Category: Guest Posts

Special Post: The Man Who Used to Run

We interrupt our regularly scheduled relay recaps and self-centered ramblings for a very special post.

Today is my Dad’s 53rd birthday.

I’ve mentioned it several times before on the blog, but my Dad was one of the people who inspired me to start running.  My high school memories are filled with (painful) moments running with my parents — speedwork with my Dad and long runs with my Mom. They showed me what it means to find strength when you’re feeling weak, to constantly strive to be the best you can be, and to never, ever give up. I am who I am today because of these two people.


Last Friday while I was running the streets of Vegas, my Dad was spending the entire day at Cleveland Clinic for a consultation on what will be his 4th knee surgery. This appointment came only a month after another painful surgery to repair a meniscus tear…and is the beginning of a very long road to recovery. At this point it’s looking like he’s going to spend a good part of the month of December in the hospital and at home, off his feet, recovering.

So today, in the midst of all this, I want to share his story. The reason why I dedicated every single mile that I ran in Manchester to this man who loved running more than anyone I know in this world…and who would give anything to run just one mile again.

{Even though he knew I was going to post this at some point, my Dad actually has no idea that this is on the blog today.}

The Man Who Used to Run

by Paul Buckel

Running to me is the most fantastic form of exercise a person can ever do.  It is joy, freedom, and when done right, a real sense of accomplishment. Nothing in my life gave me a greater sense of challenge, confidence and success than running. And once I began in my young 30s, I was hooked for life. Besides my wonderful wife and four fantastic daughters, nothing, not even my career, meant more to me than running. Which is why it pains me greatly that I can no longer run…not even a half of a mile.

My running roots actually go back to my childhood and a bike. I lived in a small house with my two brothers, one sister, mom and dad. The house had three bedrooms and I shared one very small room with my two brothers. My home was loving and warm, but always felt crowded and I needed escape. So, I got on my bike and I rode. This habit continued into my teenage years with longer and longer rides. Many evenings I would find myself standing barefoot in the garage after dinner deciding to just take my bike around the block. Before I knew it, I had just ridden seven miles uphill from my home in Camillus, NY to Skaneateles Lake. Not such a big deal right? Heck, most of the readers are runners and as a distance runner, seven miles is an easy day. But, this was 1976 when bikes were 10 speeds (which, by the way, was pretty cool) and the pedals had what I refer to as “spikes” built in to keep your shoes from slipping off. Now, remember the barefoot part? Yes, I rode spiked pedals seven miles uphill to the lake, only to ride seven miles back in the dark, barefoot. But that was my freedom and my joy.

In my twenties, I learned that I could find this same sense of joy and freedom through running. I first started casual runs on various trails close to my house. The runs got longer each time and I eventually wandered to the streets.

When I was 30 years old, my lovely wife Diana signed me up for my very first road race – a five-mile race in Fredericksburg, VA. No problem, I thought. I was already running three miles, three times a week. So I would just add a couple more. Three weeks before the race, my training began. I donned my Converse sneakers, Bermuda shorts and white cotton golf shirt, upped my loop from three miles to {what I thought was} five, and off I went. On race day, I sported the same classy outfit, but decided to swap out the white golf shirt for the more appealing race shirt I had just picked up at registration.

So, right now all the experienced racers (Lauren) are saying – no one wears the race shirt from the race you are running in the actual race! I know, I was new, what can I say. I don’t remember being nervous that morning because I might have been too stupid to know what I was getting into. But, here we were at the starting line with 500 people and me. I don’t know why, but even back then, I had an incredible need to be up front. So I pushed to the line and bolted out at the start with about 15 other guys. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I just ran.  We crossed mile one in 5:20. I thought nothing of it until mile two when I felt like someone had suddenly injected my legs with lead and sucked all the air from my lungs. This was my first lesson – 5:20 is fast. I had never timed myself before, so what did I know?

The rest of the run was very painful. I remember climbing a steep hill at mile 4, just wishing someone would trip me so I didn’t have to finish. But something happened to me on that hill. I felt a strength and desire I had not known before. I pushed through the pain and surged toward the crest. Up ahead, I saw the finish and with every ounce of strength I had left, I sprinted in. I felt fantastic! It’s funny — I can recall the times of almost every race I went on to run after, but all I remember about this race was that I came in number 33 overall.

