Tag Archives: Running

Running behind 

I signed up for another race – mostly because I want to eat and not lose any of the momentum from finishing the triathlon and partly because the next race in October is with very dear friends and its to run over the Astoria Bridge so it involves a weekend away with my spouse.

Finishing the triathlon is not a sentance that my jr. high self would have envisioned – proof that jr. high, while generally miserable, is thankfully not the sum total of existance.  My eldest is going into fourth grade so we have two years left to pour in quality while she is still sane. And then according to my wise mother the goal in middle school is to just get them through it. 

The next race is a 10K.   I ran one several years ago.   I came in dead last.   I’d prefer not to be last again.   Near the end of the crowd is okay. Last, not so much.    I had a hard time this week getting into the gym during the day.   The Scramble for the Kids is on Monday and so this last week was full of a myriad of details.   As a result, two of my excercise attempts happened late evening after the three year old went to bed.    Couple days ago the nine year old wanted to know if she could come along.      I paused.   Sometimes I run because I need a break.   And last time she ran with me it involved more of me dragging her than actual running.  But the jr. high kid in me wants my daughter’s jr. high experience to include fewer painful PE moments than mine had.   Plus the fact that she wants to run with me is a a great honor.   So I said sure.

She did great.  We ran 2 miles in 25 minutes and were still friends when we came back home.

The almost 4th grader asked if we could run again tonight.  I said 

after dinner and after I read bedtime books to the little one  (Make Way for Ducklings, This is Not my Hat and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore for those of you curious).   

We headed out with iPod blaring so we could both hear and I was wearing a light backpack so we could bring home treats.  I asked my spouse if a run still counts if it is to the store for ice cream. He said yes. Points for the husband!

  
We paused at the corner because the sunset was gorgeous.  The nine year old had extra energy tonight because she smoked me. I had to push to keep up.     We had another mid run pause to pick up pints of ice cream  (Peanut Butter Cup, Heath Toffee and cookie dough…go big!).   Ran home with ice cream bumping off my back 

  
This two miles we dropped 4 1/2 minutes off our time.  Seriously should add ice cream to every run. Actually I think the fact that I was chasing her down the whole time pushed us both to speed up. 

  
She talked me through all the post run stretches and then we sat on the couch and ate bowls of ice cream and then I dove back into golf details.  And now the house is quiet, the girls are asleep and I’m grateful for today – for reading and laundry and errands and nap time and quiet moments with my spouse. And for the run. I’m grateful. 

  Our pastor says that parenting is not for wimps.  And so we run.  And eat ice cream.  

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Warrior Dash 2011

Here is a photo of my sister one week ago.   She’s wearing a Pinkalicious crown because she’s a good aunt.    She looks worried because she’s looking at the Warrior Dash website.    She agreed to do the Warrior Dash with me just about a year ago.     Ever notice it’s easy to sign up for crazy things when they are far off in the future?

We were induced into this crazy event by a friends we trust.   I said yes.    I asked my sister.   She said yes.    She asked her husband.   He said yes.    I asked my husband.   He said no.       I asked my daughter if I looked like a Warrior right as I was getting ready to leave on Saturday.   She appraised my outfit and said, “Well Mom.  You do look a little worried.”

Here is a picture of the friends we trust before the event.  He is not really that much taller than her.   He’s standing on a very steep hill.    I point this out because the entire three-mile course was on a very steep hill.

We ran.   We climbed walls.    I was unduly proud of myself when I hauled my body up a wall with a rope.   Granted the wall had toe holds but still.   I have a rope burn on my elbow to prove it.    We dodged through tires.     We climbed cargo nets.    Did I mention we climbed walls ?  Five different obstacles involved climbing walls.    It stuck with me.  I’m still grinning.   We crawled under barbed wire.  We slid down a mud slide.    We jumped over fire pits.

This is not me.   It could be though.

This is us at the finish line.

This is my shoe at the finish line.   I wore these shoes every day in Rwanda.    My kind husband washed them for me and they look great.  I love these shoes.

This is us after we had a communal bath in the lake to get clean.   I still wrapped my car seat in a garbage sack and sat on a towel.

On the way home, I downed a bottle of PowerAid and ate the free packet of sunflower seeds.   I couldn’t stop grinning.   This whole event was fun.    I came in 487th out of 601 in my age bracket.  I actually climbed up a wall.   Did I already mention the wall?    You should sign up for something crazy and silly and challenging.    I feel like a Warrior.

