Sunday, June 23, 2019

I Hate Running.

My First Mini - 05.05.2007
In 2007, I wrote an article about my entry into the world of running.  To my surprise, it was published in the December 2007 issue of Women’s Health.  I know many folks are considering joining Lawrence County’s Stone to Stone running program this summer, and I thought resurrecting this article might give some fire to someone on the fence about joining.

Additionally, I appreciate the full-circle quality of rereading this article today.  I mention my mentors in the “training group,” and now I’m going to be one of those mentors.

If you want to learn more about Stone to Stone, the program that will turn you into a half marathoner, come to an informational call-out meeting at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County (2009 19th Street, Bedford, IN 47421), on Thursday, June 27 at 6:00 P.M.  See you there!
            I hate running.
            For the first 27 years of my life, this was my mantra.  As a public school student, I loathed lap running in P.E.  As an adult, I watched the local sweat-sodden road runners jogging through town and thought, “Crazy.”  Sure, running could keep a gal fit, but there were other ways to stay healthy, right?  Who on Earth would choose to run?  For fun?
            On purpose?
            My life took an unexpected turn in April 2003 when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.  Amid all the digestive and kidney complications, it occurred to me that to be healthy, I would have to introduce some kind of physical fitness program into my lifestyle.  I began light weight training and walking programs.  No running necessary.
            While watching a news program a few years later, I was drawn to a story about a plucky teenager who ran a marathon for charity.  She said, “If I can do it, anyone can!”  A momentary, “I could do something like that,” flitted through my mind.
            But I hate running.
            Nonetheless, I kept thinking about that teenager and her motivating statement that “anyone” could run a marathon.  I started slipping comments regarding running into conversation with my family and friends, testing the waters of their confidence in me.  Most of them gave me the same furrowed-brow, wrinkled-lip face that asked, “Are you serious?”  A few gave hesitant encouragement after fleeting flickers of the previously mentioned facial expression.  My oldest stepson, however, said, “I hear there’s going to be a training group organized for folks running the Mini.”
            The Mini.  The half-marathon.  The 13.1-mile race that includes a whip around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The kickoff event for the 500 Festival.  The biggest half-marathon in the world with 35,000 participants.
            Sign me up.
            What kind of individual voluntarily enlists to complete a 13.1-mile race when she can’t even run all the way around a quarter-mile track?  Why I took that leap of faith is not easy to explain.  It might have been to prove something to the shocked-faced friends who thought I couldn’t do it.  It might have been to prove something to myself.  Ultimately, I think it was the overwhelming urge to shut up, suck it up, and go for it: to force myself to attain a goal that seemed impossible to reach.
            My first training run fell six months before the 500 Festival Mini Marathon.  Terrified of my commitment, I watched as those crazy road runners whom I’d seen only through confused eyes, began to arrive; they were going to be my mentors.  When I could run only a short two minutes, they didn’t make fun of me.  We walked until I could run again.  This pattern continued for days until I ran my first mile without stopping.  My mentors celebrated with me as if my accomplishment were profound.
            Because it was.
            I didn’t need extrinsic motivation to stick to my training schedule.  Throughout my early runs, I discovered that the Crohn’s pain in my abdomen lessened as I ran.  Long distance runs rendered me pain free.  Running brought more energy, more zest for life, more healthiness, and a more positive attitude.
