Saturday, November 2, 2019

I Salute You

     When I was 18 years old I knew how to fire a machine gun and throw hand grenades but I didn’t have a clue how to do my own laundry.  Mom always took care of the wash, but Uncle Sam showed me how to be a soldier.  I enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve shortly after high school.  I had three career choices.  Cook, Generator Repairman, or Heavy Construction Equipment Operator. Well, only one of those three sounded even remotely fun, so I learned how to drive bulldozers, road graders, scrapers and my favorite the front end loader.  My time in the military was served doing such things as building bridges and airport runways.  In basic training I was a squad leader and at my reserve unit I was the equipment section sergeant and handled things such as drivers education training and licensing of army personnel on various types of construction machinery.  In total I was in the Army for eight years.
     While in my training I learned important skills such as teamwork, responsibility and how to be mentally tough.  I aced the physical fitness tests with a perfect score and once held the sit up record in Ft. Dix, NJ for the most amount of sit ups in two minutes for a female.  We also did things such as rappelling and my favorite the road march.  They would have us gear up in our full uniform including combat boots, ruck sack (basically an army backpack to carry all your clothes, water, food, tent, sleeping bag, shovel, rain gear, first aid supplies and toiletries- this could weight nearly 20 pounds) and rifle along with everything you would need for a bivouac (camping without the s’mores.)  We would hike for 18 or 20 miles at a time in all kinds of terrain and weather to get to our destination for the night.  Then hike back the next day.  Little did I know that this would be the start of my long distance running passion.
     Shortly after I got home training one summer I did my first half marathon.  It seemed way easier to do that kind of distance in running shoes and not wearing a pack or rifle.  Not too long after that, I discovered the marathon.  Then as I like to say, “The sickness began.”   In the years since then I have finished 85 races of marathon distance or longer, including a marathon in every state.  I’ve also completed race distances over 100 miles at one time and multi day races such as doing five marathons in five days in five different states.  I have no idea where this will wind up going from here but since I’m closing in on my 100th race of marathon distance or longer, that is my next goal.  
     As Veterans Day approaches, I realize that I never used to give being a veteran much thought.  Now I’m a member of my American Legion post and enjoy spending time there with other veterans.  I’ve joined Team RWB, a resource for veterans that fortunately for me is active in the running community.  When I see someone wearing a WWII hat or similar, I’ll buy them lunch.  I recently had the pleasure of spending an hour or so with an amazing gentleman named Bill.  He’s 94 and served as a pilot in WWII.  I could have listened to him all day as he told me stories about his time in the military.  After lunch I told him I got the check.  He of course said he would not let a lady buy him lunch, but when I told him I wanted to pay for it, one veteran to another he graciously accepted.  
     I used to not tell people that I was in the military, it seemed like something that was so long ago that it was like another lifetime.  But now I say it with pride.  When someone tells me, “Thank you for your service.”  I graciously accept it and feel honored that I had the chance to do my small part for our country.

Saturday, August 31, 2019


In March of this year I finished running my 50th state marathon.  It was quite an accomplishment.  But as with most of my big events coming to fruition, I tend to get a little depressed about not having a new running goal to look forward to.  I hated that my racing had to be put on the back burner but we had some major changes in our lives rapidly approaching.

While my husband was recovering from a broken leg, we sold our home and had to be out of it sooner than planned.  My husband retired from his job and I left my job at the running store.  In May we had a massive garage sale, packed and moved all our belongings ourselves 3 1/2 hours north to our 40 wooded acres.  

We had already planned to build a home on our property, but we moved nearly a month earlier than planned, so the groundbreaking didn’t happen until June.  We had several weeks of cutting down trees to clear the homesite, then put in the foundation.  I’d like to say that all went fast and smooth, but nonetheless that part is done.  

Since then we have dug trenches, run conduit and ran electricity to the homesite for the builder.  We have done as much of the work we could on our own and plan to continue that way.   Our builder is amazing and in 14 days he has done more work that I could have imagined or hoped for.  We can see our dream home taking shape before our eyes.

