Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I have a confession to make. I mock other runners. I am so, so, sorry, but I just can't resist sometimes. There are a lot of silly runners out there. Now, I am not immune to silliness of my own, so feel free to mock me if you see me out running too. In this particular instance, I am admitting to mocking runners with silly running form. My obsession with silly runners reminds me of a Monty Python skit called the Silly Olympiad that features....silly runners.

Today's blog is a critique of runners with silly arms. This obsession started when I was visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Chicagoland this summer. I went for a 16 miler on a popular trail that runs through the western suburbs...I had a lot of time to mock the silliness. Fleet Feet was apparently sponsoring some kind of training run that day, so there were A LOT of runners out that morning. Here is what I saw...and proceeded to mock.

1. The Rocky Runner....runs with arms in an upward jabbing motion. I was worried if they tripped, they would lose a tooth or two or give themselves a black eye.

2. The Cleavage Maker....runs with arms tight up to boobies, no arm movements...just squeezin' the girls.

3. The Windmiller....runs with arms in a wide circular motion...think 3 year old kid. BIG waste of energy, especially in the middle of summer in Chicago. However, amusing to watch as long as you give them a wide clearance to avoid getting caught in their windmill action.

4. The Dumb and Dumber....nuff said.

5. The Clencher....runners that clench and release their fists. Do they have finger cramps? Are they saying hi? What are they thinking about? Milking Cows?

I have more, but I'll spare you....I betcha can't resist the MOCK-ING! temptation next time you see a pack of silly runners...just don't PICK 'EM UP!!!!
(see above D and D reference for those of you who are not into quality cinematic masterpieces)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

sweaty keys

I'm famous for getting locked out of places...
mostly just my car and my house. I distribute my spare keys around to my friends and neighbors so my poor dogs don't get left without food, water, and potty breaks on a regular basis. After all, who wouldn't want to help a face like this....that's Buster, by the way.
So, here is one of my most famous key stories, and since it relates to running, I am posting it on my blog.
I moved to the STL area about four years ago from the Denver area. There is a very popular park named Washington Park (locals call it Wash Park...not Warsh Park, as people who live in southern IL would call it) that is frequented by runners. They actually have a great 5k run there called the Furry have to be a dog lover to appreciate it.
One lovely Memorial Day weekend, my roomie at the time (and one of my best buds) decided to go for a run in the park. We made pancakes before we went and decided to bring the leftovers to feed the ducks (Coffee Betsy, I thought of you and Jack's goose episode when I wrote this).
When we arrived at Wash Park, we left the pancakes on the dash of the car, locked the car, and went on our merry way. A couple of laps around the park later, I took the key out of my shorts' key pocket, retrieved the pancakes, and relocked the car. Now, in between the ducks and the car was a VERY large, grassy field, littered with picnicking couples and napping weekenders. We cooled down, walking across the field, and feed the duckies. When we arrived back at the car...tada!!!! key. Crap. Crap. Crappity. Crap. Crap. Crap. Now, Kir always had a theory that if she just counted to ten, I would find my keys. Her theory usually works, but not this time. So, we proceeded to retrace our steps across the field, sifting through lots, and lots of grass....looking, well, like total morons. No key. No key at the duck pond. Crap.
So, we approached a non-psycho looking picnic person and asked to borrow their cell phone. She agreed. I also had to ask her if she happened to have the number for AAA. She did. Denverites can be a friendly and useful bunch. So, a few phone calls and several hours of waiting in the field, I paid out the arse for a locksmith to come on a holiday and break into my I could get at my spare key...which of course was conveniently INSIDE the car.
On the way home, we stopped at Safeway. Sitting in the grassy field for several hours made me into a swollen-eyed sneezy mess....had to get allergy relief. We both had to pee too. Once in the bathroom, I pulled down my shorts and tada!!!!!! Wouldn't you know it?! I heard the tell tale klink-klink of my key falling to the was stuck to my sweaty stomach.....and not in my key pocket. Niiiiicccce. I walked out of the bathroom and said, "Guess what I found?!"
It's a good thing Kir loves me, because otherwise I wouldn't be alive right now. I maaaay have ended up at the bottom of the duck pond.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wild, Wild, West

About a month ago, I went for a 12 mile run in one of my favorite places in the city...Forest Park. It's a very large and busy park that is perfect for people watching, so it's a great place for longer runs. I was prayin' on my run, as I often do, because it is one of the only times I can block out all the noise and focus. Unfortunately, my focus was broken by a few laps past this location....the horse stable for the Forest Park Division-St. Louis Mounted Police. Every time I ran past it, I went into a several mile fit of giggles. Now, outside of the obvious off color jokes that were going through my head (Hi, I'm 12.), I contemplated this quandary....What, pray tell, are the purpose of mounted police officers? It's not like we are going to witness a stand off in the OK Corral in the middle of the park. There is no need to chase down any wayward cattle who decide to wander onto Art Hill to graze. The closest things we have to the wild, wild west in the park are the wild animals in the zoo or the western historical exhibits in the history museum. Really, do they expect to have to chase after a runaway stagecoach or a masked madman who just robbed the local bank on horseback?

