Tag Archives: running

Happy National Running Day! What’s the Word?

Maybe a national running word would have allowed the guy in the raft to catch some fish.

Maybe a national running word would have allowed the spectator in the river to catch some fish.

Happy National Running Day!  Hopefully you’re getting a mile or two in, at least if that’s your thing.  If you’ve ever considered running, today is a good excuse to give it a shot and there’s lots of encouraging posts all over social media today about getting started.  

I just completed my very first half marathon on Sunday.  (It was the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Vermont – an amazing race that will get its very own MotorMommy post soon.) I mention the half because I think that’s what makes me feel bold enough to propose  this ideas to other runners.  (Who am I kidding.  I mention that I finished a half marathon mostly because I’m trying to mention it as many times to as many people as I can.  I’m wearing the t-shirt and the medal as I type this.)
You see, I often notice other runners in my neighborhood and out and about. I’d love to communicate with them but don’t want to slow them down or scare them or anything.  Just provide a (literal) word of encouragement without interrupting their plans.
I’d like to say something to runners I see because I’ve noticed during races, especially in the half marathon, that the words of a stranger can provide quite a boost.  A couple of spectators  could easily be credited with my completing the CBHM.  Three sets worth noting of many enthusiastic spectators include:
  1. The fisherman in the river next to the course near mile 8 who was too busy scaring the fish with his cheering to catch anything (shown in picture)
  2. The adorable girls at mile 12 who told me I was “owning” the race-( I was walking at that point, but promised them I’d try to own the rest because they said that.  And I did, if we use “slightly lurching, obviously painful, slow run but not walking” as the definition of “own.”).
  3. Everyone around the last stretch who promised I’d be able to see the finish line right around the corner.  I didn’t believe it until I heard it 4 times.  (And seeing that finish line was such indescribable joy. So much to write about, has to wait for its own post…)
I think it would be nice to encourage other runners I see, but yelling “Woo hoo, girl, you look great!  You got this!  Work it, work it, you’re almost there!” from my front lawn as my kids are playing doesn’t seem quite right for a variety of reasons.
Here’s what I propose: A word, with minimal syllables, that is easily Googled, that we can say to encourage and recognize fellowship with another runner we see even when we’re not running.
This word shall have the following meaning:
“Hello fellow human, I see you are running.  I run sometimes, too.  I don’t know whether this is your 16th of 20 training miles scheduled for today in an attempt at a Boston-qualifying marathon or your first running interval of a beginner’s 5k training program.  The reason for your run is also unknown.  Perhaps you are running to lose weight, to get some fresh air, to clear your head of bad news, to burn a few calories in exchange for a few drinks you plan to have later, to challenge yourself with a new personal best, or just to avoid your children or avoid your housework for a moment. Or maybe this is just a warm-up for some other exercise you prefer to do.  In any case, I’m proud of you for wherever you are in whatever journey you are on.    I recognize you are doing something that can be fun, but that is also hard. You have already taken the most admirable of your steps- the one out your front door.  You look fantastic and you are doing great.  Also, you can relax and know I will not judge your snot rockets, wedgie-picks, overall sweatiness, occasional grunting, lack of toenails, or any other running-related disgustingness.  Rest assured, any unpleasantness in the look on my face is a result of pure jealousy.  Carry on, running human, and enjoy your run.”
What do you think?  Does this word already exist and I missed it? If not, what should this “the runner in me sees the runner in you” word be?  “Runmaste?” “Run happy?” “Zaggazaw?”



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“Mommy, run?”

Mommy, run?”

That’s what Buster, my son, said when I walked in the door Wednesday night.  He’s never said “run” before, I don’t think.  And he’s not even two yet, so you have to fill in the blanks with him.

I believe what he meant was, “Mommy, aren’t you glad I puked my tomato/strawberry/beets/pizza lunch all over Grandma’s new rug so you would have to leave work to come get me and take me home, realizing upon arrival that I seem fine and it was just a random puke session and it was okay if you just went for a run?”

