Am I a humble runner? And just what does humble mean?

Deb Runs

Humble:  having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance

It took me a while to wrap my head around the difference between humble & modest (next week’s word). A little sleuthing, and it turns out humble refers to your behavior towards others, and modest is your opinion of yourself.

I’ve been lucky, so far, to only run into runners who are supportive and encouraging, no matter their ability or speed. I’ve heard tales of other runners being told they aren’t running if they run over a 10 minute mile – why even bother?

And for the record, I think I ran under a 10 minute mile once in a race & thought I was going to die. And it was only for that first mile. And I don’t think I’ve ever ran a mile that fast since.

So the runner who tells you you aren’t a runner if you run over a 10 minute mile is not a humble person.

The person who treats everyone they meet with kindness, from a homeless person to a person of means, is humble.

Which begs the question: am I humble?

And I think the answer is sometimes I am & sometimes I’m not. I do my best to treat everyone with kindness: thanking volunteers & the police at races; the checkout girl/guy; in short, I try to treat others the way I’d like to be treated.

There are the also times when I point out the things I do “right” to my husband, insinuating that he is not doing it as well – not so humble. Often it’s not my intent to insinuate anything, but I know more often that not it comes across that way.

Am I humble as a runner? I think so. It’s probably easier to be a humble runner when you’re not a very talented runner.

Thanks, Deb, for posting this topic – it’s nice to stretch my brain a little bit.

What does humble mean to you? Do you think you’re a humble runner? Humble person?

Social Media Share


Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life! Today we are getting social.

When I first read this topic, I was scratching my head. Social media share: what does that mean? Turns out we’re supposed to share where you can find us on social media. Clearly I am anti-social (or just an old fart).

You can find me on Facebook: Chocolaterunsjudy

I don’t consider myself a good writer, but I seem to like to write. Facebook really suits me because it’s so easy. It is a great way to get to “know” other runners and I’m glad I started on Facebook before dipping my toe into the blogosphere. Blogs are work!

I’m truly interested in getting to know you on Facebook; page likes are nice, but I’m not on Facebook to be popular. Good thing, huh?

I tried setting up an Instagram account, but try as I might, I can’t get it to link to my community page. It will only link to my personal FB page. And I don’t want to bombard friends & family with running stuff.

I can suggest, if you’re a slow runner like me, check out the Back of the Pack facebook group. It’s a private group, so you need to send a request to join, but it’s a great group.

Are you an old fart like me, or are you really connected? What is your favorite social media?

Running for ice cream & racing: 6/29 – 7/5 Weekly Update

    Gizmo hanging in his carrier  at the vet
    Nope, not getting out of here

     Monday: Another busy day. Walked the dogs than ran an easy 3 miles in my new Newtons & sparkle skirt using 4 minute/30 second run/walk intervals. Off to the vet again, this time with Gizmo. Having a geriatric cat & 2 senior dogs is time consuming! Made a healthy strawberry “shortcake” from a recipe in our town’s weekly newsletter.

  •   Tuesday: Chore intensive day. No ant sightings until I saw a few in the living room in the evening. Baked Chocolate Plaintain Protein Donuts this time. I give my husband his breakfasts in the mornings in an attempt to get him to eat something healthy, hence the baking – that & I like to bake. And eat. A little too much.
    Hill repeats with my USAFit group. We met up at a different location which was nearer to my home. Rain threatened, but didn’t deliver, unfortunately, because it was sticky. My Garmin rebelled yet again & since I was in a group & couldn’t wait, I never got a signal – no idea how long I ran, how far, or how fast I did my repeats – all I do know is I did 8 of them & it was hard. And sure worked up an appetite. Afterwards we went out to dinner.
  • Wednesday: A very rainy day. Worried ants, but no sightings. Gizmo decided I needed to be up early in the morning, so I figured I might as well do some yoga. A little strength training later, more chores, and a cross training swim in the afternoon.
  • Thursday: I spent way too much time on my feet working on our dessert for Saturday.
    I met up with Darlene from My First 5k & More for an evening easy run. Easy for her,  not so much for me. She’s so much faster than me, even when she is running easy. Even when she’s running ahead of me. A little worried I ran too hard before my race on the fourth. The ice cream was good, though. 🙂
  • Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
    Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

    Friday: Rest day, which means chore day. But I tried to get most of the chores done in the morning so I could relax a little in the afternoon – worked out pretty well. I had some ripe bananas so I made these cookies, which I make on a regular basis – great way to use up ripe bananas; actually, I have a lot of ways I use up ripe bananas.

