It's been one heck of a year for me. I went from mowing down a few of what i thought were to lofty goals to surpassing my own ideas of success. Yes i did have some things go wrong ( i was forced to start walking and a health issue popped up) but other than that i had a great time.
I met fabulous people and learned there are folks in this community i call home who do care about the world beyond themselves .I had to search hard to find lifes jewels but they are out and about so glad the universe to brought us together.Most importantly i learned the power of letting go of that comfort zone.
I realize now destiny brought me into the racing word. I was stressed out and looking for a way to relax,enjoy my love of the outdoors and connect with my purpose on this earth.
Running provided me an entry into an active lifestyle in which to comb through all those matters. So with true delight I grabbed hold of the chance with every bit of strength i had. The high i got from entering then finishing races couldnt be beat, such a wonderful reward.
I had my share of prerace nerves and struggles to finish but i made it over those humps.What wasn't to like, it could be done alone and it took me through some of the most beautiful places ever. Actually i ran/walked around some boring cookie cutter neighborhoods too. Yet i have to say it was the people who made it interesting.
Every soul i talked to helped me in some way and while i struggle now to remember names and faces, i haven't forgotten the comradery we shared. For the people i can never forget im giving a shout out here.
First up the girltrek movement, an organization that mixed some of my favorite things. Spirituality, family,activism and fitness all rolled into one mother load. Then came Black girls run whose posters testimonies inspired me to stay on track and eventually lead me to share my own.
After searching closer to home i found a group that i could share training runs with. The miles i put in doing mondaine road work were completed mostly alone but as i churned out the weekly grind of miles i built a fellowship with some of its members. I enjoyed kicking asphalt with them. Anyone willing to go the distance with me at snail pace is probably as crazy as i am.
There are way to many to name but a special shout out to the Barley family. I can't say enough what special place in my heart they hold,love yall. Big ups also to the Tara (waterwaif) whose last name escapes me, you touched me beyond running. Supporting community is a passion of mine more than trying to inspire new runners the work you do to make this a better town to live in is your real accomplishment. Also the couch25k crew, you all rocked. I miss you especially my favorite little guy. Awesome parents raise the greatest people. Lastly i thank the many park workers and local citizens who took care of me when i pushed myself to the limit to complete virtual marathons. I was determined not to give up even if it killed me and they had my back.
Now as i move on i get to take you all with me in my heart. I always thought of my life journey as a solo one but a lone wolf doesn't last long. My pack grows in spirit now as Im keeping pieces of you all with me. I"m now on my way to start others things. See ya on the road, I'll be out there cheering for you my friends.
Monday, October 26, 2015
It's been one heck of a year for me. I went from mowing down a few of what i thought were to lofty goals to surpassing my own ideas of success. Yes i did have some things go wrong ( i was forced to start walking and a health issue popped up) but other than that i had a great time.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Today I needed four miles to complete the last of a fifty mile challenge . It took me longer than i expected because i was sick most of August from the heat.
I could not tolerate the stress this summers heat brought due to various ailments but somehow managed to get a burst of energy and a strong dose of willpower for the homestretch of my quest.
With four miles to go I completing the last chunks on a trail full of runners. The route is always full of running clubs, friends and biker groups. It can be a chatty place and almost feels like a small race. The route takes you out and back so there is no avoiding contact with what i like to call pods of exercisers. It sucked being in their company because i like to get that alone with nature feel when i just want to bang out some miles and think.
As Sundays go it was a nice day to finish the challenge the temp was only in the eighties that early in the morning. Of course the sun wasn't up and the water and trees helped provide a pleasant experience.
Now i can not say that for the people. When i got out my car some female said to me " nice day for a walk", say what! Everyone there was out to run what made her say that to me i wondered. I found it extremely offensive, now if she had of been someone i knew or stated she has seen me walk at local races it would have been different. I responded by saying "what makes you think I'm walking"
her reply " or running" with a laugh. I have no space for ignorant people. What happens when you assume...
If that were the only thing that pissed me off i wouldn't be telling the truth. The other thing was the do gooders comments. I started taking a cane on outings in case my knee gives out. Now it was in my hand, i wasnt using it but that didn't stop nearly everyone who passed from saying good job, your out here not on the couch and countless other "runner" sayings. Apparently they thought this was a good thing but for me it was distrubing. They did not say that to the other struggling runners and even before i started carrying my "rod" I've heard these same messages. I will add none of them are professionals nor do most of them run the entire trail.
They didn't need to know it wasn't my first rodeo or that i do mostly half marathons as long as its not summer when i switch to 5ks. What they should understand is while encouraging remarks may seem nice they can often reek of stereotypes. I'm out there competing against myself just like they are but i don't feel the need to yell "good job" to them. For awhile i thought i was in rumper room and had to look around to see if Ms Sally was out there with me.
Then i saw my favorite girl again
My cane was in the car when she made the comment as her group walked by me the first time. Anyway as i made my way along the trail and approached a drawbridge its lights started flashing,that was my cue to start running. Who should be behind me but ms "nice day for a walk". She had the nerve to say "oh your running now" as we all scampered across the bridge before it opened.
I have no more words *sigh*. I felt great and didn't have time for negative.
I was so proud of the fact that i actually ran one mile of the last four i needed. I used my version of run walk and broke it down into forth of miles but hey mission completed. My long journey had ended on a good note and i felt wonderful.
