Presidential Corner: Race Shirts

Many of you have done a lot of races. Many of you have gotten a lot of t-shirts. Many of those shirts are sitting in your closet or dresser and haven't been touched or worn for months or years. Many of us have heard the following from our spouses or significant others, "Why don't you get rid of some of these race shirts? You haven't worn this in a very long time."

Many times we will go into our closet or dresser, open up the drawer and think, "Yeah, maybe I should get rid of some of these, but this one...". Have you ever said that or some version of that statement?

Many times it is followed up with, "...this was the race that I qualified for Boston. I can't get rid of this one" or "...this was the race that ran my 10k PR. I can't get rid of this one." Then we end up in the same position we were when we started...many times with a slightly cleaner pile of shirts. These shirts take us to a different place in time. A place where we had "One of those days!!!" or a time when we had " was just one of those days". They are shirts that have stories. Stories of your bests and your firsts.

The Capital Striders have the incredible honor of supporting many local charities from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa, & local track clubs. There is one though where the next time you hear "Why don't you get rid of some of those race shirts?" you can take that shirt and pass on the story and bless some children in Central Iowa. You can help them on their list of "bests" and "firsts".

"See - Us Run Des Moines  is a program to help teens who face adversity in their lives learn that they are capable, resourceful and resilient to respond to life challenges by providing them the opportunity to experience first - hand the benefits of goal - setting, character development, adult mentoring and improved health through committing to,  training for, and completing the Des Moines Marathon." - See Us Run Des Moines

While SRDM is always looking for running mentors, the kids tend to be not as fortunate in having the right gear and they are looking for those old race shirts. If you have a closet full of technical material shirts or just some tech shirts that you would like to go to a great organization that is helping kids learn how to set goals and improve their health, please email or email Cindy at Iowa Kidstrong ( to find out where you can drop off. It's that time of the year to help these kids get "geared up"

Stay Strong, Run Long,



Member Spotlight: Joyce Johnson


Member Spotlight: Joyce Johnson

As runners we are always searching for our inspiration and reason to get up in the morning. During the Hy-Vee Road Race Expo this year, I had the pleasure of talking to a woman who has been a great volunteer at races and very active on our Facebook page. Her name is Joyce Johnson. I've had conversations with Joyce in the past but most have been very "surfacey". In my defense, most have been via FB or while she was volunteering at Sycamore 8 when my brain doesn't quite work. During our conversation at the expo, Joyce told me her story and I was blown away. We've all heard the excuses, "I'm too old to run", "You're going to hurt your knees", "I have (insert your own) problem", etc. Joyce is the true embodiment of what the mission of the Capital Striders is. We as a club are a truly diverse group. No matter how fast or slow, we are all RUNNERS. We are a community that continually learn from each other and I am very happy to call Joyce a STRIDER. Here is her story - Brad

My name is Joyce Johnson, I joined Capital Striders in April, 2013 and I’m not a ‘runner’

I was always a moderately active person, but never tried running type sports (or sports of any kind, really). I enjoyed walking and hiking…sometimes.

After gaining approximately 100 pounds over the course of 10 years after a surgical procedure and having numerous other health issues, I decided to do something about it and in August, 2012, joined a gym and hired a personal trainer, my goal being to get through a winter without falling and breaking something again.

By this point in my life, I was physically worn out.

I was:

  • 59 years old
  • 100 pounds overweight
  • Have had back surgery for a fragmented lumbar disc
  • Have had seven knee surgeries between both knees (6 scopes and one ACL repair)
  • Have osteoarthritis in my knees and hips
  • Have a broken right big toe that did not heal properly and does not bend
  • Have degenerative disc disease in my cervical spine that causes nerve compression (my arms fall asleep for days at a time)

With my trainer, we worked on building core strength and stability and I attended water exercise classes to get my cardio and keep everything relaxed and moving.  All he asked was that I come to session ready to go and that meant warmed up – so I started walking two-to-three laps on the track first.

Didn’t feel too bad, so on non-training days, I started walking on the bike path near my home…first 15 minutes, then gradually increasing, going 1 square of pavement further, then trying to get to that mark faster.

I started looking forward to it and started researching online about walking, but I was always cautious because of the doctors warning:   You’re too young for a knee replacement, so try to not fall down!   Take it easy!

