Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving trot

November has been a heck of month. I've experienced the lowest of any low in my entire life and then just pure gratitude. Through it all my faith has kept me going. So as i seasoned the duck and washed the collards i had one thought. Thank you lord for the blessing on this day. I still have my mother to share this life with and it really does feel good just seeing her about the house.
I even managed to get out for a premeal trot. It was supposed to be a 5k but didn't turn out as i had planned. The weather was wonderful though. After a week that gave us an abundance of rain we had a sunny bird day. It started out in the high 50s but by the time i finished my walk the temperature had risen into the sixties.. Awesome weather for an almost turkey trot as i named it.
I'll be truthful about the walk. In my heart i wanted to go but my spirit wasn't feeling it. I knew within my first steps it was not going to be an average outing for me. I was slow but it was more of a mental state rather than a physical one. In the past three weeks since my last event i have mauled over doing speed work instead of distance but i never hit the road until Thursday. I made my way to the course mulling over how many laps i should do. I thought to myself just keep the 3 mile routine going but by the half mile mark there was no denying a shorter version was in the cards.
I wasn't tired, flat, hurting or bored. Something had happened to me and as i walked it hit me. Races just arent important in my life now. At least they dont excite me like they did when i began this journey.Life changing events can change and shape you, mine left me questioning what's next. The desire to keep a busy race schedule is gone but my continued comittment to complete the events on this seasons race calendar remains. As 2015 draws closer i will continue to tie up loose ends from 2014 and look towards new challenges in the new year. I have no intention of letting the fifty race promise go unfulfilled though
After all i need to stick with the rediscovering my lifes journey mission.Thats why i felt joy when this week my mother hugged and kissed me then said she loved me. That wasn't unusual but it was a bit different this time. She wanted to thank me for all i do for her. She spoke those words through terribly sad eyes and its pain touched my soul. Last week i had another surprisr when moms sister my aunt sent me a Thanksgiving card. She never writes notes just signs it love from her family. This time her special message read thanks for being a good daughter. Her words meant the world to me, not for what she said but that she said it. Receiving her note was a very wonderful surprise. I broke down in tears and it was liberating. We all have a need to feel appreciated if not loved. I hadn't realized i was going about my life not asking for support until that moment. I regifted a friend on facebook with that advice when she wanted to know if asking for encouragement was arrogant. Heck no i said,its a basic human need.
Now i remembered why i started running, I had to gift myself an outlet. I had forgotten to be selfish enough to love me first. Thats why when running didnt pan out for me i switched to walking. I wasn't going to let the slight difference between the two keep me from the sport. Besides, I learned walking fast was a more syitable style of movement for me so i made the adjustment and kept working out and entering races for enjoyment. I have found the that If i worried about a sick parent at home the happiness i get activity would have be moot. I need one hour just for me and in that time i choose to shoot for a milage goal that challenges me. My time really doesnt matter finishing does.
So i took my time on the Turkey trot. I snapped pictures of nature, greeted strangers with happy thanksgiving and strolled along as if i hadn't a care. I did one mile and knew that was it. I regained my will to train just by defying a lack of desire. Looking down at the pedometer i saw 1.2 miles so i rounded it down to just one. It was time to get home eat and watch the game.
The day turned out to be the best Thanksgiving ever. My home was filled with love and i ate to much.I could not ask for more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Preparation to Finish

