Archive for June, 2011

I Wish

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After my run this morning, like any obsessed runner I went over to the computer, before showering, to upload my run data.  As my stats wirelessly uploaded from my new toy (the Garmin 610), I manually entered my run into dailymile and then meandered over to Facebook to see what my far-flung friends were up to.  I can across some pictures of a dear friend who had recently taken a trip with her family to North Carolina.  Though we have not seen each other in what has to be over a decade, I have always felt a certain closeness to her and her husband.  Simply put, they are good people.

As I scanned through her album, I got lost in the joy and apparent ease their children and her husband’s brother’s children had with each other.  It seemed so…easy.  I have to admit that there is a part of me that is jealous of what they have.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade Brooke for anything, and quite honestly, if someone walked up to me right now and offered me a pill that would “cure” her autism, I’m not sure what it is I would do.  That being said, I wish it was easier for her.  I wish that social interaction and connection were not something that she just doesn’t quite get.  I wish that Katie didn’t have to feel embarrassed when Brooke made awkward social bids.  I wish that I didn’t have the mindset that I have to anticipate some of those awkward bids and feel the need to cut them off at the pass.  I wish, I wish, I wish…

Everybody has issues.  Everybody has problems.  I listen to the local moms complain about this and that.  Some of them feel silly to me, but the truth is, their problems are real to them.  Everybody has issues.  Everybody has problems.

Ours are just different.

I just sometimes wish they weren’t.

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Last night I went to bed around 11PM. My alarm was set for 4:10.  I was planning on a 12-mile run, 7 miles of which would be run at half-marathon pace.  I had  even programmed my new Garmin Forerunner 610 to monitor my heart rate to make sure I was running the proper zones.

Unfortunately my plans didn’t work out so well.  At around 12:30AM I woke up and for the life of me could not get back to sleep.  The last time I looked at the clock before finally drifting off was 2:30AM.


3 hours of interrupted sleep before a 12-mile run is not smart.  When my alarm went off I simply turned it off and rolled over.  This was the smart move, but as I drifted off again I wondered how I would feel in the light of day.  Would I be disappointed that I didn’t even try? Would I be mad that I had been awakened in the middle of the night?  Would I even care?

What’s really weird is that I think it made me more motivated.

It did make me mad, but not in the “I’m so angry” kind of way – instead, I was happily mad.  It was almost like a flame coming back to life.  I was disappointed, but instead of moping about it, I was simply excited about the next opportunity I would have to run.

Last night I was half-excited about the run (mostly because I wanted to see how well the Forerunner 610’s programmable workouts functioned.  But this morning, as I made breakfast for my girls (who are home for summer vacation) I found that I was REALLY excited about my next run (whatever that may be).  In the end, I will probably miss my 12-miler.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a 5 mile recovery run followed by 20 – 21 on Sunday and despite wanting to try out the bells and whistles of my new toy, I am even more amped to hit the road for a long run on Sunday – no sense in me blowing myself up tonight with a hard 12.  As Coach Caleb always says, don’t try to make up for a missed training run. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

I am really excited about running both tomorrow and Sunday.

Strange that missing a workout actually serves as motivation to get back out there and just GO! Who would have thought that would happen.

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What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Are you thinner, heavier, taller, shorter, better looking or not as good looking as you really are? If you really look closely, and honestly think about it, I bet you can answer that question.

Now, if you are a parent, what do you see when your child looks in the mirror? Are you able to look objectively? Do you see what you want to see? Do you see what they want you to see?

My older daughter Katie is entering that age, that dreaded age called ‘Tween.

I hold her in pretty high regard.

Even though she has a wisdom and grace of someone much older than she is, she is in no hurry to grow up.

She wants to be 10.

And that’s where the problem arises. You and I may know what 10 means; Katie may instinctively know what it means to be 10; but i find that an alarmingly large number of parents and their 10 year old she-devil children (crap! – did I just write that out loud?) have absolutely no idea what it means to be 10 – they seem to think that 10 must equal 18 and that 18 means you dress like someone who uses a pole as a prop at work.

