Sunday, September 22, 2013

50K training coming to an end.......ready to crush this race

                         Woke up 3:45am Saturday to get ready for my first every 26 mile run. It was one of those mornings where I could have easily turned around on my pillow and gone back to bed. But I had come too far to do that. I got up, made coffee, filled my hydration pack, packed some GU, snacks, ibu, smeared anti-chafing cream in key areas and was on my way. It was dark for almost 3 hours of the run. I ran from my home to Maryland and back to DC, going south on Massachusetts avenue all the way to Downtown DC. I was doing amazing, feeling strong. Every once in a while I would text Chris what milage I was at and he would send me some cute encouraging words one of my kids had said to convey to me. But at mile 22, I got 3 consecutive texts urging me to get home that my daughter, who is 6, has gotten accidentally hit on the face by her big brother with a metal baseball bat and that we needed to take her to the ER. I found a cab after much work and we rushed to the ER. All turned out well and we felt so incredibly lucky to get our little momma back home in one piece. Today, Sunday, I did 11.5 miles on tired legs and feel I did the best I could under the circumstances. Total 33.5 mils for the weekend.....I think I am ready to crush this 50K!! 

Below are pics from my adventure....
The Monument, sun has come up finally...

I used the bathroom at the Lincoln Memorial......cleanest bathroom in all of DC. 




Me looking tired and sweaty!!
My little sweet momma being so patient and positive after being hit in the face with a bat.....she even smiled for the photo......

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The value of living inspirations....


                              I once read a book by Linda Goodman, I don't remember which for I read them all and they blend together in my mind, but in this one particular book Goodman mentions that the Universe, God, Great Spirit (what ever YOU may call it) sends down human anomalies in order to give us hope. Mind you, these are not her 'exact' words, but my mere interpretation of her message, so bear with me. Goodman's one of many examples of such anomalies were of people who have managed to live way, way beyond humanly believed possible. But without going so far out there, let's look at even less extreme examples of these human anomalies, like people who accomplish great feats whom we hear about in the news, or read about in history books. In my mind, I think, "no way can I rise to the same level as these great men and women, and in thinking that way justify in our minds that we and them are essentially night and day. Through THAT line of thinking we allow ourselves to stay where we are. But what if, what IF we are sent these great leaders in human form, specifically so that we can think JUST the opposite? How about the thinking that perhaps these people were placed on this earth at these times, to inspire us to aim higher in the rungs of humanity? Why not? we have whole religions built on just that scenario; someone is born and lives a human life, suffers, and in their human life do amazing things, and inspires others by example. 

                             In my life journey so far,  I have found running and daily juicing as these powerful catalysts for my own personal change. The daily supplemental juicing of daily 60+ ounces of vegetables and fruits has eliminated most of my food cravings. In addition, juicing has given me the gift of emotional balance, and health and energy beyond ever experienced. Running has given me the gifts of mental toughness, confidence and keen self-awareness; and these, mind you, are just some of the benefits. We could easily be here all day going through the varied benefits of running. Suffice it to say that this transformation has been so beyond my wildest dreams; I could have never 'planned' to come this far, I only imagined it vaguely and began arming myself with one right action after another. Often, I will share on Facebook, on in my blogs on on Twitter about my feats of the week. Perhaps some may conclude about me that this type of personal sharing on such a public forum to be a form of bragging, maybe annoying, maybe even, boisterous. Yet,  I know the nature of inspiration now after years and years of futile and turturous attempts to change those around me via various methods such as lecturing, begging, manipulating, pouting.  Why go through all that? No one changes for others and stay that way for long. Yet, all along the answer is quite simple; all it takes to help change others for the better is to first and only change oneself, all other external attempts to change the world are a total waste of time. 

