{February 22, 2011}   Running For A Purpose

Today was such a gorgeous day!  I let the dog out this morning, glanced up at the cloudless sky, inhaled the slight breeze, and my inner run-ometer read “IDEAL running weather.”  I dashed in and changed immediately, knowing time was ticking away from the current 60 degrees and toward the 80 degree high on the forecast.  I absolutely LOVE this brief stretch between, too-cold-for-my-thin-blood and so-hot-and-humid-even-3am-running-risks-heat-exhaustion.  I wish it lasted longer!

Currently, my thoughts have turned to the upcoming epic-ness of the Rock’N’Roll Savannah Marathon  in November.  I’m still building my foundation and its still just a tad early to start actual training, but whats on my mind lately would make this milestone even more memorable, and that is to train and run it to raise funds for a good cause.  In one way, it would benefit me with added accountability- I always do much better if someone is relying on me.  But more importantly, I want to make a difference.

There are SO MANY worthy causes out there, but instantly my heart turns to human trafficking.  The absolute outrage that such a tragic autrocity exists makes me seriously see red, especially when it largely targets children!  Add to that the way our country seems wildly unaware and ignorant of just how much of this is going on, even right here in our own country, and I just want to create awareness!!  I want people to realize this, get MAD and stand together to fight it!  I truly feel like this is one of those things where knowledge and awareness alone would make a huge, massive impact!

So, the next question is: where do I start? Do I link up with an existing organization?  Do I just try and raise funds and then donate it? I hesitate to just choose any old charity, because I always wonder where the money is actually going.  I, of course, want to maximize the impact.  But how do you figure that out? 

Food for thought 🙂

On a side note, right now as I’m typing, I’m watching A&E’s “Heavy” – It’s a lot like “The Biggest Loser” but slightly less drama, and currently they are set from Savannah’s neighbor to the north, Hilton Head, SC!  I LOVE hearing about local resources for people to get fit and healthy the right way!! 🙂

Happy Running!


{February 17, 2011}   Pretty Toes!

Running is mostly mental.  Story of my life.

Thus far, this year has been a major bonk.  But I will persevere! Building my base up, but its so hard to take a day off!  I don’t mean this how you might think.  What I mean is that when I take a day off…. it usually turns into several days.  I cannot justify this.  It makes zero sense.  But when a Runner Girl hits a slump like this, she does what any Runner Girl would do…. perhaps what any Girl, period, would do in a slump…. she buys a new pair of SHOES!


They make my heart smile 🙂

These Bikila Vibram Fivefingers came into my life last Saturday, when I ventured down to Half Moon Outfitters, the only shop in town that sells them, and made myself at home on the benches in front of the shoe display.  I’ve been following the chronicles of my good friend Dan’s VFF’s on Twitter, as he post pics throughout our beloved city, turning them into a sort of Tour Guide of Savannah.  Truly, Dan, if you are reading, they should have their own Twitter account, haha, I would follow!  Tumblr, perhaps??

Anyways, I had done research prior to deciding that these would be my next run shoe purchase, and what really encouraged me was the bit I found that suggested these might really help my awkwardly shaped feet.  I have a wide toe box with a narrow heel and my big toes lean in to the rest of my feet at a dramatic angle.  Dramatic only to me, but it makes buying any pair of shoes a challenge.  My toes get smoooooshed together.   The research I did suggested the way VFF’s separate the toes could relieve some pressure and so I WAS SOLD!

Then, of course, the appeal behind minimalist running.  I figure these baby blues will either turn out to be a BIG win, or the polar opposite.  Its too early to tell, though, we’re still in the puppy love phase 🙂 

At the shop I thought the most difficult obstacle would be choosing a color.  Blue, green, hot pink…. love ’em all!  However, the most time consuming and exhaustive process was trying to get them on for the first time!  After 29 years of toes being smoooooshed together, they were a tad hesitant toward their newfound independence.  Because the VFF’s are so tight, fitting much like a foot-glove, it took a lot of twisting and tugging before each piggie found their own way home!  The saleslady promised it would get easier!