After that I was hooked. First thing I did was head home and measure my course, only to realize I had trained on a four-mile course for a five-mile race, mistake number one. But from that point on, I got pretty serious. The clothes changed from cotton to Coolmax and Converse to Asics. I ran and I got better. I completed my first 5k in 18:20 at a small-town race in Ohio. It was there that I experienced that horrible, exhausting, “grab for any breath I could get” feeling that comes from leaving every single ounce of strength you have out on the course. It was one of the best feelings I had ever had. To put everything out there to the point where you can give no more, but then somehow you dig deep, find another gear and finish, was just an awesome feeling. It inspired me. Even though I hated the pain of racing, I relished in it.

Lauren s first road raceBuckel Family Fun = road races. LB’s first race — don’t be jealous of my sweet outfit

My life slowly changed because of my running.  I become a “runner” and was proud of it.  People in my small town knew who I was because they saw me running — or even better, saw me finishing up front at local races. I taught myself how to do speedwork on the track, tempo runs on the roads, and long runs through the farm lands even before I ever trained with another person. I learned how to push well beyond my limits and how to visualize my goals.

The first great accomplishment I ever had as a runner was the Medina, Ohio Twin Sizzler. I wanted so badly to break 17 minutes on a 5K course. For weeks I visualized a 16:59 on the clock and then, early on Sunday morning just one week before the race, I did the one thing that could make or break my confidence. I went to the course and ran with all I had just wanting to get below 17:20. I felt that if I could do that on a training run, surely I could do sub-17 on race day. The upside to success was a boost of confidence but the downside could have crushed me. I realized that day that through my determination and mental strength, I wouldn’t let the downside happen. I finished my test run in 17:07 and was psyched! One week later, I finished the race in 16:47, a time that ended up being the 5K PR of my running career.

Paul rojacks 5 mile5-mile race finish – look at that stride!

The years that followed brought numerous PRs.  My first sub-28:00 5-mile race, a 35:10 10K and seven marathons, including two Bostons.

Paul Boston

But it was not all successes. During all this came the knee problems. My first surgery was in 1994, followed by a second on the same knee only four years later. And, despite medical advice to the contrary, I kept racing. I joined a running club during the years we lived in Boston. As a group we trained, competed and succeeded. I pushed through the pain and trained harder than most.

Paul 5KfinishLeaving it all on the course for a 2nd place finish in a local 5K

Most non-runners could never understand this, but I think runners can. I was part of something, a community of sorts. I loved running, runners and running stories. I shared mine and listened to others who shared theirs. Not many people or events have profoundly affected my life. One person has in a fantastic way, and that is my wife Diana.  And, one activity — and that was running. Running made me a better man. It taught me perseverance and passion. I learned that I could push through pain and climb any hill (literally) and succeed. Had I not chosen to run and had my wife not signed me up for my first road race, I would not have been the husband, father and man I am today.

When I turned 40, I had two goals for that year — to run a sub 5-minute mile and to win a 5K outright. I accomplished both. After weeks of focused training, I finally ran a 4:52 mile, and then repeated it two weeks later  — running a 4:57. Later that summer I took first overall in a 5K race. That, as it turned out, was my last great year. I continued on for another five years until my knee was so bad that I am now unable to run at all.

Paul falmouth 97

Most people would say that it served me right for not listening to the warning signs, but not me. I wouldn’t change it for the world. My first months after quitting were very tough. I still snuck in runs now and then, only to regret them later. My very last half marathon came as my favorite runner, Lauren, was running her first marathon. My knee was bad and even in training, I suffered. But I believe God gave me a miracle that day and I ran the first half of my daughter Lauren’s first marathon right there by her side with no pain whatsoever. So proud, so happy…and so bittersweet in the realization that this was the true end for me.

This wasn’t the hardest moment though. That came a couple years later, when Lauren ran her very first Boston. I arranged for her to take a bus with my old running buddies to the starting line. When I dropped her off, I lingered with the guys and talked. It was nice to see them again, but after the bus pulled away, I sat alone in my car and cried. I knew that part of my life was over and I would never be the same again.

