Monthly Archives: August 2013

RRG’s Rebuttal to “Runners Are Jerks”

You may have seen the article 13 Reasons Every Runner is a Jerk written by Guy Speed Editors.

Whether you are a runner or not, it’s mildly amusing to think that someone could be so bitter about something as harmless as running.  He even concludes his opening remarks stating that runners won’t be offended by this because we’re too busy running to read it.  This is, obviously, untrue.  The lack of time to read it part, that is.  As far as being offended?  Well, it’s so ridiculous, it’s basically impossible to take any of it seriously.  In fact, I’m not writing my rebuttal to be defensive, I am merely writing it because my friend and fellow running jerk, Steve DeFriese, suggested that it would be comical to respond to such nonsense.  And so, without further adieu…

13 Reasons Every Runner is a Jerk by Guy Speed Editors

Running has countless benefits — it’s good for your health, your heart, your stress levels and might even increase your lifespan. Too bad almost every runner is a massive jerk.

An estimated 7 million people participate in some form of running for exercise each year, which means, we’re surrounded by at least 7 million aholes who make the sport seem so damn obnoxious. That’s probably because it is obnoxious.

Here are thirteen reasons most runners are jerks. Don’t worry, they won’t be offended, they are out running and won’t have time to read this article.

RRG:  Ok, First of all, EVERY runner is a jerk?  Do you KNOW every runner?  Doubtful.  So it is really impossible to conclude this. Secondly, you go on to say “almost every runner” and “most runners”.  So which is it?  All of us?  Most of us? Some of us?  I think it’s fair to say that, yes, some runners are jerks.  Just like some Serial killers are jerks, some grocery store clerks are jerks, some professional golfers are jerks.  Jerks come in all packages, and some hide behind the keyboard of a laptop and post nonsensical drivel declaring entire groups of people to be this or that and creating stereotypes.  Sillyness.

We live in a society where we are constantly fighting to break down the hate and hostility against various groups of people (different ethnicities, homosexuals, etc).  Have we really resorted to this?  C’mon.  Let’s get real.  Try to be a little more accepting of people’s differences and stop generalizing, would you?  Typically fear is what leads to hate.  Are you afraid of runners or are you just afraid to run?

1. They run through and around traffic and really don’t care about the rules of the road.

RRG: Occasionally this is true.  Although I don’t recommend it.  As a social run leader, I always make an announcement at the beginning of each run to practice safety when crossing a main thoroughfare.  I suggest headlamps if it’s dark and reflectivity is a requirement.  We know that cars are bigger than we are, but let us not forget that “Pedestrians have the right of way”.  

2.  They brag about losing toenails and bloody nipples are acceptable.

RRG:   Losing a toenail is sort of like a rite of passage for marathoners.  Although, if you’re wearing the correct shoe in the correct size, the likelihood of losing a toenail should be considerably less.  And Bloody nipples are never acceptable.  Period.  That’s why we recommend synthetic clothing and products like Run Guard (anti-chafe) and Nipguards.  

3.  Running on crowded sidewalks is common as long as you don’t get in the way with your “walking”.

RRG:   Running on crowded sidewalks isn’t particularly fun, but I suppose it beats the alternative of running “through and around traffic”.  People walk all different paces on the sidewalk, why should our running be any different?  

4.  Runners love to sticker brag how far they’ve run…ironically stuck to the back of their cars.

RRG:  Yes, we do this.  And some of us take it a step farther.  I have 26.2 tattooed on my right ankle and I have countless jerk friends who have other running related ink.  Would you rather read a bumper sticker about my honor student?  Or perhaps you would rather see my family depicted on my back window, including my 17 cats.  Whatever, it’s my car.  I can put anything on it that I want.  That might be an indication of my ego, but it doesn’t make me a jerk.  

5.  The entire sport is based on being selfish and alone.

RRG:  How do you figure?  Sometimes people run for solitude, myself included.But lots of people run with social clubs or training teams.  Many people have a “running buddy” or a training partner.  Races are all about camaraderie.  Some races are team events or relays.  So to say that the entire sport is based on “being selfish and alone”, is completely inaccurate.  Running is based on pushing ourselves to be stronger, better people.  The endorphin high we get from running makes us happier, too.  Perhaps you need a few more endorphins in your life.

6.  When a race is over, every runner gets a medal.  Medals.  For everyone.  Grown people with medals.

RRG:  Maybe if you had a medal or two of your own, you wouldn’t be so bitter.

7.  Not every runner can pull off running shorts, but EVERY runner tries.

RRG:  Actually, not EVERY runner tries to pull off running shorts.  Some people are very self-conscious about running shorts, so they prefer running skirts or tights.  I personally love Nike capris, but when its 95 degrees out, with 90% humidity, I prefer not to melt, so I wear shorts.  Besides, at least the people who can’t pull them off are out there making an effort to do something about their lifestyle.  Stop being so judgmental about their apparel choices.  If you want to do that, go hang out at Walmart.

