Week 18 (Nov. 30)

Ok confession time. I wrote a blog post last week on Sunday night and then when I read it on Monday morning it just sounded so pathetic I never emailed it in to be posted. Now a week later it actually doesn’t look that bad and I realize I should have just sent it.

Part of blogging about our running experiences is sharing the good, the bad and even some ugly. If all we told you were the good stories that could be very discouraging for other runners who were having an off week or a bad run. So I apologize for trying to only share the good.

After my marathon I thought I would take a week off then slowly jump back in. But that next week was so busy at work and then come Saturday morning I could not find my cordless earphones anywhere so I spent the day cleaning and looking for them instead of running. I actually used that excuse for a whole week! I miss my earphones!! Last week when I had a day off work I got dressed marched myself out to the car and decided I was cold and went inside my house. Pathetic right?? What kind of running example am I??

Well Finally, FINALLY on Saturday (without earphones) I got myself out to the greenway and ran my first 8 miles in 3 weeks. And it was awesome. I was a little slower then normal but I wasn’t pushing for speed, just hoping for consistency. It was cold but I had all my gear, which meant I was really hot by the time I finished lol. My legs were so happy.  About midweek last week I was trying to figure out why I was grouchy with the whole world, everyone was on my nerves. It occurred to me that my body was missing the endorphins I usually have floating around on a regular basis. I know better then to skip my runs for that long. 

I have one more race in 2 weeks and I think I will be ready for it. My fingers are crossed we have a wonderful warm weekend but odds are not in my favor. What will it feel like to not have a race in January after running one a month since September? I’m seriously considering finding one! Maybe just a local race to keep the streak going? Is there a crazy part of me that is curious how long I can keep this up??  I already own my “Feed your Crazy” shirt, gotta honor the logo right? 


Week 17 (Nov. 17)

I’ve done a lot of reading this week about what I’m supposed to do for training after a marathon. I’ve read a lot of sites that suggest taking a break for one day for every mile run, or 26 days. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. I read a response by Jeff Galloway that was reasonable that mentioned walking for a few miles every other day and maybe running shorter distances for a few weeks then around 3 weeks after I can do a long run again.

I walked 2 days this week, the first day I was still really sore. But now, a week later I don’t have any lingering pain, and most of the blisters have gone down. Mentally I’m going a little nuts not running. I think with the post race exhaustion and coming off the adrenaline I was really tired this week. And I was hungry for at least 5 days it was crazy. I just wanted to eat all the time, and absolutely everything. I asked family members if that was normal and they all said yes, to feed my body and allow it time to recover.  I have my last race of the season in December; the Kiawah half marathon is in a few weeks. I think I will start with two slower 4 mile runs this week then a 6 next Saturday and build up so I get a 8 and a 10 mile run in before my race.

Today, a week later I really wanted to go for a run but I’m seriously not ready to be in the cold. I have all the warm clothes it’s just a matter of getting my butt out there.  Last week at Chickamauga it was so cold, I think we started around 35! I spent some of the race entertaining myself by watching what people wear while running. I tried keeping a tally on a certain topic that I found interesting but I lost count. I’ve mentioned before how I seriously have to run in tight fitting running pants or shorts. I am a huge fan of tights. It took me a little bit to not feel very self-conscious in how exposed they can make one feel. I can walk round in them while running and at races, but I would never want to walk around anywhere else in something that tight. Could I walk around work in them? Yah that would be a BIG NO.  So I was trying to count if more women or men felt the need to wear shorts over their running tights. It was actually pretty evenly matched to my very nonscientific and numerically challenged self.  I see why having a pair of shorts to cover the tightness of the tights makes sense, but I still want to tell everyone they look great and to just embrace it. I think wearing shorts on top of it all would be obnoxious, especially if they are the swishy kind.  But I’m not judging, I’m just happy we are out there running together! Or I will be out there soon….


Week 16 (Nov. 10)

I can’t put all the feelings, sounds, tastes, emotions I felt about my first marathon this weekend into a 500-word blog.  It’s just overwhelmingly huge.

The morning was colder then I liked but by no means my coldest. The canon shot was so loud the entire crowd jumped then burst into laughter as we began to run.  The sound of feet running on the gravel through the trees with canon pointed at us made me think of the soldiers who ran through the Chickamauga battlefield so long ago.

