11315 Miles

Run, Walk, Bike…Repeat. Never.Give.Up.

Women On the Move ~ Dr. Karen Gaffney – All Lives Matter

I love writing about all types of strong women and their accomplishments.  Honestly, I don’t know how I find some of these people.  It’s like divine intervention just leads me to the correct place and wallah!  I’ll start reading and something just connects and then you’re like whoa.  There are women everywhere doing great things and no task is too small.  Not to sound trite or a bit cliché but what we hold in high esteem in the United States sometimes, is less then impressive.  We all like pop culture.  I have found myself glued to The Kardashians© and Real Housewives of Atlanta© on more than one occasion and rarely have I said “hey how about that Grace Hopper, huh”?  Yes, I added a link ~ that is your homework between Fourth of July beers.  It’s a shame we don’t treat women like Grace Hopper as the real rock-stars.  Can you see a show called The Real Female Scientists of Atlanta?  No, I didn’t think so.  Let’s face it, we are addicted to the wrong kind of badassery.  Meet Dr. Karen Gaffney.

Photo courtesy of the Karen Gaffney Foundation

I love the photo above.  She is perfection.  Dr. Karen Gaffney has Down’s Syndrome.  Dr. Gaffney is the first person with Down’s Syndrome to complete a relay swim across the English Channel in 2001.

Karen graduated from Portland Community College in 2001 and received her Associate of Science degree and teaching certificate.  In 2013 she became the first living person with Down’s Syndrome to receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree, Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Portland for her work raising awareness for people who have Down’s Syndrome.   She travels the world addressing people on Down’s Syndrome and how she believes is a life worth living.  Unfortunately, the statistics of women aborting fetuses once diagnosed with Down’s is staggering.  This is not a post to discuss abortion or pro-choice.  What Dr. Gaffney is stating and showing the world is that all lives matter and having Down’s Syndrome isn’t a show stopper.  One of my FAVORITE sayings, “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show“.

Some of Karen’s other swims include:

  • Swimming across the nine mile span of Lake Tahoe ~ which became the documentary Crossing Tahoe: A Swimmer’s Dream (you can find on Amazon)
  • 2009 swam the Boston Harbor to celebrate Down’s Syndrome month
  • 2 Gold Medals from the Special Olympics
  • 16 swims across the San Francisco Bay including the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.  (Bucket List Item)!

When she isn’t swimming she is running the Karen Gaffney Foundation.  Stop by and see what she is about.

 

“A life well lived, is long enough” ~ Seneca.  Happy Fourth of July and Happy Miles to You!!

This is for you Dr. Gaffney ~ one of my faves from the Divine Ms. M.  Down Syndrome don’t stop no show….

 

 

 

 

Women On the Move ~ Crystal Clark – The Heartland Running Podcast

Happy Sunday everyone and of course Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads.  Next up on my Women on the Move is Crystal Clark from Heartland Running.  I came across Crystal on Instagram, of course, and was curious about her and the running podcast she helps host.  Crystal’s first run was a half marathon and as they say the running bug definitely has bitten her.  According to her Instagram page she has run 15 x 26.2, 1 x 100k, 3 x 50k, 2 x 50 miles and is currently training for 100 miles November in 2017.

Crystal is one of three hosts on The Heartland Running Podcast.  From the site:

Crystal did not grow up athletic and almost failed gym.  So everyone was pretty surprised when she signed up for her first race – a half marathon.  She fumbled her way to the finish line (despite not evening know how far it was) and was hooked.  Since then she has run 20 marathons/ultras including the Boston Marathon.  Crystal’s current goal is to chase down a 100 mile finish.

Crystal lives in Ohio with her husband, son, and their pet cat Geddy Lee.

You can follow her adventures on Instagram @seecrystalrun.

I really like the site because it focuses on the running life in the Ozarks (I lived in Illinois for eight years) and beyond.  Over the last few months I have enjoyed listing to podcasts in the car and wouldn’t mind doing it myself one day. Maybe interviewing women on the move!  They have some good podcasts consisting of inspirational and informative stories/information about running and other sports as well as gear reviews and basic advice.  Really cool and they are fun to listen too as well.  Enjoy (link at the top).  Happy Miles to You!!

