This year is a write off

2014 is all about teaching me patience.

I am not a patience girl.

I have copious amounts of patience for other people, children, jerks, co-workers, animals and telemarketers. But not for me.

Karma is teaching me all about it.

If you recall, I injured my knee during the Donald half marathon in January and was pulled from the race. That sucked.

I couldn’t train for a while. But I did end up having the best race yet of the year – Calgary Half Marathon. I felt great, I was so excited to keep training for The Moose is Loose, The Dumbo Double Dare, The Vancouver Rock n Roll half Marathon and finally, The Donald Once again.

Then I had surgery.

It was cool, all good, I looked great. I love the freedom of the upper body saggy skin gone.

I went to Hawaii to run the Coconut Chase….well… I finished-ish…

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The next week I entered the Moose is Loose with my Dad.IMG_7313

We finished!

That was just plain stupid.

My Doc told me no running for 6 weeks. I didn’t run the Moose. I walked, but apparently 21.1 km is considered OVEREXERTION.

Oh, NOW you tell me!!!

Never in my life did I feel so terrible walking. I felt dizzy, all the blood had left my head, fluid was leaking out of my nearly healed incisions and I burst 2 new holes around my surgery scars.

I lost a lot of fluid and went into shock.

I froze all afternoon.

When I went to see my Doc he wrote me a note and told me NO MoRE RACING UNTIL OCTOBER 31.

Crap.

Part of me likes having his permission to rest. I need that kind of permission or I will do too much because I don’t want to be considered a sissy. 2 days out of the hospital and the Hubs thought I should be doing more. The Doc set him straight, but it’s that feeling that I should be doing more because people expect it.

I am reading how excited people are about the Disney Dumbo Double Dare Race, My friend told me I am doing it PERIOD. Well…… no. I do not want to be in bed for the rest of my days in Disneyland because I burst a seam. I do not want to be all shocky and crabby. And I want run the Rock n Roll in October – its pretty close to the end of the month, so I won’t train. Half marathons are all mental right? Ha…

It takes all my energy to work on my feet all day. This new fangled health care system where they send you home so early is frustrating. If you are home, you are fine right? Wrong.

The up side, I put on my capris today…I need new ones. They are huge. I needed a pin to hold them up. Even without running and walking I am still progressing in the weight loss department. I don’t even feel like I am trying. It has become habit…4 years later, it SHOULD be habit right?

Its just taking soooo long…did you hear me whine and whinge there? Well I did.

Resting is hard.

Never in a million years would I ever thought I would be thinking that.

That my friend is progress.

 

It’s April? How did THAT happen?

I bet you have been wondering where I have been lately.

Well…

Honestly, I am trying to figure out how to get an extra 8 hours into my day. Apparently it is impossible.

imageI have the Calgary 50th Marathon Weekend coming up June first and to train for it has been a struggle. I am caught in that crazy cycle of too tired to train and need to train so I won’t be too tired. I KNOW you know what I mean.

So what am I doing about it? Well, my  new job has me on my feet all day – seriously all day and I walk tons. So that is great. I am also teaching a Learn to Run Class….but that doesn’t get me any serious miles. Tomorrow is my long run and I need to log 14km. Will I? Sure? I can visualize it. I know the route. I am reasonably certain I will do it.

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You know what I need? A new pair of Ghost 6. I am running in Brooks Pure Connects2 and its great for short distances but my muscles are just not strong enough to get me through a 14k with them. I will give it try though.

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Then guess what else I did?

I am hosting a 10k Trail Run in Emily Murphy Park! you can find the link to sign up here. and the details about the race here.

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Fly into Edmonton, I promise you a great race!

Oh…and then I did something else. (Clearly being finished University has given me some time to think of events to produce)

I am hosting a virtual run for Star Wars Fans, May the Fourth Be With You. It is a 5k, 10, or half marathon run that you do on your own time…hopefully May the 4th (Get it? May the Fourth? Force? Get it?). It costs $30 and if you are a Running Team member at DAWS you get 10% off. All proceeds from this race for to our Foundation Do Away With SMA. Come try it out. The medal is cool.

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What else is new? Well….I am running the Dumbo (a 10k and a half marathon) in Disneyland. I think you should join me for that too. That is bound to be fun.

