Running for Health–AND Fun


I started seriously exercising 7 months ago.  I had been a staunch weight lifter years before but with a change in jobs I found myself getting a little heavier each year.  I first decided to run a “Warrior Dash” in Tulsa in September of 2011 and used that as my incentive to get back on the exercise track.  I began weight training at a gym then began short distance running as well.   As I increased my running sessions, I began entering 5K runs.   As I further increased my endurance, I entered longer runs and ultimately ran the Fayetteville half marathon in December 2011!   With the colder weather, I reduced my running sessions and am now eager to pick the pace back up, so I was excited to see the Community Run on

My immediate goal is to stay healthy, continue losing weight (I’ve already lost 40 lbs) and increase my speeds.  I enjoy the running trails around Lake Fayetteville and use my smartphone’s GPS and running software to help monitor my progress.  I occasionally also venture to Devil’s Den to run the Yellow Rock Trail to get out of the city and unwind.  I look forward to each new 5k because each is so different when you factor in the people, the weather and the running course.

Run A 5K In Every State This Year


I love goals, so I really appreciated the uniqueness of Deborah’s running goals.  Very interesting!

This year my goal is to complete a 5K in every state.  The Community 5K in West Fork will be my 11th state.  I’m excited about the Community 5K because I return to the state that I call home and have even recruited a friend to participate with me.  My goal is not to win races; my goal is merely to finish them and to improve my time as I progress!  My hope is that by the end of the year, I will finish in under 30 minutes.  J  My most interesting 5K so far was in Vermont (picture attached, two feet of snow, mountainous terrain).

Running With My “Best Friend”

Well, I never really wanted a dog.  My whole life I had always been a cat person, but one cold January morning I changed my mind.  I woke up about 7 am to put in a long training run, and my life would be changed forever.

I had been running for 10 years before I decided I had to run a marathon.  I only wanted to do one, and I had been around experienced marathoners long enough to figure out Memphis St. Jude is a great first marathon, so I train for that and complete it in 3:46.  At the time, it was 6 minutes from qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  I had been on pace to qualify until the 21st mile of the race, and I was passed by the 3:40 pace group and just kept on running slower and slower.  I figured that if I trained really hard I could qualify for Boston.

The Memphis Marathon is in December, so I take it easy over the holiday season and pick my training back up in January.  On this particular day I am out doing my long run and I ran across this black dog with a curly tail.  His ears were pointy but were always back.  I had ran across stray dogs before and some would even run with me but most would get tired real quick.  Not this dog.  It was more like a tortoise and hare scenario.  He’d run ahead, and I’d catch up.  I’d run ahead and he’d catch up.  This continued for about 15 miles.  This dog doesn’t have a collar, so I am guessing he is a stray.  I was really hoping he’d follow me home, but he gets distracted by another dog and runs after him instead.

I look for this dog all week on every run that I do, but cannot find him.  I really want to have this dog.  It occurs to me to look on the Springdale Animal Shelter website to see if he had been picked up.  I see an entry that says “medium black dog Schipperke mix.”  I had no idea what a Schipperke is, so I googled it and it looks just like my running dog.

The next Monday I go to the shelter, and it’s just so sad to see these dogs in there.  I was not leaving without a dog after seeing all of these dogs even if it’s not my running dog. I get to the cage that has Schipperke mix on it, and while the dog I had been running with had his ears back  the whole time, this dog’s ears were up.  I didn’t think it was him, and was kind of disappointed.  Since I was not leaving without a dog anyways, I get the dog.

I take him home, and he’s a little shy at first.  But, I soon find out that he is very playful.  I haven’t purchased toys for him yet, so he gets the cat’s toys and starts playing.  My cat to say the least is a grumpy cat.  She’d throw a fit if she’d ever seen a dog playing with her toys.

I’ve had him for a couple of days and still haven’t picked out a name for him yet.  I do see him eventually get real playful, and his ears go back.  He wags his tail, and I am now certain that I have indeed pick up my running dog.  I’ve decided that Kenyan is a very fitting name for him.  Kenyans are great runners.  Ethiopians are great runners, too, but I didn’t think Ethiopian was a cute name for a dog.

This dog has been the best running partner.  I usually take him 5 to 6  miles.  I’ve even done some races with him.  His 5K PR is 20:09.  One time the people of our local paper were so impressed by his running they put us running a race on the front page of the newspaper.  He does have some restrictions.  I will not run him in anything above 80 degrees, and to tell you the truth, he is kind of slow in anything above 60.  Sometimes I wished I lived in a colder climate because I run better in cooler weather, too.  He is the best running partner in the winter though.  Oh and I got my Boston qualifier in Oklahoma City that Spring in 3:32.

Check out this link for a nice picture of Abrena and Kenyan!

In Love With Running!


I have completely fallen in love with running! I recently started training for a half marathon that I will be running March 25 at the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in Dallas, TX.

I am running in the Community Run because one of my students asked me to run with her and I thought this is an incredibly fun activity to learn about the community of West Fork.
For training I run three days a week, two moderate runs and a long run, and I also cross train two days. I enjoy training because it helps me grow stronger including body, mind, and soul. I recommend running to anyone who has a spark of interest.

Running For My Sanity

I’ve been running for about a year and, true story, I only started running because everything except the treadmills at my gym was full. Yes, I do find that slightly embarrassing.