Women On the Move ~ Meet Michele Across America!

I know I’m going to love this new topic I have created Women on the Move.  Already, I have found some exciting subjects, doing great things, to write about.  I have to say up front, I don’t know any of these women personally.  Never met them.  If I do, I’ll let you know, but for the most part I just have come across them electronically and have decided to follow/research them further.

Let me introduce you to Michele, or as she states it, Michele Across America.  You can find Michele at her own blog https://micheleacrossamerica.com/.

Michele is a physical therapist from Napa, CA.  In just 39 days she will be riding across the country to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.  She was an avid rider in her earlier years completing Centuries and double Centuries (a gal after my own heart) and is now looking to add another amazing feat to her list.  I’m interested in Michele because I have a good friend that has MS as well.  In 2013 I participated in the MS 50 mile walk in St. Louis over three days and raised $1000.  You can read about it here:

https://11315miles.com/2013/04/28/50-mile-ms-challenge-walk/

https://11315miles.com/2013/04/18/50-mile-challenge-ms-walk-update/

https://11315miles.com/2013/05/21/ms-50-mile-challenge-walk-update/

https://11315miles.com/2013/05/31/ms-50-mile-walk-day-one-recap/

A lot of updates….so if you feel like reading.  But this isn’t about me.

Michele will start her ride in 39 days and I can’t wait to follow the journey.  I’m interested in all the logistics and how she’s going to accomplish this grand feat.

Visit her donation page Bike the US for MS found here: http://biketheusforms.org/cyclists/detail.asp?cid=1084

She is also on Instagram at micheleacrossamerica.

As she so eloquently states, “even 1$ helps”.  Yes it does.  Happy Miles to You!!

Mileage Recap ~ October Wrap Up…Hear Me People of the Good Hood!

Three more weeks of training to go and I’ll be heading to Tucson to participate in the EL Tour De Tucson Century Ride.  I’m not going to call it a race, because I’m not racing anybody.  Maybe the clock.  My goal is to finish in the time allotted or a little before.  Training so far has been going well.  I am hitting all the milestones I’ve set for myself without too much trouble each week.  So far no mechanical mishaps and for that I am VERY grateful.  My body felt better during last weeks long ride then this week.  This weeks long ride was ok but became a real grind towards the end.  I felt good for the first 40 miles, then I started to feel fatigued.  Not bad but I seemed to be sweating more and a little tired.

My physical body felt fine, I was experiencing a drained type feeling.  I also had a hard time clipping out of my new pedals.  It caused some stress and angst every time I needed to stop.  I’m not 100% used to these new pedals and not quite sure why I’m experiencing this problem.  Now that I’m into the 50+ rides I need to focus more on what I’m doing inside and out.  Eating, drinking and resting.  It’s not at all like training for the marathon.  There is a different type of intensity.   I will admit I was thinking about everything under the sun.  My mind was just wandering this time around.  As I get closer to 50 miles that’s when I start to notice my mental fatigue.  I’m more reckless meaning not really paying attention like I did at the beginning of the ride for cars or people etc.  Like I’m just going or an out of body feeling sometimes.  I started to think about the movie Castaway on this ride.  Your mind starts playing tricks when you’re really tired.  Wilson!  Try to keep up Wilson! Wilson can you pass that sports gel friend?  That’s exactly what I felt like.

wilson wilson1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or having the urge to laugh uncontrollably!  Oh that was funny Wilson, I’m so enjoying our time together!

dumb-and-dumber

 

 

 

 

On part of my route I go through a more, shall we say affluent neighborhood.  We shall call it the good hood.  A lovely non-gated community nestled at the base of South Mountain with very nice homes.  There is a cul de sac that I have a timed stop.  Usually for a gel, water or maybe a bite of an energy bar.  Last week I stopped and I tried to take my gum out and dispose of it in paper.  I opened my mouth too wide and it fell on the ground.  No….I didn’t pick it up.  I didn’t have the proper packaging because I messed it up with the gel pack and I…well damn I just didn’t want to get my hands sticky.  I’m sorry people of the good hood.  This week I dropped a plastic bag, while riding, in the same location.  I carry a bag for garbage (see I’m responsible!) but no I didn’t stop to pick it up.  I did pick it up the next time around.  Oh and yes, I took some selfies.  I can only imagine what the neighbors are saying as they look out the window drinking their morning coffee, “George, there’s that woman again!  And…and she’s dropping her gum, now a selfie!  I knew we should have voted yes at the home association meeting for the community gate!”

