Scott Stevens and Changes in Running

By Beau Seegmiller

Scott Stevens started running of his own free will and choice in 1998. For better or worse his first experience with running was of the “forced” variety in the military. In his own words, “It was not really out of enjoyment.” In 1998, however, he began running two to three miles at a time to get in shape. Since those early solo miles Scott has witnessed and experienced many changes in running.

In that first year of running he got talked into joining a team in the Sawtooth Relay. “That was back when it was a twelve man team, Stanley to Boise.” Still very new to running, Scott did not do anything different in his training, like hills, to prepare for the distance and elevation. Needless to say, he discovered a few things about running in that race, one of which are the dangers of cotton underwear. The chafing is still quite memorable today as he recalls needing to just push through the pain for two miles in his second leg until things went numb. In spite of all this, Scott fell in love with running.

While he has had times since then when he has not been particularly inspired to run, he has discovered that if he puts a race out there, he will keep pretty motivated. Scott has completed three marathons and a lot of half marathons and 10ks. He is even considering getting into the ultra distance race scene with a 50k this year. Half marathons are his favorite. “You don’t get too beat up on the half.” In addition to racing and conditioning, Scott has also come to value “that quiet time to yourself to think about things” when on a run.

Running across the years since 1998, Scott has seen some changes. “Running has gotten a lot more popular.” The size of the running community here in the Boise area has grown quite a bit. “Back in 1998, you literally had maybe a handful of races all year long. There just were not that many to choose from. Now there are races every month of the year.”

For Scott personally he has grown to include more trail running and to run socially. He found that the scenic atmosphere running on a trail is very enjoyable. “I used to do all of my running alone. Then I joined the BAR in 2012.” Even then, it wasn’t until Monica Runningwolf took over the leadership of the BAR that the increased events and activities drew him into the social aspects of running.

“Most of my running years, I have been just a lone runner.” So, whenever he raced, there was never anybody really there at the end, specifically cheering him on. “Well, once I was a member of the BAR, you have this group of people. And they are waiting for you.” He recalls one time, in particular, when he was coming around a corner in Anne Morrison Park approaching the finish. “And totally unexpected, there was this huge group of people, ‘Scott!!’ Now I couldn’t do anything but smile and run faster.” Scott says that experiences similar to that one have happened a number of times due to the friendships and community he has found in the BAR.

I am sure there are more changes to come in running in the future, but Scott has been part of some pretty wonderful ones here in the Boise area!

The Awesome on the Other Side of the Uncomfortable

By Beau Seegmiller

It is raining outside. The cold, wet weather on the other side of my window reminds me of a drive less than two months ago late on a Friday night to get to Pettit Lake campground in the Sawtooth Mountains. I had spent the day teaching followed by coaching my middle school cross country team. I was tired and it was raining with a forecast for snow. I was traveling to complete the Alice-Toxaway Loop run the next morning. This spectacular 18.6 mile loop through some of the most stunning scenery in Idaho presented some significant challenges. The trails, far from smooth, are rocky and ascend to 9,000 feet over Snowyside pass. Snow would not prove helpful. I was uncomfortable with what the weather presented.

I do not think it an overstatement to say that we do not like to feel uncomfortable. Most of the technological developments over the last two centuries have focused on maximizing comfort while eliminating discomfort. This natural development is understandable since discomfort and pain usually indicate some very real problems that can even be life-threatening. Ironically, I have discovered that there are certain discomforts, uncomfortable moments, that are actually wondrous passageways to awe-inspiring moments that cannot be realized or experienced otherwise.

It was in a coaching seminar that I learned about the clear relationship between feeling uncomfortable and athletic performance from Joe Vigil, the famed Adams State Cross Country coach. Vigil said that most people live in a comfort zone. They seek out a state of always being comfortable and satisfied. They do not take risks. They also fail to stand out in the pursuits or tasks in which they engage.

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Pyramid of Performance – Joe Vigil

He continued by describing the next level up the pyramid of performance. This group of people are willing to make commitments. They have aims and objectives for which they are willing to get occasionally uncomfortable in order to achieve.

The next level involves high performers who are more willing to take risks and get uncomfortable in order to reach their goals. Vigil stated that this group approach being uncomfortable more often than they are comfortable.

The top level performers, the peak on this pyramid, are constantly pushing the envelope beyond being uncomfortable. In Vigil’s words they actually become comfortable being uncomfortable.

The olympic cyclist, Kristin Armstrong reflects Vigil’s words when she said, “I want to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because it isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can.”