Never assume that turtle you see out on the road training is not your competitor, because on race day its on. I may not be first but i will never be defeated.
I've stated many times i don't solely run for bling but the fifty miler from jostrunning.com was worth trekking for.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
I am not a fan of doing any races in downtown Orlando for more than a few reasons.My first gripe pertains to the choice of routes usually involves some trekking over cobblestone streets and frankly my feet don't like those types of surfaces. Then i can not express enough how boring it is to look at block after block of craftsman style houses that are now dwarfed by new skycraper condos as i make my way through nicely manicured revitilized neighborhoods. I somehow feel like these forays are more training runs than competition.
I don't want to smell bacon frying or wonder who burnt the toast as fluffy barks at me from the sofa next to the living room window or worst have bruno squeeze through the gate in the back yard and chase me. It might help me to set a new P.R. but that wont make a bit of difference if i die of a heart attack on the road as i run from him.
Most often what scares me the most are the late starts times that assure I'll have to endure the full power of Florida's heat and humidity. So why did i make the trip to the city beautiful.
Well I am entering the home streach of my first year of racing and there just are not many opportunities left for in person races in this area. It was also blackgirlsrun Orlandos fourth year runiversary and they were celebrating it at this local event. Since i needed a race close to home for the weekend it became an attractive even to me.
Okay that and I really needed a medal after the last two races offering only a shirt.It certainly made the decision to do the celebration of running 5k a done deal after considering my other option entailed driving two hours to Jacksonville for better bling.
Early Saturday morning I found the drive to downtown to be quite pleasant. The traffic was lite on mills ave and by arriving early i had no trouble finding a parking space, i had my choice of the museum lots or on the street. I choose the street just in case illegal tow trucks were out to car nap my ride.That task being over
I walked to the start area.
One thing i love about racing is meeting new people. On my walk toward the start line I met a lady who inspired me to just do the thing. We wished wach other well and it was off to start the race.
The first surprise was a hill, okay an incline but not cooll at all. Then as the race hit the half mile mark a guy was beating the hell out of the dejembe and the rhythm put the mojo on me as i started to shuffle along. I should not have done that because the heat almost killed me.
By mile three i was experiencing a bounding pulse in my neck that scared the heck out of me. Luckily i teames up with a BGR lady who kept asking me if i was alright. Of course i lied and said yes but was so grateful to God someone was with me.
This race will go down as the one that sealed my walking fate. In my heart i still love the challenge but physically I'm losing the battle.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
My calendar race year is drawing to an end and i still have a few more events to complete if i want to hit the fifty mark.
I won't lie, with this bad knee working against me i have lowered my standards. Usaully I walk for bling and will avoid local events if they don't offer any. Actually medals don't motivate me to finish but they do make me feel better than a shirt does after the race is over.
Yet the closer i get to the grand finale of my first racing year on labor day the realization that i desire a memorable experience more than a medal has never been stronger. I want to fill my shadow boxes with medals representing special places and events that have significance in my life. This last race selection was indicative of that.
I registered late for this 5k. It didnt offer a finisher medal but i saw the chance to rock my colors and test the limits of my knee. So I decided to sign up.
As a southerner the start of both college and pro football season is a religon all its own. With the college game claiming even more fanatics.I have used thr seasons to help me remember a time line of events in my own life. So it goes without saying that i had to celebrate by entering this race.
I picked up my race packet on a Thursday only to discover the ugliest shirt ever. It was dull gray with white lettering. The first thing i noticed was that the sizing was definately childrens so i opted for the mens xl.
Things did not improve when i looked in the swag bag either. There was nothing worth keeping so i tossed that when i got home.
The morning of the event i met the women of my running group for pictures and then we headed off to the start.
Once on my way i was pasted ny the usaul suspects. There was the baby stroller pushers, senior citizens and my new Nemesis the sweetest golden retriever even and a datson. You know your slow when you can't be a weiner dog. My cane was certainly a target as i made my way through the course. No one wants the cane lady beating them. Yet as i made my way around the course people from all age groups shouted encouragements to me. I was surprised by their jestures and grateful but to be honest i just wanted to not be singled out. I was a race participant like everyone else.
I used the support to push myself though, i challenged my body to complete walking intervals along the way. I also made sure to speed up when i saw the mile marker clocks, i guess pride surely goeth before the fall. Then I used two women in front of me as targets and by the last half mile i caught them.
On my way home to the finish i chatted with them enough to learn it was their first 5k. I love meeting newbies but the end was near and i sprinted to the line ( okay shuffled) but i completed the mission and beat the rain. Since there was no bling for this race i had one made. Bring on football season college and pro, I'm ready.
Sunday, June 21, 2015
This 5k was supposed to be a celebration of the 150th anniversary of word getting to blacks in Texas about the abolition of slavery two years late. Well little could anyone imagine that racism would rear it's ugly head and that a horrific tragedy would occur in South Carolina.
A twenty one year old white supremacist walked into a African Methodist Episcopal churches bible study on a Wednesday night. He was welcomed in and sat through prayer with them then got up and shot nine of them dead. This was no ordinary church, it's roots run back to slavery and in the early 1800s a white mob burned the orginal structure to the ground. It was part of the underground railroad and held church when it was illegal to do so for blacks in this building.After hearing of this horrible event early at 1am on thursday morning i knew i had to do something.
