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January 2018
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"Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose." ~C. S. Lewis

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PostHeaderIcon One week to go and reflection take 2

I’m a ghost of a girl that I want to be most.

I’m the shell of a girl that I used to know well.

Appropriate lyrics from a song given the reflection of this year, and 2010, and all this 11 in ’11 journey has offered both personally and in running. Especially as the races got harder, in a sense, for the next five:

June in Seattle – ah, so the second of two races in a month. Having recovered from the San Diego post-race fun, and prepping for a race in Seattle, where I grew up, I was a little excited and a little apprehensive. And then I made a conscious decision to just enjoy the race. My girlfriend Tracy had signed up for the race and had been sidelined on training with an injury and work, and we were wanting to do the race together, and my girlfriend Kristal, young and vibrant battling a somewhat recent diagnosis breast cancer was going to be a mile 9 at a water station, so I shifted what my priorities for the race were. It was to enjoy my time with Tracy at the Expo, the pre race, the early morning and after, and to jump off the course at mile 9 and spend a few minutes with Kristal. And that’s exactly what happened. Having no music suddenly didn’t matter, and just enjoying the beautiful course and time with friends did. It was fabulous.

July in Sonoma – again, I decided to dial it down for some of these middle-of-the-schedule races so I could enjoy them and planned to ramp back up in the Fall (best laid plans…) Sonoma race offered a wine tasting at mile 10, so I pretty much knew this would also be a relaxed and just-enjoy race. My friends Bob and Carl were so supportive and excited for me, it inspired me even more. It was a race I was nervous about because of the heat in mid-July, but lucked out and it was near perfect for a race. Tried a few new sprint training tricks and enjoyed a nice run with a nearly happy hip. And post-race inspiring talks with both led to now both of them running, which is amazing. And it’s got me thinking about post 2011 plans and what I can do with this journey of a year and how I can support others going forward…

August in Chicago – had still planned on taking it somewhat easy in Chicago, because I was worried about humidity, but the weather, again lucked out, was near perfect for a race. A recent rain had cut the humidity and the heat wasn’t high at all. However, with a mystery illness and already a couple weeks on antibiotics for no good reason, my body was more than depleted and the race became about getting through it. I felt a little defeated and discouraged, curious if I could come back and how hard/fast I could. Tried not to let it get me down, but felt isolated and alone in Chicago, betrayed by my body, not sure what to do next, but encouraged that I still had three races to go, it had to get better. The good news in Chicago was great conversations with both the CarbBoom and Newton vendors – still my favorite products in their categories by a factor of 1000.

September in Maui – was looking forward to just being there, even though I knew ahead of time that it would be bittersweet, since my sensory memory would be tied to my former life (it’s changed in just about every way, sigh) and I had so many memories there. Generally it would be a different experience and my body was finally, slowly beginning to mend. And then 36 hours before I left, the proverbial bus hit me (for the uninitiated, an engagement to a virtual stranger. talk about shock, for a myriad of reasons) and I was left reeling for the race. It was an even harder race than I thought it might be for all the physical reasons and throw in the emotional reasons, and I was a near-zombie for the race. Including walking by necessity countless times, practically forgetting how to run and how good a runner I really am, and passing out in the medical tent at the end. Wait, this was the race I was supposed to start ramping back up to kick ass in Miami in December? Wow. But. I finished. I did it, I did cross the finish line. It may not have been in the fashion I expected or even compare to what I had expected but I did it. My faith may’ve been shaken in life and my running, but I crossed the finish line and I’ll do it again. And again.

October in LA – desperately trying to replace or make new memories, but still remain haunted by my former life. Will this ever go away? Clearly I’m the only affected in this way but holy crap it’s nearly breaking me under the weight of it all. And that includes the LA race, in some ways more than others. But I soldier on, and am excited about feeling, finally, out of the body fog I’ve been in since late July. First time in a while. I know it won’t be a perfect race and I may not be over the moon with the time, but it finally feels a little familiar, there’s a kernel of familiarity to it that’s excited, and needed and welcome. Plus, first race since, at that time, recently going gluten free, so curiosity abounds at what it will be like. Even found a new protein bar, the gluten free PR bar, that I’m loving, and getting in touch with http://www.myraceragz.com/ for a custom shirt for Miami. It was a telling race, a tough race, a smart race (mile 12, I paid attention to my body and took care!) and a great race, it boosted back up, in a much-needed way, my confidence and showed me all the training with Marcie, Tiffany and Schuyler (sprints!) were paying off and had laid a great foundation so far, and I could rely on that and depend on that. And I could rely and depend on myself.

All gearing up for Miami. In a week. And so begins the no coffee/no drinking week, the healthy as I can be, the kicking my ass with training till Wed, the travel and the, starting Friday, thinking of nothing else except the race. And getting excited to the point of inability to sleep. My mom will be there (be my good luck charm for time!), my sister will be there and my close girlfriend and trainer Marcie will be there, also running it. Whatever the race, I’m excited, whatever the results, it will be worth it, whatever those four days bring, I will love it. This whole year, this whole experience. Couldn’t have predicted half of it, and the half I did I was incredibly hilariously and joyously wrong. As it should be. As I had a feeling it would be. I took a leap of faith on someone and us a long time ago and for years, gave it my all and went all in and it wasn’t good enough, and I’ll likely be paying for it for the rest of my life, this time, I took and am taking a leap of faith on myself alone, I’m giving it my all and hot damn it’s more than good enough, and I plan to reap the benefits and rewards for the rest of my life. 11 in ’11 indeed. You may have said it can’t be done, you may have said I’m crazy, you may have said “perhaps too many?” but the fact that I’m here now, staring down the 11th race, with a year of travel, races, work, stress, living in two cities, injuries, dehydration and illnesses, heartache and surprise, extraordinary love, inspiration and support from all over and so much more is a testament to my persaverance, determination, surviving and thriving and no one can take that from me. Of course, this would be a much different story if the only thing I had to do this year was these 11 races, it’d be no big deal, but that’d be a luxury, to train and focus solely on this project. That’d be easy. 😉 But not in that position, and then life happened. As it does. I’ve proven to myself alone that I can do this (the fact that I’m hard on myself about my run times and five years ago those lovely docs said I’d not run again, well isn’t that a victory in and of itself?), maybe not in the way I thought it would unfold eight months ago as I fantasized about Miami, but holy hell have I done it. Sure, I thought I’d be racing for time in December, and I still hold on to hope that I will be, but really, I’m racing for me, and I’m already running, I’m already pacing, and hell, I’ve already won first place. Winning, indeed.

Running does not build character, running reveals character.

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