Full Heart.

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It’s the end of June, and not one blog post.  I’m sort of OVER blogging.  It’s long.  It’s windy.  My writing often goes places that it was never intended to go.  (Note here:  I start this blog with the title “Has It Really Been A Month?”, and I’m certain there will be another thought to replace it.)

The last time I blogged, the Dodgers were 5.5 Games Back of the Giants.  At this very moment, 1.5.

I moved.  I lost the clip to my Garmin, and my running has been spotty.

I joined a Yoga Loft.  I love it, but I’m bored with it.  I bought a Groupon for $54 thinking I would go all month.  I’ve gone 3 times.

I joined a gym near my new house.  It’s all purple and yellow, and you get in trouble if the weights make any sound at all.  I think that I set it off the first time I went.  It’s very crowded, but it’s cheap, and it works.

I work 5 miles from my house.

I found a great vet for Chet.

My kids are into their Summer schedule.  Camps.  One week with, one without me.

I ran.  A little.

Then, something so tragic and unthinkable happened in our family, and all of a sudden, my 33 year old nephew was gone.  Was it only at the beginning of this week?  Yes. Only Wednesday.

I’m not sure what to say.  Or do.

So I ran.  This morning, I laced up and ran.  To the mile 1 stop and to the beginning of the Dry Creek Trail.

And I realized what I always have known about me and running.  I think trails are super cool.  I do.  They’re all nature-ish and hip.  And pretty.  But what I love?  The pounding of my feet on asphalt.  On city streets.  On sidewalks.

And I felt it.  Alive.  Gratitude.

3 miles of pounding heart, full lungs, thankful soul.

In the face of extreme emotional pain…once again…

I.  Ran.

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Pay $20 to Run In Your Hood: Worth It.

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There’s something pretty interesting about running a race on your regular home town route.  By this time in my running history, I can pretty much tell you how far every place in town is from my front door.  I cannot drive there; I cannot give you directions…but I know how far it is.  The start line of the Almond Blossom race is 1.65 miles from my front door.

I was dropped at the start line by my Mom around 8:15, and there got my bib and shirt, and of course, the requisite selfie.  I haven’t been running much, and I haven’t been running well, so I imagined my 11:32 pace from last year would probably stand as I loped through this course.  It’s such a small race (300 runners);  the director has a bullhorn, and at 9am sharp, we are off.  We run down Spring Creek, and out North Ripon Road, over to Santos (where the picture above was taken), then back down to Spring Creek to the Finish.

And.  If you listen close enough, you can actually hear my history pounded into the ground.  Running through heartache last year, when 3 days out of the last breakup, I forced myself to lace up and run.  You can see my worries falling from my body as I hit that smallish rise in the road near the country club.  Miles and Miles of lost love, and job stress, and fear.  Lots of fear.  But this year.  This year, I remembered all the joy.  The new job and new crush and dating when I thought I could never open my heart again.  Running when the boys were at basketball practice, and freshly painted blue nails for playoffs, and boy scouts, and the absolute joy of knowing that your neighbors really have your back.

I happened to look at my watch at mile 1, and it was 10:56 or so.  And I felt great.  I knew immediately that unless I fell apart, I would PR.  It was warmish as we hit Santos, but this race was in the books from the start.  I knew it would be good.  And, it was.  I had to fight at mile 4.5, as I was sort of running out of gas.  No negative splits this race, just a great time.

So.  About my feet.  I had an MRI.  The doctor suggested that I could run.  Maybe.  Yesterday, I got the call that they had my results.  I have 3 more races this month, so naturally, I scheduled the appointment for the day after my last race, March 17.

On this last Saturday in February, I ran.  And, I ran well.  I was slow in my 10 year age bracket, but I wasn’t last, and I PRd.  I paid $20 to run the miles I always run, and I had a ball.  I just turned 55, and I do believe I will keep going…

My List

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New Shoes.

Running playlists.

Body Glide.

Heart beating when I’m hitting my paces.

Night before preparation.

Discussing socks.

Knowing every bathroom in my city, and how far they are from my first step.

Running into a crowded coffee shop covered in sweat.

Bending over and then turning the Garmin on anyway, and continuing.  Pressing on.

Water bottles.

Sunrises and sunsets.

Running in rain and heat and fog and cold and wind.

Waving to other runners.

Talking about running.

Coaching runners.

I’m not crazy.  I’m just in love.  Madly, passionately.

 

Hope Floats

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This is hard to write.  I’ve only talked to a few people about this.  But, last Thursday was my last run.  For now.

