I finished March out with a sad showing at the Modesto Half Marathon. I was going along just fine, when at mile 4.86 (yes, I was that locked in), I felt an imperceptible pull. My IT band. It pulled ever so slowly, right down the side of my right leg. I thought it was my hip. I had never had this injury before, so I was shocked, to say the least. I walked and limped 9 more miles. And, I’m sort of over it. This running business. I love it, I really do. But, when you work SO hard for SO long, only to get sick or injured, well, it’s wearing on me.
And, my writing. Of late, it’s been really introspective. Nothing I want to share, actually. I’ve reopened a private blog, a place to write down all of the craziness that has typified the last 2 years, and have really had a turn in my life. My writing doesn’t even really make sense to ME, much less anything I can share. It’s all dangling participles, and phrases that don’t turn into sentences, thoughts that get started and have no conclusion. My writing is exactly what it feels like to live inside my brain these days.
I’ve started to date. And, that’s a really weird thing. Someone said I should try dating websites, but they are pathetic and creepy, and most women I know want nothing to do with them. I shudder to think that might be the place to meet a man. At the same time, in a way, I’m envious of people who can just put it all out there, and boldly state that they WANT someone. And about that. I just can’t do that. I guess it’s because I don’t. Want someone. To meet someone and open all the way back up again. Not now. I know that I am enough, and I became a good woman, worthy of so much. The times I’ve dated in the last few months, I didn’t even want to do anything more than a hug. Just a gesture of thank you for the evening. Dating is weird. Dinner, movies, talking, all of that. And at the end of the evening, I just want to be back home with my dog, and cuddling with MY life. My GOOD life.
I’ve missed me. The me that danced at the Dodgers game this weekend, and laughed out loud with my family, and the girl who still has not gone back to the old ways of shady behavior. I have missed that little girl who looks at the world with wonder and innocence, even when I know it’s a dark place. I’m tired, but I still have energy for good people, for people who don’t love with conditions. And, though in the last 2 years I worked hard to lose my hard shell, along with it, I lost much of myself too, so I’ve come back to center, of sorts. It’s hard, because I need good women to help me sort through the stuff I need to toss and need to keep.
I work. With amazing people. With a wonderful boss, who I knew years ago. Who remembered how good I was at this particular work. Who called me the day of that same familiar loss, when I prayed for God to untangle me, and who gave me a ray of sunshine that I’ve been missing for a year. And now, I’m getting back into the swing of things…of being the worker and professional that I used to be.
So, running. I have a half on tap in a few months. I may try to work up a training plan. But unless things change, I will look to a new way to love my body…and I do love my body. The gym, yoga, bike riding. Whatever. Whatever it takes. I’m sorry that I have nothing new to report. No inspiration. Except to say that March? The madness is over, and just like that…tomorrow is a new day full of hope for my Dodgers and my children and my home and my life.
I’m so blessed, I can’t even really explain or understand it.
In two weeks, I’ll toe the line again for a half marathon. The same race I’ve run so many times, and my comeback from last summer’s injury. I’ve been patiently crossing off the workouts, and noticed today that there are so many S’s on this page. A month ago, I had a 10 day illness that had me crazed from not being about to train. Two days ago, I woke with a similar scratchy throat feeling.
So. I’m 2 weeks out. Only one more long run of 9 miles on Wednesday coming up, but I can’t shake that same feeling. I could have done more. I could have trained harder. These thoughts are followed by the notion that you cannot go back. You simply have to show up on race day with what you have.
The hay is in the barn, but it’s sort of wobbly, stacked funny. I’m not sure if all the pistons will be firing correctly on that morning, but there is simply nothing to do about it now, except…go forward. I’m excited, no matter how the race comes out, because last summer, I was begging the gods for just one more chance. You have no idea how much you want to run…when you can’t.
Nothing but fun here.
Every February, Ripon celebrates the Almond Blossom Festival. It’s that time of year where the trees come alive, and the parades, carnival, and baking contests come to town. There’s always an 8K, and I have never once run it, because I just couldn’t bring myself to pay for it! Plus, there’s always an urge for me to go out of town. This year, my son asked me if I would be at the parade, since he was riding on the football float, so I decided to stay. On Friday night, I was cooking pre-race pancakes, so it seemed I would also be running the 8K.
