Change your mindset . . .


. . . change your run (or maybe even life!)

Mindset: a mental attitude or inclination.

What is your mindset when you’re standing at the start line of a race?

  • Are you doubting your abilities?
  • Are you running through all the bad runs?
  • Are you thinking about the missed runs?
  • Are you feeling like a fraud, like you’re not a “real” runner?
  • Are you worried about coming in last?

No matter what, people grow. If you chose not to grow, you’re staying in a small box with a small mindset. People who win go outside of that box. It’s very simple when you look at it. — Kevin Hart

Mindset is everything. Well, maybe not everything, you’ve got to put in the work, too. But your mindset can make the difference between pushing through the pain, between feeling like you’ve left it all on the road, between a bad race an a great race.

Turn your frown upside down
How you think or speak to yourself can be very telling. Do you find yourself thinking:

  • I can’t because . . .
  • I’ll never be able to . . .
  • I’ll never get any faster . . .

All very negative beliefs. All guaranteed to put you into a vicious negative cycle and a negative mindset.

So let’s rephrase:

  • I can because I’ve put int he training.
  • I have been working hard to increase my cadence.
  • I am putting in the work to improve my pace.

We can’t change what happens to us, but we can change how we think about it — we can change our mindset. All it takes is willingness and a little practice.

Mindset can mean the difference between unraveling or pushing through obstacles.
— Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Do you work on your mindset?

What tricks do you use to change your mindset?

Has your mindset ever derailed a run/race?

Imagination vs Knowledge


Imagination: the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.

Imagination is so important when it comes to running:

  • Can you imagine running free and happy?
  • Can you imagine yourself crossing the finish line — how it feels, how it sounds, maybe what you’ll be tasting afterwards?
  • Can you imagine going longer than you ever have before?
  • Can you even imagine yourself taking those first few running steps if you’ve never run before?

I believe that imagination is more important than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. — Robert Fulghum

One of my favorite mantas is “what you believe, you achieve”. If you can’t see it, feel it, even taste it, it will probably elude you. And maybe frustrate you, too.

But . . . and this is a big But . . . imagination can only take you so far.

You have to do the work, too
I most emphatically do not believe that hope always triumphs over experience, and I learned that the hard way.

You can’t imagine away an impending injury. You can’t imagine that adrenaline and excitement will get you to a finish line pain free if you haven’t trained properly.
Both Imagination and Knowledge are powerful
Knowledge, as they say, is power. I have come a long way from the half virgin who toed the line at her first half marathon (or race, for that fact!). Learning, experimenting, always trying new things have improved my running.

You can have all the knowledge in the world, however, but if you don’t have the imagination to see yourself improving, running a strong race, achieving your dreams . . . it’s not going to happen.

I believe that both knowledge and imagination are equally important when it comes to doing our best at whatever we’re interested in tackling.

Imagination powered by knowledge will take you farther than you ever thought you could go.
— Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Do you think imagination and knowledge are equally important?

If not, which one is more important?

The real victory . . .

. . . was to keep on keeping on


Victory: achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties

Today’s word prompt got me to thinking: is the real victory the PR, or is it the journey to that PR?

If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards. — Paul Bryant

The Price IS high
I have written about this before — about whether to challenge yourself or play it safe. I think there’s a time for both. Yes, it’s easy to injure yourself by pushing too hard, but the rewards from challenging yourself are high, too.

I think the true victory comes in challenging yourself, but not at the cost of ignoring what your body is telling you. Become too afraid of failing and you become stuck. Become too fearless and victories can be snatched away right when they seem within your grasp.

Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.
— Jack Lemmon

I will admit that doing things that make me afraid can absolutely stop me — sometimes. And sometimes I’ve tried things, and failed, and realized that that was something I didn’t enjoy. Victory can also be enjoying what you do, not doing it because other people recommend it or enjoy it.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment; full effort is full victory.
— Mahatma Ghandi

Being satisfied with journey
Ah, now this one is a tough nut to crack. But it’s an important nut, too. Here’s the thing, though: if you’re not satisified with your journey, no PR is going to satisfy you for long. PRs are fleeting, and often there’s a let down afterwards  — those post-race blues — when  how you thought you would feel doesn’t match up with how you actually feel.

