told her she could bike train there too. Her girls swim at one of those nifty roof top pools in Manhattan, I told her to get herself some swim lessons and we'd do the Pink Power. This was back in January before I understood my Iron aspiration. She registered and we were going to pop her tri cherry. I was happy to bring her over to the dark side.

I registered for all of my races in January with my husband. We were trying to be proactive and plan ahead hahahahahaha, PHEW *wipes tears from her eyes*. If you know us, you'll understand why that is a truly stupid statement. We had planned to do IMFL, but I hadn't even looked at a training plan at that point and I had no idea the volume of training we'd be churning out at this point in a plan.

So my friend braves I-95 on a Friday afternoon and gets here by 10 o'clock at night. That was good, because I had a 16 mile run with MTT on Sunday. But our race was on Sunday so I decided to run with some friends from MTT on Friday morning at 5:15am, hence my first angry morning of bed separation anxiety.

My husband is a giver, did I ever mention that? After our run on Friday he promptly signed us up for the Tour de Lions century ride on Saturday. "You need to do a Century this year, no time like the present Dee". But I don't wanna do it yet, wahhhhhh, my plan only called for 40 miles on the bike on Saturday, not 100. And I ran a really horrible run on Friday. I got sick in the middle of Thursday night due to being a gall bladderless wonder now. I never know what's going to bother my stomach, it's like playing food roulette I told my favorite training partner ever, Heather. This time, the dirty culprit was cous cous and veggies with a piece of lean pork that I grilled. Hooray for being sick at 1:00AM and for getting sick during the run. But ever the optimist, I told myself I was running in the Ironman, and here I was sick to my stomach. Could I continue? Of course! I'm not going all of that way to not finish dammit. So this crappy training run would be practice for the big show. I managed to muddle through almost 14 miles of the 16. Better then nothing.

Saturday morning I was really nervous to say the least. But I was angry AGAIN my friends. I was roused out of my soft, nest of a bed at 4am, AGAIN to go ride in beautiful Ashland and Hanover. Check out this awesome foursome getting ready to roll out (a very special thank you and hat tip to our newly made MD friends for taking our photo. You guys were great!)

I learned more from my training once again. I need more nutrition when I ride. Eat the WHOLE uncrustable, stop worrying about the calories you're taking in, you're not the fat kid anymore. But I digress. Here I am at mile 60, still looking pretty good I'd have to say....

At mile 88 maybe, I realize I am going to bonk. REALLY???? I dragged my now incredibly sore butt out of bed for a bonk on my bike? Thankfully one of the women I was riding with saw me struggle and asked what we could do. I managed to gulp down a gel, slurp up some Gatorade and muddle on. We were lucky the end of the ride was all twists and turns through picturesque suburbia. No straightaways where you feeling like a greyhound chasing that mechanical bunny with a full head of steam. We somehow missed a turn or something and came up a few miles short, whatevs. I was done as was my rump, I got awfully intimate with my Glide on this ride at each rest stop, but unless I was riding my warm, fluffy bed all that way I was bound to be sore. Ok, enough of that imagery~

Ca-ching!! An (almost)Century in my Ironman mileage bank.

I told my friend I wasn't doing the tri with her after all. I told her my legs were too trashed to even think about it but I would go and cheer her on. That way I figured although I'd have to get up early-ish it wouldn't be 4AM early. Well guess what happened without an alarm clock? Yes, my traitor of an internal clock woke me up, then made me get out of bed. I tested my legs, stiff as hell and feeling awfully wooden. What is going on, why on earth am I putting my RTC tri suit on?? Body stop, GO BACK TO BED NOW. Stop betraying yourself, you DON'T WANT TO RACE TODAY!!! But the toothbrush was in my mouth, my ponytail going up, legs moving mechanically down the stairs. Coffee and breakfast I am thinking, my wonderful husband fixed my aero bars, put my race wheels on and loaded my bike on the car for me already. How could I not go? Off to the race, with two of my biggest fans (my daughters) in tow. They knew Mommy would race and they wanted to see.

I won't go through what happened next, but I did finish the race. It was painful, and hurt and I dry heaved at mile 2.5 on the run, but I did it, and actually finished nearly a minute faster then last year. And of course I am really upset that I didn't do better. If I didn't stop to get my legs underneath me again on the run, I would have done better. And if I were in the 20-24 year old age group I would have been in 3rd place as opposed to 15th out of 77 in my age group. And if wishes were horses beggars would ride.

