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Motivate Monday #15

Words of wisdom….

Get Going, Get Running!

Whether it’s the last mile of a marathon, or just getting to the next street light.

Just. Keep. Going.



Happy running everyone!


Get Going, Get Running!

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1st Annual BUMS Run 5k (Buckhannon, WV)

This was, undoubtedly, one of the most enjoyable races I have participated in to date. The race organizers did an awesome job of adding a lot of extras into this race to keep everyone interested throughout the entire day. The 1st Annual BUMS Run 5k was held on Saturday, October 26th in Buckhannon, WV.  The temps were a frigid 29 degrees, but the sun was shining bright and there was little to no wind at all.  In addition to the 5k race, there was a Halloween costume contest, great door prizes and a health fair with several venders participating.  Up-beat music blared over the speakers prior to the race getting all of the runners, volunteers, venders and spectators anxious to get started.

bums race 4

The race started at the Jawbone Park in downtown Buckhannon, wound its way through town, on a river trail that followed the Buckhannon River and back through some lovely well-kept neighborhoods and returned to the starting line.  I always like a loop course the most as you get to see constant new scenery and keeps your mind going.  This was the second race I had run in Buckhannon, and both had portions of the course on the river trail which is very beautiful.  There were very few inclines with the hardest one being a fairly steep hill near the end.  But it was doable if you kept a slow, steady pace.

The race was sponsored by Rob’s Fitness Factory in Buckhannon, with the Young Bucks Association directing it and local volunteer fire department helping with traffic control.  The organizers did an amazingly awesome job with their first 5k.  Everything went so smoothly that one would have never guessed it was the first year for this race.  Racers had to be registered two weeks in advance to receive a T-shirt which kinda threw me aback when I didn’t get a T-shirt during the packet pickup.  But it was my fault because I didn’t read the registration guidelines thoroughly.  But I purchased one at the race for an extra $6 because I really liked the design.  I greatly appreciated the cause for this race as a portion of the proceeds went to the West Virginia University Cure Kids Cancer Fund and another portion went to local youth sports teams.  The race director informed me that $1,000 was raised for the WVU Cure Kids Cancer Fund!!  Awesome job!!

BUMS race One of the best parts of this race was the number of young people who participated.  Of 122 participants, 45 were kids 19 years old and under.  That’s 37%… what an amazing turnout!!  I didn’t set a new PR for a 5k, but I did very well in this race.  I finished 44th and was 2nd in my age division with a finish time of 28:24 (9:09 min/mile pace).  My racing buddy, Wanda was closing in on me as she finished 4th in our age division with a 29:39 time…. another sub-30 minute race for her… she’s gonna catch me one of these days. 😀

The medals were unique as winners received a dog tag with the races name and date on it.  The funniest part of the day was the costume contest.  Mr. Banana won and he definitely deserved it.  Actually, I thought he was quite a ham.  😀  Also making an appearance was Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf; Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2; and a host of other characters.  Additionally, a lot of spectators braved the cold to cheer on the runners.  Buckhannon as a whole did a great job supporting this race.

bums race 3

It was a good day, a great race and a whole lot of fun.  I hear they will be hosing another race in April 2014 and plan to attend if possible.  Thanks for doing such a great job!!

A note from the race director:  BUMS stands for “Buckhannon Upshur Middle School”- most of the sports teams that participated were from the middle school here. The YoungBucs Association is a nonprofit that was created by my brother, Travis Foster (he also coaches middle school basketball). The association is intended to be a “blanket” organization for sports in Upshur County. The concept is that the organization works to fundraise throughout the year (with the help of all the benefitting teams/groups) and then when there is a need, teams can look to YoungBucs for support. So if the football team needs a little extra money for a trip to play-offs or if the soccer team needs new jerseys- YoungBucs can offer a stipend to help with the costs. It is really a neat concept! YoungBucs was started by my brother to help his basketball teams but has grown to the point where it can fiscally support more teams in our community.

Photos compliment of  Robbie Skinner and Young Bucks Association of Buckhannon, WV.  Used with permission.

Ok, You’re NOT a Runner. Get Off Your @$$ and Run… I Challenge You, Chad

Everyone’s talking about the article in the Wall Street Journal written by Chad Stafko entitled “Ok, You’re a Runner. Get Over It.”  As a journalist, he got exactly what he was looking for…. a reaction creating a viral wave across the Internet.  In the running community, it’s turned into a freakin’ viral tsunami.  Fortunately, for those of us who are runners, the article hasn’t caused any damage, it’s just created yet another form of motivation to get out there and run, run, run and then… run some more.