I haven't been doing anything lately although in my heart i want to. I'm tired and overwhelmed right now and Thanksgiving is approaching. I guess my main reason for being idle is I've lost some of the fire i started out with.
I plan for races by mapping out travel routes and event parking. Then i make sure the ride is fueled up and my gas money covers the miles I'll travel. All that after spending time choosing an outfit and a backup just in case i need to change. It's a long methodical process to reach the destination. Once i get there i feel relief to find a parking spot and then try to relax before the horn sounds.
Still i can't lie I'm alone with my thoughts while waiting for the race to start. I watch couples, families  and friends gather ad i wonder around by myself.  I have made an effort to talk to people and for the most part they are friendly but then it's back to me, myself and I again.
Then the race starts, the crowd gathers and im part of the horde. They take off like wild mustangs moving out of their corrals as i jog a few feet to keep from getting trampled. Soon the crowd clears and runners fade in the distance, I am alone again. I settle into my pace and begin the mental game.
I think about home bemoan the horrible course, question why i even signed up and look back to see id I'm last. More often than not i hold down the spot. I notice that the folks who claimed they were walkers run the first mile noone walks that fast.
Im content back here the world forgets me but i keep pushing to reach my goal. I came to finish and collect my bling. These are 5ks the medals are bubble gum machine quality, certainly nothing to go cross eyed over. I do the occasional half or 10k  but i mostly i take on the 5ks. Lack of speed keeps me from making the time limit cutoff at in person events. I know i can't make a three hour deadline yet. So i wait for the day my speed improves enough to do a half in person.
Right now this lone walker is content to make the best of each journey. I don't want to seem needy that is not my style. I do desire a more soulful race experience. When participants  finish the race they don't stick around they leave but after a five i still feel energized. For me getting the medal is a let down, finishing is a high. I want to do something more following my victory but what. I grab a water or juice and once my thirst is quinced all is good. I have the ride home to manage, i walk to my ride. The whole experience is anticlimatic i  let the dogs out of my shoes and lean back in the seat.I feel bummed but driving perks me up.
I make sure i get some tourist time in if the event is out of town or i stop somewhere local if im near home.
Still my mind is never far from the woman who gave birth to me. Im doing this guilt trip solo. I, no we had dreams now we just have hopes and prayers. I call on the lord often, well everyday more times than i can count. Thats why im making these trips, my spirit has to be let out to soar. I walk for peace of mind, not exercise,weight loss or health. I need a sanity booster and striving for the finish line gives it to me.
I return home turn off the ignition and gather the days goodies. A bag with my shirt and medal, receipts, trash sometimes a jacket. Thank God im home, i check on mom, wash then hit the sack. It was a good day i want to do it again.Thus is the life of a caregiver.

Monday, November 17, 2014


I took the folks at jost running up on an invitation to try their new website and order a medal. I figured I'm not big on holloween so octoberfest would be a nice theme and their homage to the fall tradition was a good looking bottle opener. Now i dont like beer but I'm down for some sauerkraut and pork.
So i decided to hit the pavement and maybe get into the german theme. I knew it would be hard squeezing in a walk but there are a few microbrewers that have opened up in the area and I could plan a walk near one of them.
Nope didn't happen that way, my mother was complaining about not feeling well so i stayed close to home not wanting to leave her alone long.
I brought new Brooks at my last race and decided this was the event to break them in. So i hopped on the jost running site to choose my distance i figured a good 5k would work. Signing up was no problem but checking out was. I dont know if the system doesnt like me but its teasing me and holding my medal hostage right now. They are trying out a new beta system but its not working with my computer. I spoke Cynthia jost she said they would have a techie work on the problem.They are easy to deal with but i declare the more technical things become the more i long for pen and papers rise again. Okay maybe not but you can't fuss at a computer without feeling crazy lol.
While i waited for the glitch to be fixed I took my run anyway. My mothers sickness weighed heavily on me as i mentally prepared for the race. I wanted to improve my time and move more efficiently for three consistent miles. To get in the mood I actually did fix pork shoulder no kraut because its been to hot here for heavy food. Okay it was just a fluke i fixed pork that day but i did fit the theme. Then i headed out the door.
I felt really cute in my new blue brooks but i have had better fitting shoes considering their high price. The first leg of my walk i just chilled i was only cruising to the local shopping center to get groceries. I had on a matching blue backpack but i had no intentions on buying much. Mainly wanted produce as i gave up eatting to all process foods at least ninety percent anyway.
I was surprised when the trip to the store took less than three miles in fact it was disappointed. The distance always seemed a lot farther while strolling in the sun. I should have driven to the store to check the miles before starting out. Hey as the saying goes it is what it is. If the pedometer had of read 3.1 i would have been done instead i had to continue on. Now i know its corny but since i needed more miles i detoured to the publix liquor store to see if there were any holiday beers. In a running group Im in someone mentioned a chocolate peanut butter flavor,eww. No such luck finding my own strange discovery but i looked down to see that somewhere along the line i was over three.
I picked up some produce on the grocery side and began the walk back home. I tried to take the long way even circle the parking lot to make sure i hit the six mile mark but my pedometer was not quit reading six when i got home.
I should have been happy considering it started out as an 5k but having my steps stuck on 5 point something erked me. I had to circle around until i hit six.
The best part of the trip was the walk gave me reprive from my usaul state of worry but i hadn't been able to post about it until now. Octoberfest wasnt festive for me but i finished a committment i made to myself and yes im proud of that.
I don't know if i will get this medal but i made the run and that counts the most. Hopefully jost will fix their glitch and i will keep yall posted on its receipt. Im looking forward to putting it in my display.