She also recommended, and others concur, not to dash home, slip them on, and head out for a LSD run.  Take a week or two and wear them throughout the day to keep from shocking your feet and something about messing with my ankle.  All I heard was “Foot injury if not eased into!”  That’s all I needed to hear. 

So, me & Bikis have become fast friends over the past few days, running around town together (not literally) doing errands and housework and church stuff.  My feet feel fine, and I’ve cut down my getting-them-on time dramatically!  I’m still running in my uber supportive Mizuno Wave Alchemy’s and I’m curious how it will be switching between the two.  The reactions have also been interesting.  Best of which was my 8 year old, yesterday, as we walked from the car to the salon, she twists her face and says, “I CAN’T believe you are going to wear those to the hairdresser’s!”  This from the girl who wants me to put her hair into 5 ponytails for school!?! 😛

….. In other news….

ITS GORGEOUS OUT!!! Seriously! Not too shabby for mid-Feb! Already back to running in shorts again!

My easy little run today was tough though.  Its such a bummer when the weather is finally ideal, the distance is a drop in the bucket, done it a hundred times before, you’re psyched and ready to go, the world unfolds before you like a red carpet beckoning you to strut your running self down it, and you wind up with a crummy run, fighting every part of the way.  Oh welllll…. one cute thing I saw as I was running around my neighborhood that made me smile: sidewalk chalk at the end of a driveway, and in a young child’s handwriting was written “mommy’s spot” and “daddy’s spot” – cute!

Happy Running!

{February 6, 2011}   2011 Critz Tybee Half Marathon


1. I can never sleep the night before a race (along w/ most other nights in general) – slept like a baby last night tho!

2. I also never have even a mildly decent race photo, I knew today would have gnarly weather, so I left my shades at home and went for curly hair and a visor, just trying different things in hopes for frame-worthy proof that I’m a runner… yeah, that didn’t work out….

3.  Headed to Tybee, I actually love being up and out this early in the morning 🙂 It didn’t rain on the way there so I thought we’d luck out, till I actually crossed over to the island…

3. I got there and parked and found my team’s tent in time to shiver for about 5 minutes and then head to the start. It was raining lightly, sorta misting, and I was freezing, but other than that felt good.  Not much stretching going on… oops!

The Race Is On!

4. The first mile lasted forever cuz it was straight down one road.  The further we went, the harder it rained.  I was in a capris, a t-shirt, sweatshirt, mittens, and a visor.  I didn’t mind the rain much, made me feel kinda hardcore 🙂

5. Between the lack of training, the weather, and just a gut feeling, I knew this was going to be a rough race, so I decided to do what I’ve never done which is to take my time, take a pic or two, chat up some fellow back-packing runners, yada, yada, yada…

Here’s the Tybee lighthouse, about 2.5 miles in…

7. Ditched my sweatshirt about mile 5.  By then it weighed roughly 37 lbs!! dropped it at a spot off the main road i thought would be easy to swing by and grab post-race.  In this town I wasn’t too worried about someone snatching it up but sadly, it was gone…

8. Normally mile 8 is my notorious hurdle.  Funny thing, in December’s Jacksonville 1/2, I didn’t really struggle at all, and then today, my hurdle popped up between miles 5 and 6!!!!! ahhh!!!!  no bueno!!! 

9. Miles 6-9 were tough! one LONG stretch of that main road, which felt like it never ended!  And these miles were running against quite a little breeze.  My hamstrings felt like they were cranking tighter and tighter with every stride.

10.  By mile 9 I was in a ton of pain.  My legs were like lead.  My shoes and socks were still drenched.  The soles of my feet felt like I had been running barefoot the whole time.  And I was just ready to have it over with.

11.  This is when I really started struggling w/ the walk/run thing.  As soon as I let myself walk even just a little bit, I have trouble getting going and staying going again.  Sadly, this was the reality of the last leg of the race especially, which made it drag on so much longer. 

