Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3 Things I Would Never Do...

...(but am glad I did!) unless I were running with Denise:

1. Push a jog stroller 6 miles with a 4 year-old, alternating who "gets" to push every mile.

2. Run a 6 mile tempo run at 7:45 when my training schedule suggests a 9 minute/mile pace.

3. Finish the last 3 miles of an 8 mile run cut short at mile 5 by a trip to the emergency room.

Let me explain.

Denise and I were running through Cleveland Park last fall on one of her training runs. Despite it being a perfectly lovely morning, I had just lamented that running 3 more miles up McDaniel and back to our cars was currently my worst nightmare.

Earlier on our run, Denise had told me a story about a trail run she and her husband had done last year where she had fallen, tripping over a root. Before inquiring about her limbs or ankles or abrasions, the first thing he did was reach down and turn off her watch, thus ensuring accurate distance and time on her Garmin at the end of their run. This made me laugh.

Moments after the aforementioned lament, three ladies were chatting and walking towards us, leashes in their hands and dogs, therefore, not on leashes. Denise and I moved to the right of the paved trail to make room for them, with me falling in behind her to pass single-file. At almost this exact moment, the two frisky wet labs ceased running beside the path and cut directly to their right in front of Denise, running into her shins and sending her flying into the air. Arms and legs levitated, she landed solidly on her right arm and right hip. I landed solidly on top of her, but thanks to my cat-like reflexes was able to land a little like Spider-man, bracing myself on my toes and hands so as not to crush her.

For a split-second I thought to myself I must stop her watch! But then I got tickled, thinking these ladies would wonder why this move was so imperative and why I was laughing when my friend was clearly in distress. I settled for stopping my own watch.

Long story longer, the ladies were mortified and leashed their dogs immediately, Denise had a goose-egg on her elbow that demanded attention, and Joy rode in on her white horse to save the day and drive us to Denise's husband's office where she had an ex-ray. After shuffling cars back and forth and getting Denise's car to the office, I walked in and was relieved to find that her arm, in fact, was not broken. I was then allowed to be happy that our run, thankfully, was cut short.

I was happy that is until Denise said, and I quote, "My arm's not broken! Want to finish that last three miles?"

At first I laughed. And she laughed. And then she said "Really. Do you want to?"

I wanted to say no, I don't want to. I want to go get coffee, I want to go take a shower. But how do you say no to your dear friend and running partner who looks like the walking wounded, with her arm, hip, and leg bandaged and who still wants to finish 3 miles? You suck it up and say yes. That's what you do. And you think that any sort of notion that you have about yourself being hardcore and dedicated may have just gone out the window.

Monday, September 20, 2010

High Hampton.

This weekend, I ran my 4 mile run around the trails of this lake.
And rather than do the assigned speed work of 4x800s and 4x400s with a mile warm-up and cool down on either side, I ran up and over this mountain, 4.3 miles round trip.

I've included two photos of the same mountain just to ensure that you are duly impressed.

Before I left, Jay asked me if I wanted to wear the heart-rate monitor. I told him that no, I probably didn't need the monitor to inform me that my heart was exploding. And whereas the 24 year-old App State version of me would have been all over this run, communing with nature, dodging roots and branches, getting all hardcore using the cables to climb the rock face, 34 year-old me was a tad more apprehensive--still an appreciator, of course, catching the light through the trees, the silence, the only noise my heart beating in my ears, the stunning view from the top-- but perhaps a bit more cautious and concerned about plummeting off the side of the mountain than 24 year-old me. Although Mom and Dad certainly raised me to be adventurous and to be a risk-taker, that spirit is tempered significantly when there are three little folks depending on me for everything from lunch to figuring out how to paddle in a canoe to character development to learning the finer points of baking banana bread.

How times change.

After the summit bid and on the downslope in particular, I was really happy to have taken Jay's advice and run this route. I was really, really happy an hour later when I was tucking in to the largest piece of fried chicken I'd ever seen in the dining room.

And special thanks to Dottie for including us all, again, in her birthday celebration in the mountains. It was a beautiful weekend and it's an especially good thing when your family are also your friends.

Happy Birthday Dottie!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

First off, a big THANK YOU to everyone who donated. I am continually awed and grateful for your generosity and support, both in the form of donations and encouragement.

This morning marks a new PR for my longest run yet-18 miles. I left before the sun, ran by your house (18 miles is a long way), got honked at a few times by some people I know and some I don't, laughed a little, cried a little, sang to myself, watched the sun rise, saw my shadow reflected beside me, thanked God for my life, struggled up a few hills, ran fast down some other hills, and generally enjoyed the whole darn thing, believe it or not.

Those 2 hours and 43 minutes afforded me some much-needed silence and solitude to think about something other than myself. This morning as I was lacing up my running shoes Cameron, who had gotten up uncharacteristically early, said "Mom, have you run the race yet where you spend money for Davis?" I'm so pleased that he asked this question; I often feel I'm not setting a good charitable or philanthropic example for my kids. Doing dishes and folding laundry is hardly charitable, and though it's necessary to keep our house going, I would ideally like for my kids to see their dad and me as more than two people who go to work and do laundry. So it was a good start to the day, knowing that he at least gets that I'm running for something bigger than us.

I ran by Davis' house in the first 10 minutes. I did so in an effort to meditate and think about him, and I found myself crying before I even got to his house. Running brings everything so close to the surface; my skin gets really thin and whatever I'm holding onto reveals itself. I thought about stopping to say good morning and that at least made me laugh...which made my breathing that much harder to regulate. Anyone who runs knows that the first mile is tough in many ways-you're trying to regulate breathing, set a pace, work out the kinks, etc. So to start out crying wasn't exactly ideal, but as with most things, the hearty dose of perspective I got from the meditating and thinking about Davis and his family made my little asthmatic and spazmatic breathing problems seem inconsequential.

I got it together, thankfully, and obviously enjoyed the run.

In other news and perhaps by way of explanation for my lack of writing, Boy #1 on the left got his 3rd set of tubes on Monday and keeps proclaiming that everything is "SO LOUD!", Boy #2 finally started 4k and got new light-up tennis shoes, and Boy #3 turned 2 last week. It's been busy, but it's been healthy and good, so no complaints here.

Photo by Susan Edwards

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pour Some Sugar on Me.

IF you want to help me raise funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives...

IF you know someone who's been affected by cancer...

IF you're looking for something awesome to do today...

IF you want to make my day and your day because you've done something awesome...

IF you've been reading this blog and have been enjoying it...

IF you've been meaning to donate but just haven't gotten around to it...

IF you haven't been meaning to donate but would maybe reconsider...

THEN NOW IS YOUR CHANCE! It's fast and easy and tax deductible--you can't beat that.

I have approximately a month and a half before my fundraising deadline, October 18, and two months exactly before the race itself on November 7th. Please consider making a donation to my Team in Training campaign, whether it's $5 or $500. Any amount will be appreciated and will support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's mission of fighting blood cancers.

Many of you have donated already; please know how much your support means. Many of you have been praying for Davis, for Kenya, for Joy's and my success in this endeavor; please know how much that means too.

Thanks to all of you for helping me make this race count for more than just the finish line.