Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Triple Lake Race Report...Finally

Oh yikes...on Saturday, it marks one month since my 40 miler. And I sit here today to write my blog. I wish I still had the post race euphoria. That would make writing this blog much easier. But, let's see how much I remember.

Oh, my aching feet. Oh ouch. Never before have they hurt so badly. They still hurt sometimes. That is really what I remember about the race. My feet. Since the race, I have come up with a few things I could have done to help my feet from hurting so badly, but that didn't help in the week following the race. My feet just hurt (by the way, I think running barefoot in the sand would have helped as would have doing balance work on the bosu).

The race was the first trail race I have done since my very first half marathon--18 years ago. I did that race just before my 22nd birthday and I was doing this race to celebrate my 40th year. So, 18 years had passed since I had raced on a trail. And, about 15 years since I had even run on a trail. What was I thinking? The first part of the race I was worried about my quads and calves. The rest of the race, I just prayed about my feet. There were more roots, changes in terrain, logs, traversing of small streams over rocks, etc. than I could have planned for or even imagined.

The first 10 or so miles I kept thinking, "Trail races are great" and "This course is so pretty" and "What a refreshing change of pace." And, in the first 10 miles, I ran a good race, with an average pace per mile of 7:41. I was cruising. And, I had a pretty good half-marathon time of 1:42. This trail stuff isn't so bad.

My biggest problem at that point on the trail was vision. I kept hoping for the sun to rise more. Everytime the course got challenging or there was a weird fork in the road, the run blazed into my eyes. That really slowed me down--and frustrated me. And, up to this point, I only had water, no nutrition, except for the bagel I had at 6:00am (race time was 8am). Water stations were fewer than I remembered reading about, too. And, it had warmed nicely, too. Around thism point, I decided I should fuel with something, but nothing sounded good. I downed about 5 swedish fish and within a half mile, I had my first of 3 in the woods potty stops. I actually had four stops, but one was at a water station--and I picked the water station with public bathrooms (not a porta-john) but about 1/8 of a mile away and up a hill (at mile 18.5 or so). At this point, I had a special needs bag, but nothing sounded good. I took some water and was off. I realized at this point I was the first woman (it was a loop in the course) but didn't realize I was in the top 10 overall.

After this pit stop, I ran about 2-3 more miles and I fell. I fell hard. I had stumbled and almost fallen about 100 times to this point (and saw lots of blood on other people, too) but this time, I bit it. You know when you fall and you lay there for what feels like an eternity and assess the damage. Can I move? Yes. Am I profusely bleeding? No. Does it hurt? Yes. Enough to quit? No. Where? Knee, hip and hands. No puncture wounds. Okay. Get up and go. But how? My mo-jo was definitely hurt at this point.

Up until this point, My slowest mile was my "pit stop in the woods" mile. Except for that one, all of my miles had still be in the low nines. But, at that point, they fell. And now, I was more dehydrated, glucose/glycogen depleted, still un-hungry and then taking 2 more "in the woods" potty stops dejected.

I somehow managed a 3:42 marathon which I was pretty thrilled with. But, I still had 14 miles--oops...13.8 miles. I called Don (I carried my cell phone with me...and it was a good thing) to tell him I might be awhile I was walking. for 1/4 mile to try to get some mo-jo back. I was doing tons of positive self talk.

The big thing I was talking myself into was what I was going to eat at the second special needs bag drop which was supposed to be at mile 31. There was water at 29 and I took that and a few mike-n-ikes. But, I didn't think to look for my SN bag because it was supposed to be at mile 31. There was no water stop at 31, or 32 but finally one at 33. I asked the apathetic volunteer about the bags and she looked at me like I was from Mars. Just before I got there, a lady came sprinting past me. Wow...she was a stud. Nothing was breaking her stride! She had water with her (smart move) and probably drank gatorade and ate something --or at least gu--doing these 40 miles!