My juneteenth walk was supposed to be private but i reached out to my running group where i am the only diversity posting. We have a few latinas but they are mostly not from this country and have no knowledge of America's southern history. Still I thought id share a healing walk with them something to strengthen not divide us. I knew it was late notice and father's day weekend but i made an event on our facebook group anyway.
Early Saturday morning i arrived to no one at the meeting place. I got out of the car, retrieved my flag and said a prayer. I thanked God for the beautiful day too and then i set off.
After one mile my phone started buzzing. I had messages and as usaul i thought they could wait, im walking lol. When the phone vibrated i wondered if it was my mom and hurried to answer. Nope,
it was surprise rewarded with two sole sisters calling to say they were driving over to walk with me after they completed a training run. A third sent her love and promised to run with me in spirit doing her Sunday miles.
So I started the first two miles alone before my sister MRTT crew showed up. I took that time to slowly warm up the knee. I tried something new by not wearing any socks. It was great for two miles but i would not do it again. In fact the only reason i did it was that all of my running sock were drying after being washed the night before. The decision didn't effect my speed but my knee did begin to give me warning pains that i should not go on. I was stupid to ignore them but i did slow down and trudged on.
Then I was blessed with many who were out walking showing their support. One lady made the sign of the cross when she talked about the tradegy,another wanted a picture.
I started to feel the heat around thirty minutes in but i wasn't keeping time. When the running group ladies finally found me we had an enjoyable conversation. I felt honored to have caring people come out and share with me. This is who Iam, a woman who is determined to live a life of joy not hate. The best way i can show honor to those that suffered the middle passage, slavery, jim crow and lingering racism is to meet the world with peace in my heart. Yes i was hurting but the simple act of those who walked with me showed i was not alone. Good truimps evil everytime. Thank you ladies you are awesome.
Monday, May 25, 2015
It's Monday memorial day to be exact and 6:58 as i write. I wanted to sign up for a local race but mom is sick. She won't say what only that she just feels bad but we've been battling an assortment of ailments for sometime now. Every setback in her health draws her closer to the brink. To say I 'm concerned is an understatement.
I ve decided i won't go run, i have a headache and a heartache. Racing has saved me from dispare yet i struggle to overcome guilt and the need to do some selfish things for myself. So I will go out today because i have to. God is in control of the situation and i need to just accept that fact. Today i will walk not for any other reason than deep down i know mom would want me to.
Yes i did take a walk that honored those that gave all at the local veterns museum. I walked the grounds, toured the memorial gardens, strolled down the boardwalk and enjoyed a lovely water view then called it a day.
I wanted to do a 5k but it was way to hot. This walker can't wait to hit the asphalt and chase some bling.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Last December was a tough month for me and i was not in my right mind when i signed up for a race that offered no finisher bling. I saw bling for the race in the running store but in my state of dismay had not realized it was only award medals.
So yesterday i ran the viera pizza race and got nothing but a shirt. Okay i had the satisfaction of finishing my first race since March but i would have liked a reward. Im not ashamed to walk for bling and seeing a seven year old win a 500 dollar prize and a bracelet that i claimed for myself made it even worst. Yes I am laughing sort of over the last statement but hey i need rewards.
Even the pizza was awful hardly any cheese and they must have skimped on seasoning. I only ate two tiny square pieces from a tray i witnessed them bring out. I cant eat food people pick over and most people o observed didn't take a napkin to grab the pizza either, yuk. One guy even used the side of the table to wipe his hands with napkins in sight. Thanks for reminding me why i never eat race food dude.
Honestly though i just feel blessed and grateful that i can still walk races. I felt so good i even walked slow/fast intervals without to much pain.
Now for the first time in months i have nothing on my race calander but one thing still hold true. The next event will be fullfilling and the bling will be showcase worthy. Im working on my speed too as the back of the pack sucks.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
My knee is not in the best shape after last months miles. I really pray i won't need surgery or worst a replacement part. Cutting is never a minor procedure and given a choice I'd take a scope over major work. So i have decided to just rest up for April and see how i feel.
Im going to attempt some water exercises and some upper body workouts to keep me fit and hopefully this walker will be back at it soon.
Im already going stir crazy on the weekends with nowhere to go. Now i avoid stressing about it because i disabled Facebook. Seeing all those i finished my race postings was just to upsetting. Here's to a good rest for my knees and finishing the goal i started last year.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Its been a week since my last race entry. I had to take one week off just to rest because seventy miles in fourteen days was a bit much for me.
I have spent my time thinking not only of my activism but of how i will enter this decade of my life being a doer and bridge builder. When i say builder im talking so much more than race and natoonality. In this age of the internet we have lost many venues to have civil conversations face to face.
When i enter a race that type of human interaction comes back. People come from all over and within any crowd there is a chance of connecting to whats good in the human spirit. Through the toughest struggles of my life came the strength to make it to the next day. It is my faith that keeps me going but living the word powers my soul.
In the gate i learned a lesson that i knew but hadn't practice. I needed a buddy in that race to push me.Despite determination sometimes we all need a push from another persom to make it. At the end of my journey I took inspiration from all those around me and that was exactly how i made it through.