Years later, the sadness I feel about the loss of my running life has not gone away. But, of course, I have survived. I work out on the elliptical, am back on the bike again and I love to walk with Diana. We hope to retire young and walk the Appalachian Trail. I will someday need a new knee my doctors say, but I consider that a very last resort.


Now I get joy out of watching my very favorite runner Lauren tear up the course and continue to set new personal bests. I can feel each and every emotion she writes about when she recaps her races. I am no longer known as a runner, and except for this brief writing, no longer talk about my running days with friends and strangers. It is who I was, it is still a longing and I will forever miss it.

Running is special and for those who do it, cherish every mile. 

Happy Birthday to the man who inspires me to always dream big and keep running strong. I love you.

Meggie’s Ode to Running

Hello from the West Coast!!

This week I’m swapping coasts to attend a conference for work, and I have to tell you all – after only a couple of hours here, I’m ready to relocate. Sorry New England – but I don’t miss your humid summer weather one bit.

Anyway, while I’m off exploring my temporary home, I have a special guest post for you. I’m really excited to be able to share another Ode to Running with you. Meggie, from The Thinks I Can Think is here to share her Ode. I love her story, and I hope you do too!

Meggie’s Ode to Running

True story: I wrote my medical school admissions essay on how I wasn’t a runner and all of my friends were.

Ok, somewhat of an exaggeration, but my personal statement’s opening story was that of my friend trying to convince me in the 6th grade to run cross country rather than try out for cheerleading as “6th graders never make the squad.” In all fairness, she had no idea I was a gymnast and throwing standing back tucks was my forte.

mailSweet warm-ups circa 1997

Don’t worry, we became best friends and I’m now her bridesmaid (and I thank her for causing a story that made for a good enough essay to get me into medical school!)

BMSAwardsCheerleader with her two running friends

In light of my essay, I consider it somewhat ironic that medical school is when I fell in love with running.

Although I played tennis all throughout high school and college (go NYU!), I always dreaded running. Even the few warm up laps before practice were painful.

This is so boring!
How do people find this fun?
Why would anyone every want to do this as a sport?!?

That pretty much sums up my thoughts towards running for the first 22 years of my life. I didn’t understand how I could play 3 hours of tennis easily, but running for 30 straight minutes was like torture.

n808472_33394987_1905I look like Maria Sharapova, right?

RobbyGinepriStalking one of my favorite players, Robby Ginepri

When I started medical school in NYC, tennis wasn’t really an option anymore. Court times are expensive and tennis is a sport that requires a lot of, well, coordination. You have to reserve a court time, find someone who can hit at that same time, bring balls, get your racquets restrung, etc. I was a little lost without a competitive outlet, but I figured I’d need to get used to it as I thought my competitive days were over.

I’d see other students leaving from the medical school dorm in the morning for their morning run. To be honest, it made me kind of mad. Why couldn’t I like running? Why wasn’t running so easy and enjoyable for me like it was for these people? What secret did they know that I hadn’t been let in on?

I tried running a few times on my own. It. Was. Terrible. I chalked it up to the fact that I just wasn’t “made” for running.

Around January of my first year of medical school, my former teammate, Erika, mentioned she was training for a marathon. I was, first and foremost, jealous of how much she probably got to eat and, second, perplexed by how she could find running for that long “fun.”

Being a former tennis player like me, I asked Erika how on earth she could enjoy running after hanging up her rackets. She told me she made it social and suggested I come run with her on Friday after work. I agreed, figuring it would be something manageable for me, such as 2 miles, since she told me she “couldn’t run too far because she had her long run the next day.” She then suggested we do this “little loop that I usually do, it’s about 5 miles.” I told her she was insane and there was no way I could run 5 miles without needing an ambulance.

Somehow she got me to go run with her…and I made it! I ran 5 miles without stopping. We ran super slow, but the sense of accomplishment I felt after that little 5 mile run gave me a glimpse at that “secret” of enjoying running that I hadn’t been privy to for so many years.

