Day 4 of Gratitude ~ Mileage Recap 22 Oct – 4 Nov… In The Arms of The Angels

Happy Sunday everyone.  I usually do my mileage recaps every Sunday, but every now and again, time and circumstances get the best of me.

First, let me give a shout out to all my friends who ran the New York City Marathon today!  They say there was 50,000 runners.  Unbelievable!  I was reading an article about a teacher who experienced one of the major school shootings and she had a quote that running “heals the soul”.  I agree with that statement. That will be one of my last races I do in my mileage journey.

Training is steady as she goes for next week’s 2018 Veteran’s Day 10k Race.  Not a long race, but the beneficiaries of the race will be Team Red, White & Blue, a group that helps veterans around the area.  There are chapters all around the country.  I’m just happy to be running.

Running

I continue to improve my pace on the shorter runs.  My breathing is good and my stamina is slowly building.  It has been a bit of a struggle trying to get back to what I consider an optimum pace for my age ~ lol!  I still maintain my goal to beat my PR marathon goal of 4:41 and keeping my average pace in the 9:00 min range. I finished October with 58.65 miles ~ about 10 shy of last month.

This weeks long run was okay.  I was a little winded from lack of sleep (excuses I know) but I got it done.  The trail was covered in leaves in a lot of places which made running difficult because I was looking at the ground so I wouldn’t slip and fall!  Plus I was taking pictures!  I think my pace would have been in the 10 minute range.  It was just so pretty!

You can see the leaves falling in the video!!!

I have completed 5734.82 miles in my journey with 5580.18 gratefully remaining.

Cycling

Not much to update here, after the 10k I look forward to focusing on my cycling.

You might be wondering why I titled this post in the arms of the angels.  It is one of the reasons I’m calling November my month of gratitude.  Not only does it have to do with my birth month and that I want to scream from the hills every day isn’t promised and is a gift.  Let’s face it, soon I will be 51 and although that is young these days, I do look at it as a time to be thankful and grateful for each day that I am given.  I recently found out a friend of mine committed suicide last month.  I was notified by Facebook© IM of all things.  This would have been the only way this person could have notified me and I don’t hold it against her because I didn’t know her personally.  I have a love/hate relationship with IM.  Technology is awesome.  We can find old friends, share ideas and pictures and converse instantaneously from around the world.  I have a few friends that ONLY use this method of communication.  Needless to say I find it rude and a little cowardly.  People who only IM are lazy and frankly if someone doesn’t take the time to call you ~ they’re letting you know that, yeah you just don’t mean that much to me or I can communicate only when things are convenient for me.  I know not everyone will agree with my assessment, but think about a person who only converses electronically ~ you may begin to see that person in a new light and agree with me on certain points.

The individual that died was a big part of my life for about five years.  She was a step-sister in a marriage that didn’t work out.  We were all young during that time.  It was a difficult time in my life and when she contacted me about six years ago I had reservations about starting up a conversation.  We became online friends and kept in touch with each other through the years.  She had experienced a lot of ups and downs, but I always kept a line open and offered my telephone number many times in case she wanted to call, but she never offered hers.  I hadn’t heard from her for a while and then a couple of months ago she contacted me to tell me her mother had passed from pancreatic cancer, again I offered her my number.  I had checked up on her a couple of times insisting she give me a call.  I got her address and sent her a sympathy card which she acknowledged she received and that she would respond.  During our conversations she had told me how she was working hard ~ studying for a Spanish test and how things were going well.  She had missed her Mother, but that life was moving forward.  Then I heard the news that she had hung herself.  As I write this, I can’t put into words what I’m really feeling.  Bewilderment, sadness, and sympathy for a life cut short.  I was dumbfounded as to why she would do this until I went on her Facebook page and saw how she had been battling depression for a long time.  It’s sad for me to hear and I often find myself thinking about her even though I hadn’t seen her since she was a little girl.  I guess I feel she just didn’t get a fair shake.  Life isn’t fair, no doubt.  So, if you’re following me in this month of gratitude ~ I ask for a gift gentle reader.  Reach out to someone – by voice.  A short call or a meeting for coffee.  Talk to them and let them know you care.  It doesn’t have to be sappy.  Sometimes just sitting there, together, sipping wine or drinking coffee is enough.  Pick up the phone and say hello.  That might be all it takes.  I firmly believe we have allowed ourselves to become too dependent on communication through social media programs as primary communication.  We are forgetting the art of conversation and interaction with other people.  My thoughts only…

Rachel was a beautiful woman:

 

She leaves behind two children and will be missed.  Even though we separated under strenuous circumstances, life is about forgiveness and growth.  Rachel is in the arms of the angels and free from the pain she experienced on this beautiful earth.  May she rest in peace.