I saw a medal that described it so much i had to have it. This is not a blog where i sell things, if it doesn't fit into my experience its not on here. I might be to personal but believe me when i say Im honest in my failures and triumphs. I will never lose if I'm always making an effort. I did those miles and im proud.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Sunday, March 15, 2015
I took the show on the road today. The orginal plan called for a few pit stops along the way but the ride to Jacksonville takes a few hours and i didn't want to miss packet pickup. So i decided to melt away the chunk of miles before the grand finale at the expo.
I wanted to get to 45 miles before Saturdays race where i counted on polishing off the last nine of my 54 in the Gate river run 15k.
I arrived at expo a little after three, i was surprised i had no problem parking and was able head right into the exhibit hall. Received my bib and was directed to shirt pickup where i learned that they were out of womens 2x shirts. They weren't going by size ordered but what people wanted. They had it in mens but the color was neon yellow green. I liked the fusia the women's came in, so i took large. I cant fit it but I will eventually frame it anyway. In fact I wish now that i had asked for a small.
After getting my swag bag taken care of i entered the expo part. It was the first time i have attended a large expo where i could buy shoe brands and gear.
I tried on hokas they didnt feel or fit right.The girls at the booth were awesome though. Looked at a few others brands too but nothing caught my fancy. I also spotted belts that held water bottles, cell phones and accessories. The young lady selling those was a good pitch person and if i hadn't already seen them cheaper in my local sporting good store i would have taken one home.Glad i finally got to see what people in my running groups were talking about though. Then i remembered the day was all about finishing those miles.
The expo area wasnt large though and i wasn't able to walk off much and so i left to do some laps in the parking lot. Now i know I looked tore up, my pants were to big and i had on a dinky training tshirt. I would not have shown up like that but i was tired and frankly was in character mode. I was so deep into getting my fifty four i vowed not to change my shoes or style of dress until after the last mile was done. I didn't know anyone in Jacksonville anyway.
Well, on my way out i ran into a lady from BGR Orlando. Twenty thousand runners and i see one of the few people I ve met at races. thats my luck. On my way out i pasted this guy who for some reason liked playing the Flintstones theme. To funny because yabba dabba do was not how i was feeling knowing i needed ten more miles before race day.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Today i tied my shoes and head out the door . I wasn't running on all cylinders but i was moving.Not even the woman who slammed her door shut when i walked past her car could sour my mood. Im facts neither she or her friends who kept clicking the car alarm was going to ruin my day.
I started slow but improved as the miles built. Then something special happened at mile six. I started feeling really good, in fact i felt strong almost as if i could blaze around the course. If i had not run out of day light I'm sure i could have eaten ten miles easy.
I find it encouraging that my body didn't take long to adjust to the miles. All that's is mental preparation as i work towards the last miles of the journey i find myself struggling. Not in stamina but rather the ability to stay pumped up enough to work through the drudgery of each step.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I knew squeezing these miles into my everyday life would be a challenge but i had this fantasy i could make it a great adventure.
Well the reality is i am getting the miles in wherever i can and today i did what i had to do to make it work.
I found myself at Walmart after surviving a traffic backup from an accident on I-95 and gridlock from an afternoon baseball game. It turned a five minute trip to the store into forty five minutes. Then after shopping i saw rain clouds looming, so i put the few things i picked up in the back of the car and off i went to circle the parking lot.
I only did a mile and maybe three fourths i know it wasn't quite two. The parking lot smell almost killed me. There was an 1960's era VW bus with solor panels out that must have thrown their waste water on the ground. I saw a large spot on the pavement near it and it smelled like urine. It was not the only place on the lot i smelled it but all the combined smells made me cut the walk short.
Then i headed home unloaded the goods and went back to a neighborhood park. I didn't want to but as i near Saturday the miles are building up and i just dont want to do to many before my last day. All in all i knocked out seven and am inching closer to my goal.
There are many types of walks and on the third day of my journey i knew in my heart i needed to take a walk of honor.
So Tuesday I drove to Eastern Florida State College because it was the midway point to my destinations for the day and it would serve as my emergency support point. I usually carry everything i need with me from a first aid kit to food and porta potty but the comfort of having security and an air conditioned place to rest if i became ill or was injured convinced me to park there. I had also hoped to march a loop around the campus and perhaps strick up some interesting conversations with students. I'd had that kind of talk with a group of nineteen and twenty somethings there during the black history luncheon. However It was getting close to spring break though and the student count was low judging from the parking lot. So I made the decision to quickly gathered my supplies for the day and head out to the road to start.
It was a little past noon and hot. I would never be caught out under normal circumstances at that time of day but i told myself the marchers had to deal with whatever the weather brought them and so should I.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
So i got a little down on myself for being on mile six. If i could make my dream come true I'd trek fifty miles through the county one way camping at night and eating pasta dinners like the marchers. Yet my reality is a few road miles a day until i hit fifty four and that's okay.
I'm working on increasing mileage with every segment i do. I've not had a ten mile day yet but the miles I'm accumulating are rewarding. I know i could knock out fifty four on the treadmill in four days but my desire from day one was to take it on the road and in whatever weather comes my way.