After a few months of feeling sad about leaving all my friends, my job, my doctors, an wonderful hairstylist, and everything I’ve known for almost 25 years - I’ve had to start over.  It’s been been a real struggle.  Here’s an example.  I went to a local group run up here, hoping to meet some new people.  They asked at the beginning of the run if anyone was new, a few of us raised our hands.  They said “welcome” and began the run.  No one cared to even ask our names or where we were from or what pace we might be running.  I wound up running by myself.  I decided I didn’t need to drive a half hour out of my way to go to a group run where no one even talked to me.  If you know me I’m not a shy person.  This made me feel like back in high school.  I have met two people in the group, because my husband went to high school with them and they have been great.  But the rest of the group was not very welcoming.  I was fortunate enough to have one lady reach out to me and ask if she could show me some of the local trails.  I jumped at this chance.  She and I got a long wonderfully and I can’t wait to meet up again soon. 

So I’ve been sticking to the local dirt roads, running and walking by myself.  Then I saw a Facebook post this past week.  A local lady was trying to find new friends to walk with and started a Facebook group for it.  I joined immediately, so did a lot of other people.  I messaged her and asked if I could help her with the group because it was growing so rapidly and she graciously accepted.  Since then she and I have been busy trying to get local ladies to come out and walk with us.  I’ve gone out walking with her a few times already and dang she is a FAST walker.  She walks faster than some people can run.  I’ve totally enjoyed getting to know her and planning this group with her.  Our first “official” walk for the group is coming up soon.  Our group had grown to 75 local women.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. 

I’ve also been walking my dogs a lot in the mornings on my street.  I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of my neighbors.  I kept meeting up with a lady named Toni while walking on our dirt road.  She is blind and has a beautiful leader dog named Comet.  It has become such a great time to walk with her that I typically just text her to say I’m headed out for a walk and ask if she’d like to join. 

So here I am, on the eve of September finally feel like I’m fitting in.  I’m walking and running with a few friends up here, volunteering at things like the local half Ironman and the monthly pancake breakfasts.  I joined the American Legion and listen to my neighbors play music.  They are wonderful musicians and they plan to teach me to play the banjo and my husband to play the mandolin over the winter.  I’m embracing living on a property with no water (I mean to drink even) our neighbor lets us use his well thank goodness.  Oh and did I mention we live in our 24 foot RV with our two 50 pound dogs?  

Yes, my live has changed.  It changed so much that I wasn’t ready for it.  But I think I am  finally there.  I’m ready to reenter my own life.  

Disclaimer: I have no plans to find a new hairstylist. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Delivering Happiness

     Recently the AfterShokz company had a campaign to “Deliver Happiness” to their customers.  They wanted to do some things to make their purchases a little more special.  So they included a free gift and a hand written “thank you” card with each purchase.  It made me think of how they were simple gestures, but surely they were appreciated by the recipients.  I got the idea to try my own hand at Delivering Happiness by doing a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) every day for the month of February.

     I’ve been the recipient of RAKs before and was always blown away when it happened. I have had coffees or meals paid for me by the cars ahead of me in the drive thru line.   Many years ago my husband and I stopped at a fancy bakery to get a treat, when we went to pay we found out the guy in line ahead of us paid for our purchase for us.  I’m not sure if the guy could see the sorrow on our faces or if possibly he heard us discussing the recent loss of our dog, but his gesture was so appreciated at a time we were both heartbroken.  

     I discovered that Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day is February 17th, so I figured the month of February would be the perfect time to take on this challenge.  Initially, I was going to just do the act and not tell anyone about it, like most people do.  But after a lot of thought, I decided to post the acts on my Instagram and Facebook so my friends and followers could see what I was doing.  I’m sure a few people thought it was boastful, but that was not the reason why I did it.  I did it publicly in hopes it would inspire others to do their own RAKs.  

     As each day passed, I posted photos of me buying someone’s breakfast, surprising a person with flowers, or mailing a hand written card.  Then I’d see a comment from a friend that said I inspired them to buy lunch for two police officers they saw at the restaurant table next to them.  Another time I left a huge tip for someone, then the following day a friend posted she did the same.  After a week I was seeing messages like this all the time.  I decided to take it a step further.  In a Facebook group, I told everyone what I was doing.  While a few people said they would never post publicly about doing a RAK, the majority of them saw the power of suggestion by making their own public post.  The chain reaction was staggering.  There are nearly 1,000 people in that Facebook group and I’ll bet I got tagged by several hundred of them.  It was amazing to see the posts and watch how my posts helped make people around the country happy.