But mean while…after my long run tomorrow, I will post some cityscapes and get back on track with my fitness. I need to be more accountable and I am just failing miserably. I need this for me.

Happy Running!

My Olympic Training: Calgary 2014

As a kid I use to dream about being an Olympian. Not the kind of dream where I was an athlete and worked hard to advance so I could make the team. I was not THAT kid. I was the kid who would slide down a hill on my toboggan or Crazy Carpet and pretend that I was in Bobsled or Luge. I would skate at the local rink, flooded Tennis courts for non-hockey skaters and Hockey rink for those with a stick and puck. I would skate on either ice depending how I felt that night. My brother was always goalie and sometimes I was Karen Magneson – my Women’s Singles Figure Skating hero. I was never a good enough skier to fantasize about winning, I was too busy trying not to fall, but before bed every night, I would play out the role of winning a medal.

The closest I have ever come to playing out that fantasy is through running. It isn’t because I am a fast runner who wins my age division, don’t make me laugh. It is because of the participation factor and the opportunity to earn a medal at the finish.

If you have never had the chance to run/walk across the finish and have a medal placed around your neck, I recommend you give it a try. There is something very satisfying about training and the then completing an event. Lots of people I know, don’t care about the hardware. I have mine strung up on my office wall. It isn’t about winning, it is about the hard work and effort it takes to EARN them.

I had a conversation not that long ago with an employee. She had asked my opinion as a former educator about creating an even field where everyone gets a “good job” or everyone gets a valentine. Those two questions for me were separate, but not for her.

Everyone receiving a Valentine is important in life. Why? Social skills are how you navigate through life. If you cannot be kind to people for the sake of being kind, then your future home/career life will be very hard indeed. You don’t have to like everyone, but being kind and polite will get you far in this world. It’s about effort.

Effort in social skills and accomplishments is important. That old adage, Do your Best, isn’t just words, its meaning full.

I don’t think you should get a medal or a gold star for just breathing. I think effort needs to be applied. What do I mean by effort? That person needs to do their best work/job/attempt. There needs to show movement towards achieving more than they achieved yesterday. For example: I have set goals to achieve a faster km/min time with my running. I am doing the cadence and stair work recommended by my coach. I will still not be the fast group in the Calgary Marathon, so does that mean I am not deserving of a medal if I am able to cross the finish line? It isn’t like I am not trying, get swept and still expect a medal at the end. Cross the line one goal, Cross the line with a PR is another goal and being able to walk normally the next day is another goal.

To achieve this, I am doing speed work and distance work. I am also doing wall sits, planks, push ups and various other work to make my core strong. I also am focusing on nutrition.

I am realistic in my goals and know I will not win the first place age division. So does that mean I am not worthy of a “great job Robyn!”? The gal I was talking to said, ‘the world sets up for false expectations.” Does it really?

I think the world is a tough place and things need to be earned. There are consequences to actions. Great Effort = Great Rewards. Some people argue not always, but I disagree. You just may not see or acknowledge the reward.

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I ran three sets of stairs every time I passed a set on my run yesterday. I ran up and down each step except the last step, those led me to the top and yet I was still at the bottom of a hill, so I ran the hill too. My backside and hamstrings are feeling it today, but I was rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment. I celebrated with my coach and gave Hoff a big hug when I saw him. Did I win? No, of course not. My chapter 2 is not Ting’s Chapter 37. Ting is an amazing runner and is faster than I will likely ever be. He is also 20 years younger than I and has been running years longer than I. However, My Chapter 2 of my story is better than my Chapter 1. I am progressing and I am pretty happy about that. I try not to measure my success against others. Perhaps being 46 years old is the reason I don’t need to. I am secure in myself and focused on my own goals, I don’t need to worry about anyone else. I am competitive enough with myself, so beating my old time or distance is enough of a win for me.

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I was taught to do my best, and my best I did.

Calgary will be my Olympics and I am pretty excited about it.

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Cadence work and knee testing = confidence building

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I signed up for Disney’s Dumbo Double Dare. A 10k and a 21.1k back to back on the hottest weekend of the year.