In case you're wondering, my friend Caryn totally rocked her first triathlon. She finished in 1:28. Awesome time girl, you were looking great too. I need to add a picture of her after she finished. That post race high is still on her face.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pom Poms & Bobby Socks

It's August.  Not only that, it's LATE in August.  Do you know what this means?

This is my favorite part of MTT.  The really challenging running is about to start.  This is where the work is, and this is what we're all about.  I'm excited to say it... we're headed into the big miles my friends.  ISN'T THAT AWESOME?

~awkward pause~

(s'ok, my friends say that about me too)

The long hard runs are where you see what you're made of... and the nice thing about doing it with a group like MTT is that if you find you're lacking, all the energy and support of the runners around you can help carry you through on the tough days.  

And you want to talk about bonding moments?  Nothing brings runners together like running down Westham Parkway talking about Will Ferrel.  I once had a coach pass me & some friends on his way to whatever it is he was on his way to, overhear our SNL impersonations, and slow down to join us for a mile.  

I like a lot of cowbell when I'm running a marathon

Or if not Will Ferrel, what about those "remember that time" stories that we all save.  If you haven't been saving them, get with the program.  Those are the kinds of things that make people want to slow down and run with you.  Did I ever tell you about the time I ended up on the worst date ever? In a grave yard? With my co-worker's son?

No?  Well, if you want to hear it, you're just going to have to show up to the SNOW 20 miler in a few weeks.

But these super long runs aren't just about hanging with your peeps, recapping bad dates that happened 20odd years ago, and whining about the hills of Riverside Drive.  They're not about noting to eachother how the Lee Bridge is like a giant treadmill (or is that a dreadmill?) and how it seems to go forever. 

Yes, these things are entertaining and all, but everyone needs to try to remember that for some of us, some aspects of marathon training demand attention.

I'm super energetic sock girl!  I'm here to have fun! ...sure.

But, I'm also here to work.

If you've run a marathon before then you know what I'm talking about.  There's a lot of mental training that goes with running a marathon.  Particularly if you're going to be running it alone.  It's easy to get caught up in the "I can't hold this pace for another step" routine.  It's easy to get caught up in "I can't even walk another step, must less run another step".  

The way I like to see it...  These long runs are an opportunity to say to yourself, "Don't take no for an answer" and then test that resolve.

Sometimes that means I don't have the energy to carry the pom poms with me on the run.  My MTT Cheerleading bobby socks and two tone pleated skirt are being turned in for compression socks and a running skirt.  

This is me, publicly admitting that my plan is to be a little selfish in the next few weeks.  I have to look out for me.  So for the moment, if you see me out running on Sunday Funday, and I don't seem like 'my-SUPER FUN-self', take a moment and reflect on that thought.

I am being myself.  

It just happens that I'm internalizing and focusing on the moment while mentally preparing for the efforts that lie before me in November.

Ask yourself, What are you doing to mentally prepare you for 26.2?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Words for Wednesday

It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
~Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Words for Wednesday

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.

~ Richard Whately

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Blogger: Jenny "Silver"

Jenny, of MTT Silver is the author of the blog Small Beginnings.

So when g. emailed me about writing a guest post on this blog I was so excited, but nervous. First I couldn’t believe that she would want me, as I am a beginning runner with absolutely no experience, to write something. Then I started to think about how much I have to learn, how I love visiting this blog because I’m so curious about anything running related, whether it’s to check out the cute skirts they always wear or hear some good training advice.

So I was responding that I would love to write a post, and was sharing a little about my training. This month on the novice schedule the miles are starting to get higher and it’s kinda intimidating. Saturday we run 12 miles, for some reason I had thought it was 11. It’s only one extra mile, which really isn’t that much but it freaked me out a bit. Then I knew what I wanted to write about. Fear.

I think we as humans are so fearful. I am definitely guilty of it. Whenever I run a new distance there is a part of me that wonders if I will really make it? Will I be the one that collapses on Grove Avenue and they have to call someone to come pick me up?