 

 

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Go Go Rocket Girl

This past weekend I participated in the 21st annual Hood to Coast / Portland to Coast relay.   It’s a crazy fun event.  When I was explaining to my daughter that I’d be gone overnight because I was walking to the beach she looked at me like I was crazy.    In reality there were twelve of us that spent exactly 31 hours 38 min 32 seconds taking turns walking the 130 mile course from Portland to Seaside.   We came in 94th out of 142 in our bracket.

My team is called the Rocket Girls.   We got the name from a daughter of one of the team members.  When she did her first race in 3rd grade or so she told her mom that the way she sped up when she was lagging was to say “GO GO Rocket Girl. GO as fast as the wind”.    We tried her method and found that she’s right.   Go Go Rocket Girl really is effective self talk and doubles nicely as a team name.    Here is a photo of Van One.   I was in Van Two.   Our team spirit was less creative so I’m not showing you a photo of our van.

My sister and I were on the same team.   Here we are nice and perky right at the beginning of the race.

Here we are at the end of the race.   This is after we each walked over ten miles (I did twelve; eight of it in one long hill in the sunshine).   This is also after we slept three hours the night before in our van.   My sister and I shared a seat.   It was cozy…and stinky…and hot.   We’re less perky.

The Van One girls look happier.  This is because they had showers already.    We’d just gotten off the shuttle bus.   This is a photo of the ride on the shuttle bus.   Our last walker beat us to the beach.   Yup.  She walked faster than the shuttle bus drove.

When I got home my daughter asked if I had fun walking to the beach.   Absolutely.   I’ll do it again next year.   I told you.  It’s crazy fun.

 

 

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Running with Grease

I’ve been doing a little personal research into what happens when you eat junk food and then run.   It’s not pretty.  About a week ago we had a potluck at the park.   We were standing around waiting for everyone to arrive and to pass the time we ate potato chips.   Lots of potato chips.   BBQ.  A good solid start. Sea Salt and Vinegar.  Chips that bite back.  Tomato and Basil.   Tastes like spaghetti.  I’m not sure I like them.  That didn’t stop me from eating quite a few.   More people arrived.  They brought more chips.  Doritos.  Cheetos.  I avoided these due to the good ol’ latent TB since I think technically they have cheese in them somewhere.   Tortilla chips.   We didn’t have any forks.   We used potato chips.    On top of the multi layer chip fest I added fried chicken and lemon bars.    The lemon bars were really good so I had two…or three.

Then we went for a two-mile run.    It hurt.  A lot.  I think I was sweating grease.   I told you it wasn’t pretty.  Two young and fit and cute runners tried to lap us.   They failed but it about killed me off.   I think we ran far enough to burn off the lemon bars.   The potato chips and fried chicken are still with me.

The fried chicken wasn’t even very good.  I bought it at the deli.   No comparison to the homemade fried chicken we’d had a week prior.  We were at the church campout.   Usually this involves lots of fun, friends, boats and sunshine.   This year it involved lots of fun, friends, tarps and rain.  I’m happy to report that our tent didn’t leak.   At one point in the deluge we had ten little girls lined up at picnic benches getting fancy manicures.  I did base coats.  My friend is a natural nail artist.  I particularly liked the pig.

After we cleared out the sparkles and polish remover the crew started getting dinner ready.   We were all hovering.  A tiny bit of sunshine broke out.  The food kept coming.  Oh happy day!  Sesame noodle salad, watermelon, homemade potato salad (only four ingredients…its fabulous), bread and fried chicken.   The chicken was not greasy.   It was a bit peppery.   This is why I like camping.   I ate a ton.   Quite wisely  I did not go running afterwards.

On Saturday I ran my very first 10K.  I had a decent plate of spaghetti the night before.  Good carb load.    We ran all six miles.   We came in last.   A group of walkers beat us.   This is becoming a pattern for me.   My mother-in-law reassured me that its a good thing to be a turtle.  Slow and steady may not win the race but she swears turtles finish every race they start.   I do have to say this slow six miles was easier than the potato chip two miles.

