Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Word: Bountiful

For the past couple of years I've done gratitude posts for the month of November on Facebook. At the beginning of the month I would write up a list of things in my life that I appreciate and roll them out each day.

I didn't do the posts this year but I do appreciate the friends who have kept them up; it's a blessing to know that friends see the good things going on and can write about them sometimes very creatively (I see you, Diane, writing about how grateful you are for all that laundry!) (Diane's gratitude posts were so good that I stalked her Facebook page so I wouldn't miss any). And I have tried to spend the month noticing all of the blessings that I have: health, good people, plenty of everything that I need.

Bounty is what we are writing about this week with the #WednesdayWord link-up at I hope you are feeling the bounty in your life this month, and that you have a Thanksgiving day that is exactly what you need.

I've been grateful to read the Wednesday Word bloggers' perceptions every week! I hope you enjoy them, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Deb Runs

You can check them out with the button here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Race Recap: Richmond Marathon 2015

Richmond, I love you.

I have done a race in Richmond, VA, each of the last three years: the marathon in 2013, the half last year, and the marathon last Saturday. Each time has been as much fun as you can possibly have while running a distance race.

Billed as "America's Friendliest Marathon," this race does NOT disappoint.

The love started for us the evening before, staying with dear friends Tammy and Gary just south of the city. Their hospitality is unparalleled and so appreciated. Jim and the youngster came down to the race with me, and had a little more fun taking advantage of that hospitality than I did, since I headed off to sleep first.

The next morning, Jim gave me a ride into the city. The roads were not yet closed and we drove along Huguenot Bridge and part of the race course. It gave me some willies to know I'd be running back that way in just a few short hours. He was able to drop me off within a few blocks of the start. Since it was chilly, I ducked into the lobby of one of the local hotels. Plenty of runners were gathered there and it was pretty festive.

The half marathon kicks off 15 minutes before the full, and as we saw those runners fly by, everyone headed out to line up.

The starting line for the marathon was a few blocks away, and it was a beautiful thing seeing the sun coming up through the historic buildings of downtown Richmond. In the shade of the corrals, I saw a guy in this shirt:

It's a coffee shop in Columbus, Georgia, that my daughter and I had enjoyed when I was visiting her for parents's weekend earlier this fall. I asked the guy wearing it if I could take his picture (so I wouldn't seem creepy) and explained that my Auburn student and I had visited the shop. As it turned out, he and his wife had just graduated from Auburn so we exchanged hearty WAR EAGLEs and wished each other luck.

My throw-away sweatshirt was an old Fairfax 4-Miler hoodie. It had been awesome race swag and another group of Northern VA runners gave me a "FAIRFAX!!" shout-out. I'm glad I'll be collecting a new one of these on December 31.
Soon we were off, running west on Broad Street. My very favorite thing about this race is how it winds through the whole city and you get to appreciate all of the different faces of Richmond. Broad Street is the old downtown, and the home of Virginia Commonwealth University.

As you continue west onto Monument Avenue, you go past the beautiful homes of the West End. Then you cross the Huguenot Bridge (traversed shortly before by car with the husband) and run down by the James River. At one point, there are actually a series of signs along the course encouraging the runners to look up because it's so beautiful. The signs do NOT oversell it.

From the river, you run along the neighborhoods on Forest Hill Avenue and Semmes Avenue, and I had great hope at this point because I knew that Tammy would be volunteering with a crew at mile 15. To my surprise, Jim, Gary, and our boys were also handing out water. Stopping for a minute with them was a great delight.

I had no idea this was going on behind me when Gary took this. Really, I don't know who this man is. Naw, just joking: it's Jim. :)
The people at the water stop were so kind, checking to see if I needed any crackers or gatorade. It was tempting to just call it a day and hang out with them. But on I trudged.

Up next was the Lee Bridge, leading back into Downtown Richmond. When I did this race back in 2013, this bridge seemed very difficult, but this time around, I looked up as I stepped on the bridge and was amazed by the extraordinary view of the city. As you look around, you can see the falls and rocks in the river, and it's honestly so beautiful that the bridge flew by.

The marathon has water stops every two miles, and after the Lee Bridge there are junk food stops (cookies, soda, M&Ms), washcloths, party stations, and unofficial beer stops sprinkled in. After 16 miles into the race, it was really helpful to just think about getting to the next water stop.

We ran by a set of lively VCU cheerleaders (these ladies had full on makeup and spirit quite early in the morning -- much respect!) and great crowds of wonderful teenagers and students manning the water stops. Every one of the volunteer stations was solidly staffed with enthusiastic, cheering, absolutely fabulous volunteers. The runners' bibs are printed with our names, and it's terrific to hear people yelling out, "Go, Anne!"

This race makes you simply love Richmond and Richmonders.

The last five miles is tough, of course. At Mile 21, just as we ran into the beautiful Bellevue neighborhood, I passed a man whose shirt read

My First Marathon.
I heard there was beer at the end.

"Your shirt!" I told him. "It's right! There are rivers of beer at the end!"

"That's good," he replied, "because this is horrible."

I was feeling very lucky at this point not to have any leg cramping going on; I was seeing lots of runners at the side of the road stretching out calves, hammies, and quads. I just kept moseying along.

Finally, we got to a spectator sign that read: Three More Turns and You're Done! At just about the Mile 26 mark, the course turns from Main Street onto 5th Street and you are heading downhill. I prayed for any leg cramps to hold off just for a few minutes more and ran as hard as I could, down, down, down, and past the finish line for my second fastest marathon time ever, 4:38.