But then I think back to a couple months ago, when I was training for the Monument Avenue 10k. I vividly remember thinking “I may not make it to 6.2 miles by April 2!” And then I remember running my first 10k on February 1st, 2 months before the race. And that race was simply amazing, I remember running across that finish line feeling like a million bucks. My mom and husband cheering for me, both amazed that I ran that much. The crowd, everything about that morning was almost surreal. And I did it. I made it.

So I say to myself “You didn’t think you could run that far and you did, so you can do this as well.” And every time I make it. Am I the fastest one on my team? No, I’m not. In fact I am one of the slower ones, but that’s okay. Because I’m doing this, I’m overcoming my fears.

I’ve learned that runners are not absent of fear. Before I became one I thought they were always confident and so sure of themselves. I know this isn’t true, and that’s okay. I think the key is not giving into fear. Not letting it rule your choices, because I think so many people miss out on so much because they are afraid to even try.

I am reminded of a quote by Henry Ford “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” It’s so true. If you believe that you can do something, and of course put in the time and effort and do what your coaches tell you to do, you will make it. Don Garber recently sent out an email about the Half Marathon training team that started this past Saturday. He said if you are doing all your runs now you will make it to the Marathon. I needed to hear that, because there was apart of me that secretly wanted to switch. Nobody would blame me, I’ve never run a half marathon before and so it would still be a challenge. But, I knew I would regret it. Because my real goal is the marathon.

I think overcoming fear will always be apart of training. Even if it’s 5 years from now when I’m a mom, and just worried about not having the time to train, or I am trying to set a new PR. But I don’t want to live my life by giving into it. I always think about what it will feel like to cross that finish line on November 12. That date has been in my calendar since April. I know the feeling of reaching that goal once, crossing that finish line and knowing I have defeated my fears is simply amazing, and I want it again. It’s worth the risk, the unknown and the doubts to say “yeah, I ran a marathon, yup that’s 26.2 miles.” 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Melting SNOW

Summer makes me cranky.

I mean, summertime makes me happy, and tan, and I love fresh summer produce, and long days....

But it ALSO makes me cranky.

I'm not the only one who suffers from cranky-summer running.  I don't want to mention any names, but I have a friend to whom I address running e-mails with "Dear Cranky & Hot".  True story.

The friend is hot.

But then again, it's freaking AUGUST in VIRGINIA.


Hot runners, hot under the collar, hot under the skirt... but that's getting off topic...

I've been out of the loop.  Off globe trotting, and miserable, and suffering through hot lonely runs.  But whew ~ I'm hearing stories from ALL DIRECTIONS.  Colors are FLYING, and tempers are flaring like unstable solar fields on the heliosphere.  I think I maybe just geeked out there for a minute...

I think though, that while the crankiness of summer running is a bit tricky to negotiate, I can get around some of the social ramifications by ...  running alone.

Ok.  That isn't going to happen.
I'm not going to become a hermit.
I talk WAY too much for that to ever occur.

Instead I think I will have better success if I simply try to remember an important detail.  Maybe, just maybe, I'm the one who is cranky.  Maybe it's NOT the people around me.  Perhaps they are simply mirroring my epic grump.

So when I interact with my friends, co-runners, people from other teams, Those People, the ones I will call ~ The Haters ~, the weirdo's who don't appreciate running in tall socks, and the non-runner in my life...  I will try to keep tabs on the idea that maybe, just maybe, it's not them.  It's me.

Of course, you know what that means, right?  It means I have to try EXTRA hard to show up with a good attitude, smile, embrace the moment and be in it even if I'm alone.  

I look forward to bringing that excellent smiling attitude to my return to MTT.  I look forward also to supported runs, SAGs with smiling faces, to MTT discussion boards, to hell repeats, to the Patrick Henry Half Marathon, to ... pish ~ no way am I running that... 3 half marathons in less than 30 days sounds like a punishment I don't deserve.

Of course, all that is assuming I ever make it back to VA.  So far in the last 7 days I've been about 3,780 miles... not including the 13.1 I ran on Sunday.  If things go to plan, I should see you in a week or so.

This weekend I'm sucking running another HOT rainy Half Marathon... the last one was in San Francisco, (which you can read a re-cap here), and this one is in Providence RI....  2 Half Marathons in 7 Days is proving to be a bigger test than I imagined.  My legs were still wasted when I got done with started my shake out run this morning.  So I did what any self respecting marathoner would do...

I jumped in my In-Laws pool fully clothed at 6am.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  It still seems like a good idea now, but then again, I'm a runner, and runners are weird.  