8. The sport is so boring they need gimmicks to make it entertaining.

RRG:  I can honestly say I have never participated in a gimmick run.  I haven’t done a color run or a glow run or a zombie run, not even a mud run.  I have only participated in running races, and more recently triathlons, and I do it because to me, it’s fun.  So honestly, I can’t really speak to this.  But I will say that if people need something gimmicky to make exercising more fun, then bring on the gimmicks.  We live in America where obesity is out of control, so let’s give people every reason to get out an exercise.  And if you think running is boring, well, you are entitled to that opinion.  I choose to believe otherwise.  And that doesn’t make me a jerk.

9.  Don’t plan on runners doing anything on a weekend, they’ve got a race (or need to train for one)

RRG:  It’s true we make our plans around our races and our long training runs.  But how does that affect you?  Even so, have you ever been to a post race party?  Runners know how to have a good time.  We train hard, we race hard, and then we play hard.  End of story.  

10.  Runners think other people care about their times.  Even other people interested in running don’t care about their times.

RRG:  If you aren’t interested in hearing about our times, just say so.  We do tend to get over excited about the numbers, but nobody said you had to listen to us.  

11.  They invite people to watch them run.

RRG:  You are completely contradicting yourself here.  In #5 you said the sport is based on being selfish and alone.  If we really wanted to be alone, would we invite you to come out and celebrate with us?  Perhaps we are trying to include you and welcome you into our club. Ever think about that?

12.  Races shut down major streets for hours, but it’s cool, no one else was going anywhere today.

RRG:  Umm, yeah, ya got me on this one.  It’s true, our races can be an inconvenience to travelers.  But isn’t it better to have to take a detour because of a race, than to have a highway shut down for months of construction?  Or due to a 56 car pile-up resulting in a bunch of casualties?  Just sayin…

13.  “Did I mention I went for a run today?  How many times?  Here’s one more for mention…”

RRG:  It’s true.  We like to talk about running.  Heck, some of us like it so much we start a blog so we can talk about it all the time.  And weirdly, people actually read it because they might find it interesting or entertaining.  Go figure.  But again, just because we’re talking, doesn’t mean you have to listen.  

A Final Note from Rambling Runner Girl:  I very highly doubt that any of my comments will change your mind and make you consider befriending me or any of my jerk friends.  Look, you don’t have to agree with me and you certainly don’t have to like me.  I’m not going to change my opinion about running, just like you probably won’t either. However, should you wish to check out a social run and do something good for your health, your heart, your stress level and your lifespan (your words, not mine), my jerk friends and I would be more than happy to have you come run with us.  We are a very accepting bunch.

I am a runner, that’s not going to change.  If that makes me a jerk, then yeah, I am a proud, card-carrying member of the Jerk Club.  And I really think it would behoove you to come join us, Guy Speed, because we’re in the market for a new club President.

Lessons from Lake St. Louis 2013

A whole year has come and gone since I officially became a triathlete.  How is that possible?  Sometimes it dragged, and sometimes it felt like time was flying by.  Time is weird.  But time does some pretty incredible things.  It heals.  It allows us to mark our own progress.  It is consistent but it knows how to adapt to change.  And time never stops pressing on.  We could all learn a few things from Time.

On Saturday, I joined several friends at the course of the Lake St. Louis Tri.  Some did the long course, some did the short.  Some were out for hardward, some were in the shoes I was in a year ago, just hoping to survive to tell the story.  Some were the same friends who I saw in Racine.

I didn’t accomplish my goal of a Sub 3, but I did give LSL all I had in the moment and I walked away with an almost 7 minute PR.  I improved my times in all 3 disciplines and both transitions.  So, I’m pretty happy with that.  I also set a goal to finish in the top 10 of my age group, and I was #9 (Yes, there were more than 9, 14 actually thank you very much.)  Not everything went according to plan, but that’s pretty much par for the course.  After all is said and done, I had a great time on Saturday, I’m proud of my race and I’m proud of how far I’ve come in the past year.  That just allows me to set my sights even higher for the year ahead.