I tried my best to come up with a new RAK each day, somedays I was more creative than others.  Here’s my list:

Day 1- Bought breakfast for guy behind me in line at McDonald’s. Cost = $7.20
Day 2- Sent a card to someone just to tell them I love them and appreciate them being in my life. Cost = $0.50 postage
Day 3- Gave a 200% tip to our dog groomer after a nail trim. Cost = $20
Day 4- Tried to let a person in line ahead of me at the post office.  But they were in less of a hurry than me and declined the offer.  So I donated a 10 pound box of dog treatsto the humane society.  Cost = $14
Day 5- Cooked breakfast for a friend, let a driver pull out in front of me when he was clearly in the wrong lane. Free
Day 6- Brought a coworker her favorite treat, gummy bears.  Cost = $1.50
Day 7- Paid every person I talked to in person a compliment, even strangers.  Free
Day 8- Brought cookies to the local fire department.  Cost = $4.50 (Then oddly enough two weeks later this fire department responded when my husband broke his leg at our home.)
Day 9- Left a Hershey bar and a note in the mailbox for the postal carrier.  Cost = $1 (The mail carrier now waves at me every time I see her.)
Day 10- Sold something online and donated the proceeds to a favorite charity. Cost = $20
Day 11- Sent toiletries and coffee to military members serving overseas. Also a blanket to a veterans facility.  Cost = $9
Day 12- Mailed out some of my favorite tea to two friends that have been working very hard and could use some relaxation.  Cost = $7
Day 13- Left a post it note on a public bathroom mirror that said “You are Amazing.” I hope someone found it and it made their day.  Free 
Day 14- Brought flowers and chocolate to my hair stylist. Cost = $6
Day 15- Got stuck in construction with three lanes of traffic merging into one and there was in a long backup.  Even though I was running late, I let a few cars in front of me.  Free
Day 16- Donated a book to a Little Free Library and tucked a dollar in it as a bookmark.  Cost = $1
Day 17- Donated all my Recycle Bank reward points to local schools. Free
Day 18- Brought cookies and a hand written thank you card to our veterinarian.  Cost = $8
Day 19- Left a bunch of five star reviews on Google for local businesses that I love, also for Aftershokz headphones on their website and Amazon. Free
Day 20- Sent a hand written letter to someone in need of some encouragement thru  Cost = $0.50
Day 21- Posted on Facebook that I was giving something away, this started a chain of about 15 people giving away similar items to others that wanted them for no charge.  Cost = $4
Day 22- Held the door open for a stranger. Also sent two handwritten cards to friends and tucked a lottery ticket inside.  Cost = $11
Day 23- Mailed out two 2 for 1 lunch coupons to a friend.  Cost = $0.50
Day 24- Forgiveness.  Today I forgave someone for doing something really crappy to me. Free
Day 25- Donated to a friends fundraiser for a veteran’s group.  $10
Day 26- Wrote inspirational and empowering things on scraps of paper and stuffed them into a mason jar.  I gave to a friend for when she needs a little extra support and I’m not with her.  Free
Day 27- I had received flowers from someone but I was also leaving town the next day.  Instead of letting them go to waste I brought them to another friend to enjoy.  Free
Day 28- Gave away a pair of AfterShokz headphones. Cost = $65

     Personally, February was a really tough month for me.   I was under a lot of stress trying to sell my home and my husband fell and broke his leg.  But I found while I was doing this challenge, I was more appreciative of things other people did for me.  I noticed the little things that might have slipped past me before.  Things like a friend coming to sit with me at the hospital during my husbands surgery or a phone call from a friend just to see how I was holding up. I felt that I was more appreciative of these things.  During the month I had someone give me flowers, one brought me a good book, and another brought over enough food to feed an army so that I didn’t have to cook while caring for my husband.  

After 28 days of doing RAKs, here is what I learned.  One thing.  Just one simple thing.  It costs zero dollars to be nice.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

My 50 States Marathon Journey


     I first heard about the 50 States Marathon Club in the spring of 2012.  I went to Indiana for a  marathon and a fellow Marathon Maniac club member was celebrating her finish of the 50 states.  I did the math and realized at this point I had already done five states.  I discovered that you can join the club once you have ten states completed.  It was another year before I hit my tenth state and joined.  From there, the craziness began.  It became a nine year obsession that involved my husband taking all his vacation time to travel to races with me.  