Respect The Distance.
Savor the run.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Words for Wednesday

The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.

~ Bill Watterson, in his comic strip Calvin and Hobbes

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Words for Wednesday

Life is a succession of lessons enforced by immediate reward, or, oftener, by immediate chastisement.
~Ernest Dimnet

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why do you run?

I started to write this about 20 times.  I started it over a week ago... and then, something happened.  Something that made me wonder....

It wasn't a bad thing that happened, it was... just unfortunate.  Someone said something to me, defending their own point of view, that made me realize that they didn't get me.

At all.

And the thing that was said, well; it was kinda harsh.  Unintentionally harsh, but still ~harsh~.

But you know sometimes how unfortunate things make you think?  I just wondered, if this person understood why I do this, maybe they would get me and cease making unintentionally hurtful comments.  And then I realized - wait...  I'll come back to that...

Jenny, a Silver MTT runner recently blogged about why she runs.  She was very specific in her reasons. I admire her for taking the time to put them down in writing.

DeeR, a SNOW runner blogged here that she only runs because it’s part of the triathlon.  Apparently those pesky tri folks at USAT aren’t ready to find a more desirable 3rd leg for DeeR’s needs… so she runs because she must.  I get that.  I guess.  

It’s not the reason I run though.  Not even close.  In fact, in this regard, DeeR & I couldn’t be more different.

Why do I run?  It’s personal.  And simple. 

I run because I love it.... and why does a person fall in love?  Who knows... really....

I run because I always thought I knew my limits, and knew that it was stupid to push past those limits into a certainty of failure….  until I met running and found a whole new level of stupidity to test.  Failure can happen, but for me, running has shown me that not trying is a greater disappointment.

I run because I love to skirt the line between blowing up and exploding… and yeah, those are two very different things.

I run because it's a series of contradictions.  I love how it makes me feel invincible and mortal at the same time.  

I run because I love how I feel powerful when I accomplish a hard run, and how the very act of doing it makes me stronger.

I run because I’m a bit like a drug addict and running is my heroin.  My life is measured in the quantity and quality of my Heroin Use in General.

But mostly, I run because it makes me happy to run.

Writing that down makes me think that everyone has a reason for doing this.  And (here's what I was thinking I wanted to come back to) no one's reasons are going to be the same.

Even if the reason looks the same, it’s probably different.

15 runners on GBA equates to 15 different reasons to run.  50 runners on SNOW equals 50 reasons…. And 1200 or so runners on MTT … you get it. 

By the way, that’s 1200 TEAMMATES to support YOU and respect YOUR reasons…  and 1200 TEAMMATES you should support and RESPECT for their reasons.

Even if their reasons are not the same as yours.  Even, if you look at your dear friend DeeR and think, "but this is AWESOME!  Why don't you love this like I DO?"  Even if you are tempted to judge someone because they train harder than you, or not as hard as you, or run 6 days a week, or run 3 days a week, or wear tall socks, or don't wear tall socks...
(which is a mystery to me why more people don't wear them ~ they're terribly comfortable...).

Chances are, unless you’re really outgoing, you’re not going to meet all 1200 MTT runners. 

Here’s my suggestion though.  Support and respect the ones you do meet.  After all, nearly everyone on MTT shares the common goal of “laying down 26.2 miles their own way”.

I try to meet as many people as possible.  I like to introduce myself.  I like to know Sonja, and Cheryl, and Miriam's names because who knows who you'll meet on race morning, or more importantly, on race afternoon at mile 23 when seeing a familiar face is not just "nice"... it's more like seeing an oasis in the desert.  in july.  during a heat wave.  

And I'm not going to lie, ever since reading Jenny & DeeR's posts, I have been tempted to ask every MTT runner I meet... "Why do you run?"

So do me a favor and answer this question today:  Why do you run? 

If you want to comment, I’d love to know your reason.  Take as many words or as few as you like...

Or write it down and keep it for yourself and know that you KNOW why you run.

Or if you don’t want to comment publicly, but you’re willing to share - you can send me e-mail (nmomof3 (at) gmail (dot) com.  

And if you feel like it ~ ID yourself as novice, intermediate, advanced, coach, or non MTT runner. 

All are welcome to drink the Koolaid here.... no matter their reasons for running.

~savor the run~