What It’s Really All About

Every now and then, I end a run feeling totally great. I have no significant aches. I’m not freezing, sore, blistered, beaten, or in need of a bathroom asap. I’m not starving, parched, or otherwise compromised. I actually enter my house with a runner’s high, thankful for the fact that I was able to run, either solo or with my running people.

Take the past few Saturdays, for example. My running partner and I, in the midst of training for a Cinco de Mayo marathon, had a number of Saturdays (in a row) that went really well. We ended these runs thinking for some brief moments that we quite possibly could be some sort of running super hero duo, having been able to brave single digit temps and live to tell about it. Even in the midst of this mild winter, we endured all sorts of things, from black ice to 100 mile an hour winds (okay, at least they felt like it) to frozen digits and stomach issues, all in the name of 15- 17 milers. We may have gone through hell, but by the time we stopped, we felt a post-run euphoria that comes after giving it your all, and doing it in the company of a good friend.

I also appreciate my early morning runs with my other running friends – one who lives down the street, and another who lives a few miles a way and has been my running friend since childhood. The only way I get out of bed at 4:45am to run at 5:00 on a weekday is when I am meeting either of these two gals. I appreciate the conversation and the fact that they get me on the road early, in essence gifting me with the rest of the day to do other things than plan a late afternoon run.

In addition to my friends I physically run with, I have a group of friends I’ve met because of running. Marathons and miles brought us together, but what have endured are solid friendships. In addition, running led me to my husband, a fact I like to remind him when he tells me I’m crazy for running so much. It led me to you, it can’t be all that bad, I tell him.

And that, in essence is the heart of it. It’s not really the act of running that has kept me out on the streets and trails. As much as I call myself a runner, and say how much I love it, I admit that it’s not always easy. After all, when I started out this piece, I proclaimed that “every now and then” I end a run feeling totally physically great, having no outstanding issues to complain about physically or mentally at the run’s end. The reality is that many times I end with aches and other minor ailments. No, running isn’t a piece of cake by any means. The truth is, though, nothing in life is. The most perfect of jobs, hobbies, activities, or situations have moments that test and challenge us. In fact, some of them seem to challenge us much of the time.

But, running has taught me that even the most imperfect situations can be made better when you share them with like minded folks, or in a state of deep self reflection that spurs a sort of inner zen.

Just as I could list many, many times when I felt absolutely tortured on a long run or in a marathon, I can counter those bad feelings with the sense of peace I felt by sharing those runs with someone else. There is a certain camaraderie that comes when we go through tough times together. In addition, it didn’t have to be the runs themselves that were physically difficult. The runs may have been the easy parts, with the challenges being the life issues my running friends or I worked out together on the road.

The thing of it is, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a bad run, a bad job, or a bad situation. What matters is that we remember that there are people around us to share these moments with. When we do this, it becomes clear that even the most awful moments are bearable, and often laughable after all is said and done.

If we keep this in mind, it seems that we might be able to tolerate the bad moments more, and learn to live through them, knowing they’re not necessarily all bad. Further, we can then end each run (good or bad) with a runner’s high, realizing that our aches and pains are not unique to ourselves- we all experience them. So why not just accept this fact, and do our best to be there for each other so our good runs are great and our bad ones are at the very least supported?  After all, isn’t this what it’s all about?

Enjoy all of your runs, friends, and remember to always be there for the people who run beside you.

by abbey algiers
copyright 2012
imrunnerchica.com

 

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Guest Post from Scott Krizek…Runner and Guinness World Record Holder!

* Below find a very special addition to imrunnerchica.com- guest blogger Scott Krizek discusses the World Record that 62 Milwaukee area runners set in 2011, all in honor of local runner, Jenny Crain. Crain, an elite athlete, was hit by a car during a training run in 2007. She suffered severe brain injuries but has made great strides through intensive and expensive rehabilitation.

World Record

January 24, 2012

 This morning we received the long awaited news that Guinness had certified our World Record for “Most Runners Linked to Complete a Marathon.”

The entire day I found myself thinking about the World Record and sharing the good news with everyone who knew of the event.  “Congratulations” were phoned in, emailed and posted on Facebook and LinkedIn.

At the end of the day, I had planned to ski but instead opted to enjoy the sunshine with a run at the lake.  Certainly, running was not an unusual thing for me to do, but the change in plans was so fluid that it seemed like my schedule had been changed for me.

For those that know the Lake Michigan Lakefront “track” I ran to the point near Veterans Park and then opted to go north for no other reason than I felt good and didn’t want to stop.  I climbed the Brady Street Bridge and suddenly it occurred to me that I was a block from the scene of Jenny’s accident.   I was struck that the winds had taken me to this fateful place.

I reached the busy intersection of Brady and Farwell, and stopped for the light and noticed a new and unusual crosswalk signal.  The signal was not a part of the traffic light, but rather stood alone at about 5 feet tall and held a button to press to cross and a speaker that barked a stern warning “Do Not Walk.  Do Not Walk.”

As I looked at this new signal post, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was there as a result of Jenny’s accident.  Struggling to find a silver lining, my first idea was that this machine had prevented many similar accidents.

Our great hope is to find meaning from events that shake us.  I hope to God that there is far more than a walk signal that comes from this.  It seems just too trivial given what was lost.

Is the deeper meaning, the motivation to organize and achieve a World Record?  While impressive in many ways, it may be more trivial because a World Record doesn’t even protect people on a street corner.

This is what I think we accomplished:

We helped a friend in need.  The incredible number of supporters was a testimony to the quality of person that Jenny is.

The number of people involved extended well beyond those who ran.  Robin Gohsman and the other people who organized and supported this group deserve the majority of the credit.  Of course, there were hundreds of people who gave generously to a person whom they never met.  In total, Jenny received over $116,000!

Secondly, I think the “Jennipede” was an example for the city of Milwaukee and perhaps even nationally of people coming together to do something that was in its very nature Good.  The relatively large amount of press that we received suggests that the community was thirsting for something good to cheer.  Here are just a few of the recent examples:

http://www.wisn.com/news/30288453/detail.html

http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/138034508.html

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/lifestyle/137974478.html

Finally, I believe in the Chaos Theory of Good and that somehow these generous acts and sacrifices will lead others to help someone else when given a chance.   Many friendships were formed in this group and my guess is those people will again “link up” to help others.

As I ran home, I was kept trying to understand why I ended up running to that spot.  I guess God wanted me to reflect on life a little.  I do know that it made me sad and proud.  To be honest, I wish we did not have this record.   I wish that guy had kept his car under control or that Jenny had stayed home with the flu that day in 2007.

Of course, I can’t change the past so all I or anyone can do is remember one of my marathon mantras,

“Just Keep Moving”

Thank you for being a part of this event.  Your gifts and support will have a positive impact well beyond Jenny’s care.   We will never know the total Good that will come of this event but it will be significant.  I am honored to say that we followed Jenny’s take on life…

“Make it Happen!”

* Donations are still being accepted and appreciated for the continuing rehabilitation of Jenny Crain.  Visit
http://www.active.com/donate/jennycrain/scottkrizek

for details. 

Thank you!!!