I was deliriously happy. But I had little time to revel: after collecting my medal (and getting a hug from my friend Nick, who is my Richmond Marathon lucky charm), my hat, and my blanket (THE SWAG AT THIS RACE IS REASON ENOUGH TO RUN IT!), I got a text from the Reynolds teenager. He and Jim were in the car, stuck in traffic up on Cary Street and they wanted to get moving and get sandwiches.

No beer tent for this girl. I popped into a porta potty, crept back up the 5th Street hill (cheering for the finishers), found my fellas, and whisked off to I-95 and lunch.

Get that girl a nap! Can you see the teenager napping in the back seat?
I had already decided that this was going to be my last marathon. But yesterday, I did sign up for the 2016 Richmond Half.

Because I love you, Richmond.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cherishing Small Things

It's Wednesday, and for the Wednesday Word this week, a bunch of terrific bloggers are linking up to to talk about the word


You can check out what they cherish by clicking here on the button (but then come on back here!):

Deb Runs

I have been doing a meditation program for the past couple of weeks. A friend at work recommended it; it's part of our university's well-being initiative. I'd never done much meditation before, and though it is a little tough to carve out the 20 minutes to go through each day's recorded meditation, it's been very worthwhile.

A big part of what I've gotten from it is the beauty of living in the moment, which lets you truly appreciate what each one has to offer, big and small, without being distracted by reviewing the past or worrying about the future.

Some of the things I've cherished this morning:

  • the taste of the first sip of coffee
  • how soft the cat is when he comes over to mess with my pigeon pose 
  • how much my booty needed that pigeon pose
  • how delightfully warm the pool water was when I went for a swim
  • how satisfying my English muffin tasted after that swim

You get the point. None of these things was a big deal but they were all small and undeniable delights.

The challenge for me is to remind myself to look at things this way, but the reward is having things to cherish all day long.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ageless is Just a Number

It's Wednesday and time to link up with a bunch of great bloggers at for the Wednesday Word. You can do so with this button:

Deb Runs

But then come on back here!

Today's word that we are writing about is


And I haven't sneak-peeked to see what everyone else is writing about being ageless, but I have to wonder if the word brings to their mind the Rod Stewart lyrics that I think of when I think of agelessness:

My PowerPoint skills are paltry and I can't get that silly box out of there. Darn it.

I've been thinking a lot about age and agelessness every time I look in the mirror and wonder what my mom is doing there looking back at me. It's been particularly acute as I turned 49 last week and meandered toward the end of another running season.

Forty-nine is a biggie for me and I'm not sure why. Most years I just coast through (though I got stuck on thinking I was 25 for about six or seven years and Jim had to gently remind me otherwise). Twenty-eight was another one that gave me pause. But rolling the number "49" around in my head -- wow. I sure don't feel 49 (however that is supposed to feel).

I guess throwing down some 70s soft rock might help?

(and by the way, you want ageless? Check out this guy!)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dear NFL

Dear National Football League,

We are breaking up.

I know, we've always been kind of on-again, off-again, and it's never been quite the passionate relationship that you have with, well, most of America. But you and me? We're done.

Was it Greg Hardy? Maybe. The Redskins' name controversy? That's part of it. But it's more. It's the fact that all your news is about violence, on and (especially) off the field. It's about dirty tackles, and players still playing with injuries and concussions. It's about your bottom line of money, and how whenever the news of the violence gets too bad, someone gets a "settlement" and someone else fails to get convicted.

It's how I can't like you without having to hold my nose while I do it.

I'm going to miss supporting a home team (especially when they're having a tough season). I know there are players out there who are genuinely good at what they do: real professionals who love their game. I know you have given many young men a chance to succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Heck, you gave them the dreams in the first place.

And I fully recognize that my turning off the set and turning my back on you is not going to warrant coverage on any sports network. I can bet you're not going to miss me.

But I can't like me anymore if I like you. I'm finally disgusted enough.

So, NFL, I wish I could let you down easy and say it's not you, it's me. But it's you.

Best of luck to you. I'll be doing something else on Sundays.



Saturday, November 7, 2015


Another fall Saturday, another friend doing his first IronMan.

This time, it's my friend John, down there in Panama City, Florida, where (at the time of writing on Saturday morning) it's a cozy 73 degrees. He's out of the Gulf and off on a 100+ mile bike adventure.

Like my friend Robert, who did his first IronMan at Mont Tremblant in September, John has trained hard and has been supported by a terrific family through this process. I wonder if he'll get a souvenir as cool as Robert's?

This fabulousness makes me kind of want to do an IronMan myself. No, it doesn't, Robert.
Back in the FFX, I enjoyed a nice 6-miler in some cool rain (but not too cool for shorts and a tank). As I went on to enjoy my eggs and cheese on toast afterwards, I can't help by be awed by the friends of mine who do such super epic things.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Change it Up

It's Wednesday, where a group of great bloggers share their thoughts at about today's word. This morning, we're writing about COMPLACENCY.

Use the link below to see what everyone is saying, and then come on back here!

Deb Runs

If you define complacency, it's "a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements." And if you look for quotes about it, they center on the need to question, push yourself, and leave your comfort zone behind. (There are a lot of complacency quotes on business websites.)

The definition and quotes remind me of another quote, from Albert Einstein: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

I'm in a personal season of changing things up. I'm having aches and pains from marathon training that have me questioning whether they're going to keep me from running the Richmond Marathon in a couple of weeks (Jim votes no run, I am thinking yes run). I'm also celebrating the 20th anniversary of my 29th birthday today (and it's National Candy Day, a happy coincidence?) and realizing that if I want to keep running, something I love, it's going to have to change up a little bit.

Another trip around the sun has me thinking about how precious each day is. There really is no time for complacency.