Friday, April 22, 2011
WE SPARKED KANSAS!!!
About 9 months ago, the decision was made for some of my team mates to meet in Kansas in person and run some races! WHAT A GREAT IDEA!! So the following SparkFriends were there:
FLBEACHBUM14, LUCKYDOGFARM, DwightyBob, BTWCoach, ABSOLUTZER0 and ofcourse ME!
April 15th(my birthday) we met in Lawrence Kansas for a weekend of fellowship and running! Friday was spent just talking and getting to know each other in PERSON, which was SO cool! Hugs, hand shakes, laughs, you name it, it was FUN! Friday night LuckyDogFarm starts telling us a story, then says....you know, that house looks like that one, ONLY DIFFERENT. WE laughed about hat one statement for HOURS that weekend. FUNNY stuff to say the least.
Saturday morning we volunteered at Packet Pickup for the Kansas Marathon and lemme tell ya, we spread the spark far and wide!! We wore spark people t-shirts and that was a great idea. We had people asking us what spark people was all about, so we told them. Sally the race director was telling people that we had come from all over the states to meet for the first time, she told about weight loss, She was spreading the spark and she’s not even on Spark! This was simply a great time for all of us sharing and caring, about team mates AND others! We took lots of pictures of this event, here are just a few:
Saturday evening they were SO COOL to have a birthday party for me. LuckyDogFarm had made a cake, and YES I ATE IT! The team mates got me the coolest card filled with the nicest words, not to mention a very cool visor that I will wear in my next race! My sister and most of her family had joined us by this time so I had lots of great nieces and a great nephew running around also, that was loads of fun to watch all of them! The team just took my family is as part of the group and everybody had a great time.
This is some of my GREAT nieces and nephews
There was even a moment when ABSOLUTZER0 was asked to walk into another room at the hotel and the lady says “the stripper is here” WOOT….great fun!
We are off to bed fairly early on Saturday night to so we would be WELL RESTED for our various races on Sunday morning. The 6 of us ran very well in the 5K, 10K and Half Marathon and hung around for awards since Larry WON his age division in the 10K! YOU ROCK!! BTWCoach ran her PR for the Half, LuckyDogFarm ran her first 10K, AbsolutZero ran the half and killed it! Dwight did the 5K in his SparkPeople t-shirt and I ran my first half.
After the race there was lots of talk about Spark with people from the health care clinic that the race benefited. We talked about helping get a spark team going, we talked about online support and examples for them to follow. Bottom line, WE SPARKED LAWRENCE KANSAS!!! We celebrated with lunch at Chili’s after ward, then parted ways with lots of hugs all the way around!
Yes…WE SPARKED KANSAS
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
April 17th, 2011
Kansas Half Marathon
My FIRST ever!!
One of my team mates suggested we ‘get together’ as a team to celebrate and run a race together! This suggestion was made in the fall of 2010. Sounded like a GREAT idea so we picked a place that was central for easy access for all of us. There will be an entirely separate blog about that get together and how much fun that was though. I started training at the end of 2010 for this half marathon.
I knew I wasn’t 100% and I hadn’t been for several weeks. My piriformis muscle flared up and was very angry at me, not to mention the sciatica I’ve been dealing with for quite a while. I went into the race with no expectations, well, I expected to do as well as I could do. I had rocktape (rocktape.com) running from the bottom of both feet to the middle of my back helping hold me together! It felt great though.
Fast forward…...April 16th – my nerves were running through every emotion known to man. I had feeling of PRIDE, fear, victory for my journey, sadness because my family wasn’t with me, JOY for the team mates that were with me, sadness for the team mates who didn’t make the journey. Literally, every emotion possible. I finally crawled in bed about 9:45, about 45 minutes later than I wanted, but that’s OK. I didn’t expect to sleep much anyway so 45 minutes wasn’t going to matter!! I cranked the AC down so it would be cold in the room as well. I slept like a rock only waking up one time AND I fell right back sleep. I was very thankful for that. 5AM the alarm goes off. WOO HOO…RACE DAY!! I lay back down on the bed for about 30 seconds after I shut the alarm off, but realized I needed to get up and start getting ready. Nice hot shower to get the muscles warmed, dressed and started getting the legs moving. I decided I needed to walk outside to see how chilly it really was and quickly decided that I WOULD be wearing my insulated sleeves! It was a beautiful day, but quite chilly none the less. I started stretching out and warming up the legs fairly early so the piriformis would be as happy as possible. My brother in law, Lee, came into my room at 6:15 and did some elbow to the piriformis stretches that helped as well. 6:30am, the team met in the lobby and we were off to the race site.