12.  I tried to embrace it and chat up people.  People in general fascinate me, and I love the running community so i greatly enjoyed getting the chance to do this.

13.  This race time was nearly 20 minutes slower than my previous worst time.  There were many obstacles that attributed to this, but the biggest factor was definitely my lack of training.  January was full of illnesses and overscheduling which left little opportunity to run.  I did so well (for me) at the Jax race w/ little training, I honestly wasn’t sure if that was a fluke.  I’m glad to see that it was.  Lesson learned!

Post Race –

14. Cold.  Very very cold! And oh so windy! It rained lightly and although they served some yummy chili, I was a bit on the miserable side.  I stayed and chatted with the team, but eventually headed home.  By the time I got to my house I had started to thaw, but had a wicked headache.  My hip flexers were so sore, it hurt tremendously just to walk.

15.  Its been several hours and my legs are still really beat up.  I haven’t been this sore after a race since my first half 1.5 years ago.  And I’m pretty sure I will sleep like a baby!

+ points:

16. I saw one guy, around my mile 6, walking back from his 5k (i could tell by his bib).  I mean absolutely no disrespect, but this was a big boy.  He reminded me of a biggest loser contestant.  anyways, he was walking by himself, but smiling from ear to ear, no doubt over his accomplishments.  it was the biggest grin i’ve ever seen and it made me choke up- so awesome!

17. I really liked the separate starts for the 1/2 marathon and the 5k.  the 5k started at 8am, and by the time the 1/2 started at 8:30, many of the 5k runners had finished.  i like being able to cheer for them before my race 🙂  I think its a good energizer!

18. I love my team, FCA-endurance.  there are a ton of us, and everyone is so friendly and helpful.  i’m so proud of my teammates 🙂 and honored to represent Christ alongside them!

– points

19. besides the obvious and pre-mentioned, there weren’t many spectators (but that could largely be from the weather), which i don’t mind necessarily, but i want it for the other runners

20. i was least impressed by the expo.  they changed locations since i last ran the tybee race, and it was so cramped in this little hotel convention hall.  there was no room for any vendors besides fleet feet and the packet pick-up, and with that it was hard to walk through, everyone was shoulder to shoulder.

Altogether, this was my least favorite race.  Its close to home, so I’m thinking I might run next year to redeem myself, but other than that, I’d rather volunteer at it… I’m glad to have the opportunity tho, and to have another 1/2 under my belt 🙂

Now, to get back into training! 🙂

{Insert gasp here}

I know what you’re thinking:

Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Is ‘oxymoron’ still even considered a respectable grammar term anymore?

Isn’t ‘non-competitive runner’ just another term for ‘jogger’?

Ok, I’m going to forgive you just once for using the ‘j’ term, even if you were just thinking it.  Something about that word makes me want to slap the person who says it. Which would shock us both.

So, I follow a couple runner’s blogs, one of my favorites is and today Danica posted about the validity of a runner who doesn’t train like a kenyan.  It resonated with me because of the response I get from runners/non-runners alike when I say “I’m not competitive.”  The reaction is something akin to disbelief, confusion, and a visible loss of respect seen in the eyes of the recipient of such information. 

I’d like to apologize for being so un-american that I don’t have this inner type-a drive to compete and defeat my peers, but then I’d be lying, cuz I’m not sorry at all.  I completely respect and applaud, and at times envy those who tap into this, allowing it to motivate them to work harder and succeed.  That’s just not the way I’m built. 

Some people focus on the destination, I’m more about the journey.  Before you write me off as a total bum, I still manage to be very goal-oriented and focused, its just directed at the quality of miles (or life) not the pace/form/stride or pants-beating of others around me.  I’m content not to come in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 25th in my age group.  In high school, my cross country couch would say during a meet “find a yellow jersey and pass it” and the harder I would try, the less I enjoyed the sport.  The same is true today.  Those times where I’ve gone against the grain of my natural tendencies and pushed myself toward a certain PR or whatnot, whether I was successful or not, I never enjoyed it. 

