The Best Is Yet To Come

It all started for me in the fall of 2003.  I happened to go on a Weight Watchers Message Board, and hook up with what were then, 40 year olds.  Every day, several times a day, many women talked about their trials and tribulations and men and children and work.

I think two of us are still 40.  Three of us have landed in the 50 year old category.

That fall, an idea was born that we would all meet in Morehead.  I was the furthest east in California, and there were women coming from all over.  Now, mind you a few had met, but most had not.  We were going to spend a weekend in a condominium.  Together.

However, there was one woman…L, who shared a sleeping area on the floor with me.  The minute I met her, I thought, yeah.  This one and I will be lifelong friends.  She continues to be someone I count as a true friend, always there for me…K and I had a laugh over phallic bread.  S. I met while she was munching on a box of cereal, which would prove to be dinner.  M. stayed up late with all of us talking about our men.  Oh, that night.  And some of us met other women with whom we immediately connected…but those did not last.  In fact, if you had told me that the five of us would have ended up together at the end, I would have said you were wrong.

Summer 2004.  Morehead.  13 women.

That fall, we broke in half … 6 went one way, 7 the other.  And we embraced each other, and dealt with the ending of the 13…We had a yahoo group.  A message board.  I remember a 2004 phone conversation that shocked everyone, and then next day, the one who missed it said “Did I miss anything?”  Uh yeah.  You did.

Summer 2005 in Virginia.  7 of us.  In a salt water pool, lounging all weekend.  Sushi.  I had pink hair.  It was soon after, that we lost 1 more in our happy fest.

Summer 2006 in Nebraska.  One of us getting so drunk she passed out right there in the middle of our game 🙂 And I love her.  Laughing.  We went to a lake. We visited museums, one of us being really crafty…I got some Big Red pajamas.

Summer 2007 in New Hampshire.  Rocking on a porch, celebrating our first 50 year old in the group, K.  We hit a fabulous dessert restaurant…We had the new blog here (June 2007) and still had our Yahoo board which held all our recipes!!  On this trip back, I was stuck in Atlanta for the night.

Summer 2008 we skipped.  One of us had breast cancer.  I taught Summer School.  I was thick in the beginning of house saving and being a single mom.  I don’t remember all the details.  We just couldn’t do it. But we vowed not to let it happen again.

Summer 2009 in my hood.  Just 4 of us.  San Francisco.  Yoga.

Summer 2010 North Carolina.  I didn’t make this one, sadly.

And then there were five of us.

Five of us from New Hampshire, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, California.  Marathons and Breast Cancer and Divorce and pounds lost and gained and non-stop broken appliances and new jobs and medical lingo and a new boyfriend and children on the honor roll.  The Reds and The Dodgers.  Religious discussions and Liberals and Republicans.  Meat and still points counting.  Gym teachers and tennis. Patient mothers of teens.  Obsessions granted and lifted.  Clean and dirty houses.  Gifted children.  From gifted mothers.  And yeah, just life.  We’ve talked about everything under the sun, and then some.

This is one of my favorite posts from M.  It was the year we couldn’t get together.  From October 2008

So, when do we start talking about all of us getting together again? Do we have to wait until next summer? Is there a possibility of doing something any sooner? Where, When, I think we know the why.

And we are all headed to the east again.  To sit, relax, share stories of men and children and work…and what it’s like for us on year 8.  And this I know:  The best is yet to come.  Can’t wait to see my girls.  🙂

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Women On the Rise

How many doors must I go through
These constant dreams that I pursue
I can see possibilities in you
Yea here we go again
Is this too good to be true?

I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile, and was in the spa reading Oprah’s 10th Anniversary Special, and came across O’s 10 Women On The Rise.  It highlighted some distinguished women who are really going places.  And, I started to think of the women that I blog and tweet with, and how each of us really are distinguished in our own homes, businesses and lives.  Maybe none of us is famous, but…we make an impact every day.

 

  • Miss Joy: Running Down A Dream~She is the primary caregiver for her Mom…and a great person and runner.
  • Shannon: The Way I See It~This is a woman who will hide dead bodies, clear hard drives, and delete emails for me if I go in a coma.  Everyone should have someone like that.
  • Ali: Confessions of a (Not so) Fat Runner~ This girl has had to fall down, get up and walk through things for her disabled son that none of us can imagine.  And, she does it everyday.
  • Cyndi: Rookie Runner: Reflections from the Back of the Pack~ Another girl running through tough life decisions, and yet…she keeps on plugging along…
  • TK:  Pigtails Flying~ Smoking fast runner, who just did London in 3:58, yeah…that’s a 3.  Plus, she has kickass music taste!
  • S: Runnrgrrl’s Blog~ She qualified for Boston on her first Marathon attempt.  But, more than that, she also walked through fire to get to where she is today.

These six women inspire me every day…So, I’m asking these questions, and tagging them to answer too:

  • Distinction: I’ve been teaching since 1981, School Counselor, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, 2 marriages, 2 beautiful boys, 2 crazy dogs…But the biggest distinction I want the world to know about me?  That I’m an amazing friend.  Because…I am.
  • What do you hope to accomplish over the next ten years? Definitely, I want to be able to send my boys to the college of their dreams…and to raise them right.  Personally, however, I’d like to Boston Qualify by the time I’m 60.
  • Do you have a Mantra? I have many.  My favorite Bible Verse, from 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27~

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Also?  Run Fierce!