I was separated from my family less then 3 miles in and I could see them for a while but I just didn’t have a sprint in me. I was being very conservative and trying so hard to stick to my goal pace knowing how many miles were still ahead.  So almost the entire race was on my own. This was actually harder then I thought. I enjoy talking to my sister and mom as I run.  I have wondered how I would do by myself and now I know. I passed my sister around mile 20. It was on a steep hill and her knee was giving her problems. I felt like I had been working so hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other that if I were to stop with her I might not get moving again. So I passed her the Excedrin I forgot I had in my vest and told her to stop and stretch for a minute then I soldiered on. I felt guilty for a few miles but then I saw her on a switchback and she wasn’t actually all that far behind me.  She admits it bothers her that her “much” older sister finished first, I told her experience before youth J

The race was not flat. For some reason in my head it was advertised as such. But I should have known that nothing in that part of the state in flat. One of the runners I met described it as rolling and I think that fits. I don’t actually remember a single flat section to the whole race. If I could do my training over I would have added more hills.

The course was a form of torture for me. I am an admitted compulsive reader. The course had monuments, headstones, plaques and signs and I just couldn’t read them all as I ran!! It was so difficult to not read all the important facts of what happened at each turn. Some of the signs were actually turned away from the road, like on purpose!! Why?? And to top it off there was a lovely round tower on top of a hill over looking a field and the cast iron door was open at the bottom!!! Both times I passed it I seriously considered just running up there to look!

My uncle J and his 17 yr old son had trained to run this as their first marathon. But J had to leave on a last minute assignment the day before for the Army. My cousin still came out and ran it with us.  I caught up to him around mile 24 and I think pride made our feet continue to move when we were both so exhausted.  I have a picture of us about to cross the finish line and the looks on our faces say it all. My smile can’t even fake it.  He won 1st place for his age group! And I crossed with him and didn’t come close to placing lol

Overall it was an amazing experience.  I loved proving something to myself. I’m not sure I will do it again. I’ll wait for the blisters to go down and my toenails to fall off before I think about it. 


Week 15 (Nov. 4)

This is it, just like Europe sang about; “It’s the Final Countdown”.  This Saturday is my first full marathon. My son will no longer be able to tease me about only going half way.  I don’t think there is anything I can do now to prepare except not psyche myself out, eat and sleep the best I can and not forget to pack my shoes. I will probably have the nightmare at least 3 times this week.  I missed a few runs, especially this last week after my Saturday half marathon, due to work schedule I ran less then half of what I was supposed to run. I’m just going to call it an extended taper and hope it doesn’t actually hurt me.

I’m taking 6 Gu packets. I think I will take mostly the ones with caffeine but not all of them since I don’t want to kill my stomach.  I’ll never forget my friend who ate the whole wheat pasta the night before a race despite all of us advising not to, and her poor bowels had to empty everything they had in the middle of the race when there were no port-a-potties just cars to sit behind and spectators to witness it. It took her a few days to admit what had happened. I tried valiantly not to laugh but I have felt her pain, luckily mine was in the middle of the woods! I do however love the caffeine hit from my Gu packets. I’ll take one and the next thing you know I love everyone and everything. The colors are brighter, the race is more fun, and I suddenly have to talk about absolutely everything that pops into my head. It’s a magical feeling.  Did you ever see the movie “Up”? Where the dog yells “squirrel” in the middle of conversations? That’s me on caffeine.

 I’ll pack my vest even though they have plenty of aid stations. I like having my water and Gatorade bottle at my disposal, it’s great for carrying my phone and Gu. On my training runs over 16 miles I’ve packed a baggie with pretzel rods to eat the last few miles but I’m not sure I will need them with the aid stations. Then again having them doesn’t hurt anything.

My favorite prerace fuel is half a bagel with peanut butter and honey with half a banana. I don’t think I need to add anything even though I’m running twice as far as my normal race.  What I’ve read online is to plan for 30-45 grams of carbohydrates per hour. Some of that will come from my Gu packets, which have around 25 grams of carbs. Some carbs will come from the sports drinks, so if I take my pretzels or other snacks I should be able to get that many carbs per hour. I will need to convince my sister of this since her favorite practice is to only eat 2 sports beans every 2 miles. (I’m not picking on you I swear!)  One chart I found in a running magazine suggests this for the race:

15 mins- 2 energy chews
30 mins-1 energy gel
45 min- 1 chew
1 hr- 1 chew (hourly total of 45 grams of carbs)
1 hr, 15 mins- 1 gel
1 hr, 30 min- 1 chew
1 hour, 45 min- 4 oz sports drink
2 hours- 4 oz sports drink (hourly total of 45 grams of carb)
2 hour, 15 min- 1 gel
2 hour, 30 min- 1 chew
2 hr, 45 min- 1 chew
3 hour- 2 chews (hourly total 45 grams of carbs)
3 hours, 15 mins- 4 oz sports drink
3 hour, 30 mins-1 gel
3 hours, 45 mins- 4 oz sports drink
4 hours finished

Lol now I won’t be done at 4 hours, and this every fifteen-minute plan sounds like a lot of keeping track of my time. I would rather disappear into the magical happy place of running where time and distance are not important but I don’t get to that wonderland very often. So maybe fueling every 15 minutes will prove entertaining.  So I will think on this for the next 5 days. I wish ya’ll could respond and tell me your favorite race fuel plan!! Anyone else running Chickamauga this weekend?? I hope to see you there! 


