Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I'm going back and reading old Spark E-Mails 10 at a time because that's the max points for one day-lol!! Yes, as far behind as I was on blog reading I was even more behind on Spark E-Mails! To avoid confusion, these are the motivational or informational ones that come to your regular e-mail every day. They are optional and I get about 3 a day and have about a hundred I haven't read. OOOPS!! Oh well, it's all good. I am just getting mega doses of info as I go through them trying to clean them out.
So, today I am scanning the mails and I get to one that lists all these quotes about perseverance and the quote in the title jumps out at me. "Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance." - Samuel Johnson
Not that completing a half marathon is necessarily a great work...but it was for me and this quote hits the proverbial nail on the proverbial head.
I do not have a half marathon medal hanging on my wall because I had physical strength. I DO have a half marathon medal hanging on my wall because I did not give up!
Sitting here my mind is bombarded by great works that happened throughout history...the building of the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China, the discovery of trade routes around the world. In more recent history the integration of schools in America, the breaking down of the Berlin wall, the discovery of so many modern medicines and techniques that save lives everyday, the taming of electricity to give us so many modern conveniences! Wow, I could go on and on and on and on. All of it because somebody refused to give up. Somebody, somewhere, refused to give up. I wonder how many formulas Jonas Salk went through before finding the one that would succesfully immunize people from polio. There is a great work.
Me crossing a finish line will not be memorialized or lauded. Except by those close to me. Out there on that trail I definately thought about giving up. I figured if I just sat down eventually somebody would be along to collect me. I didn't HAVE to finish. This was optional after all. Isn't 12 miles good enough? Who needs a medal anyways...it is just a thing. What is the big deal about doing a half anyways? Nobody will notice if I don't finish...oops that one wasn't true. Somebody would notice...me, and my kids who were waiting for me at the finish. We would notice. So, I kept going. I kept putting one foot in front of the other and eventually I made it. And I still didn't recognize the significance of my accomplishment.
It took a little while to realize that the big deal about a half is not giving up. Finding out that you have something deep inside that pushes you to finish despite everything that is telling you to quit. A stitch in your side, an ache in your shins, a voice inside your head saying, no not saying, but YELLING, "STOP", an almost physical wall that says you cannot take another step. But, you don't listen, no, you keep going until you hit that finish line and then you keep going some more because you know if you stop right at that moment you will never move again. The big deal about finishing a half is that you now know that you cannot be stopped.
And this goes for anything that is difficult. I mentioned before about perspective. Finishing the half was definately the most intense version of "I did it!", but it was there at the 5K, it was there at the 10K, it was there after the almost comical 12 mile run in wind and rain. It is there when we say "no" to the cupcake staring us down. It is there when we take that first step out the door whether we are going for a walk or a run.
Anytime you do something that you thought you couldn't it is there. The knowledge that you are more than you thought you were. "Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance." - Samuel Johnson
You are a great work. That great work will be accomplished through perseverence. Along the line you may develop or find physical strength, but what is really going to get you across whatever finish line you are working towards will be the mental and emotional strength that comes from perseverance.
"Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never." - Winston Churchill (another great person in history who overcame great trials to accomplish great works.)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Busy day today...thanks everyone for your comments on the half blog! I'll be around leaving comments tomorrow...I'm still trying to catch up on a bunch of blogs I've been missing. I have been very lax in my reading and there are a bunch of names staring at me every time I open my e-mail...working very hard to do some housekeeping in my reading while maintaining my real housekeeping. A very busy weekend put me quite a ways behind on the household front :)
I am recovering from the half. My shins and hips are a bit sore, but I am surprised to find that I have no pain at the top of my calves!! This was the area giving me the most trouble right up to the short run on Thursday before the race. Hmm! I'm good with that...not sure what I did to cause or end it, but not having it during this race gives me hope for the future!
Maybe a little too much hope! I am already pondering the next move. I would like to fit in a 5 or 10K before Christmas. Then what? Already planning to put hills back in, they got dropped in favor of mileage, but I actually enjoyed running our hill so I am looking forward to returning and getting in some more hill time. Hiking has been off the menu for about a year now and I'd really like to add it back in too.
So, I've already been looking at races...guess what I found...a half marathon in April, on a Saturday, my preferred day for races/running. AND it's completely local, right here in town, in fact at the top of the Beast (the Beast being the hill we use for our hill training-see multiple previous blogs which I'm too lazy to provide links to at the moment (: ). The headliner race is a marathon, but it has a half option. Will this be half number two? Not entirely sure and far from being committed to the race at this point. But, the timing is right. I want to take some time off from the long races to work on my shorter distances. I want to break a 15 minute mile (consistently) before my next long race. I am still VERY slow and want to work on the weight loss and speed factor for awhile. The location is ideal. I love the time of year. April in these parts is usually quite mild and pleasant. 3 months to work on improving time and then start training for a half? I'm just not sure... I don't even know if there is a medal for half finishers!! That could be a deal breaker-lol!!
