The Only Way You Can Know…

“The only way you can know is give it all you have
And I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain
Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say, I, I did it all”~ One Republic

This song came on my shuffle the other night when I was running.  It’s currently one of my favorite songs for running.  I can be having the worst, slowest run, and if this song comes up, it instantly perks me up.  Sometimes I’ll hit repeat on it a few times, it motivates me that much.

Many times when I run, everything gets so clear.  The other night, I had an amazing view of Long’s Peak, as the sun was setting, the sun shining through the clouds, and it all became very clear to me that for me, running is how I live.  It’s how I heal myself. It’s how everything makes sense to me.  It’s been my guide, and my solace for 7 years now.

“I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived”~ One Republic

When the above lyrics were playing, I substituted “with every broken bone, I swear I lived,” with with every mile I’ve run, I swear I lived.” All the thousands of miles I’ve run since 2009, after I had cancer, they have all led me to a healthier mind, body, and spirit. Every mile I’ve run has allowed me to live my life to the fullest physically that I can do.  I’ve amazed myself over the years with running- reaching physical goals, at times I could only dream about. From not being able to get out of bed without help, to placing second in an elite division for my age group, just a year later. To running personal bests for distances, running further, to getting out there and running even on days, I didn’t want to.  To not quitting.  To living.  Running has allowed me to achieve those goals and so much more.

When your body gets a disease like cancer, it can feel in ways your body “failed” you.  It’s hard to not feel defective at times.  I have carried this with me for years. I don’t talk, or write about it very often.  I still don’t know what caused my cancer, but I don’t focus on that. Running has been the anti-venom to counter those thoughts for me.  Running has shown me time and time again, how healthy my entire body and spirit is.  I don’t have all the answers, but I know I couldn’t have the level of personal success I’ve had with running if my mind and body were not in sync and healthy.

I thought about after the very first 5K I ran, just 2 months after having been so sick, I couldn’t get out of bed or take care of my children.  It really was a feeling I can’t put into words, and I decided then I was going to run a marathon “some day.”  That was my goal and still is. I’ve never let that go, or rather that desire has never let go of me.  In a way, I felt and still do, when I run one, it will be full circle.  I feel like my running and my health isn’t complete until I run a marathon.  It will be my giving it all I have- Mind, body, and spirit.

I’ve been toying with running a marathon finally this year. I’ve been slowly but surely building up my mileage on long runs.  But I hadn’t committed yet.  It’s the last major running goal, I’ve wanted to do, which is still unanswered.  Like the post I wrote, Are You Committed or Interested? When you are committed you accept no excuses, just results.  In my mind, I’ve been accepting excuses on why I couldn’t do a marathon yet.  There are always reasons not to.

But running the other night, just reflecting on how far I’ve come, these lyrics playing, and me realizing in that moment, this is what I do. It’s who I am.  I’m a runner.  I’m a survivor, I’ve endured and healed every injury I’ve ever had, and come back stronger.  I have given it my all so many times, and it’s always been an amazing experience and reminds me “I lived.”

This all led me to the thought, “What am I waiting for?” The only way I will know, is to give it all I have and to own it.  The only time any of us have is now.  There will never be a better time to finally go for my dream.

It makes me so appreciative and happy to write that I’m going to find out, the only way I can know….by giving it all I have.  It’s been 7 years training to get to this point, but I’ve committed and registered for a marathon on November 13, 2016-  the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Marathon!  One thing I really liked about this particular marathon is it starts at 4:30 PM- I’m an evening runner, so this is perfect for me.

I always train harder than I anticipate the race to be. I am going to be careful and build up mileage slowly but surely- I have six months, but come November, I’ll have my moment- finally- to own every second I can.  In the meantime I’m going to enjoy the training, and appreciate what my body can do.  Who knows when and if I will ever be able to do this again, so I’m going to make it count.  I’m doing it all!  🙂

How To View “SetBacks”


What happens when you have been training, working towards a goal, committing to a goal, feeling like it’s so close you can taste it- and then the unthinkable happens?

You suffer a setback.

I’m no stranger to the setback. It’s like the flu- you do everything you can to avoid it, but once it’s hit you, there’s no escaping it.

Setbacks come in many forms: injuries, lack of time, loss of motivation, and not achieving or falling short of your goal.

I have lost count how many times I’ve experienced a setback with running and achieving other goals.

Sometimes it is just part of the process. It hurts, it makes you question everything.  And in there, is a hidden treasure.

Questioning everything, why, how, when, what.  When I’ve been faced with those answering those for myself, a set back forces me to look at what I am doing.  It makes me question and reevaluate everything from training, to my diet, to stretching, to my goals to even see if I want this goal anymore.

Sometimes the answer is “No,” I’m not willing to keep up this level to achieve something I no longer want.  Even though there is that moment, where it can feel like you’ve done it all up to that point for “nothing,” that is never the case. No amount of time you ever spend working on improving yourself or trying to achieve a dream, is ever for nothing.