Here are a few of the lessons I took away from LSL Tri 2013…

  1. I am still a really, really, really slow swimmer.  But at least now I’m proud of the fact that I give the illusion of knowing what I’m doing out there.  And I think I still finished the swim in the bottom 5 of my wave, but that’s better than bottom 2!
  2. Goal for 2014: Learn how to swim a straight line.
  3. Don’t get lost in the transition area.
  4. Consider courses with less hills and more shade.
  5. I might be a closet cyclist masquerading as a runner.
  6. Ryan and Farrell chose the location of their home wisely…5 minute walk to the start line.  Nice job Guys! J
  7. I have some really Badass friends.  Not just the ones who owned the course like Katherine who took 2nd female overall of the long course and Brian Schoenholtz who took 3rd male overall of the short course.  And Katie Schoenholtz and Erin Wilke who took 3rd in their age groups and Mark French who won his age group.  But all my friends who were out there sweating with me.  And especially the peeps who came out for no other reason than to support us.  I got to have friends, my kiddos and ALL my moms at the finish line (My mom-Mama J, Steve’s mom-Dee and Lindsey’s mom-Wendy)  How awesome is that?!
  8. The LSL Rescue team rocks.  Traffic on the course this year was a beast, the cops directing traffic were much appreciated.  As were the folks in the water, like Ryan Heaberlin and Rick Tharwachter.  We wouldn’t be able to participate in events like this without the invaluable group of people who volunteer to take care of us.  Can’t thank you all enough!
  9. Residents who put out their sprinklers are much appreciated, especially nice for those of us who might pee ourselves.  Don’t judge me.
  10. Some people are just naturally gifted at various events.  I am not one of them.  But I’m willing to work my butt off to tri! (See what I did there?)
  11. Sometimes it’s hard not to hate the people who are naturally gifted.  But at least I have the capability to be out there.  And for that, I am thankful.
  12. Some days you walk away with a PR and some days you don’t. But at the end of the day, no matter how big or small, a PR is a PR.  So be happy when it’s a PR kind of day.
  13. Remember the Run Guard.  Chafing sucks.  Especially boob chafing.  Just sayin…
  14. There is always room for improvement.
  15. Triathlons are hard.
  16. I’ve said it before, but it warrants repeating…STOP DOUBTING MYSELF.
  17. I love having perfect strangers cheer me on.  But the thing I love to hear the most is, “Keep smiling Girl!  You’re making it look FUN.”  And THAT, is the true trademark of Rambling Runner Girl.

So, who wants to sign up to do LSL with me next year?

Lindsey squared 2013...we recreated the picture from last year. Looks pretty much the same, huh?

Lindsey squared 2013…we recreated the picture from last year. Looks pretty much the same, huh?

Lake St. Louis Triathlon: Take 2

It’s been exactly one year since my very first triathlon.  Which was a complete disaster.  But I finished it. Tomorrow morning is the Lake St. Louis Triathlon.  And once again, I am signed up for the long course.

Ever since conquering Racine 70.3, I have been looking forward to LSL more than words can describe.  This course is the true test of how far I’ve come in the past year.  Last year it was about survival.  But that pretty much sums up 2012 in general. This year is about proving to myself that I’m the most improved competitor in the field.  And I am quite positive I will be.  Or I was quite positive.  Until I came down with this stupid summer cold bug on Monday and it’s been kicking my butt all week.

Seriously, since my run at Castlewood to start off the week, I have done absolutely nothing.  It is so hard to “be smart and listen to my body” when I really want to be well prepared to go out there on Saturday and kick ass.  Instead, I’ve been sitting around all week, sleeping as much as I can and eating everything in sight.  Well, I guess there is something to be said for carb loading.  And this is like the ultimate taper.  Starve a fever, feed a cold, right?  Well, that’s what I’ve been doing.  The first day of my sore throat I had no appetite what so ever.  And then it came back with a vengeance.  Bagels, mac & cheese, waffles, cereal, ice cream, you name it.  I can’t stop eating!

Anyway, while I’ve been sitting around not working out, I’ve had plenty of time to look at my results from last year.  My overall time was just under 3 hours and 14 minutes.  I was second to last in my wave on the swim portion.  I moved up a few spots on the bike.  And I ended up finishing just barely ahead of the bottom third.  My transition times were ridiculous.  You might think I laid down to take a nap between the swim and the bike.

Ever since Racine, my goal has been sub 3.  I mentioned that to Ally yesterday and she asked, “Does 2 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds count?”  Yep, sure does!

And quite honestly, I think this is very feasible.  Or I did…until the sick thing came and whooped my butt.  Ugh.  So frustrating.  And swimming with a stuffy head, no fun.  Especially when it feels like I’m swallowing razorblades.  So, bring on the ibuprofen and Sudafed.

I have obsessed over the numbers.  I’d like to think I can take about 7-8 minutes off my swim time.  Which might sound ridiculous, but if you saw me swim last year, well, that was REALLY ridiculous.  I averaged 17 mph on the bike at LSL last year, and I was a little faster than that in Racine, which was twice as far, so I know I can knock a couple minutes off that time.  The run?  Well, I ran about the same pace at both, so that might not change a whole lot.  But I’m pretty sure I can cut down some time in the transitions.  Can I cut 14 minutes from what I did last year?  That’s a lot but honestly, yeah, I believe that I can.