I have been in denial for a week.  Typical stages of grieving.  Bargaining with God to let me just run 3 miles and I will be okay and never eat donuts again I promise.  I go back and forth between bargaining and denial.

Two weeks ago, my left foot hurt.  It’s been 2 years since the derailment after the SLO Marathon, and a subsequent cast and boot.  The drama of only swimming, and no running.  And, I thought I was fine.

Last week, I had the long run (my last post), and then rested 4 days.  During that week, I went to my orthopedic doctor.  He took an x-ray of my feet, and said that, interestingly enough, my right foot has a broken and healed bone in it, and that it’s fine.  But.  He didn’t know about my left foot, and ordered an MRI.

He said the same thing to me as he said 2 years ago.  Don’t run a marathon, Linda.  You have 5 marathons under your belt.  I think you’re good.  Of course I ignored this.  I will wait for the MRI, I said.  He looked at me.  And, he said…Would you like to have both of your feet in casts?  I skipped out the door, not letting that one sink into my psyche.

I ran 4 miles on Thursday night.  Happy.  So happy, even though at Mile 2.5, my feet hurt.  On Friday, trying to get some more miles in the bank, I was scheduled for 6.  It was the most sluggish run I’d had in a while, save for the long run, which is always hard for me.  I couldn’t do it.  At mile 5.72, I stopped.  Like Forrest Gump stopped.  I cried.  Because I knew.  I knew I was done.  I called 7 people to talk to someone.  Bawling.  No one answered, and I left no voicemails.  I finally gave up, and made the call I should have made in the first place.

To my sponsor.  And I was crying, because I knew I had to face the truth, that maybe at 55, I am just done.  We talked.  I cried.  She talked.  And then she made me promise.  No running at all until the MRI.  And I agreed, because I mostly will do anything she asks.  Mostly.  She is always right.  She is not my coach.  She doesn’t run.  But, she knows my heart, and she knows that I will run when I shouldn’t…because I must.

I have posted nothing about running.  I am walking.  I am at the gym, lifting weights.  I worked 11 hour shifts this week and it kept me busy, and between that and basketball, I didn’t have time to process.  Today, I did the blood work the ortho wanted… to check my vitamin D, etc.  I sat down for the first time today, and I just started to well up inside.  I envision taking all my medals, and boxing them up, and putting them far far away.  Because that’s how I am.  All or nothing.

For now, the LAMarathon is on hold.  Because that is also how I am.  Hopeful.  Always hopeful.  I talked to my coach who agreed it is best to take care of myself, and to not worry about that bib.  However, I was crushed at not being able to do LA.

And now, I hope.  I hope I can run a 5k.

If you are new to this blog, you know that the last 5 years of running have saved me.  Saved my life through a mad divorce in a small town, raising two boys singlehandedly, saving and losing and saving a house.  It has been my salve when I was sad, and my intense joy during good times.  I never have experienced what they call “The Runner’s High”.  That’s because I love everything about running.  The good, bad and the ugly.  All of it.

I was on the with a friend last weekend, going from Modesto to Placer County.  This friend knew what I was going through with this, and as we drove through Ripon, I started to cry.  I looked around as we were going by the three exits, and I remember every mile I’ve put on these streets.  I was so emotional, because these streets.  They know everything.  PAnd, as soon as we got to Manteca, the tears stopped.

Then, I stopped feeling about it for awhile.

Like, all week…(except for those private snatches of conversation with people who knew.)

Saying goodbye.  I’m not sure I can.  So, for now.  I wait.

And since I’m a believer in miracles, I’ll keep my shoes ready.  Just in case.

On Base Building & The LA Marathon

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The concept of base building…is that you spend several weeks leading up to marathon training week 1, and you build a steady base of miles under your belt.

I get it.  I do.

However.  After 5 marathons, I know that the most grueling weeks are not week 14, 15 or 16.  You’re too fried by then to turn back.  It’s not weeks 1, 2 or 3…when you’re fresh, but you have to get yourself back into THAT mode.  It’s anywhere from week 9 to 12, or so.  These are the weeks when it all is just.  Running.   Where, you have a plan and your house has settled back into “My Mom is training and we have no hot food” mode.  When you get home, and lace up, and turn on the Garmin and just.  GO.  Without thinking.  These are the weeks that kill.  But they are also the ones that teach perseverance.

So.  Base Building adds another, I don’t know…4-6 weeks?

No.  Simply, no.  I cannot bear it.  As much as I love the marathon…and I LOVE the marathon…I don’t always love the training, and how my food and my clock and my work day are all around when I’m getting the miles under my belt.

