Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Zip-pity Do Da 21.5 Mile Almost Marathon

100% chance of thunderstorms predicted on race day. Whadda ya do?  Already invested a hundred bucks and endless hours of training.  You go for it with an attitude like Lt. Dan "You call this a storm? BLOW, you son of a B%$#@!, BLOW."   You prepare your mind with nothing but positive thoughts.  Songs like Zippity Do Da, You Are My Sunshine, Singing (running) in the Rain, Sunshine Day, and Kermit's 'Rainbow Song'.  I was going to embrace whatever came my way on my second marathon. After all, I trained in sleet, blowing snow, and negative wind chills so what's a few raindrops and claps of thunder?  Well...that's about the only thing I don't like running in (and no one should).  Lightening is nothing to be taken lightly. The race officials had to do what they had to do, such is life.

My goal was to run the Illinois full marathon (26.2 miles) in 4:45 so I signed up with a pace group.  A few miles in, I met a gal and we hit it off. She was running the half. It's funny how instantly you bond with a fellow runner.  I already have a place to stay if I wish to race in the St. Louis area!  It really helps having a running buddy, keeps your mind off what you are doing.  There was an on and off drizzle for the first half.  Right before she left me, I spotted another Break Wind Running Club runner! He was doing pretty awesome. I saw my new friend PR'd.  What a day for her.  PR means personal record, all runners are truly happy for each other when they hear someone does that!  After I left her, I had to catch up with my pace group.  About mile 14,  my dear husband brought all 5 kids and they were holding awesome signs they made.  I stopped and kissed each one. Got a little teary eyed.  I gave him my jacket (mistake) and took off thinking I would see them again along the route.

I was in mile 17 when we heard the announcement "the race has been cancelled, seek shelter immediately."  UGH!! I was doing so good! No porta potty stops YET!  Well...I didn't know what shelter to seek and our pacer left us.   Just about mile 17 was when I was beginning the stages of self-doubt and despair. "Should I just leave the group and slow down?"  Mr. Thunder robbed my of fulfilling those stages of the marathon and I never got to meet 'The Wall.' Shame on him. Decided to NOT run with a phone (dumb).  So I did what everybody else was doing...just kept running.  A police officer said we need to go to a high school. Well, I didn't see anyone going inside so I...just kept running.  I heard another say, a bus will pick you up. Mile 18, no bus.  They blockaded part of the route so I was able to skip over to mile 23.  About mile 23.5 I thought "I bet my family is at the 20 mile marker, but not turning around now."  I did see a bus ahead of me, but missed it, so I....just kept running. That's when the downpour started.  Heard 3 claps of thunder. I never felt really threatened.  It was a little storm, but lightening none the less. Started saying some "Hail Marys".  My body wasn't feeling that bad, my feet hurt, my calves were chaffing (who would have thought to lube the calves?), but my pace did slow.  The community is so awesome in Champaign-Urbana, there were signs on yard saying 'emergency shelter'. When the water stations closed down the people still gave out waters and jelly beans!  So, after missing the bus, I thought it's just another 5K to finish line. If I see a bus or my hubby, I will stop.  It was very weird when the 9 minute pace group passed me. I actually did LOL!

So, I....just kept running to the finish line. Got my undeserved medal and cool fleece blanket. My Garmin said 21.5 miles.  Trudged up the stairs for water and pizza. I called my husband and he had no idea the race was cancelled. He thought he missed me finish! As I was walking through the crowds of people to get to gear check, I thought my calves were going to explode. One lady looked at me and said "are you all right?" NO! but I said yes.  I was so worried about meeting up with my family, I didn't properly cool down and stretch (big mistake, still paying for it 3 days later).  I stretched my calves a little and then took off for the most miserable walk of my life.  There was construction so to get to the shower and the meeting place of my family, I had to walk another 2 blocks in down pouring rain.  I could hardly move my hips.  I thought to myself, forward is a pace.  The bag they gave us had a mesh side and so my clothes I was going to change into and my towel were getting wet.  But once I was able to get in the shower, all was forgotten. I tried stretching in the shower stall! Funny.  I paid $5 for a shower, but it was well worth $100! I did leave my "I have to poop" headband there. Bummer.