This tri, like I said, is a true test of my progress.  And even if things don’t go as planned, I already know that I’ve come a long way since last year.  I learned how to swim.  I bought a real bike.  Heck I finished 70.3 in Racine.  With waves like the OCEAN!  So, I really don’t have to finish LSL in any particular time, or finish it at all for that matter, to know how far I’ve come.

But it sure would be nice to be able to go out there and see what I’m truly capable of.  Hopefully, my sinuses will clear up, my throat will be fine, my energy restored and I can get after it!  But here’s the thing…when has there ever been a time that some unexpected something hasn’t come up to try to hold me back?  There’s always something…a sprained ankle, a hurricane, a bum knee, a heat wave in Canada for crying out loud!!!  And that’s life.  Unexpected things pop up all the time.  I can let it slow me, stop me, break me.  Or I can look at it and say, No way, I’m doing this!  So, cold-schmold, I’m not letting this silly thing hold me back.

Lake St. Louis might have kicked my butt last year, but it sure as hell won’t happen again.  It occurred to me today, that I did LSL last year with my married name.  A couple days later I got the notice that the divorce was final and I was free and clear to go back to using Jacobs.  So, #315 is ready to take on this tri tomorrow.  LJ is out for redemption!

It’s go time.

Lindsey squared at the LSL Tri 2012

Lindsey squared at the LSL Tri 2012

Running with Reckless Abandon

She’s a good girl, loves her mama, loves Jesus, and America too.  She’s a good girl, crazy ‘bout Elvis, loves horses, and her boyfriend too…

As John Mayer’s voice filled my ears with the lyrics of Free Fallin’, I thought, Yep, that’s all meWell, except for that last part.  Oh, and the thing about Elvis, I’ve really always preferred the Beatles. But anyway…

It was Friday afternoon and I was sprawled on a blanket next to the lagoon in Forest Park by Steinberg Rink, waiting for Diana and Andrea to show up so we could run.  I was laying there, legs outstretched, arms behind my head, staring up at the clouds overhead.  It was a rare moment of peace in my schedule and frankly, I was enjoying it to my heart’s content.  There were a couple guys finishing nearby and every once in a while they would pass through my line of vision. I watched them fist bump and do the bro hug.  I could see their lips moving but I had no idea what they were saying to each other.  It was a rare, perfect August evening, in the Lou.  Slightly overcast, light breeze, low humidity, cool enough that I actually contemplated throwing my sweatshirt on over my running clothes as I waited, while several groups of cross country kids ran past and an occasional cyclist zipped by.


Forest Park on Friday

Forest Park on Friday

Eventually I stood up to find the girls waiting near my car wondering where I was.  And then, the weekend was off and running.  Literally.  It was an insanely packed weekend.  Diana and I had a Girls Night planned for about a month because it was the only date we could mutually land on and I planned to stay with Diana Friday night.  It has become tradition that our Girls Nights always start with a loop around Forest Park.  Saturday I worked all day, then jumped in the car with some of my co-workers to head downtown for the pre-season Rams/Packers game to celebrate Katrina’s birthday.  I was there proudly displaying my Bears shirt.  The beer guy deduced that I must be a Rams fan by default because there was no way I could even consider cheering for the Packers.  I concurred.  A few of us went out after the game and I stayed at Kat’s apartment.

I got up Sunday morning and went back to the store.  August in specialty running is the busiest time there is.  The height of marathon training, the start of Cross Country season and back to school, all converge for mild insanity.  It’s exciting, and crazy, and fun!  But somewhat exhausting too.  After work Sunday, I was off to Lake St. Louis for a housewarming BBQ for Farrell and Ryan.  And so went Round 3 of the weekend.  I ended up staying in their guest room and not dragging myself out of bed until about 10:30am on Monday.  (Benefit of having no kids and working the closing shift on Mondays! It’s my sleep in day, and I needed it.)

I made my way home, tended to a few things and then headed over to Castlewood to get in as many miles as I had time for before a shower and work.

I headed out the trail along the river…overwhelmed by thoughts of appointments I needed to schedule.  I ran past the stairs and continued along the river bank…thinking about a phone call I needed to make to one of the kids’ teachers.  We haven’t even started school yet and it’s already weighing on me.  I headed back to the stairs and up…there was a nice breeze, but I was sucking wind pretty good in the heat of the day and I contemplated how difficult it is to train for a marathon with work and 3 kids.  I made it to the top of the stairs and ran along the ridge overlooking the Meramec River. Eventually, I headed down the switchbacks and I started thinking about something…

Remember being a kid and coming crashing in the house on a Friday afternoon after school?  You’d toss your backpack down, grab a quick snack from the kitchen and were out the back door, on your bike and gone before the screen door could slam behind you.  Remember that feeling of freedom?  No worries, no cares, at least not until Sunday evening when it was finally time to open the backpack that hadn’t moved from where it had been so haphazardly forgotten on Friday.  Those were the days it seemed like you’d never grow up and have to face…responsibility.