I watch as they push their children to wear outfits and behave in ways that are far beyond their years.  I roll my eyes as I walk through my town thinking I am watching a watered down version of Toddlers & Tiaras.  Mind you, it is not the majority of kids, but it has been an ever growing percentage of the population as Katie has moved from kindergarten through 4th grade (yes, kindergarten is when some of these kids parents start).

I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist.  I took one term of Psych in college (just enough to be a dangerous and diagnose myself with every psychological ailment out there) so by no means am I qualified to talk about this stuff.  BUT I am the parent of two girls, one entering her ‘tweens.  Maybe I’m just getting old.  Maybe, horror of all horrors, I am just a little more old fashioned than I care to admit.

Or maybe, I just have a little common sense!!!

What the hell is up with parents pushing their kids to grow up? (and tangentially related – what’s up with Mariah Carey’s Lolita image for her new ad for her perfume?

CREEEEEEEEPY!!!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for acting like you’re in your 20’s, but like you’re in your early teens? when you’re 42? Please!).

Where was I going with this?

I’m not sure.

The other day I listened as some parents talked about some of the hazards of discussing weight issues in front of their girls.  The ire was directed toward the school nurse and the school  I can’t pretend to understand what it is like to be a young girl with body image issues or being a mother who went through similar trials as a little girl.  I can tell you that as a kid I was fully aware that I was shaped like a lollipop (huge, I mean HUGE, melon, stick body).

The discussion in and of itself didn’t bother me so much as the history behind it.  This group of girls had been essentially given free reign as kindergarteners and first graders, watching shows that were essentially way beyond their years with themes that were beyond their developmental capacity to process in a healthy way.

I can’t control what they want to watch.  They don’t listen. I hear that a lot.  That’s like the woman who sued McDonald’s for selling Happy Meals.  She said that the Happy Meals had to go because she couldn’t say no to her kids when they asked for them.

Um. Right.

Who’s the parent again?


I am a huge fan of being fit and eating well, but I think that the images of both men and women we see in the media today are unattainable.  Very few of us (if any) can look the way Brad Pitt or Britney Spears look in a magazine – truth is, neither can they.

Britney Spears

Sofia Veraga

Kim Kardashian

Miley Cyrus

Brad Pitt

Okay, so I’m kidding with the Brad Pitt picture, but you get it, right? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even recognize some of these celebrities if they went out au natural. The sad part is we’ve reached a place as a society where even those stars that are very attractive without the make-up (Beyoncé, Eva Longoria, Jessica Alba to name a few) get hammered by the public if they walk outside without.

So what’s my point? Stop blaming the schools and the State for the image issues that a generation of young women are suffering through regarding their self-image, it’s not their responsibility.  It starts at home, first by taking charge as a parent of what comes in and out of the house and second through example.  Encourage a healthy lifestyle, but not just in the food we eat, but in the way we move and the way we behave – a 7-year old (or a 10 or 12 or 16 year old) should not be dancing at a dance recital as if she’s been taking lessons at The “Stripper Pole” Dance Academy.

As the great Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

or maybe I’m just getting old.

I’ll get off of my soapbox now.

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Everything moves in cycles and that includes our motivation. Sometimes the speed of the cycles is steady, sometimes it varies.

As some of you know, my mojo has been at a nadir for some time now. I have been unable to get myself going – there’s always a half-decent excuse, which is great if you believe in half-decent excuses…unfortunately, I do not.

But this week I do feel it coming back.  It’s a trickle, but I can feel it, building slowly.

Two things have helped move me along.

  1. On Sunday I was fortunate enough to receive a Garmin Forerunner 610 as a Fathers’ Day gift.  (inevitable review to follow).
  2. Yesterday, a free pair of Brooks’ Green Silence – I won them by winning my buddy Doug’s —>36K for Miracles virtual race <— – arrived in the mail (another inevitable review to follow).

On Monday, though normally a rest day, I had to take the watch out for a test run.  Tonight or tomorrow (whenever I can squeeze in the time – school letting out has thrown the schedule out of whack) I will be taking the Green Silence for a test run as well.