Week 14 (Oct. 27)

Ran race number 2 for my fall crazy, the Silver Comet Half. I highly recommend this race to everyone, it's a good size group, the trail we run on is lovely and it's pretty flat.

There were a few funny thoughts I had while running it. The first is, I have just as hard a time running by people with heavy footsteps as when my feet do it. Maybe it’s from working on sets where the sound of feet during a take can get you in serious trouble. Sound people do NOT like loud shoes or loud walkers. There are days on the trail, and I don't know why, but my feet will sound loud on the ground. I really dislike those days, if I don't have music or someone to talk to it makes for a long lame run. I used these annoying moments during the race as opportunities to try sprinting by people who just seemed to be hitting the ground as loud as they could. It hurts my bones to hear it, although I'm not judging them in anyway! The sprinting method allowed me to have a few really fast miles mixed in with the others. The first mile was a little slow for me, there was a false start and then they changed the point of entry on the trail this year and for some reason that really confused me.

I got a great laugh when I passed someone playing music on his phone for everyone to hear. I’m not a huge fan of people playing their music. My sister loves it so I’m learning to find the value in it. But I especially don’t like it when they are playing music I don’t really care for. This song choice was so bad it was actually humorous. I could be wrong but it sounded like he was blasting Kenny G.  Not sure who finds that particular style of music inspiring for running. It kinda made me want to lay in the pine needles on the side of the road and take a nap.

When I finished I thought long and hard about the fact that in 2 weeks that will only be halfway through my race. I feel pretty good about it; I think I could have kept going. I remind myself I’ve run a 18-mile run and two 20’s so I’m prepared as I can be. Until I realize I will still run an hour longer then my longest training run. lol.  

My mom who came out to run with my sister and me won 1st place in her age group, which proves, to her that running at her age is worth it.  I can’t imagine stopping, it’s such a part of me. My little brother who competes in Ultras gets so many people who call him crazy that he started his own brand called Feed Your Crazy. His friends at Pearl Izumi are even making a limited edition shirt with his logo. Because isn’t that what we are doing? Feeding our crazy, so we don’t go crazy? 


Week 13 (Oct. 20)

This weekend I was able to experience something pretty cool. The day I was scheduled to run my 2nd and final 20-mile run before my marathon in a few weeks I ended up being in St Simmons island in southern Georgia. I had the whole day to myself so I admit my running partner and sister assumed I would just miss this important final long run and lectured me that it would be ok for me to not do it. But I’ve run smaller runs there. If you haven’t been , it’s a small town with sidewalks on one side of the road almost everywhere and streets lined with ancient oaks covered in Spanish moss. It really is a beautiful and flat place to run.

I got in my car and started to drive so I could plan out my route and drove what I knew was a 7 or so mile loop and then I stopped driving. There are roads there I’ve never traveled and houses I want to run by so I can study the architecture or the landscaping. So Friday morning armed with my Nathans vest, a handful of Gu’s a phone with my map app I walked out the door with no plan other then to finish.

It was fun, I felt free and easy. I didn’t worry too much about my pace and it ended up being right around normal for most of it. I really missed having my restrooms on the greenway, I had to run in the direction of a Chick fil A once to use their facilities. But I loved just running, I loved turning down random roads and finding treasures to look at. I loved finding glimpses of marshes or rivers. I found a state park called something like Bloody Marsh, which was really only a small parking lot and a statue, I was hoping for bathrooms but no luck. But it was a spot I wouldn’t have normally stopped at if it weren’t for my meandering run through town.

Around mile 14 I was a little too close to my hotel and I admit it was too tempting so I ran in the opposite direction for a few miles. The gem on the crown of this amazing run was when I realized I could run the last 2 miles on the beach to my hotel and then plant myself in the ocean. It was a little risky, it was hot, and the sand slowed me down until I got to the packed sand part. So it slowed my time at least 2 minutes. But it was everything I wanted to be. I took off my pack and shoes and walked into the ocean and just floated in the water. It was heaven. Probably not cold enough to count as an ice bath but that’s ok.


I’m not sure a shorter run would have been as amazing. To just step outside and run for a few hours and explore was a gift that I am so grateful for. I thanked my legs the rest of the day.  I’m still not saying I’m going to do another marathon after this, but wow what a memory this run was.  Have you had the chance to go running unscripted?

