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Runspiration Blog

Comeback stories, triumphing over adversity, pushing yourself beyond your limits… this is the place for running inspiration.
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Running Inspiration

What my scars teach me
When I look across my body I see lots of scars. They tell the story of where I’ve been and what I’ve learned. Some have been with me nearly my entire life, while others have been added more recently.  They represent lessons, such as:   Don’t put off the long run  - I think this when I see the scar on my midriff, which I got from landing on a rock after tripping while running in the dark on the Kachina Trail (way up high on a mountain), after starting a 21-miler at 3 PM. Forgive others  - I think this when I see the ankle scar left by the young man at the nail salon, after the power tool he was using to smooth callouses slipped and nicked me. Let go of things you can’t control - I think this when I see the scar on my left knee, from splitting it open on jagged concrete after tripping on an uneven sidewalk while visiting Ann Arbor, requiring nine stitches. Trust that things will be okay  - I think this when I see the scar across my glute, where a rod was inserted into (and later removed from) my femur after colliding with a semi-tractor trailer carrying a full load of lumber logs when I was 16. Things happen for a reason  - I think this when I see the Frankenstein-like scar on my right knee, left by the surgical team after inserting (and later removing) two pins and wires into my shattered patella (not being mobile for a time gave me insight that's spilled over into nearly every area of my life). Don't be afraid to go for it  - I think this when I see the scar below my left knee, gained after a large rock reached up and grabbed me while I was flying down Tomboy Road en route to winning my first Imogene Pass Run.   These are just a few of my scars. I know they are nothing compared to what so many wear on their bodies. When I wish I looked more like those with flawless skin, my scars remind me that perfecting my character is within my reach.   Life chapters that are difficult and cause us to lose our bearings, when we no longer recognize our surroundings or our lives as we knew them, are precisely when we learn to trust in the unknown. Injuries (and what's learned from them) are often a springboard for deepened experiences.   As such, I try to welcome scars since they make me stronger, tougher, more balanced - each one ultimately making me a better person, in being more understanding or compassionate, more able to love aspects of life that are sometimes hard to love. My scars remind me that life can be difficult but that it is always beautiful.   Imperfections such as these make the journey so rewarding. Scars represent the visible parts of us versus those parts of us that can't so easily be seen, such as the inner strength we all possess and character traits which make us wonderful (aspects that often become apparent on the run, when we are tested). Also, since they aren't superficial, integrity, perseverance, hope, joy and so many other attributes we carry can never be scarred.    In this way, physical scars remind me that spirit transcends our physical limitations, taking us beyond what we think is possible. Our spirits are what  make us beautiful, no matter our shapes, sizes, colors, speed, and skin qualities. Our bodies are miraculous regardless of their appearance, getting us where we want to go - like to the top of a mountain.       
SaraWagner Occasional Contributor replied
I am so sorry to hear about your close friend. How wonderful yours was diagnosed so early (hope tha... more
One leg 2 inches longer than the other -what to do?
I am writing for my Mom. She has a bone disease that caused one leg to be about 2 inches shorter than the other. Obviously, she is not an active runner.   Most of of her shoes are modified by a cobbler to add a lift. Think of it as adding 2 inches between the sole and the upper to turn the shoe into a platform shoe. This limits her choice of shoe to one that the cobbler can alter, not one that fits. Oh, and she has a peculiar foot shape in terms of heel width and arch. I'd love to get her a pair of shoes that are comfortable, lightweight and fit.   She doesn't need a running shoe, but it seems to be a good choice for light, adaptable footwear.   So I have a few questions for the community:   Has anyone modified a Brooks shoe this way?    Is is there a better way to get shoes that fit and accommodate the difference between the legs?   Is there other information that the community needs or questions I didn't ask?   Thank you all for your help.  
marpr227 Founding Runner replied
Most people have some type of leg length discrepancy. For most, it's negligible and causes few, if ... more
Why are you here?