A “is that all there is?” feeling.

Some, no doubt, expected me to write about the victory of my latest PR (you can read about that here). Instead, I would argue that that PR was the product of (mostly) enjoying the journey. The aches, the fatigue, the bad races, the bad weather, the family stresses . . . no, I don’t really enjoy that. But they are all part of the journey, and it’s a journey that motivates me to lace up and get out there most days.

To do all the boring work: the foam rolling, the stretching, the prehab or rehab exercises — all the things that help me to continue on my running journey. To watch what I eat, most of the time, because it isn’t fun when your running clothes don’t fit or carrying around a bag of kitty litter (that would be the 40 lbs I’ve lost . . . several times).

The real victory was to keep on keeping on, knowing that someday, yes, it would pay off. Knowing that when it didn’t pay off, it was just one more rung in a ladder I need to climb to keep improving as a runner.

The real victory is the journey to the finish line, not the finish time.
— Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy


Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

What do you see as a victory?

What do you consider your latest victory?

Can you find joy in your journey?

Running Keeps Our Minds Nimble


Nimble: marked by quick, alert, clever conception

I would love to be able to write a post about how nimble I am as a runner, how light I am on my feet, how easily I hop over obstacles. Except that’s not me. Good thing there’s another definition of nimble.

If I’ve got food and water, as long as I can exercise my mind and keep it nimble, then I’ll be okay. — Rob Walton

Want to keep that brain running?
Then maybe it’s time to take up running. After watching my inlaws and my parents age, with various problems, I’ll admit that being on the other side of 50 can seem rather scary. Add in a little postmenopausal forgetfulness, and it’s little wonder that I can be concerned about the future.

I’m not a medical professional, but it does seem like study after study shows that keeping fit as we age also keeps our mind nimble.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association:

Regular physical exercise may be a beneficial strategy to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain Because of its known cardiovascular benefits, a medically approved exercise program is a valuable part of any overall wellness plan.
(read the full article here)

I’m convinced — how much do I need to do?
Again, I’m not a doctor, a nurse, a certified trainer — you get the picture. And the recommendations seem to vary from a mere 120 minutes of sweating a week up to maybe 450.

I would argue, though that to keep your brain nimble, anything is better than nothing. Walking is better than sitting. Something that makes you sweat more than a brisk walk might be even better. Of course I think running — when not taken to extremes (and I’m sure my husband and I might argue over just what “taken to extremes” might mean) — is a great form of exercise, but it’s not the only form of exercise that will help you preserve that gray matter as you age.

According to the Harvard Health Blog:

Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t.
(read the full post here)

Again, I know that I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m glad that something that can make me feel so good — at least sometimes — that almost always allows me to come back feeling better than when I left — will also help me keep my brain nimble as I age.

I may not be able to jump over a candlestick (I am in awe of hurdlers), but I find comfort in the fact that simply getting out there and working up a sweat can keep my mind nimble — even though sometimes it feels like I’m losing it!

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

What’s your “why” to keep running?

In what ways has running helped you stay nimble?

What other ways do you try to keep your mind nimble?

Don’t become a trainwreck!


Derail: to cause to run off the rails

When you think about it, derail is just a shorter word for self sabotage. And just like a train derailment, often we never see it coming.

Or do we?

Derail our running efforts
There is such a fine line between training hard and overtraining. If we listen to and respect our bodies, often we can make adjustments before we derail our efforts by blindly following a plan.

It’s so easy to cross the line, though, and sometimes, no matter how much attention we pay, we do cross over without even realizing it. I have had more than one injury that literally wasn’t there one day, but was the next.

