Charity Guest Blog: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

As part of our charity outreach we’ll be highlighting some of the official and select charities for The San Francisco Marathon with guest blogs. The UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital is one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation, and is recognized throughout the world as a leader in health care, known for innovation, technology and compassionate care. For more than a century, they’ve offered the highest quality medical treatment for children. This is the story of Kimmy Ramirez, and her struggles with cystic fibrosis.

By |March 11th, 2014|Categories: Charity||Comments Off on Charity Guest Blog: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

My Favorite San Francisco Mile

The San Francisco Marathon wants to know – what’s your favorite mile? Of the 26.2 miles, my favorites are easy: miles 2-4 take me through the streets of my childhood summers in San Francisco – memories that will forever connect me to this city.

By |March 10th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on My Favorite San Francisco Mile

10 Reasons Why I Love to Run

Everyone runs for a different reason.  What started for me as a way to lose weight has become a way of life.  There are many different reasons why I love to run, here are my Top Ten:

By |March 6th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on 10 Reasons Why I Love to Run

The Incredible Community of Runners

It’s not a course, it’s a community.  A community of runners who convene at a start line and run for their purpose.  That purpose could be a mom, a husband, a child, themselves, a friend.  That friend could even be you, and you both just don’t know it yet.

Over the past year, I’ve met remarkable people with remarkable stories, all on the course.  Don’t underestimate a simple ‘hello’ or ‘what brings you here’ and what the subsequent miles of conversation can become.

I met Suzy at the Tinkerbell Half.  She runs for her mom who inspired her to run after having completed multiple marathons, all while raising 3 daughters on her own.  Suzy’s mom would push them in a stroller and when they got old enough, bought them bikes to ride along-side her.  When a tragic car accident ended her running career, Suzy’s career began.  She committed to running every run for her mom, who now gets to keep Suzy’s medals.

I met Sharon on a training run. That she carried my mom’s namesake meant instant trust.  She was new to running and training for a 5K.  Her mom was recently lost to cancer, so Sharon runs for her.  Having gone through a seemingly parallel experience, even down to the run in mom’s memory (though for me, it was the Chicago Marathon), we bonded instantly and are still friends today.

Rock n Roll LA was for me.  I had just completed Chicago, felt great and so donned in my Wonder Woman costume, I hit the course.  It also happened to be the anniversary of my first half marathon ever, RnR LA 2012.  Naomi, a stranger, approached me for a picture with Wonder Woman and I happily obliged. […]

By |March 5th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on The Incredible Community of Runners

History, Hope (and Running)

I am going to talk about history for a moment – bear with me, it will make sense to running, I promise!

I am a college history teacher by day (runner by early morning and afternoon). And I often tell my students that history is not teleological, meaning that it does not always progress forward (it does not always get better). Rather, history shows us that people, societies, and nations move forward, then take giant leaps back, sometimes it goes sideways, and sometimes it seems static. College students often struggle with their disappointments in our nation’s history. They become pessimistic and sometimes ashamed. For a long time, I didn’t know how to help them with this. As much as I loved the study of history, I knew how hard it could be to remove the rose colored glasses and see the painful events and choices of our ancestors.

Then I realized, where we can find hope and optimism is by focusing on those who resisted and consistently fought to improve our country and world. From women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton who refused to accept that women should have a second-place status throughout the 19th century and men like W.E.B. DuBois who fought for civil rights 60 years before the Civil Rights Movement “began.” These people who pushed, spoke out, and risked their lives are the ways to mediate a difficult history.

I was thinking about this today. (Here comes the running part!) Running is a lot like the study of history. It’s not teleological, our runs don’t always get better, longer, and faster. We might PR and then watch that PR hang around for way too long. Life sometimes gets in the way, we lose time for […]

By |March 4th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on History, Hope (and Running)

My Running Canvas

When we are born, we begin with a blank canvas. Along the way, we add different strokes & colors to it. Running is such a canvas. Every runner begins on the same blank page. Some are blessed to run long, some short & fast, some slow. If you are born with fast twitched muscles, you might become Usain Bolt. Slow, you might become John Bingham -“The Penguin.” Or long, you might become Dean Karnazes.

In my eyes, they are equally successful. The common denominator is that it all involves running.

Running is like getting your degree. We begin as kindergartners: learning the basics, how to run from the 1st lamp post to the next. Then we go further from one block to the next, 1/4 mile loop, 1 mile loop and so on. The knowledge we acquire along the way allows us to venture further and further. What a feeling when we are able to run non-stop for that first half hour to one full hour.

It really is about putting one foot in front of the other.

As you build up your canvas, you become more confident, and your life becomes more colorful.

One day you’ll wake up and say “I AM A RUNNER!!!”. From that day onward, you will begin to build your dreams.

