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. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Running- Beyond the Gadget Stage

                I have come to the point in my training where I have everything I need gear-wise. I have my summer shorts that easily pair off with one of my race shirts for when it's warm, I have a slew of expensive running socks that work well to prevent blisters. I have half a dozen Sweaty Bands that look amazing on my head. For winter, I have my favorites too, all the way down to the warm hat and ipod-friendly gloves. Therefore, except for the occasional shoe replacement and weekly GU's and s-caps for my long runs, I am pretty much all set. I liken this stage to getting past the 'honeymoon' stage in any endeavor, from house buying, marriage, having a baby, buying a new fancy car and on and on. Now is when the real running begins. Now it's when I get to appreciate running for running's sake and not for the cool things I can get as a runner. 
                  A few weeks back we dug out a slightly deflated basketball from one of our toy boxes and we decided to take it to the park. From that day on my daughter, who is 7, has become close to obsessed with shooting hoops. But being a shop-a-holic that she is, she immediately goes online and looks up basketball sneakers, and basketball shorts, etc.... She starts driving me and my hubby crazy about buying her the "proper" attire for the sport. Hubby and I try in vain to convince her that no such gear is needed to shoot hoops, and ESPECIALLY at her age, but no, she had her mind set. The parallel here is an obvious one. I too, at the very beginning of my running journey, have felt that I could not possibly be a "real" runner without all the gear. My husband, who has been running for much, much longer than me has always found it sort of silly that I was spending so much money to, in essence, become a runner. "You don't need all that, I've been running for 25 years without a tech shirt", he'd remind me daily, in a lighthearted tone. But I needed to do it and I did and now I am on the other side of this buying frenzy with nothing else to squeeze from this obsession, but plain ol' running and nothing more. Now is when my relationship with running actually begins. 
                    As a practicing Buddhist I work on myself daily to find value in the present moment and in our common daily tasks. Thich Nhat Hanh explained in his book The Miracles of Mindfulness: 

             “To my mind, the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren’t doing them…I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands.  I know that if I hurry in order to eat dessert sooner, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living.  That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle.”

                Running is just now taking on its proper place in my life, away from all the inner celebratory fanfare experienced as a new runner it will take on its place as a 'common daily task'. Focusing on getting the proper attire for the sport is not at all a bad thing, that is not where I am going with this. But I do feel that we may lose or never fully gain a full appreciation for the sheer joys of running if we never step down from the 'honeymoon', gear buying stage of running. Now that my 'honeymoon' stage with gear-buying is over I can begin to fully focus all my energy on finding joy in learning more about my body, my breathing. I wake up daily now looking for wind on my face, and trying the catch that moment between mile 2 and 3 where I actually feel sheer joy, gratitude and humbleness at being able to run, nothing more. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Runner's World Front Cover Contest

Hey all! I just entered the contest and if you feel like it, would you please vote for me? Thanks. Here is the link...If you are a runner and want to enter the contest the link below will also take you there.
also find other runners and rad about their stories on twitter....just search #RWcovercontest



I started running the week I noticed I was 38 and just knew I could not run a block without getting winded. I had also gained a lot from my two pregnancies and needed to lose some of that extra weight. I no longer run for weight loss, but had gained confidence, tons of leg muscles and a true sense of peace and happiness that only running daily could provide.
I completed a very tough and technical 50K in West Virgina mountains even before running one marathon. Now I have completed 2 marathons, 3 halves, 1 50K and I am due to complete 2 more marathons in the fall. But what I am most proud of is the new way I see and relate to my body. This c-section scarred curvy mommy body has gotten me through so much.....I can truly say I have a very loving and compassionate relationship with my body.
Running is my sanity, my daily triumph, my mood adjuster, my problem solver, my special all-around friend. Running has brought me so much happiness, I can see myself running until I am an old, old lady. In fact, I aim on breaking Harriette Thompson's 91 year old record someday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Far Distant Future Goals

               We all get old, then older, then we slow down.....having my 94 year-old mother-in-law staying with us for almost two weeks has made me think a lot about my running goals for the far distant distant future. My mind keeps going back to Harriette Thompson, the 91 year-old (above video) who just won the world record this year for being the oldest woman (age 90 and over) to run a marathon. THIS is what I want to do, I want to continue to be active and never give mind also thinks of Joy Johnson daily.....she is the elderly woman who, after running her 25th NYC marathon, died in her sleep the day after....I have no plans to slow fact, once my kids get older I fully plan on doing more adventure-style races, races in which I can actually travel to.....can't wait.