The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


As of late, everywhere I look I see inspiration.  And I need it.  Just as my motivation wanes, God places these little sparks of inspiration to get me moving.

Yesterday morning my run had not gone particularly well, it wasn't bad mind you, it was just a struggle.  A few hours later, as I was driving to work, I saw a woman large in stature running down the road I was travelling.  This was not a long and flat road, rather it was extremely hilly.  Determination was etched on her face as she successfully tackled each hill.  I wondered what her story was.  What motivated her to change her lifestyle?  What brought her to the point to lace up a pair of running shoes?  How much weight had she lost already?

Clearly, the run was not easy.  But it didn't stop her.  At some point in her life she realized the pain of regret hurts more than the physical pain of a tough run.  Her strength inspired me and she has no idea.  She was simply running.

Standing in line at Starbucks today, indulging in my standard double tall non-fat latte, a woman with 3 active girls placed her order after me.  Obviously a regular to the baristas at the counter as they greeted her by name.  I was stepping to the side when she exclaimed, "It's been 18 days since my last cigarette!", her smile exploding on her face.  Turning to face her I said, "Congratulations!".

"Thanks!  I feel really good about it!  Really, really good."

"That's a big accomplishment, you should feel good about it."

She then explained to me, a complete stranger, about her struggle and how she has managed to quit the addiction on her own.  I look at the children, acting as children do, around her.  She easily could have used their high energy as an excuse to give herself a break and light up a cigarette.  But she didn't.  She had reached a point that said 'I want better'.

Walking back to my car, I thought of her smile.  There was so much joy in that smile, a joy that can not be called up on demand.  It is a joy that only comes from pride found through personal strength.  Not until she wanted better and started the tough journey of quitting her addiction could she find a strength she didn't know she had.  No one could quit for her; she had to do it.  And with each passing day she got stronger and learned that what she is capable of is greater than what she had known.  She rediscovered herself.

And that, my friends, is contagious.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Stolen Heart

The streets felt good under my feet.  There was an early morning coolness in the air that only a summer’s day could bring as it felt thick with the promise of the sun’s heat.  It had been two months  since I last ran through the city of Eugene, and I was enjoying this run immensely.

With some planning and a few emails back in forth, on my way through town I was fortunate enough to be able to run once again with my friend Jeff, a native of Eugene.   Back in May when I ran the Eugene marathon, Jeff ran by my side, stride for stride the entire race.  Today was no different, he’d mapped out an 18 mile run that would have me weaving in and out of the pathways that connected the city.

Taking me through a few city streets, we soon found ourselves crossing a footbridge over the Willamette River.  The water sparkled in the early morning sun as it meandered over rocks and boulders.  From the footbridge we turn onto a pathway.  Homes with perfectly manicured lawns line a waterway.  Spilling onto the water’s edge are ornamental grasses and flowering phlox creeping along hand laid stone walls reminding me of a land imagined in my youth inhabited by princesses and knights.

Jeff and I talk easily and the conversation centers around races, training and our running groups. Thinking of my friends and their long run, I wonder if they are enjoying blue skies and I wished they could be here running with us.  When you find something good, you want nothing more than to share it with your friends. 

Following the route I had run during the Eugene Marathon a few months prior, Jeff and I ran the path snaking it’s way alongside the river.  Much looked the same, much looked different as this time the hundreds of spectators were not lining the course.   The town was sleepy sans the bikers and runners we encountered along the route, giving proof this town loves physical activity. 

We crossed another footbridge while listening to the peaceful sounds of the moving river.  From here Jeff and I weaved in and out of several parks, each one bright green with life sprouting from grasses, trees and bushes.  This was turning into a gorgeous summer run. 

Turning onto Pre’s Trail, named after the town’s world known track star Steve Prefontaine who died tragically in the prime of his career, Jeff and I had begun the final 4 mile loop of our run.  Here my Achilles tendon began to loudly tell me it was not happy.  Deciding to play it smart and not push it, we cut the run short and not run the final 3 miles.  With sadness in my heart, we turned back to the hotel where I’d call it quits after 15 miles. 

After some ice cold water and a short rest, my family and I followed Jeff and his wife Tonya to one of their favorite splurges, a donut shop a couple miles from our hotel.  Rarely one to eat a donut, I could not resist the opportunity to extend our time, even by just a little, in this great little town. 

Laughter rose over the num-num-num of eating our sugary treats as Jeff and Tonya tell us of growing up here.  We sit outside listening to their stories while admiring the downtown scene.  I smile, my heart is warm.  I have fallen in love with a little town named Eugene.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

To Run or Not to Run

One of the many things I often hear is how much running will ruin my body.  What is extremely ironic this is always explained to me by people who do NOT run.  My friend Dane Rauschenberg came up with this great article listing the most often heard excuses - and his response - to why we shouldn't run.  A great read that I thought you would all enjoy.