Getting ready to enter
the corral in 2007
            I ran in the rain.  I ran in the wind.  I ran in the snow.   One morning, my eyelids froze shut from the bitter cold.  Finally, I ran two miles.  Then three.  Five.  Eight.  Ten.  Family and friends did double-takes, then honked and waved in disbelief as I pounded the city’s wintry streets on my quest to accomplish the impossible.
            The morning of the Mini dawned heavy with humidity.  Standing in Corral G, a prime starting spot I’d earned by posting a qualifying pace in a local training series run, it occurred to me that six months of physical and mental preparation culminated to this moment.  The Crohn’s-diseased girl who hated running was about to embark on a 13.1-mile jogging journey with nothing but a prayer, an iPod, and a will of steel.  Nevertheless, I was shaking in my worn running shoes.
            Due to the large volume of runners, my Corral remained motionless when the gun sounded—not the climactic start I’d expected.  I finally reached the start line six minutes after the gun, and took off at my pace.
            For the first few miles, runners flew past me as if I were a rock on the road.  Self-talk helped me focus: “Run your race.  Run your pace.  Don’t stop.”  By Mile Marker 5, I was passing those fleet-footed runners.
            As I wound through Indianapolis’s downtown and residential streets, masses of people stood on the sidewalks cheering on the runners.  Bands playing upbeat tunes lined the streets.  Welcome as water-stations, these encouragers gave me much needed refueling.  My self-talk continued, “Don’t stop.  Don’t stop.”
            I began to weaken after Mile Marker 7, which was on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  My ankles ached from the banked track, and I missed the cheering crowds who weren’t allowed inside the Speedway’s looming walls.  My mantra echoed in my head with each step.  “Don’t.  Stop.  Don’t.  Stop.”
            The sighting of an IndyCar racer at Mile Marker 8 gave me an adrenaline boost, as did the long-awaited exit from the track and the encouragement of a friend who reached out to slap my hand on Mile 9.  At Mile 10, a man in the crowd shouted to me, “You from Indiana?  We don’t stop in Indiana!”  I found another friend at Mile 11.  With twelve miles behind me, I entered the Victory Mile on New York Street.  As I did, the sultry sun burst from behind the clouds.  I summoned all my will as I sped to the finish line.
Finishing the 2007 Mini
            “DON’T!  STOP!  DON’T!  STOP!”
            With the finish line steps away, I saw a pink sign with my name thrust into the air.  It was held by the hands of my mother, who was screaming my name.  My husband’s face was not visible behind the lens of his camera.  My father clapped his hands until they were hot, and he cried a little too, I think.  Also weeping tears of joy, I hit the finish line with my arms raised in triumph.  My husband said I was one of the only runners who finished smiling.
            I hadn’t stopped.  I’d had every opportunity to give up, drop out.  But for two hours, 18 minutes, and 22 seconds, I ran—without stopping.  I crossed the finish line in 13,743rd place.  All around me were men, women, and children staring at each other in stunned disbelief at what we had all just done.  We had just run a half-marathon.
            I ran a half-marathon.
            Back home in southern Indiana, I continue to train through the city’s streets.  Dismayed drivers, in my old position, look in disbelief at this sweat-sodden road runner on a solo mission along Hoosier hills, and think, “Crazy.”  That’s OK, because they don’t know what I know.  I choose to run, for fun, on purpose, because running has shown me that nothing is impossible, and impossible is nothing.
            Because I love running.

