“Miles & Trials: Running Towards 2012” Trailer


“Kids, I’m on the Treadmill…The Dog’s in Charge!”

Every Mother and Father, with small children, and a treadmill in the house, will  appreciate my last week of training.

When people first think about buying a treadmill I’m sure they have high hopes! The treadmill, of course, will be a great time saver because no longer will they have to trudge back and forth to the gym. The convenience of exercise equipment, in the privacy of their own home, will be enough motivation for them to hop on and get in a few miles each day. AND the best thing about treadmills, you can multi-task! Who wouldn’t want to be able to run their miles with their children playing quietly in the same room.  This is the ideal picture. I don’t leave the house, I save time, my kids are content and I run!

I wish! This last week of training reminded me of when my kids were little and I couldn’t get out the door and enjoy the beautiful running weather. However, I did have a treadmill, and for this I was very thankful!!

Although with little ones in the house, crawling around, I couldn’t take any chances of them getting near the treadmill. So, before I ran I had to set-up shop. I’d put one in the exersaucer, pour some cheerios around the tray, put some other cheerios in a container, (getting them out of the container would be a challenge for Tommy and hopefully would keep him busy for a few minutes longer.)  I’d put the other one in the swing, wind it up, give her a binky, give her a bottle, and hope she’d be content. I’d then instruct the older one to hand out more cheerios and wind the swing again if the little ones get crabby.  Finally, I would jump on the treadmill and hope for the best. Sometimes this worked, sometimes it didn’t. A lot of recovery days turned into tempo runs, as I was trying to get the mileage in and soothing babies and toddlers at the same time.

This week, I was watching my 3 year old niece. And it just so happened that my 2:10 minute run fell on the same day.

My morning went like this; I got my two boys, who are now 13 and 11 at school by 7:30, and my 7 year old daughter to school by 8:00. I home-school my 9 year old, Leah, and Emma, my niece was to be at our house by 7:40. I just didn’t have the motivation to get up at 4-4:30am and get my long run in before I got everyone off to school.

My only choice for my run was the treadmill.  I bribed Leah, telling her I’d pay her five bucks if she “babysat” Emma in the basement. “Color pictures with her, play barbies, watch a movie, whatever it takes, just keep her busy and content and I’ll be done in no time!”

So, my run started and this time it was great. The girls never got into an argument, they never needed or wanted anything. They just played quietly and contently as a got my 19 miles done.

The only thing that was disturbing was Leah asking me ever so often “Mom, how many more minutes now?” When she asked at 53 minutes to go, I had to regain my mental strength and tell myself I could keep going and it would be over soon enough.

Thankfully, now that my boys are older they understand, that the treadmill can get boring, so they set me up with good company. Yoda and Obi-Wan, who else would I want staring at me while I run. Every once in a while I look Obi-Wan in the eye and ask him what he’s staring at. And I really wish I could take the light-saber from his hand and swing it at him a couple of times. All in fun of course.  And then there’s Yoda who I’m always wanting to give him a high-five. He’s holding his left hand up and out and I know this is just what he wants.

This run is going so well, better than I expected. The girls are wonderful! Leah deserves 10 dollars not 5! She’s a great babysitter! I’m almost tempted to think that maybe gone are the days of winding swings, throwing binky’s at the baby in the exersaucer, yelling at the kids to stop fighting,  (it takes so much more energy to yell, in the midst of intervals on the treadmill.  It really does leave you breathless!), and begging the kids to stop crying  so I can just have 3 and half more minutes to get that last half mile in! It makes me laugh to think of all the energy it takes to get my runs done on the treadmill…and REALLY I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Oh, and if all else fails, leave the dog in charge!

Disclaimer: This is only a joke! So don’t be offended. No children or animals were hurt while I was running on the treadmill or typing this blog.