  • Firecracker 4 start
    Firecracker 4 start

    Saturday: See my recap of my race, the Firecracker4. Apparently running with Darlene is good luck for me, even if it’s hard. Spent the rest of the day watching movies & relaxing. I was tired from the race & from a few nights of poor sleep. Made a simple “patriotic” dinner of hot dogs.

    Chester being dried off after his bath
    Chester imitates Yoda

     Sunday: Finally a nice day. We did a little rearranging in our family room that my husband has been after me to do for a while, then took the dogs with us to a local nursery so I could get a companion for my blueberry plant and fill in some other areas around our home. Washed the dogs, & grilled some steak & shrimp for dinner.

This week’s mileage: 13 or thereabouts; Garmin not playing nice this week. Feeling good & very pleased with my race.

I’m linking up with Tara at for her Weekend Update.

How was your holiday (if you celebrated) weekend? Did you run? Race?

Firecracker 4 Race Recap 7/4/15

This is the second year I’ve run the Firecracker4. Last year was very warm & humid. I’d just done a half a few weeks before, so I was just out to have fun. This year was different. Maybe because my finish time of my last half was disappointing. Maybe because it was perfect summer racing weather: cloudy & cool. This time I was going to push myself.

Getting There & Hanging Out

Saratoga is about half an hour away from me & the race starts at 9 am. Yet I got there at 7:10 because the parking is really tough & because I don’t get up to Saratoga very often, I don’t know the streets well. There’s a public parking lot nearby, but I don’t know how early you have to get there to park – obviously earlier than 7:10. I lucked out & snagged a great spot on the street.

I went up to the tent for USAFit Albany, my summer/fall running group. A woman I didn’t recognize asked me if I was the girl always running in the neighborhood. Turns out she is, indeed, my neighbor. We see each other occasionally & her son renovated our kitchen. I guess everyone looks different in running clothes.

We chatted, & I chatted with others of the group as they arrived, & finally got to meet my friend’s dog; so sweet!

There were portapotties opposite our booth, and even though there are real bathrooms not that far away, I made use of the portapotties. Twice. Because my period decided to start the night before, but thankfully was light & not too bothersome.

Firecracker 4 start
Firecracker 4 start
And They’re Off

It’s a large race. It both does & does not feel like it. You really don’t feel like you’re running with thousands of other runners. At the same time it’s frustratingly congested at times. Not really the race for a PR but I did come close.


Runner in costume
What does a squirrel have to do with the fourth?
There are runners in costumes & people dressed in patriotic running clothes, of course. I had my USA visor on. And my sparkle skirt & new Newtons. I started with my neighbor and one of the women in my running group that does run/walk.

We lost my neighbor fairly soon, but my running buddy & I stuck together for about 2 miles & then I lost her, too. I ran most of the race last year with one of the women from my running group, too, & while we played chicken for a while, she finished a bit ahead of me – again.

The Race

I can never do a mile by mile recap. I will tell you that the crowd support for this race is great. Lots of spectators, water stops besides the official water stops, misters (which we didn’t really need this year but sure did last year), and quite a few bands along the route – much like the Rock n Roll Series.

There are 2 significant hills in the race – one a steep downhill. My running friends will tell you I love going fast downhill, but this one is too steep. And there’s a nice little hill shortly before the finish.