Week 11 (Oct. 6)

It finally happened.  What I have wanted and waited for since I started running 4 years ago. And it was everything I ever wanted it to be.

Someone asked how far I was running that morning and was impressed when I told them!!!

There was the time I was running 14 miles and the women who asked me were running 20. Well not this time. I was halfway through the run when we stopped at the bathrooms and I was stretching when the magic happened.  A nice couple with 3 boys divided on a stroller and 2 small bikes with training wheels.  I remarked what I lovely day it was to be out and the man asked how far I was running that day. I acted as if I answer this number all the time, “20” I said.  I admit he stared for a minute (10 seconds) and asked if I meant 20k. No I laughed 20 MILES, and smiled demurely.  I asked how far they were going and he told me their plans to run with the boys for a mile or so then he would go run 4 more before turning around while his wife walked with the boys.  I was so happy I got to say my number and someone acted impressed but I was just as proud of this family. If you were out running on Saturday you know that it was cold, and to make it worse it was windy!! Double yuck. But this cute family had their young boys out on the trail early in the morning for some family exercise and it was wonderful. I saw one couple that looked like they walked out of a Banana Republic ad they were dressed so beautifully, I wanted a picture to take shopping with me. And by the time they turned around it wasn’t a mile but they were out there! Can I just tell everyone how proud I am of them for trying?!!! Rock on people!!

Unfortunately my knee hurt the entire run.  And it was the opposite knee that usually hurt, it never seemed to warm up or be happy. I stopped and stretched way more then normal, toward the end I was walking for 30 seconds at the beginning of every mile just to give it a break. I told my family when I got home that it hurt starting around mile 3 and they said “and you kept going?”  Well yah. It normally warms up and starts working. At what point do I quit and know something is wrong? The week we ran 18 I felt much stronger. Although I really only added less then 2 minutes overall with all my walking and stretching so maybe I could have gone slower? I’m pretty sure I was on my feet with work a lot more the days before the run, and I’m very sure I didn’t drink enough water the day before so maybe all of that played in. When I got home I sat through the requisite ice bath then stretched and used my roller through out the day. I did the Epsom salt bath today and kept stretching and I am walking just fine. I can feel the tightness in the knee and some in the other but uh, hello, I like ran 20 miles. I think I can be a little sore right?


Week 10 (Sept. 29)

When I first started running roughly 4 years ago, I didn't have any way to time myself. I would look at the clock in my car then immediately start running and I wouldn't stop until I got back to my car so I could see the time. Then I kinda divided that by the miles I ran and figured out if I thought I was faster or slower then before. It was very scientific.

Next I ran with a Garmin watch. I never really learned all of the features but I enjoyed the ones I did. I set up the running parter so when I looked down I could see if I was where I wanted to be, although at times it backfired. On occasion I found myself racing her, who knew I was competitive?!!  I liked that the watch would sync with my computer so I could see my splits and graphs and charts. But during one fateful race, I pushed start on my fully charged watch as the gun went off and my watch turned off never to come on again. Bummer

Lately I run with my phone and I use a running app to record my runs. I like that it shows all my information and all my friends runs lol. My mom has set hers to talk to her every half mile.  That's too frequent for me and I get updates every mile. I wish I could get to that magical place where I run just to run and not for time. I hear that happens to people. But I still like to know if I'm faster on my fast days and if I remembered to go slow on my long runs. I like knowing if I killed that last mile the way I felt I did. There are times I hit that zone where time and thought disappear into that perfect happy place and I want it on record.

As far as my personal training goes, my poor thigh still itches from that darn sting. I felt great after my last 18 but I'm still nervous about running my first 20 this Saturday. I've got to remind myself to get my Gu's and Gatorade. It would be easiest to run our usual greenway so we know exactly how far we've gone and have to go, but it's not long enough. My sister and I have debated running someplace cool like stone mountain so it's interesting but I don't actually know any if the trails or roads there, I hate to get lost and not get enough miles. Do you explore new trails?

Week 9 (Sept. 22)

The first time I ever ran 14 miles in a training run, as in I didn’t get a medal after, I wanted to tell every person I ran by on the greenway how far I was going that day. Finally someone asked me, as I slowly passed them and we struck up a short conversation, how far I was going. I tried to play it cool as I announced I was running 14 miles that day. To be polite I asked the two older women how far they were running that day.  They were going 20. It was humorous but I was a little bummed no one was more impressed. It’s not however the length that we are running that impresses me most. I see people running who obviously cannot go far and are struggling just being there, and I am so proud of them for their effort.  There are people I don’t know personally but I follow on Facebook and Instagram because I’m so impressed with their efforts and what they accomplish. I can’t compare myself to them because I won’t ever be at their level but I can still celebrate in my fellow runners.