So this morning i woke feeling like crap, i had a headache and my arches hurt but walking was still on my mind. I decided to skipped the morning run to let my body recover from the ailments it was battling and by noon i did feel better despite my "senior" pains. In addition I needed to be accountable to my running buddy for the day. A lady in my running group responded to a post i made about my March goals. I didn't mention why because it is not a predominantly African American group but she and some others figured it out, it pays to surround yourself with people who are thinkers. We met at a running spot and walked. For those not in the running community this was an act of kindness that i truly appreciated. Runners run and walking at a slow twenty minute pace is a sacrifice. Im limping my way through life right now and its all i can do to maintain a steady pace. When someone who likes to log miles at a faster pace then you offers to go your pace it's a gift. I throughly enjoyed the conversation and quickly learned how out of shape I am. I was not used to talking while moving as a solo trekker and i struggled with my breathing during the chat. Everything else went well though we logged four miles that officially was 4.7. I top it off later to five as i ended up running an errand and could not resist walking the grocery store parking lot to get the extra tenths of the mile in. Today i say thank you to Keneen,who else but a sister runner would walk with me while dodging horse manure to get an extra mile on the way to fifty four.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
I made the drive to Orlando yesterday for a unity march. I guess i need to back track though.
Friday i was in Publix trying to find something for lunch after scouting our a few places on my selma50 route. So being the age I am i did what most black folk do, i saw a black couple and asked what was going on in the area for the event.
Voila! The wife responded that her organization was having a unity march and prayer service in Orlando. She offered to go out to her car and get the flyers. As we talked by her car i decided that i was going to attend. On Saturday I began the first official day of my trek.
As i walked i noticed the new major league soccer team was having an event. It seemed the whole town was decked out in purple, there were posters everywhere. I spotted a young couple walking down the street and questioned if they knew about the Selma march. They didn't, they were just a couple on a date but i questioned aloud if young folks appreciate or cared about history or the future. The young man said don't assume we don't and have a blessed day. He wasn't pleased with my questioning and that is the way black folks tell people off with out being nasty so to speak. I wished him the same and although these were just two people on a date i hope they do know and respect what has been done for them enough to be the next steps on the foundations in our community and to the world. I also thought what a wonderful sight and how fifty years ago these two wouldnt have been able to enjoy themselves in mixed company for a night on the town. Then I continued on my way arriving early to city hall and i saw no one. I started thinking maybe it was cancelled or no one cared to come. The list of things to do that night was over flowing a concert across the street at the new performing arts center, Elton John was playing in the arena and that soccer party was gearing up.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Although i started this post back in March I forgot to post about this race and now that it's June for some reason don't remember all the details.
I know at the time i started writing this recap i was also planning the Selma trip. Apparently in all the commotion the story was lost in the excitement. So sad and brief detail that it is let me honor the miles.
For the first time on my short race career i broke this event up. I did what i vowed never to do fpr good reason. I was physically unable to make it a one day affair. I completed the miles in two days actually doing fourteen. They were none descript and mostly pounded out training miles.
Weeks later when the medal arrived i felt proud.When the path is easy i tend not to appreciate the effort as much as the tough road. Giving myself a pat on the back for making it through the struggle.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Woke up this morning tired with an achilles that was tender, all from a 5k. Im telling you racing on cobble stones is no joke. The orlando race took me out but i knew i had to get my Swamp miles in.
Since i never race back to back i took on this ome as a virtual. Some people don't like them or call them training runs, i xall them challenges. It's hard for me to keep a good pace when I'm not on a clock. So i headed to a favorite running spot for locals.
Well being Sunday and having four marathons within driving distance of the area i saw none of the regulars. I changed into my race shoes, put the pedometer on (yes I'm high tech lol) and started on my way.
I was stiff at the onset but trudged on despite the sky looking like it would open up and bless me. It took until the mile mark before these old muscles of mine warmed up and let me relax. I was still slow but feeling better about the way things were going and then it happened.
I wanted to stop, i was losing interest but i wasn't tired or hurt. I knew it was the let down from the previous race day so i just made myself keep going and the thought went away. By mile three i had experienced a light drizzle that was more of an April shower in March. I found it refreshing because it was hot. The thermostat on my phone said it was seventy but it felt like eighty. I had not drank much water up until that point either.I learned from my first half not to over hydrate myself so i waited until mile three then gave myself a water and energy drink break.
I continued on and the miles got not easier but more comfortable . I was glad to hit the nine mark because that's generally where i feel home free.
I love doing these long virtuals do to the fact my thoughts move into a zone that is basically my own private race world.They are different than a training session in many ways. First im concerned about time and second i keep tabs on what it will take to conquer the course I've choosen.That's different than my training because all i worry about is staying in shape for distance. It's also differs from an actual race in that i see the people i meed to beat, am subject to being pushed by cheering from strangers or am influenced to speed up or block out competitors moves. Thank goodness i finished this one it showed me i still have work to do.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
This new active life has taken me on quite a ride since September.
Today i completed my last race from the first run calendar i set up back in August as a newbie. It marked the end of my scheduling innocent. I've started to develop a more keen sense of what type of races will be doable for me and which ones are desirable. Thinking back over the first quarter of my season i see this journey is far from being over and made has already made for some interesting encounters. Heck it has been full of surprises both good and bad. So I can honestly say that it's was so fitting i would end my freshman quarter and transition into the second quarter of my season in Orlando.
This is the town where i started a new life in the sunshine state and the place where i learned the joy of running. The great weather and all the beautiful places to train kept me in shape and laid the foundation for where I am today. It was the place i proudly called my hometown and just being back and seeing it's growth was exciting.
I hadn't visited the downtown district in so long i had to use gps to find the expo park. Once i arrived and found a metered space it was obvious things had changed in O town.