I was reminded of my father’s favorite bible verse –

Philippians 4:8

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

It’s his favorite because whatever you put in is what comes out.   I feel like my own living parable.   Junk food in, cruddy run.  It may be fun to dish out  snarky comments and its tempting to jump into divisive gossip.    The outflow though of that kind of input is devastating.     It starts with a sluggish attitude.   Bitterness settles in.   Pretty soon despair is dogging your heals.    Wanna run a good race?   Think on what is good.   Avoid the grease.

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Flip Side: Running

I need a new pair of running shoes.   Mine are just about dead.   I know this partly because when I run I can feel pavement through the tread.   Partly because this particular pair of running shoes smell funky.    I don’t know how long running shoes should last but mine have logged miles for the last nine months and it’s time to go get a new pair.    I feel a little guilty though.   It’s like I’m trading in a pet for a new and improved version.    The shoes look at me accusingly.   I keep putting them back in the closet and delay again buying new ones.

Nine months ago I was diagnosed with dormant tuberculosis.   (See To Whine or Not for all the details).   To distract myself,  I started running.   My sister agreed to train with me.   We recruited a marathon survivor to coach us.    The first time we went out to run we made it once around the track.   One quarter of a mile.   We were hurting, red and blotchy and felt completely pitiful.    The next week we went two laps – half a mile.   Still blotchy.    We were excited when we got up to a mile and did it in “only” fifteen minutes.    We even high-fived.  About a month ago we did our first 5K.   We came in last.    This did not bother me in the least.    Last week, we did five miles in an hour.   I cheered.     My first 10K is in eight days.   

There are two types of runners.    The first types are gorgeous tall lanky people who make running look easy.   My brother-in-law is one of these.  He routinely runs ten plus miles and actually enjoys it.    I like to watch this type of person run.    Graceful.   Fast.   You can tell at one glance that they were built to run.   In high school these people made me nervous.    Now I mostly just try to stay out of their way.

The second type of runners are shorter, slower, and less coordinated.   These are my kind of people.  What we don’t have in grace we make up for in courage. I personally tend to weave when I run.   A friend who trained with me a few years ago got so used to it that she just started grabbing my shirt sleeve when I was wandering too far into someone else’s lane.   She didn’t say anything, just reeled me back in.

I am coming close to a finish line.    I took my last pill for TB on Monday.   In two weeks the medicine should be out of my system and I can resume a normal diet.  I am so looking forward to eating a banana.  And some guacamole.  And cheddar cheese.   I plan on eating everything on my restricted list.   Even Skipjack even though I’m not totally sure what that is.  Some sort of Tuna.  Ever notice how if you can’t have something you suddenly want it?  Is that just me?   In two weeks I’ll have a celebratory dance and quit all the restrictions.  

 I’m not going to quit running though.    Running clears my head.  If I’m cranky and go for a run, I come back happy.  It might only be that I’m happy I can stop but whatever works.   Over the last nine months I’ve lost over 25 pounds, killed tuberculosis, kicked a caffeine habit, survived without chocolate and learned that if I run I can eat pretty much however much I want.    This will be useful when the cheese resumes.    I may have to up my mileage.

I really need new shoes.

To see the flipside go to www.doncanonge.com.

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In the long run

This story did not happen to me.  It feels like it did though.  It happened to my sister.   She and I share an odd sense of humor, a strong will and a pitiful history where PE is concerned.  So my little sister had a goal.  (One I had too but didn’t actually achieve).  She wanted to finish running the mile in high school PE and not come in last in her class.   Totally reasonable goal.  One day, she gave it her all.  Ran like the wind.   Finished ahead of someone.   Looked up to heaven and closed her eyes to pray and to thank God, promptly tripped and fell flat on her face.   Sigh.

I must point out here that another thing my sister and I share is a willingness to self-deprecate in order to have new blog material.  She did in fact give me permission to throw her under the bus.

You know how in high school they try to talk you into buying an extremely overpriced coat so you can display your proudly earned letter?   I had a letter but frankly wasn’t interested in wearing it.  I’m not sure that Pep Band really qualifies, especially when you play the flute.  The flute is designed for a symphony not a marching band.  You can’t hear it over cheering football fans or a cadence from the drum line.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved band.  I just didn’t want to hear about it from all the sports people.  I had a couple pins on this letter too…one for Honor Society and one for the Math team.  In college, my debate coach thought it was hilarious to tell people I was on the math team.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that debate fell in the same category as competitive math.