Once I hit mile 58 things began to go downhill.  My goal for this week was 65 miles and I fell just shy of that with 61.72.  I was making my final round when I stopped to cross a street.  Once I unclipped and put my right leg down I had the worst cramp in my right quad.  I have Never had a cramp in my quad and nothing that bad.  When I looked at my leg there was a huge mass right above the knee.  At first I thought I had done something much worse but it wasn’t the pain of a pulled muscle.  But the pain overtook my whole body.  I literally had to lay the bike down.  After a few minutes I was able to cross the street and again just stood there until the pain passed.  Per the Mayo Clinic online:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/dxc-20186052

Symptoms and causes of muscle cramps

Symptoms

Most muscle cramps develop in the leg muscles, particularly in the calf. Besides the sudden, sharp pain, you might also feel or see a hard lump of muscle tissue beneath your skin.

Causes

Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known.

Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Inadequate blood supply. Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your legs (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can produce cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you’re exercising. These cramps usually go away soon after you stop exercising.
  • Nerve compression. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) also can produce cramp-like pain in your legs. The pain usually worsens the longer you walk. Walking in a slightly flexed position — such as you would use when pushing a shopping cart ahead of you — may improve or delay the onset of your symptoms.
  • Mineral depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — also can deplete these minerals.

Risk factors

Factors that might increase your risk of muscle cramps include:

  • Age. Older people lose muscle mass, so the remaining muscle can get overstressed more easily.
  • Dehydration. Athletes who become fatigued and dehydrated while participating in warm-weather sports frequently develop muscle cramps.
  • Pregnancy. Muscle cramps also are common during pregnancy.
  • Medical conditions. You might be at higher risk of muscle cramps if you have diabetes, or nerve, liver or thyroid disorders.

Damn…age..no they didn’t!

Anyway, it passed quickly and I felt fine after five minutes.  Didn’t even need a nap that day.  I completed 80.99 miles this week!

Bam!  I finished October with 310.44 miles for the month.  7385.24 miles remaining!  Blessed and grateful.  Happy Miles to You!

week-8-long-ride

 

 

Passion Post #8 ~ Want Life Change…Run a Marathon

A lot has changed since I began this blog a little over two years ago.  What started out as keeping track of running mileage in honor of my late mother’s life has transformed into a major life changes.  I began running for myself.  I liked the results so much I continued on and started this blog and a few small races here and there.  I kept pushing myself into new challenges and eventually completed a marathon in 2013.  There were setbacks along the way…pain and injuries, but I keep going.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life ~ change happens.  Sometimes self-made other times not so much.

Life is all about growing and at age 47 I am ready for change. I’ve been trying to write this post for months but I just didn’t have the time, energy and frankly I do miss my friends back in the Midwest.  I have been associated with the United States Army for over twenty years as vet, spouse and DA civilian.  I would not trade my time serving the military for anything.  Like all people I’ve had good experiences and less than stellar ones with my association.  But as I get older, I know there is more for me to experience and goals to achieve.  So I am reinventing myself and venturing out to try something new.  I no longer work for the Army and I packed up my stuff and moved to Arizona.  Whew!  New places, faces and challenges.

Moving is tiring and so is change.  You may be asking yourself what does this have to do with running a marathon?  Sort of like “hey you know I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night” therefore implying I can do anything.  But…after running a marathon I know I can do anything (within reason of course).  It’s not like I didn’t know that beforehand.  Sometimes along the way we tend to forget we have the power to change our circumstances.  You can do anything you want with the proper planning and passion.  Running a marathon is a life-changing event.  It’s physical, but in my opinion a more mental trial.  You prepare, train and plan.  You nourish your body and be disciplined to follow a regimen that will take you to completion.  When the physical you doesn’t want to participate the mental you must convince that physical self to move forward.   Let’s not forget the passion of will.  You must have the will to succeed and finish.  This is with all things in life.  If you don’t like it then have the courage to change the circumstances.  Stop talking and start walking.  I’m not advocating everyone go out and run a marathon.  Running a marathon was just a normal progression for me and I’m blessed to have been able to rise up to the challenge physically.    Even more blessed that it opened my eyes to new change.