I am working my way back to my marathon training (I had better! there are just over 5 weeks to go) after 10+ days off.  The Mojo ain’t flowing freely just quite yet, but these two items have provided an external spark that I think are just the trick for getting me back on track.  My mind is taken off of the fact that my self-motivation is low and focused squarely on my two new toys.

Which brings me to what I have been preaching since the inception of the blog (if not longer) – by whatever means possible get yourself moving one way or another and then let momentum/inertia take over.  If it takes an external push to get going, fine! Use it until the internal engine kicks in.  It’s like a stick-shift car with a dead battery – get some friends to push the car, pop the clutch, finally get the engine started and then you’re off.

I’ve got the car in gear, clutch engaged, and am slowly rolling down the hill.

Will my Mojo in a Box work?  If I pop the clutch, will the engine start?

Check back next week.

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A big, fat 0.

That’s the number of miles I have run in the last 7 days.




I’m definitely starting to get a little grumpy.

But now I am battling myself on two fronts.  The fire, that internal engine is still stuck in neutral; motivation to train is at a low; but even if the desire were back, I am now facing an issue of pain in my right heel, my right knee and right hip.  The latter two, I am convinced, are offshoots of the first.

Not to get too graphic, but a callused part of my heel decided couple of weeks ago to crack. That has led to a sharp pain in my heel, which has led me to alter my gait, which I am convinced has thrown off the fine-tuning on my right leg.  It doesn’t help that my right leg has always been noticeably smaller than my left, that I am weaker on the right side.  My symmetry has always been a little off, but this cracked heel has thrown everything way off balance.

Those aches and pains that have kept my motivation down these past several weeks are waxing, not waning.

It is not the expected result of rest.

I’m going to have a serious problem if things don’t turn around in the next week or two.  I still believe I can be ready for my next marathon on 5 weeks training, maybe even 4, but the last time I tried to fake my way through on anything shorter (my first marathon), the result was frozen quads at mile 20.  At least if it happens at Around the Lake, I’ll be no more than a mile and a half from the finish.


I hate this feeling.

My motivation may be in the crapper right now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to run.





I want to sweat, I want to breathe hard, I want to feel spent.

It is my therapy.

Hopefully the heel heals soon and a modicum of symmetry is returned to my body.  I really think that once I stop limping, the knee and hip will right itself.

At least that’s my hope.

I hope I’m right.

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It’s been almost a week since my last run.  I’ve officially only missed 4 runs on my training schedule and am most likely to miss a fifth tomorrow.  Although I am starting to feel a little antsy, I don’t have that sense of urgency that has driven me in the past.

When I wrote a couple weeks ago about losing my mojo, many of you left me comments saying that maybe my body was just trying to tell me something; maybe after training all winter for Boston and then starting right back up a few weeks later for another marathon, my body just needed a break.  At the time I took it all in intellectually, but in my heart I did not, could not accept that.  Giving lip service to the idea that I may have needed a break, I decided to rest on my scheduled recovery run days.  All I ended up doing was pushing myself harder on my other training days.  It worked – for about a day or two and then my body finally said, “Enough!”

For the last week, the little aches and pains that simply come with training – those badges of hard work I wear so proudly – have intensified a bit.  They are not debilitating by any means, but they are uncomfortable.  For the past week I have been waking up in the mornings and simply letting my aches and pains dictate whether I would run or not.

The answer has been clear:



Truly recover.

And so each of those mornings I have done just that.  I did not set out to take a week off, but it looks like that is what my subconscious has decided I need.

Despite being only 6 weeks away from my next marathon, I am not panicked, I am not worried, I am not afraid.

This Sunday I hope to go out for a Fathers’ Day long run – no intensity, just some nice, long easy miles.  Maybe I will get back into the training program.  Maybe I won’t.  Either way, I am still signed up for Around the Lake and I will still be shooting for a 3:15.

The next 6 weeks are going to be interesting.

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I am running and quite frankly I’m a little disappointed in CNN.

Tonight is the first official debate between 2012 Presidential Nominee hopefuls for the Republican party. Forget the fact that I’m not a Republican, but come on CNN, not even a phone call or an email or a tweet to ask my opinion on the candidates?