I was feeling pretty good on those walks, so found myself out longer each day and going farther. In  October, 2012, I did the Kommen 5K – and did not die!

I was afraid of losing momentum, because I was feeling pretty good, but winter was coming.   A friend told me about virtual races, and I started signing up for them – and found myself out walking – every day – in the cold and snow.   Always in the back of my mind was my doctor’s warning – running will put stress on your neck and knees, keep your feet on the ground!

As Spring approached, I was feeling pretty confident and set my sights on the HyVee Road race 10K.   That was going to be a real stretch for me, but with my trainer’s encouragement and some changes in my program, I was out there and succeeded, finishing that 10K in 1:27:39 (14:09 pace) and 1305/1325.   I told myself to step it up and committed to running after every water station until I couldn’t run anymore!  

I was hooked and ready to see just how far I could go.  The next day, I signed up for Capital Striders and joined the beginners group.  I still wasn’t convinced that running was something I could do

 It was also my “year of firsts” to celebrate turning 60!

A co-worker convinced me to sign up for Dam-to-Dam 20K.   Finished over the course limit (I walked all of it), but time was 3:06:42

A friend I only knew online invited me to sign up for my first half marathon, so I went to Denver to do the Slacker Half Marathon in Georgetown with her.  Who does their first ever half marathon in the mountains?   Crazy!   I didn’t run very much, had trouble with my breathing and ended up in the med tent after the finish, but I did it!   Finished in 3:22:26 (pace 15:28)

My trainer challenged me to try a marathon so I signed up for IMT Des Moines Marathon.  

That was a real test!    By this time, my doctor had changed his tune, was seeing my weight dropping, my blood pressure dropping, and I was really happy with my goals.    He told me to keep going and he wasn’t going to discourage me.   I went to see him once with a knee issue and he said normally he’d tell someone my age to prop it up and spend some time channel surfing, but in my case, he’d help me get through the discomfort to keep going!   He’s become one of my biggest cheerleaders!

Training for that Marathon was tough, but when that day came, I started out at a strong walk.   I knew the course limit was 7 hours and that was my goal.     I know that until I reached mile 20, I was holding on to my 15 minute/mile pace.   By mile 22, I wanted to quit.   My body was puffy, my fingers wouldn’t hold my water bottle, my hip hurt, my head hurt, but the course support was awesome, and my family and my personal trainer met me at the finish line.      7:00:32   (I blame the third unplanned porta-potty stop).

The next week, I was out on the roads again, walking that Komen 5K that a year earlier had started this adventure.

I finished that year with (actual entry fees paid):

17           5k

1              4 mile

3              10k

1              15k

1              20k

1              half

1              full

I still want to incorporate running and get faster.

I joke around that I’m the one at the back of the pack.

I’m totally okay with that – someone has to be last – and my only competition is me!

As long as you don’t mind holding the aid stations open a little longer, and waiting by the finish clock, I’ll be crossing that line…somewhere around a 15 minute mile!

Save a chocolate milk for me!


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Presidential Corner: Time

Many of you know that I am what is called an "Ultra Runner". I love the thrill of long distance races. I put the term "ultra runner" in quotes primarily because I will be the first to admit that not everything that I do when I am out for a run is "running". I do a fair amount of walking in races and in training which, contrary to road races, is strongly encouraged. One of things that people always ask me when I say that I am training for 50-100 mile races is "where do you find the time?" Sometimes I wonder myself where I find the time to be a husband, a father, an employee, a coach, a member of a board, a friend and still be able to run 75-80 miles per week while doing strength training and some really funny yoga. And honestly, I'm not real sure. 

I do a fair amount of my runs VERY early in the morning or VERY late at night. I will wake up at 3:30am and try to get 12-13 miles in before my kids wake up for school and/or get out the door around 8:00pm for 10-15 miles. Most days this is a struggle. I am not a fast runner. I am no stellar athlete. Some days it takes 2 cups of coffee in the morning.

