Thursday, December 30, 2010

Training, Racing, and The Purpose It Serves In Your Life

Before I get going on my blog today I have to do a shout out to one of my new Pacific Northwestern blog friends Becca at Frances Kay!  Yesterday on my way to the gym, I checked the mail and got one of my first ever "just because" blog mail gifts.  Becca sent me some awesome tunes to run with!  Can't wait to get my iPod all set up to run with today!  Thank you Becca!  Becca and her husband have their own sandwich shop and catering business in the Northwest.  You can check our her hubby's blog too:    Graze Catering Walla Walla.

I woke up this morning with an e-mail from Kovas at Midwest Multisport Life.  I know many of you may have received the same e-mail.  Anyway these are the questions he asked:

"Why do you race? Why are you willing to pay to run on public streets or trails, sometimes paying large amounts for travel and accommodations? Why are you willing to plan a race around a particular weekend? What ARE your motivators to race?"

I really appreciate his questions.  They made me think and reflect on my running life, as well as helped to get my writing brain flowing.  They served as a great prompt for my morning writing.  After responding to him, I realized that my e-mail was long enough to be a blog post.  So, until I have something better to write about, here is what I sent him:  

Hey Kovas,

Good questions.  Originally, I raced because I was on a cross country and track team.  I raced because it was my way of paying for college and doing my "job".  I hated it really...always sick to my stomach and nervous about how I'd do or what I was "expected" to do.  Because of the pressure and nerves, I never really pushed past my personal barriers.  I could never run like I knew I had the potential to run. More often than not, I was throwing up and crying because of too many nerves to "perform" the way others thought I should. 
 After college I began to run for ME.  I ran because I loved the feeling it gave me.  Eventually I started racing again but instead of racing against others or for a team, I raced only against myself and for myself.  My times were the best they had ever been and I finally felt what it was like to be in a zone.  I felt an ease to running that I had never felt before and I discovered that I was better than I ever realized I would be.  I ran my first marathon not knowing what the Boston Marathon was or even having an expectation for a only goal was to finish and have fun.  When I ran a 3:22, I had people telling me that I qualified for Boston.  Boston?  why not.  Now that I am trying to get back in to racing again after kids and a serious injury, I realize what I had then and how I took it all for granted.  I hope to run again like that or even better.  So now, I race because it gives me a personal goal to work towards.  It gives me structure in my life and I feel that it makes me a stronger person.  Working towards a racing goal does this for me:

*  Allows me to do something for just ME.  (this is important right now as a Stay at home mom who misses her career a bit).
*  It is a Model for my kids to show them that we can do anything and keep striving to conquer big goals and work on improving our self.  
*  Allows me to live a healthy lifestyle
*  When I am training and running, I am more focused on believing in the reality of my other dreams in life.
*  Mood Booster.
*  Personal Satisfaction of knowing that I'm Mentally and Physically strong and doing something only a small percentage of the population can and do do.  
*  OH, another big motivator is VANITY....gotta say that racing and training helps me stay in awesome shape and have a great body.  Love the way my buns look in my favorite jeans when I'm in training.  :)  Hey, that's a big reason why many many women race....having a nice ass.  :)  

So, here are a few of my thoughts off the cuff....had to type fast since i have little kids at my to get some order to this house!  :)  Gee, this should be my blog for today.  I should just copy and paste.  hmmm, maybe...


Thanks again Kovas.  Loved your questions this morning and excited to see what kind of responses you get.  Eager to read your post when you've compiled it all and put it into something for us all to read (whatever you have planned).  
Just for fun, I'll leave you with this college cross country picture.  This was after a race in Kansas.  Must have been in 1999 or 2000.  Gosh, I'm making myself sound old.  


1.  Do you think it is important for your kids to see you set big goals for your life?  And do you make time for personal ambitions in your busy life?  

2.  If you are a runner, when did you start running?

3.  What is are a few things on your bucket list and/or some big life dreams you have? (this will be asked again in my next blog post...)   
Longer term:  Ironman (haven't even tried a sprit tri yet), Travel the world, spend a summer in Italy, learn a second and third language, Run the NYC marathon.... Midlife:  Many big goals related to early literacy, creating a nonprofit parent group, publishing a children's book, opening my own children's bookstore....this will be my next blog be continued....



  1. OK, I skipped over your responses to Kovas because I haven't replied yet and wanted my reply to be MY thoughts, not an unintentional copy of yours. :) I'll have to go back and read what you said when I'm done.

    As for your questions...