Running became my sanity in the months after the Joplin tornado. I’m a reporter and I walked about two-thirds of the disaster zone in the first three days for a paper in a nearby community. I’ve never wanted to run away from anything quite so much as Joplin the day after the storm. I guess technically speaking I get to run away all the time now, LOL, and I guess that makes me a runner.

The Community Run will be my first race. I’m hoping to run the Joplin Memorial in May so I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me.
A lot of work.


Why I’m Running The Community 5K


Kolin just signed up for The Community 5K and was gracious enough to share a little of his running story with us.  We’d love to hear from others who are planning to run, as well.

As for my story, why I signed up for the Community 5k: I want to run The Community 5k for numerous reasons. Let me start by saying I’ve only been running consistently since about mid-November. Although last year some friends of mine talked me into doing the Warrior Dash (5k mud run) and the Muddy Buddy (10k half bike, half run with a “buddy”)  but I just wasn’t a runner, I just thought they were fun (but tough). However, I did enjoy riding my bike and have been riding for the past year or so… Okay, let me get back to my story. I decided that I really needed to do something different, something new so I started off just walking (with an occasional jog) with a friend. I started building up the distance I could actually run (not just walk). Well, she kinda bowed out and it’s been a non-stop experience ever since. I definitely have the bug and I love it. Let me also add, up until about a month and a half ago, I was also a pack to pack and a half a day smoker. Since running, I decided I finally needed to cut that nasty habit out as well. Well, here I am about 2 months into running and in December I logged just over 44 miles and so far here in January I’m at 63 miles. As for my pace in November my average was 12:24/mile now I’m at 9:04/mile and improving (almost) every run. Also, I ran my first 5k earlier this month, the Tux on the Run in Rogers and I finished 11th overall and 3rd in my age group (30-39), I ran it in 24:17. Let’s just say I’m very proud of myself and my progress the past two months so that’s why I want to do The Community 5k. I will continue to improve and I always have to set a goal for myself… After doing my first 5k I just have the bug to compete, not necessarily with others but with myself. In addition, I plan on signing up for the Hogeye Half in April and this 5k falls into my training plan. So… There you have it. It may have been a long explanation but it is what it is… :-).

Thanks! Can’t wait for the Community 5k!!! I also want to thank Misty Newcomb for sending me the invite and letting me know about this race.

A Journey to Overcome Excuses


This is a guest post by Jessica L.  She will be running The Community 5K on February 25, 2011.  We would love to hear your running story, too.  Email us at to make a submission.

Hello. My name is Jessica, and I have made excuses to not run. There…I’ve said it. It’s out in the Internet galaxy, now. Whew!  Here’s a little bit of my story:

I began running early 2011 in part because many of my friends from The Community started running, and also in part because I was about to get married in the summer. I did not enjoy running at all in the beginning. I’m the type of person who would much prefer to dance the calories away in Zumba than run in circles, but Zumba costs money, and I felt like it was the right time to start establishing a sustainable exercising routine.

I have had my ups and downs over the course of the past year with running, but I can honestly say that I LOVE running now. With this new passion for running, I have been able to weed out which excuses were actually excuses to not run, and which excuses were honest roadblocks to me maintaining consistency.

The largest roadblock I’ve had to overcome is the roadblock of TIME. I am a middle school teacher, and my schedule is not conducive to winter running. I was doing great in the fall, but once the days got shorter, I found it increasingly hard to find time to run throughout the week. I don’t live in the safest of areas, so running in the dark is out of the question. Not to mention that if I wanted to run in the morning, I would have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. No thanks… Fitting it in after school is another issue, because while I would love to run right after school, I typically have a few hours of work to do before I can head home.

So, needless to say, come November I had quite a conundrum. And truthfully, my running came to a screeching halt. Things were busier around that time, but I found myself relying on the excuse of no time to justify my laziness! I knew that something had to change, and so I have become quite creative in finding places and ways to run in the winter. Here are a few of my ideas:

Run inside. Yes, you heard me. Become a mall walker. For me, I’m actually becoming an “inside school runner.” Thankfully most of the students are gone by the time I start this, because I’m pretty sure they would be scarred for life if they saw me beet red and sweating. It’s free (no gym membership), and temperature/light controlled. I know most of you aren’t teachers, but I am sure you could think of some place to run laps in. I used to work at the mall, and we always had walkers/runners in there before we opened. There’s no shame in throwing on that 80s wind suit to run!

Running Partner + Headlamp + Pepper Spray: This is self-explanatory. Find a partner; find a headlamp; find pepper spray. RUN!

Stairs: Many office buildings have multiple floors. You could run up and down the stairs for a while as your “hills” day in your training plan.

Get a Gym Membership: This costs money, but for many people may be worth it to be able to exercise at any moment of the day (or night). This is your health we are talking about. While I am a cheap skate, if I absolutely had to, I would get a gym membership because this is just that important to me.

So, if you still have excuses, please contact me and I promise you I will talk you out of all of them. I’ll go ahead and start now: When I run, I don’t need coffee (which is a miracle in itself) because I have so much energy. I don’t get sick as often (which is also a miracle considering I work in a petri dish), and I just feel better. I stay at a healthy weight, and my cravings for food become healthier.

So really…what is holding you back?!