 

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Morning sun on the Alice-Toxaway Loop

I drove on in the rain that night, eventually arriving to the campground where my lovely girlfriend, Sara, had a warm meal ready for me, the tent set up, and my down sleeping bag laid out. I slept very comfortably that night and woke up to cool, clear weather. The foreboding forecast of snow never materialized and I ran along streams and lakes in the brilliant morning sun. The light in the mountain air lit up the stunning granite peaks. As I breathed in the clean, crisp air, I reflected on how ideal the conditions were for such a run. My run that day proved to be a profound experience of awe and replenishment that sustained me for weeks. In the end, for this weekend, the only discomfort I experienced had been in the anticipations of a worried mind.

Looking out the window at the rain still falling, I know that with the turning of the seasons uncomfortable weather will be inevitable and unavoidable. The question in my mind is where will I be on the performance pyramid. Can I become more comfortable with being uncomfortable? Will I be able to discover the awesome on the other side?    

See you out on a run!

Zen Running

by Todd Mahoney

Some of my earliest childhood memories involve (seemingly) endless waiting at finish lines at various running events.  So boring when you’re 7.

My dad was a running fanatic, he joined “the cult” shortly after getting out of the Marine Corps. Growing up, I remember stacks of running magazines and the endless fascination with shoes.  From 1979-1987 he ran this crazy race every year called The Race to Robie Creek – his favorite.  Occasionally we would have tailgate picnics on Shaw mtn road while we waited on Dad to finish a training run. We (my mom, younger sister and I) all thought he was certifiably nuts.  I tried some running in middle school but I found going in circles around a track uninspiring.

Karate was my thing.

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Todd running the 2017 Race to Robie Creek.

From age 10 to 18 I would get sweaty and bruised every week in a karate gi. Because of that,  I developed a healthy interest in some of the eastern philosophies our Sensei incorporated in our class.  It helped me pin down this connection between my physical self and nature I’ve felt. I’ve always found being in the great outdoors a spiritual connection – part of my youth was spent growing up in the Ketchum/ Sun Valley area.  My version of “church” involves mountains, trails, rivers and pine trees. 

Fast forward to 2014.  After a year of suffering through the run-three-miles-nonstop obstacle, I had just completed my first “race” – the FitOne 5k.  It was fun. I was hooked.  As I was recovering (you would think I just ran 12 miles!) I came across this group of runners hanging out under this canopy with “The Boise Area Runners” logo on it.  One of them introduced herself to me and we chatted briefly.  She handed me a card and told me about their group runs.  From day one I found this group to be welcoming and friendly.  They are a valuable resource of running knowledge and encouragement.  It’s nice to have people you can share your victories and failures with over a beer. People who “get it”. Over the years some of the faces have changed but the vibe is always the same. 

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Todd and Andre after the Turkey Day Run.

Every runner has their reasons for lacing up and heading out.  I actually don’t do it for fitness, though it is a nice side effect.  I’m not into medals and the only person I compete with is myself.  I run for this zen like experience I get out on the trails with the critters and trees.  Sometimes I might catch a glimpse of the ghost of my younger self when I’m running up Rocky Canyon.  I love that I have a great location and a  great group of people to do this with.  

Cheers!

~Todd

Running’s Many Things

My first attempt at running was extremely short lived. I was a freshman in college at the time, and unfortunately, far more taken with the idea of being a runner than actually running.  

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Amy with one of her daughters after the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon.

My second attempt was a little more successful. By that time, I’d had my first baby and was wanting to shed the last of my extra pregnancy weight. I needed something I could do with my little one in tow. So, I got a jogger stroller and started doing laps around the country roads out where we lived at that time. And it worked! And then I gave it up. Until I had my second baby. And then I ran that extra weight off, too. At that point, it was a means to an end for me and nothing more. When I was done shedding pounds, I was also done with running.

My third attempt, years later, I turned to running as a way of relieving the stress of transitioning from ‘stay-at-home-mom’ to working full time. It definitely helped turn my anxiety dial from ‘overwhelming’ to ‘more manageable.’ Also about that time, I made a new friend who happened to belong to a running group. She kept inviting me to join them on a group run, but as someone who had only ever run alone, I was super intimidated by the idea. It took a while, but once I finally built up the nerve to show up I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly and welcoming everyone was.

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Amy with the Boise Area Runners during the Spring 2017 Running Retreat.

Not to mention, helpful! And this is true, not only of that first group I started attending (almost 10 years ago!), but of every other running group I’ve since had the pleasure of being involved with. As runners, it’s so nice to have a place to ask questions and to get the tips and advice we needed to help us improve and meet our goals. We ‘get’ each other. And the sense of appreciation we have for one another, for the effort we put into our training, and for the sport itself, runs deep.