The one thing that pushes me to put on those shoes though when I just want to lay down and take a nap is knowing that running is my escape. It's my time to be alone in my head. It's what has helped me to lose weight. It helps me to manage the stress of my job. It helps me to be a better husband and dad. It's what helps to burn off the calories that I consume with my addiction to Gold Fish crackers. It helps me connect with people. It helps me to see parts of the city or country that I may have never seen before. It is my way of connecting with my creator. It helps me connect with the world on a level that I can't get from sitting behind a keyboard or in front of a TV.

Where do I find the time? Cutting out TV. Cutting out the web. Cutting out the time killers, but never cutting out family time. Where do I find the time? I don't know, but I make time.

What can you cut out this week to make time?

Stay Strong, Run Long


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Presidential Corner: What being a Strider has meant to me

To everyone who doesn't know me, I am Brad Dains and I am the new President of the Capital Striders. To give you a little background on me, I used to be FAT! Don't worry. I've come to terms with it. I had a terrible food addiction. Unfortunately, this isn't a joke. I would take every opportunity to take on food challenges and would stuff my face with whatever I could. I was never good at anything related to sports. I always went out, but never played. When I got to college I put on well over 100lbs in 5 short years. I found running by a happy accident. I went to the fair, ate my weight in food and felt completely guilty about it and needed a change. Running was a good place to start. I won't go into the whole after story but am more than happy to share with you whenever you would like to talk about it. My post tonight is not about my weight loss but about what running and specifically the Capital Striders has meant to me.

When I was fat, running was hard. It was hard to get out everyday. It was hard to walk into a running store and look at all of the fit people around buying short shorts and tank tops. It was hard to enter my first race because I didn't know what people would think about the fat guy running. Everything about running was hard but one day my mind seemed to be clear, my knees didn't hurt so much and I bought a smaller pair of pants. Wow!! Maybe this wasn't as hard as I thought it was. 

Now, I'm not going to tell you that running is easy. It's not. There are days where I just don't want to do it. My brain is run down, my legs feel heavy and my muscles are sore. But the thing I love about running and the Striders is the sense of community. On Saturday mornings, when the alarm wakes me up at 6:00, it's 20 degrees out and I know that I've got to go run 20 miles there is just something about running and talking with people that lifts my spirits.

I think a lot of times people join the Striders for the discounts or perks, but look around you on any Saturday morning at our long runs, or Mondays with the Run with the Animals crew, Wednesday with Roy at the Speed workout nights or Tuesdays and Sundays when the Turkeys run through the woods. The Striders aren't about the discounts (even though they are a plus) it's about how running draws people closer than they ever thought was possible. I have gained some incredible friendships in my few short years as a member in the club and Board member, but one of the main things I learned is that you don't have to be a speedster or race winner to be a part of the community. You just have to be the community.

The Striders are a club of all sorts. Some of us are race winners, some of us are speedsters, but  some of us are mid-packers and back of the packers. We are a club of learners and sharers. We can all learn from others successes and failures. We are an amazing club filled with racers and volunteers. I would put our club up against others all over the country and say truthfully that we are the best club out there. 

I love this club and would love to chat with you when we see each other at training runs, races or meetings. Please stop by and say hello. Let's all learn together.

Stay Strong, Run Long




Get Ready for the New Year!

Start the new year off right during the Capital Striders Annual Mitten Run! WHEN: Wednesday, January 1, 2014

TIME: 10:00am

WHERE: Lyons Park, Urbandale

WHO: Capital Striders Family & Friends

WHAT: Make a resolution to help out the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa by bringing a pair of gloves, mittens, coat or a cash donation. Also bring a side dish to share for the potluck.

COST: Free to Members. $5 for guests.

At 10:00 we will run/walk your choice of 3, 4, 5, or 6 miles At 11:00 we will chow down potluck style

Learn about 2014 Strider Events and bring in the New Year on the right foot.

Paper maps will be provided or you can upload the maps from MapMyRun to your mobile device.



Join Us for Tour de Lights

A fun run and holiday lights tour combined – what could be more fun?!  Join the Capital Striders at Tour de Lights this Sunday, Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. and run through the Jolly Holiday Lights at Water Works Park, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway in Des Moines.  Two routes of varying distances are available, and runners, walkers and bikers are welcome during this sneak peek of the festive displays.  Stop by the Capital Striders table and say hello before you head out on the fun run!