Monday, April 14, 2008

occupational hazard

I am a teacher. Normally that isn't a profession that strikes fear into the hearts of many. Unless, of course, you hate kids.

Now, being a teacher isn't all that unusual. There are lots of people out there having sex...makin' babies....and guaranteeing that thousands of us out there have permanent job security. Thanks, to all of you procreatin' peeps out there...I appreciate the paycheck.

What's unusual about my job is that I am a Special Education an alternative school for kids with severe behavior and mental health the hood. They enroll in my school for various reasons (ie. weapons violations, fighting, truancy, repeated behavior referrals, identified mental illness, returning from "big boy jail", etc.). I have the best job in the world. It's never a dull day. I have big highs, and just as big lows on a day to day, week to week basis. My students have a lot of....personality. They are hilarious. I love them. I can't imagine doing anything else.

That being said, it also isn't the safest job on the planet. I often get threatened, called interesting names, witness various forms of violence, and hear stories that would make your toes curl.

This is one of the big reasons why I keeps me sane. My students think it's pretty cool that I run long distances. I get a lot of good natured teasing. The ones that make me laugh are the kids who say "I could run a marathon G. Pick me up next time and I'll run with ya. I bet I beat you." And, in the next breath, they ask me to pick up the pencil that they dropped on the front of them.

Other than for the obvious reasons, I am beginning to think I'm not normal. Sometimes (when I'm really desperate), I will go for runs after work in town. I tell coworkers that I'm leaving, and if I don't come back within a certain time period, send help. On the rare occasion that I force myself to do track work, the security guard watches me run on the cameras aimed at the track. Sometimes I will run on a trail system just outside of town (usually before after-school meetings). The first time I ventured out on the trails, I got out of my car and said out loud, "Well, this is a really dumb idea." Of course, I didn't get back in the car. I thought (to myself this time), "I'll just run real fast and get it over with before it gets dark." Ya Bets, THAT makes it better. I ran by some signs with bullet holes in them and picked up the pace a wee of the best interval days I had...ever.

So here's where the occupational hazard idea sinks in....About a month ago, I was out for a long endurance run in the town where I live. It was a Saturday morning. It was quiet, peaceful, and light on traffic. I had my ipod on and I was in a happy runnin' zone. Unbeknownst to me, a car was in trouble behind me. One of the tires on the car had a blow out....a very loud, gunshotlike blow out. So, instead of losing all bladder control, all heart function, and curling up on the sidewalk in the fetal position, I flinched. Yes, I flinched. I turned around and gave the car my best "teacher look" (known to stop grown men in their tracks), turned back around, and went on my merry way.

Now I feel a little silly letting Chicken Lady get the best of me.....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

stupid, stupid fear

"In the achievement of greater performances, of beating formidable rivals, the athlete defeats fear and conquers himself."

-Franz Stampfl

I just gotta come right out with it-it's like ripping off a band-aid.

I'm disappointed. I didn't make a PR on Sunday. I was about 2 minutes off. I'm really disappointed in myself. Now, I can come up with the following "excuses:"

  • Since March 2007, I've competed in 3 half marathons and two full marathons...I'm just plain tired.
  • I've been injured...tendonitis in my ankle, bone spur on my heel, morton's neuroma in my foot, and a calf muscle that is so tight, that a specialist wants to cut me open and slice through the connective tissue to lengthen it.....I was in pain.
  • It was a very hilly course....That slowed me down.

All of those "excuses" are a bunch of malarkey. Here's the REAL reason I didn't make a PR: good ol' fashioned fear. I have done interval training and speed drills....I know what to do. I held back. I was afraid of tanking at the end and crawling across the finish line. I thought I was "pacing" myself. I KNOW I could have ran at a faster pace the whole race. I actually sprinted the last 2 miles of the race and had energy to spare. Stupid, stupid, stupid fear. I thought the sprint saved me at the end and would put me over the top, but it didn't.

Like Mr. Stampfl says.... I need to defeat fear and conquer myself...I was my own worst speed enemy on Sunday.

Lewis and Clark Half Marathon, September 14th:

Fear and I will have a show down....I shall kick fear's ass...even if I have to crawl across the finish line.

Now, on a happier note, I had an AMAZING time at the race. Twelve of my friends, in three teams of four, ran the marathon relay....many of them weren't runners months ago. I've never been a spectator at a race. I LOVED IT!!! You definitely see some amazing acts of humanity on the race course, but to be able to watch from the sidelines, you get to see so much more! While I waited for my friends to finish, I watched parents cross the finish line with their kids holding their hands. I saw two team members of one relay team run across the line, one on the other's shoulders. I saw relay teams run, hand-in-hand, across the line and end in a big group hug. I heard the announcer read names of people in their 70s as they crossed the finish line (they are my heroes). I watched as people ran across that line, arms spread wide, faces up, tears streaming down their faces (and mine).
I'm so proud to be a part of the running community....we are one amazing group of people.