Starting my 10th Indy Mini in 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018

Running the Numbers - 2018

Fall Photo Run on Trail #2 at Spring Mill on November 6
In many ways, 2018 was a rough year for me.  I dealt with an Achilles/calf/post-tib injury for the first five months of the year.  (That problem was due to running several miles in sub-zero temperatures. Dumb.) However, I also had a lot of really, really great times.

I chose to eliminate every mileage/pace goal and go with just one aim: Run Happy. That I did. I had so, so, so many fun runs with friends this year.  The first ones that come to mind are Eric's Carmel Marathon, Mitch's Mini, the flood run with Becky and Larry, the Lawrence County Torch Relay, PRing at the Tecumseh Half Marathon, PRing at the Monumental Half Marathon, my solo Fall Photo Run, the Give Thanks 4 with Jocelyn, and the Christmas Lights Run with Wendy. There were certainly some really bright running spots in 2018.

Running The 2018 Numbers
I always enjoy keeping data on my runs, and watching the mileage pile up as the year progresses.  Here's way more info about my running than you'll ever want to know.

Miles Run: 1,130.00 (avg. 21.67 mi. per week)
McCormick's Creek on June 10
Decrease Over Previous Annual Mileage High: 1,582.00 mi., 28.57% decrease
Runs: 178
Hours Run: 181.87 (7.58 days, or 2.08% of 2018)
Average Run Distance: 6.35 mi.
Average Run Pace: 9:39.40 min/mi.
Average Run Duration: 1:01:18.2 hr.
Average Temperature During Runs: 52.01°F
Temperature Range: 97°F (High 88°F, September 15; low -9°F, January 2)
Feet Climbed: 64,612 (12.24 mi.)
Average Feet Climbed Per Mile: 57.18, 1.08% grade
Miles Walked: 70
Walks: 48
Average Walk Distance: 1.46 mi.
Strength Training Sessions at Novus: 34
Cross Training Miles: 81.41 (biking, spinning, and elliptical)
Races Run: 7 (3 AG awards)
PRs Set: 3, 2:24:50, trail half marathon on October 27; 1:51:07, road half marathon on November 3; and 31:22, 4-miler on November 22
DNFs: 1, Brown County State Park Trail 15K (DINO Race), June 2
Falls: 2, July 25 and October 27, both the fault of Ryan Boyce! :-)
Pate with Mitch and Ryan on July 25
Injuries: 1, Achilles/calf/post-tib in the winter and spring due to running high mileage in sub-zero temps
Toenails Lost: 5
Surgeries: 0
Pairs of Shoes Retired: 3
Pairs of Shoes Purchased: 4
States Where I Ran: 1, Indiana
Pictures Drawn: 5: pi on March 14, crosses on March 28, 2018 on May 25, "Jo Is 39." on June 1, and a flag with USA on July 3
Longest Run: 14.02 mi., September 8
Shortest Run: 0.25 mi., May 8
Week With Most Running: October 14-20, 41.85 mi.
Month With Most Running: December, 158.00 mi.
Christmas Lights Run with Wendy
on December 20
Month With Least Running: April, 20.00 mi.
Favorite Runs: Eric's Carmel MarathonMitch's Mini, the flood run with Becky and Larry, the Lawrence County Torch Relay, PRing at the Tecumseh Half Marathon, PRing at the Monumental Half Marathon, my solo Fall Photo Run, the Give Thanks 4 with Jocelyn, and the Christmas Lights Run with Wendy
Percentage of Goals Reached: 100% (1/1, I ran happy.)
Total Lifetime Mileage: 9,100.00
Percent of Lifetime Mileage Run in 2018: 12.42%

Mileage By The Month
I did that weird number thing and made sure my monthly mileage totals were all whole numbers. It's very satisfying for me to see all that point-0-0!

January: 53.00
February: 67.00
Lake Monroe on July 5
March: 90.00
April: 20.00
May: 50.00
June: 73.00
July: 132.00
August: 135.00
September: 130.00
October: 120.00
November: 102.00
December: 158.00 (most monthly mileage ever)

It was a really great year for my running. See some more photos below. Thanks to everyone for the support! On to 2019!

Some Great Photos
Pi on March 14

Carmel Half with Mitch and
Eric (Full) on March 31

Carmel finish with Mitch on March 31

TCR Gals on April 29

Mini start with Mitch on May 5

Mile 2 of the Mini
with Mitch on May 5

The storied Flood Run on September 9
with Larry and Becky

LC Torch Relay with
Allen on September 15

Monumental Half PR on November 3

Seasons: Spring (May 28) and Fall (November 6) at Donaldson

Give Thanks 4 on November 22 with Jocelyn

Saturday, December 1, 2018


Every October, artists across the globe participate in Inktober, a movement created by Jake Parker. You can read more about Inktober here, but to summarize, Inktober's goal is to get folks to create art every day during the month of October. Originally designed for ink drawings, people create art with a given theme, then post their results online with the hashtag #Inktober.