Join us for the Turkey Trot Fun Run on Dec. 1

Meet up with the Capital Striders Turkeys on Sunday, Dec. 1 at Lake Ahquabi State Park south of Indianola. It has a fairly easy 4-mile trail, which is great for beginner runners.  Trot off some excess turkey while enjoying the beautiful trail around Lake Ahquabi. Although this is not a timed event, we will have a clock and volunteers will be yelling out times as participants finish. The fun run is approx. 4 miles or 1 loop around the lake.

Directions to Ahquabi State Park:

Address: 16500 118th Ave., Indianola, IA 50125.

Take 65/69 South, turn right onto Co Rd. G58, go until it T’s (don’t go into the main entrance); Take a right on 118th St and go 1-2 blocks, and turn left into the park. Park in the first lot to the left and the trail will be near the lake.




Sycamore 8

The Capital Striders Running Club has been given the honor of carrying on a Central Iowa tradition and will be hosting the 2013 Sycamore 8-mile Trail Race in Johnston on Dec. 7. This 8-mile trail race will take place on the Sycamore Trail between NW 66th in Johnston and the Polk County Office on Euclid. With the perfect wintry blend of road and groomed single track trail it promises to be a messy good time. Unpredictable Midwestern weather has given participants a unique run whether it is dealing with snow, ice, sleet or flat out perfect conditions like last year.

Click here for more information on the race and here to register.



Tour de Lights 2013

Please plan on joining us for "Fitness Night" at the 2013 Tour de Lights on November 24th. A group from the Capital Striders will starting at Water Works Park at 6:00pm. Sign up to join our team here, meet us at our tent at Water Works, get a complimentary glow stick and run with some of the most awesome people in Central Iowa for a great cause.  More information on our Facebook page.



Multi-Year Membership Includes a Drawing for a Free Race

Good News: 2014 membership is now open and it includes multi-year discounts to those who choose the 2 or 3 year options. The remainder of 2013 is included free of charge in your 2014 membership. More Good News: If you register now through 11/15/13 you will be entered into a drawing to receive your choice of free entry into the Sycamore 8 on 12/8 or Loop the Lake on 4/12/14. Communications It’s the best way to stay in the loop. Enjoy a weekly email with information relevant to runners, as well as connection with other local runners via our Facebook, Twitter and Linked In pages.

Race Entry Discounts Strider members enjoy reduced race entry fees to not only our 4 races but also many partner races.

Merchant Discounts Capital Strider members receive discounts at fine area merchants, including running and fitness stores, massage therapists, chiropractors, and many, many more!

Club Events The New Year's Day Run and Potluck, Summer Picnic, Annual Meeting and Banquet, and other special events are just some of the activities sponsored by the Club.

Group Training Runs Group runs are available nearly every day of the week to help you train for speed, distance, hills and even on various terrain. Meet new friends, socialize, AND get your miles in.

Support the Community Most importantly your membership dues allow the Striders to give back to the Greater Des Moines area in a variety of ways including college scholarships, supporting youth track clubs, we donate to Boys & Girls Club of Central IA, Iowa Kidstrong, Make-A-Wish Foundation of IA, Central Iowa Trails Assoc, and Parks & Rec. We are also proud to say that our members donate their time. We offer many opportunities to volunteer throughout the year. Join us ~ be a do-gooder.

Annual membership is a bargain at just $20 for an individual and $25 for a family. With $5 off our 4 races + many partner races the discounts outweigh the cost of membership. Add in all the merchant discounts and running/social opportunities; you can't afford NOT to join.



Fall Fun Run: Salvation Army Red Kettle 5K

The Capital Striders are helping sponsor the upcoming Salvation Army Red Kettle 5K on Nov. 2 at 9 a.m. at Raccoon River Park. This is a BARGAIN 5K at only $5. This run will serve as the club’s fall fun run and is a great way to celebrate the finish of the season. Runners get a $5 Capital Strider discount off of the normal $10 registration when they use this link and the passcode: rkr2013 to register. Some race details:

  • This is a chip timed race!
  • They are giving medals to the top three men and women!
  • They also give door prizes!
  • Enjoy AE chocolate milk and orange juice, along with doughnuts, cookies and doughnut holes donated by Quick Trip.
  • Power Life Yoga will do a pre-race yoga inspired warm up at 8:30 a.m!
  • Stay for the post-run Running Workshop too.

