Sunday, June 20, 2010
This weekend has been awesome! I am among the luckiest humans on earth. I have such marvelous friends and the love of life wells up in me.
I'll start with Saturday. I have a wonderful friend named Mary who told me about a 5K race at her church. I arrived early and parked in a nice shady spot. It was pretty warm already. I went into the church hall and went to pick up my info on the race. I was given a green teeshirt with "LOSING TO LIVE" on the front. There were more people arriving and the large parking lot was filling up. I walked over and saw my friend Mary. We hugged and I met several of her church friends. We did a few minutes of stretching and then it was time to go. We started off and I began to run. I think that was a mistake, since it was a pretty big hill and I got winded fast. Most of the rest of the race I walked, as fast as I can but I did run a little bit here and there. I had a friend with me during the race and we supported and encouraged one another. My time was not bad - 56 minutes. It was a hot day and I pushed hard to get the final part. When we went through the finish line, we headed for the church's healthy brunch. I was VERY impressed with the great organization. The brunch was incredible! I ate Waldorf Salad, Chic Fil-a wrap, a deviled egg and more. It was delish and I had under 400 calories. The Pastor there is so inspirational!
He has lost 117 lbs and has written a book, called Bod For God. He is a good speaker and awarded prizes for the winners. We cheered for each winner. Maybe next year I will be one of the winners. Finally we went home happy and thoughtful over such a great time.
Saturday night I got to bed early since I had a big day ahead. My trainer that I often mention, Rachel, had made me a promise. I love this woman very much and she has been the #1 inspiration to my healthy journey. But the promise she made this time, excited and thrilled me. She wanted to give me a birthday present, even though we had to wait til our schedules meshed. This Sunday we were going to go to a place where we could rent kayaks and she and I would go kayaking! I had mentioned to her a few times that I would love to learn to kayak. She told me she loved to kayak. My morning was as usual but Rachel arrived at 2PM and after showing her around our new house, we set off to DC. She drove us to a part of the city I remembered well although it had changed a lot. We finally found the place and we parked. Jack's Boathouse was a smallish place and Rachel walked up and paid for the
rental. We went down to the dock, put on the life jackets and the attendants got 2 kayaks ready. The attendant was so gentle with a beginner like me. He showed me how to slide into the kayak and I was nice and comfy in the craft. I always thought of a kayak as one of those with a opening where you fit snugly but this boat looked a lot less like that and kind of a flat boat. My feet were stretched out in front and I could move around easily. Rachel is a pro at this, and she was in the boat in no time. The attendant gave me the paddle with an oar at each end and off we went.
I was surprised that I was not the least apprehensive. Rachel was with me only a few feet away. She guaranteed me that she would not let me get hurt and I knew she would do what she said. I at first had a little trouble working the paddle but I soon figured the right moves. We could easily talk and we decided to go up towards the Key Bridge and come back with the current. I started to paddle with the two ends and I was delighted to move out to the middle of The Potomac. We stroked and chatted and I looked around. It felt so amazing! I could hear sounds from others and the river was full of people, but I felt such a surge of peace and serenity. I looked up in the beautiful blue sky and actually laughed aloud in pure joy!
The wind on my face kept the temperature perfect. I sailed along, getting more comfortable with the paddle. The river was full at first, but we continued until we left most behind. We chatted some but mostly I was wrapped in the pleasure of seeing everything. Several ducks were close and quacked as we sailed. I saw several boats and even a few swimmers. We passed a fisherman who greeted us. I loved it when we were in an area where there were trees all around us. The wonderful green curtain was almost breathtaking. I want to do this again when it is autumn. The colors must be spectacular! I was not worried for one minute while we were there. Rachel was never too far away. We finally decided to turn around and go back. Very mixed feelings. I loved the experience but my arms felt very tired. The current carried us back and I was sorry when it was over. Rachel went in first and stepped easily out of the boat. I was a little worried I might not be able to do that, but it turned out to not be necessary. As I got to the pier, the same attendant came up and with one mighty pull, he dragged the boat right up on the deck! All I had to do is stand up and walk out. I was glad I was on land but I will never forget that time on the water.
We headed home and I tried to let Rachel know how wonderful was her gift. I will never forget that experience, no matter what!
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Last night as I was almost finished with my blog, we lost our electricity. When it came back, my blog was gone, of course. So hopefully I can get this done today.
So I woke early as usual and I dressed in my new running suit. I will post the pictures on my webpage. It fits perfectly and I felt good. I had a small breakfast. My trainer said that carb loading was a bad idea unless I wanted to visit the porta-potties.