Being an adult can be so over-rated.  Bills.  Work.  Repair people. Appointments.  Trying to make the best possible decision for your kids’ future when you don’t even have a clue what the best decision is for yourself sometimes.  It seems like once we grow up, we still long for that feeling of being “home”.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have those moments of being a kid again, crashing through the back door?   And that’s when it hit me…being at Castlewood, running through the woods, jumping over rocks and roots, splashing through the creek without a second of hesitation, that satisfying crunch of gravel beneath my feet…that’s my way of returning to my youth.   That’s where I feel “home”.

I’ve always said, I’m good on the uphills, but I suck at the downhills.  Why is that?  Because, the bigger we are, the harder we fall, right? And making a mistake can have much more extreme consequences now.

I’ve gotten really proficient over the past couple years at running up hill, facing the challenges of life knowing I can conquer whatever comes my way, climbing the mountains in front of me.  But running downhill is scary.  Sometimes it feels reckless and out of control.  Sometimes it seems like free falling. So, I find myself approaching the downhills with more trepidation, I’m more timid.  I try to be more sure footed and control my every move.  I’m afraid of making a misstep and falling. I run downhills, much like I have approached certain aspects of my life.  So, as I ran down those hills on Monday afternoon, I decided to let go and not worry quite so much about falling.  It was hard to really let go, but to some extent I did.

I want to run, and live life, with a little more reckless abandon.  I don’t want to stress over every little step or worry about what ‘might’ happen. Obviously I need to give major decisions the consideration that they require, especially when they involve my kids, but let’s just say, hypothetically, that I mess up.  Because inevitably, I will.  Ok, then what?  I fall down.  And then?  I pick up myself up, brush myself off, get my wits about me again and get back on the path.

My dad always said, “When you come to a fork in the road…take it.”  You’ve gotta make a decision to go one way or the other, if you don’t you just end up standing in the woods.

Eventually I found myself standing at the base of Cardiac Hill.  For anyone who doesn’t know Castlewood, this is about as tough a hill as you’ll find in the greater St. Louis area.  I’d guess it’s about a quarter of a mile of steep rocky rooted mess.  I contemplated briefly what to do because I wasn’t feeling like I had my usual stuff on Monday.  Probably due to an insane weekend, but now in hind sight, it also most likely had something to do with the bug that I’ve come down with that has me suffering through a killer sore throat.  I finished off the last of the Gatorade in my bottle, took one more second to catch my breath, and set off up the hill.

It didn’t matter how slow I climbed the hill, I still managed to make it to the top.  I always do.  That’s the thing I believe about myself.  But on Monday, I didn’t climb that hill for anything other than what was waiting when I got to the top…the run back down through the switchbacks with that mentality of being a kid after school on a Friday afternoon.

I’m a parent now, so while I continue my search for those moments of laying on the grass, staring up at the clouds and those moments of feeling “home”, I also have to create the environment for my kids to have those moments as well.  But in the meantime, I’m determined to run down the hills of life with a little more spirit, a little less fear, and occasionally total reckless abandon.

Is there really any question why I love to run here?

Is there really any question why I love to run here?

A Letter to My Friends With Cars

Dear friends with cars:

I know you don’t like to wait for cyclists.  Believe me, I get it.  I’m not particularly fond of it either, especially when I’m running late to get somewhere.  Which is pretty much all the time with me.  But humor me, for a minute, if you will.

This morning I went out for a ride.  I only went about 16 miles because I didn’t have a whole lot of time before my doctor appointment that I ultimately missed because I had the time wrong. Duh.  But something occurred to me while I was out on the bike earlier when some guy in a red pickup truck pulling a trailer nearly scared the crap out of me as he sped past in very close proximity.  I’m not really sure what he was trying to prove, since it was pretty obvious that he and his means of transportation were way bigger and faster than me and mine.  If he was trying to prove that he’s a jackass, he succeeded.  Anyway, I think we all know I’m a pretty fearless chick, there’s not a lot that truly scares me.  However, this caused enough fear in me that I began shouting at the driver of said pick up.  It is entirely possible there were obscenities involved.

As I rode on I started thinking, if that guy was a friend of mine, he wouldn’t have been as likely to do that.  No, I’m not planning to use his license plate number to track him down and make friends (nor for any other reason, for that matter).  Actually, I have a favor to ask of all my driving friends.