I feel I should post this to help anyone in need:

National Suicide Hotline:  Call 1-800-273-8255

I hope this Sunday finds you in a peaceful state of mind.  Happy Miles to You.  “in this sweet madness, this sweet glorious sadness”….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ Week 4 Century Training – How To Tell When S*it Gets Real

Nothing says you’re in, like paying for a race….and it’s non refundable.  It’s almost like you gotta show up.  It’s a badge of honor – meaning I don’t give a rat’s patootie, I’m showing up and so help me if they peel me off the roadthis is happening.  Yeah, $160 worth of happening…and that was the lowest entry fee for the El Tour de Tucson century race, not counting hotel, gas and food.  Meh, whatta gonna do?  It is what it is.  Don’t you love that played out cliché?

Well, s*hit got real this Saturday as I not only completed my long ride, but it was the longest I’ve ever done.  The target was 2.5 hours of riding time.  Here is the break down in a lovely graphic.  I was able to get in 31.47 miles at a 13.1 avg. pace.  I’m pleased with that.

week-4-long-ride

For the most part of the ride I felt really good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

gu-gelI stopped after an hour to ingest a Gu gel pack.   I had it in my back jersey pocket (do you call them pockets?) it was warm and not as viscous, which made it easier to swallow.  Thank goodness because damn…have you tried these things?  About 3/4 of the way in I began to feel a little light-headed, but not anything that would make me stop for a long period of time.  I tried to make sure I took little sips of water.  I’m always mindful of how much water I take in because I don’t want to have to go to the bathroom.  Okay… there’s some get real s*it for you.  I mean really, riding a bike with a full bladder is a no go.  There is nowhere to go either…a rock, rattle snake, or a scorpion.  Choose.  Cyclist depends…hmmm.

Needless to say I was happy, though there is a mental mountain to climb.  Realizing if I don’t find a route that has the mileage, I’m going to do this three times during one ride…before it’s done.  Oy…but I’ll do it.  That’s also some real s*it if you were wondering.  There’s lots of s*it that’s real…but that’s some really real…okay I digress.

I did pick up this little beauty:

helmetI do believe I was long overdue for a new helmet.  I need to do some research on how often helmets should be changed.  What’s funny is this one fits better than my old one.  The other one was cheaper and this helmet by no means was the most expensive.  I bought it for about $50.  I have been to a few stores that have said price doesn’t mean safety.  They’re all about the same for safety.  What you’re paying for is air flow, aerodynamic, and frankly fit.  I like it.  There is a ponytail port!  May it keep all my wonderful brains in tack if something happens.

 

I only had a chance to ride 3 days this week.  Again, life happens (work) so you just have to do what you can. Next weeks long ride will be a three hour ride. More…real s*it.  You didn’t think I’d let that pass did you?  Nah!

Excited but fearful.  I can’t explain it…that’s where I am right now.  I’m loving it.  Week four came out to 48.09 grateful miles.  I am grateful for this opportunity.  I have 7664.21 miles remaining in my journey.  I hope this Sunday finds you grateful.  Happy Miles To You!