     It got expensive to fly or drive to just get one new state, so I started doing multi state events on a trip.  Several times I would do a race in one state on a Saturday then immediately hop in the car and drive to do a race in another state on Sunday.  One time I did a series of races that was five marathons in five states in five days.  Looking back I counted 16 flights to races and 17 road trips by car or RV.

     I’ve seen some pretty cool things on this journey.  I’ve seen a moose, cougar, bald eagles, snowy owls, whales, loose dogs and a few crazy creepy dudes.  I’ve run on highways, trails, bridges, railroad trestles, and boardwalks.  I passed everything from state capital buildings to cornfields.  And I’ve run some places you normally can’t.  I got to experience running a lap on a Nascar speedway, a loop at Churchill Downs, and across the football field at the Marshall University stadium carrying a football to the end zone finish line. I even once ran a mile underwater in the tunnel between Canada and Michigan.  I’ve done marathons in temperatures from 10-90 degrees, on beautiful sunny days and also in snow, driving rain, mud, 50 mph winds and once had to go thru nearly waist deep water in frigid temperatures.  Some courses were in amazing forests or mountain ranges while others were entirely on the beach and yet another was a series of loops through a parking lot.  

     I had things go wrong along the way.  One race was cancelled because of a hurricane, twice we had flat tires, I was sick for a few races, and one time I had a stress fracture in my femur that required surgery.  I also DNF’d (did not finish) a few ultra marathons and had to go back and repeat the states.  I nearly didn’t make it to the 50th state because my husband broke his leg the week before and needed surgery.

     I’ve eaten mounds of bacon and drank probably a hundreds dixie cups of beer along the routes.  I took up every offer for a “free hug” by a spectator.  I listened to podcasts and music, but mostly I talked to the other runners.  I’ve run races with friends, my husband and even my brother.  At my last race I wore a bib on my back that said it was my 50th state finish.  Tons of people congratulated and cheered me on, but the most special was when a man named Steve Fuller passed me.  He wished me well on my journey and told me he was the first U.S. citizen to finish a marathon in every state back in 1986.  

     Many times I finished in the middle of the pack, a few times I’ve come in last and one time I was fortunate enough to take first place female at a marathon and fifth overall.  People often ask me what I got for winning the race, well- I got the same medal everyone else did, and maybe some bragging rights.  

     For finishing my races I’ve received everything from a tiny ribbon to probably one the biggest finisher medal ever made.   My real reward though was seeing this great country, while my husband drove me from race to race.   It was making friends in each state. It was crossing the finish line with one of my border collies.  It was seeing the sun rise and set while I ran marathons all over the U.S.

    I’ve now accomplished something that less than 1,500 people have done.  I sit here and shake my head because it all went by so fast.  If I could do it all over again...well, maybe I will.  But don’t tell my husband just yet.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Keep it Simple


I’m not much for new year resolutions, but I do like the idea of finding a word to use as a theme for the next 365 days.  My word this year is “Simple.”
We have a big year ahead of us and we need to keep it as simple as possible.  We will move from our home soon and will live in our small RV with our two dogs for nearly six months while we build our new home.  My husband retires from his career and I will also leave my part time retirement job. We will also be moving several hours away from most of our friends.  This sounds like the makings of a complicated and stressful year, but I’m determined to keep it simple. 
I’ve already started to pack up our belongings as we prepare to put our current house on the market. We have lived in this house for twenty years, that is a lot of stuff to sort though.  Our next home will be smaller and have less storage space so I am getting rid of a lot of things.  Things that are just “stuff”, they are just clutter and don’t spark any joy in my life.  I know there are people that might say, “How can you get rid of that, so-and-so gave it to you?”  Well, I’ve come to the realization that just because I’ve owned a trinket for twenty years, doesn’t mean I need to have it on display or even own it my entire life.  We are allowed to change our styles and live with less or different things.  