Saturday morning, I drove to the start of the race, bought a bib just as they were setting up, and drove home. Something really nice about living 1.5 miles from the start line. I spent 2 hours just relaxing, and then drove back to the start line.
It was windy, but not horrid. I got in the pack, and the race field of 460 took off when the guy yelled through his megaphone. Yes, it’s that small of a race.
I thought I would be bored, since I have run these streets weekly since 2009, but after we turned on Spring Creek, the race went out through homes and streets that I’ve never seen.
We got to Santos road, about 2.5 miles in, and I was at about 11:15 pace, which is AMAZING for me, post stress fracture. About a mile earlier, I had started picking off racers. One by one, I just kept my eye on the person in front of me. There was supposed to be a water station here, so again I cursed myself as to why I didn’t bring my own water. (A lesson I learned in marathon training). As I turned the corner, I remember Kim and I stashing candy in the bushes for a 15 miler that we would run…oh so many years ago, before fuel belts and serious training.
I felt amazing. We ran through bees that were busy trying to pollinate, but it was pretty cool…and and at mile 4.2 or so, I started to get thirsty. We headed back down Spring Creek, and I knew the park was very close, so I didn’t stress.
Post race: Water, orange juice, oranges, and a lone quarter of a bagel. My only gripe about the race would be the post race “nutrition” and water station that never materialized.
My final: 8K~57.18, an 11:32 pace. I was 19/32 in the 50-59 age group, and 225/300 overall. Best of all. It was a blast.
I ran a 5K last week. I didn’t even have a race report, because I went to bed that day. And slept. In the days before the race, I lifted (without gloves) in the gym…(I’m sure this is where I got the virus)…and then swam at 6am in the gym pool the day before the race. Sunday came, and I didn’t even get online. Since coming home Monday, I’ve hacked up a lung (nice visual), and am still sick.
I’m on an inhaler, antibiotics, cough drops, aspirin, Mucinex (had to stop that due to a weird rash), and water. And, I’ve been there for 8 days.
No running, no gym. In the old days, I would have sucked it up, laced up, and got out there. Then look for sympathy for something I did to myself that was so stupid…
Today, I head to the gym, for some light walking on the treadmill, try to lift a few weights. But. If it doesn’t work out, I can’t beat myself up with my old runners’ head. This time, I’m smart. And, I know that I will feel better at some point.
In the middle of a training program, some drama must certainly fall. Whether it’s being sick, or some life changing event, we simply must deal with it the best way we can. So I write the letter S (for sick, not rest) on my plan…for 8 days. To signify that sometimes, life hands you the cards and your little plans take a back seat.
I hate when that happens.
I sort of don’t know how to start this post, because I know when I’m all done I will have committed to never having fast food. Again. And, because I’m fairly obsessive, I know I cannot really make a commitment like that, because as soon as I do, I’ll head right to a drive through for a big whatever.
When I was a little girl, we had a McDonald’s or a Jack In The Box (I truly can’t remember) on the corner. And I remember my Mom having to call in the order. This was around the same time the jogging craze started. Go figure. Eating “out” was a treat, and exciting. Little packets of ketchup, burgers wrapped in paper. It was exciting. Happy Meals were meals that my mom didn’t have to cook. A treat for everyone. My first job was at Jack In The Box, which explains my craving for Breakfast Jacks, Lemon Turnovers and Orange Juice. All in one meal. I ordered the same thing for years, until the Lemon Turnover went away. Sadness.
So. I get it. We are set up to be happy with shit in a bag, and sad if we don’t get the treats we want.
Fast forward to today. I had a coupon for a Rally’s in Fresno. It was totally free, except for $4 and change. I love saving money. We went to the drive through, and sat and waited for this grease bomb of a meal, that would satisfy my vague craving for something bad.
I spilled the Diet Coke, which I assured Harley Guy wouldn’t be sticky because there was no sugar. Then I tasted the drink, and it was the real thing. I had a lap full of napkins and ketchup, and a bag full of burgers and fries. And ice all over the floor.