See you there!



Capital Pursuit Wrap-Up

It was a perfect running day with sunshine and temps in the low 60's on Sunday morning, 9/29/13 for the 31st Annual Capital Pursuit. We had over 600 runners register to toe the line at 8:00am. Thanks to the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) for making our 10-Mile and 5k the State Championship events again this year.

The overall winner of the 10-mile race was Luke Demmel of Des Moines, finishing in 54:12.  Our 10-mile female winner was Stephanie Mortenson of Windsor Heights, finishing in 1:05:09.

The 5k overall winner was Patrick Riley of Des Moines with a time of 17:00.  The overall 5k female finisher was Bridget Conlon of Des Moines with a time of 19:47.

Many thanks to the City of Des Moines and the DM Police Department for keeping our runners safe and traffic moving. We were not able to reserve Nollen Plaza this year so we applaud ING Insurance for giving us their parking lot as our Home Base.

We had 36 student athletes and adult mentors from See-Us Run Des Moines run our races this year. Capital Pursuit sponsors SRDM by inviting the students and mentors to race free of charge.  SRDM is a wonderful program of Iowa Kidstrong, Inc.   See-Us Run Des Moines helps teens who face adversity in their lives learn that they are capable, resourceful, and resilient to respond to Life's challenges by providing them the opportunity to experience first hand the benefits of goal setting, character development, adult mentoring, and improved health through committing to training for and completing the Des Moines Marathon.

We had scads of Pursuit Junior runners this year.  They showed the applauding crowd just how CRAZY FAST Des Moines's next generation of Pursuit winners will be.

Here are some statistics.  As of Thursday at Midnight there were 288 Females registered, 267 Males.  LADIES RULE! Average Age was 39.  The youngest was 2 and the youngest at heart was 74. We only had a few short weeks to organize this year's race.  Due to less promotion, we only had 5 from out of state this year.

Thank you to our Board of Directors who worked diligently to insure that the curtain would not go down on the 31st Annual Capital Pursuit Races.  Thank you to our many  wonderful sponsors who without, we would not be able to continue to put on this race.  These businesses, organizations and individuals provide critical resources to support our races.

Living History Farms Race Scheels Fitness Sports Crystal Clear Water Gatorade Lint Van Lines Accelerated Rehab O'Malley's Taco Johns Brueggers Bagels Capital City Fruit Roberts Dairy Prairie Life Fitness America's Best Apparel, Inc. DMU Osteopathic Finish Line Treatment The Suites of 800 Locust ING Insurance Dahls Grocery

As anyone involved in race directing knows, the weather and runners are only part of the formula to a successful event.  More than 200 people volunteer each year to help with Capital Pursuit.  They pour water, serve as course marshals, help with registration, distribute food, provide massages, and a host of other tasks that go on seamlessly behind the scenes.  Thank you to all our volunteers.  Thank you for getting up early Sunday morning to volunteer with set-up, late registration, and wherever needed.

A big thank you to Prairie Life Fitness for allowing us space for packet-pickup on Friday night.  Thanks to Gail Bormann and Paul Rearick along with fellow Board members.

Thanks to Terry Lint of Lint Van Lines for being an wonderful sponsor, providing the truck that carries all the water and supplies for our races. Many thanks to former Board member, Steve Halstead and the Lint Van Lines volunteers who did all the heavy lifting and provided invaluable assistance in moving materials and supplies to set-up and tear down our race courses.

Thanks again this year to Larry Jablonski for providing and setting up the finish line scaffolding.

Thanks to Cal Murdoch for his 31 year's worth of timing this event and providing race history.  We are so pleased to announce that Cal recently re-joined our Board of Directors.

Thank you to the The Suites of 800 Locust for helping us out with lots of last minute details as well as providing storage space for us.

Thanks to Scheels and Fitness Sports for providing awards.  Also special thanks to Wade Wearmouth of WCM Metals for providing the medal hanger awards that went to our top men & women winners.