Sure, it could have meant, “Mommy, how was your run?” or “Mommy, where have you been- can you take me out for a run?” or even just “Mommy, isn’t it cool that I learned that the word for when you come back all sweaty and smelly and can’t talk very well is run?

But I’m going to stick with the first one.  It makes the times he thinks it’s funny to play under my planks and lay on my crunches during my Jillian Michaels Shred workouts, and the times he escapes his car seat before I can buckle him in, and the times he finds any open door (at the library, a store, someone’s home) and dashes towards the most dangerous thing outside (the highway, a stray dog, a pricker bush), and the times he pulls my hair because he wants something I have, and all those other times he behaves like a terrible two-year-old that much more tolerable.

I so needed that run.  It was just three miles but it made me feel a little bit human again.  (The “just” is hilarious because of where I was even just six months ago, panting my way through one minute intervals.  I only use “just” this time because it’s a pretty short run compared to the 13.1 I have looming ahead on June 1st.)

Actually, I didn’t even want to run but didn’t give myself the chance to think about it.  Like always, I was glad I did.  Thanks, Buster!  You’re an exhausting little delight.

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Thanks to Everybody including Shiny Flamingo Lady


Had a great morning today. Woke up and got ready to hit my first 5k in almost a year. And I’m still in that “I’m-the-greatest-runner-ever” high mode, even though the seven hundred folks who finished before me could argue with that. Since there were no neighbors to have long-winded conversations with post-run, I’m writing a true full-on motormouth long post. Editing-scmediting, I’m too amped to worry about readability.

Today I ran in the first annual Vicki Soto 5k, a race in honor of a Sandy Hook teacher and hero who perished in last year’s horrific shooting.

The words “first annual” had me fearing a well-intended but disorganized mess. So, we got the kids up and dressed for a 7 am departure and arrived at the event at 8 am. (Mad props to my husband for driving me and managing two small kids while I ran the race. Yup, I actually said mad props, honey. And I mean it.)

I was pleasantly surprised. Volunteers and flamingo-sunglasses-wearing police officers made parking a breeze. We walked up and got my bib and awesome flamingo T-shirt in seconds. Since it was so early, we had plenty of time for a stroll up to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Then we came back and let the kids color, craft and watch a magic show in the Kids Tent.

That’s when it hit me that I had to go potty. I had about five minutes before I thought we’d have to line up. I strolled over to find about 100 people waiting for portapotties. Catastrophe! Am I the first mother runner to consider grabbing one of her toddler’s diapers at a race? But no, I was wearing my super tight running pants! It would be obvious.

I decided to just hold it. Luckily, my daughter decided she had to go so my husband took her and the boy to stand in line. When they still hadn’t lined up to start as she got close to the potties, I was able to step up into her spot in the front of the line under the guise of letting my husband avoid the 3-year-old/18-month-old/double jogging stroller/porta potty-juggling madness. Score!

Right after that, the race did finally get started. Just walking up to the starting line was powerful. I got a little choked up thinking about how on this day last year, Vicki Soto was probably just having a normal day.

Two thousand people marched under a huge American flag suspended between two fire truck’s raised ladders to a starting line marked with a huge flamingo made from balloons.

There were 300 flamingoes lining the course, not counting those put out by residents. Flamingos were a favorite of Vicki’s and many participants even wore flamingo costumes. In fact, I am grateful for the woman in the shiny flamingo hat and pink and silver sparkly tutu who ran a few feet in front of me the whole time. More on her in a second.

After a moment of silence and a brief prayer, the race started with Donna Soto, Vicki’s mom, saying, “Ready, set, go!”

And we were off. I felt a little lump in my throat and a tear fall down my cheek again first thinking about how good people really are sometimes as I looked at the people around me.

Then I thought of the Sandy Hook kids. And I thought about my team at the Race for Hope in Oklahoma City and how much my dear friend must miss her father. And I sobbed out loud a second.