I left the house by 6 and headed to the Metro. When I got there, it was a mass of pink! I don't think there was anyone there who was not going to the run. I saw three young ladies in a suit much like mine, but stenciled on their rear was "Save The Boobies" Each girl had one word on the backside and they stayed in the proper line.
I talked to dozens of people. We got to the Smithsonian station and when I came out onto the mall I was speechless! I later heard that there were 55,000 people in the race and probably half that many others. The Mall was wall to wall people. It reminded me of the days of the protest marches.
I walked the several blocks to the registration tent and gave them a late donation from my boss. It raised my total to $1000.00 so I was pleased.
After that I went to look for my team, the NOVA Sparkers. I must have been late because they have gone. I really didn't mind since there was SO much going on. I noticed a large stage really packed with ladies in pink shirts. These were the breast cancer survivors. Someone told us that one of The ladies there had been a survivor for 35 years. There were speeches and we were addressed by the founder of the Race for The Cure, the sister of Susan Komen.
Finally it was time! The runners were to leave first and we had a countdown. About 10 minutes later it was the walkers turn. I got as close as I could, a block or two from the actual start. Everyone started moving and I couldn't find space to run at first. But soon I was able to find some space. I started to run but it was not easy at first to get throughthe crowd. But I ran for most of the first mile slow but steady. The crowds on the sides of the streets were cheering us on. There were people dressed in costumes and there were the Redskin's cheerleaders. It was wonderful! I talked to people and I passed out at least a dozen spark cards.
I walked most of the second mile because the sun was very hot and I was sweating like a racehorse. But I ran when I could. As I turned a corner there was a water station, I had already drank both of the bottles of water so I was happy to see that. I took one cup and poured it over my head. The second I took with me. Finally I looked and there was the finish line! I was so excited that I ran though it. I wasn't even really that tired, just hot.
They had an area where you could get drinks and yogurt and all sorts of stuff. I was so excited, I went running through it before I realized it.
I was told that I could go to the prize tent and pick up my gifts. I did so and then as I was walking back with my goodies, I saw a group of people over by the team area. I was lucky because the team captain, Louisa recognized me.
There were many hugs and I got intoduced all around. I had my picture taken with them and we arranged a later meeting at a local coffee place near where I live.
We all decided we were hungry (I was starved) and so we walked over to Union Station, our train station, just a few blocks away. We went to the food court and had lunch. We chatted like the close friends I realized we were.
I was eager to get home and so I said my goodbyes and headed home.
U was just thrilled with my wonderful day. I fully intend to do a 8K in September and a 10K on Christmas Eve. I never felt any better than I did while I was there.
My time was nothing great-1 hour and 4 minutes but OMG! a year ago, 3.2 miles would have taken me a week to walk. I am so proud that I challenged myself.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Many of you know me and my story. I started a journey 2 years ago to get healthy. Gosh! I never anticipated the many facets to this new life. But last Saturday morning was one of the brightest facets on this jewel.
I had been thinking for several months about ways to challenge myself and I began exercising more and I finally decided that I was going to get serious about walking and maybe even running. My wonderful trainer told me about a spot very near where I live where I could go walking. I was delighted with it at once. In fact, on my first visit, I got a look at a mama deer and her fawn, standing only a few feet away. The forest is beautiful with lots of springs crossing the path. Lots of people walked, some ran and a few bicycled.
I started slow and it took most of an hour to walk 1 mile. I knew I was in fair shape and so each time, I pushed myself to go faster and further. After a couple of weeks I was going 2 miles in about 40 minutes. The first time I went a full 5 kilometers, it took me almost an hour and a half. But I was not over tired. I actually went over the 3.2 miles (5K) a couple of times.
Soon I was running short sprints. I still can't run a long time, but my endurance got better as I continued.
Well, one morning I got on my computer and of course, I logged into Spark people. I went to the huddle and for some reason, I checked out the Northern Virginia team. I saw a thread that said 5K run/walk. I was hooked! I followed the links and I saw that it was happening on June 5th in DC. I was born in DC and so I knew the area very well indeed. The race was on the Mall which is the area between The US Capitol and the Washington Monument and continuing to the Lincoln Memorial.
I was very pleased that the race was for an extremely worthy cause, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Race for the Cure. After a moment to read about it, I signed up! My first thought was what have I done???!!! But I had done it and I am stubborn enough to not back down.
I got a lot of support from everyone who knows me and a whole bunch of people on our team. Louisa was the captain of the team and she and the rest of the team were very supportive.
I really began to train in earnest now. I hate treadmills, but I made myself use them if I couldn't get to the paths. I worked hard and I kept going. Time flew past and before I knew it, the day dawned.
I will finish this but I will set up the day itself on a second blog.
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