Five Magical Motivations to RUN

So many conversations I have had about running over the past few months as I have made modifications to deal with my tachycardia issues have ended (on my part) with some variation of “but I am still grateful.”

My goal of running a 5K in less than 30 minutes is almost certainly not attainable at this point. Maybe if I checked in to a fitness retreat, ate 100% clean for an extended period of time, trained intensively, put my life on hold and went without the medication that slows my heart rate down and makes it feel like I’m running through mud long enough to pull it off it would happen. It’s not realistic, though, time-wise or budget-wise to put my life on hold. I’m doubtful it would be a good choice for my overall health, and the mere fact that cupcakes exist in this world is some type of evidence that it is possible to deny yourself too much!

Motivations For Running

Enjoying Baked by Melissa “Snowstorm” cupcakes after a run!

Jane Mahoney, a runner in the Kerri On: I Run for Remembrance group, a companion group to I Run for Michael in which members run in memory of people’s loved ones, said this today, after describing a run she and some friends had done in memory of a fellow runner and friend who had died of cancer:

Running is a magical thing, giving solitude, peace, friendship, honor and joy to life. ~ Jane Mahoney

In that one sentence, Jane captured the assets of running which have enabled me, one by one, to put a knot in the rope and hang on when I was almost at the end of my rope with running the last few months.

The Solitude of Running

I won’t lie. Despite the social benefits (discussed below), I still love running by myself. Especially since I am a primary caregiver for my father-in-law and almost never have the house to myself, I love being alone. The repetitive footsteps are like meditation for me; my thoughts have a chance to unfurl and wander, and the fresh air is rejuvenating. I also have the pleasure of listening to various Rock My Run mixes (read here for how you can benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by downloading this free app!).

Peace

We have a number of scenic running trails here in Tallahassee. A few weeks ago, I went out by myself and ran the Swamp Forest trail in preparation for last weekend’s Swamp Forest Quarter Marathon. It was just me, the trees, gorgeous views of streams, streaming sunlight; and a few animals skittering and fro. No screens to be stared at, no one who needed anything, just peace.

Motivations For Running

The Swamp Forest Trail. Photo courtesy of Robin Bennett.

Friendship

Everyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for working toward a measurable goal. Even though I had heard about groups running from a local running store every Monday and Thursday night, I had declined to join for several reasons. Once a member told me the group was trying to get to 2016 miles in 2016, though, I was in! I joined them this past Thursday night, and Chris (the leader) said “I’ll stay with you.” Now, I have been told “I’ll stay with you” before and many times that commitment, which was sincerely meant at the time, goes out the window when the individual realizes how slow I am relative to them. Not this time. Chris stayed with me every step of the way, and the miles flew by. Three miles later I had a friend and a reminder of why the running community is second to none.

Motivations For Running

The Capital City Runners 2016 or Bust Group.

Honor

I didn’t attend the Gulf Winds Track Club awards ceremony last night, but as the names of the awardees (which are kept a secret until the ceremony) started rolling in on social media, I was thrilled for so many runners I respect who were recognized for their achievements. Although I am happy for everyone, I am exceedingly happy for my friend Maria Matheu, 2015 Female Runner of the Year. Maria worked so hard this year as she ran every race in the Gulf Winds Track Club Extreme Challenge series. Six of the hard miles were the ones she ran for me smack in the middle of a scorchingly hot Tallahassee summer when we ran from Madison Social to Capital City Runners and back, all for a free beer (okay, it was for more than a free beer but still….). She’s another one who said, “I’ll stay with you” and actually did stay with me. She had already run 8 miles that day, and only someone with a bit of a crazy streak would have headed out in the 100 degree heat index day, much less with someone who is going to take FOREVER to get it done. Maria proved (to me) who she was that day. She was (is) a friend. She honored her commitment. No one in our club deserves this award more than she does.

Motivations For Running

2015 Gulf Winds Track Club Female Runner of the Year, Maria Matheu

Joy

So much of 2015  has been spent staring at the screen of my Garmin, trying to figure out if my heart rate was going to behave or not. Over the past two months, it was reading exceptionally high. Skipping past the frantic calls I made to the pharmacist (is this batch of beta blockers bad?) and my electrophysiologist (WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!), it turns out my Garmin sensor needed to be replaced. Everything is still not perfect, but the malfunctioning electronics had me in a misguided  mental (and emotional) spiral of “this is never going to get resolved.” I have a new strap/sensor which seems to be recording correctly. When I ran with Chris Thursday night, I didn’t look at my Garmin for the whole run. Not fixating on my HR allowed me to be more open to the whole reason we do this: JOY.