Some of these guys JUST started running. I’ve been running for over 2 years!!!

Okay, so maybe I haven’t officially “officially” announced my candidacy for the top office of the United States, but come on!

Each and every one of these Republican candidates has a broad, if not very vague and general platform they are running on – cut taxes, cut spending, rescue the economy – but none of them is specific on HOW they are going to do that!

And don’t even ask them about health care. The only thing they can throw out is repealing “Obama-care”.


I’ve been running for over 2 years and my platform is fairly clear. Better living through better living!

  • Get This Nation Healthy – incentivize exercise and healthy eating and change the mentality of big corporations so they will want their workers to be as healthy as they can be.
  • Lower Insurance Costs – healthier citizens means lower health costs means lower insurance cost.
  • Increase Production – healthier workers means more production per man-hour.
  • Stimulate the Economy – bigger production and spending less on medical costs and insurance means more money being spent on goods means more demand means a healthier economy.
  • Regain Our Status – once the economy is clicking again, the United States will again be THE place everyone wants to be.

It can’t happen overnight, but with the right attitude and a strong desire, we can once again be the lean, mean powerhouse machine. With clear eyes and full hearts, we can’t lose.

Yeah, I may not be up on international politics, and I can’t say I really know much about how to run a country, but I DO know that we need to take care of our own people and give them the tools so they are able to succeed on their own. With some hard work, a lot of sweat and a little knowledge, we can get this country back in saddle!

Better living through better living – that’s the Run Luau Run platform.

Follow my campaign on Facebook:

Luau 2012 | Promote Your Page Too

Click the badge above to join the Running Party!!!

or follow the campaign on Twitter:


Now, who wants to be my running mate?

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I am running – pounding the treadmill.

My demeanor is calm, almost stoic, but I am sinking.

Sweat is dripping out of every single pore of my body. I am drenched. The display of the treadmill is spattered.

I’m waiting…waiting for the endorphins to kick in; waiting for the wave of “feel good” to wash over me and wash away the troubles of the day, the 1000 paper cuts that are threatening to bleed me out. I wait, and when I feel like I’ve waited long enough, I double-down and pick up the pace. The sweat continues to pour out of me, now like a leaky bucket losing water.

My breathing becomes labored and yet, I am still calm, stone-faced and waiting.

When the endorphins finally kick in, it is almost anti-climactic.

Yes, I feel good.

Yes, there is some release of tension.

But there is an underlying sense of dread, of sadness, of disappointment, of loneliness.

Something is not right. There is still a weight upon my chest, my shoulders, pressing down. The immediate world around me is no longer bending to my will. The destiny of me and my family no longer seems to be in my hands.


I think about Brooke’s future a lot. I know that any parent thinks about their child(ren)’s future, but when you have a child with special needs, like Brooke has, those concerns get multiplied. What roadblocks will autism throw up against her as an adult? as a teenager? as a tween? next week? It doesn’t seem to stop. A few weeks ago we had a scare that Brooke might be suffering from brain seizures (nearly 1/4 of kids on the autism spectrum will at some point suffer a seizure of some sort). She had been rolling her eyes into her head sometimes at a terrifying rate of 10 – 15 times per minute. In the end, after an EEG and an evaluation, it was determined that she was not suffering from seizures, but rather a motor tic associated with autism.

Not that I would have wanted it to be a brain seizure, but I thought, “Great, just one more thing that is going to make it difficult for her. Great!” Fortunately the eye rolling has subsided immensely. I now see her do it maybe 10 times in a day as opposed to 10 times in a minute.

That, along with a few other factors related to Brooke, have taken their toll I think. My sleep has suffered. My running has suffered. My motivation to do ANYTHING has suffered. I have been sinking slowly in a quicksand that has threatened to swallow me up.


But then last night I was thrown a rope.

Jess and I went to listen to a talk given my Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson. She spoke on the state of science and research in the field of autism – where we were, where we are and where we just might be going in the not-so-distant future. Jess is much better at conveying events, so I will leave it to her to elaborate on the talk, but I will tell you this – we were sitting with Mrs. SGM, a military wife/mother of a little one with autism. At the end of the talk, Mrs. R went up to Dr. Dawson and told her that this was the first time she had been to something like this where she walked away with a sense of hope – a true sense of hope.

