Monday, March 31, 2008

the incredible hulk emerges

Today's entry is a whinefest of randomness. Feel free to join the whinefest....bring some cheese please. Here's how the day went:

1. Woke up and went for a 3 mile run in the neighborhood. It was quite warm out, so I put on some running shorts for the second time this spring. I feel like the Incredible Hulk, only I'm white, not green. My legs are now exposed after a long winter of running with cozy running pants. I almost blinded myself with my whiteness and ran in front of a passing car. Luckily my Boston cross trainer had prepared me for the moment and I was able to duck and dodge. Back to my hulkiness....I have HUGE legs. I'm not saying this to toot my own horn, I'm just making an observation about my very masculine calf muscles. I know everything seems magnified on our own bodies, and at least I'm healthy and fit...yadayadayada. Sometimes I long for that typical "runner's body," but I may have resign myself to donning some shredded purple shorts and spray painting my body green.

2. Shower and get ready for work. Drop my face powder brush in the toilet (If you are reading this Marcy, I thought of you!).....juuuust perfect.

3. Pack up all my stuff. Make breakfast and bring in the dogs. Now I'm running late. Pour coffee. Realize that I forgot to pour out the coffee from last night, and brewed new coffee into the pot....yuck. I'm desperate for caffeine...drink the sludge anyway.

4. Get to work. One of our old students came in for a visit. She has moved back to town and wants to come back to our school. She tells me that she almost got shot over the weekend....and proceeds to tell me the details.....grrreat.

5. Students come back from P.E. One of them has jammed his finger playing basketball and it's swelling up like a balloon.....and yup, you guessed's his middle finger. He is now cradling said finger and showing others his "wound."

6. with co-worker about who is "with child" and who is "without child" since the break......ugh.

7. Switch classes.....get called an "angel" and then get sexually harassed for about an hour.

8. Work day home in a raging thunderstorm. Can't get garage door opener to work. Get out of car in the rain. Bring in garbage cans and mail in the rain. Let the dogs out in the rain.

Waaaa...okay now I'm done. I feel better now. Now I have a hankering for some cheese.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

tether dog and cross style

My Wednesday run this week was by far one of the strangest. It makes the top 5 list for sure. Like many of my running stories, this one involves dogs.

One of the dogs, who I call Tether Dog, lives on one of my regular routes. I will often see Tether Dog and his elderly owner chillin' on their front porch. Usually, Tether Dog is peacefully perched on his owner's lap, just watching me run by. Tether Dog's dad is friendly...he waves every time he sees me. On this particular day, Tether dog was out on his own, chained up to a metal stake in his front yard. Tether Dog was NOT peaceful...he was out for a midmornin' rumble. Tether Dog is a little rat terrier thing...with a very yippy bark. He saw me coming and started running in very fast, wide, arcing, yippy circles. The chain system wasn't really working for him because it made him yank around violently juuuust out of reach of my him the very effect of being a canine tether ball...hence the name. Ahhh....good times, good times....

Now, if Tether Dog wasn't enough, I had another doggie run in when I looped around my neighborhood around mile 7. I see this Boston Terrier running across the street towards me...and it's apparent owner running about a half a block behind. Not wanting the dog to become road kill, I joined in the chase. Now, I am not one for cross-training (even though every doctor I've ever had look at my leg, foot, and ankle injuries has advised it), but this little guy gave me a workout. I was jumping over hedges, dodging cars, spinning around trees, side stepping mud puddles, and squatting under bushes, trying to rescue the little bugger. When I finally cornered him in a yard on my block, the lady caught up with us. I yelled to her that we were in a back yard. She breathlessly approached us, calling the dog's name. She stopped abruptly and said, "Well, that's not my dog!" Oh' for Pete's sake....the dog wouldn't come to her either, and ran off down the street. I told her that it didn't have tags. We both agreed that he would likely find his way back home somewhere in the neighborhood. I told her I had one more mile to go, so if I saw him again, I would try to catch him and see if I could find his owner.

