Monthly Archives: February 2013

Rural Running

skunkOur long run this weekend took us to our hometown, which is where we like to do our long runs.  Our families are there, and we still have a place there.  It is mostly rural, with lots of farms, forests, and fields.  Most importantly for us runners, it has a lot of long, straight, low-traffic roads.  My mid-week training runs are usually from subdivision to subdivision, dodging cars on the road between them.  I enjoy these runs, but they do not compare to the beauty of our long runs in the country.

The scenery is gorgeous.  The drivers in the cars that do pass, do so with a wave and a smile.  On this particular run, we saw cows, horses, a muskrat, Canadian geese, sandhill cranes, and two dead skunks (luckily, they had been there a while).  The cows seemed every bit as interested in us as we were in them as they came to the fence to check us out.  The horses just looked at us like we were crazy.  We passed rustic old barns and gleaming new ones, and were able to take in the fresh country air.  Just like the roadtrip games in the car such as sign alphabet, and I spy, rural running presents the opportunity to play games to pass the time while on a long run: What’s that animal?  What’s that smell? What’s that sound?

About those skunks.  We met the first one about 1 mile in, and the second one was at about mile 8.  They got me thinking, what do you do if meet a live one or fresh one?  Honestly, I had no idea what I would do.  You can’t exactly go to a nearby house and ask for help.  First, there aren’t too many close by.  Second, who wants someone stinking like skunk showing up at their house?  My only conclusion was that if I had such an encounter, I would have to turn around or tough out the rest of the run.  It would certainly be a PR for whatever distance that would entail.  I will just have to hope I don’t meet the critter halfway through the run.

But just in case, I now have a de-skunking recipe (albeit one designed for dogs – but if you are in a situation where you need it, who really cares?).  I share it below for anyone interested.  I bet the ladies running the RunDisney Princess 1/2 Marathon didn’t have to worry about that this weekend.  Still, the scenery along our run was every bit as gorgeous as the scenery at Walt Disney World, and I felt even more blessed to be there.


(Adapted from Humane Society of The United States)

Mix together:

1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at your local pharmacy)
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
DO NOT get the solution in the eyes. (If you don’t have peroxide, baking soda, and liquid soap on hand, use vinegar diluted with water.)

Caution: Do NOT save this mixture or make it ahead of time, as the mixture could explode if left in a bottle.

Scrub, Clean, and Rinse
Don’t leave it on too long (peroxide can bleach). Rinse thoroughly.

Next, wash with shampoo and rinse thoroughly.

You can rid your clothes of the smell by using regular laundry detergent mixed with a half-cup of baking soda.

Running Season & Running For A Reason

First off, I feel pretty good about my last two weeks of training.  I did not miss a run, in spite of having a trial and a conference to attend.  In fact, I think the runs actually helped in both circumstances.  Training is going well.  Seeing all the races this weekend that my friends, Nascar drivers, and Team RunDisney participated in added to the motivation to keep it going, and reminded me that running season is beginning.  I was amazed at the times of Nascar drivers Kasey Kahne and Jimmy Johnson at the half marathon they ran the morning before qualifying for the Daytona 500.  Both sub-1:30!  Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend.

Things are getting ready to shift into a higher gear for me.  A two mile run with my oldest son in a couple of weeks (can’t wait!); only a couple more long runs until Run The Bluegrass; and then it is the Kenucky Derby Mini Marathon and Bay to Breakers in short order after that.

Snowy lunch run

Snowy Wed. lunch run

Warm Mid-Morning Run

Warm Fri. Mid-Morning Run

I thought I would share the weather for my last two runs.  It is a miracle I am not sick.  Wednesday brought a snow burst and 30 degrees.  Friday brought a conference in Fort Lauderdale and 70 degrees.  I think I enjoyed the 30 degree run more, and was actually excited to get to run in the snow, although Fort Lauderdale warmth certainly had its benefits.  I felt blessed to be able to run in both climates, but in Fort Lauderdale I missed running my long run with my wife/running partner.  I think it was our first long run that we have not shared over the last year or so.

On another note, for anyone looking to make a training run more meaningful, I would suggest the Sandy Hook Run For The Families, taking place on Saturday, March 23.  No, you don’t have to go to Connecticut.  You can run or walk virtually and join the more than 10,000 runners and walkers that will be participating in Hartford, CT, to support the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. You can enter the race as a “Virtual Runner” for a $25 entry fee (until 2/28 – $30 after that).  You run a 5K wherever you are. They will list your name in the results (without a finish time) and will mail you a race shirt after the event. Your entry fee is a 100% donation to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.  What a great idea to support a great cause.  If you’re going to run or walk anyway, why not sign up for this?


