Pavement Ends


One of the things I love best about my small town is that there are dirt roads in every direction. I don’t typically run on them during the week simply because I’m out and back before the sun even thinks about rising. The only caveat to this is if there’s a full moon. It’s simply amazing how bright it can be at 4 o’clock in the morning with a full moon bouncing off of the snow. I love the absolute peace of hearing my own breath, and the sounds the snow makes when it crunches under my shoes. Sometimes I have a song or tune rattling around in my head, but most of the time I’m thinking about a whole lot of nothing. It’s amazing how much I can think about nothing.

There are those days where I have more on my mind that I have time to run miles. I have (too many times) let my thoughts rob me of my peace. I found this happening on my run the other day. I was so consumed with a variety of things trying to figure them all out on my run, when I decided that enough was enough. This was my time to clear my head. This was my time to push myself as much as I could. This was my time…for me. I only needed that one hour, but I needed it for me.

Then, I noticed the sign “Pavement Ends”. I know I’ve seen that sign a million times on my runs, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized it meant something more to me. Pavement ends. Life begins. Leave it at the door. Lay it before God. Whatever you want to call it, it is what it is when it is most to you.

Pavement ends where life begins. It’s time to live.


I know. It never happens to me either. I am never wrong. Sometimes mistaken, but never wrong. Or, possibly just not right? Whatever it is we call it, there are times when all of us have not been “accurate”. Fortunately for us, most of the times when we are wrong we are not putting ourselves or others in danger, have not lost life or limb, and have woken to see another day. Which brings me to the next best thing, which is our inability to let ourselves fail.

There it is…the big “F” word. Ugh. I’ll be wrong any day, but fail at something? No way. We beat ourselves up one side and down the other when we feel we have failed. We dig ourselves into a deep trench of muck and mire, and feel that the weight of our own failure impairs our ability to make any movement forward. We freeze. We shut down. We forget that we…are…human.

Fear of failure is what makes us motionless most of the days and weeks we exist. All we do too often is just…exist; too immobilized by the fear of possible failure. Whether it’s trying to eat healthier, start a new exercise regimen, or start a new career, we halt our own progress by giving in at the first sign of failure. Sometimes, we don’t even make the first move because of the thought that we might fail. But failure is what allows us the opportunity to grow. When we can learn from our mistakes, do better the next time, or take a small step forward in the muck and the mire, we are proving to ourselves that we are worth the effort of trying…and failing.

It’s okay to fail. We all do it. Consider this your safety zone.

“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”
― Dr. Seuss



I Call Bullsh*t


When it comes to happiness, we all have the same basic requirements: food, water, air, love (Yes…LOVE). You can pretend you don’t need love, but I call bullshit. Maybe you don’t need someone to love, or maybe you don’t need someone to love you back, but everyone needs a little love. We never have to find the time to make sure we have enough air to breathe, but for some reason we don’t approach our other needs with the same intent and expectations. Why not? Have we succumbed to the thought that reality cannot co-exist with fantasy?

Once again I find myself trapped in the vortex of daily routines and requirements. I have been swallowed by the small hassles and blood-pressure-raising moments that are only 10% of my time, but consume 90% of my energy. Ever been there? Why do we let the smallest frustrations take up the greatest amount of our radiance? Why not do what we really love? Why not dedicate time to something that makes us feel better? Why not? Why not? Why not?!? Hence, the reconstitution of my blog. I didn’t name it “Mindfirerunner” for nothing. I’m taking back the things that I love.

I LOVE running. I LOVE red wine. I LOVE feeding my toddler dark chocolate chips after dinner because it makes him giggle and smile from ear to ear as if he’s gotten away with robbing the Federal Reserve of Never Ending Dark Chocolate (Why isn’t there such a thing? No, seriously.). I LOVE writing about anything that comes to mind, even if no one is reading. I LOVE spending quiet time alone. I LOVE getting lost in nature and feeling like no one can find me. I LOVE knowing that no matter what the outcome, I will always be ME.

I love…



(Best read if listening to Pickwick…or Wheeler Brothers.)

A whirlwind week. An overwhelming amount of work. An 18 hour Friday. But, today is Saturday. And I’m sitting here reveling in the aftermath of an incredible morning.

It all started with the sunrise. Why? Because I’m never in bed still when the sun rises. Not this morning. This morning, I was in bed. Awake. Taking my time watching the sun come through the curtains. And things just got better from there.

Shoes laced. Sunglasses poised to greet the morning in all of its brilliance. A gentle breeze. Warm air. The sound of silence. I was in no hurry. I knew I wanted to take a road less traveled. Limited human interaction. Nothing but nature.

My thoughts wandered. My soul connected with the earth; my spirit. The simple was exquisite. The warm dirt smelled of freedom. The mountains glittered with warmth as sunbeams bounced off of snow capped peaks.

Maybe it’s because Pickwick had my beat. Maybe it’s because I finally gave in to the world that awaited me to visit. Maybe, it’s just…because.

So, I ran.

