Saturday, November 22, 2014

Richmond Marathon Recap

This will be as informal a recap as they, I apologize in advance.

I am trying to do 3 marathons in 90 days in order to qualify for The Marathon Maniacs. Knowing nothing about Richmond I opted to drive there that morning, park, run, then drive back home. Chris watched the kids and all three were texting me all morning with encouraging words. I got to Richmond and was very lucky to find parking right on 15th and Main Street, walked uphill to the race start and met a wonderful new marathoner in the bathroom line. Below is the machine where you get the info to park. I got my cell and it cost $5 for parking.....sweet!

These are the few pictures I did like of me of the many I noticed were taken....from mile 1-13 it was amazing....Richmond is beautiful this time of year. The leaves have fallen or are about to fall, the houses look interesting, the neighborhoods were very welcoming, lots of unofficial stops for anything from candy, beer to vaseline. at around mile 18 I was feeling to demoralized and exhausted, mile 24-26.2 I was my fastest....I have no idea where all the pain from earlier went, but it went away and I pretty much bolted to the finish line....I was so pumped at the end, even the person who gave me the medal even had to tell me, "you can stop running now"

I think I am going to leave behind my hydration pack next time. Maybe it will save me a few minutes on time.

Texting back and forth from the kids and hubby

         I walked 1.3 miles back to my car. A wonderful way to help recovery happen MUCH faster.....and this tree just looked amazing at the top of this hill.....

The medal is gorgeous and heavy....lots of fall leaves, even on the strap. My students on school really liked my medal and some even wore them during class. 

The clouds were very cool at the end.....and look at this public art.....

Me trying to be creative and take pictures of myself in the cylindrical reflection. 

Inspiration goes around and around

                 I was going through the "poor me's" a few days back. The "poor me's" means I was spending a lot of time feeling bad about myself. Distance running does a funny thing to ones perspective of personal achievement. Last week I ran and finished my 4th marathon ever, yet, the celebratory feeling never even got going. The last 2 miles, all I could think of was getting into my car and going home and getting this race behind me. What was I feeling so bad about? I was feeling bad about my time. It took me over 6 hours to finish this one. almost a whole hour slower than my fastest and 20 minutes slower than my previous, #3.  

                 What had caused me to be slower? I had gained some weight, 20lbs to be exact, and I was mad at myself for allowing this to happen. But share that gripe, about not being happy with your time, with any non-runner and they will pretty much tell you how proud you should be. Not even that, if someone were to tell me they just ran a marathon in that time, I would absolutely celebrate their accomplishment and make sure they knew how impressed I was. So why can't I do that to myself? Why am I holding myself up to a standard so above others?, why can't I just be happy with the fact that I ran 26.2 miles, non-stop....?

                  Just then, I get tagged on a Facebook post from by friend who had just run in very cold weather and she was thanking me for inspiring her and for teaching her to like running in the cold.....I can't give up after a post like that? No matter what my time is, running is a part of me and sticking with it, doing the journey with it is what it's all about. My slow, curvy, relentless racing self has a place in this sport, no matter how much my various self-doubts try to convince me otherwise. It's not about acing each and every race and getting a PR each time....It's about how you go about dealing with the injuries, and the tough cold morning runs, and negotiating what food choices we make, or don't. From this point forward I will simply ignore the self-doubts that creep in after these tough runs, or tough races. I will remind myself that my part in this sport is absolutely essential, if only to inspire 10, 5, 2 or even one other person to go out there and run.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

As simple as it gets...

Running is so simple. You put on your shoes, and out the door you go. 

       I have found that surrounding yourself with simple things, simple relationships, simple love, simple jobs, simple and uncomplicated friendships can add to my general happiness. Too often, when I've met people who have all sorts of drama in their lives, the phrase, "Oh what a tangled web we weave" keeps crossing my thoughts.  Too often these people have often taken the few large decisions they could make in their lives and all the way through they've chosen the most painful, complicated paths, instead of the more simple ones. Make no mistake, I've been there too. I chose to stay with a very wrong person for EIGHT LOOOOONG years before I chose to save ME, my sanity, my future, my vision of my future. People who choose sanity over chaos have my deepest respect; and too often the ones who live the simplest lives have walked through the worse types of hell. 

      But there is good news..... The very simple act of running and making room for this sport in our lives can truly come in handy to help us, in essence, take the garbage out, make things less complicated. 

      How you ask? Let me explain. Running has the power to change one's life. It not only has changed mine, but millions of others all over the world. Just read any blog about running, you will quickly learn that running has allowed people with all sorts of living hell to simplify their lives and find true happiness and hope.

      On a more technical level though, when you go out and sweat, let the wind blow on your face as you run around your neighborhood, you are teaching your body to crave this very act of moving through space. During every one of my runs, at about mile 3, I start beaming, a huge smile comes across my face and all is good with the world for the rest of my run and hours and even days after. It is about mile three that my body has gotten over the initial stiffness and is now smoothly moving though space and I realize just then how amazing this gift of running is.....All things fall into place and all that does not below is clearly seen as extra.....