I ran 4 minutes run, 30 seconds walk – when I could hear my little buzzers, although unfortunately I often couldn’t. I had a goal of finishing in 44 minutes. I’m still trying to figure out pacing using the run/walk method. I was pretty surprised to be under 11 minute miles often when I looked at my Garmin, but in the end I finished in 44:11, which is an 11:03 mm pace and I was really pleased. I know if it had been warmer I wouldn’t have hit that time. I saw my friend Lisa D (she’s the best cheerleader!) & her dog shortly before the finish line. She told me how strong I looked, but she always says that; I’d like to believe it was true in this case.

I waited to see my running buddy from my group finish and we walked back to the USAFit booth together.

Post Race

There are all sorts of vendors & booths to wander around post race & a parade a bit later. Unfortunately it really began to rain in earnest not long after I finished.

I stopped to get a short post race massage. Never turn down a free massage! I have an annoying kink in my shoulder that has nothing to do with running that she worked on. I used the facilities one last time, stowed my stuff in the car, and sat eating a Picky Bar as the rain got harder and harder, so I didn’t check out what was there. Maybe next year.

My time this year was almost 4 minutes faster than last year. Not a PR, but my 4 mile PR belongs to a flat & fast race. I always enjoy starting a holiday with a race. It was time to head home to do my post race exercises, foam roll & enjoy some chocolate pancakes.

Do you like racing on holidays? Do you dress up?

But I could never do that

Every time I visit my parents, which is fairly often, the conversation turns to my last run or race. Inevitably my mom says “but I could never do that”. This from a woman who had buried a child & both her brothers by my age & graduated college when I graduated high school, because she never got the opportunity to go – in her day, few women did.

I have little doubt that if my mother wanted to, she could run a race. At the very least walk it. Even though she’s in her late 80s & has some health issues.

Most of my life, when it came to running, I was right there with my mother: I couldn’t do that; I couldn’t even run that dreaded mile in gym class.

Maybe you’re reading this right now thinking: I could never run, I could never run a race, I could never run ___________ (you fill in the blank). Or lose the weight. Or . . . a million different things you think you can’t do.

Whatever it is you think you can’t do, you won’t. Because you don’t believe.

Believing in yourself is the key to all your dreams. Don’t get me wrong: anything worth doing & having is going to be hard. You will fail, but it doesn’t matter how often you fail. You just have to believe that this is your destiny, pick yourself up, work hard – and repeat however many times necessary.

Thomas Edison, a man who knew a little something about failure, said:

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

It’s how I ran my own business, lost over 30 pounds & yes, started to run. Believe you can & you will. And remember Edison also said:

If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.

Fitness Friday
Today I’m linking up with Jill Conyers & other bloggers for Fitness Friday. Join us!

What has been holding you back from you dreams?

What have you believed you could do – and did?

When you finish but you quit

Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home shared Tahira’s blog post on Mental toughness. And it got me thinking, as a good blog post should.

I wasn't pushing hard here!
At the very end. I quit but finished ZOOMA Annapolis.

I finished my ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon. It had the dreaded three: hot, hilly & humid. I’ve done hot & hilly halfs before so I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong & I was very disappointed with my finish time, one of my worst.

And then I read Tahira’s blog: I finished my race but did I quit on it? Was my “why” not good enough? Important enough to me?

Here were my goals for the race:

  1. Finish, not in pain, & feeling like I could still run.
  2. Finish in 2:46-9 if it’s hot & humid.
  3. Run more hills than in Redding Road Race.

Did I meet my goals? Zip, zero, nada. Well, I did finish & I wasn’t in pain, but I didn’t come close to the rest of them.

My intentions for the race:

  1. Push through when things get difficult.
  2. Enjoy the race.

Do you see the problem here? Those aren’t intentions – they’re goals! There really was no why for the race. Oh, there was add another state & let’s do it because I can, but why deep down, did I really want to run this race?

I had no why & yup, I sure did quit way before the finish line.