Why? I want to prove to myself that I can be fast enough to run a half marathon at a Disney race. I hover around the end. There is a risk of being swept. And mostly, I need to over come my fear of running.

Fear of running you ask?

Since I slipped on those damn cups in Walt Disney World and injured myself, I have had an irrational fear of running.

I have 9 races this year, 2 half marathons and a bunch of 10kms. I need to get back in the saddle so to speak.

I have been talking with my speed coach Hoff. He is the 10k instructor at the Running room and great friend of mine. We have been talking about my goals for this year. I didn’t really have any targeted goals, just distance. I can do the distance but I want to increase my speed and lengthen my stride. I am not suppose to worry about either because it will come. I disagree. It won’t happen unless I put the work in.

That is where Hoff came in with some great advice. He suggested I do cadence work.

Huh?

I am supposed to run and warm up, feel comfortable then do a one minute interval where I count my left foot strikes. My first interval was 64.

Okay, Hoff, I did that. Then I ran without counting for a while and then did another interval, I counted 74. I did 10 more intervals and peaked at 85. I found I was averaging between 74 and 75 left foot strikes.

So what does this mean?

Every week I will attempt to increase my average cadence and peak out at over 85. This is supposed to help make me faster, increase my focus and he told me whenever I feel sluggish, start counting. It will increase my speed and take my focus away from pain and drudgery.

My goal is to peak out at 100. This will apparently help with my stride and speed over the long haul. It is the same as a fartlik except I have a different focus. This seems to work better for me and my OCD mind. I am interested in seeing how this will affect my running over the long term.

Friday, Hoff has me running stairs instead of hills. Hills will come later, meanwhile stairs will strengthen my hams and force my legs up higher than when I run hills. Also making my stride longer and stronger.

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I visualize myself crossing finish lines with time goals on the clock. This is new for me. Quite frankly, having a new focus invigorates me.

Thanks Hoff.

Happy Running!

So I ran a little race called the Minnie…

I am back from a whirlwind of activity at the WDW Marathon Weekend.

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I have no words, except it was more than I expected and more fun than I thought possible and bizarre in ways I cannot explain – but all great holidays are like that!

It started off with Toronto. My flight was cancelled because of cold. Whatever, the rest of Canada can function in -40 or colder and with WAY MORE SNOW – but somehow, Toronto needs to shut the airport down and cancel all flights, stack everyone’s luggage like cord wood and close its doors. Suffice it to say, I obviously have no idea how things are run – but I DO know taking 24 hours to Orlando sucked. It meant that I had to miss the 5k, that meant ChatterBox had to miss her ONLY RACE.

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That was very disappointing but my pal Mitch was volunteering and was able to score us our 5k medallions, he also went to expo for me and picked up our bibs and shirts because he is awesome like that.

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We arrived Wednesday and goofed around most of the evening when I should have been sleeping – why? Hello? I WAS IN WALT DISNEY WORLD! We met up with Joe from DAWS and hit the parks. This was where the laughter began and it lasted for 6 days.

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By 11:00PM Florida time I was tucked into bed with a 2:00 AM wake up call. Did I sleep?

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Not really, but I was on the first bus to the 10k! That was where I met up with more team mates. We hugged, laughed and chatted about stuff. I met Canadians from Calgary and Toronto  and a Canadian who was born in Calgary and lives in Toronto so pretty much made friends with all my nemesis’. But Canadians are all friends once we cross the border.   I hugged every maple leaf I saw and they hugged backed like they were family. (Hi random Canucks from Nova Scotia!!! You were great huggers!)

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Several waves later and it was my turn and some of the first wave runners were back.

Off I ran into the dark with a temperature of 21C and 92% humidity. Hot was a weird feeling in the dark.

The first 5km of the 10k race was out on the Hwy. Boooooorinnnnng. But I saw Peter Pan and Wendy and that was fun. But the best part for me was running through Epcot. The sun was just coming up. It had been raining earlier in the night and the surfaces were slick. As I ran past SpaceShip Earth, I slipped and twisted my knee. I walked if off for a bit but then began running later…little did I know this would be my downfall.

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As I ran towards the finish line, I looked for teammates who said they would be there…liars. But Rudy Novotny saw me and looked me in the eye and welcomed me to the finish line…THAT was AWESOME!.