That is exactly how I felt.

It took those words for me to realize that my “hope” had been waning over the past few months. It was more of a general deterioration of my hope for the future. As the economy continues to struggle and town budgets get tighter, administrators eye more and more the funds spent on a child like Brooke. Long-term views are replaced by short-sighted ones. It’s happening everywhere and our community is no exception. So my hope for Brooke had taken a beating.

Until last night.

What she said will not impact the budget issues each town faces, but as I listened to Dr. Dawson speak, I was lifted by the possibility that big breakthroughs are right around the corner – that there may be a time, relatively soon, when Brooke’s autism won’t demand so much attention, so much manpower. My hope for a truly independent adult Brooke was reborn.


And with that, a certain amount of weight was lifted off of my chest. This morning I woke up just after 4AM and went for my run (10 miles, putting me over 1,000 miles for 2011!). There was the usual dragging my butt out of the comforts of my bed, but there wasn’t the sense of defeat and dread that has accompanied the moment of consciousness this past month or so.

Did Dr. Dawson’s talk resolve the issues we are currently dealing with now? No. Not even a little. BUT, as I look out over the horizon of time, I can see the storm clouds starting to break. The skies aren’t quite as dark or threatening and I think I see some sunshine coming through.

Thank you Dr. Dawson and Autism Speaks for inadvertently throwing me a rope and bringing back the sun.

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

-The Beatles

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This is the second time an Autism Speaks scientist has pulled me out of my funk. I had the pleasure of also seeing Dr. Tager-Flusburg again last night.

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Maybe it was  the high expectations I had of myself.

Maybe it was the fact that the heat & humidity beat me into submission.

Maybe it was that at one point in the race I quit – I simply gave up.

Whatever the reason, Sunday’s race did not go according to plan – and I’ve been struggling for over a week now as to how to write this race recap.


My thinking had been that since I had been able to cover the hilly Heartbreak Hill Course in 1:32 just two weeks earlier, that I would be able to take on the flatter Run To Remember course in 1:31.

Seconds before the starting gun I realized that I wasn’t excited; I wasn’t pumped.  I kept telling myself to get psyched, but it just wasn’t happening.  Yet for all the lack of adrenaline, I still felt like 1:31 was a very reachable target.

The gun went off, and after the inevitable walk, jog, run, walk, stop, run of getting across the starting line, I was off.

Somewhere before mile 2, not really paying attention to pace...oops! - photo courtesy of J. Alain Ferry (RaceMenu.com)

After covering the first 2 miles in 13:20, I realized too late that I had gone out too fast.  I would cover the next two miles in 14:00 (7:00 per mile was the initial goal), but by that time, I was in trouble.  The heat and humidity began to take its toll and every mile thereafter, except for the final 1.1 got slower and slower.

Still, through 6 miles I was still 20 seconds under target (having run miles 5 and 6 in 14:20 for a total time of 41:40).  By the end of mile 7 however (a 7:22), with my pace continuing to drop, I finally dropped behind pace of my stated goal.

For a brief flicker of a moment I thought, “it’s rally time.  Get our ass in gear Luau!” and I tried, I really did, but my calves just didn’t have it on that Sunday.

I'm faaaaaaaadiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnng! Somewhere around mile 7+ - photo courtesy of J. Alain Ferry (RaceMenu.com)

Truth be told, this race was uneventful and without the dramatics I have grown used to in my past races.  There was no reeling in of other runners; no sprint to the finish to catch somebody I had been eying for the last mile.  It was almost as if my attitude on the whole was simply blah.  Maybe it was the heat and humidity, I don’t know.

I did close with a strong final 1.1 miles, but even there I was unable to catch any runners ahead of me.  What pisses me off the most now is that I didn’t care (at the time anyway).

I would finish with a time of 1:35:54.  Well off my PR two weeks earlier.  Still I did finish 167th out of 5,248 total runners and 28th out of 474 runners in my age group.