How it All Began…Part 2…Second Chances and More

If I had known in high school what I could have done with the natural athletic ability I was blessed with, I would have never quit the team, walked off the track, out of the locker room, and into a place I didn’t belong. I think about the running dreams I could have accomplished and it makes me very sad that I threw it all away. But at that point in life, it meant nothing! I certainly didn’t think quitting was that big of deal, and all those goals I had of breaking school records, I didn’t think twice about them.

Well, that’s not necessarily true, there were a couple of times during my high school years that somebody would bring up track, or I’d meet a coach who would ask me if I was a runner, and when I would say, “No,” their response, “Well, you look like you’d be a great runner,” did sting. But, I never let it sting long enough to think, maybe I should get my life back on “track” and become the athlete I was meant to be!

At the end of my senior year in high school I had decided to go to Taylor University. I knew a small, private, Christian school was just what I needed. I wouldn’t have been able to survive at a state school. I was happy to leave my past behind and start with a new beginning. I loved Taylor!

During my senior year, I was working out at the student health club and I noticed a flyer for the Indianapolis half-marathon. I thought to myself, “Hmmm…I used to be a runner, I bet I could start running again and do a half-marathon.” Plus, it would be great motivation to stop smoking (a habit I had picked up in high-school and still happened to do on occasion.)

After a couple of weeks of running on the treadmill, I told my roommate, Heather Beck, my plan. She was actually on the Taylor track team. One day when she was getting ready to go to practice she told me I should come with her and run with the team. There was no way I was going to do that. I certainly couldn’t keep up with the long distance runners. I mean, I had just started running again, not to mention I used to run 200s and 400s, so running miles was something entirely new for me. However, after a few days, she convinced, and as nervous as I was, I went to run with the team.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was running with a group, the camaraderie these women shared was amazing. The fun they were having, while they were running, was inspiring. I wanted to continue to be a part of this community!

I started to run with them and when we were done getting in the miles, they would go to the locker room, talk to the coach, etc. etc. and I would go back to my dorm room, shower, and meet them for dinner.

One day, when we were finishing up a run, the track coach approached me and asked what I was training for. I told him the Indianapolis 1/2 Marathon. He told me that I should continue to run with the team, and not only that, but a great way to get in shape for the 1/2 would be to run the 10k in the conference meet. Absolutely, not!! I had never run more than a lap around the track in a meet and there was no way I was going to put myself out there at a college meet and run a 10k!! The meet was only a week or two away, and somehow Coach convinced me to run.

The day of the meet, I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t know what to expect. One of the girls told me just run and don’t look at the lap counter. How could I not look at the lap counter! It was right there at every turn and it was so obvious when they would flip it over to show how many laps were left. Despite that, the race felt great. It was exhilarating being back on the track and competing. I didn’t win the race, I didn’t even come in second or third, but I did post a time that qualified me for the National Meet the following weekend. Which just happened to be the weekend of the 1/2 marathon.

It was obvious that I would run in the National Meet. I would never get the chance to compete in a college meet again and there would be more 1/2 marathons to run later. When I ran the 10k at Nationals, it was very, very challenging. I wasn’t recovered from the conference meet. I had teammates on the side who were encouraging me to run hard and race well. However, if one of those teammates had said, “It’s okay, you look tired, you can stop if you want too.” I might have very well given into that! It was brutal! But, I did finish. And, despite a race that didn’t feel great it was still an amazing feeling to compete and push myself beyond my limits, and cross the finish line.

You can imagine my surprise, when I went to get my mail a week before graduation, and there was a track letter for me! I ran in only two track meets, 48 laps, and lettered in track!

I have to give credit where credit is due. The God of second chances and more. Even when we are unfaithful He is faithful!! 48 laps around the track, a second chance to make up all those 200s and 400s I had missed out on in high school. I was thankful to be given a another chance to train and race with the companionship of encouraging teammates, something I had given up years before.

Now, that I had graduated from college I was starting another new chapter in my life, but one thing I knew for sure was that running was going to continue to be a part of it.

