Sunday, February 24, 2013


Patience.  It is what I need today.  I've made it this far through winter without a hint of the doldrums but this past week I hit a wall.  Perhaps it has something to do with working 13 days straight.  Hmmm.
Last night I noticed my need for caffeine in waves like never before.  I was irritable, short, grumpy, exhausted.  Some may say that about wine, they like it to smooth the rough edges, but for me it's just a little caffeine, please.
But we are almost there.  The grey, rainy, foggy, cold wintry weeks we've had lately will soon give way to sun, wind and warmth.  Even today started cold and wet, but now the sun is breaking through just in time for the highlight of my day.
I look forward to running a suburban 10 with my girl, Mimi and know it's in part what I've been missing.  Time with friends, the long run, nice weather, change.
They days will soon be upon us when the kids arrive home from school, drop their books and go outside to wander.  When late dinners and open windows are the norm, spring camping trips and beach excursions on the calendar.  For more hiking, biking and baseball and new adventures in running races. I look forward to it all.
It will come, faster still if I keep my patience.

Monday, February 18, 2013

All for Nothing?

I paid large sums of money to sit in a continuing education course all weekend long to have my brain refreshed about exercise.  Specifically, new approaches to exercise.  It was a good course with knowledgeable speakers.  We lucked out (I think) and had the founder of the company and the course as our instructor and he brought a whole troop of his yes men with him.  I could have done without the egos.
The information would be more applicable if my patients looked like my daughter above and less like they can't remember who I am. It turned out to be a high level orthopedic course, excellent for athletes and generally people who can walk into the clinic unassisted (which rules out all of the patients I see).  I battle daily with coaxing people out of their chairs for more than just trips with their walkers to the bathroom and kitchen.  Oy.  Their mantra: make me better but I don't want to do anything to encourage that to happen.
Certainly I can get creative, modify the exercises and apply when necessary.  I can do it.  This money will not be wasted.  If all else fails I'll use the information on myself and hopefully become a better runner.  Speed squats anyone?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mission Accomplished

Excuse the grainy phone photo taken by the twelve year old on the couch but I didn't bring my good camera to yesterday's pre-run pit stop at Larry's.  There are several good things about this picture:  Friends, the run for the cause, the buckstove cranking out heat behind us warming us up for the cold run, but my favorite is Megan, Larry's wife, sitting atop her favorite horse in the photo on the mantel behind us and the silver trophy beside it.  I've never seen passion for horses (and animals) like hers.  It is a thing of beauty.  It's almost as if she was there in the picture with us, but in reality she was (of course) out riding.
We were down a runner, Mimi worked, but we picked Mike further on up on the road like a hitchiker or desperate running junkie.  We were a loose band yesterday, Mike peeled off from us at 4 to round his run out with 8, Larry veered off at mile 5 to eventually complete 13 and Clair and I stuck together for some coveted girl time for a full and tiring 10 miles.  I'm learning so much about running, my body, myself.

I turned into a pumpkin around 8:30, falling asleep in front of the woodstove while Clair went out and partied like Cinderella all night long.  Fair to say I'm still adjusting to the "long run".

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Run for a Reason: Run for Sherry

Sometimes running is dangerous.  Unpopular to say but true.  My most beloved PT professor died of a heart attack while running the year after I graduated.  He was the age I am now.  He left behind a beautiful wife and three amazing daughters.  I know, I used to babysit them.
In other cases, runners are abducted and murdered as in the case of Sherry Arnold.  Scary but true.  Sherry was the cousin of a friend of a friend.  Sounds cryptic but not so much when I explain it.  I'm friends with Clair, who is friends with Beth whose cousin was Sherry.  Sherry went out innocently one morning for a pre-work run in her home state of Montana about two years ago and the worst of the worst happened.  She was missing for weeks before they figured it out.  She left behind a husband, two kids and many adoring students.  Beth is a big time running blogger in Colorado and this weekend marks the Second Annual Run for Sherry in her memoriam.
Our running crew is gearing up for it.  After this post Larry is now referring to himself as "Mother Hen" which I assured him is the highest of compliments coming from myself, a mother/chicken owner, and Mimi has designated us as his chicks.  Mike is the +rooster.  I've told them we need t-shirts.  This Saturday we'll be out there for another 10-13 miles, Mother Hen and the Chicks +Rooster, donning bibs in Sherry's honor.  We will honor life.  We'll remember how beautiful and precious it is and how swiftly it can be swept away given the wrong circumstances.  We will find power and strength in the group and remember the actions we should all take, men and women alike to keep ourselves safe on the road both from tragedies internal and external.  But most of all we will celebrate running and our ability to do so.

