Seven Shout-Outs for Today’s Run

It’s easy to be positive and agreeable when everything goes as planned, but what shows real character is how you respond when faced with tough challenges or the unexpected.  I saw lots of examples of people choosing to “do the next right thing”.  Let’s celebrate each of those folks:

Returning runners:  Quite a few folks who haven’t been at training for the last few weeks for various reasons showed up today.   You had fallen off the “Marathon Team wagon” but you jumped back on with enthusiasm.  Your presence strengthens the spirit of our team, and it shows you that you have the power to get back on track to continue progressing toward your goals.

Amy, our newest team member:  Having walked 4.5 miles for her first Sunday, and then walked a few more days last week, Amy’s knees told her she’d over trained. Instead of using the pain as a reason to sleep in this morning, she showed up to volunteer at the water stop.

Lauren: After the long drive to our starting point, Lauren decided she “just wasn’t feeling it” and was going to do her long run on another day.  She could have taken the van back to the House with Anna, but instead she chose to stay with Amy at the water stop.

Elizabeth:  None of her usual walking buddies were here this morning.  Faced with the prospect of a 3+ hour walk back to BTS by herself, she could have said “Never mind” and gone back home.  But she didn’t. She got out there and started walking anyway, completing the entire distance.

Full Marathoners:  Realizing that due to the complete standstill on the 101, it would be a long time to get to our intended start, they quickly and happily agreed to a “Plan B”.  We all got out of the van earlier than initially planned, and did the last 10 miles of our 14 mile route.

 Ali: Determined to get in the full 14 miles, Ali got back to BTS and ran another 4 miles. Let’s wish him the best next Sunday when he does the Surf City Marathon.

Anna and Amy: Our van drivers faced road closures, multiple traffic lights, and heavy traffic on the 101; and the time devoted to driving turned out to be much more than planned.  They didn’t complain, and instead, they cheerfully got everyone to where they needed to go.

 Thanks to everyone today for making choices that built to the team spirit, and showed your determination to “go the extra mile” for your recovery.


Justina’s Second Date and the Power of Our Team

How many of you, when asked what you’d like to do on your second date, answer “Let’s go for a 12 mile run at 7am on a Sunday”?!  That was Justina’s response. One of the new faces on Sunday was Daniel, Justina’s date, and even though he hadn’t run that long of a distance before, he agreed to give it a try.  They both finished looking happy.  Let’s hope he comes back again.  Thanks Justina for spreading the word and inviting someone new to join our community.

I hope he felt the power of our team spirit, and that he had as positive of an experience as I had on my first day back in 2012.  I joined the team back then, not knowing anything about Beit T’Shuvah, because I thought running my first marathon in support of a Jewish cause would keep me motivated.  Who knew it would change my life? 

I was so warmly welcomed by the team, and so inspired by the many success stories I heard as people shared where they were then vs. where they had been before coming to Beit T’Shuvah, that when I was asked to coach the following year, I eagerly accepted.

The spirit of this team is amazing, and I thank each of you for making that happen.


Jacqueline’s Story of her New and Improved Identity

Jacqueline shared an inspiring story with me that I’d like to pass along.  She described a typical day, while still actively using, sitting on the side of the road watching runners go by.  She wondered if she’d ever be “normal” like them, and if she could ever do something like that.  Back in those days, she thought of herself as someone who couldn’t finish anything she started, someone who couldn’t achieve a goal.  Not any more!

Now she’s someone who ran 10 miles, a distance most “normal” runners don’t achieve. She’s someone who can achieve a seemingly impossible goal, and is ready for even more challenging goals.  As she described it to me, “Running changed the way I think of myself.  It changed my identity!”


How has running changed your self image?!


Speed, Weed, and Pain Meds, a.k.a. “Runner’s High”

If you are a member of the Marathon Team, you have the opportunity to enjoy the effects of speed, weed, and pain meds, all at the same time. The euphoric feeling of “Runner’s High” that some of you have already experienced, and which all of you can, has real brain science behind it. 

Continuous vigorous exercise results in the production of three endogenous euphoriants, specifically phenethylamine, anandamide, and beta-endorphins.  Translating from clinical-eze to regular English, when you’re out there on the course pushing yourself for a while, your brain releases three chemicals that are very similar to those found in amphetamines, marijuana, and opioids/pain meds. And that’s what creates “Runner’s High”.  That experience of emotional release, spirituality, and profound joy is caused by the changes in brain chemistry that occur as you exercise. And that means you can create those feelings for yourself over and over.  How awesome is that?!

So, next time you have a craving, or even if you don’t, and you just want to feel great, go out for a run.  It’s cheaper, it’s legal, and best of all, you’ll feel really good about yourself afterward.