Then I thought, “hey, it’s really hard to run while I’m crying. Can’t imagine Rebecca (my friend) or Brad (her father) would be very interested in me being sad right now. And by the way Vicki’s family, friends and everybody here is all over flamingoes and “live, laugh, love,” I’m guessing Vicki Soto would think it’s pretty dumb, too.” So I stopped and had a great time instead.

We ran past a small airport, complete with small planes coming and going. We ran up a slight hill and there was the first of a few actual cheering squads with uniforms and Pom poms and everything. I have a new appreciation for the value of cheerleaders as I think this was the first time any had ever cheered for me.

Then we ran into the first neighborhood. There were flamingoes in trees, in the ground, on flags and on race-observers clothes in the yards of residents. Many people had stereos with music blaring. I especially appreciated hearing, “Eye of the Tiger.” These folks offered us water, candy, and even fresh-baked cookies along the way. They yelled, “Thank you for running for our hero!”

This was Vicki Soto’s neighborhood, and it was obvious she was loved by many.

When we turned the first corner I was almost blinded. The sunshine was exploding off of Long Island sound. Truly an incredible view. I wanted to take pics but I willed myself not to take out my phone. I had a feeling I was running pretty fast and I didn’t want the MapMyRun lady to tell me any different.

All along the course, there wore more official and unofficial cheerleaders and everyone was shouting encouragement and waving. As for the shiny flamingo lady in front of me, I stuck by her partly because I figured it wasn’t easy running with a flamingo on your head so I should be able to keep up. More importantly, though, I stayed by her because she kept the crowd all fired up. So, even when my quads started to burn and my lungs got all fiery, I kept my eye on that tutu.

I meant to stop after the race and thank her for letting me stare at her pink tutu for 3.1 miles and for keeping everybody motivated.

But, I turned the corner towards the finish line became distracted by something amazing.

I’d been training in my hilly neighborhood behind about 70 lbs of double jogging stroller, so according to Map My Run, my times had been from 38-44 minutes for 3.13 miles. I knew the race environment would make me faster and I knew that I had done a 5k last year in around 34 minutes. This course had been pretty flat and the last mile had been downhill and I was stroller-free, so I was hoping to do that 34ish thing again.

But, when I turned down the last stretch, I saw the finish line time clock only said 32:something. I waved to my cheering family and quickened my pace and burst over the finish line as the clock said 33:02. An awesome feeling!

My daughter asked, “Did you win mommy?” She’d told me she thought I was fast before the race started. The fact that she’d watched about 700 other people cross the finish line before me leads me to believe that she doesn’t understand racing or that she gets what winning a race REALLY means.

My husband rolled his eyes as I told her, “yes, I won against myself! I believe I’m a winner!”

Alas, my excitement about speed made me forget all about thanking shiny-flamingo-tutu-lady for keeping everybody all pumped up. Maybe she will read this.

A quick check online this afternoon shows me that today was a 5k personal record. 32:11, beating my previous PR by 3 seconds.

My previous PR was during a time before children and when I was working out with a personal trainer a couple times per week. Plus, during that race, I’d been trying to catch up to run with my brother so we could chat as we ran. I was sure he would be around every next corner because he said he was around the same pace as me. I found him at the finish line, where he’d been waiting for eight minutes for me. Sand bagger.

So, thanks Soto family, race organizers, Stratford residents, the Brad Haskell Rascals at the Race For Hope in Oklahoma City and especially shiny-flamingo-pink-tutu lady. You all got me a PR today and taught me a lot about how far an exuberant, live-laugh-love spirit can get you. I think I’ll keep that spirit up.

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3 Wheels to Freedom

I’m currently training for a 5K, and I’m running with a team that will be about 1500 miles away! I hope you’ll consider donating to our team by clicking right here.  My very dear friend, Rebecca, lost her father to brain cancer.  He would have been 55 this year.  She and some family members are raising money, as they do each year, for the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation. They’re running the Race4Hope in Oklahoma City on Saturday November 2nd. I’m unable to be with them in person, but I’ll be running with them in spirit at the Vicki Soto 5K in Stratford, Connecticut. This is another good cause – a memorial fund in memory of Victoria Soto, one of the teachers who lost her life in the Sandy Hook shooting. Here’s a little bit about what I’m experiencing in getting ready for the race:

Getting a jogging stroller has given me a feeling of freedom rivaled only by the day I got my driver’s license. Never before have I been able to just take off in the middle of the day and go running.