Part 3…Road racing here I come…

Athlete in Training Part 2

Recently, I was given the opportunity to write a short paper and answer 4 questions concerning how the Christian faith relates to running. The questions/answers were based on Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Question 3: How should we run?

First, I must believe and trust in the training I’ve done, knowing that I’ve put in the work and the effort to run my best.  I also know and believe in my mind that I can do it. I know that at times during the race it’s going to get tough and it will hurt, but I must remind myself to keep going.  Every part of my body is telling me to stop, but I won’t listen, because I know that the pain isn’t going to last forever.  When I go through tough spots during a race, my mind must be stronger than what I am feeling at that point.  I must tell myself I can, and in so doing my body will follow.  You might wonder, why I don’t just give up and stop when it hurts? Is the pain really worth the goal? Does it really matter if I cross the finish line? It does! Because, I’ve put in the time and effort, the hard-work, the good days, and the bad days.  I run focused on my ultimate goal, knowing that I’ve been training in order to reach my full potential. Fulfilling my goal and purpose in running comes when I cross the finish line.

Question 4: Who should we watch while we run?

I’ve learned through experience, that when I run I must have tunnel vision.  I must focus on my goal and my race.  If I lose my focus and worry about what the other runners are doing, how they are going to run, how fast they are going to go, then I start to run a race that wasn’t intended for me. Also, if I start to concentrate on those around me, I become anxious and worried that I’m not as strong and I’m not going to be able to keep up, let alone finish the race.  When I line up to start a race I have no business looking around to see who might be better, stronger or faster than I am.  There is no need to compare myself with others before the race. And if I do, I can guarantee I will wander off of my plan, my pace and get stuck somewhere I shouldn’t be.  This makes for a difficult and often times painful race.  The best races are those that are run with complete focus on what my body has been trained to run and not waiver from this pace.

Then there’s the crowd and the cheering.  While they can be encouraging, they can also be distracting.  If I start to look around and see someone holding a box of donuts or drinking coffee from Starbucks, how much harder does that make it to keep going! Wouldn’t I rather stop and rest and indulge myself! Why would I suffer through the pain when I can find immediate self-satisfaction, if only I would stop.  Again, my eyes must stay focused on the goal and the task at hand!

Lastly, when I race I know the ultimate goal is to cross the finish line.  How do I reach the finish line? Most of the time it’s too overwhelming to think of the entire distance.  I must take it step by step – because eventually steps turn into miles, and miles into 5ks, and 5ks into marathons and then before I know it I’m crossing the finish line – with exhilaration and joy, not because I did it pain-free, but because I did it! I finished the race!


Athlete in Training Part 1

Recently, I was given the opportunity to write a short paper and answer 4 questions concerning how the Christian faith relates to running. The questions/answers were based on Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Question 1: Who is in the Stands?

When I think about the spectators in the stands, I think you will find all sorts of people.  There are people who are passionate about the sport and find watching the competition a complete satisfaction and inspiration.

There are coaches who are hoping their athletes run their best and react positively to the specific training they’ve been doing.  There are past competitors who are wishing they were still in their “glory days” or hoping to see the next record be set.

There are also injured runners who are longing to be part of the sport, but they’ve been set back, and by watching and cheering they feel they are still a part of the competition.

Then, each runner has personal fans that are among the crowd. Friends and family who have supported and encouraged the athlete along the way.  And other personal fans, who’ve maybe just heard about the athlete and want to see if he can really execute the rumors they’ve heard about him.

Lastly, there are people who may have never run before, who don’t like to run, who don’t understand running, yet they find it interesting to watch how others find joy and pleasure in it.

Question 2: How do we prepare to run?

If I want to run my best I must always remember that running is a joy and a gift. If I let it become a chore/job – something I feel that I have to do, it becomes daunting and I find no pleasure in it.

People often wonder how I find the time to run. It’s easy – it’s become a part of me. It’s never a question of IF i’m going to run.  Each day, I know what’s on the training schedule and I know somehow it’s going to get done. It’s become part of my day, it’s a habit, it’s something that when I don’t do it – I notice a difference in the day and in the way I feel.