After I a few more Friday 5 mile runs, Erika suggested I sign up for a 10K race with her running club. I was pretty reticent because a running club sounded like it was for “runners,” and I definitely didn’t put myself in that category. Plus, I didn’t want to have everyone wait on me to finish, as I would surely be the slowest.

Somehow I was still persuaded to not only sign up for that 10K, but to go to Erika’s running club. And, to my surprise, 2 of those “running clubbers” offered to run that entire 10K with me, making sure I “made it” and had a good time. Guess what…I did! After I finished that race, I was pretty hooked.

Picture 1Not my first 10K, but one of the first races I ran, that Erika ran with me. Apparently, this was a stimulating conversation we were having. At that point, I was just trying to finish, no time goals or anything.

That was 2009. Since then I’ve completed numerous races, including 2 marathons, run all over NYC, and rekindled my competitive fire that I thought would need to quelled for the rest of my life.

A lot of people question how I fit in running with medical school. Most think running would add stress to my already stressful life. And, yes, sometimes fitting in time to run can be, well, stressful. However, on the whole, running itself has, I believe, made me a better medical student.

Giving myself an outlet to challenge myself in has buffered the challenges of medical school. Pushing myself in a workout makes reading for a few hours on the intricacies of gallbladder disease seem not so bad. I’ve found that the more I push myself in one arena, the harder I start to work in the other. And, maybe this is just coincidental, but on days that I run I find myself a lot calmer at the hospital than on days I don’t.

Besides the mental health benefits, the reasons I kept running are almost too numerous to list. I love a good “conversational” run with friends. I love the feeling of setting a new PR or running a time you never thought you’d be able to. I love competing in races, even if it is only versus my “former self.” I love being outside. I love finding that extra gear at the end a race I never knew I had. I love trying a new workout. I love buying more tempo shorts that I don’t need. I love proving other people wrong. I love being able to fit into my skinny jeans. I love setting goals.

MarathonNYUProud products of NYU Athletics Golden Era

MarathonPickyBarsHappy and hungry with a new marathon PR! 3:48:03

I know my life as a resident and doctor will surely be busy. Nevertheless, I think something will still keep me lacing up my shoes every day.

Thanks so much for sharing Meggie! If you want to read more from Meggie, check out her blog!  And you all know how much I love sharing other runner’s stories, so if you’d like to be featured on HOTR, just send me an email!

The Non-Runner’s Guide to Running

I think by now it’s pretty apparent that I’m a crazy runner. I love talking about running just as much as I love actually doing it.  And while I try to place all the blame for how I turned out on my parents (who are crazy runners themselves), the truth is that I really only have myself to blame. You see, there are four girls in the HOTR family, and of the four of us, I’m the only one who has fallen off the deep-end.

So what happened to the others? What was it like for a non-runner to grow up in a running-obsessed family?? Hell, I’m sure… (haha just kidding Mom & Dad 😉 ). Over the years, I think you learn to adapt. And with enough time, you can sort of trick yourself into becoming a runner.

Just ask my sister. Today, she is here to share her secrets with her second guest post. For all of you out there who hate running, or don’t consider yourself a runner, this post is for you!

I am not a runner. Running and I have always had a love/hate relationship. There are days when I wake up and excitedly think, “I am going to run today!!” (Which in all reality happens once a month. Maybe). And on those days I run with a smile, breathing in deeply and thinking about how amazing running feels. And then there are days (most of them) when I know I should go running, but it takes every ounce of my will to drag myself out there. And on those days, I trudge along hating every minute of running. (Cue gasps of outrage from blog readers.)  I know what you are all thinking: “Umm…doesn’t she know that this is a running blog?” and “This girl must be lazy. She doesn’t know the true joy of running.” I know, seriously. The second one may be true.

Nonetheless, growing up in a running family basically means that you will be running whether you like it or not.

“Oh, you want to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve? Okay, well then you better run a mile in under 12 minutes!”

(Let it be known that I was 9 years old at the time…)

Some of my earliest memories are of races, family runs and wearing an embarrassing t-shirt to my 5th grade class that read: “Running’s the Drug, I’m the Addict.” Yes…running is “in my blood” and I can’t seem to be able to escape it.

