The Magic and Mayhem of Numbers

Most runners I know are obsessive, myself included. And the thing we obsess about most? Numbers, of course. After all, that’s how we quantify many of our goals, challenges and accomplishments.

  • NumbersThe number of miles we run per week.
  • The number of races we participate in each year.
  • The numbers we need to hit to qualify for Boston.
  • The numbers on our Garmins or Fitbits.
  • The numbers on our scale.
  • The numbers on the treadmill.
  • The numbers we want to add to our long runs.
  • The numbers we want to chisel away during a race.

Numbers can be just the motivation we need to keep us fired up about reaching our ongoing and ever-changing running goals. If you’re like me, you love them, but maybe sometimes a bit too much.

I began thinking about all of this number business when I saw the “Run 2015 miles in 2015” challenge floating around Facebook. My first instinct was to say, “Hell yeah!” even though I knew this was a bad idea all the way around for me.

As much as I love the idea of a challenge like this, by focusing purely on numbers instead of being smart about recovery days and listening to my body, I know I’d be setting myself up for a litany of injuries.

So instead of zeroing in on mileage this year I have decided I want to focus on celebrating numbers in a different way. I want to say “Booyah!” to things like…

  • JesusitaTrail12515The number of times I try new things—new trails, new groups, new races.
  • The number of times I stay in the moment during a run, listening to my body, knowing I’m pushing myself at exactly the right pace and distance for where I’m at on that particular day.
  • The number of big sweaty hugs I give.
  • The number of times my heart explodes with admiration when I see 80+-year olds still running, always looking happy and always sporting a warm smile.
  • The number of times I get a newbie excited about running or convince her that she soooooo can run that first race.
  • The number of times utter waves of joy wash over me as I coach my kids running teams, seeing that little spark ignite in them.
  • The number of times I laugh so hard I cry with friends who share their lives with me on a run, knowing that what’s shared on the road always stays on the road.
  • The number of times a challenging day becomes an “Abso-freaking-lutely YES” kind of day after a run.
  • The number of times I’m filled with gratitude because I can run.
  • EllwoodTrail_JenM_12715The number of times I push myself outside my comfort zone.
  • The number of times I return home from a run feeling happy, exhausted and invincible.
  • The number of times I say, “Good morning!” to another runner on the road and mean it heart and soul/sole (after all it is a ‘good morning’ when we get to run).
  • The number of times I make a smart food choice because I know it will make me a better runner and a healthier person.
  • The number of times I work on strength, core, and cross-training in order to support my running goals, and more importantly, my running longevity. After all, I want to be one of those 80+-year old runners who inspires all those young farts!

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Run Be Run Facebook Page Launched

Hello fabulous fitness friends! Just wanted to let you know that I launched a new Run Be Run Facebook page. It’s simply meant to be a place where we can celebrate running and fitness, share our adventures and misadventures, and post photos, questions and any other tidbits that might be of interest to our little running community.

Run Be Run Facebook page

If you hit the Facebook LIKE button on the right side of this page it will take you there or you can copy and paste this URL into your browser: www.facebook.com/runberun.

I hope you’ll swing by and say hi.

Happy Running!
xo Becky

To Amby, With Gratitude

Burfoot_Amby-FifthAveAmby Burfoot is a legend in the running world. Not only did he win the Boston Marathon in 1968 (2:22:17), he remained one of our nation’s top runners for many years, if not decades. Amby was also the Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World for eons, and was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2008. Today he continues to run, write, and work as Editor-at Large for the magazine.

Putting all his running and writing accomplishments aside, here’s why Amby Burfoot is legend in my mind: his kindness and generosity.

You see, Amby was the first person to ever “officially” hire me as a writer. I had just run my first marathon and felt compelled to write a story about what it meant to run through the streets of New York City in honor of my dad, who had died of cancer when I was 18.