My confidence on the bike has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple months, but I still consider myself a novice and I’m still figuring out the rules of sharing the road.  I typically try to ride with company, so I can learn from my more experienced cyclist friends, but that’s not always an option.    The runner girl in me is used to sidewalks and jogging paths, or being able to jump out of the way without the risk of too much damage, so trust me, I don’t love riding in your driving lane, but I also don’t love riding over all the gravel and potentially hazardous junk on the shoulder of the road.  If I had my way, I would ride strictly on bike paths or country roads where the only traffic is an occasional tractor, but I have to get to those venues somehow.  I’d rather not be scared or killed in my attempt to get there.

So, here’s my favor, you ready? Next time you are out and about in your car, and you happen upon a cyclist, pretend for a moment that it’s me, your friend.  I’d like to think that most, if not all of you care enough about me that you are concerned with my well-being.  I’d like to think that you wouldn’t want to cause me any harm, such as paralysis or death or at the very least the humiliation of soiling myself in public (although a few of you would probably enjoy that last one).  There is a reason we wear helmets, and it’s not about the fashion statement, I assure you.  It’s to protect ourselves, and I’m hoping you all like me enough that you would be willing to protect me too.  So, please, use the brakes, slow down, take the extra 30 seconds to let traffic clear before you give me plenty of room as you carefully go around me, and I promise we’ll both have a better day because of it.  Think about it, wouldn’t it mess up your day a whole lot more to have to make that call to my mom and my kids?  That’s what I thought.

So next time you see “me” on the road, instead of thinking that I’m some egocentric cyclist who is out there being a jerk with the sole intention of messing up your commute, please remember that I’m really just out there doing the best I can.

Thanks, Friends.  Now get out and enjoy this beautiful day!


Rambling Runner Girl

Note: If I have ever offended or harmed you in any way and you would in fact like to run over me, please disregard this message.

Rambling Cyclist Girl?

Rambling Cyclist Girl?

What is it About Mondays?

I woke up on the total wrong side of the bed this morning.  I didn’t even want to get OUT of bed.  Ok, so maybe that had something to do with the 30 or so miles I ran in the past 4 days.  6 miles of them done at speed work on Thursday, an impromptu tempo run at Rockwood on Friday after work just because I felt like going fast, and 14 miles on the trails of Castlewood yesterday left my legs feeling so trashed that I was afraid to swing them off the bed this morning for fear that they might not be able to bear my weight.  And last night when I met up with Rosie for a few more miles, she had already run 30 that morning.  I hadn’t even done HALF of her mileage and my legs felt dead.  I did appreciate the calling card she left on my windshield in the parking lot earlier in the day.  When I got back to the car, feeling exhausted and found the salted caramel Gu tucked under my wiper blade, it reminded me that as bad as I felt, Rosie was out there somewhere running 30 miles in prep for her upcoming Mark Twain 100.  She is going to run 100 miles.  Yeah, you read that right, 100 miles.  So, as we were shuffling along yesterday evening in the heat of the day, in search of shade, and beer, I felt like such a whiner complaining about how tired I was.  But the reality was, with Racine 3 weeks behind me and Chicago 9 weeks ahead of me, my legs are tired.

Add to my sore quads the fact that it was cloudy and overcast when I woke up, which then turned to thunder and rain, and you have the makings of a day that you just want to pull the covers over your head and stay there…forever.  Does anyone remember the movie Ernest Goes to Camp?  My brother used to make me watch that movie incessantly, along with Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown.  And if you know my brother, that won’t surprise you in the least.  Anyway, there was a song Ernest sang in that movie about being glad it’s raining.  I was kind of glad it was raining, it matched my mood.

Eventually, I dragged myself out of bed and downstairs to the Keurig machine.  Coffee will make it better, coffee makes everything better.  I grabbed my Racine 70.3 coffee mug, pulled the hazelnut Coffeemate from the fridge and made a cup.  (Side note:  I am incredibly superstitious about buying anything from any race until after I have gone the distance and earned it.  That coffee mug was very possibly the first thing I’ve ever purchased from a race before the race itself.  My logic with the mug was, well, it’s a souvenir from a vacation with my friends and even if I don’t finish the race, I can just cry in my coffee.  And maybe throw a little whisky in there too.) So, this morning, as I held the steaming cup in my hands and took a sip, I learned against the kitchen counter, staring out the back door, watching the rain fall onto my porch.  Not helping.  Still crabby.

I went back upstairs to the shower, I even washed my hair!  Still not helping.

I gathered my stuff for work and packed up my laptop thinking some time in a coffee shop with free wifi might be just what the doctor ordered.  On my way out the door, Britta called, we commiserated some about the challenges of life. And then she had to go because she was in the school pick up lane and I had arrived at Kaldi’s.  So, here I sit, coffee, phone, laptop, ipod. The sun is even trying to break through. Better, but still mildly unsettled.