You may remember (or may have tried to forget) when I participated in a Halloween #Inktober in October 2018. I posted my drawings, made with my iPad and Apple pencil, on Instagram and Facebook as stories.

My original motivation was to make people laugh. I'm infamous for my so-called artusually quick and silly renderings of stick people and puffy animals. While my art remained silly, I found I actually looked forward to creating and posting my picture every day. When October ended, I missed the daily fun.

So I'm bringin' it back, with a nod to Mr. Parker. I have decided to create a month-long Christmas/Holiday/Winter themed daily art creation invitation called Designember. Wanna participate? Download a full rendering of the official image here, and have fun creating! Post your art online for all to see with the hashtag #Designember.

Merry Christmas!


Oh, wait, what? You wanted to see some of my #Inktober stuff? I'm not surprised. I'm pretty good. 😉



Field of Pumpkins

Black Cat

Decapitated Person

Severed Limb


An Eye

Thursday, October 18, 2018

What Makes An Effective NLCS Board Member?

by JoAnna Kai Cobb

‘Tis the season! About a month ago, I started noticing campaign signs appearing on my running routes. A few turned into a plethora, and now our city is dotted with the little colorful billboards promoting different candidates in the community. However, instead of endorsing senatorial contenders and representatives, most of Lawrence County’s signs are advertising school board candidates.

As a local educator in her sixteenth year of service, I want to share both my thoughts on the biggest concerns I have for North Lawrence Community Schools and my opinion on the characteristics of an effective school board member who will face these issues head-on.

My interest in these issues comes not only from wanting the very best for the youth of Lawrence County, but also from desiring the best future for our community in general. As Whitney Houston once sang, “I believe the children are our future.” Investing in the youth of our community builds the foundation for the Lawrence County of years to come.

For whom should you vote for NLCS School Board? That decision belongs to you. My aim is to share my expert opinion on the critical issues that will be facing those who are elected so that voters know what is at stake.

Adjusting to a New Age

As an ever-evolving entity, education looks different today than it ever has in the past. More models and resources are available to students, teachers, and administrators, not just to utilize for learning, but also to set up a framework for optimal learning.

NLCS has embraced technology through 1:1 devices for students, in its course offerings, with professional development, and more. In my classroom, I have enjoyed watching technology usage transform from a classroom novelty to a classroom norm and necessity.

However, modern education isn’t about only technology and curriculum; it’s about making informed decisions so that our students may do their best learning. At the administrative level, that decision-making involves setting up school calendars, daily schedules, other policies, and opportunities that will be best for student learning.

It is vital that such informed decisions are based upon outside research and inside data. An effective school board member is excited to both initiate and play an active role in this analysis in order to learn what types of changes will be best for the corporation’s students. He or she also knows that conclusions deemed best for students of the past aren’t necessarily best for the students of today.

For example, using e-learning days in lieu of snow make-up or other unconventional mid-week breaks, such as Election Day, would give NLCS students a chance to experience a different kind of learning while maintaining continuity. Researching how corporations similar to NLCS implement such a policy, troubleshoot problems, and experience successes would be a step in providing the same opportunities for Lawrence County students.

An effective school board member recognizes stagnancy, and makes informed changes based on careful research and data collection.

Attracting and Retaining Staff

The salaries of NLCS certified staff are the lowest in the area. (The Master Contract is publicly available and may be viewed at this link.) A decades-old government funding formula is often cited as the reason for the disparity. Regular insurance premium hikes compound the problem.

This topic may initially seem self-serving. While it would be nice to have a salary that allowed me the possibility of working only one job and maintaining a cost of living, my worry is not for myself. My worry is for the students whose teachers are leaving.

Because believe me—they are leaving, and not for different roles in education nor careers in new fields. They are leaving to teach classrooms in different corporations in order to make more money doing the exact same jobs. Many of these teachers are not relocating nor are they escaping tough conditions. They are living in Lawrence County and teaching in different corporations, for up to $17,000 more per year, doing the same job they were doing at NLCS.