There were already lots of cars at the site and people everywhere! We arrived 45 minutes before the start. This allowed time for a quick walk to get the legs warmed. A quick phone call to my wife, and visit to the port-a-pots! One of the reasons I’ve fallen in love with running is that there is not an age, size, or any other factor that comes into play. I very much enjoy watching people as they get ready for the run. Some folks questioned me about the tape on my legs, which I happily answer, “it’s holding me together.” I visited with several of the pacer’s for the race to finalize where I thought I should run. I had a pretty good idea, but asked around anyway. I decided I’d run with the 2 hour group. I thought I could hang with them fairly well. About 7:15 I moved toward the starting line and started getting my iphone ready with my tunes, as well as getting my walk meter up and running. Then an interruption…WHAT?!…A phone call! Like an idiot, I answer it. It was my nephew who was there at the race trying to find me. I told him I couldn’t talk and had to get my phone ready for the race. I hung up on him and attempted to get everything going again. HE CALLED BACK, LOL, I ignored that call in a frantic race to get my phone ready. I was trying something new with walk meter this race. I had set the application to post to my Facebook automatically at every mile. This was the perfect way for my family to follow me since they weren’t there physically. Very much in spirit though!! If you look at my heart rate monitor, you’ll see how fast my heart was pounding at the beginning of the race! It was definitely pounding away rather hard. 3…2….1…..GO….and we’re off….I, Jerome Merlau am officially running my FIRST half marathon!!
Mile 1-3 are filled with hills, YUCK! My piriformis doesn’t like to run hills!! This portion of the course took us around the Haskell Indian Nations University campus then off into a neighborhood. HILLS! That’s ok though, I just ran my race about 20 yards behind the 2 hour pacers and was doing just fine. I was determined to take in the sights and sounds of the course as well, there were people in their driveways clapping as we ran past, which was cool. I even saw one guy in his house slippers and house coat, taking pictures. I yelled at him, ‘Hey, you look comfy.’ I ran past Dwight (a team mate’s husband) and nearly goosed him for fun, but decided against it for fear he’d hall off and deck me! LOL. Miles 1-3 were at a 9:22, 9:14 and 9:06 pace respectively.
Mile 4 we transitioned onto the new running path in town and headed north for about a mile. This was a nice peaceful very flat surface to run on. We then zigzagged through a neighborhood sort of heading north to 8th street. There were more people out watching, clapping, ringing bells etc. That was a lot of fun. At this point I tried some gu for the first time. I’d stopped at all water stations for a sip. Taking the water helped my lips which typically get very chapped when I run. Mile 4 – 6 were 9:00, 9:00 and 8:38 respectively.
Mile 7 we turned south on Massachusetts! It was VERY cool to get to run down this popular street in town. I pulled one ear phone out so I could hear the people clapping and cheering as we ran down the street. I was watching for my team mate Nicholas as he was ahead of me and I knew we would be passing each other soon. I waved at him and yelled, ‘Nicholas, LEAVE NOTHING, YOU’VE GOT THIS!’ The sound just echoed off of the buildings and I got emotional. Remembering how 15 months ago I would never have done this, remembering my family and friends who had helped me here to this race, to this street!! At the turn around, about mile 7.5 or so was my sister and her family to cheer me on. That was awesome to hear somebody yelling my name and clapping just for me! What a moment of pride I experienced!! From this point forward, I knew what to expect from a course/road condition at least. I was feeling fairly good at this point still, not much pain to speak of, heart rate steady, just enjoying the run taking it all in. Miles 7 -9 were 8:55, 9:00 and 9:00 minute miles respectively. Not bad I thought.
This is me making the turn!