    1. I think it's important, though I never hear much from them about my goals (other than my 18 year old's concern that I race too much and my 16 year old telling me how much better he can do). On the other hand, my 7 year old wants to go and run and ride with me, and I hear from my 18 year old comments about me from his friends, so even if they aren't saying anything positive TO me, they're taking note.

    My personal ambitions get stuffed into whatever corners they'll fit...early morning, late night, during a practice. I'm lucky that my husband will put up with (if not embrace) my new pursuits, and I try not to abuse that by taking as little time as possible from family time to race or run or ride. I'm very hopeful that I'll eventually be able to get him involved (though I can't see him ever participating) by taking pictures or making races part of family weekends away. Sometimes that means following up a 50 mile bike ride with 3 hours of volleyball, but there are costs to getting to do what you want to do.

    2. I started running at the end of February of this year.

    3. Hike the Appalacian trail, spend a couple of weeks hiking and camping out west, travel travel travel. Triathlon, marathon, write books...oh, gosh, it's hard to think that far ahead. Stay active, live life, love the people around me, have fun, do good. How's that? lol

  2. 1. I don't have any kids of mine own yet but I do work with 12 boys for my job, plus my clients at the outpatient clinic. I think making goals for myself is a good example for them and next week during group, I will actually be doing New Year's Resolutions with my kids and bringing out their resolutions from last year. It's pretty cool to show them what they've accomplished.
    2. I ran track in 7th grade and was very fast in the 100 m and 4x100 relay. But I didn't really run again until May 2007. I ran off and on for a few years but have been consistently running since 12/1/09.
    3. As for my bucket list... that's a tough one. I'd really like to travel more and explore this beautiful earth a bit more. I'd like to complete a marathon (will do 5/1). I want to continue to live a healthy life.

  3. 1. No kids for me, but I hope that whenever I have my one he/she will want to run with me. I love seeing kids in their little bibs doing their kids races. It is too cute!

    2. I started running September 13, 2009. So I guess I'm still one of the newbies. I did the C25K program and got Swine Flu right around week 6 or 7. :( But once 2010 hit I felt renewed and really started trying to run more and more - and now I'm hooked!

    3. I actually have a Bucket List tab on my blog! One of them that is running related is to run in Central Park. I always see people doing that in movies and now I want to, too! Tied with that then is my lifelong desire to see the Statue of Liberty!

  4. YOU RAN FOR COLLEGE!! You are my hero! holy cow you are one speedy woman. I loved your list. It really is the best 'me' time you could ever have! Of course we all do it for vain reasons too and for the fact that I can eat whatever I want when I am training ha! I think it is SO important to model this for your children.....I hope my children grow up thinking that exercise is a normal part of every day life!! I started running in junior high but didn't get serious until about 3 years ago. Loved this post:)
    On my bucket list....BOSTON:) St. George marathon, New York, pretty much I just want to keep running until I am 99.

  5. Thank you for such a sweet comment on my blog! Seriously, so sweet! I work at a residential facility and am the social worker for one of the "houses." I have 12 boys 18-22 years old with Mental Retardation and Sexualized Behavior problems. I know that makes them sound awful but they really aren't. They all have good hearts and I think they really do want to do well. The average length of stay is 2 years but it really depends on their needs/the state that is funding them. We are a well known program in the US and have kids from all along the eastern seaboard.

    Thank you for saying that you think I will be a good mom. I sure hope so :) I did have good parents. A great mom really. She made up for where my dad(s -- step & bio) left off. My mom always made things into "games" and I remember playing actual games (Parcheezi, Chutes & Ladders, Sorry, etc) with my mom (and sister) a lot. My mom was pretty hands on and I don't remember watching much tv. I lucked out.

  6. ditto hungry runner girl. however, believe it or not - it just FUN as well. no matter your pace or finish time, running races and being part of the atmosphere of the event - fun.

  7. 1. Do you think it is important for your kids to see you set big goals for your life? And do you make time for personal ambitions in your busy life?

    Definitely. They pick up on everything! For instance, when we were at a family reunion a couple years ago, someone asked my then 6 year old what his daddy does (for a living) and Jack said, "Oh...he drinks beer and plays video games."
    OH BOY!!!
    Now....."I" know that my husband does more than drink beer and play video games, but the boy obviously picked it up somewhere ;-)

    I make sure Jack has plenty of positive things to say about me should anyone ask ;-)
    Definitely making goals and letting the kids see me struggle to reach them, continue to reach for them and hopefully eventually reaching those goals is HUGE!