All I could do while reading Mr. Stafko’s article was shake my head, taking double-takes to make sure I was reading him right.  I kept thinking to myself, maybe there was some subtle message in there through sarcasm and in the end he would be pro-running.  But, no… he was negative and degrading right to the end.  Even though I don’t think he really has a beef with running as much as self-inflated, self-absorbed runners who train in public, post selfies on Facebook, pat themselves on the back and show off their accomplishments with bumper stickers on their cars.  Seriously??

I feel sorry for this man.  Obviously, he is clueless as to the true benefits of running.  Yea, we run outside in front of everyone.  Not as a show, but because most of us prefer to run outside than the boring, monotonous treadmill.  We get our daily allowance of Vitamin D the natural way regardless of the season.  We enjoy nature, or see new sites in the city or town in which we live.  We get to chat with neighbors and friends along the way.  We see beautify sun rises, sun sets, full moons and the stars of the Milky Way.  We run new challenging courses, learn to run regardless of the weather and so much more.

And as for the bumper sticker… you bet there will be a 13.1 sticker after I finish my first half marathon next weekend.   And it will be on the same back window as my “Navy Mom” sticker, of which I am emphatically proud.  I also have the flying WV sticker and WVU Alumni license place.  Gee… I’m bragging on my family and academic accomplishments, too.  I’m so vain. (Now I have that old song stuck in my head…. thanks Mr. Stafko!!)

But there are benefits to running outside were people see us, wearing our race T-shirts to the mall, putting those 13.1 and 26.2 bumper stickers on our car, and talking about it on social media…. we want to share our passion of the sport!!  Not brag on ourselves.  Runners are some of the most humble athletes I have ever met.  I have never ever seen a runner slam a football in the ground and do some disgusting gyro dance after crossing the finish line, or bounce around spouting out profanities and waving their boxing gloves in the air as they run past a fellow racer who has fallen to the ground, or spraying champagne all over each other after winning a race.  No, we’re fairly reserved.  We accept our medal with subtle pride, a warm smile, shake the hands of our competitors and show our appreciation to the race director and volunteers.  I don’t see many other sports displaying that type of self-control, humility and gratitude after a victory.

knights on the run

Furthermore, by running publicly, we show people that it’s something they can do.  We become motivators and inspirations to others who doubt their abilities.  I’ve been running 16 months now, and in that short time, I’ve been told by numerous people…. family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and Facebook/Twitter friends that they have started running or walking or exercising because I have inspired them through my accomplishments.  There is a medical history with the men in my husband’s family of heart disease.  His father, uncle, and some male cousins have all died at young ages because of heart attacks.  Very few men in his family have lived beyond 65 years.  This past spring, my husband started running because he saw how much I was enjoying it and how fit healthy it was making me.  He is being proactive with his health, and hopefully he will be one of the Conrad men to live a ripe old age.

So Mr. Stafko can say and believe whatever he wants.  He just needs to remember one thing….

 Never judge a man until you’ve walked, or in this case run a mile in his shoes.


Before he is so quick to judge, perhaps he should devote one year of his life to the sport and try running a few races himself.  Let him bask in the glory of his accomplishment and see how good a runner’s high really feels.  I would venture to guess he would change his tone. As a matter of fact, I challenge Chad Stafko to give it a try.  After 12 months, he can write another article and, being totally honest, tell the running world as well as the non-running world how he feels about running, runners and races. 

How did this article make you feel??  Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Stafko??  I’d be interested to hear your opinion on the topic.

October Challenge for Fellow Runners

I have learned two very valuable lessons over the past year+ of running:

  1. If you want to be successful and improve, you have to be serious about your training
  2. You can’t be serious All. The. Time!!

I don’t have a problem with lesson number one, as I tend to take the bull by the horns when I set my mind to something.  I don’t like to do things half way.  I’ve always said, “If you’re going to do something, you might as well give 110%!”  So I take my training serious.  I find a big race (right now that would be the half marathon on November 24th), set up a training plan, be prepared to be flexible to allow for modifications due to the weather, life, etc., and give it all I have every time I give.

That’s all well and good, until …. I crash and burn!!

And that’s happened more than once.  I allow myself to get so deeply involved with the training and prepping and the hard work that I forget to have fun.  I forget to look around at the beauty of the West Virginia scenery during a run.  I forget to smell the aroma of the honeysuckle in the spring or the falling leaves in autumn.  I forget to stop and catch snowflakes on my tongue.  I forget to jump in the mud puddle during a run in the rain.  I forget to stop and watch the falling star during a night run or the beautiful sunrise during an early morning run.  I forget to chat to the neighbors’ horses or pet their coon dog as I run by.  I forget to have fun!!