I pounded out a query email to him outlining my story idea, agonizing over every word, comma and format detail. Eventually, I built up my nerve, took a deep breath, and hit the SEND button. Less than five minutes later I heard the magic ding of an incoming email. The message simply said, Continue reading

And the Oscar Goes to…

PSRedCarpet5KSMAs I crossed the finish line of the Palm Springs International Film Festival Red Carpet Run 5K last weekend, all I could hear above the din of Billy Idol rocking in my ears was….”blah blah blah….blah blah…Aaronson…blah blah garble….Santa Barbara!”

Although I wasn’t seeing stars or feeling like I was about to puke from pushing myself way beyond my limits, I was in a happy endorphin daze, having just run a solid race while sporting a tiara and a tutu.

How could I not be happy? It was a fabulously silly way to start the new year.

Walking down the finisher’s Red Carpet, I was handed an Oscar and greeted with huge smiles and multiple, “Congratulations!” I kept thinking, Geez, these people are soooo friendly here. It was then I finally took my earbuds out and asked the guy next to me who was sporting a tuxedo shirt, “Did you happen to hear what the announcer just said when I crossed the finish line?”

“Are you kidding?” he laughed. “She said YOU WON! You were the first female finisher!”

“Seriously?” I croaked while looking around suspiciously, wondering if I was being punked.

“Seriously,” he said as he high-fived me.

What a hoot! It turns out that, yes indeed, I did win! I had no idea, especially since it wasn’t one of my fastest races. I figured there must have been at least a handful, if not a dozen women ahead of me, but apparently I was in my own little happy bubble, oblivious to what was going on around me. All I know is that I ran neck in neck with a lady wearing a tiara and a green and yellow Oregon Ducks getup for nearly the entire race, until finally pulling ahead of her with about three-quarters of a mile to go.

As you might have guessed, this race was purely about fun for me. My only goal was to enjoy my run and see where I was at with my fitness. After two months of letting my body recover from a frustrating litany of overuse nonsense, I came to the starting line with zero expectations. Perhaps that’s why this race was so much fun.

RedCarpetTuxedosOr it could have been the Elvis impersonator…or the most remarkable rendition of the Star Spangled Banner I’ve ever heard, sung by the Palm Springs Gay Mens Choir, or the race director who was wearing a full length gown and fur, or the champagne glasses filled with yummy pink stuff, or a race course that sent us zooming past a dozen or more iconic celebrity homes (think Dino, Marilyn, and Frank). Or it could have been the ridiculous amount of bling, including a tiara, tutu or tuxedo shirt given out in every race bag. Or maybe it was the adorableness of the canine division, or the photo booth opps or the karaoke and costume contests. These people know how to party!

The funny part is that I was in Palm Springs last weekend for just that…a party to celebrate my adorable mother-in-law, Geraldine (Gee Gee), who was turning 90 (how amazing is that?!!).

My plan was to quietly zip out the door in the morning before she woke up, do the race, and return before her celebration breakfast. I hadn’t even told Gee Gee I was doing a race because last weekend was meant to be all about her. The problem is that when you win, they want you to stick around for the special awards ceremony to honor you with all your bling. I waited for a while, and even had my picture taken with Elvis and Marilyn, but finally told the race director I needed to skedaddle.

“Of course you need to go!” she said in between announcing 10K finishers. “I totally understand, but before you go, do me a favor…along with your trophy, please be sure to take a tiara for your mother-in-law, and one for your beautiful daughter. And wish your mother-in-law a big Happy Birthday!”

Did I mention how nice everybody is at this race? If you happen to be in Palm Springs next January during Film Fest, I highly recommend you join the fun! Here are a few pictures from the race…and here’s a link to the Palm Springs Marathon Runner’s website with race info. (click on the link).

RedCarpetRun5KFinishSM
I’m not sure if the guy next to me is sneezing, howling, crying out in pain or singing Hallelujah!

RedCarpetSign Continue reading