There’s days when I’m exhausted and the last thing I want to do is swing my tired legs out of bed and run, but I do it anyway.  Knowing that once I start I will want to keep going – even if it’s painful or tiring I know there’s the ultimate goal that I’m trying to achieve, and in order to achieve this I must meet the little goals along the way. There’s other days when I’m excited to run and I can’t wait to get out the door and meet the pavement. There’s days/workout’s that are tough and days/ workouts that are easy – but either way, I know that when I’m out there running I’m accomplishing exactly what I need to do.

Tomorrow – Part 2 :

Question 3 – How should we run?

Question 4 – Who should we watch while we run?


“Never let age define how far or how fast you can go.” (me)


“The gift pales in comparison to the Giver.”


”The best advice the world seems to offer…(1) Don’t sweat the small stuff. (2) It’s all small stuff.”  Well, I’d like to stuff a sweaty sock in the mouth of the person who first said that.” (Beth Moore) Cancer, accidents, divorce, unemployment, homelessness, addictions, death, the list goes on and on and it’s not ALL small stuff! The World’s doctrine is determined to reduce difficulty, or ignore it, because it has no genuine answers.


“Every Artist is a cannibal,

Every poet is a thief

All kill their inspiration

And sing about their grief.” (U2)


“Is a dream alive if it don’t come true or is it something worse?” (Bruce Springsteen)


“No matter how bad the circumstances or how sad the situation there is always, ALWAYS at least one thing in which to be thankful for…focus your thoughts there.” (me)


When we see Jesus for who He really is, we can either turn away or shamelessly adore Him. He is obligated to keep us dissatisfied until we put down our plans and pick up His agenda.” (me)

Track Day!

I woke up pretty tired today and it was really easy to want to procrastinate doing my morning run. However, knowing that today consists of a double run I knew I couldn’t wait too long to get my first run done and out of the way.

It was another gorgeous morning to run and the weather was perfect for getting on the track. I love track days! It’s a nice switch from the many miles I do on the prairie path and the roads. Iit’s always nice to be able to stretch my legs and run at a fast pace.

This mornings workout consisted of 90 minutes with 8 x 800s on the track. I can definitely tell that the last couple years I have been running mostly in marathon mode and my body still finds speed workouts a bit shocking. However, I must say the 800s this morning, felt better than the 800s I did last week, so, I feel that I am making progress and soon track workouts will feel more natural!

I finished homeschooling Leah, for the day, and my other kids are home from school. They have a couple of friends over, (aka my adopted/donated children) so our house is pretty busy at the moment. But, soon I will escape to the roads and once again regain my sanity with a 50 minute easy run!

My run…my play time.

My Human Rubber Band

“Girls, we are going to have a sit-up contest. I want you to go home and at some point before our next practice I want you to see how many sit-ups you can do.  Have your mom or dad count for you and the next time we’re together we’ll see who was able to do the most.”

My daughter, Leah, is nine years old. She started gymnastics when she was six and it was then that I realized I gave birth to a human rubber band. This girl is so flexible I sometimes wonder if she even has any bones!  Not only that, but from her very first class, she began to spend most of her life in an upside down position! She also learned that any counter, railing, couch, bed, chair, etc. can easily be turned into a gymnastics apparatus.

When she was in Kindergarten, she decided to cartwheel all the way from the school to our car. I lost count around 120! The boys used to get so mad at her when , on the spur of the moment, she would flip-flop without first looking behind her, and end up kicking them in the stomach! How many times have I caught her performing gymnastic skills and have had to say, “Leah, you can’t do that there!!”

I have been blessed with four naturally athletic children.  However, Leah, as of now, is the most driven and insane athlete in our family. The sit-up contest? Did she stop at 100? 300? 500? 1000? No, she was determined to win the contest, so she wanted to post a number that she knew the other girls wouldn’t go over. That number, 1111. In fact, she wanted to do more, but I made her stop at this point as it was becoming a little crazy! And, she wondered why her stomach was sore the next day!?