Yesterday I posted my goals for October … run over 100 miles for the month, do at least four P90X workouts per week, blah blah blah.  To help myself remember to have fun, I tacked on one “fun” goal at the end of my list.  I have to take at least six pictures of the colorful leaves during my training runs during the month and write a blog post about it.

red barnDuring my 7.5-miler last evening, I took my first picture… a shot of a small red barn sitting on the edge of a field with a backdrop of a hillside coated with changing leaves.  And you know what… It felt really good taking that picture.  It refreshed my run and put an extra spring in my step so I could easily and enjoyably finish the last 3 miles.  Then I realized that there are probably lots of other runners out there with the same problem I have of forgetting to have fun … falling into the habit of just taking it a little too seriously.  So, I thought I would make this a challenge to all those other running bloggers out there to have a little fun with me.

Here’s the challenge:
  • Do the same as me… take at least six pictures of the colorful leaves during your training runs over the month of October.  Now I realize not everyone lives in areas where leaves change and fall off for autumn.  If that’s the case, then just take at least six pictures of what autumn looks like in your area.
  • Each picture needs to be taken during different runs.  This forces you to stop and enjoy your surroundings during at least six different outings.
  • At the end of October or first of November, blog about your results.  Share your six+ pictures and tell us about them.
  • Link to this post in your blog post so I know you’ve completed the challenge.  I’ll write a blog post and include a link to everyone’s post so we can check each other’s results.  You can also share it on Twitter and Facebook using #OctoberRunChallenge.

I hope you’ll join in on the fun and take my challenge.  Share this with other running friends, and maybe we’ll get to see how autumn looks all over the world.  Train seriously, but add in a little fun, too.  😀

SMART Training Goals for October

I’m a marketer. I have a MS degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University (Let’s Go… Mountaineers!!), and I’m an adjunct marketing professor for a local college where I teach marketing. One of the big things in marketing is setting goals, but in order to be effective, goals must be S.M.A.R.T.

smart goal setting concept

I try to keep this in mind with any goal I set whether it is business related or personal.  I especially want effective goals for my running.  I work way too hard to set myself up for failure, so setting SMART goals for my training is as important to me as all the other goals I set in my career and personal life.

So, here are my goals for October …

  • Run over 100 total miles in the month (I ran 70 in September, but only ran 13 days… I can do better than that!)
  • Complete P90X training at least 4 days per week
  • Run one 5k race at sub-30 minutes
  • Continue to maintain weight at healthy 130-135 pounds
  • Restrict myself to no more than 3 cups of coffee per day by October 15th
  • Have fun!! Take at least 6 pictures of the colorful leaves during training runs this month and write a blog post about them (My favorite goal!)

ziglar quoteI think that will do it for this month.  Those look like SMART goals to me.  I’m constantly setting and re-setting my goals to keep myself motivated.  I set short-term as well as long-term goals.  The goals I’ve outlining in this post are for the short-term.  In December, I’ll set some long-term goals for 2014.  I even have a 5-year goal for myself in regards to running … complete a 50-mile ultramarathon for my 50th birthday.  Not sure how SMART that goal really is…  Sounds a little crazy to me.  What do you think??

What are some of your craziest goals?   Things that may actually be better defined as a “Bucket List” maybe? 😀

9/11 Heroes Run (Clarksburg, WV)

Yesterday morning (September 7, 2013) I ran in the 9/11 Heroes Run in Clarksburg, WV. The race started at 9:00am with temperatures at around 55 degrees… darn near perfect. The cost for this race was $25 and you could easily register at the 9/11 Heroes Run website.   There was no map of the course available on the site which became a pre-race conversation piece with several runners.  It can cause some anxiety for runners who are not familiar with the downtown layout.  This is the second race I’ve run, and the third my racing buddy Wanda has run in Clarksburg.  Although every race has been in the same area, the course for each has been a little different, taking different streets to end up in the same place.

This time, we started off on Main Street and kept making left turns until we ran a large rectangle, then repeated it 1 1/2 more times. The entire race was on city streets that made for a flat, fast course. I use Runtastic to track my run, and it read that the greatest elevation gain was only 127 feet, so it wasn’t too hill-challenging. The local law enforcement showed up in force to block roads to keep the runners safe and give us plenty of room to run. As always, they did a great job.   There were no water stops available on this race.  It doesn’t bother me as I don’t drink any water for shorter races… I usually need hydration for the longer runs that are double digit in mileage.  But there may have been some runners that would have like to quench their thirst during the last mile of the race when the temperature started to get a little higher.