A few signs you might be overtraining:

  • You begin to dread your workouts instead of looking forward to them
  • You feel exhausted, even after an easy effort, even with a good night’s sleep
  • Your resting heart rate is elevated (read this article for more information on RHR)
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling run down in general or getting sick more often
  • Struggling with paces that used to feel easy

Don’t let overtraining derail your goals!

We should not be waiting until trains derail, bridges collapse and people die to adequately fund our infrastructure.
–Elizatbeth Etsy

Derail our healthy eating
The short days of winter and the lack of sunshine can help derail our resolutions very quickly. Is it just me, or does it seem foolish to make resolutions to eat “healthier” on New Year’s — just when winter days have us craving carbs and it seems our bodies are just primed to hold onto all the fat it can?

One of the most important things you need to hold onto when it comes to a healthy lifestyle is your why. Why do you want to lead a healthy lifestyle? It probably seems so obvious to you on January 1st — to get healthier, to get back to a certain size, to get off medications, to feel better about yourself — there are many reasons to want to eat healthy.

If you don’t have the right why, your efforts are bound to be derailed at some point — most likely sooner rather than later. If you find yourself struggling, it’s time to delve deeper into the reasons you are eating the way you do.

When your why aligns with your actions, everything becomes easier and it’s harder to be derailed from your objectives.

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

In what areas of your life to you find yourself easily derailed?

Have you had success avoiding a derailment in life?

Do you know your why — and if you do, what is it?

2 for the Price of One!


I find picking a word for the year to be a helpful tool. I may not be good at setting goals, but boy, I’ve got that word of the year thing down — I’m not sure how long I’ve been doing it, but it’s been a few years, at least.

I do keep my word in mind as the year goes on, too. I may not think of it every day, but I do find myself thinking about it. Last year’s word, too — anything beyond that tends to just fade away. Memory is not my strongest suit — unless we’re talking about food!

I usually spend some time in the fall thinking about what my upcoming word should be. My subconscious goes to work on it, and some day, sometime, the right word just pops into my mind: 2017 is patience (just don’t ask Mr. Judy to grade me!).

Or is it?

Brace yourself for the “big” reveal
Suddenly last week another word popped into my mind. I’m not ditching patience, it’s definitely something I need to work on, but this other word . . . it calls to me too. So 2017 is the year of two words.


One of my goals for this blog has always been to inspire other people. For the most part I feel as though I am often preaching to the choir with my blogger friends, because as someone trying to live a healthy lifestyle, I naturally gravitate towards others with similar goals.

While “runs” might be a part of my blog name, this has always been more than just a running blog. I’m a pretty open person, and I like to share all my passions (for good or bad), whether that’s healthy eating, weight management, animals, fashion, yoga, or, yes, running.

As a relatively new blog, I am still finding my way. Although of course I’m not sure that any blog ever really just settles into a style — we grow and change as people, and our blogs grow and change along with us.

Sometimes blogging seems like an incredible indulgence. What did we do before the internet, anyway? Maybe we actually got out of our houses more often and interacted with each other more often.

While yes, it’s true, blogging does take up time that could be spend on “better” pursuits, it does connect us. I have met so many wonderful friends through this blog, some in person and others just online — although if you ever meet an online friend in real life, you’ll find that you really have been friends all along.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more,  you are a leader.
–John Quincy Adams

Me — a leader?
I’m not so sure that I’m a leader, but I hope that I can fulfill that position as defined by John Quincy Adams. Or perhaps I am just leading myself, because I do believe that I dream more, learn more and become more.

I became a runner, after all, without any athletic ability and not a whole lot of guidance in the beginning. My goal to run a half in every state is definitely a big dream. And running helps me to always be learning — for such a simple sport, there’s a lot to learn!

If you follow me on Instagram (@chocolaterunsjudy), maybe you’ve noticed that my posts recently have changed a bit. I realized, one day, that Instagram is such a perfect platform to inspire people. It’s both quick (instagram, after all) and visual. Never doubt the power of a picture.