My running dreams began with my first marathon. I trained for a full 16 weeks. I bought all the running books available for first time marathoners. I followed the training program to a tee. I even did hill work! My “hill work” was this ramp that I would run up & down for about 10-12 times once a week. I laugh about it now. But I was so determined! On marathon day, I had […]

By |March 3rd, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on My Running Canvas

Have Camera, Will Run

Running outdoors is the perfect way to experience your surroundings and take in all the beautiful views, especially if it’s San Francisco! So why not take some photos to chronicle what you come across? I love to run and I love to take photos so it’s natural for me to run with my phone and take quick snapshots whenever I get inspired.  The following are some of my favorite photos taken while running, many of which you’ll be able to experience yourself when you run the SF Marathon!  😉 

By |March 2nd, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Have Camera, Will Run

Gather Strength as You Go Along

It wasn’t until 3 AM when we staggered out of Golden Gate Park and onto the Presidio. We’d covered twenty miles, but it was difficult to see that as a great achievement when the mist was blowing out from the Pacific into our faces in the chilly pre-dawn and we still had over thirty miles to go. I was running with two Green Bay based members of My Team Triumph, a non-profit dedicated to exposing the disabled to athletic events. We pushed a empty running stroller to signify those who couldn’t make it that day. As part of the SF Marathon’s charity outreach, we hoped to use our 9 hour, 52.4 mile run to raise awareness for the great things My Team Triumph was doing and that the boundaries of what we view as possible are further than we believe.

The 52.4 ultra-marathon runs the SF Marathon course twice. The first half starts at midnight. Runners complete the course backwards. After reaching the Embarcadero, participant run the second marathon with everyone else. As we came down the hill from the Golden Gate Bridge onto Crissy Field, I saw two pairs of dim headlights in the distance. In front of them, thirty young women, all dressed in blue and jogging in two ragged, yet persistent lines. Some had pictures on their backs, others carried flags. This was Team Wear Blue, Run to Remember, a running community built to honor the sacrifices made by the military. Nearly all of these women had lost someone close to them in combat, many were combat veterans themselves. Faced with an emotional burden which seemed unbearable, they’d taken it upon themselves to meet a physical challenge which also seemed impossible; they […]

By |February 28th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Gather Strength as You Go Along

My Unaware Running Support Group

Hello again, my running community. How are we all doing? Hanging in there? Kicking butt and taking names? Carpe diem and stuff? Or, are there any of us just taking things one day at a time? Or, perhaps still working on one step at a time? I hear you. I have days like that, too. Lots of them. If you read my last blog post for TSFM (February 9th), you know that on January 20, 2014 the world lost an incredible kid to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a rare and incurable brain tumor, thus leaving a void so large and wide in my heart that it seems it can’t be filled. Since that tragic day that I saw Ronnie take his last breath, nothing has felt right and running isn’t fixing it the way that it has fixed so many other challenges that have come my way in the past. But, for Ronnie, I keep running, even though it takes all my strength and effort to get out there and make my Garmin chirp mile after mile.

I’m usually a morning runner. I prefer my world fresh and new. I enjoy beginning a run in absolute silence and finishing with a crescendo of noisy and opinionated birds. I like to imagine that I’m the first one to see the sun peek out over the mountains; perhaps a gift from Ronnie for me to silently appreciate and adore.

Lately, these simple moments of peace aren’t enough to combat my lack of desire to run. While I’m still out there, clocking nearly 50 miles a week, it’s hard, and I am not enjoying myself. I won’t stop, not ever, because I run for Ronnie. I remember his sweet, […]

By |February 27th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on My Unaware Running Support Group

Marathon Mind Monkeys

Have you ever run a marathon and hit the wall?  Or perhaps gone on a long training run and ended up stumbling through the final few miles?   Maybe you’ve found yourself complaining about the huge crowds at a race, or wishing you had worn different running shoes, or becoming upset at the smelly runner in front of you who really should have taken a bath sometime in the past week.

It’s in these unhappy moments when the Marathon Mind Monkeys show up, and there is a very good chance that something will happen that causes you to meet them if you run a long distance event.

“Mind monkeys” is, of course, simply a metaphorical phrase.   When you begin to experience negativity creeping into your thinking, you might jokingly say that the mind monkeys have taken over.  Your thoughts are your own responsibility, but during a marathon, it’s not uncommon to begin to feel as if you are unable to control your own emotions and thoughts.  The mind monkeys infect you with sadness, anger, despair, even depression.

This lack of ability to control the mind is often part of the larger physiological phenomenon known as “hitting the wall”.  When glycogen stores reach a dangerous level of depletion, various effects occur on a runner, one of which may be a harsh visit from the mind monkeys.  You may become discouraged and feel hopeless.  You might become angry at your body’s inability to perform at normal levels.  Some runners lash out at volunteers or spectators.  Some drop out of the race, too discouraged to go on.

There are other times when emotions and thoughts turn negative during a marathon.  Runners expecting aid stations might become upset when water runs […]

By |February 26th, 2014|Categories: Ambassadors||Comments Off on Marathon Mind Monkeys