The last few weeks have been a crazy ride for me. I have gone from the high of enjoying the new found hobby of running, to being barely able to jog. I put in two many miles over the summer and my knees revolted.
To compensate I started walking all my events because i had burnt out physically but still maintained a high endurance level. Truthfully  i enjoy it more than running. There is no recovery needed unless i did more than a 5k and all i need to do is work on maintaining a 12 minute pace. In fact my first half i didn't have any issues, although it took me over four hours to complete.
The biggest blow to my fitness journey encountered so far was the sudden illness of my mother.
So my main focus now is to take care of her. Yet i realize dealing with moms sickness has caused me to experience chest pains to the point i thought i was going to have a heart attack. All my ripping and racing back and forth to the hospital for her was beginning to leave me in bad shape. I know i can't let myself take ill too.
I have one scheduled race left this year but its virtual and I am considering a Thanksgiving and Christmas walk around the neighborhood to keep my stress down. There were a few more i planned to sign up for but as a caregiver those are not options now.
Thank God i found this road racing journey, its giving me an outlet. Im not the fastest, in fact when the horn sounds I'm all alone but Im out there trying. I feel blessed to be able to move and while the lust for great bling moves some people the medal only serves as a reminder of the birthday goal i set for myself.
It simply was to partake in activity and complete meanful races. I have not been able to enter all the events that fit into the category but I'm making steady peogress.
At the moment my heart is filled with the joy that the lord will be with me as i reclaim my place at lifes table. I've learned it's okay to be selfish and take me time as my mothers caregiver.
As the year ends Im thankful my mother is still around and we still have time to chase some dreams together. Also glad that i live in a state with lots if opportunities to find a weekend race.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Beach Running Classic

This calendar year was supposed to be about 5ks. Somewhere along the road i mapped for myself i exited off onto a multi lane highway. To be exact i told myself i could manage a 10k and up  because i usaully train six miles without a problem and have done as much as 40 miles in a week. As the saying goes, famous last words.
I can't say why i signed up for the beach run other than it was something i hadn't done. I knew it would be difficult but prayed i hadn't gotten in over my head.
The race started at 7:48 and for Florida it was cold. I think it was around 48 degrees as the sun came up. I saw people walking around in winter jackets and sweat pants but by the time the sun made it's appearance over the horizon everyone had their running attire on. A few people sported their throw away jackets but i had no intentions of tossing mine.
Once the start gun sounded i knew i was in trouble. Im a slow starter and like to build speed during the race, which always lands me in the back of the pack since im walking.
From early on it was apparent that i had forgotten one thing about the beach, its sloped. Fighting the wind and struggling against a sandy incline zapped the strength right out of me.
The first mile i was able to keep a fifteen minute pace but as my knees broke down i slowed. Mile two i started following the trails of clothing laying on the top of the beaches slope. It was warming up into the high fifties and people began flying through the course. My knees were starting to stiffen. Members of my running group were somewhere at the head of the pack as i trudged on with the only other member of our group who was injured too, she was nursing a foot problem. By mile three the faster half marathoners were on my tail as i made the u turn back to the finish line. My "running" buddys numb foot allowed her to take off and i watched her fade down the beach while i struggled to finish.
The incline was wearing me out. I looked down at the heavily packed brown sand and noticed sea birds pecking at jellyfish.The sight of numerous purplish blobs of nasty stinging ocean monsters began to make me gag. Around mile four i was thirsty but the water stop guy had the cups laying in the sand. I thought of the wind blowing grains of sand and fleas in the drink. When he dipped his fingers in the cup to lift it up i declined. I was so sorry i had not worn my water belt.
Trudging on i had the misfortune to scramble around couples disregaurding the race perimeters and walking hand in hand on the beach down the race lane. I had to dodge more than a few of them before i began playing mow down the civilians.
Every nonracer i spotted became a target to pass. Since they were the only ones slower than me it kept my motivated level high.
My mouth was really dry entering mile six but i was happy. That is until it began to feel like five miles instead of one. Im not convinced it was only a mile but maybe the ache in my bad knee made me delusional. Whatever the truth was the final attack on my knee joint was making it up the hill to the soft loose sand and the finish line. I had to stop and look for an easy path because i could hardly manage to lift my legs. I wasn't tired just crippled by damaged ligaments. I grabbed my medal, and not sure it i said thank you but ran to find water.
I never eat or drink race food but lost my mind and grabbed a sports drink i had never heard of and a slice of pizza from a box way underneath the pile no one had taken from. The pizza was cold hard cardboard,they must have received it the day before. It took me by surprise that i even took a bite bur i did i before i realized it. At leaat I didn't bother drinking the beverage.
Instead i walked over to the photo back drop and took my first picture with my running group ( i once vowed never to take a fat girl picture). I thanked them for helping me see the light about my pilgrimage. It really issnt about my weight, its about the road im traveling and the memories i should keep to look back on. After checking my time i bid them goodbye and headed to the parking lot.
My vehicle was stocked with water and Gatorade and the moment i got in it i reached over into the cooler for a drink. On the way home i stopped at dunkin donuts (yes i did) and brought a half dozen assorted donuts.Proudly i only ate three before guilt set in and left the rest for the house.
All in all it was a good day. I ended up a little sore but that lasted only a day. Now i can cross beach races off the bucket list. Trust me never again will i walk with the segals.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mustang Sally