So here I sit, a new path to forge; challenges to tackle and new adventures ahead of me.  It is also scary.  I’m ready to test these feet in a new place.  Here’s to new beginnings ~ Happy Miles to You.

Passion Post #6 ~ The Art of Letting Go

Letting go.  It sounds so simple, but depending on the circumstances it might be painful and tough.  Life’s lessons.  Letting go of loved ones, friendships, and bad habits.  Sometimes we let go on purpose to better ourselves, other times change is thrown upon us and we have no choice but to let go in  hope that there is a lesson to be learned and that in the end we become better.

Letting go is an art form so-to-speak.  You can handle letting go well or you can handle it poorly.   So for this post it’s all positive.

For most women our hair is our crowning glory.  It is the cherry on top.  Our hair defines us.  Don’t think so?  How many times have you looked in the mirror ~ you’re wearing a rocking outfit but that hair!  Bad hair can put a damper on anybody’s day.  We spend lot’s of money each year cutting, coloring and taking care of our hair.  It is the ultimate accessory.  I am no different.  I think I’ve had my hair every conceivable way.  Short, long, colored, punk and don’t forget big.  Hey the bigger the hair the closer to God!    There was a musical based on Hair!

Have you ever thought what it would be like if you lost it to disease?  Would it bother you?  How would you feel?  Hopefully, most of us won’t ever find out, but for many it is a reality.  I have been growing my hair out for the last two years in order to donate to Locks of Love. My hair was getting majorly long and I really, really loved it.  I haven’t had my hair that long since I was sixteen.  I was getting to the point I liked it so much I didn’t want to cut it anytime soon.  Kind of had this feeling….hair blowing in the wind.  Ok, not really ~ :).

Joe Dirt

This weekend I decided to part with my hair so someone else can enjoy it.  I can only hope that each strand will bring someone the happiness and strength they need to fight their disease.  Donating my hair only strengthened my ability for patience and fills my heart with gratitude for giving.  Letting go can mean, strength, respect and resolve.  If you’re interested in donating to Locks of Love see the link below:

Locks of Love

Before

Before

Hair

After

 

Enjoy your Sunday ~ capture your passion.  Happy Miles to you!

Passion Post ~ #4 Time Waits for No One

I have been going to the same lady for my alterations for at least 3 years.  She is from Korea and is around the same age as me. Think of all the people you come in contact with for small errands on a continual basis.  How many of them do we really get to know on a more personal level? Do you even know their names?  Do you take the time or do you think it’s important to wonder?  I think we all fall into the “I’m in a hurry and I really don’t want to know the specifics” trap.

When she opened her store I was grateful.  I was tired of going to my present alterations place because they had made a series of costly mistakes.  This place was close to my daughter’s school and wasn’t as busy so I thought I would give it a try.  I was glad I did!  Every time I walk in she greets me with a big smile.  She is a beautiful woman.  Petite, bobbed black hair and high cheek bones.  But she isn’t small.  Her personality and her self-confidence make her a giant.  If there weren’t other customers in the store we would chat.  In these past three years, I’ve learned about her family and the different jobs she’s held.  With every adventure there is a gleam in her eye.  It’s very uplifting.

I’m at the point in my life and career that I’m starting to think about other things I might want to do besides what I’m doing.  Career change or a possible move somewhere else.  Who knows.  So as she was fitting me I just asked her, were you scared when you started your business?  Without hesitation she said no, I’m never scared.  I was taken aback by her quick response.  Then she continued with the biggest smile; I have a heart condition (that she shared with two other siblings) there is always a chance I might not be here tomorrow.  If I want to do it, I do it.  Her brother died at 26 and her sister at 42.  She said again, I don’t wait, I pray about it and leave it in God’s hands. I remember her telling me about the heart condition.  This is what happens when you get to know people, you learn little things about them.  I began to think how easy it is to put your dreams, or those little adventures, aside always making excuses or just saying maybe I’ll get to it tomorrow.  Even when we are physically fit we sometimes make excuses of why we can’t or won’t.  She was a good reminder of that today.  Then she said, “you’re going to think I’m crazy“.  I laughed and said you have to be kidding me:)  She keeps a bucket list, of all the “adventures” she wants to try.  I absolutely love it when people describe their actions as adventures.  It shows hunger and passion.

