Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stomping Out of the Hole

Have you heard the story of the farmer and the mule? The farmer's incorrigible mule had fallen in the well, and the malicious farmer decides to bury the mule in the well and be done with it. So he shovels dirt into the well thinking he is burying the mule alive, but the mule stomps down each shovel-full until the well floor has risen enough for him to jump out and horseshoe the farmer in the head. I love this story.

However, for the last year I have been the mule who sits there and gets buried. Many of my runner friends will be familiar with the effects of depression, from which I suffer periodically and sometimes debilitatingly. Running of course is excellent medicine for depression, and also sometimes an overwhelming wall to climb. And the further out of shape I got, the more untenable it became. Work also became a convenient excuse for my behavior, and I sure used it.

And now here I am, in the fantastic position of being utterly pissed off. This is good, because it is one of the few motivators that will actually prompt me to do something. In the last month, I have lost ten pounds and been riding more regularly, and am starting to reintroduce running. And have stopped neglecting the running community who could have seen me through this.

I may be stubborn as the mule, but dammit I'm finally stomping out of this hole.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

DNS: My Not-Race Report

I'm having a stupid week. This happens; it seems like my life gets completely out of whack at least once per training cycle. No worries, I know it will straighten itself out.

So on this stupid week, I junked my hard run and skipped two others. But today, today I had a race. I had registered for the TC 1 Mile, and I figured that I could at least do.

Actually, I was pretty excited for this. Even though it was really windy, dry and warm, I want to run. I got myself out of work, high-tailed it to the start, picked up my packet, checked my stuff, wrinkled up my bib, and left for a quick warm up.

And when I got back, I had missed the start.

By one minute.

So I talked to The Guy. He said, go ahead and run it. But the chip timing is turned off. And traffic will not be stopped.

Holy Hell!!! I missed the start by One Minute. Really, I would have dealt with stopping for cross-traffic for a 10- or 5k, but I need to stop every block for a mile?? I picked up my stuff, trashed my bib, and went home. It was a serious exercise in self-control not to break some windows.

So, again. This happens, I know it will straighten itself out.

But really, this is the stupidest race report ever.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Marathon Mania

Ah, a long-overdue update for you!

So I spent three weeks in NY immersed in family stuff, and during that time I did a little re-evaluating. My relationship, my job, my family, my aspirations. And then I registered for another marathon. Because what I came to realize is that

life is for living.

I want another crack at a marathon, I have always known I would do another one at some point. What I love, you see, is the training. And the discipline. And the enormity of the goal. And the camaraderie of others striving for their goals. And the rigors of each day. And the accomplishment. And the deep, deep contentment.

So I dug in to running again, committing to a schedule and a mileage goal to get my base up before the training cycle began. And I started reading again for motivation. There is a blog I like, and I fell upon an article about the author’s rise from a 5-hour marathon to Boston. Hmm, I thought, sounds interesting. The more I read, the more I related to the author. I thought, I could be on this path if I wanted to be.

That thought had never occurred to me before. I could run the Boston Marathon? I could even qualify for the Boston Marathon? Right. But there was a time when I thought only crazy people with extreme fitness even tried a marathon, and so I couldn’t possibly do one. But then, I ran the Portland Marathon, didn’t I.

My time was 4:57. I walked a lot. I had not planned on walking at all, and now I see what was missing from my training. My goal for Grandma’s Marathon in June is 4:00 – 4:15. I know that’s a big window, but I will be happy with anything in there.

Oh yes, and I registered for marathon #3. I think if I can drop a little weight, improve my fitness, and maintain some steady, growing mileage, I can do even better. In October, when I run the Twin Cities Marathon, I hope to make 3:45 – 4:00. Who knows? Maybe I’ll keep going. At my age, I would qualify for Boston with a 3:25.

It’s little steps. Every little step adds up. So many steps to a mile. So many miles to a run. So many runs to a training cycle. And that is what is motivating me now: the long, slow, evolving journey.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Running to Stand Still

I want to write this post, but I don't know where to begin. I guess we start with the elephant and let the holes fill themselves in.

My mother-in-law has ALS. She has been in my life 16 years, and I love her like blood. She lives in NY, I live in MN, we don't see each other very often these days.

About a year ago, before anyone had said anything about ALS, she began having trouble swallowing. Then trouble speaking. She is incredibly health conscious, so she went to her naturopath who put her on a detox program for heavy metals. She digressed to the point that she could not speak at all, and swallowing became very troublesome. She was sucking on ice cubes for water, freezing soup to suck on for meals. She lost 150 lbs.

The last several months have been tough in other ways, too. I have been struggling to find my center and deal with the many stressors in my life. My old methods of de-stressing have not been very effective. Some days I am at my wits end. I make bad choices.

Now I am in NY, helping to care for my mother-in-law. Making arrangements for her transition home. Filling out mountains of paperwork. Talking with her about making a will. Talking with her family about the imminent future. Running.

While running has not become again, yet, the go-to stress reliever it used to be for me, it has begun to mean something more. It is still my time to recharge, to be alone, to clear my head. But now too, it is what my mother-in-law cannot be or do. What I can do for her. The life that she can see in me.

I watch myself run with her eyes. And I remember not to take these days for granted.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dear Buddha, I had a bad week.

On Monday, I decided not to run the marathon.

I could do it, I think, but I would not enjoy it. Any of it. That just seems wrong, so I made the call.

I allowed myself a day of full on sulking, eating crap, drinking beers, buying shoes, etc. And then I decided to get over it. Looking back on this week, I did not get over it as well as I'd planned. But no matter, today is a new day. I went back to my training journal to log the week.

Monday: axed the race
Tuesday: sulked
Wednesday: sulked
Thursday: 30 minutes elliptical
Friday: went out and got useless
Saturday: paid for Friday.

I do not feel very satisfied looking back on my week. Then I noticed my inspirational quote for the week. Do you have these? I pick out my favorites and write one for each week in the journal. Some of them are silly, some are meaningful, all of them are relevant and keep me to task. This week's quote is from the Buddha.

All life is suffering.

Buddha, you are so wise. But if you were here in my kitchen, I'd kick you in the shin.