I’ve been taking a bit more time with my photos and trying to include an inspiring message. I hope I can inspire you to try things that may sound weird to you, to be open minded, to be open to change.


I want you to join me in my healthy lifestyle and journey. I want you to see that movement, in any form, isn’t punishment; not only is it good for you, it can make you feel good, too.

I want you to realize that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean deprivation or starving yourself, although it might be more work than you’re used to — but soon you’ll find that that extra work has big payoffs — more energy, less cravings, and maybe better fitting clothes.

I want you to try new things and keep an open mind, whether that’s exercise or food or hobbies.

I truly want to inspire you. And I love it if you share how you’re changing your life for the better — because you just might inspire me, too. And other people you may never hear from.

Maybe it’s not so indulgent after all
Yes, blogging is a first world pleasure, but maybe it really isn’t so indulgent after all. Like most powerful things, and never doubt that your blog is more powerful than you think, even if you never get a comment, it can be used for good or bad.

Blogging can connect you with people all over the world, and that’s really cool — something that would never have happened for me if I hadn’t started my blog.

Blogging can definitely inspire people. I know I read inspiring blogs all the time. And I hope that I can inspire you, even if I never hear from you. It’s a big reason that I started this blog — I am always saying that if I can run a half marathon, anyone can. I believe that. You can do anything you want to do, if you want it badly enough and work hard for it.

Tell me in the comments:

Do you think blogs can be inspiring?

Is blogging worth the time it consumes?

What have you been inspired to try recently?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup. Hopefully they won’t mind that I’ve gone a bit off topic this week.

Tuesdays on the Run

Running: the dance of love


Involvement: to commit emotionally

Anyone that dives into running will almost always form a love/hate relationship with running. In the beginning, there might be a lot more hate than love. Involvement in the sport of running, though, somehow transforms that hate into love — if you don’t quit after your first run or race.

The ‘dance of love’ has different themes and moods, just like every relationship has its highs and lows. Enjoy the high moments and hang-on during the downtimes. The diverse range of emotions is the experience that builds you two. Your ability to perfectly switch between these moments and make the best out of the one you find yourself per time, proves that you are not only involved in the relationship like the chicken is in the business of making eggs but also very committed to it like the pig is in the business of making bacon.
–Olaotan Fawehinmi

Running, on its surface, seems easy: lace on some shoes (or not) and just start running.

If you can commit and continue your involvement with running, you’ll have good times and just okay times and maybe even some really, really bad times. Those bad times will involve the times you cannot run — something, as a new runner, you can’t even fathom.

As a new runner, you’re more likely to feel relieved at the thought of not being able to run. Not having to take the time, to do the laundry, to feel the soreness. But if you keep at it, you’ll find that the very worst thing a runner can hear is that they can no longer run.

There is nothing that makes you want to do something more than the thought that you can’t do something.

Embrace every good opportunity you encounter; some will get you informed; others will get you inspired… Some will get you involved and others you make you improved
–Israelmore Ayivor

Involvement in running will inspire you and improve you — that’s a pretty awesome payback for some time and movement invested.
Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Has your involvement in running been positive?

What other involvements bring your joy? Inspire you?

Peace lies in knowing you’ve done your best

Peace: quiet and tranquility

We are on the brink of 2017, and it is time to make peace with 2016. No doubt you are still rushing around madly into the last of 2016, but soon New Year’s will be over, the last party will be done, and it’s time to hunker down and wait out whatever winter is throwing at us.

When we’re not running through it, of course.

For me, 2016 was definitely the best of times and the worst of times.

This particular Wednesday Word post is more my year in review (this week’s TOTR topic) than a true exploration of the word peace. Peace was very hard to come by for me this year — and yet I still managed some awesome travels (when I wasn’t traveling back & forth to my parents).