So what’s a non-runner to do when she knows she needs to run? Well have no fear! Over the past 17 or so years that I have been running, I have developed a (not so much) fail-proof guide to running. It would be selfish of me to keep these amazing techniques a secret, so I have decided to share them in the hopes that non-runners everywhere can experience the joys of running, fooling runners around us into thinking we are “one of them.”

Christina NationalThat’s me on the left, leaping running alongside my sister during the National Marathon

The Non-Runner’s Guide to Running

Tactic #1: Have something more important to do and then use running as a procrastination tool.

Yes it may be more important to finish that big project for work or your entire master’s thesis, but when there is a deadline on the horizon I always feel as though it is the perfect time for a run! Sure you may get fired, or not graduate, but trust me, you will have your best run when you are “running away” from a bigger responsibility.

Tactic #2: Tell yourself horrible things will happen if you do not keep running.

Scenario: I’m running along and I am exhausted. I must have gone at LEAST 10 miles by now. Okay, so in reality it’s more like 3, but it feels like 10. I want to give up, but instead my terrible motivational thoughts kick in! “Christina, do you see that dog in that yard? That dog will DIE if you do not finish your run!” This gives me a few minutes of renewed energy. I will not be the cause of that dog’s death!! This lasts for about ½ mile until my renewed energy slips away. You know what? That dog looked really old…it has lived a happy life… the dog’s the one being selfish…making me keep running…I think it’s fine if I stop. Every dog’s gotta die sometime you know! Maybe it would have worked better if my threat had been about a child instead…

Tactic #3: Threaten yourself.

When threats against innocent, but random dogs stop working, you know it’s time to turn the threats on yourself. “You know what Christina, this is it. If you do not finish this run you are not eating ice cream tonight. Seriously. If you do not earn the dessert than you do not get the dessert!” Nothing is a more serious threat to me than my ice cream. I need to eat it every night to feel as though my night is complete. Therefore, this threat really gets me going for a bit. I just bought a new carton of cake batter ice cream and you better believe I’ll be scooping myself a big bowl tonight. I’m really going now. I might even be chanting “run for the ice cream, run for the ice cream” in my head. But then the other voice in my head kicks in, “Okay so you’re totally going to eat that ice cream tonight, even if you stop. I mean, who is really going to stop you?” I try to tell the voices to shut up, but I know they’re right. I mean, my parents should have made me a t-shirt that said, “Ice Cream’s the Drug, I’m the Addict.” It would have been a lot more accurate. Who am I kidding, nothing can keep me away.

Christina FrozenYo

Tactic # 4: Make up magical scenarios in your head.

When my sisters and I were little we had a mile running loop that went around our neighborhood. Our parents would send us off on a run and we would make sure to tie our shoes as loosely as possible so that we’d be forced to stop and tie our shoes at least 10 times along the way. Lauren and I also came up with “magical leaves” to get our younger sister to keep running. We told her that whenever she felt tired running, all she had to do was reach up and grab some leaves from a tree. Then, when she squeezed the leaves over her head their magic would enter her and she would get tons of energy to keep on running!  This same tactic still works when you’re 25, trust me. Magic’s real, right?? If there are no leaves in sight, maybe a stick will work. Grab a stick from the ground and poke yourself with it, letting its magic enter into you. Pokes may by needed every mile or so, as the magic tends to not be long-lasting. Yes, people might look at you like you’re inane, but trust me, the magic works.

Christina Butterfly.jpg


So there you have it. Four tactics that, when used correctly, will have people thinking you are a runner in no time! No need to thank me, just make sure to pass them along to other non-runners in need.


Cathy’s Ode to Running

A new year is exciting because it can mean a fresh start. It’s a time to step back and evaluate where we are now, and where we want to be;  and a time to set new goals that will help us actually get there. I’m sure for many of us, some of those goals and resolutions will be health and fitness related. Maybe you’ve even decided that this will be the year you’re going to start running.