This weekend I reached another personal record. I ran 18 miles on Saturday! I follow a training schedule that’s probably similar to most out there. I run 3 days a week, a long slow effort, a short race paced effort and a medium length run. Since my full marathon is on November 8, the next few Saturdays are going to rotate between 12, 18 and 20 miles. I went into my run Saturday filled with some anxiety. I was prepared; I had my vest with Gatorade and water, my 4 Gu packets, awesome shoes and socks and some music if I needed it. My sister who is training with me and I kept catching the other person trying to speed up and reminding each other this was long and slow. We stopped and stretched once, we used the bathrooms once and didn’t worry about our time as much. However once we hit mile 17.5? We ran it, we almost sprinted it. Our final mile was a full minute faster then the rest of the run and ties with our fastest pace! It was such a cool moment to break that boundary and run the distance. I’m not sure this whole experience is going to make me stick with full marathons or if I will be content to stick with my halves, but I am really enjoying seeing what I can do.

The worst part of my run? Around mile 14, I felt something weird on my outer thigh and I brushed my hand over and felt a large bug dislodge. I was totally stung by something while running!! I mean I’ve had bugs go in my nose, eyes, and ears, down my shirt but to sting me? It hurt the rest of the run and the day. Today it is very red and swollen and I don’t think my body is sore from running as much as that stupid sting hurts!!  What is your weirdest bug incident while running? 


Week 8 (Sept. 15)

I’m not very good with numbers. One would think this problem would not carry over into my running but it does. When trying to figure out how long to run I’ve frequently added an extra mile or two thinking it was going to only be .5 extra. When I’m running on my normal greenway I don’t make those mistakes as much because it’s a straight shot and the distances are marked. But you take me someplace new and there will be problems.  My running partners have learned to not let me plan our runs.  This weekend was no exception.

I wanted to throw my daughter a surprise birthday party at 8 am Saturday morning. But I needed to run 12 miles, and the only time I had all day to run was before the party.  I did the math (insert snort here) figured out what time I needed to start running so I could be back to start cooking the birthday breakfast. I also wanted to stick to my plan of running my long runs a minute to 2 minutes slower then my other runs. My plan was going so well, my sister and I started at 5:40am. We got to 6 miles and stopped for a stretch since both of our legs weren’t waking up well. When my sister looked at her phone and noticed it was 7am. I realized that once again my math had failed me. Plus we actually got a late start and then had walked a bit, I hadn’t factored any of that in. And I realized I had been figuring out how long we needed based on 10 miles not 12. But even that math was wrong. We began to run back while I called every phone in my house to get someone to wake up and come pick me up at mile 9. We ran a minute per mile under our fast run times. I finally got my 15 yr old son to pick up his phone, wake up his dad and he picked us up. I made it to my house 7 minutes before the party started so all is well… well except for the fact I had no time to change and it had been really humid so I was pretty sweaty and the girls had to wait for breakfast but they are girls they found plenty to giggle about while waiting.  

While running in the dark my sister and I noticed a funny thing. When a group of men running approached us we heard nothing but the pounding of feet. When a group of women approached us we heard them coming from much farther off because we heard the talking first. It happened with every group we ran by. Do men talk while they run? I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite parts of running is having friends to talk with while we go, is that only a girl thing?


Week 7 - Sept. 7

So my trail race this weekend… Wow. I suppose it wasn’t my first trail run since the Red Mountain Race for the Fallen I did last year was trails, but nothing like this.

Running the trails at Boling Park in Canton for the Tortoise and the Hare 13.1 felt like I was playing hopscotch with roots and rocks for 13 miles. I thought running through the woods would allow me to enjoy the scenery and enjoy my surroundings but I’m not sure I ever actually looked up from the ground. It was too dangerous to take my eyes off it. One stretch was lovely and as wide as a golf cart where the other spots were narrow enough for maybe one person. This spot had cushy red mud and was covered with pine needles. At first I really enjoyed the fact that it felt softer then the rocks and roots had, but then I realized that cushy ground was hiding the rocks! And adding a lovely sliding sensation when you stepped on it wrong. And remember the story your grandparents told you about walking to school and it was uphill both ways? I’m here to tell you that it happens. I think this race was uphill both directions. Lol ok there were some down parts, according to my running app we had around 11 peaks. And the downhill was just as hard as the uphill because of those darn rocks. Two of my toes are so bruised from knocking against the rocks they are already green and purple. My ankles turned several times but not enough to take me out, my knees ache from the abuse. And today I realize my back and arms are so sore it hurts to lift them. I’m assuming that was from fighting to keep my balance.Bonnie Medal

And you know what? I freaking loved it. This was so hard.  I loved seeing what I could do. I followed a woman for the first 6 miles and started random conversations with her since I missed my normal running partners. When I accidentally left her behind around mile 8 I felt like Tom Hanks losing Wilson!! But then my caffeine spiked Gu kicked in and I ran down that hill yelling encouraging comments, telling everyone I passed how beautiful everything was, singing about my aches and pains. I became that runner! It was glorious.  The last half a mile was in full sun around 11:30 so it was hot and humid and it took every bit of pride I had to not walk it.