This situation directly harms students because NLCS is unable to attract and retain a full staff of talented teachers. As an interview committee member at my school, I have seen the hiring process devolve from sifting through many stellar résumés, to interviewing the only candidate to apply. Our corporation and thus our students, who deserve the best and the brightest educators, are often overlooked by applicants who sensibly choose a nearby corporation with a much more competitive salary.

Teacher salaries are not the only area of the budget that needs help, so the cooperation and creativity of many board members, administrators, and other NLCS officials will be necessary to form a plan and fulfill a solution. Open-mindedness, perhaps to unconventional ideas, will be required to acknowledge the problem, address the problem, and answer the problem.

An effective school board member recognizes this financial issue as one of the most critical concerns facing NLCS and is eager to resourcefully seek solutions.

Corporation Communication

Finally, the previously mentioned issues will all be better addressed with open and impartial communication. Our corporation is strewn with diverse employees, all with different ideas and concerns. Often, perhaps because of the sheer size of our corporation, many employees feel they don’t have an avenue to share those concerns.

Strong relationships between board members, administration, faculty, and staff can be built through regular and welcome communication. Such communication can begin and continue through informal meetings, board meetings, team building events, shared professional development, school visits, and more. These entities will trust one another when they realize all involved harbor no vendettas and want only the best for students. Professional communication free of judgment will follow.

An effective school board member recognizes the need for open, impartial communication among all employees and advertises and facilitates that process in order to inclusively and efficiently solve minor and major corporation problems.

Bottom Line

While there are many more matters of concern facing NLCS, these issues are the three I feel are most critical to putting students in the best position to learn and achieve. Despite any issues at hand, your votes for Board of Directors for North Lawrence Community Schools should go to individuals who are hard-working, informed agents of change who will put students and their learning and achievement above all other matters.

There will be a free candidate forum at Bedford Middle School’s Schafer Auditorium at 6:00 P.M. on Monday, October 22. Attend, and hear what the candidates have to say. Listen for evidence of student-centered approaches. If you cannot attend, learn more about the candidates through meet-and-greets, interviews, or their websites.

My motivation to share my thoughts comes from a deep love of this community and the young people who live and learn in it. I want what is best for them, which is what is best for all of us.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Running The Numbers - 2017

Twin Caves Racing on August 20
The year 2017 was a very happy running year for me overall. I discovered trails, found peace and happiness with running in general, PR'd in the mile, and had my highest volume ever. The obvious and gigantic negative in 2017 was Wendy's struggle with injury and illness. However, she is on the better side of a grisly surgery that will help her be able to do what she wants with her body again.

As you may remember, I am scrapping time and distance goals in 2018 and have a single goal/aim/mantra: RUN HAPPY . The fine print in that goal includes running when I want, how far I want, and how fast I want. It'll include tons of friends, trails, fun, and listening to my body so I know when it needs a break.

Nonetheless, you know I will still maintain my data, because I loves me some numbers. Here is my numerical analysis of 2017. I especially love my monthly mileage. :-)

Running The 2017 Numbers
Data collection and analysis is a hobby of mine. Therefore, I looooooove the end of the calendar year, because it provides a great opportunity for me to analyze what I've collected.

