Adventures In Running


Be Someone’s Superhero

Written By: The Hornet - Jan• 02•13

No matter where I find myself or who I speak with, the conversation inevitably turns to running.  Sure, I am usually the one steering it that way, but I’m sure you will agree, running becomes an integral component of our identities. We run for various reasons based on our level of experience.  For many, it began as a path to quick weight loss and soon we discovered that it was surprisingly enjoyable.  Peeling away the layers of our minds mile after mile to obtain a better understanding of who we are and what is at our core.  Some long runs can take on an almost religious experience when we push beyond our perceived limitations.  It may feel like eternity in the rain, extreme heat or frigid cold, yet we never surrender.  I am fully aware this isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but once someone experiences the gratification of reaching a goal through their own hard work and mental fortitude, there is nothing that can compare to that feeling or take it from them.

We all know someone overweight, depressed or generally in a bad place in their lives.  They may be a coworker, neighbor or family member.  Nevertheless, these are the kind of people who can greatly benefit from our guidance.  It’s likely very lonely where that person “sits” and it’s our duty to lend a hand, believe in them and give them that nudge that can put them on the road to a happier, healthier life.  I’ll admit, you can’t just throw a pair of shoes at someone, go for a leisurely jog with them and expect the habit to stick.  It’s a complete lifestyle change and they could very well need someone to rejoice in their accomplishments, tell them to “put down the donut and nobody has to get hurt” or physically accompany them on their journey. By performing some of these deeds we are given the opportunity to change lives and potentially create a ripple effect.  The people you assist today may go on to help others tomorrow.

Influencing kids of all ages to run is something that will undoubtedly help them make productive life choices and surround themselves with quality friends.  Beyond that, it increases self-esteem, develops decision-making skills and meets a need that children have for excitement. This is a responsibility I have recently chosen to embrace and here are a few facts to support my decision:

  • Between 3:00 and 6:00 PM are the peak hours of violent juvenile crime and are also the hours when children are most likely to become victims of crime.  Choosing to run with them after school will consume this time doing something rewarding.
  • Areas with high crime rates also tend to have lower rates of physical activity.  Idle hands (and feet) are truly tools of the devil.
  • Female high school athletes are 92% less likely to get involved with drugs and 80% less likely to get pregnant than their non-athletic counterparts.

Our retired population also provides a wonderful opportunity for us to lend a hand.  Many of our seasoned citizens have health concerns and are unable to run, but are in desperate need of exercise.  Going for a short walk with Aunt Gertrude or Uncle Bert can be a great way to connect with someone, help them improve their health and maybe even motivate them to participate in a charity walk.  Just be sure to consult their physicians before you drag them out the door. 

Many of us have already helped someone begin a more active lifestyle and transform their bad habits to good ones.  This is just a reminder to keep up the good work.  We should never become so absorbed in our personal goals and responsibilities that we forget to impart the benefits of what we have learned onto someone who’s life may be altered forever.  So lace up your shoes, find that person in need and be the Superman or Wonder Woman that saves someones day.

Run for fun, but race to place.  Up, up and away!


The Wizard Of “On”

Written By: The Hornet - Dec• 05•12

On the rare occasions life is not throwing us a curve, our scheduled runs can seem almost effortless.  It affords us the opportunity to travel distant lands in our imagination, where running the big race or battling some fantastic enemy always ends with victory.  For a short time we’ve avoided the cell phone and never-ending e-mails.  But when our lives are disrupted by the tornadoes that tear us from our foundations, this escape is needed more than ever.  We can literally run through our personal land of make believe in search of a way back “home”.  Once in a while the journey begins with friends on a road paved with yellow bricks.

As runners, we take with us three very important and close friends to any competition.  The once Cowardly Lion finds the courage to stand up and confront our fears.   The Scarecrow can speak to us, providing the brains to make the correct decisions at the correct time.  And last, but not least, is our inner Tin Man equipped with the heart to keep pushing forward when it feels as if our legs could collapse at any moment.  With their help we will face any challenge. But what if we want more?  What if we have our three friends and it just isn’t enough to achieve our goals?

If you want to reach your full potential, a pair of Dorothy’s magic slippers MUST be on your feet.  By this, I mean the Cloudracer running shoe by On. They use the same Cloud technology as their other models but with a sleeker and lighter design for racing.  No matter what stretch of pavement you choose, they provide the comfort of running on a rubber track combined with traction superior to ANY shoe I have ever worn, which translates to a huge boost in speed.  After multiple races, a thirty second reduction to my 5k finish time was the immediate and lasting benefit when competing in the Cloudracers.  This can mean the difference between victory and defeat when the “flying monkeys” in your age group are hot on your heels.

Wicked Witch played by Michelle C.

Who is the Wizard of On?  Olivier Bernhard was a professional athlete, winning the world duathon championship several times as well as the Ironman title no less than six times.  Working with an engineer at the Zurich Institute of Technology, they developed the concept that has now become the science behind On’s running shoes.  With the help of his co-founders, David Allemann and Caspar Coppetti a revolutionary new shoe was produced that reduces the pain from running and therefore decreases recovery time.  The “clouds”, on the bottom of the shoe, roll to absorb the shock of forward motion as well as downward force.  Within each Cloud are a series of teeth that lock together upon impact and provide maximum stability and traction for pushing off.  For more information, please read my review of the Cloudrunner or visit On-running directly.

To be completely honest, I was reluctant to write this review because I’m giving away vital information about my secret weapon that will eventually be used against me.  It’s very easy to get spoiled by this brand of shoe and I can’t envision a day when returning to the technology of the past would be a sensible choice.  Besides, Toto’s become attached to his new Brooks chew toys.  

Mark my words, other running shoe companies will attempt to mimic On’s design when they realize the advantages.  Every year we see gimmicks and fads promising to increase speed and performance, but these shoes really deliver.  So be the first in your area to benefit from a pair of Clouds before your competitors get wise.  Like Dorothy says, “There is no place like home”, but home is even nicer when you return with a medal around your neck.   

As always, run for fun and race to place! (and maybe watch out for brooms coming out of the west)