If anyone reading this is so inclined, you can join in wherever you are on either day this weekend.  Beth's blog has more details and you can print your own bib here.  Show us pictures if you go, we'd love to see.  Stay tuned for pics of MH and the Chicks +R, they're sure to be captivating.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Detriment of Youth

a whole life ahead of her
I kissed my husband good bye early yesterday morning, before the roosters crowed and the coffee was ready, before the sun peeked over the barn and told him to stay warm. He told me the same thing, and to have a good run, that he knew I could do it. There were ten miles on the docket despite the sub-freezing temps and he knew I was nervous. Good thing I went with friends.

I don't know how he knew I could do it having never run that distance before.  He's under the impression I could run a marathon tomorrow and he's wrong but I soak up his assuredness, his easy confidence about my running that I lack. He doesn't seem to remember my failures, my aches and pains, the stress fractures, the hip problem that has plagued me for years and the ankle issues like I do. I feel like my body is a ticking time bomb of injury-waiting-to-happen. I remember how slow I felt when I was younger, how I got side stitches, tired easily and was frequently discouraged. He doesn't recall how I flitted from one thing to the next, never really dedicated myself for any length of time to one thing, always getting sidetracked and making excuses. Why now at 42 are things better? Don't we get more decrepit as we get older?

Assuming the reason had something to do with my brain more than my body, I went in search of the answer. Let's keep in mind I am not fast, and have yet to run a race, I'm just saying running is more enjoyable and easier for me now than it ever has been and I wanted to know why. I found an article on BlogHer entitled "Late Bloomer Jocks-Older Women Runners Train Hard and Run Fast". Hmmm. In it the author cites a researcher who among other things asserts "older women may be faster because, oddly enough, they are trying harder than younger women and discovering for the first time what they are capable of" and that "the experience for women as 'a kind of wakening, an epiphany'". Okay, maybe that's part of it. But I think it has more to do with what I tell myself inside. I think it has everything to do with where I am in life, yes, with maturity.

I believe our pursuits, or whatever we dedicate ourselves to as we age, whether it be running or painting or piano, writing, etc., has in part to do with the following:

giving ourselves permission
not feeling guilty, selfish or self-centered for self-discovery
grabbing fun by the hand and running with it (no pun intended)
study, concentration, research
a positive attitude (I can do it!)
belief in something bigger than ourselves (get outside your head, girl!)

It's also important to note, that my twenties were full of self-sabotage.  They were Jekyl and Hyde years, while I was on the one side studying my tail off then starting a career, they were also full of partying and eating poorly. It's hard as hell to run well with a hangover and a belly full of takeout. My thirties were spent pregnant, nursing, recovering from being pregnant, and glued to three little ones so there's all of that to consider too. I suppose now it's time I do something for myself.

But more than that is the transformation of my mind.  I've drifted away from the naysayers in my life, the negative forces that consistently, repeatedly dragged me down and reminded me I was worthless and unimportant. Wrong. Invisible. At the moment I broke free and stuck up for myself if you will, things changed. I taught myself to knit. I started my own business. An Etsy shop. A blog. I dabbled in photography. Family life changed for the better. Things have incrementally improved since that day (after they first got exponentially worse).

Now the road accepts all of my days. The wind listens to my happy thoughts and dries my tears, and God is with me on the run. 

I finished those ten miles yesterday, full of brain fog and good fatigue and parked myself in front of the woodstove after.  I watched two movies and five kids.  I am fine, just like my husband said I'd be.  It was cold as hell on those back country roads and I thought I'd barf the pancakes I had for breakfast, they were a poor pre-run choice.  Note to self.  I ran with my friends, my crew, Clair, Larry and my 20 year PT bestie, Mimi.  Without them it wouldn't have been the same, I might even have given up.  It's the support from those who love you that make anything possible. I wish I knew that in my twenties.  I'm glad I know it now.