Saturday, November 29, 2008
Take your pick from any of these definitions:1. To be separated into its component parts or distinct principles; to undergo resolution.
2. To melt; to dissolve; to become fluid. "When the blood stagnates in any part, it first coagulates, then resolves, and turns alkaline." (Arbuthhnot)
3. To be settled in opinion; to be convinced. "Let men resolve of that as they please." (Locke)
4. To form a purpose; to make a decision; especially, to determine after reflection; as, to resolve on a better course of life.
Synonym: To determine, decide, conclude, purpose.
I know that around this time of year many thoughts go to starting anew and setting goals and working towards them. Some of these decisions are made without much thought just a "I'm gonna....or I'm NOT going to...
When I look over these definitions I like number 2, and the visual of becoming fluid, of melting, dissolve. Something about that is soothing, relaxing, of letting go of the effort. This thought is what I am putting forth for myself.
I will melt, dissolve, flow with life. I will make it more simple, and keep it that way. Not get hung up on all the details. Simplify. Are these early resolutions? Nope, just me making a decision! (see def 4)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
What does it take?....
That’s the question that is emblazoned across my NYC Marathon finishing shirt; a question to take seriously and delve deeply into when considering running a marathon, or even perhaps any endeavour, for there IS a price that is paid for whatever we do.
The price I was willing to pay, physically, to run another marathon was months of training and hours upon hours of time. Mentally it was pulling out from deep within my being the belief that once again I would do my very best, no matter what the circumstances were, knowing that there would be difficulties, pain and well known fatigue during the race. Emotionally knowing that my nerves would be wringing my insides round and round and leaving them in tangled knotted mess. But all that is paled by the Greta Weitz embossed image on the medal placed around my neck after I crossed over the finish line in Central Park on 2 November 2008.
My legs had not just carried me through the 5 Boroughs of NYC, but through the cold pre dawn walk in Manhattan to the Public Library for the start of my 4am bus ride and subsequent 6 hour wait in Staten Island where I shivered with my husband awaiting his start time and then over to my start area and another cold wait for my 10:20 departure.
My heart soared as it was my time to cross over the mats on the upper level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. A bridge I detested crossing when driving a car, due to my fear of the height and length, but smiled all the away across in awe at the magnificent view of the River below and Manhattan in the distance. I could even make out the smaller islands of Ellis, Governors, and the Statue Of Liberty. The amazing monstrous bridge arches were like giant croquet hoops suspended atop a ribbon of concrete, and I just one of the players in the game taking my turn at passing through them.
Periodically I would compare my watch time on my left wrist to the split race band on my right. The miles of Brooklyn were streaming passed to the sounds of assorted bands, cheering spectators and the “one more mile completed” mantra in my mind. Approaching the Pulaski Bridge and Queens I caught sight of a fellow club runner and shared encouraging words and with her kudos ringing in my ears I pressed on through the half way mark.
I had my camelbak strapped to my back and replenshined my dehydrated state throughout the race with sport drink, however this wasn’t enough to ward off the horrific Right Quadriceps cramp I experienced while attempting to stretch out my legs on the Queens borough bridge at mile post 16.5. This proved to be my undoing as a personal best time had looked very promising until this point. Now I was reduced to intermittent tinges of my muscle and sought medical assistance in the form of salt washed down with water at each Medic Tent I passed.
I was on First Avenue in Manhattan, mile 17 was behind me and I only had a little more than 9 miles left. I was feeling the fatigue, the sore muscles were reminding me of how far I had run, and my mental determination was urging me onward towards the Willis Avenue Bridge and the short run through the Bronx. A welcome committee consisting of a drum band and a woman cheering “Welcome to the BRONX!” brought a tired nod of my head and a realization that a mere 10K was all that separated me from the finish line.
Leaving the Bronx with a renewed sense of resolve and grit I crossed over the Madison Avenue Bridge and returned to Manhattan along 5th Avenue. The slight incline and mile 22 had me counting the remaining miles on one hand; Just FOUR more and change. My eyes now began to search the crowds for family that had told me they would be cheering me on at some point along this side of the Park. It felt better to keep running than interspaced running with walking. I pushed on and when the course became tree lined I knew I was within Central Park and the 23 mile sign suspended above the road was another welcome banner urging me onward.
The electronic mats I had been crossing over throughout the miles had allowed my family to know my progress. My son in Illinois knew how I had tired and realized that something had happened to cause my sub 12 min per mile pace to slip to over 13 min. My daughter was receiving updates on her mobile phone letting her know of my approximate time as I neared her vantage point. My brother and his family waited eagerly for me at the 26 mile point to give me that final push onward to the finish line. My husband, with his race now completed, awaiting me to finish mine so we could exchange our Marathon Stories. The thoughts of these people, and the thousands others I would never know out there cheering me on had a dramatic effect as I approached the 25 mile banner and the familiar area my husband and I had walked through the day before.
The turn from the park onto Central Park South brought back the memories from the previous morning and the International Friendship Run. I had joined the thousands of runners from around the world at the UN to run in harmony through the streets of Manhattan to the finish line. Here I was repeating that last mile a day later with an inner drive taking each step forward. I then saw myself on the big screen just outside the re-entrance to the park at Columbus Circle. I heard my name being called not realizing that one of those voices was my oldest child, my daughter and her friend who were watching me run for the first time. Less than a half a mile! I’m in the home stretch I mentally told myself. I pushed onward until I heard my name again and looked to my right.