Just Be Awesome. . .

AwesomeI saw this quote recently, and for some reason it turned out to be my motivation for the day.  In fact, I told my son this today when he was nervous about his presentation at school.  It seems so simple – just be awesome.

When I first saw this quote, I thought of the Nike slogan – “Just Do It.”   That slogan was very successful, and served as motivation for countless people.  However, I think it could use some improvement.  Just doing it is a start.  Getting out the door is a start.   Getting moving is a start.  That first mile, 5k, 10k, or half marathon is a start.  However, I have found that once you “do it,” you want to do it better.  That’s where “Just Be Awesome” comes in.

To me, “Just Be Awesome” doesn’t mean I have to be the best or the fastest.  If it did, I might as well find another hobby.  I am never going to be mistaken for a top flight, or even a very good runner.  It means doing it right.  It means having fun while doing it.  It means not taking shortcuts.  It means enjoying it.   “Awesome” has many meanings:  magnificent, fun, surprising, inspiring, beautiful, wonderful. . .(Really, it does. I looked in the Thesaurus).

So, my goal is to make that next run Awesome, no matter when it is or where it is.  It may not be a PR, but it will be awesome.  If I can meet this goal, I cannot imagine how great I might feel.  Luckily, this year looks to have a lot of potential for Awesome in it:  WDW Marathon, Run The Bluegrass, Derby Festival Mini Marathon, Bay To Breakers, Dumbo Double Dare – and whatever other cool runs we can find.  And from the way our boys are talking about wanting to run a bit themselves, they are in for some Awesome as well.  Can’t wait. . .

The Beauty Of A Winter Run

Let's run that way. . .

Let’s run that way. . .

I cannot tell you how hard it was to go out for our long run this weekend.   This was our first long run since the Walt Disney World Marathon, and it could not have been more opposite, weather-wise. Then, it was sunny with temps in the low 80s.  This time?  Temps in the low 20s.  Cloudy.  Windy.  Light snow blowing.  However, after my last post,  we couldn’t skip this one.  I am glad we didn’t.  It turned out to be one of the more beautiful runs I had been on, in a cold sort of way.  

We tried to pick a road that would not have too much traffic due to the fact that snow covered parts of the roads.  It is one thing to have to get into the grass to make room for a car.  It is quite another to jump into a slushy snow pile.  We decided on a road outside of town where the river had just receded.  It turned out to be a good choice.  There were only a few cars along our way.  Surely more more than one of them wondered about our sanity. 

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

The landscape was gorgeous.  The sound of the sandhill cranes filled the air.  The horses came out of their barn to see those crazy people running down the half snow-covered road. The snow added so much to the beauty of the run.  I felt so lucky to be able to be there in that moment with the opportunity to enjoy that view.  Yes, it was a harsh winter’s day.  But it was one filled with beauty, and a bit of slush in our shoes.  Each of these pictures was taken along our route.  I am glad we walked out that door.

Checking on us

Checking on us

River Receeding

River Receding

Winter Beauty

Winter Field

It’s A Lovely Day For A Run

Photo Credit: KiG (aka Er.We) via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: KiG (aka Er.We) via Compfight cc

Snow.  Wind chill in the single digits or worse.  Schools are closed.  But the sun is out, and the roads are clearing.  To Run Or Not To Run, that is the question.

The answer to that question may say a lot about you and why you run.  If you run to ease stress, and it has been a stressful week, then yes, it is a good day for a run.  If you run because you have made a commitment to get fit and be more healthy, then yes, it is a good day to run.  If you run for fun, then yes, it is a good day to run.  If you run because people say you can’t or shouldn’t, then yes, it is a good day for a run.  If you run because that marathon you completed last month really kicked your butt, and you want to see to it that it does not happen again, then yes, it is a good day for a run.

In fact, as I thought about it,  I could not come up with a good reason no to run, even on a day like today.  My mind had a counter argument for every excuse I could think of.  (Too cold!  Add layers, you’ll have a good running story to tell).  I suppose that means that my conversion is complete.  That, or I am just crazy.  Either way, it looks like a lovely day for a run.