Perspective is a funny thing. Yesterday, even as I crossed the finish line, I was convinced I had simply lost my mind and was the victim of some weird mob mentality. Like a lemming running off the cliff, sounds like a good idea at the time, but as you plummet over the edge and into the crevasse you really gotta start to wonder why you decided to follow the crowd in the first place (even if the crowd is two or three people-lol!). But, today, slightly more than 24 hours removed and I am already thinking I am ready to plummet into the crevasse again. I remember back to the first days of C25K and how 30 seconds was SO LONG to try to keep running. Then my first 5K was such a long run. Then my first 10K was SO HARD...all those hills. Now, after completing 13.1 I am thinking those races were so easy. I had no idea how easy they were at the time, they seemed so hard at the time. Will I someday look back at this race and think it wasn't as hard as I thought it was at the time? Will my next half seem easier? When I run the Mission Inn Half again next year will I look down that incredibly long stretch of road and think "this is nothing, why did it look so long last year"?
I don't know. I do know that I am sticking to what I said in a previous post....I'm not looking back, I'm looking forward and right now, I'm trying to see what is around the bend in the road...what is coming next? Great, now I've got Pocahontas stuck in my head...Just around the river bend, lalala, just around the river bend...wonder how long that will stick around? LOL!!
Tomorrow some yoga and maybe some upper body and core work, still giving those shins a rest, but already feeling a little stir crazy for a run even though the plan is to take a week off for recovery. Maybe a short one a little later this week...
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Today was the Mission Inn Half Marathon in Riverside, California. It took me 4 hours and 11 minutes per the clock ( I didn't get my official time-it'll post online in a couple days so I'll look it up later).
Let's start at the very beginning....Saturday was our pre-race luncheon and Spark get together. Several of us doing the half or the 5K got together at the Old Spaghetti Factory (for those not in the know..pasta restaurant with delish food-betcha could figure that one out huh? lol!). The lunch was lots of fun and the food very good. After lunch it was off to pick up our race shirts and packets and to check out the "expo". The system wasn't terribly well organized unless you were signing up that day. But, we figured it out and we got our bibs, timing chips and shirts. The expo was a bit of a bust. Lots of local businesses, which was good, but none of the local sporting, fitness or running stores. No gear, no fuel, no samples. It was disappointing...no stickers, decals, or magnets. So, I didn't get a 13.1 magnet...I'll have to order online...oh well. There were a couple of good freebies, one really fun tote for free, but no goodie bag or swag bag. Bummer. Went home, double checked all the gear, relaxed then off to bed. Somewhere during the night the older of the two girls crept into our bed, which I hadn't even realized until I woke up to the youngest yelling through the house..."E-E where are you....E-E where are you" (youngest leaves off some consonants and E-E is her way of saying "sissy"). So in she crawled too. Where she then proceeded to fall asleep and then have a bad dream causing her to whimper and cry in her sleep until I put an arm around her. So, I didn't get the best night's sleep.
This morning got up early, got dressed, put my shoes on and my sister arrived exactly on time and off we went. Got to Riverside in PLENTY of time. Hit the portas, found the approximate starting line and waited. The crew was quite a bit late on setting things up. The banner and balloons came out 15 minutes or so before the race started. Maybe because it was WINDY! The wind was gusting and it was quite strong at times. Neither my sister nor I were happy with this. I hate the wind. Hate it. Running in it is even worse. I had my vest on because of the chill and would regret it later on.
Before the race started, while we were just standing around, we met some of the greatest people. I love that you can go to a race and find something to discuss with total strangers and you walk away feeling like you've made new friends even if you never see each other again. Diane was the first lady we struck up a conversation with. Really nice lady who did this race because she missed the registration for the one she wanted to do this weekend. Then we met Jackie (did I remember that right, Kristen?). This lady ROCKS!!! She is in her 60's and started running in her 50's. She has run 4 marathons. One of them was THE MARATHON!! The race that all other marathons are mere shadows of!! She ran the Athens Marathon in Greece!! She said it isn't a fancy race, but who cares!! I couldn't imagine the impact it would have to run something so historic. This lady is what I want to be in 20+ years. She ran this race because she lives in Riverside. We also met another very sweet young lady, Gloria (again, Kristen, I think I am remembering that right..?)