Leah has what it takes to be a great athlete. She is easily coachable and has the talent, dedication, drive, determination, competitive spirit, discipline, and desire to give what it takes to be her best. Never do I put any pressure on her to compete and I always tell her whatever she decides to do with gymnastics or any sport she’s in is fine with me. I will never push her to do or be something she doesn’t want to be. She puts enough pressure on herself that she definitely doesn’t need a mother that’s going to do the same! (Although, I know she could be a great runner – and I sometimes hope she will pick up this “life-long” sport when she gets a little older. Not to mention, gymnastic meets, plus award ceremony’s can get a little long! But, again no pressure!)

My daughter’s last meet was yesterday. She started off the season falling off the bars and breaking her ankle. She had to work really hard to catch up and was very determined to give each meet her best. My favorite memory from this year was when she was at her second or third meet and she was warming up for the vault. She miss-stepped and ended up running into the vault. She ran the run-way a couple more times but could not get her steps back in order. At that point, I knew it was a mental problem. Finally on her third try, she made it over the vault and ended up doing a great job when it was her time to compete. After the meet she told me, “You know Mom, when I was having so much trouble on the vault, I just prayed and asked God to help me get over it, and He did!” Her words were so sweet, and I love when I get little glimpses that let me know  I just might be doing a good job as a mom!

Way to go Leah for finishing Level 5 with a 5th in State on the floor and the bars and 7th in State All-Around!

Yep, sometimes my inspiration to compete and do my best comes from my 9 year old daughter!



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Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2011

Last year, in the midst of running high mileage, while training to qualify for the olympic marathon trials, I ran the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon. The race was August 14, 2011 and we were very lucky to get a beautiful morning with ideal race conditions.

Earlier in the week, I had debated about going to Wisconsin and doing a much smaller half marathon. I wanted to run a descent half, but I also didn’t want to feel the pressure to “perform,” which sometimes happens at bigger races. The reason being was I had put in two weeks of 100 plus miles and the week leading up to the Rock N Roll Half, I was already over 80 miles.

I was feeling pretty trashed and figured I wouldn’t be able to run as well as I knew I could under different circumstances. However, after talking to one of my training partners, I was convinced that on August 14th, I would just “suck it up,” ignore the pressure, put on my game face, get in the zone, and run.

I drove to the race by myself and I didn’t have any expectations. I warmed up a couple of miles, did some strides, and took my place on the starting line. I figured that once I started the race I would know, within the first few miles, if I was capable of racing or if this was going to end up being a good, effort training run.

I started off feeling great and thought I’m just going to keep running this pace until I’m forced to back off. I didn’t look at my watch. I didn’t pay attention to my splits. I just ran. I was in the zone. In fact, so in the zone, I was almost worried the effortless pace was going to come back and bite me.

Races like this don’t come around too often. There’s nothing more exhilarting then feeling like you could keep going forever. There’s nothing better than running hard, yet feeling like you aren’t putting forth any effort whatsoever. And, there’s nothing like watching the miles fly by wondering how your body just keeps going.

On August 14th, 2011, this is just what happened. I will admit around mile 10, my quads started to ache with the pain of 100 mile weeks creeping up on me, and the head wind going into the last two miles wasn’t as comfortable as the first 11. But, I knew at that point I could still over-power my body with my mind and finish strong. I was surprised when the finish clock came into view and I realized I was going to run a sub 1:20!

It was a great feeling to come to a race with tired legs and without any expectations, and end up running a 1:19:51, a new half-marathon PR. Not, only that, but during the race I ran a faster 10k and 10 mile time than I had ever done before! The 3rd place finish, in a race that big, and a nice cash prize made it even better. ( :

In 2012, I hope to run better than a 1:19:51 and set a new 1/2 marathon PR.