I looked up and saw that the skyline was now littered with new condos and skyscrapers glore. There were funky little eatteries, coffee houses and specialty shops in revitalized neighborhoods. Downtown had diffently become the place to be and if i meant the city had to kick the homeless that adorned the area out and destroy a traditional african american neighborhood then so be it. Yep, the new city beautiful was totally unrecognizable to me.
I didnt have time to gawk at the newness of the place though I was on a doubled mission. After getting a parking spot with a great view of lake Eolas fountain and depositing two dollars in coins for a maximum two hour time limit i was ready to begin.
First i needed to get my swag bag and secondly i wanted to scout out where to park on race day. Spaces in town were at a premium and i had to have a good plan to secure one.
It was a short walk to the park to pick up the race packet, no line to speak off. I was a little turned off by the color of the replacement shirts the race organizers offered but it wasn't a major problem. They had some problem with a supplier and had to ditch them for a new company. That changed the color optoon and so the women ended up with a gray and the men had a deep blue. It was the first time i ordered a womens shirt and yes i was disappointed with the color. I was told i had to wait for race day to change but by then i wasn't in the mood. While standing in the starting coral on a runner told me she got to change hers on Friday. I guess it all depends on who waits on you in the line. With that task finished i began walking the surrounding streets to find Saturday parking. Two weeks earlier i missed an exit off of 275 and arrived in Safety Harbor late. It took me nearly forty five minutes of circling neighboorhoods to find a spot. I was determined that would not happen again.
As i walked around something had changed. I noticed that people were more gaurded. White fright was real and blew through the air. I walked pass people whose demenor changed as they saw me. Grown white men eyed me very suspiciously and crossed the street to get away. A white female began walking faster when she realized i was behind her making a brave run against the light. This was no surprise the media has villified the face of crime so much that they didn't see the black woman in casual clothes and carrying a purse and swag bag as someone just going about her day. To them i was their greatest fear and the danger rattled them. If their friends base were more diverse maybe they could have chilled. It was to cold to let my thoughts linger on their ignorance though.The temperature was in the sixties but the wind chill made it seem fifty. I began moving with a swiftness on my parking space hunt and finally found a nice street that was suitable. I made my way down it and eased into to a little bakery cafe. I should not have been surprised at the fact of all the businesses on the street i subconsciously choose the one with my greatest nemisis, bread. In the display cases i saw croissants, sweet breads and pastries as i waited for one of the employees to take a phone order. I wanted to ask about being ticketed on side streets. The three hour time limit didn't leave me much time after the race to get back to the car. I was doing the 5k and that was last at 9 am. The young lady on the counter reply was so pleasant, she was just awesome. We talked for awhile and she told me she came to town from Wisconsin and had watched the place grow and rents skyrocket. Warning that parking was big business and to be careful.
As i was leaving the shop i felt joyful to meet such a balanced young woman indeed her sunny personality made my day.
With that checked off i headed back to the car where i met four more runners and enjoyed a wonder talk. What started out as a not so great experience turned to a good day.
Early the next morning i set out with mom in tow for the race. Two weeks earlier she was along for the ride to Saftey Harbor. We found a spot no problem i was the first one on the street. We sat and watched as twenty minutes later the spaces were all gone and it was only 5:30.
By seven o'clock i headed to publix to get mom some breakfast, a sub.I had to wait in front for it to open and discovered it was the spot for several running groups to meet up.
I met ladys from a local orlando group and talked tp a nice couple while waiting. After getting my mothers needs taken care of i went for a walk. I don't know why i decided to knock off two miles before the race but i did.
Finally the wait was over, the national anthem sung and we were off. I didn't exspect the sloped cobblestone streets to be a priblem but they were. They wore down my feet but my pace was good the fiest two miles. I used a lady in blue as a target and that eorked until mile three. A trio of women who talked the whole way caught amd passed me along with a guy i tjought i left behind. I kept moving though and enjoyed the tranquil side streets i hardly ever get a chance to see. I felt good as I turned into the home stretch when people began their ladt sprint to the line. A couple thanked me for pulling them as the wife battled a problem with her shin splints. The asked if i wanted to sprint wirh them to the finish but these knees wouldn't allow me. I watched them roll on and kept my steady pace.
Thankful to have made it across the finishline i took my medal, checked my time and headed to the car.
This was not my usaul race post but i dedicated it to my mother.I did this for her today, i felt joy she could share this with me. I met a mother and daughters in the park who were running together but i felt like the true winner just having my mom with me. Her heart was to weak for all the walking but she sat patiently in the comfort of the car . It felt wonderful knowing she was there waiting my return. I proudly showed her my medal like a little kid. Even though she had already seen the guys parked behind us carrying huge age group trophies and wearing the larger half medals she was joyful over mine. As we drove home she said she was just happy to be out. That my friends was the best damn feeling EVER.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
This race was difficult because i just wasnt in the mood but i headed out at 6am to get the party started. The one thing people should know about me is i dont like dark courses. Secondly curvy routes drive me crazy.
So what happened, it was still dark as i watched other runs get out their cars and stretch. One skinny lost looking soul wondered around bewildered looking for a friend that never came. As he took off in his pickup i thought thats a shame you should have stayed and run anyway.
