Chicken Soup for the Soul: Marathon Mom

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Marathon Mom

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners

BY: Bonnie West

We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.
~Emil Zatopek

In 1980, when my children were old enough to stay alone for a few minutes, but young enough that it had to be only a few, I decided to make a dash to the store. I was thirty-four and breathlessly shocked that I couldn’t run two blocks without stopping. It was at that moment I was humiliated enough to take up jogging. We lived near a park and the trek from my house around the park and back was a mile and a half. Day after day I ran the course until I could do it without stopping. I was a runner! Unfortunately I was soon an injured runner with no idea how to stop the pains in my shins, but I did know who to ask. Twice a day I would see a fellow run past my house. I knew he lived in the white house right across from the park. He seemed to run a little more than I did, so I figured he’d know what to do. I knocked on the door and the guy I’d seen running so often answered. He introduced himself as Garry and listened while I told him I was a runner (I actually said that) and asked if he knew anything about running injuries. He gave me lots of advice and suggested I go to a running store and replace my little tennis shoes with something better.

At the store I mentioned my neighbor and was treated like royalty. The clerk explained that the guy I’d been talking to was Garry Bjorklund, the Olympic runner, and didn’t I know who he was? I knew enough to be totally embarrassed that I’d called myself a runner in his presence and resolved then and there to actually become one.

So I trained. Every day I ran a 5-mile loop, usually around 5:00 AM before my husband and kids woke up, and every day I would meet Bjorklund and a friend heading out as I was coming home. They always encouraged me, and I always picked up the pace.

In the fall of 1981, after a summer of intense training, I ran the City of Lakes Marathon. In order to get a T-shirt, you had to finish in less than four hours. I know it’s shocking, but in those days, there were no bags of treats, medals, prizes, and news coverage. There were just some time officials, awards for the top finishers, and a T-shirt for finishing in under four hours. I finished the grueling 26.2 miles in about 4 hours and 20 minutes, which might very well have been last place. Most everyone had gone home except a wonderful volunteer who vowed to stay until the last person finished. But I was too late for the shirt.

I went home that day, thrilled to have run my first marathon but devastated that I had nothing to show for it. My kids made me tinfoil medals and when they hung them around my neck, I started to cry. I think I was still crying when the doorbell rang and there stood Bjorklund. “You’re the one who deserves this,” he said, and handed me a marathon shirt.

 The Twin Cities Marathon replaced the City of Lakes Marathon in 1982 and instead of circling two lakes four times, it now winds around those lakes and continues on the scenic parkways and river roads of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Thousands of supportive volunteers and hundreds of thousands of spectators with boom boxes blaring the theme from Rocky line the route to cheer on the more than eight thousand runners. It all ends up in front of the Capitol with great fanfare, copious amounts of food, medals for finishers, and, of course, the coveted T-shirt.

Marathons have come a long way since 1981, but they are still 26.2 miles. It has been twenty-five years since I ran that first marathon, twenty-five years since Bjorklund, a young man who’d won marathons, been an Olympian, and still holds the State high school boys’ cross country 1600-meter record came to my house and handed me a shirt.

My own son, the tinfoil medal maker, and his sister are adults now, running their own marathons. In fact my son just qualified for Boston and last week called and said, “How about lacing up your running shoes again Mom, for me. Because you’re a sixty-year-old woman, if you run a 4:30 marathon you’ll qualify for Boston too! What do you say we go together?” Who can resist an offer like that? Time to get out that threadbare T-shirt and hit the road again!


Today’s I Ching Hexagram for 3/18

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

9: Small Influences

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Hexagram 9

General Meaning: A gentle wind gathers the clouds, but still, no rain. Softer influences predominate as the power of subtle forces grows. This is a time for smooth and friendly persuasion.

In the ebb and flow of events, there are always ‘low tides’ — times when sweeping action is impossible or inappropriate, but when small matters can be attended to profitably, leading to bigger and better things later on. When the tide is rolling in, by all means, ride the wave; but when it is receding like it is now, focus on little things.

When the times are such that you cannot do much to affect large matters, persuasion and subtle influence can prepare the way for strength in the future. Use your intuition to chart your long-term course, but avoid bold actions for the moment, for they are unlikely to work. This is an excellent time to refine existing abilities or develop new talents.

Be wary of others’ intentions if they hold the upper hand in a situation. Examine their sources of power, so as to discover subtle influences you may be able to exert upon them.

Today’s Tarot Card for 3/18

Today’s Tarot Card for Everyone:

The Sun

This Tarot Deck: Spiral

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Sun card is about the self — who you are and how you cultivate your personality and character. The earth revolves around the sun to make up one year of a person’s life, a fact we celebrate on our birthday.

The Sun card could also be titled “Back to Eden.” The Sun’s radiance is where one’s original nature or unconditioned Being can be encountered in health and safety. The limitations of time and space are stripped away; the soul is refreshed and temporarily protected from the chaos outside the garden walls.

Under the light of the Sun, Life reclaims its primordial goodness, truth and beauty. If one person is shown on this card, it is usually signifying a human incarnation of the Divine. When two humans are shown, the image is portraying a resolution of the tension between opposites at all levels. It’s as if this card is saying “You can do no wrong — it’s all to the good!”

Weekend Lunar Love Horoscopes for 3/18 – 20

Weekend Love: Lunar Love

by Jeff Jawer

You Have to Keep the Peace

March 18 – 20

This is a strange weekend that is likely to be filled with surprises, even though the Moon is in meticulous and methodical Virgo. Making precise plans and sticking to them is generally expected in this orderly sign. However, Friday starts on a sobering note that can force a change of schedule or deflate a playful mood. If there are hard facts to face during the day, deal with them expediently so you can enjoy yourself in the evening.