The long walk to the medals and longer walk through the photo area and back to the buses was a surprise, but this was my very first large race. Bigger than Calgary which was 15,000. Little did I know this was only a precursor for the half.

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Again I headed out to play in the parks, but had an early night with dinner on my balcony watching fireworks to end my day because my wake up call was for 2:00 AM again. Only this time it would be for the half marathon, running with 29, 000 other runners.

But more about that story tomorrow…

The First Valley Run of the Winter Season

Lately it has been super cold so I rode DangerBike on my office. I haven’t been for a run farther than 8 miles in a while…a long while. I have a month-ish before I have a major race at Walt Disney World, so I made it outside today and the first 7km were lovely! The last 4km? Well, lets just say it was my intent to run 13km but trudging through the city streets made it difficult and exhausting.

(Follow me on instagram to see my video of my run – you can hear what the cold crunch of northern snow sounds like http://instagram.com/ragrobyn)

Today’s run has to be the most difficult 11km run I have ever done. Period. That includes the run I did when I was dehydrated or the run I did in the pouring sideways rain. Today’s run ended with a trek UP Walterdale Hill (FYI – that was stupid and it is a ONE and DONE hill…not again this winter!) after running on un-shoveled sidewalks and roadways. Lumpy, uneven paths are difficult to navigate.

BUT.

Millcreek was ploughed by City Tractors and it was gorgeous running.  I ran down the creek into the river valley. I was hit on by Hobos who wanted to kiss me, I said no thank you. Then they asked if they could run with me, I said, no thank you. They were disappointed, I was a little scared. Running in the opposite direction of them and towards the University Run Club Men made me feel a little happier.

The biggest issue I find with running in the winter is the cleats I have to wear. Running without them is too scary for me. I easily lose my footing and am thankful for the solid feeling my YakTrax Run provide me. But, my feet get tired quickly. I was at about 8km and I wanted to pop the cleats off. If I remember correctly, it will take me a few weeks to build up the strength in my feet again. It should make me feel like I am flying for the WDW Half Marathon!

Next week, my coach has me running 5k on my long run and then 15km the following week. I have to say, 5k almost feels like a waste of time, but 5k I shall do. Why? Because I trust him. He hasn’t let me down yet.

Meanwhile, keep warm and Happy Running!

 

Running Down the Rabbit Hole

Tomorrow is Kathy’s Race for Pancreatic Cancer and I am suppose to be in it.

I am not.

Mostly for awesomeness reasons.

I had some time today, so I ran the course I would have run tomorrow and its dry out there which makes it lovely. The gravel in some spots is a little slick – not hard packed like it was in the summer, but nice just the same. It was frosty but this time last year there was snow and it had STAYED for the winter, so quite frankly, I will take the blue sky sunshine and dry ground because the less I have to run in my cleats, the better.

013I signed up for a Virtual Race last month, Running Down the Rabbit Hole. She opened the race up to 50 more runners, if you are an Alice fan, do it! It is an amazing medal and it spins which is super cool. It is the biggest medal on my wall. The race coordinator is stellar! Today I earned my 10k Running Down the Rabbit Hole medal. I ran the course I would have run tomorrow, and the entire time I kept thinking…I should cancel my half marathon in January. I am not ready. I am too slow. What was I thinking?

Then I thought – So what if I get swept? It won’t happen before I get to run though the castle. Who cares? I will have fun and that is all that matters….I am SUCH A LIAR TO MYSELF.

I want the medal. I want to succeed. I need to get my ass outside and train dammit! Today was a great start. Actually, Last week was a great start. I haven’t lost my fitness levels but I obviously am not getting to the speed I wish I was. C’est la vie. (look how French I am!) I can not be angry with myself if I try my best. This week, I will likely log 40km or so walking. It would be awesome if its more…but we shall see. Meanwhile, I am out of races until January. This is a good thing. It helps me focus and if something comes up between now and then, the good news is I have the fitness level to enter on a whim…I love that.

Happy Running!

Crisp, Cool and Perfect

I committed an unselfish act of stupidity Sunday. I gave my mom the last of my Voltaren.