                           I know a tad about inspiration. Inspiration is what gave me hope in my darkest hours and provided me a map to a brighter future. Unfortunately, I have never been, and still to this day I am not, one to do therapy or bear my soul to a perfect stranger. Tried it a few times and it felt plastic and the suggestions I was getting lacked something else I needed but could not pin point.  Therefore, while growing up, when I needed answers and a way to label and make sense of all baggage I had carried with me up to that point, I turned to books. Authors became my guiding light, my confidantes, my coaches, my therapy. I often state that reading books by great people with an open heart has saved my life. As time went on and with the upsurge of the internet, I began following the works of living inspirations online, not just authors, but people of all walks of life and found that, in fact, all around us, great, amazing, wonderful, strong, beautiful, and compassionate people abide. People who have done great things despite what seems like unsurmoutable obstacles. My focus became fine-tuned to finding these living inspirational 'anomalies', as I call them. I was thirsty to find the light keepers, the people whom despite enduring great hardship have remained positive, light, open, then have gone on to conquer their fears and turn their lives around. Why reinvent the wheel when these people were right here sharing their battles, their formulas, their entire cadre of wisdom through their books, their blogs, their very actions even? Amazing humans around us are living testament to what we too can become. And contrary to the way we traditionally treat gurus and great teachers, they are not primarily placed here to be oohhhdd and ahhhed over some altar. They help no one sitting in an altar. Their journeys are meant to be more like maps, life maps. Like snails on a dewey morning, they leave behind trails that literally anyone can follow. 

                                   I have long stopped giving people a list of authors or of people to look up as a way to inspire them to begin their own transformational journey. Everyone has to find their very own teachers in life. Teachers come in all forms and they are as individual as you are unique. What helped me, may not speak to you. Although my journey is a map to what is possible, you still need to fine-tune your heart to be able to recognize what moves you, what speaks to you, what calls you. The secret here being .....WHAT. MOVES. YOU. When found, the secret of what moves you will feed you, comfort you, fill you with purpose, you will feel and be invincible and life will feel successful regardless of external factors. 

                                  But some adults have a hard time knowing, identifying and even looking for what moves them. Being hopeful and dreaming big is something that is in us naturally, but can be lost for more practical considerations.  Unfortunately, everything about current life seems to work hard to tamp down hopes and dreams. Security breeds fear. Fear, if believed, tells us to stay put, and there, in an instant, our dreams are sacrificed for the sake of security. When my own kids tell me they are BORED, for example, this is my wake up call. Boredom is not bad per se, but what one does when bored, or with their time in general, is very telling of the health of their big dreams. These days, our children need to be supported in finding what moves them. Sadly, every 'happiness' children now profess to have seems to be externally produced. To name a few: Video games, TV shows, Ipad app games, iphones, texting, and messaging. IF a child reaches for externally-driven fun within 1.3 seconds of experiencing the first wave of discomfort there is a huge problem. It's an addiction. I call it an addition because that is what it is, plain and simple. Here's the test to prove to you that yes, in fact, it's an addition. Take just one of your child's external fun away for 2 or even days and see this seemingly docile child become a total monster for those two days. THAT is an addicted child. (note: If you are afraid to try this little test, then the addition is pretty far along already and you will need a serious intervention) Life happens outside screen time. Let me repeat, L.I. F.E. happens outside screen time. If LIFE is not experienced as a child, then when will they learn to live it?

                                All of us have the ability to rise up to do great things in this precious life, ALL of us have that little diamond nugget of a seed inside our hearts that, when listened too, can guide us in the right direction, but first we must be taught that it's even possible to reach great heights and that yes, we have the ability to follow our big dreams and that is called hope. We must look for and surround ourselves with people in our life that carry this hope, that inspire us and expect us to be our best selves. Last, we must raise our children to reconnect with their own simple, self-driven inner contentment so that they may live a life with purpose, and full self -awareness. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

24 Miles.....one more long run....and I'm ready!!

                        Completed my first ever 24-mile run this weekend. It was one of my first ever long runs in which I felt utterly emotionally and physically depleted at the end. Logically, I am supposed to feel somewhat tired, but emotionally amazing...but, I didn't feel either; I felt 200% exhausted and only somewhat amazing. You see, 2 weeks ago, I ran my first ever 23 miles and ended thinking I could have easily run two more; that's how strong I was 2 weeks ago. So, this run, in my opinion, was supposed to be a breeze. But, at the end I was only focusing on getting the run over with and besides, life was waiting, or should I say 'pulling', me at the "finish line". 