So, speaking of apathetic volunteers, that is how I would sum up most of them. I told Don at the end that most of them appeared as if they were high school students who had the choice between Saturday school and working at this race. I wish most would have made the other choice! They were not your typical race volunteers, that is for sure. But, at least they were there--and they saved me from making a wrong turn a few times so for those things, I am grateful. But, the water was warm. Blech...

I passed mile maker 38 and Don called me. I told him it would be awhile. I was spent. But, in the flash of a minute, I heard Britt's voice saying, "There's mommy." Oh, those were beautiful words! I ran around the lake and to the finish line. Whew...6:25:23. Not quite the goal I had internally set, but better than the goal I was vocalizing, under 7 hours.

I came in 2nd place female, 1st place masters, 6th place overall. Nothing to complain about, espcecially since the woman who won was from Greensboro and probably ran in those trails all the time!

We had a great weekend as a family, too. Again, most of me wasn't sore, but my feet hurt! It didn't help that we went to the Asheboro zoo on Sunday which is advertised as having over 5 miles of trails to walk on to explore the zoo. We spent over 4 hours there and had a great time with all four of my kids (you should see Don at a zoo--he's definitely a kid).

Just post race, I said it would be a long time before I did another trail run. But, I have already changed that perspective. It will be a long time before I do another ultra--and I said that before the race. Training, working, kids activities, early, early, early morning runs so as not to bother the family. That was too much. Once the kids are old enough to watch themselves, I consider another. Maybe a 50 miler for my 50th birthday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Color Blind

Last night, I read a blog of a friend of mine telling us about how we can learn a lot from kids. She explained how her niece was so excited about the great day she had when, to the rest of us, it was an ordinary day. She didn't go to Disneyland, or to a county fair, or even to Chuck E Cheese. She just went to school, visited with her aunt and played with her friend. Wouldn't it be great if we could all see our ordinary days as extraordinary?

After reading that, and without thinking much about the lessons I learn from my kids, I was talking with Mallory (age 2 3/4, as Britt would say) about the friends she might want to invite to our Halloween party. She told me about the friends she talks about often (Tofie, aka Sophie, Mary Gacet, aka Mary Grace, and Robby). But, today, she threw out a new one. She said, "and Wally." I was trying to remember the kids in her class and I said, "Is Wally black?" Her response, simple as can be, "No mom, he was yellow. And Mary Gacet was pink and Robby was geen (green), and Tofie was pink, too."

Still trying to figure out who Wally was, I said, "No, Mallory. What color is his skin?" And she said, "I no no (translated: "I don't know") he just wears yellow."

Why can't we all see the world like my 2-year-old? She has never even noticed the color of his skin. To her, he is just a boy who was wearing a yellow shirt yesterday. And, Sophie and Mary Grace were both wearing pink. And that was all that mattered.

What an amazing day for me. I learned more from a 4-(or-5) year-old (I think, Arleigh?)and a 2-year-old than all my years of education could ever do for me. Out of the mouths of babes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Selfish Fall

I guess subconsciously, I have decided to make this the fall of selfishness. This is something I haven't done in over seven years. I am being selfish. And, I don't feel very good about it.

It started last weekend. Last weekend was the Biggest Loser 5k. What an awesome experience that was. I got to see people who have never been motivated before get motivated to MOVE. It was like a dream come true. But, it was the first of many times this month that I left my family to do what I wanted to do. Don't get me wrong. I have done many things in the past seven years that I have wanted to do and I have left my family to do them. But, for some reason, this fall, I have an overwhelming number of things, back to back almost, and I feel badly about it.

Next weekend is the biggie and the one I feel most selfish about. Next weekend is the 40 mile race. I have hardly, if at all, interrupted my family's schedule while training for this race--and that is a feat most people can't say. I woke up very early for my runs, I often made pit stops at home to pick up a stroller full of kid or kids and we used this opportunity to try different churches that started a little later than our 8:45 service (so that meant, we went to one that started at 9:00 and one that started at 9:30). Training was basically status quo around here.

