Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Poop. We all do it. As runners we do it anywhere, anytime, nature calls and sometimes there is no stopping it.  If there happens to be a bathroom near by, great! If not...behind a random building? No prob. Between two dumpsters? If need be, covers the smell. Friends corn field? Would have used their bathroom if they had been home. In a shrub running through a subdivision? Let's just's been done. I will go so far as to admit tearing out the lining of my shorts...I do have limits where I will go. I do have some sort of decency - if people are around I would rather get a new pair of shorts than drop trou' in public.

This has been on my mind lately. Anyone who has run with me for longer than 8 minutes or so is familiar with my issues. Believe me I have experimented with waiting to run, eating before the run, not eating before the run, coffee, no coffee, emptying the bowels before, taking Gu, not taking Gu, running in the middle of the day, the evening, whenever. Anything to shake up the routine.


Anyway, back to pooping. While I have never crapped myself in a race, I have seen it done and in an odd way admire the guts of the pooper. To be honest, I would rather quit than have poop running down my legs. Not to say I have not had to go during a race but my body just sort of somehow sucks it back up - why can't that happen during workouts or training runs? This past November I ran my first competitive half-marathon and was having one hell of a race when at mile 9 it hit me, first stop. At mile 11, next stop. And while I am one of the fastest crappers I know, you can only be so fast.

So, as the Eugene half-marathon approaches I anticipate it with excitement as well as a touch of horror. Hello Pepto Bismal - will you please be my friend on May 1st? My loyal running partner? Please appease my stomach and let me fly past all those damn Honey Buckets. Amen.

Have you got a poop story you are willing to share? Believe me, I probably have you trumped but it may make me feel a little better hearing yours. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011


No, this is not about those kinds of brownies. It is about Brownie, a pit bull I met this morning on my run. I will warn you ahead of time, this is not a happy story and if you are faint of heart don't continue reading. I wouldn't if I were you but I have to get it out.

This morning's run started like any other. Drake (my dog) and I headed out about 8 am for an easy 45 minutes. It was raining but was so fresh out that I really didn't mind it. I won't say the same for Drake. He tends to think he is drowning and the more it rains, the lower he gets to the ground as if he can somehow avoid getting wet that way.

We started our run as usual, on the College of Idaho campus (across the street) and ran a couple of loops before we ran into Pat on his run. He joined us for a few minutes, mainly to hold Drake while I used the restroom...morning movement, ya'know. For some reason I woke up wanting to go to Brothers Park - I can let Drake off the leash there and he gets more energy out - so we headed that way, via Indiana Avenue.

What happened next was in slow motion, I swear. It is blurry and a bit faded, by choice I guess. A few minutes before arriving at the park I saw a pit bull up ahead, loose. His owner was nearby and I thought to yell ahead and warn her that we were coming up - in case her dog was aggressive - but rather than make a hassle out of it, Drake and I crossed the road. But, as it was the dog saw us and in a moment lifted her head and bolted across traffic toward us. A passing minivan pummeled her. There was no avoiding it.

It was horrid. In a swift motion the owner drug her out of the middle of the road and onto the grass. She was not in good shape. Drake and I ran across the road and I tied him to a tree while I knelt beside the dog to see if I could help. Her name was Brownie. "I usually have her on a leash when there is lots of traffic, just not today. She must have seen your dog." Brownie was breathing rapidly and just lying there in shock. She was pretty messed up. Her head was pretty banged up, all the hair scraped off in one area. Her legs were twisted at odd angles and blood oozed out of her mouth. I took off my vest and wiped the blood from her mouth as best I could, then covered her with it - and held her head in my hands.

The driver was a teenage girl. She was so upset. I felt terrible for her. She left when she saw there was nothing to do. Brownie used what strength she had left to push herself onto her side. After about 15 minutes the owner's brother showed up and they lifted her into the back of the truck and drove away. I realized Drake and I were shaking uncontrollably from the wet and cold so we started running. My chest hurt, my throat ached. As we ran, it hit me that a variety of choices made by completely unrelated people collided in just one single moment. If one of us had made just one single different choice, this would have never happened. But we didn't and it did. We got home and I finally let it out. I wrapped my arms around Drake and cried on the porch for a long time.

Rest in peace, Brownie. I am sorry for my choice in the matter.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adjusting your expectations.

This past weekend, I was 150 meters into my 1500 and I thought, "Well, this is not what I, now what?" The race had gone out blazing fast and I knew immediately that what I 'expected' from the race as far as time, place, and effort was shot - time for an adjustment.

As the race played out, I found myself giving my body an internal high-five for sticking out what turned out to be a very anaerobic effort from the get-go. Hold here. Surge there. Stay with her. Pass her. Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics. Push off the ground. Momentum forward.

When the final 400 rolled around, in what I found to be the longest 1500 EVER, I was not in the position I had expected but that did not mean I had lowered my standards, it just meant I had NEW standards.

I think about this term, adjusting your expectations and realize that as athletes we are often harder on ourselves than we would ever expect or want a loved one, let alone an acquaintance to be. Yet, it is okay for us because we hold ourselves to a different standard.

Not only does this apply to our running but to our daily lives, our relationships, our work, our everything. Now, I am the first to admit that I fall into this category as well. I will tell a friend in an instant to relax and stop beating herself up if she did not get something done, if she ate terribly one day, if she just didn't get to the laundry today. But, you can bet I am not going to give myself the same pep talk and in fact more likely I will chastise myself internally and angrily beat myself down for something I did not get to that day or finish when I wanted to finish, a race that I did not win or run super fast, or a workout that was

Don't get me wrong, I HATE excuses and I am not petitioning for them. I also understand that this type of mental attitude is partially what makes us athletes just that, athletes. But, at some point you have to be able to step back and adjust your expectations as your priorities and circumstances change.

Because if you beat yourself into a pulp (metaphorically speaking) every time something does not turn out how you expect, it begins to be much more difficult to put yourself back together again. What adjustments can you make today?