So just get out there. Forget paces, races, speed, other runners....just go out there and do your best. Afterwards, bask in your triumph. You'll see that within a few weeks you begin crave how good you feel after every run and naturally fall into a pattern that works for you. The rest works itself out, I promise. Your daily runs, like as in meditation, will allow you the clarity of mind to know what needs to be done next. Your runs will allow you to learn on a very real level that nothing is impossible.  

Perhaps I am truly unable to express here in this post just HOW it is that running changes lives, but I just know it does....One thing I do know, it's that running is so important to my own personal sanity, and to my physical and emotional well being. It is the activity which shines on a light on life itself. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I run my own race.....I don't want to race you.....

                   We all run for different reasons. I may run for sanity, you may run for speed, some may run for health, others may run to connect with something bigger; the reasons are unique as each runner. Coming into running not particularly fast or fit, or young for that matter, has allowed me the freedom to very much define and mold the sport of running as it best suits ME, with very little care, concern to regard for how others might define it for themselves. 
             All that aside, there are some runners out there who fail to see the endless array of possible ways in which people might relate to running, aside from just "speed". Some of these more nearsighted runners seem to think we all have similar goals and dreams when it comes to running. For example, I have encountered a few runners these past 2 years whose initial response to knowing my obsession with running is putting up an immediate competitive front; they might bring up times and even go as far as labeling certain finish times as "fast", or "slow", or ask if you "jog" or run? 

           You can tell you are dealing with an overzealous, competitive runner in 3 ways. One, the runner will often not ask you any personal questions about your own running experience EVER, such as why you started running, what you get out of it, etc. This is simply because they assume they already know this information about you. Two, the runner will immediately bring up times, paces, past races, number of races and you will immediately know by what they say, what they think is "fast" or "slow". Three, you might not feel so good after talking to them. 

           To this day I am not quite sure what to do with these types of runners. I have never pretended to be fast so I could care less if you are faster. How does one go about telling an overzealous runner you are not interested in stealing their show? 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Marathon #3 in the bag...reflections...

                  So, marathon number 3 is in the bag!! I am sitting here basking in the warmth of my bed and so happy to be resting. I will post all my pics soon...but for no I am taking a rest. My medal is a heavy piece of art and I am beyond delighted....I could be like one of those Debby-downer women we all know too well and start picking apart my success, but I will save you the sob story and just what that I've gained some weight, which in turn brought my time up some....I will not let that ruin my great feeling. Marathoning has never been about speed. In trying to pin point what IS marathoning about I started to make a mental here it goes:

* we ALL have had this feeling that we are just off somehow. The whole time I am training I have to roll back these self-deprecating thoughts that gnaw away at my confidence, that little voice that says, "you don't belong here.", the voice that says, "you will fail at this.".....the ONLY thing that makes the voice go away is the triumph of the marathon. I went into this race with 2 main goal....1, run all the way and 2, finish. I accomplished these goals and I have once again succeeded in rolling back the voice....crossing that finish line is proof that I am exactly where I need to be. 

* Marathoning is about being part of this amazing tribe. When I meet another runner I immediately have a higher level of trust in them....there are some very specific lessons that running teaches all of us, the lessons about perseverance, trust in our bodies, listening to our bodies, trusting in the process, the ideas that bad days almost always followed by good ones.....marathoners carry these gifts in them and therefore the connection is one of immediately trust and camaraderie. 

* When preparing to run for one marathon you learn a lot about your body. But when you train for one or several marathons yearly you learn an enormous amount about your body. You learn how your body heals, how food can make or break a run, how sleep affects your performance. You also learn how to distinguish between severe and less severe injuries...marathoning teaches you to simply work with your body better and better each time. 

* Marathoning also allows you to experience and meet an constant flow of inspirational stories, truly the best of human nature. This past race I ran right behind a lady who had a picture of her son whom she lost in battle, some were missing limbs, some were elderly folks barely able to walk smoothly, some were in hand cycles...marathoning is a rich array of survivors, people who have met hell and have come back triumphant. One could easily be surrounded by all types of people in this life, but how rich it feels to constantly be surrounded by these amazing people with stories that will just break your heart.....You always come back to the thought, "If they made it after what they've been can I."

Monday, October 13, 2014

20 miler done......

                  Being a full worker and full time mommy does not allow much absent time for marathon training. On this day I woke at 4am and was out the door at 4:30am....not a soul in sight for the whole first hour. And even when I did see a human being into the first hour, I did not see another for a whole 45 minutes. Lots of people out a bit later, in groups, doing their long runs. Absolutely beautiful day! I have started off with a very tight and demanding training schedule, but as like started to happen I realized just how little energy I had left each day. So, now my goal is simply to finish. A secondary goal, and not much of a priority is to beat my time from my first marathon, which was also a road race.  More later.