Here’s to passion every step of-the-way.  Happy miles to you.

Thoughts On ~ “Ok, you’re a runner, get over it”

There is an article making the rounds called Ok, you’re a runner get over it, by Chad Stafko.  No doubt if you blog about running, read about running or run you’ve most likely read the article.  I’m posting it here for two reasons.  One, Mr. Stafko lives in a neighboring city about 15 miles from me.  So at the very least I find it amusing that his article, published in the Wall Street Journal, has received so much retort from other writers including Mark Remy from Runner’s World Magazine. Two, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about my blogging and social media in general.  I try very hard to make my blog fun and interesting about the topic of running.  I’m a normal Joe, I blog about my running experiences and what they mean to me.  I’m not a psychologist, former running pro, journalist or running coach.  I don’t take myself too seriously; I’m not arrogant or in-your-face about running.  I do it for the joy it brings and share my experience with others, but I’ll get into that later.

You can read Mr. Stafko’s article here: Ok You’re a Runner Get Over It

You can read Mr. Remy’s article here:  Response to Stafko article ~ it’s pretty funny

I don’t know Mr. Stafko and the article doesn’t faze me in the slightest.  He is writing his opinion about runners and that is his right.  We live in a great country!  I will say the article is a bit strange, almost whiney.  It’s apparent he thinks “runners” are braggarts.  Not only do we brag about our running accomplishments but when we are out on a run we are somehow bragging to those that pass us by on the road.  A sort of in-your-face mentality ~ look at me.

I got the idea about blogging about a year ago by reading someone else’s blog.  I thought it was a neat thing to do for the purpose I was trying to serve ~ trying to log 11,315 miles to honor my mother, nothing more nothing less.  I didn’t even do research on other running blogs before I started.  I just jumped in and started.  I’m surprised to see how many other people were blogging about running.  Lately, I’ve been kicking around in my head whether or not it is an arrogant thing to blog or should I just stop doing it altogether.  It really didn’t cross my mind I might be bragging.  I often ask myself why does anybody want to read my tripe.  Who really cares?  So what, I’m running ~ it doesn’t mean I have to tell the world about running.  I just wanted to share with others the different races in our area, what they’re like and my experience participating.  Maybe it will spur interest in others who would like to participate in the sport as well.

The subtitle for Mr. Stafko’s article states ~ Running a marathon is hard enough without also patting yourself on the back every step of the way.

I wish someone did pat me on the back ~ it might have made me move faster ~ :).

In my opinion the above statement is a little clueless.  If you’ve gotten off your duff and completed any race, no matter how long or for whatever reason.  I humbly offer this:

In the immortal words of our Vice-President Biden to President Obama as they rolled out the health care plan.  “This is a big f***ing deal”. 

Ask yourself this:

Why go to college and place the “University “X” sticker on the back of your car window?  Because you are proud of your accomplishment and wait for it…it’s a big “f***ing” deal.  You spent four or more years trying to better yourself ~ it’s big.  It’s the same thing as placing the 26.2 sticker on your car.

Yes it is.

I have to say, I have never met any runner that went on and on about a race they ran.  As-a-matter of fact I’ve only discussed runs and running experiences with other runners.  Why?  Because that’s who’s interested.  Most of the time runners never discuss about the end of a race and the medal.  It’s what happened on the way to the finish that counted.  Some of these races are life changers for people.  Sure, is cool to get the t-shirt and the medal.  Are they fun to receive?  Bling, yeah!  But that’s not the only reason why people run.  People in running community are some of the most giving and supportive people around.  I live in a large military community and a lot of these runs help support the troops or a soldier who has died in the area.  Many of these races support cancer, soldiers, and community.  We can quibble about the percentage that goes to the cause, but in my book if you’re willing to come out and run so a dollar can be donated for your favorite cause ~ then who is it going to hurt.