That's exactly why as i sat in my own car waiting for the sun to rise and freezing to save gas, i knew i had to get it done. It wasnt long after that a car pulled in beside me. I watched as a woman got out and fumbles through what i assume is her running gear in the back. She looks like someone in my running group but i am blind in the darkness of the morning and not sure. After watching her for awhile i finally rolled down my window to ask if shes with my group and discover its her. She and another running buddy then convinced me to start early but i was a little nervous about it still being dark. She convinces me to barrow her extra head lamp and i agree. I had one in the back of my car but since she offered it saved me from digging for my own.
We were finally off, I made it less than a mile with before the bad knee decided run/walk is not our thing. We parted with them as the light of day was about an hour away.
I held onto the lamp tightly because i was not in the mood to put on my head and i dont wear other peoples stuff. It didnt take long before the tandam was out of my eyesight and i began to shine the light on and closely watched every bush, tree and soul passing. I also aimed it at cars too, even the nice houses on the quiet street were not above suspicion
I moved for what seemed like hours before finally making it to the first water stop. Another reason i don't like dark races the water station was two miles in, the lack of sun scrambled my internal mile-o-meter. None the less I started to feel good about doing the half marathon. There were more than a few runners passing me but i was at peace with my own pace.
Dawn had creeped in on me enough to really take a look at the houses in the neighborhood i was going through. One the ugly house on the block reminded me of Draculas' castle. It was brick and sat back off the road not many trees but for some reason its facade was dark. There waa not a good spirit about this place and it wasn't my imagination. Im not surprised the house next to it was for sale i couldn't live next to it. I spead up in case Egor bust out to grab a new victim.
Just after passing Dracs pad I hit the five mile water station the sun was fully out at this point but it was still only in the high fifties and cold.
It was susposed to rain so I wasn't wearing my usaul running shorts. Instead i was sporting neon orange basketball length shorts that were better suited to repel water although i knew they weren't totally water resistant. The decision turned out to be a big mistake. They kept bunching up on one side making me pull them down every few steps untill i said to heck with it and suffered through the misery.
I was thankful to have been near the halfway mark at that point. Certainly a good thing as I noticed by mile seven my leg with the bad knee was starting to drag. It wasn't hurting yet i was concerned about the noticeable shuffle i developed. Added to these misfortunes was living the horror of the courses twisted roads. I mentioned they drive me crazy and really that is the nice version. I tried singing (my voice peels paint) and day dreaming about tropical paradise to forget the purgatory i was in but nothing helped.
When i started out it was too dark to see how twisty the road was but coming back the never ending curves brought dispair around every bend in the road that didn't see the final bridge. Adding to this predicament I couldn't find my good micro fiber socks that morning so the not so cheap eleven dollar pair i decided to use was called up to the plate. They fell down on the job i think they were only good for one race.They are now shot, my feet were not happy with them.
By mile twelve i had had it. The last mile went easy but my brain was drained. I have told myself no boring runs and still i end up on these type courses. All i know is its over and thank the lord.
Received the swag and it was so disappointing. The back of the medal was smudged i couldn't even shine it clean.The shirt was cheesy and smelled like cigarette smoke and the disposable jacket had a mildew smell to it. They will not get repeat business out of me.I have entered cheaper races and gotten better quality.
Friday, January 23, 2015
Sunday, January 18, 2015
I woke up friday morning and the thought of doing five miles didn't thrill me. I have not ramped up my training for the new year yet and i am feeling the effects.
I signed up for this Clearwater race so long ago i forgot about it. So i made sure to leave the house early for the Tampa area to get my walk on.
I took on this race as a virtual but if i had known i would actually be in the area i would have gone in person. Instead i walked the fairgrounds were i was attending a show. It was not the most beautiful walk but served its purpose.
I did three miles of nice paved path, got in a few stairs but not many. I tend to avoid those like the plague. I had intended to pass the miniature Vietnam wall exhibit on display too but i forgot about it there were to many distractions.
The main culprits were food booths. Im talking cheesesteak subs, hot dogs (i don't even eat beef anymore) , fried onions and peppers, loaded frys with bacon and deep fried chicken on a stick. Now i only had a bottle of water so all the wonderful aromatic smells were killings me. I didn't really want any as i gave up eatting that way but it smelled so good it brought back memories. Thats why i decided to finish the course in the vast parking area. There were no distractions out there just dry campets and an occassional shuttle.
The last two miles had me circling on a half grass,dirt and tar area around the exihibition halls of the fairgrounds. My feet were tired and it was a less than exciting way to eat a five miler but i got it done. Multitasking is an useful art Im so glad i haven't let a little thing like business get in the way of my race routine.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
When i left home the thermostat in my car read fifty four, by the time i got to Jacksonville it was thirty nine.
I had the heat on full blast and good thing i did because i drove around looking for metropolitan park for nearly an hour. It's not like I'm unfamiliar with the city but between construction,bad signage and it still being dark at 6am it was an adventure.
I was so thankful to have finally made it to a parking spot in the Jaguars stadium that the cold didn't concern me that much. I made a dash from there to packet pick up and then back to put the goody bag in the car. Not much was in there except the shirt so i slung it in the back. After that it was off to find the local BGR congregation. They were welcoming even though i started my I'm going to be last routine. They were having none of it and told me to run my race. Once introductions ended It was nearly show time so i took my place in line with the walkers. As i waited i watched people with gloves and full body hugging outfits pass me. One lady i talked to had on a parker. I don't know how she ran with it but she beat me. I didnt bother to dress warm. The last time i tried to wear layers i regretted it when i started heating up and couldnt take anything off. I will note that when the start signal went off i can say i was warm. Maybe not toasty but comfortable enough to not feel cold chills.