Keeping it simple doesn’t only apply to personal possessions.  It applies to my time.  I will chose to spend more time reading books and listening to less noise.  We gave up cable TV years ago and never looked back.  We still enjoy some Netflix but we spend less time watching reality TV type programs. I still plan to have a huge TV in my next house, but that is mostly so I don’t have to wear my glasses when I watch it.  
I will keep the way I eat simpler too.  I may eat more of the same things that I enjoy and keep a less stocked pantry.  There will be less things to tempt me into unhealthy food choices if I don’t buy them and bring them home.  I started doing this towards the end of last year and I’ve already see some weight loss.  
I won’t focus on other people and how they live their lives.  I won’t get caught up in other people’s drama.  I’ll also not spend a lot of time trying to make friendships work that seem to be one sided.  Some of you may know what I mean, those friendships where the other person constantly says, “We should get together for dinner.” Yet, it is always you that calls to set things up, as if the other person never would put any effort into making the plans.  
Last year I decided I really wasn’t going to do things that I don’t want to do anymore.  I’ll go to the weddings and funerals and pay my respects when I should, but you likely won’t see me at your Tupperware party.  It’s ok to say no.
I also gave up listening to the news.  If there is something important going on in the world, I’ll hear about it at some point.  But I don’t want that extra stress in my everyday life.
I know that I can’t change the past, but I will let it go.  I will move on and learn from things that went wrong. 
This year I will not let my running stress me out.  I will run what I can, when I can.  And I’ll do the best I can.
     This year I’m going to focus on things that help me grow.  I will enjoy learning and gaining experiences. I’ll travel when I can, keep on running and spend a lot of time with my husband and dogs. I will surround myself with people that contribute to my life, not take away from it.  I won’t outsource my own happiness. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Reflecting on 2018


It was a year of ups and downs for me with my running this year.  I had the motivation and desire to run the races, but one injury after another prevented me from performing well.  This does not mean that I didn’t have fun or a good year, just that my finish times weren’t what I wanted. 

I finished the year out with a total of ten marathons and two 50K’s, each one in a different state.  Nine new states were completed and now I only have two states left to complete my 50 states marathon journey.

Running aside, we traveled to some pretty cool places this year too.  Our favorites were New York City, Iceland, and the Grand Canyon.  

I think the biggest thing that happened this year was the decision to build a new house and move next summer.  The wheels got set in motion and we designed our home and I’ve begun to pack up some of our belongings as we prepare to list our current house for sale.  

Our Valhalla

2019 will be here in a few hours.  It whole new year and a fresh start.  I have some goals, but only one resolution.  Just to keep it simple.  Stop overcomplicating things.  Get rid of the clutter.  Worry less.  Don’t feel that things need to be perfect.  Quit trying to get it all done.  Let less be more.  

**All my cute outfits are by Skirt Sports. My discount code is 857STIN for 15% off.  Click here --->

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Hawaiian Rules

     On vacation in Hawaii many years ago, I purchased a postcard that had the “Hawaiian Rules” on them.  It was a series of sayings that resonated with me.  I framed the postcard and it has been hanging on a wall in my house for nearly 20 years.  I’ll be headed to Hawaii soon to complete state 49 on my 50 states marathon quest.  Before I say aloha to another marathon I thought I’d share my thoughts on these rules as best I can relate them to running.  

Never judge a day by the weather.

      Just because the day isn’t all rainbows and unicorns when you get up doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it.  So what if it’s raining cats and dogs, snowing, cold, or gale force winds.  I won’t let that stop me from doing my best at a race.  You can control most everything about your training.  You are in charge of the time, speed, and effort you put out.  The one thing that is totally out of your control is the weather.  If there’s a 99% chance of rain, there’s a 100% chance that I don’t give a crap what the weatherman is saying. Sometimes I swear there is a black cloud that follows me to races.  Friends used to ask me what events I planned on attending, then they would choose another race because they knew if I was going there would be bad weather.  I’ve just learned to embrace the suck.  The bonus is you do feel kind of badass when you finish an race in really nasty weather.  
100K on a rainy day, 38 degrees and 40 mph winds. 

The best things in life aren’t things.

     I’d rather have a life that is full of adventures instead of things.  In a few months I’ll have traveled to and run a marathon in every state in the U.S.  The experiences that I’ve had from running and travel are worth far more to me than any object.  I’d rather have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
I have lots of stories to tell after running every street in my town.

Tell the truth - there’s less to remember.