For now…here is my plan:  I run every other day 3 or 4 or 5 miles.  Slowly getting up to 6 by November 16th, the day my training officially starts.  On opposite days, I lift.  And.  Dieting.

When I last ran a marathon in San Luis Obispo in April 2012, I was 7 pounds thinner than I am now.  And that’s where I’d like to be come November 16.  There’s a reclaiming for me here, and those who know the back story know that SLO was my last marathon…and I have had a difficult time coming back on many levels.  But I will tell you this.  I simply must run another one.

And. I have a bib.  On March 9, 2014, I will be running the Los Angeles Marathon.  For the third time.  It’s my all time favorite course.  I love San Luis and MCM and NIKE.  I do.  But LA holds such a place in my heart.  Where I was broken at Mile 18, and ran through a monsoon the next year.  And THIS year, I will be at that great place…the young end of a new age group!

I might even be over last Friday’s LA Dodgers loss by then.  But.  I can’t guarantee it.

In summary.  I’m base building.  Sort of.  I’m supposed to run tonight, but I’m so tired from 4 hours of sleep the last two nights.  So I’m running.  Or…I’m skipping it because I can.  I haven’t decided yet.  But after November 16…it’s on.  Time for another cycle of Swedish Fish for dinner and weekends full of pancakes and long runs.  For another stab at toeing the line.

Only 3 more weeks of casual base building and freedom.  Can’t wait.

Running Is My Xanax.

So I left work and did something I was a little nervous to do.  Something I was and am absolutely ready for.  And I met a new friend at a coffee shop that was not a Starbucks and it was a leap into the unknown.  Very fun.  And ready for more.

I knew when I got home that I was running tonight, but I thought it was 3.  Maybe 4.  And I told someone that I was just running until I ran the scare out of me.  Because this is new stuff we’re talking about here.  Healthy & productive & fun.  And ZERO drama, thank the Lord.

I started running.  2 minutes faster per first mile than normal.  And I ran the second mile just as fast.  And I didn’t realize it until almost 2 miles done that I was absolutely running the fear out of my body.  By the time I got to our Starbucks, I started to feel calm.  And strong.  I heard Bad Moon Rising.  I was getting texts from friends.  And I kept running.

And it was one of those rare nights where I just felt like I could run forever.

I stopped at 6.17 miles.  It was time to go home.  And I was tired.  Tired and spent.

But the anxiety?  Gone.  Yeah, running is and has always been my drug.

Happy Wednesday 🙂

Unplanned: Night Running.

night-runI have had my running clothes and shoes and hat laid out by my bed for going on 4 mornings now.  And, because I’m not sleeping much, or going to bed too late, I just am not running in the morning.  It’s September.  That weird time between REAL Summer and REAL Fall when it’s hot, but everything is made of pumpkin spice.

I checked my sunrise app today, and it tells me that sundown is at 7:40.  Earlier than most Summer nights.  I also checked the temperature for 9pm tonight, and it’s going to be 81.   It’s 99 degrees now.  So I’m shifting over to the night run.  Maybe just for today, because who knows.  But.

I had one of those days.  Within an hour of landing in my office, I knew tonight was going to need to be a run night.  Regardless of what the rest of the day brought, the first stab of bad news in a rehab facility meant that I would need to put away how I felt…and meant that no matter what, I was supposed to be of service to those in need.  Today.  Yet, I knew that unless I got that endorphin rush of a run, I would soon be eating my feelings.  Or getting into a negative mindset, or who knows what else.

I also know that when I run at night, it takes a few hours to settle down.  Which means I’m up until midnight tonight.  Which is okay, because I don’t have to get up at 4 to run.   Is this making sense at all?  I only need 5 hours to sleep, and it doesn’t really matter on which end.

And.  It doesn’t really make a difference if it’s morning or nighttime.  Because it’s dark on both sides.  So, I have my Pepper Spray, my red blinking hat, my phone.  All of the items needed for emergencies.  And, of course I can tell my people where I’m going.  So, tonight I have 5 miles on tap + a brick lap swim, which I’m sure I’ll need.  So.  It’s gonna be a big workout.

Both runs are nearly identical.  However.  Emotionally, I get something different at 5am than I do at 10pm.  At 5am I am full of gratitude.  Grateful for my town, my life.  At 10pm…I’m chewing over the events of the day.  Oddly, it’s the same gratitude, but it comes at the end, not the beginning…I get to run it out on the road and pound my angst into the cement.

In any event…I’m looking forward to being spent.  I NEED to be spent.  Because these feelings won’t be going away on their own…

And tonight.  A night to lace up.  Happy Monday.