Someone once told me, years ago, respectfully and with complete humble honesty, “I think you are more obsessed with the idea of running than the actual running itself.”  At the time, this might have been true, I was just getting back into the sport and got a little caught up in the culture and business of it .  Can you blame me?  The atmosphere around a group of runners is almost always uplifting.  I didn’t stay there tho, I ran on to truly love the action in and of itself. 

Running is therapeutic.   Its taught me a lot about myself.  I’m not fast, but I’ve got endurance.  And on race day, when I’m lost in a crowd of like-minded folk, whether I’m cheering from the sidelines, volunteering,  or among the masses at the start when the gun goes off and everyone propels forward in one single motion…. then all is well in my world.  And when I’m alone on the side of a back road, sweating in the Savannah heat and humidity, legs sore and feeling like a ton of bricks, and my focus is 100 yards in front of me where the rising sun has shot its rays down through the branches of the live oaks and  southern pines and settles in a dreamy haze on the forest floor… well, then all is right in my world then too.

So is a non-competitive runner still a runner? If any of the following descriptions from apply to you then rest assured:

  • your first thought when you look at the weekly weather forecast is, “When can I fit in my runs?”
  • you have more running clothes than regular clothes in your laundry pile.
  • you’ve lost a toenail. And you tell people, “It’s not that bad.”
  • you smirk when non-runners ask you, “So how long is this marathon?”
  • you have a drawer full of medals and other race souvenirs that you’re not sure what to do with.
  • you go into Starbucks more often to use the bathroom than to actually buy coffee.
  • you no longer make fun of fanny packs because your running belt looks very similar (although cooler) to one.
  • you’ve used an old race T-shirt to wash your car, dust furniture, or clean something else.
  • your treadmill has more miles on it than your car.
  • you get an invitation to a wedding and you automatically think about what race the date will conflict with.
  • you have dreams about showing up to a race late or not wearing any clothes.
  • you’re not embarrassed to wear spandex.
  • the salespeople at your local running shop know you by name.
  • you’re always hungry.
  • you know how to take a cup of water from a water stop without choking on it or spilling it all over yourself.
  • at least one of your web site usernames or email addresses has the word “run” or “runner” in it.
  • you know where your illiotibial band is located.
  • you no longer hate port-a-johns. In fact, there have been times when you’ve been very happy to see one.
  • you wear your running watch even when you’re not running. (“It matches, right?”)
  • you’ve had your running shoes for three months and you know it’s already time to replace them.
  • you spend more time researching running routes than local restaurants when traveling to a new city.
  • your physical therapist’s receptionist knows you by the sound of your voice on the phone.
  • you know where exactly one mile from your front door is (in any direction).
  • you know how to correctly spell and pronounce plantar fasciitis.
  • you own more pairs of running socks than dress socks.
  • when you hear PR, you automatically think “personal record”, not “public relations”.

    …There are many more on the website, but for now life beckons! (you know that pesky business that takes up your time between runs!) 🙂

    {December 30, 2010}   me vs. ‘lazy j’

    its a lifelong battle.

    an inner war of the wills.

    the will to run vs. the will to do….. anything else.

    don’t be mistaken, i am a runner through and through.  an indurance runner.  this has been a huge part of my identity for several years now.  i got the gear, the blisters, and the bibs to prove it.  i know the lingo, i subscribe to the magazines, and i’m no stranger to the starting line.  i love to talk about running, my friends know me as ‘the runner,’ and heck, i have a blog dedicated to my experience with the sport.

    given all of that, surely it would take no convincing to get me to lace up my sneaks and knock out a few miles at a solid pace……….. right? wrong-o.  mucho wrong-o.  i imagine there are many hardcore athletes who bounce out of bed everyday and can’t get out of the door fast enough, but sadly, that is not me. 