 

Mileage Recap ~ 22 Jun – 30 July The Great Cycle Challenge Completed…And A Little Rest Earned

The break felt good ~ from miles and blogging.  I completed The Great Cycle Challenge for the month of June.  I logged 300.69 miles on the bike and raised a little over $600 for children’s cancer research.  Although the donations were raised for children, I dedicated my ride and miles to my Illinois neighbor and friend, James Boivin.  I love a challenge and it was for a good cause.  The month of June were the most miles I’ve ever logged in a month.   Even on school days I had to get up.  I got up every morning and tried to get out before the heat.  I think there were about 3 days I didn’t ride due to rain or other circumstances.   Well, worth the effort and time.  When I first thought about the challenge I was throwing 500 miles around, I’m glad I came off of that number just a bit….;-)

During June I finally took a bicycle maintenance class.  Especially, since my chain fell off on one of the long rides and I had to learn on the fly.  I can now replace the inner tube and reset the chain.  The correct patch to use because of the high heat.  I know what I need to carry just incase.  I’m glad I went and I understand the mechanics of my bike much better.  Also very important to carry a phone.  I was warned that someday all of the above just might not work.

It has been a challenge to re-engage running after riding for a month and basically taking the next month off.  I have gone on a few small runs.  The first one I had to walk just a bit.  Breathing a little too hard.  All in all I’m getting it done.

I completed 300.69 for June and 23.90 for July ~ another 324.59 to add to the count.  So far a total of 793.99 for the year, already passing 2014 total.  There are 8,740.76 challenges remaining.  Happy Miles To You!

Mileage Recap ~ 1 – 7 June Week 1 of The Great Cycle Challenge Completed and Vibe Yoga

I was very excited to get the month of June and The Great Cycle Challenge underway.  I have pledged to ride 300 miles for the month of June and raise $500.00.  I love a challenge especially when it’s for a good cause.  For me it’s more than just raising money for individuals with cancer but dedication of mind, body and spirit to honor those who are fighting the good fight to get well.  I read something many years ago that said life is great when you have your health.  How exponentially true is that statement.  When you are well and feel good life is a such a blessing, but when you are ill day in and day out I imagine that attitude can sink quickly.  I look at it from this perspective; life is a grand gift and not to be wasted.  The fact that you can wake up, move and be is a chance to be the best you can for yourself and to others.

This week has been a very active week.  I have school Wednesday thru Saturday so on those mornings I have to be out on the road by 530 and can clear about 10 miles before I need to head home and get ready.  The week started off well on Monday and Tuesday and I was able to get 11 and 17 miles.

I’m still in the process of trying to find a yoga studio to attend and teach at here, which is proving a little allusive.  So I found a studio called Vibetality to try.  When I was studying for my certification I had a traditional teacher, not a whole lot of yoga fluff.  Since I’ve been out Southwest I have run into many different types of yoga.  Honestly, some of it is fun and interesting.  I decided to try this new studio and signed up for a “yoga vibe” class.  After I pulled the “trigger” I realized the class was only 15 minutes long.  Hmmm, how can that be?  Thinking I read it wrong I planned to be there for my full hour.  Nope it was only 15 minutes.  It’s called yoga vibe, thus the “Vibetality”.  The class is conducted on a plate that vibrates.  When I say it vibrates…I’m not kidding.  Here is a picture of the plate.

Vibe Plate

The teacher instructed that if you are new, you might want to stand more on the balls of your feet and don’t close your teeth together.  Uh….ok.  The theory is that the vibration stimulates the blood and therefore a 15 minute workout is the same as an hour.  When the class first started and I stepped on to the plate I thought no way am I going to be able to do this for the full 15.  Thank goodness I didn’t eat anything and I didn’t have to go to the bathroom.   It was more of the workout and not the spiritual part of yoga.  It wasn’t bad, interesting to say the least, but let’s just say I was so sore that I couldn’t go riding on Wednesday.

Friday rained and Saturday I was able to get 9.  Today was the long ride.  I went my normal route and extended it down in the opposite direction I normally go.  It was extremely beautiful and challenging.  I road all the way to the end..literally.

Day 7 Ride Day 7a

I also climbed the largest hill for me yet.  I was realizing as I was speeding down this mountain that this was not going to be fun going back up this thing.  But I dug in and I was able to do it without having to stop.  That was the great part.  Today’s ride was 20 and some change and looked a little like this:

Day 7b

You can check out my webpage at The Great Cycle Challenge here:  The Great Cycle Challenge Laurel McClean

This weeks mileage was all cycling (as the whole month will be) and came to 68.67 with 9,006.27 gratefully remaining ~ Happy Miles to You!!