For several months, my two training partners and I would start our Tuesday morning track workouts at 5:30. We'd finish around 6:45, and we usually saw this guy step on the track as we were leaving. One day he stopped us and said, "I see you guys out here every week. Why are you here?" I said, "Well, I'm here because these two are here."  My two training partners agreed that seldom would we do this every week on our own. We depended on each other not just for accountability, but to elevate our game.   A dependable training partner is priceless. 
How old is old?
Being that I am a teacher, I find that my students have some very interesting ideas about what is old.  To many of them, 30 is ancient; to others, 50 is just the middle of the road.  They, however, do seem to believe that everyone should try to embrace the idea of being "younger."  I have a particular student who is always encouraging me to "upgrade" my look so that I can look younger.   Be that as it may, I like the fact that I am 49.  I like it so much more because in many ways I still feel like I am in my late 20s or early 30s.  So, what does this have to do with running instead of writing something that might be found on a Yahoo blog.   Well, here goes.  On Saturday, at the High Bridge Ultra in Pamplin, VA, I PRed for 50K at age 49.  I ran the race hoping to break my trail record of 4:26.  I thought my wisdom of pacing should surely get me just under that mark.  However, during the race, I found myself running with a bit of reckless abandon - as if I was going to break 4 hours.  It was so refreshing to just go for it!   Of course, I did wither a bit at the end - finishing in just a little over 4:05.  Nevertheless, it was a refreshing reminder of how that running allows us that extra bit of "youth" when it comes to handling life.   So, next time you are faced with the possibility of a PR - just go for it, and you will be all the better for it.   Enjoy the miles.   Christopher
RichardB Valued Contributor replied
On the eve of my 70th birthday and having just finished taking the Hilltopper girls XC team to the ... more
Daylight Savings Time is closing in. What are your plans?
Daylight Savings Time is just around the corner.  What are your plans to keep the fires burning with the early onset of darkness?  I am planning some early evening trail runs (with a headlamp) leading up until dinner.  Share away!!!   Enjoy the miles!   Christopher
RichardB Valued Contributor replied
Good question @ccalfee. I will move some of my runs to the a.m. and add a head lamp for my p.m. run... more
Today I joined the 26.2 club!
On a beautiful fall day in northeast PA, I completed my first marathon. Steamtown Marathon was an amazing event from start to finish. The deck was stacked against me a bit on this one as I only decided to run this 90 days ago, and due to some tendonitis issues, my longest training run was 15 miles, so there was a lot of unknown territory going into this thing. The weather was beautiful and I was feeling great and running well ahead of my expected pace. At the halfway point, I had smashed my half-marathon PR by over 10 minutes, and I continued to feel great through 18 miles. In mile 19, the wheels fell off a bit and my pace slowed, but I kept plugging away. Miles 22-25 were just plain brutal and sheer grit and determination kept me going. The final mile, the adrenaline started pumping again and I cruised into the finish, well below my expected finish time of 5+ Chip time of 4:48:15...not a fast time by any means, but considering the training and the fact that this was my first full, I am very happy with the time. I went into this saying that I would do this one and never do another...but mere hours later, legs still stiff and sore from the effort, I'm already contemplating next year and what my time might be with proper training. "Marathon before age 40"...check that one off the bucket list!!!
slave2theaxe Occasional Contributor replied
Thanks all. Yeah, there will definitely be another attempt at the marathon next year (with proper tr... more
Most embarrassing thing in a race or run!