                   I rushed back upstairs after my run, stayed in my compressions capri tights for about 20 minutes as I stretched in every way possible against our couch and as I got the update from my hubby about the morning family happenings I missed. I then quickly took a hot, hot, then hotter bath and got up from that tub and literally hobbled to my son's first Little League baseball game where we, the family, stayed until close to 3:30pm. I don't think I even got a chance to think and reflect on my accomplishment of the morning; the entire day felt rushed and even somewhat surreal. The minute I stepped back in my home it went from calm nature meditative state to full-on, soccer-mom mode (or should I say 'baseball mom'?). 

             Being a mom and a distance runner is like living in two totally different universes. For the whole morning I was in YUMMY ME LAND, listening to inspirational audio books, watching the stars disappear as the sun rose up in the sky from 5-7am, eating unbelievably awesome peaches from fruit stands, and running to the beats of amazing, sweat-producing tunes. Then, I come home to absolute chaos. I was ready for it, of course, just physically a bit slow. Chris, my hubby, has not made lunches for the training, then he announced that he too needed a quick run and was running around getting himself ready to bolt out for a fast one.  He left me with the kids, whom at this point had just about had enough of each other in our tight city apartment....so the short bath I had, was primarily short because, well....how long can any mom soak knowing that any minute now, your soak can be disrupted by screams, whines and fights.  Even though I had a 'talk' with the kids about helping out with good behavior, I knew it was just a matter of time.  There was no fun in anticipating that scenario...so I took a hot, hot bath, on 'speed' and got out of there. Kids were great, I could have sat there another 5 minutes, but seeing how slow I was I was not about to chance it. 

                  At the baseball game, my toenail, which had turned milk colored during the last long run, looked looser and looser and with a slight nervous tug, the entire middle nail on my left foot just came off; surprisingly there was no pain, nothing. What a relief. I always thought nails hurt when they fall. "Wow", I thought, "My first casualty of the long runs". Which on second thought, is not entirely true if you consider the severe chafing I kept developing on each run. 

                         2 weeks ago I did my 22-miler (turned out 23 because I miscalculated). After the run I discovered two deep gashes left on the sides of my back from my Nathan's hydration backpack. To salvage this issue I cut a small towel and created a softer strap by tightly sewing the rolled up towel around each strap. Looked silly, but, it was all I can think to do to prevent further occurrences. My husband kept commenting that I looked like he beat me. He did not like seeing all the bruising the pack left on my sides. This time, I came home to another unforeseeable chafing issue. One that made me jump from pain the first time I hit the bath. I wore the strap to my heart monitor around my torso for the first time in months and it left red sore chafing marks all around my bra-line. A day later, it's gone, but they are no fun. My big dilemma now is, for my 24-miler, and then for my 50K race itself, how do I wear my heart monitor, which I find very helpful in determining my exhaustion level, and not have it chafe me. Perhaps a more experienced runner can help me here. 

                          Back to my update. The next day, I got up early to supposedly run on tired legs as the training calls and my entire body felt like a truck had run it over, I walked to the bathroom like an injured duck. The 10 mile run planned on 'tired legs' was obviously not going to happen.  After much mental debating in bed, I settled with going out for a 2-hour fast walk in the woods of Rock Creek Park (which ended up being for half the mileage) and it was every bit as revitalizing as I thought it would be. But still, I could not shake the bad feeling I got at not being able to complete my official post-long-race run of 10 miles. But I re-framed it in my mind; " I will be fine", I told myself. I have done this training faithfully for 13 weeks now and that 50K race is mine, even if I have to crawl to the finish. Oh, which I am hoping not to do, but, hey....... I will be happy when I see that finish line, no matter what my time....