I bought a Nathans vest from Fleet Feet and this race was my maiden voyage with it. Wow did I love it. Normally the aid stations are enough liquid for me but this was so hot and humid and I worked so hard I went through almost both the 9 oz bottles and water at every station. Plus it had my phone close on my chest so I could pull it out and grab a few pictures when I needed and check my mileage a few times. It was worth every penny.

My next hurdle is running my first 18 miles for my full marathon training. I’m looking forward to it, just not this week thank goodness.


Week 6 - Sept. 2

Today’s run felt like I was hitting a wall. Not just I hit a wall, but I continued to hit that darn wall every 3 feet for the first 4 miles.

Why is it that some days the miles just feel glorious? My feet fly, my legs are strong and my lungs can use oxygen correctly? I ran 8 this morning and it wasn’t until mile 5 that I finally felt my body relax into the rhythm and it felt natural. Maybe it’s because I didn’t do a warm up walk, I did stop at mile 2 for a few stretches to see if that would loosen me up. I’m just so glad I had my ear buds in because in the lull between songs my feet sounded heavy on the ground and I hate that. The times that happens when I don’t have music I find myself concentrating on the sound of my feet and trying to fix it, then I end up injuring myself by trying to make patterns with the sound of my feet.  This weekend is my first race of fall, the Tortoise and the Hare. I was supposed to pick if I am a turtle or a rabbit and I’ve got to say I think I’m a hybrid mix of the two. A turtabit.  Or a rabburtle. It’s a curious creature that runs slow and fast intermittently thereby confusing predators helping it stay alive. And it probably tastes like chicken.

To help starve off the doubts I began to have about my ambitious fall running goals, I smiled at everyone. Some people never look up to see that I’m smiling, some people smile back and I love it. I even learned that when I smile the sound of my ear buds comes in stronger! Weird right?! I love running on the greenway with all my fellow runners and bikers and walkers. I just want to cheer everyone on. Once I turned around at mile 4, a long steady line of runners began to join me from a side path and I realized I was now in the middle of a 5k. All these strong fresh off the block runners passed me like I was walking. I had to fight the urge to race with them. I was trying so hard to stick to my pace lol. When I saw that the first runners had turned around and were racing back and in 5th place was a teenage girl I clapped and cheered for her! Go Girls!!! She laughed and smiled and I hope that helped her cross that finish line.

It was a rough run but I finished strong, which in the end is what matters.  


Week 5- August 25

Ok I admit I am on vacation this week. I tried to

 plan my training schedule around my trip knowing I wouldn’t get a really good long run in while I’m gone. I ran my 14 mile run the day before I left town so I am really only missing one 8 mile run.  However since I have been hiking 2 or 3 mile hikes up and down cliffs and hills I think I’ve gotten plenty of workouts in. Today I realized that my first race of the season, the Tortoise and the Hare half marathon, is in 2 weeks. For about 2 minutes after that realization I started trying to plan my taper. But then I remembered this race is actually another training run that I just happen to get a tee-shirt and medal for. The first few times I ran past 13.1 miles I wondered where my medal was? Where were the volunteers with my Gatorade and banana slices? I got so used to all the good stuff I’m handed when I run races that I forgot to plan on my own stuff when I’m running that far on my own. 

To help me be prepared for taking my running supplies with me I’ve been trying out different gear. I currently am trying a belt that fits 2 Gu packets in the side and has a round zipper area in the middle that can fit my phone and keys. The down side is it doesn’t fit any water bottles. I think once I’m running these long miles in this heat and humidity I am going to need some kind of water or drink with me. I know where all of the bathrooms and water stops are on my favorite runs are but it would be useful to have it with me. My brother and his wife have recommended a backpack type thing but I haven’t gotten it yet to try out. I really enjoy running free with no gear on but I’m getting used to wearing something. I wish you all could tell me your favorite gear and why. 