Cold run with Becky on February 4
Miles Run: 1,582.00 (avg. 30.34 mi. per week)
Increase Over Previous Annual Mileage High: 1,170.00 mi., 35.21% increase
Runs: 225 (60 more than 2016)
Hours Run: 250.62 (10.44 days, or 2.86% of 2017)
Average Run Distance: 7.03 mi.
Average Run Pace: 9:30.30 min/mi.
Average Run Duration: 1:06:49.9 hr.
Average Temperature During Runs: 50.20°F
Temperature Range: 85°F (High 83°F, July 22; low -2°F, January 7)
Track workout with Wendy on April 30
Feet Climbed: 76,928 (14.57 mi.)
Average Feet Climbed Per Mile: 48.63, 0.92% grade
MaeBe's Run Mileage: 55.62
Miles Walked: 58
Walks: 39
Average Walk Distance: 1.49 mi.
Strength Training Sessions at Novus: 50
Cross Training Miles: 0 (oops)
Races Run: 14 (9 AG awards or T10s)
PRs Set: 1, 6:51 in the mile on my 38th birthday, June 1
DNFs: 1, Seymour Half Marathon, May 20
Falls: 2, December 2 and December 29
Trail race in Kentucky on November 19
Injuries: 0
Toenails Lost: 7
Surgeries: 0
Pairs of Shoes Retired: 5
Pairs of Shoes Purchased: 5
States Where I Ran: 2, Indiana and Kentucky
Pictures Drawn: 4: pi on March 14, crosses on April 16, 2017 on May 26, and a tree on December 25
Longest Run: 14.04 mi., September 30
Shortest Run: 1.01 mi., July 10
Week With Most Running: July 23-29, 41.70 mi.
Month With Most Running: August, 156.00 mi.
Month With Least Running: September and November, each 110.00 mi.
Favorite Run: October 28, 12.62 mi. (Tecumseh... friends and beautiful fall scenery.)
Least Favorite Run: September 23, 8.52 mi. (High humidity, improper fueling, picked up on Electric Avenue by Mom)
Percentage of Goals Reached: 100% (7/7, see below)
Weight Range in Pounds: 15.0 (two Crohn's flares)
Total Lifetime Mileage: 7,970.00
Percent of Lifetime Mileage Run in 2017: 19.85%

Mileage By The Month
I did that weird number thing and made sure my monthly mileage totals were all whole numbers. It's very satisfying for me to see all that point-0-0! Also, including December 2016, I have a 13-month streak of 100+ miles per month. That will likely end this year as I intend to remove "mileage pressures."

Cool photo shoot with
In The Dark Photography, June 12
January: 116.00
February: 112.00
March: 132.00
April: 116.00
May: 133.00
June: 146.00
July: 155.00
August: 156.00
September: 110.00
October: 146.00
November: 110.00
December: 150.00

Jo's 2017 Fitness Goals
1. Remain injury-free.
Check. I had some nagging stuff like sore post-tibs, an achy toe joint, and a good bruise from a fall to the knee. However, I took breaks when I needed and avoided the major stuff.
2. Run lots of miles with lots of friends.
Total success here. I ran with more folks than I've ever run, and even made some new friends!
3. Run 1,200 annual miles.
Mitch, Eric, and Ryan on March 25
Nailed it, plus 382. I had an unspoken secondary goal to get 100 or more miles per month, and I did that, too.
4. Run on dates I haven't run at least a mile outdoors (2018 extension allowed).
Did it! Didn't need the 2018 extension!
5. Work on the committee to stage the BMS 5K.
6. Encourage another person or people to become more focused on fitness.
Another success. I helped my friend Mitch and some of his friends, Eric and Ryan, train for their first half marathon which they ran in April. (I had to miss it because I was in the hospital with one of those Crohn's issues.) All three of them have continued running, setting goals, and kicking butt.
7. Build more muscle.
Succeeded. Thanks, Novus!

It was a really great year for my running. Thanks to everyone for the support! On to 2018!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Run Happy ✌

I've often heard that when you're in your twenties, you think you know it all; when you're a thirty-something, you freak out because you realize that you don't know it all; and in your forties, you chill out and accept things as they are. I'm 38, so I think I'm starting to approach that chill acceptance stage. I'd like to share with the Interwebs how that acceptance relates to my running "career." (lol)

BARA Half, 08.26.2017
About a year ago, I decided I was over the constant PR pursuit. I was absolutely killing myself to nail down certain paces to run certain times that certainly didn't matter. I mean, a PR is a nice achievement, but I was chasing times because that's what I thought I should want as a runner. I surmised that if I didn't do my best and run my hardest every time I toed a start line, I wasn't doing it right. However, it turns out that constant speed chasing was causing me to fall out of love with running, not to mention stressing my Crohn's-disease-weakened bones. 