Chester you are always in my heart; miss ya, buddy

Not much peace on the homefront in 2016
The year began badly: the day after New Year’s, we said our final goodbye to Chester (read his story here). We knew, of course, that he didn’t have much time left. In fact, for months we’d been dreading that day, but you’re never really prepared.

But he’s sooo cute . . .

The next few months were relatively peaceful, but filled with tears and pain, but as I was beginning to get back to normal, enjoying being a single dog owner again, it happened: Bandit, that is. I haven’t written his story yet, although if you follow the blog, I really have (I post Bandit updates most Thursdays).

Let’s just say Bandit turned our world upside down, and not in a good way for many months. I found myself sleepless in NY most weeks — again.

And then my elderly mother had surgery. The surgery was a success, but the recovery was rocky, and required that I spend a lot of time with her (it’s 90 minutes away from where we live).

Then we convinced my parents to move into an apartment in a senior living community — and while all three siblings know it’s the right decision, it hasn’t made anyone happy and has again required a great deal of my time.

You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave — win or lose.
–Gordie Howe

Running start in 2016 — not so peaceful
It was a warm winter — by upstate New York’s standards, anyway — and I started to explore new places to run. Throughout much of Chester’s illness I had to stay close to home, and I was tired of running in our neighborhood.

In February, as I began to pick up my training for my spring half marathon, my ankle started to hurt. At first a lot, but it quickly died down to a dull ache. But it was there. And the weirdest part of it is that I’d never had problems with my ankle before, I definitely wasn’t overtraining, and I hadn’t hurt it in any way. One day it just hurt.

I went to the chiropractor, I went to a physical therapist, I did all my exercises — but it just never completely went away. Still, I ran my spring half without any real problems — not from my ankle, at least.

A pretty, but pretty disappointing race
Shipyard Maine was the flattest half marathon I’d ever run in the northeast. I really felt it should be a PR — that is until the weather was unseasonably hot (which they didn’t forecast) and they ran out of cups at one aid stop. It was a very pretty race, but a very disappointing one on so many levels. I may have “drowned” my sorrows in a few lobster rolls.

Although I’d signed up for USAFit again, about halfway through the training I wasn’t able to join them — first due to Bandit, then due to my travels back and forth to my parents. I had to run alone a lot. The summer was unseasonably hot, too. My next half was in October, but in Phoenix — heat was just following me around this year.

A few good trips
I hadn’t traveled anywhere in quite some time because of Chester; towards the end, we couldn’t get pet sitting for him.We kicked off the spring with a lovely day trip to Bennington, VT, with Lola. Next up was Maine — we always love going to Maine — again with Lola (the ticks were horrendous!).

First blogger met in 2016! Let’s hope we get to do it again some day!
A quick trip to WA to see the MIL & SIL plus I got to meet Paula @ Neveradullbling.

We got to meet Karen — twice!
In June Darlene & I did a running tour in Central Park and got to meet Karen @ Frenchinspirationblog too!

A long weekend on Cape Cod (with Lola, again — she gets around!) where I discovered the shining sea bikeway and had the best 10 mile run on it!

I worked hard for the bling in this race!
Our tip to Sedona more than lived up to my expectations, and I ran a hard fought race on a very hilly course in Phoenix that came awfully close to my half marathon PR time — a big surprise (read about it here).

A quickie trip to NYC to run the Dash to the Finish Line 5k — lots of fun, although very crowded and very poor runner etiquette — and we met up with Karen again.

Celebrating Racing with friends
And I ended the  year with another quick trip to FL, to run a half with 7 other bloggers. Thank you, Holly @ Hohoruns and Tricia @ Misssippipiddlin for a #holotta fun (read that recap here)!

Yes, it was an amazing year of travel. So much fun so many times. And I needed the peace of getting away with all the stress going on in my life — we had deliberately planned most of our trips for the fall, never knowing how desperately I would need the peace I would find in getting away from home.