Mileage Recap ~ 26 – 31 May and The Great Cycle Challenge

Happy Sunday!

It’s getting hot in the valley….over 100 degrees these past few days.  I like the heat, but dang!  Did I mention it’s a dry heat…yes probably 100 times.  Mileage was very low this month.  Down 113 miles…yep.  I was way too busy.  That’s okay, just the way it is sometimes.  I literally ran 5.2 miles this week. May’s total equaled 55.08 miles.  This brings me to a total of 459.81 for the year and 9,074.94 gratefully remaining.

Enough of that, now for some exciting news.  I’m taking part in The Great Cycle Challenge for the month of June.  I have dedicated myself to riding 300 miles to raise money for children’s cancer.  If I can I will break that goal, but considering it is getting hot here I have to get up and get going by 0530 every morning.  It gets light here early so that shouldn’t be a problem.  You can chart my progress here:  https://greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/LaurelMcClean.  I haven’t done an event since I moved so I’m very excited.  Health is such a blessing, never take it for granted.  Happy Miles to You!

 

Sending Flowers to the Living

What is your favorite flower?

Tulip

Tulipomania

Mine is the tulip. It’s a simple flower and easily identifiable.  Not too elegant; too much or too little ~ simple leaves, and comes in a variety of colors.  You can add it to any arrangement or let it stand alone. Strong and powerful it is quite beautiful.  I love the black ones.  I planted some last year that bloomed this Spring and they were beautiful.  They really look black ~ interesting flower.  Not a whole lot to think about with this flower.  You can look at it and appreciate it without having sensory overload.  It’s simple and beautiful, my favorite flower.  Maybe one day I’ll visit Holland and see them in the fields.

I got off of work early today to get a jump on the weekend and frankly to have some time for myself.  I have one of those jobs where sometimes you just can’t seem to get ahead, always busy.  I work in a secure area which means cellphones aren’t allowed in the workspace.  At the end of the work day it’s the same routine. I unlock my phone from the lock box and check my messages.  Today I noticed there was a message from my Aunt Patty. A little background information, Aunt Patty is my mother’s younger sister. I’ve had an off and on again relationship with her over the years. I’ve never lived close to her, she in California and me…well all over,  but I have visited her when I could. Only in the last couple of years have we become closer. She has fought cancer on and off. She went through a bought about a year ago, completed the treatment and came out on top. My last visit with her was last April 2012. We had a great time together.  Laughed like sisters, went to wineries and just enjoyed each others company.  I was older and there was so much more to appreciate now.  We’re both bad at keeping in touch and sometimes would go months without speaking. Over these last few months I’ve been busy. Work, kid and life. Excuses.  I didn’t call. Excuses.  I would think about calling her from time to time, but then there would always be some reason why I didn’t.  Some excuse or reason not to pick up the phone and say a simple hello how are you doing.

As I listened to the recorded message on my iPhone it was her son’s voice I heard not hers. Instantly I knew. I knew. I think I’ve known for a while, but didn’t act on that feeling.  I knew I blew it before the message finished. “Laurel I just wanted to let you know that Mom isn’t doing well, if you could call me when you get this message I would appreciate it”.  Blew it, in a major way.  So busy, I just couldn’t find the time.

I called her number and my Uncle answers.  Bottom line she’s got one to two weeks left.  She isn’t conscious and is in hospice .  I hate that word.  I asked what the plan was,  “there is no plan.  She is only awake for a couple of hours a day.  If you want to come say your goodbyes than okay, but she might not be aware”.  A hard blow,  a hard reality, a hard lesson to learn and some bitter medicine to swallow.  I was not there I wasn’t present.  I was busy.  I own it.

Laurel and Aunt Patty

Aunt Patty and me in San Francisco

Natural Bridge

A picture from our trip up the coast

Waves

The beach we visited

She never stopped telling me she loved me.  I’m very sorry to see her go so soon. I will remember all the good times and the difficult times will be forgiven.

My favorite flower is the tulip.  Today I will send flowers to the living.  A friend of mine who is fighting breast cancer and having reconstructive surgery today.  Tomorrow I will run the longest I have ever run at one time and I will reflect, on living.

The meaning of tulip is: perfect love.