So what to do about it?  A lot of folks would say, keep things in perspective, it’s really not as bad as it could be.  Which is 100% true.  I really have no reason to be miserable and crabby, I have excuses, but not reasons.  Excuses that include tired legs, the weather, lack of caffeine, the broken washing machine I discovered this morning, right after the pharmacist called to tell me that my prescription isn’t being renewed until I go to see the doctor.  Awesome, that information would have been useful before my Rx ran out.  More excuses like sometimes life is just hard.  And some days just leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, even after coffee.

But even when you put things in perspective…like the fact that someone else has every right to be more tired because they ran twice as far, or their struggles are so much worse…illness, addiction, what have you, the fact remains that you are the only person living your reality.  You are the only one who really knows what’s going on inside of you.  And while it could be worse, who is to say what might come along and make you feel yucky, frustrated, crabby today.  That doesn’t give me the right to have a lifelong pity party…or even a day long pity party.  But it’s ok to acknowledge what’s bugging me, face it by feeling bad about it for a while and then move on. The longer we try to ignore the bad, and hide it, and shove it down, the longer it’s going to take to really, truly get over it.  So, be real, own the crap and tomorrow will be better.  Or maybe it won’t but at least you’re another day closer to “better”.  And if that fails, put Pandora on the Footloose station and sing until your heart is content.

Sometimes you just have to take things a step at a time, especially when your legs are really, really, REALLY tired.

Some days just suck, really for no real reason at all.

Some days just suck, really for no real reason at all.

Remain Calm and Leave the Garmin at Home

This morning I was having a text conversation with Steve and I asked if he was going to speedwork tonight.

Steve:  Yeah of course I’ll be there running laps in a slow fashion

Steve (again): Btw it’s been hell lately trying to get back into the swing of things after my post Racine break.  Lie to me and tell me you’re having the same problem…

RRG: No lie, same problem.  My body feels broken.  And I am supposed to be training for a marathon on Oct 13.   Hahahahaha…

So, there you have it.  It’s been 2 ½ weeks since our half Ironman in Racine and my post-race recovery has lasted every bit of those 2 ½ weeks.  I have done almost nothing since July 21, with the exception of a 35 mile ride with “Grey” on Monday, a couple rounds of boxing and a few miles on the trails here and there. I keep thinking, ok, tomorrow I will jump back on the train and start logging the miles to get ready for 26.2 in Chicago, but I can’t make my body do it.  I just want to sleep all the time.  I mean, the way I figure, if I just accomplished almost 7 full hours of physical activity at one time, I can’t be in too bad of shape.  But I can’t ride that forever.  I’ve been listening to my body and not over doing it, but how long can I do that?

On Monday night I was at work.  My last customer of the day was a kid getting ready to start his 3rd year of High School Cross Country.  He was there with his younger brother and their dad.  The dad, Mark, asked about the tattoo on my right wrist.  And so I told him that I have ivy on my wrist, to match the ivy on my brother’s side, we did that in honor of our dad who’s ashes rest in the ivy at Wrigley Field.

Mark had a tattoo of a tree on his shoulder, in honor of his own dad, who had also passed away several years ago. As his son, Josiah, went back and forth from the fit bench in front of me, to the sidewalk outside the store, to try the different pairs of Nike Pegasus, Saucony Kinvara, and Adidas Glide that I had brought out for him, Mark and I shared stories of our dads.

Interestingly, Mark and I had both started running 5k’s competitively at age 9, both of us inspired and encouraged by our fathers.  I told Mark the story of how when I got to High School, I only ran one season of Cross Country because by then, I’d had enough and I was ready to try something else for a while.

That lead us to a conversation about how sometimes you just have to get back to a love of running.  Sometimes you have to leave the Garmin at home, forget about numbers and just run.

I was fortunate enough to have that opportunity last weekend.  I was back in Kirksville, MO for the 20th reunion of the KHS class of 1993.  (Go ahead and do the math, I’ll wait…but for the record, having an October birthday made me one of the youngest in my class.  Got my age, now?  Ok then, let’s move on)  So, even though I didn’t graduate with that group due to a move back to MI, these were the friends that I went to elementary school and Jr. High with.  Memories of the ‘Ville include things like nights at Leo’s roller rink, my first boyfriends, the beginning of my cheerleading and track career, endless sleepovers with Kirsten, Maria, Stephanie and several others.  On Saturday morning, after a long night at the Dukum Inn and Pancake City, I finally roused myself for a run through my old stomping grounds.  I had intentionally positioned myself in a hotel near my old neighborhood, so I set off up Shepherd Road towards College Park.  I started the Garmin and realized I had a low battery.  Oh well, I wasn’t planning to go far, so it should last.  About a minute into my run a black SUV pulled up next to me, rolled the window down and I heard a voice say, “Lindsey?  Lindsey Jacobs?!  OMG!”  I responded with, “OMG, Jason Barron!”  This was funny because Jason and I had spent several hours the night before having that very conversation, repeatedly.  After agreeing that we would see each other in a couple hours for the rest of the festivities, he drove on and I continued my run.