Afterwards, we went and got my post race steak, drove an hour home and laid around the rest of the day cuddled in my finisher's blankie, watching movies.  Why I didn't stretch and ice?  I don't know.  Another mistake. I was just spent.  Now that I have had time to reflect, I still don't know what to do.  I researched May/June marathons in the area. One June 6th possibility but our local 5K is that day which I always do and love to support.  I guess, I'll just let it go.

What did I learn from this?  Lots.  1. Attempting a marathon in a thunderstorm is the most insane thing I have done, but I was glad to run with others that share this insanity. 2. I appreciate so much  volunteers!!!  Especially those that were directing traffic. They had NO choice but to continue. Some runners had to keep running to the finish line because they had no ride or bus.  As I thought about this I got teary eyed.  I even said to one police officer "thank you for putting up with our stupidity."  He just smiled and laughed.  Also thanks for those who still stayed handing out waters at the station and at the finish line.  They really deserved medals too!  3. Life is like a race, you must embrace what comes your way, weather the storms, enjoy the mile you are in, love the rain, the finish line is your rainbow and...just keep running.

How do you embrace the storm?

My race fans...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Annoying God in Prayer

Prayer is like an annoying child.  This is my reflection after my morning Bible reading.  Imagine yourself looking up at Jesus and pulling at His robe.  Here is the conversation:

Scenario  1: 
You:  "Jesus I want a cookie. Jesus, I want a cookie. Jesus, can I please have a cookie? Jesus, I will do anything, I'll be good, I won't sin, if you just give me a cookie."
Jesus: "My child, I see you are hungry and since you were persistent, I will give you your cookie."
You: "Thank you Jesus!  I am satisfied now."

Scenerio 2:
You:  "Jesus I want a cookie. Jesus, I want a cookie. Jesus, can I please have a cookie? Jesus, I will do anything, I'll be good, I won't sin, if you just give me a cookie."
Jesus: "My child, I see you are hungry and since you were persistent, I will not give you a cookie but rather an apple."
You:  "Jesus, I don't want an apple, I want a cookie."
Jesus:  "Dear child, a cookie is not bad, but this apple is better for you."
You: "Humph." Pouting with your head down, you take the apple and eat it, after a while you say: "Thank you, Jesus. I am FULFILLED! This apple tasted better than I could ever imagine."

Luke 11:5-10

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence[a] he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Sometimes I feel like the annoying child, asking for the same thing over and over and over.  Every once in a while,  I realize maybe I am asking for the wrong thing. His plan is always better. I love this Bible verse. It gives us permission to be an annoying child and gives me understanding on how I need to be patient with my own children.   A simple prayer to say is "God, whatever your will, make it mine." We have permission to ask this over and over and over and over....

Is your prayer annoying?

Don't think of the things you didn't get after praying. Think of the countless blessings God gave without you asking him.

Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank God in everything no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18 AMP)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Why I Run

The Happy Life and Times of Simple Me: Why I Run: I am writing and eating my favorite post-run breakfast, quinoa with maple syrup and dried fruit. Sippin' on my yummy black coffee. Just ...

Why I Run

I am writing and eating my favorite post-run breakfast, quinoa with maple syrup and dried fruit. Sippin' on my yummy black coffee. Just got back from my early morning (5:30) slow run.  This week I start my tapering for the Illinois Marathon.  It's in 2 weeks. Tapering is when you start to run less and eat more.  Well, I really won't eat more until a few days before.  My long training runs are done. Why did I do this again?  I still haven't figured it out.  Last year's marathon was my first.  Not a good experience.  I was doing great until mile 14 then the heat, gus, gatorade, and bbq grippo potato chips I ate the entire week before kicked in. Let's just say my Break Wind Running Club shirt I was wearing with our logo "we never run out of gas" held to it's name.  In fact, I was walking for a period and a woman (rather arrogant) ran past me and said "looks like you ran out of gas." I said "nope, I still have plenty left, that's my problem." Thank goodness for the 4 porta potties.  Yes, this is TMI but if you are a runner, you have empathy for one suffering from runner's trots.  So, I think my motivation for this marathon was to simply do better. My time was 5:19.  My goal is to have a race that I only visit porta johnny once and beating the 5 hour mark would be nice.