Unfortunately, putting the goal on paper is the easy part. Actually getting out the door may be another thing altogether. Sometimes, you may just need a little extra motivation to actually get moving. Well, if that’s the case, you’re in luck because I’ve got just the thing to help kick start your new year’s running goals — a new Ode to Running! Today, Cathy from Fiscally Chic has shared her running story, and I think it’s a great one.

Cathy’s Ode To Running

Hi, Health on the Run, I’m Cathy from Fiscally Chic. Generally, I blog about “saving money with style.” I also post recipes, talk about running, and share other things that inspire me. I recently completed my first marathon, so I’d like to thank Lauren for giving me an opportunity to spill the juicy details of my relationship with running.

ode to running 7.jpg

Our relationship is best described as the plotline of a romantic comedy. Running and I hated each other at the beginning, but you knew we’d be together by the end of the movie. We hit a few rough patches, but now we’re living happily ever after. It’s all rainbows, butterflies, and sweaty socks :)

Let me take you to the beginning. Some of my first memories of running (beyond backyard) were that running was punishment. I played soccer through 8th grade and running laps was just something to get through. I should have known that running would be in my future since I played midfield and ran up and down the field for the whole game.

ode to running 1.jpg

Running soon became cross-training when I began to swim competitively. I swam year-round and for my high school and college teams, focusing on middle distance and distance freestyle. The endurance was obviously there and I could run a couple of miles fairly easily. Once I retired from swimming, I had to find something to fill my time. Why not train for the St. Louis half marathon? Our conference meet was during February and the half was in April. I was clearly in shape, just not running shape.

I signed up for the race since I needed a goal to motivate me to work out. This was 2006. It’s still true at the beginning of 2011. I trained with my boyfriend John (now husband). We ran the entire race together and, as a joke, crossed the finish line holding hands. The time wasn’t too shabby at 2:06, but my right knee felt awful! The IT band completely froze up and I couldn’t bend my knee once I crossed the finish line! I learned the hard way not to run too hard, too fast.

ode to running 2.jpg

Of course I had to do it again in 2007. I was determined to improve my time, train smarter, and avoid injury. I trained by myself (in between grad school and studying for the CPA exam) and raced with a pace group. I finished in 1:55 with some pain in the left knee, but nothing major. Was I hooked?

ode to running 3.JPG

Not exactly. After that, I had a bit of a falling away from running. I would run a few miles here and there or the 6 mile loop around Forest Park. But without a major race to train for, I had minimal motivation. Then I started working full time. I didn’t have the energy to run after sitting at a desk all day. Of course I got my butt in gear for the wedding in September 2008, but I couldn’t commit to the hours needed to train for another half marathon.

During the fall/winter of 2008, my knees really started to bother me. The left knee would make crunching noises while walking up stairs. The right was more painful. Both would bother me if I had been sitting or driving for too long. I broke down and met with a sports doctor/orthopedic surgeon (Doctor #1). He ordered X-rays and MRIs for both knees. He was adamant that I needed surgery, but wasn’t sure if it would completely fix me. Or if I would be able to run again. I asked if I could try PT, but he still pushed surgery. I talked it over with John, my Dad (who used to run and had knee surgery), John’s Dad (a doctor), and a friend (an occupational therapist). Obviously I cried about it.

I told Doctor #1 I wouldn’t go under the knife and took my X-rays and MRIs. I didn’t do anything for a while since I wasn’t even sure what to do. In the spring of 2009, I finally asked for a second opinion based on a recommendation from my OT friend. I flat out told Doctor #2 that I wanted to be able to run again and wanted to try PT first. And burst into tears at the thought of surgery. Who knew I cared about running so much? Doctor #2 handed me some tissues and promptly prescribed PT. Best. Thing. EVER!