Unfortunately, not many folks showed up for this inaugural race. As a matter of fact, there were only 27 participants making it one of the smallest races I’ve run in this year. It’s really a shame that more folks couldn’t have been there, but it was scheduled on the same day as the Color Me Rad 5k race in Morgantown, WV. Rumor was that 6,000 to 8,000 people were registered for the Color race, which really pulled folks away from the 9/11 run.  After the race, I chatted with the race director (a soldier with the US Army Recruiting office) thanking him for starting it and encouraged him to give it a try again next year.  Hopefully he will give it another go and will be able to avoid other big races in northern WV.  It’s a very worthy cause with a large portion of the NET proceeds raised from the local race distributed back into the community.  Since I work with a lot of military veterans and firemen/EMT volunteers, and especially since I have a daughter in the Navy, the mission of this race has a special meaning for me.  I ran it in honor of my sailor girl and all of her shipmates!!

9_11 heroes runI felt really good during the race.  I had been very busy with a graphic design project the week prior, so I didn’t get to run near as much as I wanted to.  I was worried that I had lost my edge, but I did well.  The cool temps helped a lot as well.  I finished the race at 28:52 with a pace of 8:52 min/mile, but after looking at my Runtastic app it showed that the race distance was actually 3.25 miles instead of the typical 3.1 (something I notice at a lot of the smaller races).  I did some figuring and realized that had the race been the true distance, I would have finished in 27:35 which would have been a nice PR for me.  I finished Third Overall female and was right behind the first and second place winners.  The three of us finished within 10 seconds of each other.  They were both 10-15 years younger than me, so that gave me another reason to be happy with my performance.  It’s always nice to be able to keep up with the younger runners.  We earned some really awesome medals, and received nice T-shirts and a dog tag, too.  I will be very proud to wear this shirt to other races and when I workout.

This is one race I will definitely participant in next year.  I just hope the director wasn’t too discouraged with the turnout and not set one up next year.  He did say he was doing the same race at Morgantown, WV today (Sunday, September 8).  I encourage you to keep this race in mind to give to its worthy cause and support all the heroes keeping us safe and free.  The 9/11 Heroes Run is being held all over the county, so see if there’s one scheduled near you and sign up.  If not, consider setting up on for next year.  You can find more information about the Travis Manion Memorial Fund and the 9/11 Heroes Run on their website.  🙂


Tapering for My First Half

This evening I finished off a nice little 4.5-mile interval training run. That’s typically a short run for me, but I’m taking it fairly easy this week … not laying-on-the-couch easy, but I’m not running the miles as I’m in taper mode. My first half marathon is in just five days, so I don’t want to spend all of my energy before the big race.

I started tapering last week when I ran a total of 25 miles, which I’ve been running a little over 30 each week. I’ve read that two weeks out from a HM or a full marathon, you should run around 75%, and cutting back to 50% the week prior.

To start this week out, I took Monday as a rest day to recoup from Sunday’s long run. Today was the 4.5 mile interval run, and tomorrow I plan on putting in another 6-7 mile easy run. On Thursday, we’re leaving as soon as we get home from work. We’re pulling the camper to the resort where the HM is being held. I’m hoping we can get there and set up early enough so that I can get in one last short 2-3 mile easy run. I should finish up with a maximum of 14-15 miles for the week which puts me right at the 50% goal.

On Friday, I hope to walk on some of the course to get an idea of what I’ll be running on Saturday morning. I know it’s hilly, just not sure how hilly. I’m guessing it’s going to be very challenging. The only thing the description really says about the course is that it includes rolling hills and a 500-foot decline into the gorge. So I’m thinking to myself … if there’s a 500-foot decline, there’s gotta be a 500-foot incline!!

I have to say, I’m a bit nervous about this HM. It’s a trail race in a very hilly part of West Virginia … along the New River Gorge in Fayette County, West Virginia. It is small in number of participants, and that is why I decided to make this my first half. There is typically less than 100 runners. The fact that the race doesn’t start until 10:30am is a little unnerving, too. It’s getting into the warmest part of the day that late into the morning. Fortunately, the forecast is calling for high-70’s to low-80’s with nearly no humidity due to a cold front moving in. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.