Friday, April 4, 2008

warning: this post is not for the faint of heart...or the weak of stomach

So, frayedlaces tagged me and told me to do if you find this post disgusting, and/or if I tagged you, feel free to blame her (tee hee). So here are the rules:
(1) Write your own six word memoir.
(2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want (see my yuckiness above).
(3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogs-universe.
(4) Tag at least five more blogs with links.
(5) Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

I was contemplating my memoir all afternoon. My life is so varied, what to choose, what to choose. I went to pick up my race packet for the Go! St. Louis Marathon weekend tonight (I'm doing the Half this year) and saw a vendor selling a t-shirt that had a slogan that pretty much summed up my running life as of late. Well, since I have mostly blogged about running and/or my misadventures while running, the t-shirt inspired the idea to do a memoir about...running. I know, I know, my last post was all about how my life is NOT all about running. Well, it's still not. Consider this my six word Running Memoir. If you want a memoir about every part of my life then, well, you may want to back off...stalker.

The Bets's Six Word Memoir....

I think toenails are for sissies.

So, Kate, Liz (Kate's Mom), Kris (fellow teach' in the 'hood...and Kate's best bud), Ruralrunner (random fellow blogger/teacher I met on runner's lounge), and Fatrunnergirl (jus' cus I like her blog, and us fat kids gotta stick together!) consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

thank you, captain obvious

I live in a small town on the other side of the river (that would be the Mississippi...the river) from St. Louis. It's kinda of a weird limbo land between suburb and small town. We are a little jaunt away from the city, but it still is an area where you pretty much can't go anywhere in town without running into a familiar face. It's a great town...I'm a fan. Our claim to fame....a giant ketchup bottle.

So, as you can imagine, all those familiar faces see me running...often. I can't go a week without someone saying, "Hey, I saw you running yesterday," or "Was that you I saw the other day on .....street? Wow, that was really far away from your house! You're crazy!" Sometimes people honk and wave, which I appreciate...kinda feels like having my own personal race spectators day in and day out. If it didn't make me look like a huge dork (which I am, but I don't like to advertise), I would wear one of my marathon race bibs with my name on it so they could go one step further and yell, "Go Betsy! You are the Bets!" or "Hey, check Betsy out! What a huge running dork!" I'm sure I may be getting some inapppropriate honking also (the "Hey baby, you runnin' my way?" variety), but I'm usually listening to my ipod, so I can't tell the difference.
The comments that tend to bug me come from people who stop you to tell you stuff. Here are a few examples, feel free to comment if you think I'm being too harsh.
1. I was doing some speed work in my neighborhood. One of the mini-van mavens pulled up beside me and rolled down her window. Not wanting to be rude, I stop and jog in place to see what she wanted...maybe she lost her dog. Nope, she simply stopped me to tell me that she has noticed me running over the past few years and that she admired my dedication. Thanks, great. Tell me that when I'm walking my dogs. Tell me that when you see me at the store. Don't stop me in the middle of an all out sprint.

2. I go to Walgreens, the grocery store, post office, etc. Townie stops me and says with a chuckle, "Hey, Betsy did you run here?" "Why aren't you running?" "Wow, look at you! You are dressed in normal clothes! I didn't know you wore anything besides running gear!" "If I forget something on my list, I'll call ya and you can just run back up here for me, right?" I usually just laugh and say "Ha, ha...good one!" However, this is my internal response when I'm feeling extra snarky....

  • I have a life outside of running. I eventually stop and interact with people. I'm not a hamster. Running is not the only thing I do.

  • I have a job. I'm not a fast runner and no one is knocking down my door to offer me big money endorsements to run around town. So, yes, I do own "normal" clothes and shower on a very regular basis, thank you.

  • No, I will not "run" your errands. I would likely knock myself out with your milk jug and break all of your eggs. I will not pick up your feminine products or hemorrhoid cream and run down the street...I would most definitely ruin my chances with Hot Runner Guy.

3. A few weeks ago, some old lady and her husband (not Chicken Lady) were stopped at a light at a busy intersection in our downtown area. She rolled down her window and finger waved at me to come over to her car. Seriously?! You want me to run into the middle of the intersection and risk getting flattened? I like all my appendages right where they're at, thank you.

4. Mile 23 of my last marathon...I'm nearing the beer stop. My legs are shredded. I am feeling EVERY step. I know that if I stop, I'm never going to start again. The beer stop has some very chipper spectators, which I appreciated. One of the spectators saw me, ran across the race field and waved me down, yelling "Stop!" Silly Lady, I'm not gonna do it and you can't make me (I think I may have actually said that out loud). So, Silly Lady jogged along next to me and said, "Oh honey, I just had to stop you to tell you that my name is Betsy too! You don't often meet another Betsy!" You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. Obviously Silly Lady has never run a marathon.

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