I never saw my cross trainer again. Maybe he can meet me for my Saturday run...say around 9:00?!

bernie from the block celebrity mug shot

I had an encounter with Bernie from the Block yesterday on my's his celebrity mug shot. Be gentle...he's a little embarrassed about his sissy new hairdo.

Monday, March 24, 2008

funny made up words

I was out recently with Kate (the mighty kate) and our good friend Kaity (yes, I have another one). We were talking about society's expectations of female beauty. We are totally guilty of contributing to the vicious cycle by watching movies and T.V. shows, and reading the magazines that perpetuate this cycle. We are, by all means, not perfect.

Kaity made up a new word...Shastards. Shastards=shallow bastards. Definition? Men whose idea of beauty is the air brushed glossy magazine variety....big boobs, tiny waist, fashionistas in heels. Ugh. Impossible to achieve no matter how many miles you run.

I try to take God's word for it on this (sometimes unsuccessfully)..."charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting" (Proverbs 31: 30). Men...I hate to break it to you...the bigger the boobs, the longer they get with age. High heels are painful and make us cranky...and damage our bodies. High fashion? You could probably feed a third world country with the amount of money those clothes actually cost. Beauty does fade, and in the end, wouldn't you rather be with someone whose character you respect and admire, someone who makes you laugh, and someone who is pleasant to be around because they wear shoes that actually fit?

If you would rather have society's picture of perfection, then we think you are a shastard.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

secret agent man

So there is this group of little kids that live in my neighborhood. Most of them are boys. I usually see them in a massive pack hanging out together outside each others' houses. They probably range in age from 8-10, so they are at the age where they are too cool to talk to adults, but still want to impress them.

One of their dad's has built them a ramp for jumping their bikes and skateboards. Whenever I run by them, they time it so one of them is doing some trick on the ramp just as I run I can cheer for them and say the appropriate impressive comments like, "Wow!" or "AMAZING!" They jump off the ramp and strut around like they just landed a perfect 10 at the Olympics.

So, the other day I was running on a particularly warm springish afternoon. Two of the boys were playing. As I got closer to them, I saw that they had giant water guns...fully loaded. They had their heads together, obviously planning something mischievous. Next, I saw one of them sprint ahead, cross someone's yard, and hide behind a tree. The other followed, in pursuit. Up ahead, I saw their of their little sisters...on a frilly purple bike...with a basket....poor girl. She was about a half a block ahead of the little punks. As I watched the pursuit unfold, I heard one of the boys singing a little ditty as he darted from tree to tree. He was singing "Secret Agent Man." I had to try REALLY hard not to burst into a fit of uncontrolled laughter, but I showed iron-clad self control and did not blow their obviously well planned, impenetrable "cover."

As I passed them and inevitably crossed paths with their intended target, I contemplated warning her. Being a little sister myself, and having been the target of many secret agent attacks, I felt I bit of kinship with the poor girl. Alas, I minded my own business, and let the events unfold behind me as planned....I felt a little guilty, but those boys are my neighborhood posse....I didn't want to become the object of their next "secret" water gun-laden least not till it gets warmer outside.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

almost but not quite

I just got back from my endurance run for the week. These are a few things I learned/encountered/pondered.

1. Got up, drank two BIG cups of coffee (will I ever learn?), filled up my fuel belt, stretched, and headed out the door.

2. Bernie from the Block is no where to be seen. I saw him on my Wednesday run and noticed that he got a new haircut. I think he is in hiding out of embarrassment....he looks pretty sissy (or at least more sissy than usual). If I can catch him later when I take my dogs for a walk, I will post a picture....celebrity mug shot style.

3. Mile 2....Hot Runner Guy sighting!!!! So, Kate, you can start plotting/recording. Saturday, 10:30 a.m., Vandalia/Rte.159. Our prayers need to be more specific. He was, in fact, running towards me. However, he was on the wrong side of the street. If he followed the "rules" (see hot runner guy) he would instantly lose his status as hot runner guy. He would switch to Reckless Stupid Dead Runner Guy because he would have to run into traffic to do his 180 degree turn to talk to me. I am happy to report to Katie that he was running with a Hot Runner Friend, but you were not running with me...which will not do...according to the aforementioned prayer.