Removing the time goals from my mind allowed me to relax and enjoy running for running's sake. I entered some races and tried some new things—like running a trail race—just to have some fun, with no worries about how long it took me. I paced some friends in their events, which actually fulfilled me more than racing ever did. In some races, if I wanted to run a little faster than usual, I did. Not once did I PR in 2016, and I didn't care. In 2017, I had one PR, and that was in the mile. It was the only time goal I sought in 2017, and I pursued it because I wanted to, not because I thought I had to. 

I'm a lot happier since I removed time pressures from my running.

Twin Caves Racing
This summer, I asked a few friends to join me for one of those fun races I mentioned earlier, a cross country 10K relay. Becky, Larry, and Jocelyn, friends of mine from Mitchell, agreed to "cross the river" and join me for the race in Bedford. They even said they would make me an official Twin Caves Racing member, but I had to join them on some trails first.  

My first run with them at Spring Mill State Park was on June 4. I was hooked on those trails and the stellar company immediately! I spent the summer getting stronger on the trails in the park. When we saw something pretty, we stopped to take a pic.When we were a bit tired, we stopped to rest. When Becky announced that she would be running Tecumseh, a crazy-hilly trail half marathon, I said I'd give it a try, too. I had a blast at that race in October, where I ran the 13 most beautiful miles I've ever experienced. 
Jocelyn, Larry, Jo, and Becky

I've continued running trails with TCR into the autumn. We still run, rest, take pics, and have fun. Sunday, we're going to some trail race in Kentucky. Prospect, or something like that. I don't know where it is exactly. I don't know the course. I have no "race plan." I just can't wait to get into the woods and spend some time with friends.

I'm a lot happier since I found the serenity of trails with friends.

Prior to 2017, the most miles I've ever run in a year has been 1,170. As I type this blog, I'm at 1,364.54 miles for 2017. Yes, I know it to the hundredth of a mile. :-) I've had a LOT of volume this year. It's been great. I've loved every mile... almost. Around September, I really started to feel worn down. The cure was a week off running, but the simple suggestion of time off terrified me. My thought process went something like this: I'm averaging 30 miles a week. I have to keep it at 30 or above. I haven't had a month with less than 100 miles since November 2016. I have to keep it at 100 or above.

First time to kiss the bricks at the Mini
No, you don't. And no, you don't.

I've recently decided to bag the weekly/monthly/annual distance requirements I put on myself. Guess when I'm going to run? When I want to. Guess how far I'm going to run? How far I want to. I may run 10 miles in a week, or I may run 40. I may run 50 miles in a month, or I may run 150. Whatever the volume is, it'll be because that's what I want to do. When I train for a marathon/half-marathon/5K/whatevs, it'll be because I want to.
Zach, Jo, Mitch, and Ryan
I'm a lot happier since I decided I can run when I want, how far I want.

The conclusion is as follows: I am so much happier and healthier when running is my passion and not my requirement.  I run to stay fit, I run to be with friends, I run to enjoy the outdoors, and I run to be happy. I don't run to write a distance and pace in my running log (though you know this data-hound will still keep a spreadsheet, kids). "Liberating" is the only way to describe it.

Every December, I write goals for the upcoming calendar year. I've always included some time goals and at least one distance goal. Last year, I scrapped the time goals. When I write my 2018 goals, I'm scrapping distance goals. In fact, I think I'll be narrowing down my annual goals to one:


PS - Happy Pics...

Fun moment at the Mini

Beautiful sunrise at Patoka Lake

Tecumseh FUN!

Monumental finish

With Wendy and MaeBe on my birthday

With Schanzel and Jill at the Monumental Mile

Twin Caves plunge on a hot day


Spring Mill beauty with Becky and Larry

At Patoka with Larry and Becky

Another Patoka shot