A few months of PT later (and a new found friendship with a foam roller), I was able to run a few pain-free miles. And since you know I need a goal, I signed up for a Halloween 10K. Dressed as a hot dog, I ran the 10K! Not my fastest pace ever, but I had fun! And I was running again!

ode to running 4.JPG

In December 2009, I moved to Chicago, started a new job, and met some new friends through running. A new work friend (with multiple BQ’s) convinced me to register for the Chicago marathon. Two half marathons later and I had my big marathon debut on 10.10.10! It was definitely a rough 26.2 miles thanks to the unseasonably warm October weather. I finished in 4:45:42.

ode to running 5.jpg

Yes, I’ll probably do another one. I love a good challenge and want to improve my time. Plus, I enjoyed running through the different neighborhoods with 1+ million people cheering us on. My family took the L around the city while John rode his bike around the race course. While wearing matching pink shirts :)

ode to running 6.jpg

Where are running and I now? It’s freezing in Chicago and I’m not as hardcore as Lauren. I still go for the occasional run (sometimes up to 8 miles) and did a 5 mile turkey trot over Thanksgiving. And I’ve signed up for the 2011 St. Louis half marathon. It’s a bit too soon to start training for that, so I’ve been doing a little spinning, weights, and other cross training activities. But don’t you worry, running and I will be best buds again in 2011.

Thank you Cathy!! If you want to read more about Cathy and her tips to save money with style (as well as her adventures in running), visit her blog Fiscally Chic.

As always, if you’re interested in sharing your own Ode to Running, just send me an email at lauren [at] healthontherun [dot] net. And you don’t have to be a blogger to participate.

Lizzy’s Ode to Running

It’s been 4 days since my marathon, and although my legs are still tired, my head is already starting to forget the pain of those 26.2. As a result, my crazy runner brain is already dreaming up plans for my next race. I think it might be a disease. 😉

In the meantime, to continue with all the marathon-love on the blog this week, I’m pretty excited to share another running story with you all! Lizzy is running the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, so it’s the perfect time to share her Ode to Running.

Hi everyone, it’s Lizzy from Food To Run For.  Here is my journey from Sprinter to Marathoner.

My ode to running has been a long one; I started running competitively as a child at local track meets and went on to run track in high school and college.  But I was a sprinter and there is a huge difference between running 1 lap around a track (400 meters) and running 26.2.


I’m here to tell you running has never been easy for me, but it has always been my passion. I started off running the 100 meters and ended my high school career as a successful 800 meter runner.  But my favorite event? The relays. I succeeded most with teammates.  Actually, my sprint medley team went to Nationals and my 4X400 team still holds the school record in both Indoor and Outdoor track.  My high school team went from a losing 1-7 record my freshman year to an 8-0 record and State Champs my Senior Year. Glory days, I know.

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But the truth is, I love running. I love every aspect of it.  It teaches me so much about mental ability, about commitment, about passion and about desire. I’ve made so many friends through the sport and I’ve learned so many life lessons. But I have to be honest. It’s really hard for me.  I wrote a few weeks ago about how the sport tortures me and it’s true.  There are days I suffer through my runs and there are day that I love every second about being out there. There is something to be said about being able to lace up your shoes, put on your running clothes and just step outside the door; it’s liberating, empowering and provides a huge sense of accomplishment. And of course, my favorite part of running, is finishing.


In college, my passion for running waned and I ended up quitting my Junior year.  It took me a long time to get the drive back but once I did, I couldn’t stop.  After finishing my second half marathon, I was ready for a harder challenge.  My running buddy (who has run 12 marathons) got into the New York Marathon and encouraged me to fundraise.  I thought she was crazy. But then I thought about it.  I wanted a harder challenge. So I fundraised and had a successful running summer before suffering an Achilles injury last September.  I ended up deferring my number due to bad advice from doctors and a poor Physical Therapist. When I switched to a new Physical Therapist, I learned how to run through aches and pains safely and effectively.  As I said, running isn’t supposed to be easy. Running is difficult and challenging even for the best athletes.  But it’s that challenge that makes so many of us keep going back for more.

So here I am, about to embark on my second marathon.


If you are running New York, please contact me! I would love to meet up with you!
Thank you so much for sharing your story Lizzy! If you’re interested in hearing more about Lizzy and her journey to the starting line of the NYC Marathon, check out awesome food/running blog: Food to Run For

And a huge good luck this weekend to Lizzy and all the others who are running NYC!

As always, if you love running, let it show! It doesn’t matter if you’re a weekend warrior or addicted to Ultras, I’d love to hear your Ode to Running

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