But, next weekend is the race. If I do well, I will finish in 6 1/2 hours, if not, I guess it will be closer to 9. That means, Don entertains the kids in a hotel room all day. There are things to do in Greensboro: I researched a great looking Children's Museum, I got a hotel that serves breakfast and has a pool, and the race itself is on 40 miles of parks, trails, and lakes. It should be fine--but it is still selfish. I am using family money to make a point, to prove that I can. Hmmm...

Then, two weeks later, I have a triple whammy. I have a Friday-Saturday conference--all day. At least the kids will be home and have possible playmates and all their toys, and computers, and wii, and nintendo dsi. Then, on Sunday morning, I am pacing some friends in a 1/2 marathon. I want the big surfboard medal. And, I want to see my friends do as well as I know they can. And, I want to have fun racing again. But, I still feel selfish.

And, two weeks after that, another race. This time, a 10k. That should be short and sweet. And, the family might even come cheer. But, it is still just for me and for these crazy habits I have. And, I just feel selfish.

Even when I take a minute to think about what Don will be doing in the same time period--like grading papers as I took the kids mini golfing last week or Halloween party shopping this week, or helping at a disability tournament all weekend on the 15th and 16th, or going out of town for a conference from Oct. 25-28 and then, going straight to a festival that his students are hosting, then spending all day on the 30th at another Halloween festival for his classes, and possibly going to USC for a football game with his dad in early November, I still can't help but feel I am not doing my mommy duties.

I plan on using the time from Nov 14-February 2 to dedicate myself to my family. Then, it will start all over--work conference, MB marathon, Wrightsville Beach marathon...hmmm. Maybe I am always selfish. Or, maybe my kids are getting old enough to not need me as much as they used to. And, maybe I am not selfish, maybe I am just sad. And, maybe I am running away from them growing up.

I have tried to make myself feel a little better about the 40 miler by dedicating each mile to a person--to pray for, to be thankful for, or to just think about. I am taking prayer requests if you have them. I've got a pretty good list and I would be willing to share miles if I have to. I am trying to make the most of the miles. And of the guilt.

I have to end with two more Brittisms: He started playing tennis and I missed his first lesson. I asked how his new teacher was and he said, "He's nice. But, he's old. Not so old that he needs a walking stick, but he's old."

Then, he came down and said he was having a nightmare. I asked what happened and he said, "Mallory had a string cheese and she wouldn't share with me." I said, "I will have to talk to her about that." He said, "Well, no mom, it was just a dream."

Have a great fall---and don't feel selfish about what you do!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Comedy of Errors, Keeping it all in Perspective

Yesterday was a funny, funny day. And, a sad, sad day. We all have to keep it in perspective.

I woke up yesterday morning and went for my typical run. While running, I was scheming about how to get four kids (yes, we had four yesterday--sleepover) and my husband on board with me. You see, I really, really wanted to watch some of my closest friends in a triathlon that was in North Myrtle Beach, about 30-40 minutes from our house. The race started at 7am, with five waves of swimmers. I figured my fastest friend would finish around 8:30 so we would have to leave our house at 7:45 to park and get to the finish line before she did. Here's the problem: I got home from my run at 7:30. I packed the kids clothes (with the promise to go to the beach after the race--and the promise that the race ended in a super cool park), shoveled breakfast down them and me, threw beach toys in the car, convinced the husband into thinking this was a good idea and we were off--at 7:55.

We had no trouble parking--which was a surprise with over 270 race participants and their fans--and I ran down to the intersection near the finish line while Don and the kids raced to the playground. I got to see all of my friends finish the race--two first timers--and I was so excited. Almost made me want to take swimming lessons. All of my friends did great, the kids had a blast in the park and we headed just a block or two away to the beach.