Mile 10 brought us past the starting area again and headed back into the hills of the neighborhood. Still feeling fairly good, I still had the 2 hour pace group in my sights around this point. Then I hit the hills on the back side of the campus, WOW!! Who knew that your hip flexors could hurt so much, LOL! Mile 11 is when I feel apart. I was going up a hill when my legs just stopped running all on their own and I found myself walking for a little bit. I walked as quickly as possible to the top of the hill I was climbing. I knew I could run again when I hit the top and I was right. I hit it again and was able to pick it up again, passing those who had passed me while I was walking. I was doing well, and then just before mile 13, I found my legs walking again. This worked out perfectly though. I looked up and there was another team mate, Molly. We stopped, hugged, encouraged each other and off we went. I was able to pick up the pace from there to the end, but wow, did it hurt!! Miles 10-13.1 were 9:07, 9:25, 10:02, 9:14 and 8:41 per mile. We finished on the track with people cheering on both sides of the track, which was an amazing feeling! My friend and team mate Nicholas ran in the last few steps with me and I greatly appreciated that!
When I finished that race I was (and still am) on cloud nine! I am a half marathoner who will run many more, what an amazing feeling to be able to say that!! There were hugs from team mates and my sister’s family, high fives, congratulations all the way around. I finished 22nd out of 35 in the 40-44 age group and ran an official time of 2:02:29 with a 9:21 min/mile pace.
My VERY FIRST Half Marathon Medal!
Spark People team mates who also ran in Lawrence
FLBEACHBUM14, ABSOLUTZER0, ME, BTWCOACH, LUCKYDOGFARM, and DwightyBob
Statistics from my Garmin
Sorry it was so long, but I felt I needed to include the details.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
So here I am.......36 hours to my first half marathon!!
These are just a few words to describe how I feel right now.
16 months ago, I could not have done this, correction, 16 months ago, I would not have even considered this!! I have ran 5K's, 10K's extreme obstacle course races, I have trained many hours, I have tried to do the right thing day in and day out! I am not 100% however, my piriformis muscle and sciatic nerve are very angry at me for all the training, OH WELL, I'm DOING THIS....I'm GOING to finish my first HALF MARATHON!!
I WILL FINISH
I WILL run as well as possible
I WILL have FUN
I WILL make my family proud
I WILL make my friends proud
I WILL make my teams proud
I WILL make myself proud
I WILL BE A HALF MARATHONER!!!
I've had a massage today, I've been to the chiropractor for adjustment and Rock Tape, my bags are packed, I'm ready
I think I can....I think I can....I think I can......
(YEP.....that was a pep talk to MYSELF)
and a pic of the Rocktape......YEP...it goes ALL THE WAY up my leg!
Sunday, April 10, 2011
SO.....yesterday I was working in the yard repairing a broken fence post that the wind broke! This is the second time to replace the same post, but that's a different story!
I had to dig a hole at was atleast 24inches around and 28 inches deep to get all of the OLD concrete out, GREAT functional fitness to say the least!
The REAL eye opener for me came when I carried an 80 lb. bag of concrete from my car to where the hole was in the back of the house. This may be been 50yards. Friends, I'm here to tell you that I seriously struggled with that bag!! 80lbs, JEROME....HOW did you carry that on your body for so long?!?!? THAT is what I kept asking myself. Its been right around a year now that I have an extra 80 lbs on my frame and I'm saying right now, I'll NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!!
If you need a reminder of what it was like before you lost the weight, go carry around something that weighs what you lost!! Sure the proportion is all wrong, but the weight is all the same!!
I am super sore this morning, my hands and arms obviously need to be worked out MORE! LOL
I just wanted to share this short story that made an impression on ME....that was a great reminder on ME!!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I KNOW there are a TON of very smart people out here in SPARKLAND(or FB) so I'm turning to you for HELP!!!
I've been fighting Sciatica for nearly a year now. I do massages and Chiropractic treatments and both help and I can keep that manageable with nightly stretching.
RECENTLY the Piriformis has decided to pinch even HARDER on the sciatic nerve, which is VERY painful as I'm sure some of you know. I stretch, I ice, I use icy hot, I moan and groan, but nothing REALLY seems to help. I can't seem to find a good position to sit in that makes it relax, I sit on racket balls in the car and at work, that doesn't seem to help much.
I'm 3.5 weeks away from my first Half Marathon, the timing of this SUCKS!
HELP.......WHO has dealt with this in the past and HOW did you 'fix' it?!?!!?
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