  • Any Regrets? Not a one.  That would mean I have to go live in the past.  I’ve made lots of mistakes, but each of them has brought me to this exact moment, so how could I regret them?
  • People would be surprised to learn that:  I once tried out for a play…as an adult.  I really wanted to try it…once.  I did, and I was exhausted!
  • If your House were on Fire, what one thing would you grab? My hard drive.  Sounds clinical, but it stores most of my pictures, which could not be replaced.
  • Fill in the Blank:  I wish I could:  PR on my next marathon.

Okay girls.  Your turn.

Roll Tide, Roll*

*Some kind of University of Alabama slogan*

 

With this new understanding of your menstrual cycle and the fueling mechanisms that change from phase to phase, don’t view your cycle as a training disadvantage but rather a training secret. Use what nature gave you as your ergogenic aid and have confidence in your training. Sorry, men, but maybe estrogen is the wonder hormone after all! (from Run Planet)

As I’ve explained to people before, Ms.V does not discuss menstruation.  We don’t discuss products, descriptions, anything.  And never in general public.  I had 2 babies with my former husband, and I hated discussing this with him even.  I just think in polite society, we really don’t need to know about your cramps, pms, or anything else related to menstruation.

Until now.

No need to put down your breakfast.  It’s not that kind of a conversation.

I really am interested in the impact menstruation has on running.  Before I started running, you could set your clock to my mood.  A day before I was crying.  I was having pounding headaches.  I was a mess.  Then I was down for 2 days with a heating pad and indiscriminate Advil popping.  I usually forgot when I took the last one, so my friends were always concerned about me.

In training for now my second marathon, I’ve noticed one thing.  Menstruation is rarely a thought.  Like, oh that.  A long run of 15 miles is not canned because I have cramps.  If anyone remembers, I was on day 2 at the Nike Women’s Marathon, having to go in the woods and take care of business.  It was horrid.

I’ve researched some articles that may help.

  • About:   Many women fear that they’ll have their period for a big race, like a marathon. The good news is that it will have limited impact on your performance. In fact, women have run well and even set records during all phases of the menstrual cycle. You may find that running can actually improve your mood and alleviate physical symptoms before and during your period.

 

  • Run the Planet  (RE: The  phases of your cycle) Say you’ve planned your track workouts for every Wednesday. You go to the track during your follicular phase (low estrogen) and hit all your repeats right on. You leave the track with confidence and excitement. A few weeks later, you go to the track but you’re now in the luteal phase (high estrogen). You feel sluggish, tired and lethargic. You feel like you have a totally different body. You leave the track doubting your abilities and your training program, despite the fact that your long runs have been successful. Don’t feel discouraged, though. It’s not for lack of training that you’re performing this way, it’s the way your body is fueling your workouts. In the follicular phase you benefit from a quick breakdown of carbohydrates for speed and efficiency. Your body is primed for providing quick energy for fast running In the luteal phase, however, your body is in the fat-breakdown mode – fueling your workout primarily through increased utilization of fat. Since fat is a source of slower, more sustained energy than carbohydrates, your intensity may suffer during the luteal phase. Basically you’re trying to run high-octane workouts on low-octane fuel. In other words, during the luteal phase your long, slow runs will feel easier and require less recovery time because your body will take advantage of increased fat breakdown. In the follicular phase your tempo runs and interval training will feel easier because you’ll be accessing quick energy through carbohydrates.

 

  • Dudley Ladies: Some research in 1993 (Menstrual Cycle Phase and Running Economy, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 25(5), pS74, 1993) goes some way towards solving part of the equation. Eight fit, normally menstruating females were asked to run at intensities of 55% and 80% VO2 max during different stages of their menstrual cycles. …None of the variables measured – VO2 max, blood lactate, lactate threshold, maximal heart rate and fat oxidation – were different at any stage of the menstrual cycle.

 

  • Runner’s World, UK 15. There’s no need to miss a run or a race just because you’re having your period. If you’re suffering from cramps, running will often alleviate the pain, thanks to the release during exercise of pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins. Speedwork and hill sessions can be especially effective.

 

  • Running Coach Menstruation is not an illness or an excuse.  Most healthy women can run any time during their cycles.  If you really really can’t – plan your training and marathon carefully and have a heart to heart chat with your doctor about conditions that prohibit you from running. Some women manipulate their menstrual cycle with hormone therapy. Check with your doctor before you go fooling around with your hormone contraceptives or you may end up with unexpected results.

 

  • Trifuel  The effect of menstruation on training is varied. Most active women notice minimal change in their 5 day cycle and if anything they comment on their increased awareness as to how the body is feeling during this time. Their heighten sense of body awareness is one of the many benefits that comes from training and listening to their bodies. [in marathon training]…Due to the blood loss from the menstruation process, combined with the destruction of blood cells in the feet caused by running, women can find their iron stores reduced. An increase in either red meat or other foods high in iron such as silver beet and lentils along with vitamin C plus a reduction in tea during the period week, will enable your body to absorb and store the iron necessary for everyday body cellular function. The necessary chocolate bar/s goes with out saying – and it would be a brave man who questions any women during this week as to whether she REALLY needs them!

So go ahead ladies, have the chocolate, but do the long runs!!  I’ve done the marathon with the worse case scenario, and the experience taught me that women can walk through ANYTHING…Remember, let your body do it’s work, and stay out of the way!!

Here’s the Story Of Menstruation from a 1946 Disney Film.  Funny!!! (I think it might be the one I saw in Jr. High!)