I’m also having a strange gear problem. I have these favorite running shorts. They are compression shorts so I’m sure I look like a trussed up turkey in them but I love the support that they give me. I have a generous backside so I tend to need support back there. I can’t run in those cute little swishy shorts that are so popular. One running store by me only carries little swishy shorts so I don’t even bother to shop there anymore. (Not Fleet feet of course, they carry tight shorts for people like me) Honestly I think running in swishy shorts is like running without a bra, everything bounces around, it’s not pretty. Anyway I have strayed from my point.  These favorite shorts are all of a sudden rubbing my lower back to the point I think I’ve actually scared. I don’t feel it happening, but later in the shower it seriously hurts. I’m not sure why they were ok for a year and now something is wrong. Sad, maybe I’ll use mole skin? Do people use moleskin on their lower back? Is this what glide is for?  

My last gear problem? Isn't really gear. My favorite bracelet that I bought at a expo a few years back that reminded me to have courage, strength and resolve fell off while I was snorkeling this week. I loved it so much I even instagramed it! I miss it a lot, let's all have a moment of silence while it becomes part of the reef. 


Week 4- 

This week for work I was the photo double for the actress on the TV show I’m working for. What this means is, for this episode they used my feet walking through a freezing riverbed instead of her feet. I love being a photo double, it’s fun stuff, knowing those are my feet on your TV set makes me laugh.  The problem was her character had no toe nail polish and I had bright gorgeous blue toe nail polish that I had just had put on during a pedicure 2 days before.  I loved my nails, but I love my job, so they ran me some toe nail polish remover and to save time the makeup artist started on one foot while I started on the other. She made it through my first toe before giving up. Poor girl.

I have some wicked runner toes. Two of my nails are falling off and 2 more are kind of a green yellow color as the toenail grows in from behind. I don’t think runners have the knarliest feet. My friend is a ballet dancer and let me tell you those are some amazing hard core looking feet. So this poor makeup artist saw my toes and abandoned deck, she had to hide with her other hair and makeup girls while I removed my nail polish. She came over to me once more to ask me to dig my toes into the sand as I walked on camera.  Totally didn’t hurt my feelings cause it was so darn funny.  They don’t sell all those toenail bumper stickers and tee shirts at running stores for nothing.

I don’t know why I tend to loose toenails when I’m training long distances. I have been measured and I am in the right shoe. I’ve even tried different brand of shoes. I do have favorite socks and some socks I seriously don’t like.  Occasionally when I’m running faster or feeling pressure, like in a race, I’ve realized that my toes are curled in some kind of unconscious effort to grip my shoes and go faster? It’s weird I know.  My brother who ran the Ultra sent me a text of his one purple toenail, he says it happens every time. It takes 9-10 months to grow out just in time to run another ultra race so he can lose it again.

It’s funny that I run to feel good and have the benefit of feeling like I look good, just as my ballerina friend is beautiful from all her hard work. Yet our feet don’t fit the rest of the image. I can’t help but stare at my non-painted toes today and feel like they look well used but I think I need some more nail polish.  No need to see the grossness after all. 


Week 3 - 

This week I faced what I think all runners face, the good, the bad and the ugly. I wish every run and every workout was amazing and I reached runners high with every step.  Maybe someone out there does, if you know how please let me know!

I had a short 4-mile tempo run this week on Thursday. I don’t know exactly what happened but it was the longest, most miserable run I’ve ever had. It was my kids first day of school, it was mid 70’s with a mid 70’s humidity and I got out late after talking at the bus stop. Maybe it was the combination of factors but it was awful. I was gasping for breath, my feet hurt, my calves ached and the miles felt like they went on forever. I had to stop and walk then check my app to see my distance way too frequently, which you know makes the run feel longer. Even my music was uninspiring! What causes this chaos? I partly blamed the fact that because of 2 night shoots the week before I had missed a 12 mile training run. But I can’t loose my ability to run just from missing one long run right? I admit I was worried about my mojo.

Then the good happened! My little sister chose to celebrate her birthday by running 14 miles with me this weekend! And it was amazing! After reading my fellow bloggers notes on running slower and an article on about junk miles, we started out with the goal of running slow enough to have conversations.  And wow the miles sang by, my legs felt amazing! I had the right amount of GU packets; she had her baggie of figs. There was a lovely bathroom halfway through the run and to top it off, we had an unexpected powerade stop! Seriously, when we finished and stretched it made the bad run, the skipped run fade into oblivion. Its runs like this that make me keep going.

My little brother completed his 100-mile race in Colorado last weekend in 34.5 hours! I know that in those 34 hours he faced the good, the bad and the ugly in 1 race! Why do we do this? Some say because we are crazy and he says then “Feed Your Crazy”! We do it for the good runs, for the friends we make, the calories we burn and the way our bodies feel alive, even if a little sore at times. Right?