Mr. Stafko also mentioned “selfies”.  I’ll be honest I didn’t know what a “selfie” was.  I understand now it is taking a picture of oneself.  I’ll agree selfies are a little strange to me.  I’ve only done it twice, really, and it was weird both times.  I won’t do it again, I’m pretty sure.  I’ve only done it to say hey I was here.  But if you do it, I don’t judge.  It is what it is.  🙂

I have read many “why I run” themed posts.  I started a post about a month ago titled “Who do you do it for”.  I never posted it but maybe now is a good time to share some running reasons for me.

Why I run or started running:

1.  To honor my mother.

2.  To lose weight.

3.  Keep healthy

4.  Challenge myself

5.  Calm myself

6.  Participate in community and give back

A short and humble list.  No flashy pictures with bling just an honest assessment.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to polish my 26.2 sticker on my car.

To all runners and non-runners alike ~ happy miles to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Louis Rock ~n~ Roll Marathon Recap Oct 27, 2013 ~ Anything Is Possible

I’m happy to report I completed my first marathon, 26.2 is in the bag:)  It was a wonderful, fun experience.

0400 AM  ~  Got up ready to go.  Surprisingly I slept the night before with no problem.  I was calm and I was glad none of my cats decided to “play” during the night.  Maybe I should chalk it up to inexperience but I didn’t have a case of the jitters.  Ate a banana drank a glass of water and a cup of coffee.  Checked the temperature and it’s 31 degrees.  Not happy about that, but at least it wasn’t raining or windy out.  If you’ve been to the Midwest, you know what I’m talking about.  Put on my gear and I was out the door.

0515  ~  met Kathi at the train station.  There were a lot of other runners already waiting (this was kind of neat) so the excitement was high on the train.  By the time we arrived in St. Louis the train was already packed with runners.

Getting started

Kathi and I on the train.

0600  ~  Arrived in St. Louis and made our way to the venue.  I was beginning to worry a little because it was cold.  I’m not a stranger to running in the cold, but I was really hoping it would be warmer for this first run.  Again, oh well and suck it up.  The first thing Kathi and I do is roll on over to the porta potties.  That’s right, no line you’re going to go even if you don’t think you have to go.  It’s one of those things before you run, I don’t have to go now but maybe later I will, so you try.  After that we strolled over to the gear check.  I was still wearing my pants at this point realizing that I would have to shed them at the gear check.  After about 5 minutes of banter between Kathi and me, “Are you going to take your pants off? Yes, are you?  Yes, right now?  Yes, are you…right now?”  Crap we have to take our pants off…it’s cold:(  We finally take our pants off and check the rest of the gear.

cold morning

No estoy pantalones!

0630  ~  we make it on over to the Soldiers Memorial for a picture with one of the local running groups the Road Warriors.  They are a great group of people that enjoy running and offering support to other runners.  Always a pleasure to be around.

Road Warrior Photo

Where’s Laurel and Kathi:)

0635  ~  We decide that we want to go to the bathroom… again.  Directly in front of us is a string of portas that are heavily backed up…no pun intended.  I was starting to get nervous and I didn’t even have to go.  Then out of the corner of my eye I see another string to our far right and no lines.  I point and we literally start running to these portas.  It appeared that others were catching on as well, STEP IT UP.  The jog became a little faster.  Whew I’m in the front of the line baby! It was dark and difficult to see which ones were occupied and which ones were free.  Then there was the occasional battle cry, “don’t use this one…it’s out of paper!”  The tsk, tsk of another runner, “that is not how I want to start my day” and all the affirmations of yes, yes.  Finished there and bolted to my corral.

0650  ~  Arrive at my corral, 10, and begin the wait game.  This really was a very interesting aspect of the race.  You’re pumped and ready-to-go but waiting for the race to start.  The sun was just beginning to rise and you could see that beautiful sunrise of bright orange and yellow mixed with a splattering of clouds against a struggling dark blue background.  It was electric.  I started my Garmin at least three times before I actually got going.  Since I was in corral 10, 1 – 9 went first.  This was new for me as I’ve never participated in a race this size.  So you would move up as each corral left the gate.