We stopped in the parking lot, because we had this big mess. I pulled out the thing I had ordered, and the spicy fries that just moments ago I had been coveting. The bun was greasy. The fries tasted like deep fried chicken. And as we sat there, I could see a dumpster with crows sitting on its edges. The crows, the grease, the mess. I just couldn’t stomach it for one more minute, and couldn’t wait to dump it and drive away as quickly as we could.
I ached and groaned, thinking of what I’d just put my digestive system through on this rainy Friday afternoon. I even went and picked up my bib for tomorrow’s 5k. A few hours went by, and I was fine, but I drank a lot of water today, and tried to cleanse by eating some fruit, some wheat crackers.
A few weeks ago I was running in a nearby town, and I ran by a group of fast food restaurants, and I thought…if someone came from another locale, they would think our country smells just like grease. It was hard to keep my pace, as I battled nausea from the fumes.
So. I will not say I will never have fast food. But, for right now, if I have to drive through anywhere, it’s not happening. I love to say “There was no food! We had to stop here!” It’s time to be a bit more proactive…and stop thinking fast food is FUN. Because clearly, my body does not think so.
There’s something about being halfway through a training plan that always gives me sort of a start. Like, how did I do this already, and how is there that much more to go? Today starts week 6 of Modesto Half Marathon 12 week training plan, which means, of course, that not only am I getting ready to toe the line again, but that I am recovered. Past tense. No more silly #stressfracture hashtags. That’s it. I’m recovered.
This time, I have taken it slowly, but have incorporated a mean weight training program. I have a tricep, and also a little pork chop looking muscle that drapes over my shoulders (excuse me, I’m a runner, not a weight lifter). I now understand why body builders look in the mirror when they lift. There is an excitement to see something you’ve actually built, and curiosity in watching the muscles course under my skin as they work. I incorporate Core exercises, and have now successfully hung 15 long seconds in my quest to do one pull up by December 13, 2013. I do squats. I am working my whole body.
But my legs. They are the sticks that will get me to the end. And, even though I feel twinges of last year’s foot , I simply keep running, nailing all my times and distances. It’s lovely really, because at the end of the day, I know that I’m taking my body to the best place it can be.
This weekend, I will do my first 5K in this training plan, running a little 3.1 miler in Fresno. I don’t really care about distances, I care about that surge of energy when you lay out your gear the night before, lace up at 5am, slam down pre-run nutrition, pin on the bib. That feeling of watching everyone else wait with me until the whistle blows, until I can blissfully fall into my own rhythm of the race.
Halfway there. I’m loving this training cycle.
On Wednesday I will turn 54.
In that time, I’ve run 5 marathons.
8 half marathons, and others…around 36 races.
only 10 of those before I turned 50.
When I was training for my first marathon, as the story goes,
I didn’t know I was 50. Or that it was considered old.
and yet I trained. On the overpasses, on the dark streets.
I didn’t know I could survive a hellish divorce in a quiet little town.
Or that I could single-handedly save my house…
This house with it’s broken dishwasher that’s suddenly started working,
the screen doors that Chet has ripped off the tracks,
the ripped gazebo, that still functions, sort of, as a place to put pool tools.
The pickets and arbor, long since their prime
and fences held up with 2 by 4s.
I was never sure that I could be enough as a single mom,
to raise two now-teenagers, and love it. Really love it.
I was sure that as they got older they would want to live somewhere else.
And I was prepared for that, but they do not want that. They want
And because I have no man skills to share, my harley guy has stepped in,
and is, with the boys, building a basketball hoop for the street, and has offered to help teach
the oldest to drive, and the both of them how to play real poker.
Things I couldn’t do. Didn’t want to.
Because every boy should learn to drive a stick shift, and bet like a man.
So, what I learned is this.
You never get anything you want, unless you ask.
And. I asked.
And just when I would get some new resolve, I would get smashed back down, and then up.
I’m in week 5 of a Mellow Half Marathon Training, which is the title of this post,
but makes no sense at all, unless you see the big picture of my life right now.
Running 3 days a week, building muscle on the others.
It’s incredibly relaxing, and even as I get up into 6 milers, which I used to carve off with panache,
I sometimes struggle. But, I keep running.
And 54? I’m sure it’s going to be the best year of all.
I will attempt marathon number 6 in the Fall, but for right now,
I will prove that I can again toe the line and reclaim the love I have.
The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.–Randy Pausch