I’m so glad Wendy posted about that post, because now I have to put my thinking cap on: I have a race Saturday – I don’t want to quit on this one. And now I know I need a better why. This race is only 4 miles, but I can still finish & quit by not pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

if you can dream it, with intention, you can do it

– Deepak Chopra

I am not a quitter. It’s time to dig deep & find my why.

What is your why? Have you ever finished a race but quit on it?

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Wednesday word: Independent

Deb Runsnow

If you’d asked me what independent meant to me 10 years ago, I would have had a very different take on the word. Nearing July 4th in the States, I’d probably blather on something about our country.

This year my parents, who are in their late 80s, have had a lot of issues. I have watched their independence being whittled away, slowly but surely. I have spent most of my life observing my parents & knowing that I wanted something different out of my life. I love my parents, but they are a clear roadmap for what I don’t want in life.

I want to live better, not longer.  There are many things in life I cannot change: accidents, illness, acts of God. There is also so much that I can change: what I put in my mouth, how I react to situations, how I move my body.

I want to be running for the rest of my life. Even more than running, I want to be independent: I want to be able to do what I want, when I want, without having to rely on others to take care of me.

Remaining independent as we age isn’t easy. There’s a quote from the movie “The American President”: America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad.

Anything worth having isn’t easy. You gotta want it bad. Remaining independent as we age definitely isn’t easy, but I do want it bad (and pardon the bad grammar!). I plan to run into my “golden” years & remain independent.

What does independent mean to you? Do you think running helps with being independent?

2015 – the injury free year? – Tuesdays on the Run


Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life! Today we’re examining our 2015 goals & where we’re at with them.

I love my Believe Journal from Lauren Fleshman & Roisin McGettigan-Dumas. I also enjoy picky bars post run on a fairly regular basis, by the way. It’s more than a running journal – there’s a place to reflect on each week & each month; a topic for every month; writing prompts & exercises; goal setting for the year, for races; quotes & more!

There is space for four goals, but I only wrote three:

  1. Keep track of my weekly mileage. And for the first time, I’ve managed to do this so far. Somehow a handwritten journal seems to be working better for me than apps have in the past. Or maybe I just got more serious this year. We’ll see if I keep it up through the end of the year.
  2. Stay injury free! So far, so good, but I didn’t get injured until the fall last year. I am trying to take steps to make sure this goal is met: watch my mileage (see goal#1), dynamic warmups, post run injury preventative exercises, visit the chiropractor regularly, listen to my body! Not to mention running less mileage this year.
  3. Get below 130. Why does weight matter? I am at a healthy weight for my height . . . just barely. And I just feel better running when I am at a healthy weight. Unfortunately, this is a tough nut to crack & I came close – but no closer than I’ve been for the last year. Maybe I need to adjust this goal to simply  get down to 130 right now.

The journal also has space for goals for each race & I spend some time prior to my races thinking about my goals for the race, like these for this week’s race, The Firecracker 4:

  1. Run with someone (a lot of people from my running group run it)
  2. Finish injury free (only 4 miles)
  3. PR (unlikely – it starts late & will probably be warm)

I often set weekly goals, as well. I’m a firm believer that what you believe, you achieve. Clearly I have my work cut out for me: I need to believe I can lose more weight, stay injury free & get faster. Now it’s also time to buckle down & get ‘er done!

How are your 2015 goals coming along? What roadblocks have you encountered? Which goals have you crushed?

The Week of the Plaintains: 6/22- 28

  •  Plaintain waffles Monday: man, I felt bada$$ today! I walked the dogs, ran 2 1/2 miles, did some grocery shopping & took Chester to the vet – all before noon! And then I made Plaintain Waffles. So crisp, so light.

  • Tuesday: hill repeats with my USAFit group. This is an optional group run – the only mandatory group run is the weekend long run. Last year I did most of the workouts during the week on my own; this year I decided that running with a group helps me push myself – which can be good or bad. Here’s hoping I’ve learned where to draw the line. It was a hot & humid one but didn’t feel too bad – probably because we walked after running uphill & my overall pace, including that walking, was still pretty fast for me. But I was ready to eat all the food afterwards.