4. My fuel belt bottles are pieces of crap. I have replaced some of them before for the same reason. I have one that has sprung a leak. The leak is on the side of the bottle...just a tiny hole in the seam, so if you squeeze it, a bitty stream of liquid shoots out. In my infinite wisdom, I don't check which one it is before I load them up and make my way out the door. So, either I look like I wet my pants if the offending bottle is in the back, or (as the case was today) look like I sprouted an extra sweat gland between my 2nd and 3rd ribs. Thankfully, I was far enough away from Hot Runner Guy to have him notice the interesting "sweat pattern" that I was sporting on today's run.

5. Mile 2.5-Hot Runner Guy and Hot Runner Friend do actually turn around and are now running with me....but on the other side of the street....and they run faster than Hot Runner it looks like I'm chasing them...which I'm not...I can't help it that they turned around!!!

6. Mile 3-Mob of tweenies taking up the entire sidewalk are walking towards me. I'm trying to figure out their interesting attire. They are wearing knee-high socks....on only one leg...and they are striped. Now, when I was in junior high, we wore some interesting fashions (i.e. tight rolled jeans, hyper color t-shirts, jelly shoes) that were questionable, so I am not one to talk. Seriously though, which brain trust among them decided it would be cool to wear one striped sock pulled up over their knee cap? Those ladies are going to have some interesting tan lines come summer. Tweenies do not hold their ground like Chicken Lady and I parted the mob like the Red Sea and go on my way, shaking my head in disbelief.

7. Mile 4- Cup 2 of the coffee is talkin' back. Gotta go...NOW. Stop at Moto Mart. There is a line. I'm doing the pee-pee dance. After the ladies in front of me take their own sweet time chit-chatting with the attendant, I ask her if I can use the facilities. OUT OF ORDER!!! Now, you would think that the attendant would recognize the international sign of immediate need of a toitee, a.k.a. the pee-pee dance, and tell me that BEFORE I waited in the line, but she wasn't the most observant person alive. The Chatty Cathy's in front of me advised me to risk life and limb and run across Saturday morning 159 traffic and go to Shop n' Save. I politely thanked them for their unsolicited advice and ran to Sonic at mile 5.

8. Mile 8...finish. Decide to take Ross and Buster for a walk. Pray that Hot Runner Guy and Hot Runner Friend listen to the Spirit next Saturday and run on my side of the street.

Monday, March 10, 2008

GPS...and not the technology kind

Two summers ago, I went to friend's place in the Ozarks. I decided to take advantage of my new surroundings and go for a run...I like going to new places and exploring them through running.

My friend and her family instructed me on the best route to go where I would run into the least amount of traffic. Now, as many of you don't know, I am HORRIBLE with remembering verbal directions and have absolutely NO internal compass (foreshadowing here...if I could make the sinister DA-DA-DUM noise you hear in horror movies right now I would).

So, I head out on my merry way. I'm enjoying my surroundings, appreciating the beauty of nature. About 2 miles into my run, I came upon a house with a dog sittin' out front. He wasn't chained up, so he just popped right up when he saw me and decided to trot along side me as I ran. Being a dog owner myself, I was concerned that the dog would get lost and I tried to encourage him to go home.....he wasn't having anything to do with that business. He was determined to keep me company. When I turned left, he turned left. When I sped up, he sped up. I had found myself a vacation running partner.

Several lefts and rights later, I had NO idea where I was and (of course) all the street names sounded similar. It was getting hotter and hotter out and I already had ran about 5 miles. I was getting concerned that I was going to pass out on the side of the road without water if I didn't figure out how to get back to my friends' place. My runnin' bud just looked up at me with a happy grin. I looked back at him and thought, "He's a dog. I bet he has that internal compass that knows exactly where his house is...I know how to get back to my friends from his house. I'll follow the dog!" So, I let GPS (my nickname for him) lead the way. Three miles later, wouldn't you know it, we were right back where we his house. When we reached his yard, he just trotted on over to his lounging spot in the shade and plopped himself down....and grinned at me as if to say, "I got your back."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

hot runner guy

There is a guy who runs a lot in Cville. Kate discovered him....and named him. We call him Hot Runner Guy. He first appeared in the summer of 2007 (as far as I know). Kate had the idea that every time we see him, that we pray for his wife.....which is, in fact, me (at least in my head).