My sister signed up with me to do the Warrior Dash this fall.    Partly I think it was because she felt sorry for me because I came home from Rwanda with TB and she didn’t.  Partly I think it was because it’s fun to surprise people and do something out of character.  Partly I think because I’m the big sister and she’s used to sometimes doing what I tell her to.   At any rate, we’ve been running for about two months now.   We’re running at least once a week together just to stay accountable.  The rest of the time we’re begging others to keep us in line and have acquired a couple of good coaches who push us.  One of them is pregnant.  I find it difficult to believe that I have a really hard time keeping up with the pregnant person.   Sigh.   Our other coach just finished this year’s Portland marathon.  Starting running for the first time last spring and ran the whole thing.  She’s my hero.

We all spent all last week eating.   Decided yesterday we were ready for a “hard run”.   Three Miles.   Faster pace than normal.  Really Really big hill.   All three of us had to walk the last push of the hill.   It’s a big hill.  My friend said it felt like someone had ripped out her lungs.   Clearly we all need a bit more training.    Funny thing was when we finished the hill, the next bit was pretty nice.   My sister had her best run ever.

In 2004 I did the Portland Marathon.   I ran 1/4 of each mile and walked the other 3/4.   At mile 15 or so I was feeling great.   Mile 20 I was starting to get tired.   Mile 21 my IPOD battery gave out.   Mile 22 I was worried.   At mile 25 with only one mile to go I had nothing left.  I saw a little man shuffling ahead of me.   I told myself “I’m going to try to run by this gentleman, maybe if I can encourage him, I’ll be able to finish”.    So I ran in step with senior and said “You can do it, only one mile to go”.  He said “This is my fifth marathon.  I know I can do it.  You can do it too.  Don’t give up”.   Okay then.

I did in fact finish all 26.2 miles.   When I crossed the finish line, my mother burst into tears.   She said she had a picture of me running a race in life and crossing the finish line into heaven.

I really don’t like to exercise.  Not crazy about running.   I do however like that my pants fit.   I also like the extra energy when I’m faithful to run.   I really don’t like much of what constitutes balance and discipline in life.    Balancing my checking account, taking out the garbage, having those oh so hard conversations to iron out misunderstandings, saying sorry, getting out of bed even when the snooze button is calling me, devotions with my daughter, praying for friends, tackling the big hills.

Its easier to do anything with your sister at your side.  And I know that it’s all worth it in the long run.

 

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Little Notes, Big Impact

It’s my birthday.  I’m thirty five.   This is a very stable and confident sounding number.    It’s also halfway to seventy.   My maternal grandmother who is ninety one tells me that 70 is young.   I appreciate the encouragement.

I’ve always been the kind of person who thrives on atta girls.   I had a report card one time that actually said “needs too much encouragement.  Can’t work without outside approval”.    People say that those with a healthy self esteem don’t need others to prop them up.    While  I understand this theory, I actually think this is completely ridiculous.    Last night, running around the track in the dark I totally would have quit when I got a stomach ache had it not been for the amazing marathon runner beside me urging me on.   Encouragement keeps us moving foward.  It can keep us holding on when we don’t see a way through the dark.

Growing up, I loved the days at school where mom had put a note in my lunch box.  I got a note from her today.

I’m blessed today with facebook messages, texts, emails and I even got a fax.  This kind of encouragement just makes me smile.

I was missing my paternal grandmother today.  She died on New Years day, just nine months ago.  She never missed a single birthday my entire life.   She also never skipped sending thank you notes or congratulations cards.   I’m sure my love for the written note comes from Grandma.   This note sits above my desk.

When I’m frustrated with parenting or feel like I’ve blown it, I read this note and remember I come from good stuff.

I blogged last week about my teacher who gave me frowns all year.   This note showed up with a whole page of sticker smiley faces attached.

My daughter gave me one of my all time favorite encouragement notes.

It really does come down to that.   I love you.   That’s what people want to know.  Take a minute today, write a note.  Tell someone you love them.  Encourage them on.

My 91 year old grandmother has alzheimers.  She is doing well.  Still knows who we are.   Still tells us she loves us.   We’ve been writing her notes.     Someday she’s going to hear the the best words of encouragement ever spoken.  Word from her Creator.   “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant”.

Be encouraged today.

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