Hells Yeah


Today was “long run” day, and as much as I wanted to run hills (since this is what I’ve been telling myself all week long I would do) I was really dreading getting out and actually doing the hill work. I started bargaining with myself, “Well, I’ll just do 8 today and then do an easy run tomorrow”, and “I should just do both days easy”. You know how the story goes. I couldn’t make up my mind where I wanted to go, in which direction, or how many miles. I knew I ultimately wanted to get a long run out of it, but just didn’t have the gumption to be on the road for a few hours.

Finally, I told myself I should start in the direction of the “hills” and see how things go. The sun started peaking through the clouds and there was just enough breeze to not get overheated in all of my core gear. It felt great. It felt steady. And, it felt like I should do the workout I had planned on for that week. I decided what better way to make sure I did the whole run than to take and out and back route. If I didn’t finish all of the hills then I could always call my husband to pick me up.

I got to the halfway point literally at the end of the hill route and thought the area looked somewhat familiar in the distance. It did. I had actually run to the next town. Huh. Who knew? I turned around knowing that the hardest part was ahead since now my legs were tired from the first half of the run, and I still had to run those same hills in order to get back home. I told myself to just take it one mile at a time. Before I knew it, I had crested the last of the dreaded hills and knew I was home free, even with three miles left on my route.

I’m glad I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. I almost let my head get the best of me this morning. Now, I’m enjoying some hot tea, football, a dark and rainy afternoon, and a quiet house because the toddler kindly asked me to put him down for his nap. I worked hard for this moment. And now, I rest.

The "Hells"

The “Hells”

My other love...

My other love…

I’ve been toying with the idea of training for another race. I’ve always enjoyed running, but training for Boston over last winter really took its toll. I swore I’d never train over the winter again, but here I am in October with temps in the 30’s and I have the itch to train. Something is clearly wrong with me.

I have missed my long run Saturdays which might sound strange to some, but nothing beats the feeling of accomplishing something that few take on…and usually before most are even rolling out of bed. I have to admit I’m a bit uncertain as to what winter training brings with it this year, but I figured what’s there to lose? I’ll pick a race, plan my training schedule, and adjust as necessary. I don’t know about you, but once I’ve made up my mind there’s no looking back.

So, what are you going to train for next? Maybe you’ve never run a race or trained for anything. What’s stopping you? Find a local 5k and announce it to your friends and family. I guarantee once you tell people you’ll have that voice in your head on those mornings you don’t want to get out of bed and go for a run. And if you can’t find a reason to do it for yourself, do it for someone else. Help raise money for a local charity or help to support an event for good cause.

I’m determined to keep moving as long as my legs will take me. I may not be as fast as I have been in the past, but I have the heart to keep trying. After a 16 mile run this morning, I know that my heart’s in it. Is yours?

Distance: 16.10 mi
Time: 2:19:58
Avg Pace: 8:42 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 128 ft
Calories: 1,686 C
Avg Pace
Summary 2:19:58.0 16.10 8:42
1 9:05.7 1.00 9:06
2 9:10.6 1.00 9:11
3 8:36.9 1.00 8:37
4 8:45.5 1.00 8:45
5 8:43.2 1.00 8:43
6 8:49.4 1.00 8:49
7 8:45.2 1.00 8:45
8 8:44.0 1.00 8:44
9 8:46.7 1.00 8:47
10 8:47.1 1.00 8:47
11 8:47.8 1.00 8:48
12 8:38.0 1.00 8:38
13 8:30.0 1.00 8:30
14 8:23.2 1.00 8:23
15 8:22.0 1.00 8:22
16 8:16.7 1.00 8:17
17 :46.1 0.10 7:49

Capital Hill Run

 My oldest son, standing in front of the National Archives in D.C.

My oldest son, standing in front of the National Archives in D.C.

Traveling to a new city always brings with it a challenge to scope out the best running trails. City running is so much different than running in farm country. This country girl is not used to running with traffic, pedestrian crossings, honking horns, and heavy foot traffic. To top it off, this week I had to travel to D.C. and previous experience has shown that this is a very busy city. I could have hidden in the hotel and used the two-treadmill exercise room, with squeaky, shaky equipment, but instead I decided to ask the locals where the best running routes were. I figured I’m not the only runner in D.C., and come to find out I was right. After doing a little research and taking a stroll the evening before my first run in D.C. I felt I was ready as ever. After all, it wasn’t like I was going out into a landscape of sinking sand or had to figure out how to walk on water. All I needed was some ground.

The next morning I woke up, laced up my shoes, and powered up my Garmin. I headed out of the hotel and started running in the general direction I was advised. I wasn’t sure really where I was heading, or even how far I’d get before I ran into a wall of people, heavy traffic, or some crazy D.C. event. I wasn’t even sure where the streets led but realized the best way to learn about a city is by pounding the pavement. After about two miles I came across some familiar territory; the Mall and the Capital of D.C. It felt oddly strange to be running on the Mall and around the Lincoln Monument, both places I had visited many times as a child and in my youth. I felt like a citizen of D.C. – as if I belonged in the city. I felt comfortable and safe as I saw dozens, if not hundreds of other runners. I wrapped back around the back side of the White House just as the guards were changing shifts and within minutes had several dozens of police officers surrounding my route. Here I was afraid to run alone in D.C. in the dark and on a new route. Suddenly, I felt safer there than I do in my small farm town in Colorado.