    2. If you are a runner, when did you start running?
    I started running a bit before I had kids - (2000). Always on the treadmill at the gym and maybe for 3 or 4 miles tops -but it was very sporadic. After kids (2002-2004) I started running again - also just on the treadmill and only for 20 minutes at a time (intervals). That went on for two years and then I decided to try the Portland marathon and I finally ventured out onto the road and said adios to my treadmill. Outdoors is where it's at!!
    2005 Portland Marathon
    2006 Portland Marathon
    ...then added in triathlons in 2008 :-)

    I've come a long way since my 20s and early 30s when I just drank beer, ate pizza and played pool for exercise!

    3. What is are a few things on your bucket list and/or some big life dreams you have?

    You really got me thinking on this one. I should put my lists to paper some day. Something that immediately comes to mind is to hike/kayak/bike my way through some adventures - maybe Galapagos Islands, Belize, or any other awesome place you can think of.

  8. Great response to Kovas' question!

    I didn't get started until my early 30s with running...wish I had started as a teen. And yes, SO important to model a healthy lifestyle for my kids.

    Happy new year!

  9. 1. Do you think it is important for your kids to see you set big goals for your life? And do you make time for personal ambitions in your busy life?

    I don't know how important it is for them to see ME have big goals...but I think it's important for them to see me say I'm going to do something...and they know I will do it. As for making time for my personal ambitions..I make sure my training has minimal impact on family life. I long run during the week while they're at school and I usually work out before they wake up. It's no secret...but they don't get the brunt of it.

    2. If you are a runner, when did you start running?

    This spring it will be three years. I signed up for a 5K three weeks before the race having never run before in my life.

    3. What is are a few things on your bucket list and/or some big life dreams you have?

    My big one is doing a full marathon which I will this May. After that, it's to master all those same race distances I've already done..but do them barefoot. I also want to see Ireland and see each of my children happy in life..not to much to ask really :)

    Great questions today!

  10. 1. It's important for your kids to see your ambition. It will get them to also be that way(at least I hope it will)

    2. Started running end of 2009; 2010 was my first racing year.

    3. NYC Marathon, travel travel and more travel.

  11. Oh goodie, I am glad I got to see your reponse before I submitted mine to KP. Unlike Kate, I like to compare and make sue I don't sound like a complete idiot! :)

    1. Definitely! Thought my 20-year old calls my running a "disease", I know deep down she is proud.
    2. I started running in "Junior High School" (was no middle back in those days!! ha) and continute on to college where I got a small amt of cashola to run.
    3. I did a whole bucket list blog once - got a huge response. I'll try to find it and send it to you. I think this varies from week to week almost for me. Unlike you in Boston, it was a goal of mine for a very long time and not until I got serious about getting in shape to achive it, was I able to. But Boston seems to have left my system...and it may return but for right now, not so much. My goal right now is to go farther and higher. A 50 is high on my priority list and I may try to do Pikes Peak again. All stems on my heel, of course!


  12. Hmmmmm I don't think I got that email....bu t that's probably because he doesn't read my blog ;)

    however...I love your letter and list! And I think we have a few things in common. Not the racing in college part, though ! =D

  13. Sorry to be skipping all your questions again...but thanks for the long comment! :)

    Sounds like an awesome book! I was thinking that if you were wanting to hold 50 MPW Pfitz 18/55 might be just right for you, since the races are optional. But that was before the Brain Trainer! =D
    Can you do both Newport and Portland?

    My goal is to keep to around 55-6o average, unless more time becomes available. That can be worked into 5-6 days/week. That's me! It took a while until that became "comfortable".

    email anytime :)

  14. Oh yes I think it's very important my kids see me train and reach for my goals. They probably don't understand now but one day it will click!

    I started running because my husband ran a marathon and I said I could too! LOL

    I want to run BOSTON!!! I want to inspire others they can!!!

  15. wasn't so much that I liked was more like I wanted to kick it a little harder in the butt than I did the first time around ;-)

    I'm thinking I'll do Eugene before I do Portland again.

  16. Hmmm... when I was a freshman in high school, I ran track. And I loved it and I was pretty good (we broke a state record in the 4 x 400). But I couldn't handle the pressure and I wanted to hang out with my friends, who did not run track.. so I quit. I ran my first marathon at 19 and then joined the cross country team at Santa Monica College... and I've been a runner ever since. I'd LOVE to run a 3:22, as my best time is 3:30... any advice? I know for me, running in a group is key as it keeps me honest with my pace.

    I'm glad I've 'found' running as it keeps me centered and sane. :-)

  17. oh crap! he emailed me too and i have slacked on responding. better go get on that... :)

    happy new year!