Ok, I've been following you guys for neatly a month, and now I feel comfortable in sharing an embarrassing moment with 1,400 of my closest friends! But first, let me give you a little background information on me. Now that the cooler temperatures are upon us, I have to wear either mittens or gloves (preferably mittens) because my hands get REALLY cold. Funny, nothing else gets cold! I've never officially had my hands diagnosed, but many people who seem to play doctor have told me what my problem is. Every year I buy handwarmers by the case, and that seems to get me by. Without handwarmers, gloves and mittens (even in 55-60 degree temps), I'm miserable.   So, I'm running a loop of 6 miles (hills), and within the first two miles, I saw a Porto-John and had to go. I put my gloves (with warmers) under my armpit. When I was done, my gloves fell from under my arms and into the John. Holy Sh**!!! Now I'm faced with a decision. Do I cut my run short, and go back to the car? Or, can I tough it out through the next 4 miles? I slid my long sleeves over my hands and toughed it out! Now I'm very careful where I put my gloves when using a Porto-John!    I feel so much closer to you all now!!!
marpr227 Founding Runner replied
Many years ago, I ran a race in my new white racing shorts. It started raining, which I usually enj... more
How I fell in love with running
For most of my adult life I have flirted with the idea of "taking up running". I had always had these grand aspirations of looking like a motivational poster and putting one of those 13.1 bumper stickers on my car. Call me silly, but this is exactly what it was about for me. It wasn't for a logical reason like; finding a cure, improving my health, or pushing my body to it's physical boundaries. No, I just wanted a bumper sticker and possibly a t-shirt.   But every time I would take off and "try to start running, I would find myself discouraged by my lack of stamina and overall athletic ability. I would make it to a quarter of a mile and get so tired and winded that I would turn right back around and go home.   As, the years passed I tried different approaches. I thought, maybe if I find a running buddy I will be more likely to stick with it. I think I read that a few times in some of those health and fitness magazines. Surely that has to be the solution to my lack of commitment, stamina and overall physical fitness. I asked a friend to come with me to a bridge near my house and we could do this together. It was perfect because the bridge was 3 miles rround trip. We could even turn this into 5k training.   That was short lived. My friend was actually in worse physical condition than me and there was no way that we could push each other towards actually sticking with it. So,sigh... back to the drawing board! About this time I found out about a group of women in my community that met three times per week.This was perfect! They were already meeting consistently so I didn't actually have to push someone else and hold them accountable. I was so incredibly excited about this possible solution.   Again, so far, I had only flirted with the idea. I had completed the 3 mile bridge a couple of times. I thought I could hang with the big girls. I got dressed, laced up my brand new fancy running shoes and went for it. They were all going on a 4mi. trail run. (I had no clue at this point that trail running was any different from road running.) I got there bright and early before anyone else and just waited for the other women to show up.   The group of women got there. We hit the trail. Oh my goodness!!! They left me in the dust. I started freaking out because....well, for obvious reasons.I had never been on a trail run. I wasn't familiar with this particular trail, not even from a hike. I now had zero running buddy. I didn't bring any earbuds to listen to something while I ran. Worst of all I was now alone. I had to make sure that I focused on staying on this trail. But also, for the first time, I found myself alone with my thoughts. What was I going to do? In retrospect, I suppose that I could have turned around and gone right back the same way I came but something in me felt compelled to move forward. I knew that I only had one hour to do this because that is the time that I had alloted for this and I couldn't just stay lost in the woods forever.   Something amazing happened. Well, at least I think it was amazing. I stopped thinking about the women (who by the way, waited for me at all the important crossings to make sure I didn't actually get lost in the woods). I stopped thinking about my limitations. I stopped thinking about everything and just ran. I ran like I had never run before. I kept telling myself, you have to do this in one hour! You have to keep moving! They are waiting for you at the next crossroad! You have to keep moving!   I did it! I didn't quit! I didn't walk. I just did what I had to do. That day, on that trail everything changed for me. It wasn't about a bumper sticker or a t-shirt or any frivoulos and silly reason. It became a way to measure my strength of both mind and body. I fell in love. I now run with those same women three times a week. i run by myself. I just run because I love it.    
Rip Contributor replied
@chilmorg so true... it simply doesn't make sense, right?!    Anyone else find it confusing that ... more
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