A huge thank you to our Water Stop support teams:

Kate Altmairer & friends for - Water Stop #1

Dan Hostager & the Drake Men's Cross Country Team - Water Stop #2

Todd Shemper of Work Systems Rehab and his friends of Central Presbyterian Church - Water Stop #3

Chris Burch and friends of IMT Des Moines Marathon - Water Stop #4

Thank you also for all you cell phone photo snappers who will share your photos with us on Facebook.  Many thanks to our professional photographers who have already provided links to some fabulous photos.

We are so fortunate to live in such a supportive running community.  Great job everyone!



Register for the 31st Annual Capital Pursuit Race

There’s still time to register for the 31st annual Capital Pursuit race, Iowa’s fastest 10-miler and 5K! Both races start in downtown Des Moines at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, with the 10-miler winding through the nearby northwest neighborhoods. Registration fees are only $35 for the 10-miler and $25 for the 5K (through Sept. 26). Register now! The kids can have a fun day of racing as well, with the Pursuit Juniors race, starting at 9:30 a.m.. There is no fee for Pursuit Junior participants but they do need to register.

Visit our event page for links to the maps, details on packet pick up and anything else you want to know about the race. See you at the start line!



Location of Saturday Training Run Moving Due to Hy-Vee Triathlon

The Capital Striders will be moving the location of the Saturday training run this Saturday, Aug. 31 for ONE WEEK ONLY to accommodate the Hy-Vee Iron Kid's Triathlon, which will be using Gray's Lake Park at that time. We will relocate to Fitness Sports, 7230 University Ave. in Windsor Heights for this day only, and will start early at 6:30 a.m. due to the heat. This is ONE WEEK ONLY and is only happening ONCE. We are only doing this because Gray's Lake is being utilized by the Hy-Vee Triathlon. We will return to the southwest corner of Gray's Lake on Saturday, Sept. 7.



Capital Striders Annual Picnic

Come join us for this year’s annual picnic, which will be held on Monday, June 17 at 6 p.m. in conjunction with the Beginning Runners Group. Meet up at the Campbell Park Shelter House, join your fellow runners for a nice run and then regroup for a terrific summer meal. The Capital Striders Board will be grilling up hamburgers and hot dogs. Bring a friend and your favorite side dish (chips, fruit, veggies, dessert) to share. Beverages and dinnerware will be provided.



GALS ONLY! Unique Volunteer Opportunity

Girls on the Run, with the Boone County YMCA, is seeking female running buddies to run with their 3rd-5th Graders for their 5K run. The race starts at 6:30 p.m. at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines on Friday, May 17th. If you can help, please contact Chelsey Bowermaster at



Change to Training Run on Saturday, April 27

Due to the Drake Relays this weekend, the Drake campus will be closed to the Capital Striders’ Saturday morning training group. Instead, if you are still interested in running, we will be moving our start to Fitness Sports, located at 7230 University in Clive. The run will still start at 7 a.m. and offer up to 10 miles of supported run. Runners can choose to run less by turning around at any point, as the run will be five miles out on the Greenbelt Trail (out to the Glen Oaks Lake), and five miles back. Good luck to every one running in the Hy-Vee Road Races at the Drake Relays this weekend! There’s still time to sign up to participate, and all Capital Striders members get a $5 discount when using the discount code: bulldogs. And, don’t forget to stop by the Capital Striders both during the expo!



Revenge of the Penguins 5K Fun Run/Walk

Don’t forget to join us for the Revenge of the Penguins 5K Fun Run/Walk, taking place on Saturday, May 11 at the southwest terrace at Gray’s Lake at 9 a.m.  Capital Striders’ members can sign up for only $5.  Non-members can join in the fun for $25; this fee includes cost of the race and yearly membership into the Capital Striders Club.  All race entry fees will benefit Above & Beyond Cancer, Inc.  Kids can get active too for free during the Kids’ Race, which starts at 10:45 a.m.  To learn more, visit the event page or register here.



Prayers for Boston

As many of you have heard, our running community was struck by the tragic events during yesterday’s 117th annual running of the Boston Marathon. According to news reports, nearly 160 Iowans were registered for running’s pinnacle event, and thankfully, all are reportedly safe. The Des Moines Register has first-hand accounts of the events from Iowans who were at the event in today’s online Register. The Capital Striders send heartfelt thoughts and prayers to everyone who was affected by these events. This is a tragedy for the running community and we wish everyone a safe return home.