The decision to complete the majority of my races locally came purely from an economical position. I knew if i went this route i could forget about finding interesting bling, i was wrong.
An event turned up in my news feed that grabbed my interest one morning.
An ad for the space coast classic Brevards only 15k included a nice picture of shining medals. The organizers are starting a new series that will feature a line of classic automobiles. I'm old enough to remember Detroit's heydays and you better believe i jumped at the chance to collect a medal depicting one of the cars of my youth.
To start things off this years medal was a 1964 Mustang. Seems old betsy (can you call a muscle car betsy) is turning fifty. I thought perfect we can celebrate together.
This old wannabe speedster signed up immediately after laying eyes on the bling. Actually, i quickly checked my calendar and was excited to discovered no race on that day. I did have a 10k on the schedule for Sunday but Saturday was open. No worries i told myself  if i walk a short distances on Saturday then Sunday i should be fine. I picked the two mile option to be safe.
Great choice i arrived beachside early maybe to early. Noone was there except workers and a rv that was boondocking on the post office parking lot. I found a spot on the eastern side of the street in the park by the beach and waited an hour for everyone else to showup.
Time fell  back on Sunday and it became clear i was going to endup walking in the dark to the starting line.
Once there i noticed that most of the participants were running the 15k but there were plenty of  people taking on the two miler. As the light of day finally found us i became a little excited to get going. Both races started from the same point but the routes were in opposite directions. The two miler moved along the intercoastal and through a local neighborhood before making an u turn back home.
I started off slow and never really warmed up. I heard an older man say he would  run the first mile than walk/jog the second. His group left me in the slow lane disappearing down the turnabout point street.  By the time i reached the one mile mark the only person behind me was an eighty year old. This woman competes in all the local races and wins because there's no one else in her age category.
Since i was alone again i tried to get in a run/walk rthyme to help myself speed up. It didnt work as well as i thought but it helped me stay on pace.
I can't say why two miles felt like forever but it did. I came across the line glad to finish but not happy with a seventeen minute pace. My bum knee is getting slower with each race but when i try and rest it the lack if training sends my pace into the turtle zone.
I collected my medal and stood around a bit before discovering i came in fourth in age group. One spot from a nice award bling. I love medal awards but i was pleased to see my time compared to the last two mile race i completed. I ended up winning a prize that made up for it anyway. I got a gift card for a RoadID which i promptly order at their anniversary sale. I'd say it was a good day.