It was a wonderful morning for the beach--overcast so not too hot and early enough that there were not many people. Don and the boys played and played in the water, catching waves on their boogie boards and laughing the entire time. Mallory and I built sandcastles and waded in the water. About 30 minutes after we got there, Don threw the van key to me--it had been in his pocket--and we continued playing until they were too hungry to do anymore. It was now only 11:00am.

As we approached the van, Don pressed the automatic door opener and nothing happened. He tried to unlock the doors. Still nothing. Oops. Guess where the cell phones were? In the van: comedy of errors #1. We remembered that our key had a valet option (see photo to understand that the door opener/door locker is also the key but the valet key DOES NOT start the car) so we were able to get into the car and attempted to start the car. That is right, attempted. It didn't work. So, we're stuck. Thirty to 40 minutes from home. Four kids. Four hungry kids. Yikes.

First phone call: AAA. Nope, nothing they can do. Second call: Dealership. Yes, they can do something. Just have your car towed to the nearest Dodge dealership and for $200-300 they can get you a new key. Third call: friend, Amanda whose son is being held captive in our car and who is supposed to be at a b-day party in an hour.

Amanda has access to our house so the "simplest" solution was for her to go to our house, pick up the keys ("The ones that say 'Dodge' and have tons of Food Lion type cards on them") and bring them to us. While we waited, I walked to McDonald's with my two boys in a stroller--a serious death march. On the way to McDonald's I got the call I had been dreading: Britt didn't get in to the peer mentor program he auditioned for. Bummer.

Shortly after we got back from McDonald's and we had a car full of happy kids, we saw Amanda pull up. Hooray! We are saved. Amanda gets out of her truck and I gather her son's sleepover stuff and then she hands me the keys. The Honda keys. Yes, she brought the wrong set. The comedy continues.

Trey, Britt and I pile into her truck with her son. Don and Mallory stay with the car and play at the park (there wasn't enough room for them in the truck Amanda brought). We drop Gus off at his birthday party and Amanda's husband (who had to drop Amanda's other two kids at the party) drives me back to my house to get the van keys. The boys and I load back up into our HONDA and drive to NMB.

So, finally, at 3:15pm, we make it home. Home, sweet home.

A few hours later, we go out to a birthday celebration and the "good" keys to the van decide not to open the automatic doors or lock the car. We changed both batteries in both van keys and they now both start the car, but neither of them open the doors or lock them. Darn those conveniences. They are very addictive. I had forgotten what it was like to manually open doors, especially while grocery shopping!

On our way to church this morning, the "low tire pressure" light went on. We filled all the tires with air and the light will not go off. I guess we will be calling the dealership tomorrow.

During the ordeal, on the way to McDonald's, Trey said, "This is the worst day ever." Wow. He's a very lucky kid. If these little funny, not at all tragic things make this the worst day ever, he's very, very lucky.

I asked him if he remembered the people that we saw setting up for the 9-11 commemoration on the way to the car from the beach. I asked him if he knew what it was about. I explained to him that we had a few unfortunate things happen, but this is not the worst day ever. For some, it might be the worst "date" ever, but for us, not the worst day. Am I bummed that Britt didn't get to be a peer mentor? Of course. But, the worst day ever. Not even close!

When we finally got the right keys to the car and were ready to pull out, Don ran over a glass bottle in the Honda (so, it doesn't explain why the van's low tire pressure light is on). He was quite furious. I quickly put it in perspective for him.

You see, this week, we had a friend of several of our friends die of a massive heart attack at age 34. Yes, 34. He left a 5 year old son and a pregnant wife. You see, I told Don , "You didn't lose your spouse today." We have to put it in perspective.

Trey has had a hayday telling and re-telling the story. He can't wait to write about it in school tomorrow. He knows it wasn't the worst day ever, just a funny experience with his family.

