February 25, 2012

Saturday Psych-up

Trying to psych myself up.
It was just about 2 years I finished couch to 5k on this thing. 

Then I discovered running outdoors.

Sure, I've used it in a pinch, but now I have to psych myself up to use the dreadmill treadmill with kindle books (1Q84 from the library in case you're curious), snacks, music and creating odd Rorschach-like images with the black spots in the basement walls.  Not mold, I swear, just blotchy things in the cement.  

Where was I?  Oh yeah, the basement.  

So I am trying to build my base miles back up again and committed to 8 miles today.  But the bed was so warm this morning, Isabella was so cuddly, the wind was so whistly - yeah, I found our garbage lid in the front yard....6 houses down - I had a gazillion reasons why I didn't want to run. 

But then I remember why I did want to run. 

Because I like myself more when I run.  

I'm a better mom.  A better wife. A better person. A better me.  

Call it self care, call it addiction to that feeling, that runners high or the personal goal or the team goal to rack up the miles with friends or that feeling of dang!  I ran! 

Oh yeah, I the reasons I said and....I really can't afford to buy new pants. 

So, tonight, I made the decision to run and I did.  

Just before Isabella fell asleep she gasped: "Mama, your run! You didn't run today!"  I can't wait to tell her when she wakes up I ran. 


February 21, 2012

The Other Half

Bumper sticker or fridge magnet? 

Last week on Valentine’s day, my good friend Sarah, who you might remember from here, signed up to run her first ever marathon.....  


My excitement is off the charts! And it has me thinking..... I could fall for another 26.2, but let's contemplate that another day when my throat isn't screaming from this blasted cold.

So, for now back to her amazing announcement.  It reminded me that I wrote, but never posted a race recap from the last time we saw each other – when she ran the Portland, ME half marathon in October with a goal to PR and to break 2:10.  

I think anyone that wants to run hard for over 2 hours should have a cheering section and I really wanted to cheer Sarah for her planned PR-breaking-half because I remember just how awesome it was for her to be there for me.  It was a game day decision to go since I wasn't sure what my fam would need what her fam would need, since they were caring for her father-in-law that was ill.  She decided she would run the race a few days before and I decided the day before to make the drive to ME to cheer her on.

I preped like *I* was prepping for a race the night before, laying out my clothes. I put on running duds because it just feels so fun to be and look like a runner and well, ya just never know!

Out the door at 4:45am and the first song on the radio: Good Life!  Heh. The song we both run too thinking of the other and our families. That high burst when a saw less than a 1/4 tank of gas realizing what station is open that at 4:45 am on a Sunday?!  

First exit was a bust and panic started to kick in.  Back on the highway with some breathy prayers until  some halo-like lights beaming from McDonald’s & gas rest stop.  A cup of McDonalds coffee, some favorite racing tunes blaring and off I went. That early in the morning I saw only a few cars and while I was still in MA I spied an SUV with a 26.2 sticker.  I had a funny feeling we were headed to the same place. Who else would be crazy enough to be up at 5am on a Sunday?!

I got to the venue, but didn't know how to get a hold of Sarah.  I knew her phone was in her car and she wasn’t going to run with it. I looked for her at the start. No luck.  Apparently the scene must have been like the movies as I found out after the fact I was standing feet from the tent she was in avoiding the rain to the last minute.  Oh yeah, it was raining.  Pretty hard. 

No Sarah?  No worries, I walked along the sidelines, past the start line and stood at mile .5 and yelled "Go Sarah" over and over, sure that there were at least SOME Sarahs in the crowd of runners that would be pumped.  Or so I hoped.   

After the runners all cleared the starting line, I headed back to my car and called Sarah's DH (dear husband) who I never met before. 

Phone tag.


Then, a connection!  And he is exactly 2 cars in front of me on the exit.  We pulled off to the side of the road, attempted to find parking, and we (Sarah’s hubby, & 2 boys 5 & 7) walked up to mile 6 where Sarah was expecting to see her family and trade off her energy infused water bottle for a refill to grab when she passed by for the second time.

When we got to the mile marker, we realized that mile six was technically on the OTHER side of the road.  But what stood between us and the other side of the road was a wall of runners. Going both directions.  We were actually on the mile 8ish side since turn around about a mile or so down the road. There was no way we could quickly get the boys safely to the other side.

Sarah’s DH & I started plotting.  We knew the start time and her approximate pace.  We had about 5 minutes or so to try to figure out what Sarah might do...  She had her bottle.  We had her nuun.  How to get  it to her?? Should I cross with the bottle to refill? Should DH pass on a message to let Sarah know I was ahead? Should we stay put and see if we could do a pass off on the loop around? I had my running duds "just in case" and decided to stow my bag & umbrella with Sarah’s DH and if Sarah got her bottle to us, I would handle the refill and either get it to her as she came back around (mile 8) or try to chase after her.  When I saw the hills I thought she might prefer the safety of the bottle over a hand off with the loop around. So we saw Sarah, cheered her on....But the once lull of mile 8 runners on our side was now pretty full.  Sarah saw DH and the boys and with a lob that Ray Allen woud be proud of, her water bottle was airborne, bounced right off of her 7 year old’s umbrella and landed by our feet. 