I looked at my Garmin.  The face was totally blank.  I was at most a half mile in.  I smiled as I considered that maybe that was my dad’s way of telling me this wasn’t a run to focus on the numbers, but rather one to just let the memories come back and enjoy the moment.

I ran up Shepherd and made the right turn onto First Street.  I was at the top of the hill that I used to run for hill repeats.  I smiled as I realized the hill I once thought was so big, didn’t seem like nearly as much anymore.  It’s all about perspective isn’t it?  As we grow and face life’s challenges, we find that the things we once struggled with, just aren’t as big in comparison to the things that we face as we get older.

I ran down the hill and back up to turn left into College Park and then right on the very first street in the neighborhood.  And there stood my old house in all it’s glory.  1 Shady Lane.  Now, I ask you, is there a better address anywhere in the world?  I don’t think so.  I slowed to a walk as I passed.  It looked just as I remembered.  I remembered playing in piles of leaves and building snowmen in the yard.  I saw my old bedroom window, upstairs on the far left, where I used to sit and spy on Rick Gooch when he would come home late. He always waved.  The Gooches lived across the street and for years Chad and I were like Dawson and Joey.  (Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.  Who didn’t love Dawson’s Creek?  Especially when adorable tomboy Joey would climb up through Dawson’s window.  Yeah, Chad and I were like that, except Chad’s house was a ranch)

I noticed that our old jungle gym was gone, the one where my brother fell and needed stitches over his eye.  In its place was a garden.  The acre yard seemed to have a lot less trees than it used to and our tire swing was gone.  I continued down the street to the last house on the right, Angela’s old house.  Angela was my very first running partner, she used to run that hill to Shepherd with me.  I remembered all the times we camped out in her front yard in the tents we built with sleeping bags and old blankets, while playing with transformers and trading baseball cards.

Just past Angela’s house, Shady Lane ends at a little lake.  There is now a walking path around it thanks to my mom’s efforts 25 years ago.  I ran along the path, past the spot where we lit sparklers and shot off fireworks for my brother’s July 2nd birthday a whole lifetime ago.  As I ran on, houses stood next to the lake, where there used to be only fields and trees.  I ran to the back of the neighborhood and then returned by way of College Park Drive.  I saw the houses of so many old friends, Andi, Marcus, the Tindalls, the Morascos.  To me, it all looked like not a day had passed.

I exited the neighborhood and went left, continuing on First street, past the Lundburg’s where I used to catch the bus and spent hours playing Atari; up the hill to where Elgin’s house once stood before it burned down.  I turned right on LaHarpe and I realized I had exactly run the old familiar path that had made me fall in love with running almost 30 years ago.

I ran past Stephanie’s old neighborhood and remembered the night we called the radio station to request Jesse’s Girl over and over and over, much to the annoyance of that poor DJ.  I got to the corner of LaHarpe and Franklin, the Truman State campus was in front of me.  When I lived there it was Northeast Missouri State University, where I had packed half of what I owned to go for weeks of basketball camp and cheerleading camp, thinking I was so far from home.

I ran back up Franklin, just before I got back to the Holiday Inn Express, I could see to my left the old Country Kitchen where my dad used to take me for breakfast before school and the Hyvee where my sister used to work.

I entered the hotel parking lot and slowed to a walk, dripping with sweat from the Missouri humidity.  I had managed, maybe 4 miles, probably not even that much, on a day that I should have run about 14.  I have no idea what my pace was, but I’m guessing pretty slow.  And ya know what?  I didn’t care.

That run wasn’t about speed or distance.  Regardless of whether I left the Garmin at home or it just died on it’s own that day, that run was about remembering why I became a runner in the first place.  And Kirksville reminds me that even after all the miles I’ve run and mountains I’ve climbed and the challenges I’ve faced head on, I am still that same carefree, light-hearted, happy go lucky, free spirited girl that I’ve always been.

Although it is now time for me to come out of post Racine retirement and get back to making it happen for the Chicago marathon, I pledge to occasionally forget the numbers and run to celebrate the glory days.  I will remember that I run, first and foremost, because I love it.  I will remain calm and leave the Garmin at home…sometimes.

KHS Class of 1993

KHS Class of 1993