To be fair, I love my mom and she needs it more than me. Secretly, I hadn’t had knee pain for a while so I figured I was done with it.

HA!

Oh well, I only had one uncomfortable evening, today it’s better. My bursa sac filled with fluid and its better today. Its been a while since I pushed myself. If I am being honest, I have gone through the post marathon blues syndrome….again.

Getting myself out there without a training schedule sounds great but it doesn’t really work for me. I need more structure. I need a calendar that tells me how far I am running today.

Clearly, I have slacked off for 2 months and now I have a WDW Marathon weekend to prep for and, well…. I need to up the training now.

I was worried I would lose my fitness level and be back at square one again.

I went out for a long-ish run on Monday morning just to see how far I could go. The good news? 5 miles or so. The better news? my initial pace was my race pace – 10:30…but then I had equipment problems and needed to adjust the shoes and long story short…I was a bit slower in the end. However, it was the best run I have had in a long time.

The weather was perfect, cool and crisp with the sunshine sparkling through the trees. I could have used gloves to start off with, but I was fine once I got going. It was perfect. I ran for about 1.5 hours. A good start to see where my fitness is.

Today I will hop on Danger Bike and give her a chance to annoy my knee then I will run again tomorrow. I heard Belgravia Trail is stunning this time of year, or perhaps I’ll check out Emily Murphy Park. But it doesn’t really matter where I go. It’s my favorite time of year to run.

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My choices are : Run or Not Run

sick-girlI woke up with my left eye glued to my cheek. Apparently I had been swallowing glass all night because I couldn’t muster to courage to swallow any longer. I go from ‘why is it hotter than Hades in here?’ to ‘Crimeny. is it about to snow?’. I feel like a thousand ants crawled into my ears and are having twerking competitions.

Perhaps this explains why I don’t feel like running.

I just finished reading 50 50 by Dean Karnazes and I was expecting to hate that guy. I figured he would be an arrogant elite athlete who had no idea what the average guy was all about.

I was wrong.

However, Karnazes is a bit of a maniac when it comes to running. He has mental strength that would make most people cry. When he is sick, he goes for a run. When he isn’t sick, he goes for a run. Now this guy doesn’t just run a 5k loop around his neighborhood. No. He runs a marathon or more because more is better. I agree with that logic, but I am not in the physical realm yet. I really want to be. But doing the work to get there is hard. And when I am sick…harder.

When I feel like I do today, I hunker down. I don’t talk. I sleep when I need it. I drink water and lots of it. I also crave mac and cheese. What is the deal with that? I never eat mac and cheese any more. I also find myself watching movies. Today it was Jobs. I like vision Steve Jobs had. I can apply that to my every day life and to my running as well as my work.

I don’t even feel like putting on socks, never mind my running shoes that feel like soft pillows of goodness. I am wearing my compression running gear because it feels like a hug.

Hugs are good.

But tell me….How do people push past feeling like crap in a sack and run? I can’t. Well…I suppose I could. But I am a mouth breather and that would make my throat hurt more. So I must be a wimp. Or its an excuse. I can push through injury. I can push through mental blockages. I can even push through Catholic guilt – even tho I don’t consider myself Catholic any more, I retain the guilt. That is any Nun’s (worth her salt) Super Power. GUILT. I will run and keep fit before I clean my house, before I get food for my children, before I tend my garden. If you come for a visit, you will be rest assured that I am a teller of truth. My house is a tip yet I have logged 725 km since January 1, 2013. That means, from my doorstep, I ran to Great Falls Montana.

I am pretty sure that means I can give myself a sick day – Take THAT Sister Claudia, I have become impervious to your guilt.

Bring on the NyQuill. I’ll run later this week.

 

Back to Back races and I didn’t die

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I live in a so-called Prairie City. When you think about he word ‘prairie’ you conjure up images of flat land. While its true, I live a couple of hours away from the Rocky Mountains, by no means do I live on flat lands nor the foot hills. After my weekend, my butt is thinking about moving to Regina where there are ZERO HILLS.

