Awesome, Audacious Goals

If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not nearly big enough.

If your goals don’t inspire you, you need a loftier vision.

If your ambition doesn’t drive you to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you need to aim higher.

So, I’ve set a couple of awesome, audacious running goals. I admit, I’m a little frightened, mostly inspired, and way outside comfortable. Sounds about right, then.

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Running With The Cows


Queenie the Cow posed after the race with Fishing River Running Club members Sarah Wilson (second from right), who rocked her first half-marathon, Stacey Ellerman (far left), who paced her, and myself.

Just for the record … we weren’t actually running WITH any cows, despite the clever title of this half-marathon race. This was not like the running of the bulls, or anything risky like that.

Nevertheless, Running With The Cows earns high marks for marketing creativity, managing to attract thousands of runners to an otherwise nondescript stretch of rural roads for an enjoyable half marathon near Bucyrus, Kan., on May 10 (yes, this race report is over a month late). This was a fun race, mostly because of the before-and-after amenities rather than the course itself.

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When I’m not running a race

So, lots of friends are planning to run Hospital Hill, one of Kansas City’s premiere racing events. I’ve already decided not to run this year, but I’m starting to feel left out.

I’m running the Heartland 39.3 series of half marathons, then launching into serious training for my next marathon. Really, Hospital Hill would be a distraction. I have a feeling, though, that the closer we get to Hospital Hill, the more I’ll start second-guessing that decision.

What to do?

Running Rachel has a great suggestion. She recently blogged about “Six Reasons You Should Volunteer at Races.”

 Like Rachel, I confess that nearly every race I’ve ever attended, I ran. She paints a compelling picture for the value of volunteering at a race, not the least of which is this:

I think it is safe to say that my oldest son and I had fun volunteering at our first race. In fact, I think he had so much fun and was inspired by those running… that he even asked me when he could run a race with me! This is coming from the child that had no interest in running a few months ago! Yay! I call this a praise!

Don’t tell my non-running son, but I just might invite him to volunteer with me. You never know what might develop …

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz

Photo and autograph from Meb Keflezighi … plus a PR in the half marathon … not even a torrential rainstorm could dampen my enthusiasm for last weekend’s Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz.

(pun intended)

I’m glad I decided to run the Heartland 39.3 series of half marathons instead of my usual spring marathon. To go from running only 2-3 marathons a year, to racing every other weekend, has been fun. This break in my routine is just the boost I needed to energize my training for the Kansas City Marathon.

From Meb’s appearance at the pasta dinner on the eve of the race, to crossing the finish line with a PR of 1:38:36 (average pace of 7:32/mile) to earn a second-place finish in my age group, this has been a memorable weekend. The Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz had been bittersweet in my memory … Sweet, because a friend went above and beyond to support my effort to BQ the last time I ran here (booking a hotel room for us and meeting me along the course with Prolong sports drink). Bitter, because I fell short of my BQ (had to travel to South Dakota to accomplish that goal).

But this weekend, as the kids would say, was sweet.

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Need motivation? Watch this!

The marathon is inspiring. Training for a marathon, on the other hand, can be arduous and time-consuming and even monotonous. Grinding out the miles, day after day after week after month, can cause any runner’s enthusiasm to occasionally wane.

If you need a little inspiration for your marathon training — or any running regimen, for that matter — you have my permission to skip today’s run (as long as it’s not your weekly long run — NEVER skip the long run!) and Netflix instead.

From the company that introduced me to marathon sessions of “Breaking Bad” and “Dexter,” comes an actual marathon movie, an inspirational (yes, I know I’ve used that word three times in the first three paragraphs) documentary entitled “Spirit of the Marathon.” I’ve watched this on DVD more than once, but I’m already looking forward to watching it again on Netflix. How did I not know that this was available?

I just learned this morning. Thanks to Beth, who blogs at Shut Up and Run, for the tip. Beth offers 6 Ways to Recapture Your Running Motivation. Among them:

Go to Netflix – Movies can motivate. Seeing and learning about someone else’s story and how they persevered is relatable. Use the energy and inspiration from those who have worked hard for their goals. The Spirit of the Marathon is a favorite of mine because it highlights the elites, but also us normal Joes and Josephines.

“Spirit of the Marathon” follows six runners as they train for and race the Chicago Marathon … from Olympian Deena Kastor to veteran marathoners to a couple of first-time marathoners. You can read about them here. Their stories, their perseverance, their personal triumph will kick-start your own running.

The film’s website offers this summary:

The film is a must see for anyone thinking about running a marathon and anyone who has run one or more. It’s also a must see for anyone wondering why thousands of people spend many months training for such an event. It celebrates the history and heroes of the sport and examines the personalities and training methods of the participants.

Here’s the trailer.

Not planning to run a marathon? By the end of this movie, you’ll change your mind.