And Britt? We are thinking about some other options for him. We've been thinking about this for awhile. He'll be fine. And, he can still be a mentor to his little sister, Mallory!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tons of Random Thoughts

I haven't taken much time to blog lately. Not much going on but the day-to-day things. Today, Britt had me laughing a few times so I thought I would share those and touch on training a bit.

First random thought. I have a love-hate relationship with fall. The weather in the fall in SC is perfect for a runner. Cool mornings, great warm afternoons. You couldn't ask for better conditions. But, fall is also football season. I love football. I love cheering for "my teams." But, I hate how it affects my husband's mood. For example, "his team" just lost to a horrible team (in OT--when they had a 21 pt lead) and there goes his mood. If his fantasy team does well, it is a good day. If not, not so much. He's not crazy about it--no throwing things, drinking binges, or violence. But, his mood is definitely not the same as it is in winter, spring and summer. He follows other sports and gets upset at those losses, too. But there is just something about football.

Second random thought: Brittisms: n (I think): a funny quote from my middle child. This week, we got three (at least--he says them so often, I forget). First, I posted on FB earlier this week "The hurricane is not going to take our house because I have my fingers crossed." The second was during our run today. We go down this one hill and the kids have us let go of the strollers. Often, the strollers veer to the side and toward a pond (but no where near it). They laugh as we exaggerate the turn back to the road to save their lives. Today he said, "I am glad you did that, mom. I am allergic to drowning." Finally, and you might have had to see his face to appreciate this one, but I took he and Mallory to the waterpark today and I was putting a life jacket on him--something I normally do not do (water wings usually do the trick but the ones I brought popped when I tried to blow them up). There was one strap hanging down from the lifejacket and he asked what it was for. I told him it would have to go between his legs and snap on the front. I asked him if he wanted me to snap the strap (we were not really going in water that was over his head anyway) and he smiled and said, "Oh, yeah!" Is that a man, or what? Who would want a strap between his legs?

Final random thought: I am five weeks away from my 40 mile run. Yikes. Some days, I am so excited. Others, I am freaking out. Tomorrow will be the longest training run I have done and fairly close to the longest amount of time I have run ever (with the exception of my first SLOW marathon). I am freaking out that I am nervous about training runs. I never get that way when I train for marathons. So...I am off to pack my cooler (that I leave on the end of the driveway), fill my water bottles, and gather my running gear. The EARLY morning runs come very quickly.

Thanks for reading my random thoughts!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Experiences on the Track

Isn't it funny how if you have been doing something for awhile, you assume everyone knows how to do it? Like, after you have been driving for awhile, it is hard to imagine that you once never knew how not to drive. I guess I have spent enough time on a track to feel like everyone should know the proper track etiquette. But, boy was I wrong this week.

First, a quick track lesson for those of you not as accustomed to the track. Some of these rules are indisputable, others are unofficial but you lack credibility if you break them.

1. Wear proper attire. This includes a decent pair of athletic shoes, shorts, and an athletic type t-shirt/sports bra/tank top. This does NOT include unsupportive shoes, flip flops, polo type shirts, jean shorts or jeans.

2. Use lanes 1 & 2 (those lanes closest to the center of the track) only if you are running. If others are on the track when you get the are, compare your speed to theirs and adjust your lane usage accordingly. If someone faster arrives, give up lanes 1 & 2 to them. If you are walking, go to lanes 7 & 8 (the outer most lanes).

3. Run or walk in the direction that the people who are on the track are running/walking. Some tracks have assigned days for certain directions (for example MWFSa go clockwise, TTHSu go counter clockwise)

That being said, I had the most interesting experience with a lady on the track yesterday. She arrived shortly after I started speedwork session. She was wearing shorts, keds and a polo. She began jogging right away, in the right direction, in lane 4. I had no problems with that. After about 1/4 of a lap, she stopped, got off the track and stretched. Still doing fine. Then, just as I round the corner, she entered lane one and stopped. She just stood there. And, I was getting closer. And closer. And closer.