There along the tree lined course was my younger brother, his wife and their three teenaged daughters who had come from Delaware for this moment! I was ecstatic and waved my arms and ran over to them, embracing each one. With a quick glance at my watch and a shout that there was a medal waiting for me, I left them for the final sprint up the last rise to the awaiting finish gates. My brother was cheering me on as he too ran along with me on the outside of the course.
My eyes were fixed on the chosen gate and with outstretched arms I completed my fifth marathon. With an exhausted smile I accepted the medal and the congratulations that were placed around my neck. Emotion filled my soul as I stood for a “finisher picture” first from the medal presenter and then from the official photographer. I collected a foil “heat blanket” and wrapped it around my now chilling body and a food bag that I knew at some point I would enjoy.
It was a walk to the UPS truck that had my kit bag and I took each step gingerly as every muscle in my tired body was reminding me what I had just accomplished. Seeking to eliminate some of the cold, I attempted to put on my warm up pants. Bad move!! My Right quadriceps seized up and I was instantly frozen in pain. Thankfully a medic was standing nearby and came to my assistance with more salt and water. He escorted me to a warm tent where I received a muscle massage and downed my recovery drink. When they were satisfied that I was able to move again, and after phone calls with my husband, daughter and brother I made my way out of the park and to the waiting area to find those who meant so much to me.
Finding first my brother and his family, and then my daughter brought cheers, hugs, elation, admiration and stories as we walked through the early evening sunset. We could see runners still making their final approach through the last .2 mile of Central Park. My husband would meet me at the hotel as he too had suffered cramping at 16 miles and needed to rest.
The reunion at the hotel with my husband allowed me to hear his journey of the Five NYC Boroughs and relax with those who were there to watch us. With the picture taking, medic stops I still managed to finish under 6 hours; 5:59:42. My husband still accomplished another Boston Qualifying time of 3:35:51. Neither one of us did a personal best in NYC but our experience will remain etched in our memoires none the less.
So, what does it take to run a marathon? My NYC Marathon shirt answers that with three simply put words….Heart Pounding Dedication. Yep, I totally agree!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Five days! A fistful of fingers! OH my how my stomach churns.
Bags are being packed, final preparations are being done, five miles to run today, four tomorrow.....
My mind is a list, a mental checking off of what I have to do to be ready for Thursday morning.. for Saturday night, for Sunday at 10:20ET. It all awaits. WIll I be ready, will my nerves hold tight?
Ramblings of my mind, rumblings of my stomach. Thoughts sprinting through as I prepare what I need to do each day, each hour.
I write, I ponder, I wonder. I dream. I plan! Yes, I plan! That is what I have been doing for days, weeks, months, and even years. I am getting ready. I WILL be ready!!
Each of you will be with me. My wonderful teams, those who know what it takes to run a long distance, those who can't even imagine what is involved. Those who will be preparing for this type of event, those who utter a prayer/cheer of support.
All of these are my cheerleaders. All are carried along with my warrior spirit, my road awaits. Your thoughts, prayers, well wishes, are felt on my shoes, my shoulders, my number on my vest 44971, I hear your voices echoed in the throngs that will be NYC.
I write now, before the hectic pace of the rest of the week envelope... Run with me in spirit, in unity, in like mind, run with me in determination, in fatigue, in passion, run with me for those things you too dream and work hard to accomplish..run with me in celebration of life, of all we are given and all we work hard for......... thank you for all that you are. My hand is held by your hand and together...we RUN!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
....so I can run 26.2 in New York City!!
Yep, it's just 12 days now...and another marathon will be under way. According to my training diary by the morning of November 2 I will have run over 550 miles in preparation for the race through the 5 Boroughs of NYC.
My training started in the warmth of summer (if you can call the type of weather we had summer) and now is ending in the falling leaves of October and cooler days taking me into November and the awaiting flight of over 3,000 miles to NYC.
The niggles and nerves are kicking in a bit...it seems to be par for marathon preparation for me. Extra stretching, icing, heating pad, hot water bottle, etc to help with the bodily issues, and reading inspirational material, extra walks with our new dog and writing is helping some with the emotional and mental nerves.
Today was exciting... my registration card and plane e tickets arrived. I'm thrilled to be starting in the same start as my speed demon hubby!! He will get to leave Staten Island 40 minutes before me and likely finish 3 hours before me! To say the race buzz has kicked in is an understatement!!
All this comes down to persistence, perseverance and positive belief in what I CAN and WILL do. A marathon IS just a one day event, however it is a journey to get to the start line. The over 500 miles I have traveled around the hills, rural roads and valleys of Lancashire and surrounding areas have physically gotten me to this point. (the picture is of me completing the half marathon in Anglesey, Wales.)
Mentally and emotionally I have traveled distances that can't be measured in miles or kilometers. I am a warrior, a runner, and an athlete. I have dug deep within to find out what it takes to do what I do. I like who I have become and am becoming.
So like that old adage, "a journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step" I am so grateful that I took that step and am on an amazing journey!
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