    i love running, but no matter how many miles i log or PR’s i make, it still is a mental tug-of-war to get me going-everytime.  somedays i win, sometimes my procrastinating alter ego ‘lazy j’ wins.  regardless of knowing that no matter what excuses ‘lazy j’ throws at me to tempt me to stay indoors, i will never regret sucking it up and hitting the pavement. never.  but forego the scheduled run, for whatever lame reason i cling to, and I regret it every time.

    excuses are just lies disguised as reasons. word.

    learning to stifle the tempting voice of the evil ‘lazy j’ has been a long hard battle, one i have yet to fully overcome, but the one characteristic that she uses to her advantage, has also been used against her…. my stubborness.  see, i refuse to ever just accept my laxidaisy tendencies, chalking it up to a ‘tybe b’ personality. 

    i’m an ENDURANCE athlete.  ‘lazy j’ might win in a 200 meter dash, but life isn’t a sprint, its a marathon…. which is my forte.  and everytime i suck it up and do my thing, her voice gets a tiny bit quieter.

    and since ‘lazy j’ and i are two parts of the same person, i just have to look at myself and say: shut up and run, jes. 😛

    {December 26, 2010}   Looking Forward!

    I’m anxiously anticipating the coming year and all it has to offer!  My instincts tell me 2011 is going to be a great year for me, running-wise.  Perhaps that’s because I started 2010 nursing a sprained ankle.  Perhaps because I am finishing the year with only half the mileage that I had in 2009 so I figure I’m due to get my act together.  Regardless, I’m taking the gut feeling and running with it- pun intended! 🙂

    Here’s a snapshot of my race plans for 2011!  Some first time runs (So stoked for my 1st full which will be the inaugural run in my hometown!), some are traditions!

    1.  Critz Tybee Half Marathon – 2/5/11

    2.  March of Dimes Shamrock Run 5k – March ’11

    3.  Publix Georgia Half Marathon – 3/20/11

    4.  Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Run 5k – April ’11

    5.  Palmetto Half Marathon  – 4/15/11

    6.  Crimestoppers Azalea 10k – 5/7/11

    7.  YMCA Heart of Savannah 5k – September ’11

    8.  Rock ‘n’ Roll of Savannah Inaugural Marathon (my first full!!!!) – 11/5/11

    9.  FCA-Endurance/Savannah Christian Church Ten Can Run 10k – 11/24/11

    10.  Enmark Savannah River Bridge Run 10k (possibly the double pump) – 12/3/11

    As much as I love racing, I’m most looking forward to making more of a routine from my sporatic runs.  They are so therapeutic for me and when I’m running consistently every other area of my life benefits from it.  I’m also hoping to make a habit of blogging more too! 🙂

    Happy Running! 🙂

      Sunday. 12.19.10

      Up at 4:30 am.  Actually, I woke up each hour that night in anticipation.  Still, by 4:30 I was ready to start moving.  Left the hotel about 5:40, got to race about 6am.  Right now I’d like to mention that it was INSANELY COLD.  And by that I mean 40 degrees which is mild for many, not for my thin blood.  And this is Florida, after all, so I feel jipped on that front.

      The race start and finish was at a local high school.  Seeking refuge from the chill, I followed the crowd into a small gym.  And smiled.  Runners congregated, stretching, chatting, laughing.  I love runners.  Maybe I’m biased but aside from the occassional premadonna, runners are the happiest, most cheerful and good-natured group of people out there.  Ok, so I am biased.  Still, I enjoy being among this mass.  It occurred to me then that I have never, until now, been to a race that included a full marathon on the event list.  This brought out a slightly different breed of runners than I was used to.  Sure, I know marathoners, but all bunched up under one roof?  The land of zero body fat.  Lean, serious endurance athletes.  It seemed the seasoned 26.2 racers outnumbered the rookies.  And me being just a 1/2 mary contender, and a casual runner at that, you might think I felt out of place, but I didn’t.  We might not be equally talented, but we are like-minded.