It will serve you at some point in time. We can’t always know in that exact moment, when- but eventually we will be able to connect the dots and see.

Maybe you fall short of your first 5K time goal.  But consider what an experienced runner you are now.  All those hours of training will serve you into your next goal.

Maybe you decide you just don’t want run anymore, but the conditioning you’ve gained, launches you into your next activity and you are already way ahead of the game.

You have to trust yourself in these moments and trust even if you decide this goal isn’t for you anymore, the effort is never lost.

Quite often a set back, has the opposite effect though, in that it shows you and makes you feel even more, how much you want what you have been working for.  As a result, you become creative, to keep going for your dream.  You find other ways to keep up your training, so you don’t lose your momentum. By being forced to look at what you could be losing, you regain your motivation to keep up the level you are at.

Maybe that very thing you do now, will be the deciding factor down the road, or the thing that made all the difference.  You have to push yourself at the end of the race to get your PR. But you swam for weeks when you were hurt from running, and conditioned your lungs and body even more, instead of just waiting out the injury.  That day, all the swimming you did, helps you reach your goal.

I have found over the years 100% of setbacks are mental, in they are what you make them.  You can worry and panic, and be sad this thing is setting you back. Or you attack it from a new angle, and work around the setback.

Setbacks follow life. It follows the path of your goal. I can guarantee you, when you set out to accomplish your goal, you are going to have a setback during the attempt.  Nothing ever goes exactly to script. Maybe your shoes unite during a race, to twisting something.  In that moment, you have to decide, you have to look it in the face and decide if you keep going or quit. You draw on your other setbacks during your journey.  In that moment, they give you strength, confidence, and the determination to draw on to keep going.

Then you understand, “setbacks” really are part of the training.  They are hidden treasures. You can’t succeed without them.

When it’s all said and done, your setbacks will turn out to be your greatest motivators.  IF you can keep this attitude. If you can, work with the setback. Figure out another way, two or three different ways to keep going.  Setbacks are part of the puzzle in accomplishing your greatest achievements.  Work with them, appreciate them, and they will launch you to your next level.

Stars can’t shine without darkness, and success can’t happen with out setbacks.  Appreciate your stars.

Are You Committed or Interested?

interest commitment

It is not always easy to figure out what we are merely interested in, and what we are committed to. I think of this quote often, when I’m trying to figure it out.  It’s been helpful to me in not just running, but in other areas of life too.

I know without a doubt, I’m committed to running, because I do not accept excuses or reasons not to run.  I also want the results.  I know if everything stopped tomorrow, I’d still run.

One reason I like to run, is because it’s consistent and no matter what else is going on in my life, I know it’s there. It’s the one thing, I’m 100% in charge of- there isn’t anyone else to factor in.  I run, I put in the work, the training, the commitment, and I achieve results.

This holds true with anything and in reverse too.  I have yet to see a person who says they are committed to something, sit back, do the opposite of what they want, and have the results they are seeking.

I think the beauty in finding something you really want to commit to, is this quote becomes true and it becomes second nature, because it is something you are willing to do most of the time.

So how do you get from point A to B, if you are trying to vamp up your fitness and you just aren’t committed to it, and end up making more excuses than having results?

My answer is, you are doing the wrong thing.  🙂  There are some activities I can not find any motivation to do at all.  Like Warrior Dash Races. I know many people love them, and if you are doing them- great- that is your thing.  But I just can’t get interested, let alone commit, to running an obstacle course.

So if you think you “should” be a runner, but hate it, than find something else.  Biking, hiking, yoga, swimming- something that motivates you to continue to improve and stay with your commitment.

When you have found what you love, then the next step becomes, sticking with it- even when it is hard, or doesn’t always go like you want or thought it would.  Many sports come with injuries, set backs, and mental blocks.  No one has finished a mile, a race, a marathon, won a sports game, or climbed a mountain, who stopped with a set back or a difficulty.

Challenges like this, show you what you are made of.  It shows you, your weaknesses- just like snow blowing across the face of a mountain, leaving it raw and exposed.

You can choose at this point to quit.  Run away, back off, and stop saying, “this is the end of my commitment.”  Or you regroup, take stock of what is holding you back, think about it, work at what it is you need, and bounce back stronger than ever.

Commitments aren’t born overnight. Nor do they just happen. They evolve.  From starting out fun, wonderful, easy, to having some setbacks, problems, pushing through, and coming out stronger and better than you were before, on the other side- with your results in tow. It’s easy to stop. It takes character and a commitment to keep going.

I see many people start their goals and give up.  I see many people push through countless issues so they can achieve what they have committed to do.

The difference is you.  Is is worth it to you? Do you want to see what you can do, or do you want to give up, never reaching what you set out to accomplish?

The final piece in this, as I’ve discovered is your attitude. That is what decides if you are at the finish line, or drop out.

Something I like to do is a mental exercise where I envision what it will feel like when I accomplish my goal.