We picked up the bottle, filled it up and I said "I think I can catch her" I sprinted down along the side of the spectators and oncoming runners, scanning for Sarah hoping like all get out I would catch her and then saw Sarah in her hat and blue shirt and saddled on up. "Tap, tap" "Hey Sarah How's it going?" 
Giddy freakout!

First thing out of her mouth, “How was your ride up?” Ha! She is running the half of her life and she is worried about me!  After chatting for a few more strides I was hoping it was ok for me to stick with her rather than head back. I figure it would be ok, but ya never know.  I feared I wouldn't be able to keep up on going with cold legs and mega hills! But the adrenaline kicked in and all the running I hadn’t been doing didn’t matter.

So... we chatted, Sarah said she was feeling really good. She told me about her super-cape trash bag that kept her dry until she whipped off coming out of the tent just as the starting gun went off. She told me about the bummer of her ear bud, that died on one side because the rain, she talked about what was playing on her ipod. I was trying to talk so she didn't have to, but she sounded good. Really good.   Based on her time and pace it felt like her goal was completely in sight. We ran up the hill (I really was hoping I wasn't slowing her down) and we got to mile 7 at the top. The 1/2'ers turned around to head back and the full'ers kept on going. We turned and Sarah screamed, “I'm running with Christy Z!” Made my heart sing and I laughed out loud. At the 20 mile marker for the marathoners Sarah goes, "Wow, we made it to mile 20!" ha! Still had her sense of humor, good, good.   [Note: Sarah, hold that thought, you WILL be saying that very same thing on October 16th at the Mount Desert Island Marathon!]

I talked to her about strategy for the rest of the race - to keep pace, not to break out too fast too soon. At mile 11 find a pacer and stick to their shoulder like glue. Mile 12 find shirts and start pickin' em off.  (Sarah later said when the pickin’ off the shirts didn’t work, she picked off trees, telephone poles, fire hydrants. Awesome!)  When we got to the last uphill before getting back to her family, I wished her well, asked what messages to send and I peeled off to let the boys know Sarah was coming and to get ready with some high fives. She high fived them and then kept on running! We walked back to the car and realizing we wouldn't make it to mile 11 in time to park, unload and see Sarah, and still make it back to park at the finish, we decided to head for the finish. On our walk back to the car I remembered the messages for the boys including serenading her 5yo with "Keep your head up...." Which he grinned from ear to ear and buried his head in his dad’s side. 

Now it was a game of get there in time for the finish. While parking and crossing the street for the finish, I could see runners down a residential side street. Woot! I took a chance and realized that side street was mile marker 13 exactly. Sarah's pace was right on target and since I knew they started on time, I figured she would be passing 13 between 9:45am and 9:53am. I got there at 9:38 and hung out watching the runners go by. I called Sarah’s DH to let him know where I was. They were at the finish.  I was going to stay put and catch her before the finish ringing my cow bell until I wondered if it annoyed the other spectators. hmmmm.

I looked at my watch. 9:52 Come on Sarah. Then 9:53, I saw her.

“Go Sarah! GO SARAH! You got this!”

*snap picture* (They are a bit blurry boo....)

“Go Sarah!”

She took out her ear bud to hear the cheers I think. She passed and I whipped out the phone to call her DH to say she was on her way to the finish. They were watching the clock and DH said the clock was 2:09 and was hoping she'd make it.  She crossed the finishline, but when you account for how long it took to get to the starting line, her chip time was…..


Sarah looked great. Like she hadn't even run a race. More relaxed than I was after my races for sure.  Lots of hugs, tears for her husband, boys and silent prayers for her father-in-law.

We headed to lunch and I met up with DH and hung with them in their warm body-heated car while we waited for the restaurant to open and Sarah to arrive. Chatting with her DH was so nice - I think we both got the sense that we've known each other for years, which is a testament to how Sarah must talk about both of us to one another. It was great to see her boys again - it'd been almost a year (!!) and they were about as proud of their mama as they were of themselves for eating a good meal (with vegetables!) All is right with the world.

Sarah’s 7yo & I got to split a slice of Apple (Oh.Em.Gee) Pizza and her 5 yo showed me his search-a-word menu. Sarah recounted her race to the family in all her giddy humor and we had a fabulous lunch with soup that hit the spot warming us to our bones after a cold day at the races.

All in all, it was a great day. It was a difficult decision for Sarah and her family to know what to do and how to be there living life and living vigil for her dear father-in-law.  When Sarah and her family returned home, they learned that her dear father-in-law passed away, just about the time she crossed the finish line.  I truly believe the Holy Spirit got it right on this one. Nicely done.

February 15, 2012

Just a crack

Two things:

1. I haven’t been writing *here* much. Could you tell?

2. I reaaallly don’t want my most recent post “excuses, excuses” to be the thing that haunts me when I click over here to pull up a recipe or read an old entry I want to - need to read. (Dragons much?).


I will be posting. 

In fact this is a post. 

I’ll think of it as a door opening. Or a window. An opportunity to write again. I do have things I want to write. And I know making the time – for me – is important. Writers write and how I love to write.

So if there is anyone actually out there, stay tuned.  I think I just cracked that overwhelmingly large door open just a crack with a sigh and a click of "publish now".