Ending the year with a bang
I tend to race a lot in November — often I am done with my goal races (not the case this year), but I also just enjoy racing in the cooler weather. And I set PR after PR — mostly without trying to — culminating in a big PR in my last half marathon of the year, which was a total shock to me. I’m still digesting that one!

Going out like a lamb
2016 didn’t start well. It was a hard year in many ways. So many have it so much harder than I do, but despite almost complete chaos in my personal life for much of the year, we also had a lot of good vacations. Running was good — very good, in fact. I could definitely have done without that ankle pain, but in the end I surprised myself on what seems like minimal training much of the time.

I did what I could when I could. I didn’t fall prey to AON Syndrome — I remained flexible, moved runs around, didn’t worry too much that I never got my weekly mileage up where I’d like it to be, split runs up when I had to, ran on the treadmill when I had to, took time off when I was sick.

Life is settling down. I will have to make more trips down to my parents in 2017 (weather depending). Their house needs to be sorted out and put on the market, which is a big task. Bandit is still a work in progress but he has made tremendous progress.

I don’t know what 2017 has in store for me — but I know that somehow, whatever is thrown at m, I will get through it. I definitely hope that I run through it. And always make peace with doing the best that I can.


Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Have you made peace with 2016?

Have you set goals for 2017 — I really haven’t yet!?

Giving up: not an option


Giving: hand over to

Perhaps being a slower runner actually helps me at times (that, and being just a wee bit stubborn): I don’t have to worry about age group awards. Unless I’m the only one in my age group, not gonna happen.

I just had the best race of my life a few weeks ago (maybe you read about it here?). And I came in 26th out of 38 female runners in my age group. Yes, next year I will move up into a different age group. No, I’m still not expecting to win any age group awards.

Expecting an age group or personal record? That is giving a lot of power over to a time. And that time is influenced by so many things out of our control: the weather, how we’re feeling, the race support, the course, etc.

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

I didn’t put pressure on myself to PR on a flat course. Maybe it’s a good thing that I just assumed it would be warm and humid, and knew that in such conditions I don’t race well.

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

Now, you might think that that is, indeed, giving up. People can push through bad conditions to run their best, but I have had hot race after hot race that has proved to me that I am unlikely to.

I gave up time goals, and then totally smashed them

Perhaps by giving up my PR aspirations I actually set myself up for success. I will almost always try my hardest, but I was simply watching my pace and not my elapsed time, and not trying to calculate my potential finish time in my head, either.

It is very odd that giving up can lead you to your best race

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Can you think of situations where giving up is a good thing?

Do you find yourself giving up when you think you can’t reach a goal?

Are you growing just a little tired of “giving” right now?

If you look good, you feel good


Decorate: make something look more attractive by adding extra items or images to it

I am sure that at least one blogger is going to write something about decorating for the holidays, or decorating a van for Ragnar, maybe? As usual, I’m going to march to the beat of my own drum or take the path not taken (maybe, we’ll see).

I don’t decorate for the holidays. My mom always did, but I just didn’t inherit that gene. I’m too busy storing clothes to store decorations.

Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.
–Gabourey Sidibe

I have said, almost from the beginning, if I can’t be a good runner, I can look like a good runner. It’s the old “if you feel good about yourself, you do better”. I firmly believe that. Or fake it til you make it — your choice.

Ever notice the runners who run with their eyes glued to the road? I think it’s often because they have low self esteem. And I totally get that, it’s still something I struggle with: I’m not good enough, thin enough, patient enough, and on and on and on.

Does the outfit help you PR?

I only run watching the pavement when it’s icy or covered in something that could turn an ankle. I may be slow, but I’m a runner. And if decorating my body in pretty running outfits helps me feel like a “real” runner? Nothing wrong with looking good.

It might just give you that little push you need to do your best.

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Do you care at all about your clothes when running or working out?

Is your home decorated for the holidays?

Do you think looking good makes you feel better about yourself?