     Don’t lie to yourself and say you are not a “real” runner.  I hear that comment so often from people.  They belittle themselves because they don’t think they are as fast or can’t go as far as someone else.  There’s no need for comparison.  Simply put, if you run-you are a runner. 
     I also hear of people that cheat themselves out of their own victories.  If you took third place in your age group, that is a huge thing.  The rest of the world doesn’t care if there was only three people in your age group.  You don’t need to put an asterisk mark after your achievement.  
     It’s also ok if running doesn’t always make you feel good and that you struggle for motivation.  If we are honest about these things, we find that others likely feel the same way.
My award for overall 3rd place woman at a 12 hour race this month.

Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.

     Although running isn’t a fashion show it’s ok to be loud and proud.  Wear something out there, dye your hair, show off your tattoos.  I think everyone knows that I wear fun patterned skirts when I run.  I can’t even tell you how many times something I was wearing generated a conversation with a total stranger on a race course.  Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of guys dressed in kilts or firemen in full uniform at races.  Whether it is for fun or for a cause, it is certainly attracts attention.  One time I finished a race just a few minutes ahead of a guy dressed in a banana suit and another fellow wearing an Elvis costume.  In hindsight, I should have slowed down and ran the last mile of the marathon in with them, because that would have been one awesome finish photo.
Some of my loud clothes.

Goals are deceptive - the unaimed arrow never misses.

     Would you rather have guaranteed success at something easy or risk failure at something hard?  I’d rather fail epically at something challenging. It’s totally fine to have a big hairy audacious goal.  Maybe you’ll finish it or maybe you won’t.  But you never know unless you try it.  I had no idea if I’d finish a 100 mile trail race on foot the first time I set out to do it.  You know what?  I didn’t finish it the first time.  But it didn’t stop me from going after it another time and achieving that goal.  Think big, aim that arrow at something.  You might surprise yourself.
I hit the bullseye! Five marathons in five states in five days.  

He who dies with the most toys - still dies.

     Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy running shoes and that’s kind of the same thing.  Running is a fairly cheap sport, they say it is cheaper than therapy.  I’m starting to creep up on my 100th marathon and since race entries don’t grow on trees, I’m starting to think therapy would have been cheaper.  As far as running gear goes, no one is going to care if I have the nicest running shoes or best GPS watch in the cemetery, right?  

Age is relative - when you’re over the hill, you pick up speed.
     A lot of people don’t even start running until they are in their 40’s.  This is especially true for ultra marathons, at least most of the ones I’ve been to have a lot of entrants are in their 40’s and over.  I remember watching a video of Gunhild Swanson at age 70 finishing the 2015 Western States 100 miler with SIX seconds to spare before the cutoff time.  I met her the next year at Western States, she’s an amazing lady.  She’s currently 74 years of age and still running.  This past weekend, 70 year old Gene Dykes just broke the marathon world record for his age group in a time of 2:54 at the Jacksonville Marathon.   That is an hour faster than my fastest time, and I was 25 when I ran that.  That sure inspires me to try harder.
My first marathon, 1994.  Still my PR.

There are two ways to be rich - make more money or desire less.

     Some people may see the ultimate goal of running to have fast times.  I felt that way for awhile and I still do occasionally.  However, my times are not what they used to be.  Some of that is weight gain, age and injury related.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not getting anything out of running.  I’m just not currently viewing fast times as the “wealth” of running.  It’s ok to change your goals to suit your needs.   My times may not be what they were back when I started this journey, but my priorities also changed.  I’m satisfied with what I’m doing. Enjoy your running “wealth” however you find it.  Make the best of what you have now, sometimes that’s all you get anyway.  
Going for a run with Kirby and Zuzu, that's priceless. 

Beauty is internal - looks mean nothing.

      Never judge a book by it’s cover.  I used to compare myself to others at the starting line of a race, wondering if I might be faster or stronger than someone else.  I don’t do that any more, I’ve learned that although people many not look a certain way, it doesn’t mean they can’t finish before you in a race.  They may be stronger than you think and mentally tougher than you. 

No rain - no rainbows.  

     Your effort is the rain and achieving your goal is the rainbow.  Only you can control your training and your desire to finish.  Friends and family can be there to motivate and support you, but you have to get out there and train.  Sometimes there is struggle involved in success, this just makes it more worthwhile.

Aloha and mahalo my running ‘ohana!