One time, Katie and I were driving on Beltline and saw Hot Runner Guy. I was in mid-conversation and just shouted "HOT RUNNER GUY!!!" I frantically texted Kate that there was an official Hot Runner Guy sighting. And so, the tradition begins....we broadcast Hot Runner Guy run-ins (literally) whenever they occur. His wife is prayed for often.

He is quite the dedicated runner. I have yet to "run" into him on my local running routes. You would think that we would eventually cross paths considering the sheer amount of miles we both put in around town. Sigh, alas I have yet to have an official in-person run-in with Hot Runner Guy. Of course, when I do, he will become instantly drawn to me and will do a 180 degree turn and decide to run with me. I will discover that he is a Godly man who is 30-something, funny, single, employed, and is looking for a short, chubby, cute and endearing, slightly quirky, Godly woman (that he has seen on occasion and secretly calls "Hot Runner Girl"). I, of course, will look FABULOUS and not sweaty or gross at all.

And Hot Runner Guy and Hot Runner Girl (me) lived happily ever after......

Monday, March 3, 2008

playing chicken

So sometimes when I run my regular route from my house through Main Street in Cville I see this old woman. I think she is pushing about 70. I admire her cause she's out there walkin' and exercising...she looks pretty fit. This is where my admiration stops. I think she is playing chicken with me.

The sidewalks on Vandalia are very narrow and the traffic is very heavy on the street. I do the polite thing and run to one side of the sidewalk. Chicken Lady walks right down the middle of the sidewalk, causing me to run into the grass (or street) to avoid her. So, Monday I decided to see what would happen if I ran straight at her-NOT risking life and limb trying to avoid her-to see what she would do. About a half a block prior to our meeting, I made eye contact. She sized up me, I sized up her. I heard this unspoken exchange between us-"I think I can take her....punk." So, I barrel toward her head on. I got about 3 feet from her and realized Chicken Lady wasn't gonna budge. Rather than body check her into oncoming traffic, I punked out. I made an abrupt maneuver to avoid contact and had a very muddy and wet shoe to show for it.

Darn you Chicken Lady......we shall meet again.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Here is a rant from one of my winter runs his season.

I'm going to rant...again. This time it is about my attitude, and not celebrity runners.
Here is how my run went...

1. Drive home from that I can get home, change, and get in a short run before the weather hits.

2. Change...put on two pairs of pants, and three shirts.... and head out the door, get blasted with cold air, see it is snowing already...think- "Dang-it....grrrr....winter."

3. Mile one-muscles start to loosen up, people turn their outside xmas lights on, big, fat snowflakes falling...think-"Sigh, this is so peaceful, I love running in the snow"....sense of peace and serenity takes over, even do a little running happy dance between the snowflakes, wave at neighbors as they drive and greet the dog walkers.....Ahhhh.....I love winter.

4. Mile two-Wind picks up, glasses fog up...have to take them off and start to run more happy dance....just look down and forge ahead. Think-"This isn't so fun faster, get this dang thing over with."

5. Mile three-Sleet hits, road gets slippery, can't see a dang thing, wind picks up again which drives needles of sleet and snow into my face, outer shirt is COVERED in ice and snow...look like the abominable down steep hill, pray..."Don't fall, don't fall, don't fall" home at the last stretch thinking "I HATE WINTER #$%&!@#$#@!"

6. At home....peel off layers of soggy clothing, hang to dry. Curl up on couch and crawl under a blanket. Two hours later, think-"That was fun...I feel good.....I love running...I can't wait to do it again tomorrow!

pee pee dance

This is a just a friendly reminder I sent to some of my runnin' friends to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I have definitely slacked off in this area lately....I think I might shrivel up and turn into a raisin soon if I don't remedy this situation (that is, if I was a grape).