I ran in two different events this weekend and both had beasts called hills. The first 3 hillbeasts were in the Night Race. Now, because I live in Edmonton, the Night Race didn’t start until it got dark. That means I was at the start line at 10:00 pm. The sun had just set and the northern sky was all twighlighty. The runners all had their head lamps and it was quite pretty. We ran mostly in the trails where I always get lost. The trails were lit by lanterns and our headlamps. It was so much fun! Except the 3 beasts we climbed. If the Night Race comes to your city, give it a go because it is a fun race with fantastic swag! I got a Brooks Adrenaline Race shirt, Energizer Headlamp and a 6 pack of beer.

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Win/win/win!

I got home around midnight, knowing I needed to get up for my Doctor Who Virtual Half Marathon you think I could fall asleep? Not a chance! So at 6:30 I got up with 4 hours sleep to my credit and headed down to the creek to start my 21.1k journey. The plan was to meet up with the walking group in Goldbar Park and go for Brunch afterwards. But I did this 21.1k solo, alone, by myself with only my dying phone for company. Yeah, about that. I forgot to charge my phone the night before. I needed to conserve battery power incase I was about to die and needed to call someone. So no music for me! That really annoyed me because I downloaded some fresh music to my running list, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, ACDC, Alice in Chains – you know, GOOD STUFF! Could I listen to it? Sadly…no. Whatever, I am a proud introvert. Being alone with my thoughts is fine, it just doesn’t pump me up, it relaxes me. Suddenly, this became way more challenging.

I ran 10k all over the valley flats and was feeling pretty great. The route I had planned on taking was scrapped because of the Edmonton Folk Fest, so I decided to climb the beast called Connors Hill from the valley floor up to the top.Folk Fest from the Top

Hello Edmonton!

 

This was a new adventure for me. I decided I don’t really like these kinds of adventure. They blow. This was also the point where my Auto Pause on my watch wouldn’t turn the gps back on. YOU REALLY SUCKED GARMIN 410! That’s okay, I had a pretty good idea where I was on the milage scale, I was doing fine….until 14k.

I forgot to pack my Nuun. This was BAD NEWS. I am on a self-induced half marathon, I have zero course support. I needed salt and potassium in the worse way. I had my gels and they helped a bit, but I find Nuun gives me the mental clarity I really need around 14 – 16k. This was the part where the wheels fell off. I wanted to quit.

I fantasized about a phone conversation with my Dadeo.

Me: Hey Daddy, you were right, running this far IS STUPID, come get me.

Dadeo: Okay baby, I will be right there. Don’t worry and now I can claim I was right every time you go running.

<insert record needle scratching sound>

Hold it right there. What is WRONG WITH ME??

I don’t quit.

I decided to walk a bit, drink more water and take another gel. I was NOT QUITTING! After walking a bit, I felt more refreshed. My legs and feet were good, but the shoulders were killing me because the girls are just too heavy. I set a goal of Cap Hill. I couldn’t WAIT to run down it! I love running down hill. The last time I ran Cap hill, I was training for my first half. I knew it was a beast of a hill, but this time I was at the top and running down would be fun.

The view from Cap Hill

By the time I got there, all I could think was….WTF? This is a puny road bump not a HILL. The I started to laugh. I  couldn’t believe how my fitness level had changed so drastically. Here I was at about the 19k mark and feeling fab inspite of no hill to run down.

By the time I reached the end of my route, I met up with the Trusty Steed and his walking group for breakfast. I had run/walked 22km.

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The last time I walked 21.1k, I was a mess. I needed crutches to get around. I could hardly move. This time I put on my flip flops, stretched and didn’t need to sit. I had a great brunch, did stuff in the afternoon, and was suitably tired by bedtime. I am not even walking funny today. Do you know what this means??

I have completed my goal of RECOVERY!

I had set a goal to increase my recovery time and feel great after a long run. Mission accomplished! Although, having the Nuun would have been better for my time, I won’t make that mistake on Race Day, August 25th.

Things I need to remember for Race Day:

  1. There are ZERO HILLS
  2. Bring Nuun
  3. Take Melatonin before going to sleep Saturday Night. Sleep makes you run better.
  4. Charge the Phone!
  5. Wear the new injini socks – blister free feet is AWESOME

There is nothing better than achieving your goals. I recommend it.

Happy Running!