I hit the start strip and was off on what i thought would be just another 5k run. Nope this one was different from the beginning. I noticed a large crowd still around me, and they were all walkers. It was an unusaul situation for me to be in as I'm always alone within the first minutes of the race. Yet there i was with a crowd of people doing my pace. I looked to my left and saw a very thin lady in a red bathrobe looking jogging suit that reminded me of the eighties. She had a pink knit cap on her head from the same era. For some reason she touched and inspired me though i never saw her face. I just was happy she was put there showing me she could do the dang thing but i did wonder if she had been sick, she appeared fragile in build.
Then i looked behind me and saw people and felt uncomfortable. I had never experienced that many walkers slower than me. Two of them were Black girl run husbands. The wives were doing the half, i thought that was awesome.
My hands began to get cold enough to feel numb within a block, so i made a fist and kept opening and closing then placed them in my pocket. At that point i was consumed by having warm hands. I had my eyes on the view across an empty lot to watch the sunrise but i had not completely taken in my surroundings. I kept wondering why i started smelling coffee. That's when I looked up to see the Maxwell house plant. Hope the caffeine lovers had their jolt before the run because the aroma was a killer. It was a dark roast for sure and way to strong for me but the smells went with the morning walk theme at least. A nice brew and great views of Jacksonvilles skyline for breakfast, good to the last memory (couldn't resist ). By the time we came to the fork in the road where the 10k kept straight and we veered left i was in a groove. I watched a member of bgr and her running buddy keep pace as turned to leave them. They were run/walking slow but steady. I got the impression it was one of their first race at the distance. Looking at them I witnessed the power of support. In that moment while i watching them churn on down the line i knew i could benefit from a walk buddy like that. I picked up my own pace as we turned left towards the landing which is in the waterfront area. Assorted members of my back of the pack club began making their moves. We were closing in on the two mile mark and the space between me and them widened. Surprisingly my knee still felt great but i was afraid to take a chance with its well being by moving with them. I stayed behind them and ahead of the stranglers at a steady pace. Heading back around the same bend all the runners start from had me anxious to finish. Yes i felt accomplished because earlier i contemplated if i should even attend. Not even the half marthoner who said loudly as we passed "oh those are only the 5kers" to a friend, could dampen my spirit i was happy. As i walked i met a bgr and we talked for awhile it did feel good to not be alone as i headed home. I discovered we both were not only in bgr but girltrek and I was rocking my trekkie colors too. Would have done red but having retired my red shoes from the road there will be no red or pink outfits until i get new kicks. A woman must be coordinated. I logged the final stretch with a light sprint at the finish and it was over. This event goes down as a wonderful experience for me. Yes this was the best damn race i have been to thus far.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
I started off the year with a 5k on my favorite loop route. Circular courses usaully drive me crazy but this loop always has plenty of interesting distractions to keep me amused. I'm not saying that i have not gotten bored with it at times but i tend to like the convenient location and the fact it doubles as a trail.
The morning of January 1st was sunny with a temperature of about 70. We had torrential rains the night before and there was still s dampness in the air. In fact it smelled a bit swampy as i made my way around the route avoiding large puddles. I had originally planned on doing a solar bear run on the beachside but i woke up Thursday morning and decided against it. I knew the new years resolution people would be out and i wasnt in the mood for crowds.plus my knee is still bothering me and the stress of running the long causeway to the beach with that kind of crowd didn't seem very appealing. I wanted a walk to gather my thoughts on what i wanted to accomplish in the second phase of my race season. Working on my speed is the obvious one but there are many more things I'd like to do in 2015 that will require a considerable amount of training. So I'm putting new goals on my table. These are simply things that have begun to weigh on my heart as the races start to pile up in the finished pile.
I plan to fulfill a few of these bucket list desires starting with the one at the top of the page. Yes i need to get my triathlon off the vision board and accomplished this year. I did learn recently that i am training for a sprint not a full and so at least i won't embarrass myself saying i did a tri and having people think i finished an iron man! Especially since I have never done a full marathon and its certainly not on the to do list this season.
Second i need a road trip maybe a destination race, haven't decided but it would be nice. Also want to win my age group at leaat once that may be a more difficult task yet not totally off the doable scale. Im saving my biggest dream just for me but its a crazy one, my whole walk i was thinking about it.
All that thinking got me two miles, drats i was not happy, i wanted the third mile done. I have become bored with 5ks and frankly think i might have to do less of them this year.
However i got it done and already had my medal. I quick check of my mailbox had a bulky delivery tucked inside. It was my new years eve and new years medal from brazen. I thought i signed up for remote but found out i didn't so i contacted the organizers who then sent out both and the double bonus together. It was pretty cool that i picked up the package new years day. Although i must say i thought that last years medal was what i was getting. It had a cool Pegasus on it. Imagine my shock to find maybe the worst looking medals ever. Yes they were a nice size (guess size doesnt matter if it aint bumpin) but the bonus wasnt big or intereseting. New lesson for me look hard at the year on medals pictured. The ones i saw were previous years and they were awesome. This years, ekk not so much but i like the brazen team i will run another of their events but i have to see the medal first. Now i need to find more January races, the show must go on.