Week 2 - 

So I’ve labeled myself a runner, but that’s only because I’ve run for a few years.  Its certainly not because I understand it all.  I read articles about various training techniques and ways to improve, but I don’t always understand how to actually incorporate them.

For instant,  fartleks. I can now say it without giggling at least. And I understand the why, it’s the how. I haven’t figured out the best way to measure distance so I am doing them correctly. I have a very unmathetmatical brain so I need someone to say race from here to here and then walk to here.

I’m not sure I understand all the rules for racing. And I might be breaking one this fall.  As much as I love running, and I know how good it makes me feel, when I’m not training for a race I tend to be not as diligent.  To help me with that I sign up for races at least once every spring or fall. But this fall there were a lot of fun races.  I’m running my 4th Silver Comet in October with my mom and sister because it’s basically a tradition now. The Kiawah half marathon in December, with my mom, because we loved it 2 years ago but I was seriously sick and don’t remember a lot of it.  And I probably should stop there but… I was at the Peachtree Expo and the Tortoise and the Hare race just looked so fun and it wasn’t too expensive and I wanted to run a trail race again…. so I’m running that in September.

I should totally stop there right? Except my little sister just signed up for the full marathon that has been on my bucket list for 4 years, the Chickamauga Battlefield. Do I sign up for that as well? Some of my support group isn’t really for it. However their reasons against it are time, wear on the body and my husbands complete lack of understanding of why someone would run that far lol.  However it would be so fun to run it with her and I’m training anyway! Mostly, I’m training to finish. I have a time I don’t want to be slower then rather then a speed goal. As long as I’m not running for speed records can I run that many in one season?  And would the problem be that I’m running so many races? Because people run way more miles then I will while training for these races. My younger brother in fact is running the Ouray 100 mile Ultra this weekend in Colorado. The miles he puts in, on top of mountains is amazing. He of course totally thinks I can run a full J  I have had the thought to do a full marathon before I turned 40, but I hit that birthday in July. So I’m changing my goal to do one while I’m 40!  

There are cheaper and easier ways to get tee shirts! I could just keep buying the leftover shirts at the Peachtree Expo every year! I could find some at goodwill. Somehow it’s just not the same. I love seeing people run by me with a shirt that I’ve earned as well. There is an instant fellowship that we ran the same race! When I see the Rock n Roll Savannah tee shirt from 2012, I can instantly commiserate with them on how awful the parking was for that race. The buses got us to the race as corral 20 was leaving!!

One last thought, be safe and be aware on the trail. But don’t let fear stop you from running. 


Week 1 - 
My name is Bonnie Johnston and I would label myself a runner. I’m also a mom of 4 teenage kids and I work in the television and movie industry. Basically a busy person just like the rest of you.

I've been running since 2010, but it feels like longer. In those 4 years I have run 14 different half marathons in 6 states. Probably 12 of them I’ve run with my mom. I grew up watching my mom go run 4-6 miles almost every morning before getting us up for school. She tells me she ran just to keep sane being a young mom with 5 kids and not a lot of money. She liked running because it only cost her a pair of shoes.

Two good friends of mine invited me to train for the Snickers half marathon in Albany Georgia in 2010 and I accepted the challenge mostly because I wanted to hang out with them more. My goal at that point was to be able to run a mile without stopping. After that race my friends invited about 20 of our friends to run the women's half marathon in Nashville in 2011.  That was the biggest group I've run with. Training runs were so fun because there were runners of every pace, so we all got to chat with friends while running. It felt like I was running with a herd of… gazelles down the greenway. I’m sure people heard us coming for a mile both directions! Not many of them kept running after that race, but it was a blast while it lasted. Some of my friends have moved on to other types of workouts, some just lost interest and my friend who first got me started is fighting an amazing battle against breast cancer.

This whole experience has made me want to encourage others to come run with me. I’ve talked with people who go out and run a few miles and are thinking of doing more. I get so excited I start talking about all my running adventures. One friend I stood in her lobby and told the hilarious story about the time I was running 10 miles and there wasn’t a bathroom and I had to do my business while leaning against a tree hoping no one ran by. I laughed and laughed but she was a little more disgusted and hasn’t actually run with me. Another new runner I was advising against grey pants and I told her during one race my bladder thought it was funny to leak the whole time and black pants happens to hide it better. She hasn’t run with me either. I think I’ve successfully created non-runners. I signed my whole family up to run the Atlanta Thanksgiving 5k two years ago. They didn’t love the experience as much as I did. One I had to basically pull out of the car. One of my sons went out and bought a 0.0 sticker to put on his car the next day. How does one successfully invite others to love running? 

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