I decided to take my own advice and actually drink the amount of water the experts rec. and then some because of my added miles. I feel much better now, thank you. Hydration helps with energy, recovery, battling illness, gives you healthier skin, and staying power during your run even if you drank a bunch at the beginning of the day and don't run until the evening...however it is best to hydrate all day. I know it can get annoying if you work at a profession that doesn't allow frequent bathroom breaks, but try your best. My students think that my jumping up and down excitement over the Mayflower Compact means I'm really into American colonization (or that I'm crazy), but really it's just me doing the pee pee dance. So take comfort in the knowledge that you won't be the only one looking like a fool this running season : ). Dance on my friends, dance on......

celebrity marathoners

Here's my rant about celebrity marathoners...pardon me if anyone is offended by this.

I was on MSN and saw a pic of Katie Holmes running the New York Marathon. Now...why does she look so fabulous while running 26.2 miles, but I end up looking like a sweaty beast in all my pictures? Genetics are just unfair! She's all grinning and beautiful....grrrrrr! I guess having a personal trainer, a stylist, and an unending supply of funds to make you look pretty has a little more to do with it than genetics, but give me my's my soapbox. At the end of the day it's not about looking pretty (or smelling pretty) when you run, its about doing something good for your mind, body, and soul. So I say screw the genetically near perfect beauty kings and queens out there and just run...because it feels good, not because it looks good.

"I run because it's my passion, and not just a sport. Every time I walk out the door, I know why I'm going where I'm going and I'm already focused on that special place where I find my peace and solitude. Running, to me, is more than just a physical's a consistent reward for victory!"
Sasha Azevedo, Runner Athlete

mr. salt truck

So...I just talked to Kate and she told me to post all my silly running emails from the past few here it goes...

Here's little running story for ya.....ahem.....

So, I go for a 5 mile run on a not-so-lovely winter morning. It was very slippery. I ran down 159 into downtown Cville. I was on the sidewalk. It was very close to the road. I am reciting my "Don't fall, don't fall, don't fall" prayer and concentrating on the ground. Something makes me look up. I see Mr. Salt Truck. He decides to greet me with a big HELLO, HAVE A MOUTH FULL OF SALT AS I SHOOT IT OUT ON YOUR FACE! Good morning to you too Mr. Salt Truck. Mr. Salt Truck has impeccable timing. Mr. Salt Truck continues on his merry way. Mr. MCT Bus immediately follows Mr. Salt Truck. He decides to greet me with a big HELLO, HAVE A NICE LITTLE SALTY ICE WATER SHOWER! Mr. MCT Bus was also so kind as to have a "Happy Holidays" message on his route screen as he graciously gave me my first shower of the day. Thank you Mr. MCT Bus, and "Happy Holidays" to you too!

After I got to work, I also had a visit from Mr. Tow Truck. My car broke down...for the fourth four months. Mr. Tow Truck and I are friends. I think I may invite him to come home with me next time so he can beat up Mr. Salt Truck and Mr. MCT Bus. I wonder what kind of damage his towing hook can do....hmmmmm.....these are the things I will ponder on my next run.

My running advice today is....stay away from Mr. Salt Truck and Mr. MCT Bus....and if you can, Mr. Tow Truck (No offense to Mr. Tow Truck, he is a very nice truck).

betsy and katie get "lost"

For those of you who know me, the quote of the day will give you a giggle. Even if you don't, I imagine you will find it funny if you have ever gone for a long run and rewarded yourself with food. I get a lot of teasing for my miles....and my injuries....and I love to feed my inner fat kid...I call him Bubba. So, this quote is very fitting.

"If you run 100 miles a week, you can eat anything you want-Why? Because (a) you'll burn all the calories you consume, (b) you deserve it, and you'll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway."Don Kardong