Race started and off we went. The first mile went fine. I stuck mostly to plan and worked the kinks out, had to stop once and stretch. Mile 2 brought on some pretty good hills. And this really cool bridge . Miles 3, 4 and 5 and i am still going strong. I am all alone by this point, whenever there is a straightaway I can see lots of people, but I am far enough back to be all alone. Mile 6 and I am still doing great, and now I am seeing the runners on their way back. I get lots of "you are doing great", "good morning", head nods and thumbs up. Runners are a very supportive group!!
Right at this point I start walking and I never really start running again. Up to this point in the race there have been a few water stops and the route has taken us through sheltered areas that protect us from the worst of the wind. Not any more. At this point we are running on the Santa Ana River Bike Trail (which was supposed to be closed to bikes for the race, but apparently a bunch of bikers didn't get the message. There were a few points where dodging the bikes got, well, dodgy. It wasn't HORRIBLE, but these were all racers so there was no ringing bell warning you a bike was coming up behind and I nearly had a heart attack every time a bike zoomed past. The bike path is actually quite pretty, one of the few naturally flowing rivers left in So. Cal. runs past here and the river bottom is green and lush and the views of the river itself are very pretty. The road however is raised quite a bit higher than the river and was VERY exposed to the wind. VERY exposed. The gusts got very strong at times. It was very, very draining and exhausting. In addition this stretch was VERY long. Miles 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 were all included in this one out and back. It was very depressing seeing that road go on forever, just to turn around and have to go back again. Also, the water stops pretty much stopped through here. There was ONE stop that you hit on the way out and then again on the way back. Also, not a single porta on this entire stretch...I kinda needed one, but by the time I got back to one it was set off the course and up on the street. Yuck, I wasn't about to hike up to the busy street to enter a porta on the side of the road. I made it until we got all the way back...I think I just sweated it all away-lol!! By the time I hit almost the end of mile 12 I was really looking forward to a water stop. I had finished off my bottle-twice! I took along Powerade, finished it, and the one water stop along the river refilled it with water which I finished quickly.
I was getting kind of frustrated at this point because all along there had been emergency personnel on bikes riding back and forth making sure the runners were all safe. Well they had ALL disappeared with the bulk of the runners. Not one time did they come back to check on the straglers. There were 3 or 4 people not too far ahead of me and then one behind me and not once did the personnel come check on us. We are all walking along this very long and mostly deserted and isolated stretch of road and there is no staff to check on us. I hit one point were there had been staff stationed earlier and they were gone. Finally, though I didn't need help, the ambulance that had been parked at the farthest out point, the turn around, came driving back through the trail and paused to make sure I was okay and gave me a water bottle. Which was totally awesome since the last water stop was being broken down as I passed and didn't have any water set up for the few left out on the path.
I know I was taking a long time, but I wasn't really that far behind the people ahead of me so I am assuming they didn't get any water either. I was really disappointed that they were breaking down before the runners were all in.
Saw my sister coming back for me at about 12.5 with more water-YAY!! She walked the rest of the way with me and showed me the route since they were already breaking it down and the roads had been re-opened. Finally, I could see my family, Mom, Hubs, Son and Daughters, waiting for me. Around the corner and over the pads and I was done!! I was presented with my medal and one of the other sparkers (3chihuauas) had some oranges for me-THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Never have a couple orange slices tasted so good!!
Overall, not terribly impressed with the race. It was fun and I made it. I finished and they really couldn't help the weather. Really wished there had been more portas and LOTS more water. Wish they had respected ALL the runners/walkers since this race was not time limited and the roads were actually posted to be closed for almost another hour after I finished. Will I do it again? Actually, I probably would do it again. By next year I will be better prepared and I probably won't be the next to the last one to cross next year. Hopefully, if I do it again the wind won't blow. That wind and dirt was the worst thing ever!! I am used to coming back from a race sweating and funky, but today, towards the end of the race I went to swipe away a little sweat and my face was gritty with the dirt. I felt like sandpaper. I couldn't wait to get home and shower off the grime. Actually, smartest thing I've ever done!!! I threw a wash cloth in my "end of race bag" (race shirt to change into, more comfy shoes, after race snack, bottle of water, etc). One little wash cloth that I poured some of my water on and washed my face as we were getting into the car to leave!! It felt so good!! The shower at home was still one of the top ten best showers of all time, but having that wash cloth in my bag was a stroke of genius!!
The medal, by the way, is really cool. The Mission Inn is an historic, and somewhat famous, hotel in downtown Riverside. The logo of Riverside is the raincross...it is a combination of a cross symbol used by Native Americans and a replica of a mass bell used by Junipero Serra (founder of California's missions) . I looked this up by the way. The raincross symbol is seen EVERYWHERE in Riverside. It is duplicated in street lights, architecture and on the flag of Riverside. You cannot go to Riverside without noticing the raincross symbol everywhere. The medal this year is the raincross symbol. It is quite a fetching medal! I took this self-portrait in the car on the way home.
