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For today’s Second Annual Virtual Run for Sherry, runners from across the United States and various other countries run together in spirit to remember Sherry Arnold, the 43-year-old mother of two who was abducted and killed while on an early morning run in 2012.

Before I headed out the door on my run, my 10-year-old snapped this photo of me:

Ready with my virtual race bib on.

Ready with my virtual race bib on.

After yesterday’s thunderstorms and HAIL, today the weather smiled on my run with sunny skies and about 50 degrees in Southern California. Everything came together and I had the best run I’ve had since the Santa Barbara International Marathon last November. This is the end of week 1 of my training for the Mountains to Beach Marathon, and my Run Less, Run Faster training schedule called for 13 miles at 9:05 pace. About three miles into my run, another runner caught up with me and paused to chat. He paid me what I consider the ultimate compliment by asking, “Are you training for a marathon?” LOVE IT when another runner recognizes me as a peer! This guy had run the Long Beach Marathon in 3:19 and was training to go for a 3:15 BQ at Los Angeles in March. He looked in great shape for it and I told him so before he picked up his pace again. We met again around mile 10 of my run and talked training plans. What a joy to encounter a fellow runner and encourage each other along the way!

Sherry, these miles are for you.

Sherry, these miles are for you.

I finished the run in just under 2 hours, hitting an average pace of exactly 9:05 as planned! On my cool-down walk I called ahead to my husband and put in an order for hot chocolate (to be consumed in my recovery ice bath) and his signature egg sandwich (whole wheat bread, two fried eggs, avocado slices and melted Italian cheeses). I feel fantastic and I can’t help but get a little emotional when I think that participating in the Virtual Run for Sherry for my 13.1 miles had something to do with that. All I could think on my run today was: “I am so lucky to be here doing this.” I don’t take any moment for granted.

Did you run today? If you’re going out later, will you print and wear a bib for Sherry?

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On January 7, 2012, Sherry Arnold went out for a run at 6:30 a.m. and never came home. The 43-year-old mother of two had been abducted and killed. Her death rattled the running community, and reminded us all to make our personal safety the most important thing on every run.

In a show of unity and support, approximately 33,000 runners participated in the 1st Annual Virtual Run for Sherry organized by her cousin Beth last February. This year, the second annual event will take place on February 9, 2013. You can learn more about Sherry, the virtual run, and how to print out a race bib on Beth’s blog Shut Up + Run.

For me, marathon training begins on February 2nd, and I’ve got a 13-mile run on the training schedule for February 9. I’ve already printed out my bib and pinned it onto my top:

Virtual Run for Sherry race bib

What about you? Will you participate in the run for Sherry?

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