0710  ~  I was off.  I started strong and felt good.  In past races I usually dislike the start.  You’re always trying to dart around to find that nice hole that you can run your own pace.  It was really difficult to do this with so many people so I didn’t even try.  I went a nice normal pace and just really enjoyed the run.  I also wanted to make sure I didn’t start off to fast and had energy for the end.

I’m not going to mark time anymore because honestly after the first two  miles there was no point in me watching the clock.  I had a long way to go.  Instead I focused on the mile markers and how I felt.

Around mile 2 my hands were starting to get hot.  I grappled with throwing away my gloves so soon, but decided to do it anyway.  I should have waited a couple more miles because my hands were cold, but there you have it.  Throw-away gloves were a very good idea.

Around mile 4 I was hot and ready to shed the throw-away headband and take my long sleeve off.  Chucked the headband, danced around to take the top off, dropped my iPod and cracked the screen and Walla finally felt a little better.

Mile 4

Here I am at mile 4. My shirt is secured. Thanks to Karen Conley for supporting me and taking this picture.

Everything was easy breezy at this point.  The run was fun and I felt pretty good.  I made sure I drank plenty of water not passing up too many of the water stations.  Everyone is different when it comes to water, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated.  I tend not to drink as much when it’s cold, so I forced myself to take little sips.

Around mile 9 or 10, I forget, they offered the first GU gel.  Let me personally testify, chocolate and GU, uh no.  I picked up the small packet, ripped it open and began to eat it.  Nasty, is not the proper word.  Let’s just say, licking the asphalt, might have been better.  Dang!  That was bad.  Maybe they meant to do that.  Here, little girl I’ve got something yummy for you.  So yes, I did need water with that treat!

My first mental hurdle was at mile 12 when they started peeling the half marathoners away from the full marathoners.  I admit I looked at them in envy.  Wow, they’re almost finished and me I’m going to run this…again.  It’s easy to get sucked into that mindset, but I made that left turn and kept fighting for every mile.

At mile 17 I looked across the street and saw mile 24 with the lead runner heading toward the finish line.  That’s a mental mountain.  Look forward and keep going.  There were a couple of points on the route that intersected.  You might be at mile 18 and to your right you could see mile 21.  It’s tough.

My right hamstring started acting up at mile 18.  There was a lot of pain.  I had to focus and slow down a bit.  When I had to slow down I did, when I could pick it back up I did.  Mental, mental and more mental.  I kept fighting for every mile.

Another GU gel was offered at mile 19.  Oh no you don’t!  I’m not falling for that again.  This gel was mandarin orange.  Oh…really…sure it is.  I took it anyway.  Yes, it tasted like man….CRAP!  It did give me a boost.  The things we must endure for a boost.

Miles 20 – 23 were tough.  The pain in my leg would come and go and I had to adjust the pace the best I could.  As Ron the pace guy neared me with his bright shiny placard with 4:45 in big black writing, I was determined that he shall not pass!  So, I pulled it together and moved forward to mile 24.

My good friend Karen was able to make it to the 24 mile marker and take a photo.  Let it be known, if you are going to do something ~ go big or stay at home.  Folks, this may be one of the best photo bombs yet.  There is no measurement for the level of awesomeness for this quality of photo bomb.  I will say this, we’re both smiling at mile 24, therefore brother, and you’re alright with me.

Photo Bomb

Mile 24

 

Photo bomb1

Just because one isn’t enough.

Mile 24 became mile 25 and you know the rest of the story.  I finished with a time of 4:41.  I’m happy, empowered and ready to do it again.  A special thank you to my husband Dave who has supported me through all my training and my friend Lorene who was at the finish line.  A hearty thank you to everyone who offered well wishes and encouragement.  Happy miles to you.  With hard work, determination and the right attitude…

Anything is possible…..

FinishedKathi and Me

….even drinking Michelob Ultra Light afterwards.  (If you follow this blog you understand!:)

After Beer

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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