    6:45am.  15 minutes till start.  Everyone filed out of the gym toward the start.  Passed the endless row of portapotties I was surprised by the long lines.  Did they not hear the time? Good luck with that.  I quickly tried to discern where my expected pace would fit in with the line-up and picked a spot between the 4:15 and 4:30.  The guy on the other end of the bull horn seemed stressed, as he bellowed to one lady “get that stroller to the back!”  This woman, who I chatted with after the race, was pushing her five year old daughter in sed stroller.  She was sent to the back of the pack, but still passed me early on.  Clearly this was not one of those women that toe the line and then walk the whole distance.

    7:00am.  Its a small race, but still took a few minutes to cross the line when the canon shot.  I smiled.  Love the energy, and the single movement of thousands of feet propelling in one direction.  Heads bobbing, hearts pounding, Garmin’s beeping.  The first three miles were a loop back to and through the start.  The whole race was residential.   Those first 30 minutes my mind and body protested, “Um, Jes, I don’t think we’re really up for this.  Its an awful long ways and we’re tired and cold.  Not sure you thought this through.”  That passed and I kept on.  Or, rather, I kept on, and then it passed.  I had no goals going into this because of my lack of training.  I hadn’t had a run longer than 8 miles since my last half in March.  Running in general, I only have half the mileage this year that I had in 2009.  So I just wanted to finish without injury. 

    It was about mile 6 or 7 when it clicked that my pace was just under 10 min/mile.  And it occurred to me that my best time was 2:11:something.  It might seem odd that I had to think about what my best time was.  Shouldn’t that be at the forefront of a runner’s memory at all times?  Have you figured out yet that I’m not that competitive and perhaps a little bit blonder than I pay to be?  Anyways, it then it occurred to me that if I kept this pace I could actually PR.  And then I talked myself out of it.  Too ambitious a goal for someone who hadn’t even been training.  So I compromised and told myself to run as strong as possible now, and see how far I get. 

    Mile 8: normally my “wall.”  Whether running 8 miles or 18, this is always my toughest stretch.  Didn’t hit the wall this time.  The wall was nowhere to be found.

    Mile 10.  Warm-up finished.  5k to go.  Saw my family which gave me an added boost. 

    Mile 13.  Turned into the school.  Last tenth was on a track around the football field.  I love tracks.  I love football fields.  I love races and hearing my name and hometown announced and knowing I’m 200 yards from the finish line.  Euphoric.  Smiled up at the camera at the very last second.  There was chili, and smoothies, and bagels, and oranges, and warm water.  All I wanted was a banana and to stretch.

    The rundown.

    Time: 2’07’43 PR!!!!

    Pace: 9’46” (better pace than the 10k I did a few weeks ago!)

    Temp: It was around 45 degrees at the start, and colder at the finish!  Weather was gray and misty.

    Race itself: Simple. No flashyness.  No pomp and circumstance.  There weren’t even very many people in costumes which surprised me a week from Christmas.  It was a low key race, easy to get lost in thought and just run.  Much different than the Disney Princess 1/2 and Rock’N’Roll Virginia Beach!  My kids have gotten nicer medals doing kiddie runs.  The shirt-ugh! Horrible.  I have yet to get a tech tee that fits right. I’d take a cheap cotton t-shirt over these any day.   The volunteers- not the southern charm I’m used to.  I know it sounds negative but I did enjoy the race, and considering the entry fee was $35, I don’t mind the lack of flare at all.  Not many spectators, but thats a given, since it was a smaller race.  Ideal for qualifying for Boston.  And it was close to home for me, so I would consider doing it again.

    Will edit soon with pics. 🙂

    {December 21, 2010}   Run Happy.

     Running makes me happy.  Therefore I run.

    When I’m not happy, I run.  Then I am happier.

    When I am happy, I run because I am happy.

    Endorphin junkie, maybe.

    Do I always want to run? Heck no.

    In my experience, what percentage of my runs have left me feeling better than I was before I ran? 100%.


    So there it is.

    There are tons of reasons I can give on why I love to run.

    There are tons of excuses I have given myself in argument to running.

    The simple truth boils down to running makes me happy.

    And who doesn’t want to be happy?

    et cetera