It’s true running’s many things to many people. But perhaps an even more beautiful aspect of that truth is how it can also be many things to the same person. At least that’s been the case for me in my life.

Amy P.

Julie Ford Keeps Running Vibrant

Julie Ford ran for twelve hours last March as a competitor in the Pulse Endurance Runs around Eagle Island State Park. In that time she completed 53 miles and placed fifth overall despite some brutal, wet conditions. Those of us who know Julie were not surprised by her stellar performance. What may surprise many is that Julie took up running relatively recently. More importantly, in that time, she has made running a vibrant, natural part of her life.

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Julie in the middle of a marathon. Smiling and having fun!

In her own words: “I used to do a lot of biking…I rode across the country on my bike back in 1996. I mean I strictly, only did rode biking.” Not a run mixed in there until she moved from Ohio to Boise in 2007. While Ohio had miles of farmland roads that were ideal for bicycling, Julie found Boise’s set up more difficult: “Here it is just harder to get out and get miles.” Plus, with cell phones and texting she didn’t feel safe on a bicycle on the road anymore. Many cyclist friends of Julie were having accidents caused by inattentive drivers. Add in the many other outdoor activities, like the hiking and skiing available in Boise, and “biking kind of fell away.” Julie felt like she needed something. Enter running, but not right away.

Julie’s first race was in May of 2008 when she completed the Race for the Cure 5k. Her words: “I hated it.” It wasn’t until spring of 2010 that at some level she knew she needed that outlet lost from bicycling. Michael, her husband, started getting into running and had signed up for a race. Julie thought she could take on the 10k, then she eyed the half marathon, and then, next thing she knew, she signed up for her first full marathon: the Columbus Marathon. Facing her first big race, Julie put her training plan on a calendar and discovered that as the mileage built up and she checked off training run after training run, she could see very clearly her progress and growth as a runner. She felt a great sense of satisfaction in training for and finishing that first marathon.

Since then Julie has not let up. To date she has completed 17 full marathons, 2 ultra marathons, and 14 half marathons. She is in pursuit of completing the 50 state challenge to run a marathon in all 50 states. “It is just a neat way to see different places. It is typically only the day of a marathon where a major city is going to shut down. Where you can run through a major downtown.” She explains the joy of visiting a place she would normally not think a desirable place to visit only to discover a great city with great food, like a recent marathon trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She loved it!

The high points of her running have centered around the varied and diverse running goals she has set for herself. The twelve hour race on Eagle Island was such an experience. “It challenged me. It got me to do more than I thought I could do.” A year ago, she set out and became a Marathon Maniac by running three full marathons within 90 days. Next year, there will be something else. She is not sure what, but maybe she will complete two back to back marathons in two days. Julie believes that running should be a routine but also diverse. “I think that is when people burn out, when they are always doing that same route. Over and over again.”

Julie also strives for a healthy balance in her running social life. Running provides that needed alone time. “I love running with the BAR (Boise Area Runners), but on my long runs, I got to do it by myself. I need that time to completely zone out.” Yet, the BAR and social media have also been very important in keeping running vibrant “because, if it wasn’t for BAR, then no, I don’t think I would be doing this.” She has met so many people that provide inspiration and “everyone in the BAR is so supportive of one another.” Social media also adds to this motivation because she is aware of what others are up to and wishes them well. When someone is competing in a race, she can track them and look up their results. Running is a living part of her community.

Julie’s advice to others: “Anyone can run. Everyone doesn’t have to run a marathon. Everyone doesn’t have to run a half marathon. It’s just about enjoying it.” Words that she lives by as running has become a part of her daily life.

 

See you out on a run!

Corum Hughes Exploring Running

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Corum competing in the 2017 YMCA Famous Idaho Potato Marathon.

Corum Hughes has explored many aspects of running across his life and has come to the stage where when I asked him what was the most significant peak of his running he said, “I think I am in my high point.” Corum recently completed his second marathon this last May in the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon with a 3:37:09 after training consistently through Boise’s most brutal winter in years. He has learned many lessons and experienced many aspects of running; his story goes all the way back to his childhood.

Running started in the fourth grade in Fredericktown, Missouri. The intermediate school he attended had an old dirt track next to it. For PE class all the kids would run laps around the track and collect a straw for each lap completed. Most kids walked and socialized as they went. Corum collected the most straws out of all his classmates. His PE teacher encouraged him and later told his parents that he had a lot of potential as an athlete in life.