So here's the story of Betsy and Katie getting "lost." Yesterday, Katie text messaged me on my way home from work to tell me that she was going to get her oil changed before we went on a Valentine's Day visit to a local nursing home. We discussed going for a run before we went. So, we dropped off her car at the Vavoline in Collinsville and went for a run while we waited for her oil change. So...we go on our merry way....and decide to get creative. We ran to Kate's house and caught her and Skip on their way out...wished them a happy Valentine's Day.....ran on. We made a random turn on a side street to avoid killing ourselves in clue where we were going or where we were going to end up. We get to a sizable hill and wonder if we should turn around and go on the road we knew would take us to our destination. Nope, we decide to trudge up the hill. I run ahead to see where the road ends up and get to the top of the hill to discover a cross road...the street name is Lost. I run back to Katie in a fit of giggles. "WE HAVE TO TAKE THIS ROAD!" Several jokes about being on "lost" and a few random turns later, Lost Ave. intersects with Rainbow St. Now I start singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." There's no place like home, there's no place like home....well, to make a long story short, we found our pot of gold at the end of Rainbow St. and made it out onto Beltline, and back to Vavoline. Moral of the story: Don't get stuck running the same route all the time. Venture out into the unknown. You may get "lost," but it is always an adventure. You will find there is no place like home at the end of the rainbow...and you will be fitter for the effort.

bernie from the block

You will find that you meet some interesting people and other creatures when you are a runner. I like to give them names (some of them I actually know their real names). Today's creature I have named Bernie from the Block.

Bernie is a dog (his name is actually Bernie). He is an indestructible, evasive maneuvering, wonder that confuses and amuses me. Bernie is my neighbor. He is a black and white anklebitter bitty thing. His owners let him out without supervision or a leash and he roams the block. He lifts his bitty leg on every tree, noses in everyone's front yards, eagerly greets his canine blockmates with butt sniffing abandon, and on occasion, I find him chillin' out in my garage or on my front porch. I open the door to venture out for a morning run....hello Bernie. I run around the hood in the evening...Bernie runs with me down the block. Bernie often gets distracted easily, so he doesn't last long on my runs, but he is entertaining for the the short time he is my companion. I often end my run in front of his house, and he runs out to greet me as if to say "Way to go Betsy! You are the bets! (Kate that one was for you)" I usually just pat him on the head, give him a high five, and happily head home. Now, if you have spent any time at my house, you know I live on a VERY sharp VERY blind curve in the street. Bernie confuses me...HOW in the world does he not end up a Bernie pancake?! Seriously WHAT is it with this little rat dog that makes him indestructible?! People drive around that curve like they are in the Indy 500, and Bernie still lives. There really needs to be a study on this dog....he has some kind of freakish internal radar that warns him....INCOMING!!!!...and he just steps calmly out of the way. I want that radar.
Anyway...these are some of the things I ponder when I run. Hopefully you have a dog or other friendly woodland creature that keeps you company on your runs/walks. Next time, I'll tell you about the dog that saved my life on a run in the Ozarks (I haven't named him yet)....or Gatorade Guy...or the Porch Posse.....etc., etc., etc.

About Me

My photo
I'm a teacher with a running problem, or maybe I'm a runner with a teaching pick.


races completed

A bunch of 5Ks...I've lost track over the years...

O'Fallon (IL) YMCA 15K Winter 2007

St. Louis Track Club Half Marathon (spring) 2007

Spirit of St. Louis Marathon 2007

Boilermaker 15K Roadrace 2007 (Utica, NY)

Lewis and Clark Marathon 2007 (St. Charles, MO)

St. Louis Track Club Frost Bite Series 2008


-10 Miles


-Half Marathon

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 2008

Route 66 Festival 10K 2008 (Edwardsville, IL)

O'Fallon (IL) Summer Sizzler 15K 2008

Lewis and Clark Half Marathon 2008 (St, Charles, MO: DNS-cancelled due to Hurricane Ike)

O'Fallon Fall Finale 15K 2008

St. Louis Track Club Half Marathon 2008 (PR!)

Mountain Home Half Marathon (Arkansas) 2008 (2nd in age group!)

Great River Road Run (IL) 10 miles

St. Louis Track Club Frost Bite Series 2008-2009


-10 miles

Phoenix Rock-n-Roll Marathon (AZ)

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 2009

Kentucky Derby Half Marathon 2009

future races

race wish list

Big Sur Marathon
Disney Marathon
Nike Marathon
Marine Corps Marathon
Great River Relay
Bolder Boulder
Chicago Distance Classic