Lastly, in addition to those five reasons, my son has started joining me at running events again. This may be pushing me even farther away from a sub-30 finish than my medical issues have, but it has me speeding toward something much more important: miles, memories, and, like Jane, a magical thing.

Motivations For Running

Billy Bowlegs 5K. Photo courtesy of Fred Deckert.

Inspire-Me-Monday-2-graphic

Alex’s Lemonade Days: Thirsty for a Cure

Can you remember the last time you made lemonade? I can’t (unless you count the powdered lemonade mix I used for this Hippie Juice a few years ago, and I don’t think you can!).

The time has come to make lemonade, because Alex’s Lemonade Days are coming up (June 12-14) and this lemonade will do more than quench thirst: it will help raise funds for research to cure childhood cancer.

Alex's Lemonade Days: Thirsty for a Cure

Lemonade Days is held each year during the second weekend of June – the time of year when Alexandra “Alex” Scott always held her lemonade stand – to honor Alex and all childhood cancer heroes.

Alex's Lemonade Days: Thirsty for a Cure

Alexandra “Alex” Scott, Founder
Photo Credit: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Since Alex’s first front yard lemonade stand, there have been more than 20,000 Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) lemonade stands held across the country and world. Alex’s Lemonade Stands make a meaningful difference at any time of the year, however Lemonade Days is a time when supporters join forces and hold stands simultaneously to be a part of ALSF’s largest annual fundraiser. In the spirit of Alex’s ambitious goal to raise $1 million, which she reached before she passed away in 2004, Lemonade Days weekend consistently raises $1 million annually.

Want to Host Your Own Stand?

If you are interested in hosting a lemonade stand for ALSF, click here by June 5 for a special edition Lemonade Days fundraising kit. The fundraising kit includes materials such as posters, banners, thank you notes, fundraising tips, ALSF merchandise and more. (Note: If you are here in Tallahassee, I’ll be glad to help you with your stand!).

Want to Tweet Instead (or Also)?

Please join @AlexsLemonade on May 28th from 1-2pm ET using #LemonadeDays to learn how you can fight childhood cancer and to chat with some “hero families”.

What I Am Doing

  • I am going to dedicate my first race of the Gulf Winds Track Club Summer Trail Race series (May 30, 2015) to Alex’s Lemonade Stand. I will wear my Idiots Running Club bright yellow (or an ALSF shirt if it arrives), and hydrate with lemonade afterwards. I am dreading this race a bit because, although I am adequately trained for it, there is every likelihood I will finish utterly last (the medication I am taking does not exactly speed me up). But this cause will help me keep my perspective. I will remember my young friends like Lauren and Grayson who have had to deal with a lot more than a last place race finish as they have dealt with childhood cancers. My goal is $50, which would pay for an hour of cancer research. If you would like to donate as part of this race dedication, here’s the link.
  • Alex's Lemonade Days: Thirsty for a CureI made a donation to Florida’s “Hero” Family, the Hendrix Family, whose daughter Carolyn had Ewing’s Sarcoma (she is currently “NED” (No Evidence of Disease)). If you are in Pensacola, visit their Lemonade Days event on June 14 from 1 pm to 6 pm CST at Trinity Presbyterian Church! If you can’t attend but would like to donate, there’s a link hereAlex's Lemonade Days: Thirsty for a Cure
  • I am hoping to visit one of the Lemonade Days events hosted by Georgia’s “Hero” Family, the Johnson Family, whose daughter Julia was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2009. The Georgia Family lives much closer to me than the Florida Family, so I hope to make it to one of their stands!Alex's Lemonade Days: Thirsty for a Cure

Down here in Florida, summer is heating up. For families dealing with childhood cancers, the heat is always on to find a cure.

Some people associate yellow with cowardice. In this case, yellow represents the opposite, bravery. Let’s rally around these families and “lemonade up” for a great cause!

Alex's Lemonade Days: Thirsty for a Cure