For work, I’ve never had more than 1/2 hour for a lunch, so running always had to be early in the morning, when I try not to do anything or after work, when it was dark and I was tired. So, obviously, I’ve never been that into running.

Until now. I can go whenever and that makes it a fun thing, not something I feel obligated to do. Better yet, running helps me avoid other things I DO feel obligated to do. Kids irritating me? Laundry that needs to be folded? Dishes that should get done? Not now! Its’s run-thirty, folks! I strap my kids in, put a headphone of Oklahoma or Texas’s best music in one ear and head out.

No one even judges me. Usually, people even cheer me on. When I encounter people they say kind things like, “you go girl, they should be pushing you!” I just laugh and think “actually, I should be washing their clothes, or at least changing them out of their PJs!”

I call myself a runner because I like running and because runners are cool with that. I’m really slow; technically it’s jogging I suppose. Runners* all seem to support each other and will let just about anyone call themselves a runner as long as they enjoy it.

Of course there are a lot of times I don’t feel like a runner. Namely, the first mile of any run. That’s when my thoughts are, “maybe this was a bad idea today,” “I think I feel my knee getting ready to give out,” “nothing is chasing me, what is the hurry?” and “I’m tired, this is stupid.”

But I keep going because I know, shortly after the Map My Run (a running app that measures your time and distance) lady whispers in my ear, “Distance: 1 mile Time: Superfast” (okay, she doesn’t say that, but if I could set her to, I would) I will switch into rock star mode. Shortly after that first mile, it hits me that I could run forever. Or at least the next 15-20 more minutes depending on the number and severity of hills involved.

And for about two more miles I will run hard and my legs might get all jello-y and I will get sweaty, but the awesomeness will continue.

Typically, I run laps around my neighborhood. My neighbors will get to see me

Awesome Workout Face, weird isn't it?
Awesome Workout Face, weird isn’t it?

grunting and breathing hard while pushing a giant, awkward stroller slowly up and down the streets near my house. They can watch my face turn red except for one spot around my lips that stays completely white. I call that my “awesome workout face.”

After I run whatever distance my 5k training program dictates, I go and grab our 8-month-old puppy and finish up with a cool-down walk (the dog is still too young to run but accompanies me on cool-downs and warm-ups.)

On this cool-down walk, I think it’s pretty clear to me and everyone that sees me that I’m pretty much the coolest person around. I’m strong, I’m lean, and I’m smart. It’s not unlike after I have a couple of drinks and am suddenly compelled to advise you on offshore investment accounts, helping your daughter cope with college homesickness, or any number of other topics that I am in no way qualified to discuss. Except I probably look and smell a lot worse after a run than after a manhattan.

I pity any neighbors who allow me to speak to them on one of these cool-downs. I’ve held folks captive
to discuss tree sap, the hazards of substance abuse, pets, yard work, and worse. All while I still have my awesome workout face on and am sweating through my clothes.

It’s awesome.

None of this would be possible without my double jogging stroller. Best $40 I’ve ever spent on Craigslist.

*My view of runners may be a little skewed by an incredible local running group.  Last November when I was training for a 5K, I trained with the Glastonbury River Runners in Glastonbury, CT.  They have an outstanding beginners program to get you ready to run a 5k no matter where you are.  If you are in the area and you’re considering starting running, these are some great people.  I would still be running with them, but my part-time job prevents it.    The other runners I associate with are mostly  online – the “Another Mother Runner” community and friends from college who were already awesome before I even realized they were runners.  If you think maybe you want to run but are pretty sure you don’t know where to start, people like these can help!

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