Now, it isn't a tragedy that I had to move from lane one to two while trying to hit timed splits on a track workout but what she was doing was hilarious. She was, I kid you not, manually stretching her FACE. She pushed her cheeks together like she was trying to intimidate a fish. Then she pushed her hands back like she was trying to intimidate a dog with its head out the window. Really, lady? In lane one, when it is evident that I had to MOVE to get out of your way?

I must have been doing an 800 (2 laps) or a 1200 (3 laps) as she was doing this as I had to run around her for two laps. Arrugh!

Then, after the face stretching routine, she turned around and jogged the WRONG way on the track. Of course, I did get caught in a game of chicken with her and guess who had to move. Yep, me! After running back to her starting point (meaning by this point she had been at the track 15-20 minutes and only really run 1/2 of a lap), she again STOPPED in lane one and just stood there. It sort of appeared that she was waiting for a friend who was a no-show but the track is a big place, with tons of places to wait, most of which are NOT in lane 1!

So, there was my first adventure back on the track in several months. I have been doing speed sessions but on the treadmill. It is such an adventure that I love to hate and hate to love.

On a totally different note, school started back this week for the kids. Britt seems bored, Trey seems uninterested and Mallory has noted no changes. It has been an exhausting week and I just remembered that I forgot to bake cookies tonight. Yikes. So much for an early night for me! Have a great rest of the week!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Teenaged Years? Oh my!

I do not know how I am going to survive the teenaged years. Last night, Trey went miniature golfing with a friend. He was picked up at 6:30. I was a nervous wreck. Every time the phone rang, my heart skipped a beat. He finally got home at 10:00. I couldn’t believe how relieved I was. He was out with another family for only 3 hours. He didn’t drive himself. He didn’t have a girl with him. I knew where he was and I had the cell phone number of the family he was with and they had mine. Oh…how will I survive?

Speaking of teenaged years, today was move in day at Coastal. I ran through the school this morning and watched as parents entrusted their children with CCU and hoped they taught them the right morals, values, and ethics. I was surprised by the lack of stuff in the students’ cars. I remember barely having room for my hiney in the car when I went to school. Most of the cars appeared very empty. I guess Coastal has grown so much, maybe they are charging extra for extra bags. Hey, it is making the airlines profitable.

I remember my freshmen college move-in day like it was yesterday (though I cannot remember moving in sophomore or junior year?). We were allowed to move in from 9:00am-1:00pm. I was there at 8:45. I was so excited. After I unloaded my things into the room, I did not start unpacking because I wanted my roommate and me to discuss which bed and side of the room we would take. I didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot. Guess what time she got there? 12:45! Guess what? She didn’t care which bed she had! Everyone else was ready to explore and move on with being a college student and I was unpacking. Oh, memories.

Speaking of moving (like these cool transitions?), Britt and I were driving around yesterday and we saw a how many frogs that would be?” And, he just blurted out, “Stampede!” Where do they learn these things?

Britt was also helping me clean yesterday. Anyone with a pre-schooler knows how much help they are when they “help.” I swear I have purchased more windex in the past 3 years than I have in my whole life combined. Anyway.

Britt and I were talking about getting rid of germs. He asked where they went. I told him the cleaner he was using killed the germs and then when we rinsed the sponge or threw away the paper towel, the germs were just gone. He then asked, “But, don’t they go to heaven?” Despite the fact that I was hoping to live in eternity without germs, I guess he might be right. Can’t decide how I feel about that one.

The best part of that story is that Britt might actually be learning something at Sunday school. And, Trey might, too. When the family he went golfing with called from the driveway to make sure he made it in okay, I asked if he thanked them. Not only had he thanked them, he waited his turn, didn’t cheat and wasn’t a sore loser. She actually called him a “perfect young gentleman!” What??? I think a UFO possessed my child for a few hours and then brought back the one only a mother could love!