Had a "blast" in a sick sort of way, it was an experience I am very glad I had and now I know just how hard I can push myself. I think, that if we hadn't had the wind I could have done better. But, I am still happy because I did it. Not a lot of people "my size" would even consider something like a half. A little over a year ago I thought that a 5K was such a long ways and today I went more than 4 times that distance!! Now I gotta go online and find a magnet so I can slap that puppy on my car and boast it to all the world :)!!
I know somebody will ask "what's next". A few fives and a couple tens here and there while I focus on weight loss and increasing speed. Want some PRs next time I race :)!!
Friday, November 12, 2010
I know I CAN do it. Still a little freaked out.
Apparently, according to my dream last night, I am destined to do this race wearing the race t-shirt and my bathrobe because I can't find my running pants and the technical shirt designated as "The Chosen One" for the half. I am also destined to spend the first 20 minutes of the race looking for a decent stall in a bathroom the size of a football field (complete with shower stalls and everything-hence no toilets-the stalls with toilets were filthy or otherwise not fit for use-this dream of not being able to find a clean stall is a frequently recurring one-a sub-concious search for the order I try to create in my often hectic and scattered real life?). In my dream I did finally find some pants, but not mine and they were really more of running tights, very thin running tights, that showed off every jiggle and roll (sub-concious backlash from Maura Kelly's now infamous "fatties" post?).
Wonder if anybody famous will be at this race since both actors who play the gay couple on Desperate Housewives made a guest appearance in my dream as their t.v. personas. They were snorting down plates and plates of spaghetti wearing the race medal (which, in my dream, was drop dead beautiful-Tiffany blue ribbon and silver , super shiny,metalic medal-sub-concious lusting for anything Tiffany?). The spaghetti was part of the pre-race "festivities", but they already had their medals so that was weird.
Definately a weird and scattered dream, but the good about it is that it really did seem to be a sub-concious dump dream. Don't know if there is a technical name for these dreams. But, you know, it is one of those dreams where everything really is somehow related to things on your mind, but in a twisted and freakish fashion. This is good because it tells me that my brain is trying to resolve all the little worries ahead of time. I can solve the problem with the pants by setting all my stuff out today even though the race isn't until Sunday. Then I can rest assured that on Sunday morning I will be able to find my pants. I know there will be plenty of porta-potties available and there will be something fit to use. I can take a pack of wipes to settle some of the cleanliness issue since not all portas are created equal-lol!! Even if it is just to wash my hands :)! Nobody is going to be eating spaghetti at 6 in the morning, famous or not, that part was just silly. The medal is going to be great no matter what it looks like and I will have one when all is said and done barring an injury before hand (knock on wood I remain on my own two feet until the end of the race) even if I do have to run the race in my t-shirt and bathrobe!! That would be a funny sight!! Anybody know of a race run in bathrobes?! That would be a fun one!! Might have to create my own race someday...the Hemet 10K Bathrobe Run!! LOL!!
I'll let you know how it goes on Sunday!!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I owe you all a regular blog soon and I have so many messages in my mailbox telling me I need to read some blogs...I've got to devote some real time to Spark very soon!!
However, today and off and on for the next little while I am devoting some time to a project I am working on.
Many of you know my hubs is out of work and money is tight. Christmas is coming and I am finding ways to be very creative so I can get some presents under the tree.
We used our bank's Thank You Points (sure that is copyrighted and belongs to Citi) to get a gift for son from their rewards store. Making the girls felt food for thier kitchen (to replace the really cheap and mostly squished plastic food they got with their kitchen last year). So, thinking about hubs...I found an idea and am working on what I need to finish it.
This is what I am doing....I am making a whole bunch of felt fortune cookies...as many as I can. In each fortune cookie the fortune will be a thought, a poem, a saying, etc about love, happiness, relationships, etc. Some of them, of course, are going to be personal (VERY personal) and there might be a few "coupons" in there (a romantic dinner at home sans kids, time alone, wash the car, etc). Others are going to be generic. I'm hitting websites for generic things...but, I would also like some input from my Sparkfriends.
What are your favorite thoughts, poems, sayings? Any ideas for a good coupon? I am aiming to fill a crystal bowl we got for our wedding-smaller than a salad bowl but quite a bit larger than a cereal bowl. The cookies will be approximately actual fortune cookie size, but I can fold, spindle and almost mutilate the paper to fit inside the cookie-or use a small font-lol!!. Lots of ideas needed!!
Looking forward to what I get from you all!!!
Get An Email Alert Each Time ITSHOWYOULIVE Posts