  •  Plaintain protein donuts Wednesday: Cross training swim again. I didn’t have the pool to myself, but it was a nice swim. I refueled with afterward Double chocolate overnight oats & that staved off the hungries that strike after swimming. I also made Plaintain Protein Donuts, which made a nice snack after Thursday’s run.

  • Thursday: Annoying tempo run. Couldn’t get out until the afternoon, it was warm, getting a Garmin signal took forever, & just couldn’t get up to speed. The only good thing about this run was I got out there & did it. And those plaintain donuts.

  • Friday: Rest day, which means chore day. But I tried to get most of the chores done in the morning so I could relax a little in the afternoon – worked out pretty well.

  •  New Newton Ahas Saturday: you would think a day that started with ants wouldn’t end well; you’d be wrong. Group run on a nice running day, new kicks, new sparkle skirt arrived. Pancakes for lunch & sushi for dinner. Good running & food day!

  • Sunday: a cool, rainy day so I got out early to do my food shopping. Which meant I had to quickly plan out what the heck we were going to eat next week! One of the perks of not working is getting to shop when it isn’t busy. Monday I have a busy day & it’s easier for me to get out when my husband is around to keep an eye on the dogs. Also a good day to work on the blog! Unfortunately, still battling ants.

This week’s mileage: 13.5 – an increase of 2 1/4 miles. A few aches, but I think I’m okay so far.

I’m linking up with Tara at for her Weekend Update.

Do you pay attention to how much you increase your mileage week to week? Do you enjoy baking & spending time in the kitchen?

New Kicks, new fuel, new running skirt, new pancakes

Newton Ahas Today my USAFit Albany running group was invited to Irun Local in Saratoga. We had great weather for our 5 mile run & then they opened the store just for us & gave us some discounts. It’s a relatively small running store & their selection is small.

I wanted to stop by a different running store to pick up my packet for next week’s Firecracker 4, so I had some time to kill. Besides, it’s been about a year since I got fitted in a running store. I tried on shoes from Pearl Izumi, Under Amour & Newton & finally settled on the Newton Aha’s. Hard to really tell how they work til you’ve run a long run of at least 7 miles in them. I have 30 days; I think my long run might be up to that before then.

Now the question is do I run next week’s race in them?

My breakfast prerun was the double chocolate overnight oatmeal from Jill Conyers, with banana instead of strawberries. Is it wrong that I’ve eaten this 3 times this week? Jill, if you need someone to experiment on, I’d be a willing subject.

Overnight oats are a great prerun breakfast because you can make them up the day – or several days -before. Just grab & eat. Even better in a used nut butter jar, because then you get to mix in a little nut butter.

Fuel for Fire My postrun snack was Fuel for Fire Banana Cocoa. Someone had raved about it & I liked the natural ingredients, but I was not a big fan of the taste. Where’s the chocolate? It did keep me full until I got home, which was several hours after my run. I might have to try some of the other flavors.

Lola is interested, of course.

New Sparkle Skirt

It was a good day for running gear, because the postman brought my new Sparkle Skirt, too. A gift to myself for finishing 2 halfs in May; just a little delayed.

Double chocolate brownie pancakes

Finally I decided to revisit Chocolate Covered Katie’s Double chocolate brownie batter pancakes for lunch. I hadn’t really liked them previously, although I live for some of the other varieties; this time I really enjoyed them, even though I forgot to add the oil! I also subbed pumpkin for the applesauce.

There was a time I always had pancakes before a long run. These days I’m more likely to do them afterwards & opt for something a bit healthier before my run, even though the pancakes I make are pretty healthy; today’s would have been fat free if I hadn’t topped them with nut butter, my preferred pancake topping.

I might have to make them for lunch after my race next week.

What’s your favorite prerun breakfast? Favorite postrun snack? What do you like on pancakes? Sorry if I made you hungry!