In the midst of my slow implosion, I had what will be one of my more memorable racing moments:

Somewhere between miles 7 and 9 (it’s all a blur), a guy pulled up to the left of me.

He could tell I was lagging.

“Come on, Luau” he said.

“I don’t have it today,” I said trying to scan his face for some recognition, “my calves are shot.”  We chatted briefly, talked a moment about the Boston Marathon and then it was time for him to keep moving.  I was slowing him down.  He tried to get me to come with him, but it just wasn’t happening.  I still had no idea who this guy was.  As he pulled away he said, “great blog! Long time lurker!”  John had recognized me, either from my shirt or shoes or sunglasses or all three.  It was a neat moment of realizing just how inter-connected this running community is.

Lifted by this, I rallied briefly, chasing John for about a half-mile before I once again had to slow down.

After I finished, I walked back about a 1/2 mile along the course to see if I could cheer/run in a friend who was running her first half-marathon.  I settled next to some kids who I remembered cheering me in as I had passed them.  Their enthusiasm had been fantastic and nearly 30 minutes later when I had made my way back, it hadn’t waned.  These kids were cheering everybody on as they waited for their mom to come by.  As disappointed as I was in myself, my spirits were lifted by the raw energy these kids were giving to the passing runners.  You could see faces change as they approached and heard these kids yelling and screaming their lungs out.

It was standing here, cheering on the runners that I had another neat personal moment:

As I stood there clapping, shouting, encouraging, getting mildly dizzy from scanning the crowd for my friend, a tall guy with dark hair high-fived me as he went by.

“Hey!” he yelled.

I was a little taken aback, not sure what he was going to say next.

“I love your blog!”  Another runner who reminded just how small our running world is.

Between John, Dark-Haired Runner and my dailymile friend Lynda B (who recognized me before the race because of my multi-colored shoes) I was able to take a lot of positives from a performance that was somewhat disappointing.

So to John, D.H.R. and Lynda, I thank you!


I did learn a few things though from this race:

•when the humidity is at 89% and then temperatures are rising quickly, DON’T go out too fast.

•don’t run a hard, fast-paced 12-Miler less than 36 hours before a half-marathon you are hoping to PR at. Friday night after putting the family to bed, I hit the treadmill to watch the Bruins while running my scheduled 12-Miler. In part because it was late and I wanted to get to bed, I ran it way too fast. As I trudged upstairs after my run, and despite being excited by the Bruins game 7 win, the weight of my legs gave me pause. I wondered if I had blown my race with that run.

•sometimes the random race where there is no expectation, like The Heartbreak Hill Half I ran two weeks before, are better opportunities to PR. It didn’t hurt that there was no pressure and it was a good 15° cooler.


I’m thinking maybe next year, especially if it’s hot and humid like it was for this race, I may switch to the 5-Miler and call it a day.

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I’ve run 15 miles this week.  All at once, late at night. That’s it.

I just haven’t been able to get my butt up and out in the morning.  There have been excuses – Tuesday morning’s 13-miler I skipped because I was recovering from Sunday’s half-marathon race.  Yesterday’s 5-mile recover run I skipped because I had run 15 miles late the night before and then I ran out of time later in the day.  Then I couldn’t get out of bed for this morning’s 10-miler because, well, because I had a headache and was tired.  Really?  A headache?  and because I was tired?

Where has my mojo gone?

When the alarm went off at 4AM this morning, I rolled over and went back to sleep.  I dreamed about the Around the Lake Marathon coming at the end of July.  But the dream wasn’t about excitement.  No, despite the race being almost 2 months away, I dreamed that it was 10 days away and I was telling myself I needed to be tapering and NOT running the 10-miler I missed this morning.  What the Hell does that mean?

Motivation is low and I don’t know why.  I can’t even get the Run To Remember race report done (and I love writing race reports).

Dude, where is my mojo?

Maybe it’s the change of seasons.  Maybe it’s the other crap going on in every day life that is starting to creep in.  Maybe it’s the R-Un-Apture? Maybe I just need to run it out.  Whatever the reason and solution, if you see my mojo in your travels, please tell it it is missed and needs to come home.  I miss my morning runs.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Whether you are racing or training, run strong and run happy.

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