I’ve done this numerous times, to hit certain running goals.  In those moments-when I want to back off or ease up, I draw on that. I’ve already imagined what it will feel like in my mind, I have no choice but to keep going because I want that result- in real life. When your mind can imagine the result, it can override the body, to keep going until you finish your goal.

There is nothing wrong with interests though either. They can help launch us into a commitment.

To be interested in something, it holds your attention for a while, but you can take it or leave it.  When you are committed, suddenly you want to keep getting better.  You have to get better.  You are driven and passionate about improving.  You want this more than anything and you find it in you, to push on, work it out, keep going, and keep trying. You won’t settle for anything less than your goal.

Have you experienced a true commitment? Do you want to, and if so what are you willing to do to achieve it?

I can promise you it’s worth it.  It’s like nothing else in the world.  The best days I’ve ever had, after giving birth to my children, have been days, when I pushed myself beyond what I ever thought I could do.  It’s been thrilling, fun, exhausting, and exhillirating all rolled up into one. And when the dust settles.  The thing is over, and the only thing that is left is you and your results.  It strikes you- you did it.  You just did the thing you set out to do – no one can ever take that from you- not even yourself.

That is true commitment.

What are you committed to?

Running Free Blog is Back!

I’m back! 🙂  I wasn’t really gone-just insanely busy at work, as it goes as an accountant in the first quarter of a year.

Even though I didn’t have time to write and blog the past few months, I was still running.  To date, I have almost 150 miles logged in my barefoot running shoes. I run some days without them, if it’s too cold, or snowy.

Running this way has exceeded my expectations, as it’s been over 6 months, and I’ve had no injuries.

My reoccurring hip pain from before, still flares up from time to time, for a day or two, but nothing like where I could barely walk for days, or unable to run for weeks. I had a massage a few weeks ago and the therapist worked on that area and I could feel the tension melting.  It has stayed very lose since. The massage therapist recommended yoga or pilates to keep it loose and strengthen the muscles.  That is next up on my list to try to make time for.

The other constant reoccurring injury I could never avoid running the traditional way, no matter what stretches I did, shoes I bought, surfaces I ran on, were shin splints.  I probably had a new bout with them once every two months- sometimes minor, sometimes severe, where I’d be forced to stop running while they healed.  Sometimes I’d even get weird ones along my ankles- where it felt like a shin splint, but the pain was in the ankle.  Nothing worked to stop these, except to stop running.

Since I started running the barefoot method, I’ve not had one even hint of shin pain, splint, or ankle or any other type of pain.  I’ve run on all surfaces too.  Trail, cement, road, snow, grass, and I never have any pain no matter what surface I run on.

I can run longer distances too, where before, I’d feel it the next day.  Now it feels after these distances, I hadn’t even been running the day before.  Not to say I don’t have an occasional ache or pain, but nothing that is in constant pain, debilitating, or causing me to stop running.  The biggest factor in preventing me from running these past few months has been my job- not injuries, which is something I thought I’d never say!  I would have never have believed it.

With the longer daylight now (I love it when daylight savings starts) more and warmer days here in Colorado, and my job slowing down, I’m excited I’ll have more time to run and blog.

Another benefit I’m seeing from running this way, is I’m running faster.  I use my Garmin and look at it afterwards. Many times during the run, I feel like I’m running slow and easy, but when I download the time and compare- I’m actually running faster.

I have seen my calf muscles define and be built up, over the months from this running method. I had a pair of “skinny jeans” with narrow leg openings, and before they slid right on. Now my muscles are too big for them, which is another benefit.  One, because I never had defined leg muscles, and two, for the real reason, running this way builds your calf muscles to take much of the impact on running, instead of your shins. The calves are much stronger muscles than your shins. So it’s why I think, I’ve not had any shin pain at all.

Traditional running with traditional shoes, usually forces your foot to land on a mid or heel strike. You may not even realize you are running this way. As a result your shins have to take the brunt of impact, instead of your calves.  But when you land on your forefoot, the stress is taken by your calves and your foot, as it was designed to do. The shins were never desired to be able to withstand the constant pressure on them for running. Your forefoot is, with help from the calves.

I’ve learned a lot in the past 6 months and keep learning too. I love it.  It’s like I’m able to combine the love of running and improve my running, instead of holding back, and being worried about overdoing it and getting hurt, or being hurt, and having to stop while I heal and lose the momentum.

I am still aiming for a marathon. I am confident I’ll be able to do it this year, but don’t want to say when yet.  But that is still my goal.

I’ve been thinking about running a 5K race too, just for fun. I’m within 3 minutes right now, of my fastest ever 5K time from several years ago. I’m not running anymore for fast speeds, but I love the 5K distance and have been thinking it would be fun to see how I’d run in a 5K with the barefoot method.

I have lots of blog posts I’ve been thinking about over the months, so there will definitely be new content coming more regularly about running, motivation, and achieving your goals. I’ll be updating the Facebook page more too, so stay tuned!