I started running April of 2011 when my youngest was 18 months.  My reason was not to lose weight. My 5th baby burned me 500 calories a day nursing.  I lost my baby weight pretty easily. In fact, I gained 10 pounds within a year when I started running!  I started running because I was so tired of going up and down the stairs feeling like crap. I had no energy.  My husband had started running and had ran a couple marathons.  He was a huge source of inspiration.  Another reason I ran is because of my birth defect.  I was born with hip dysplasia.  I had casts on my legs as a baby, a surgery on my hip when I was 8 and another on my knee when I was 12.  My doctor said I would start to get arthritis in my 30's. I was starting to notice it especially when I got above a certain weight.  I figured maybe I could keep the arthritis at bay if I exercised.  So far, it has worked!  Looking back at my experience with my dysplasia, I believe I was truly blessed with a progressive doctor.  I could always do sports and now am running marathons.  He fixed me up good!  I wish I could find him to say thank you.  I know of another gal who was born with the same condition.  She is just a few years younger than me and just had a hip replacement.  She may have been born with a more severe case so I don't know if I am comparing apples to apples.  I am so thankful and know that I am blessed to have the opportunity and ability to run. I pray often when I run.  I usually begin my prayer "thank you for this ability to run,  I offer up my pains, tiredness and weariness as a sacrifice for those that can't."

I have run 5 half marathons and soon to be 2 full, a few 10ks and countless 5k's.  I love racing. It gives me a goal.  I love the camaraderie of fellow runners.  Some may think it vain or boasting to post a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car, but I beg to defer.  Well, ok, maybe a little sin of pride there, but it's also the (not so) secret society club symbol.  I yell out 26.2 to my kids when we pass a fellow marathoner.  However, I do find the 0.0 stickers hilarious.  I call them honorary members because they at least know the language.

A few years ago a group of not-so-serious runners here started a running club.  The master mind behind the name was inspired by another club named 'Second Wind'.  He, my husband and another guy have ran together for awhile and would joke that they were the CRC, Covington Running Club.  We were at an expo and he said what about "Break Wind Running Club?"  We all laughed. It was perfect!  We made a  facebook page and voila the club was born!  Some people ask me what you need to do to join.  I honestly laugh and say "can you break wind? you can only join if you can break wind."  We are truly a not-so-serious grassroots club that just wants to run.  We post funny stuff on fb, try to get together to run once a week, eat a few times together and support each other.  Recently, I wrote the BWRC Creed:  "I believe in never letting anyone face a long run alone. To keep what's said on the run, on the run. To never judge the smells that linger around me. To always keep handy a Kleenex, lend a sock or hankie for my fellow runner. To allow a right of way to snot rockets (aka farmer's blow). To support local races and be an enabler for our addiction."  FREE BWRC membership belongs to those who run, walk, ride, cheer from the sideline, dream about running, want to run or basically interested in  running.  I have  made some good friends through this club and look forward to our early Saturday morning runs.

In my very first blog, I mentioned my problem of keeping life simple.  Running is probably the simplest sport there is. Just lace up your shoes and go (the most complicated part of running is to make sure you do have good shoes, many injuries could be avoided if we had the right kicks). My problem is I can't just lace and go, nope I have to run races, join a club, subscribe to runner's world, track my miles, study high protein food and carbs,  analyze my run on my Garmin, oh and am a race director for a local 5/10k.  My husband is starting to come back to the joy of running. He decided not to run any marathons this year and if he feels like it, he will go out for a 20  miler if not, oh well, nothing is lost.  After this marathon, I am looking forward to the joy of running. Sometimes when you are training it is just another thing on your to do list, it seems like a chore.

This morning's run I got a glimpse of why I remembered the reason I run.  For the health of it. Health not only for fitness and not being able breath when I go up the stairs, but for the health of my sanity and soul.  I had been using my daughter's mp3 player. I usually run 1 mile before I put the plugs in.   This morning when I was done with my 6 miler, I took the plugs out and was disappointed. I had missed the most musical symphony ever composed.  It happens every spring and summer morning around 6 am, the explosion of birds singing their morning song. I am convinced there is an alarm clock bird. One bird chirps, wakes up another and within 2 minutes they are all awake jabbering about how their night went, what to eat for breakfast and what today's agenda will be.  So why this talk about birds? These original tweeters reminded me why I run, for the joy of doing something good for me, the chance to hear their beautiful voices and be outside enjoying God's creation. It really can be that simple.

Runners, why do you run?