The Moon’s opposition to assertive Mars could increase aggression or competitiveness if serious matters aren’t handled to everyone’s liking. Fortunately, Mars is also a planet of passion, offering us the chance to release the day’s pressures with intense play or erotic behavior instead of anger or frustration. If your partner, though, is reluctant to set caution aside, gentle persuasion is much more enticing than impatient pushiness.

Saturday begins with an analytical Virgo Full Moon, possibly bringing an emotional crisis to a head. Unconventional Uranus is a powerful part of this cosmic event and can suddenly turn things upside down. Surprising circumstances and unanticipated changes of mood undermine a sense of security. However, this revolutionary planet also has the power to reignite sparks of romance in a relationship that may have lost some of its excitement. Attractions to unusual people and experiences may be thrilling, but don’t necessarily lead to lasting alliances.

Sunday’s energy is equally volatile, requiring a high degree of cooperation to maintain peace and harmony.

Daily Horoscopes for 3/18


General Daily Horoscope


Though there are three planets in spontaneous Aries now, the exacting Virgo Moon restrains our expression by requiring us to endlessly analyze everything we want to do. Meanwhile, fast-talking Mercury is shut down by its tense opposition to stern Saturn. No longer do we feel free and easy; today everything we say can have serious consequences and we are more likely to be cautious than behave impulsively. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.


Aries Horoscope
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Mercury the Messenger’s opposition to Saturn in your 7th House of Others could mean that your friends aren’t very supportive of your new plans. You might feel as if you’re running into walls every way you turn today because your current approach doesn’t seem to be quite good enough. Don’t try to fast-talk your way through the resistance you face. Instead, retreat and take time to improve your ideas before trying again.


Taurus Horoscope
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)

Ironically, you might participate in recreational play out of obligation today, rather than from your desire for pleasure. Unfortunately, this kind of escape from work won’t be worth it, especially if you are only stepping through the motions. Don’t let others talk you into any extracurricular activities now unless they bring you joy. Say no politely; everyone will surely understand if you need some time to yourself.


Gemini Horoscope
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)

It’s just plain annoying if someone arrives at your doorstep today with an opportunity that looks too good to be true — because it probably is. Unfortunately, progress is painstakingly slow and nothing much will happen unless you put in the extra work. However, your efforts are thwarted as your key planet Mercury forms an opposition with authoritative Saturn. It’s crucial to bring problems out into the open, so they can be handled once and for all.


Cancer Horoscope
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)

Although you have been more assertive lately, caution sets in now as you attempt to reestablish balance in your life. Still, you can impress others with a good show today. But shortcuts won’t be rewarded; it’s more important to start at the beginning and do each step in the proper order. It’s futile to worry about deadlines because everything takes more time than you think anyway.


Leo Horoscope
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)

You could suffer a setback if something unexpected has recently occurred. You might require a quick refresher course in how to maintain a healthy level of confidence. But it’s not easy to talk with others about what you are doing today. Don’t shy away from putting in some long hours and hard work. Change won’t come easily, but it’s worth the effort if you really want to make a difference.


Virgo Horoscope
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

Your ruling planet Mercury runs into the resistance of Saturn the Tester today. Mercury is the clever messenger planet, yet it doesn’t like being delayed by stern Saturn. But it’s impossible to circumvent authority now, so you must deal with control issues, whether you like it or not. Talking fast and using brute force won’t get you where you need to be. Honest dialogue, however, can set the stage for healthy compromise.


Libra Horoscope
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)

Relationships are hard enough, yet an interaction with a friend or partner can make the dynamics even more complicated. You may be vying for control now that you’re aware of the differences of opinion. Don’t push for resolution today because that could lead to an emotional meltdown. Just be as clear as possible, communicate carefully and then let it go.


Scorpio Horoscope
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)

You are a serious thinker and may be the one who is eager to engage in a discussion about a complex emotional situation when others are not. Don’t push too hard today or you might alienate the very same people you are trying to approach for support. Think twice before making a beeline to the most intense topic possible. Instead, allow a discussion to meander for a while without trying to control the outcome.


Sagittarius Horoscope
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

You aren’t happy being told no, and yet you might have to acquiesce to an authority who wrests control from you today. You’re tempted to take a stand by pretending to be more informed than you actually are now. Unfortunately, this tactic will likely create more trouble than it’s worth. Save time for everyone by just being completely honest in the first place.


Capricorn Horoscope
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

You could be struck with a panic attack today because time is running out and you have many loose ends to tie up. Unfortunately, some things will need to be left undone. It’s easier if you set your priorities early in the day and then stick to your plan because changing your schedule isn’t something you do lightly. Nevertheless, adaptability is your secret weapon. Don’t hold on to the status quo; be willing to let go of an outdated habit that isn’t working for you anymore.


Aquarius Horoscope
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Your conservative response to financial struggles may be the most sensible approach now, but it probably isn’t the best answer in the long run. Tightening your belt is necessary today because you cannot spend what you do not have. But the problem is complex and may benefit from multiple courses of action. Try following fiscal responsibility with your own version of a stimulus package, since investing some money may be just as important as saving it.


Pisces Horoscope
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

A recent decision probably sent a message to others that you truly meant business. Now it’s time to solidify what you already began. You might need to change directions, yet it’s not wise to tell others what you’re thinking today. Instead of saying what’s on your mind, it may be smarter to withhold your intentions. Make the most of your power by conserving it until you are fully ready to take action.