When Corum reached high school he ran the two mile in track. He liked the challenge and that few others were willing to run that event even though he would consistently get lapped in races. Corum was a lineman on the football team in the fall, so it was no surprise when, in Corum’s words: “Coach came up to me and said, ‘I don’t think running long distance is your thing.’” Corum finished out high school track with some successes throwing the shot put and discuss.

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Riverside, CA 5k with Molly.

It wasn’t very long before Corum was inspired to run again when he became interested in an attractive cross country runner. He ran with her, and he ran outside of running with her, so that he could get in better shape and impress her more. It must have worked since she later married him!

After high school, Corum ran a lot more and lost a lot of weight. “I liked the challenge of running from one town to another.” The idea of competing with himself on runs began to take hold. He enjoyed seeing how far his body could go. The high point at this stage was to run all 16 miles to a neighboring town.

His first inspiration for running a marathon came from an English professor who was in the middle of pursuing a goal to run a marathon in all 50 states. Corum learned from her that a marathon is a technical distance (26.2 miles) and the seed was planted. Later, while attending school in Chicago, Corum signed up for the Chicago Marathon. Woefully underprepared, Corum did complete the entire marathon but everything from mile 16 to the end was agony. He swore he would never run another marathon without adequate preparation.

Eight years later and a move to Boise, Corum joined the Boise Area Runners – The BAR and discovered the power of a community of runners who hold similar goals. Marathon training is much more effective when done with others with similar paces, sharing different phases and stages of a training cycle. “A lot of the lessons I have learned about running have been slowly learning how to do it correctly.” Whether that be the idea that shoes matter or overstriding slows a runner down, Corum has drawn a lot from the runners around him.

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Running in 3 degrees F during the 2017 Boise winter with the dependable BAR tribe!

Today, Corum still runs for the health benefits and to see if he can do that next marathon faster yet (he is signed up for the California International Marathon in December). But, he is also running more in the now. Instead of focusing on what will happen in the next minute or when his run is over, he takes each moment and struggle in to make the most of it. Running consistently and feeling the improvement his body makes through conscientious training, Corum is pleased to say, “I am a runner.”

See you out on a run!

Above All Else, Bob Mueller Enjoys Running

You can find Bob Mueller’s warm smile and joyful demeanor at many BAR runs. Bob’s pure enjoyment of running for running’s sake is the secret behind that glow.

“I never was and never have been a competitive runner.” Bob didn’t run or train in high school. “I didn’t get really serious about running until I turned forty.” Now, he has been running well over twenty years, has completed over sixty marathon/ultra marathon races, and is just fourteen marathons away from completing the fifty marathons in fifty states challenge.

It all started when Bob changed jobs, and a guy he was working with was a big distance runner. This coworker claimed that anyone could be a runner through training at long slow distances. So, Bob started adapting those principles on his own. Then, his friend gave Bob a marathon training schedule. “The first time I ever had a bib number on was when I ran a marathon.” After completing that first marathon Bob thought he was done with running.

Wisconsin friends who ran city of trees in 2014, out for a visit, all 50 staters

Months later, Bob started to feel the itch to run another marathon. He had trained all on his own for that first race. He then thought training would be better with a group. He joined up with a marathon focused running group in Wisconsin where he made lifelong friends who paced with him, helped him grow, and got him interested in the fifty states marathon challenge. Running has become his favorite form of exercise. “I really value the benefit of a group more than anything else.”

Marathon Medals

When Bob moved to Boise, he found the BAR and joined the group. He loves seeing new members and helping new runners. “In every other sport you are competing against other people.” If there are people who don’t feel they are good enough to run with the group, “they just need to look at me. I am happy with where I am at; I don’t mind being at the back of the pack. Everyone is good enough to run.” Bob brings a pure enjoyment in running for all who participate in BAR runs to draw from.

The joy of running is of the utmost importance to Bob. “It was only eight years ago that I ran a 3:40 marathon to qualify for Boston and this year I couldn’t break six hours in Alabama. And, you know what? To me, I am equally satisfied with both ends of the scale…Wanting to improve is always there, so I wouldn’t want to imply that I am complacent. But, I enjoy running too much to get discouraged with where my performance level is at. Because then that ruins the whole thing. The day I can’t go out and say I enjoyed the run I was on and I worry more about the time I had, then I have taken all the joy out of the sport.”

Join Bob at our next BAR run and take part in the joy of running with him.

See you out on a run!

2016 Sawtooth Relay with Josh, Sarah, Kallie, Courtney, we didn’t know each other before event, permanent friends afterward.