... for my kids. I do think that before this life, I asked the Lord to give me His best and He listened. And since this blog is about running, I want to dedicate this post to my daughter Lindsay who has become my Favorite Running Partner, aka FRP.
One of the sweetest things about this whole running experience is the bond it creates between kindred spirits who share the love of running. I have bonded with my Hood to Coast teammates, online running friends whom I have yet to meet face-to-face, strangers at starting lines, and several salespeople at a couple of local running shoe stores. I have also bonded with up-and-coming runners who are just beginning to catch a glimpse of the joy. But when you can establish yet another bond with your own daughter, and she WANTS to run with you - well, that beats all.
(Our eager 9 year old grandson Garret who, in spite of handicaps, loves to hit the pavement with his mom.)
I can't imagine what I did to deserve to be her mother, but it must have been something really good.
Last week Favorite-Running-Partner/Daughter-Lindsay and I went for a 14 mile run together. It HAD to be 14 miles because that was on The Schedule. I strategically planned our route to include Dairy Queen at about mile 11, figuring their banana (potassium source!) shakes would fuel us for the last few miles. ("Ice cream?" a friend questions. "That defeats the purpose!" "No", says I, "That IS the purpose.") 14 miles is my current PR, meaning I'VE NEVER RUN THAT FAR BEFORE. Therefore, I was basically clueless (aka Stupid) about the need for hydration on long runs. I learned a hard lesson that day.
About mile 12 (post milkshake) the leg cramps began. By mile 13 - pretty miserable. The last half-mile, Lindsay (who was still going strong) left me behind and I hobbled, jogged, and limped my way home.
Thinking I'd outsmart what I thought was just a simple bout with lactic acid, I laid down on the floor and propped my legs up on the couch, utilizing some old biking advice from Ironman-friend Mark. Fortunately Lindsay had to leave before noticing that I could not get up again. (I prefer to suffer alone.) I was stuck on the floor, trying to massage the cramps away. My calves were really TICKED OFF after what they'd been through.
Upon reading that a common cause of cramps is dehydration and loss of electrolytes, I've been on a mission to gather portable drinks and chewy-gummy things that are crammed full of everything important-sounding, so as to not replay that experience.
This nifty little find was on clearance at REI. My online running friends should be relieved that they won't be hounded anymore for their opinions on what to buy.
Next week The Schedule says 16 miles .... Whose DUMB IDEA was this anyway??
With the current circulating facebook post about feminist atheists' fascination with "Mormon Mommy" blogs, and in light of former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Spencer W. Kimball's prophecy ...
“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different — in happy ways — from the women of the world.”
... I wondered, how can I contribute? This is a running blog. Then a thought immediately came to mind. Gratitude.
I am a lifetime member of the above-named church and have always had a knowledge of God's existence and relevance in my life. I attribute everything good in my life to my active participation in the religion that I consider to be His. And I mean everything. I am aware of the blessings I have been given and the importance that we use all blessings for good. So I hope this counts in a small way.
One of those blessings is health. I have always been healthy. My body, though probably past the half-way point of its mortality, continues to do what it always could do -- only with an ever increasing recovery-time. And now I'm pushing it beyond reasonable limits, with more pushing to come, and so far, the bones, muscles, ligaments, are holding together. And I am so grateful.
(I'm in the bright orange vest.)
I have noticed whenever I participate in a group run of any type, during the first few minutes of the run (before wretched Tiredness hits), I am almost overcome with a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude that I am able to DO this! At my age! It almost brings tears. During those first few minutes, the world is an exciting place and I am part of it. I am living it. I am taking on a challenge and holding up my end. Maybe THIS is the Runner's High -- and not that happy feeling while in the shower after the run is DONE. Whatever it is, it is a powerful gush of camaraderie and love for those around me, and gratitude to God for the strength to do this. I lack in many attributes, but I can run and it brings me joy.
I owe EVERYTHING to my religion, but most of all for the knowledge of Him, the Creator of all, to whom I am grateful.
This is blasphemy to die-hard obsessive runners. And I use to be one of them. But since I heard about the Jeff Galloway running philosophy, I've calmed down a little and have given myself permission to take walking breaks on my long runs. For me, I loosely define long runs as anything more than a 10K (6 miles). Galloway maintains that humans were never meant to run non-stop for long distances. (Though the Tarahumara runners would probably beg to differ.) He says that adding frequent walking breaks will:
1. Promote a quicker recovery.
2. Help prevent injury.
3. Improve your overall time in a marathon.
How on earth, you may ask, can #3 be possible? The reasoning is that you do not tire as soon nor as much and will finish stronger and faster, rather than slowing way down in the last miles as non-stop runners do. He has plenty of testimonials from previously doubtful marathoners who set new PRs with his program. According to his book, a marathon is a marathon, whether you ran, walked, or crawled the distance.
What is a walking break? It's just walking for a minute or so, at least once per mile. Galloway says roughly every 5 - 8 minutes. He doesn't even stress fast walking, though my ironman friend Mark advises that you keep a brisk pace. When I first heard of this, my reaction was that a marathon suddenly became possible.
He also stresses that on a LSD run (Long Slow Distance), that you reduce your speed. I can do that! Since my speeds proudly range from Slow to Slower to Slowest, I can happily go from Slow to Slower and will even entertain Slowest on a long run.
So now Jeff G. and I are good friends -- albeit the fact that he's never heard of me. He has given these aging bones hope of finishing those 26.2 miles.
Now if I can just get my bruised ego to shut up when I stop and walk during mile one.
That was me, two years ago. 26.2 miles was unthinkable! But the thought wouldn't go away. It kept nagging and nagging. I looked at some marathons in my area and then dismissed them. Most were not doable. In July? Too hot. On a Sunday? Not an option. Some don't allow music players and for me, that's a deal breaker. Besides I'm too old. Then again.....
I'm a fan of the Biggest Loser show. I love to see the contestants gain new identities and new hope for the future. I love to see them shrink and gain back their necks, squared shoulders, and arms that hang straight down rather than out over their girth. Most of all, I love seeing their confidence grow from doing something hard. Something they didn't think was possible. It's inspiring and real. But when the show added a marathon at the end of the season, I thought, "Darn it. I've gotta do that. If they can ...." But I dismissed it again. Then the next year, I gave in. It wasn't going away. I have to do a marathon. And it's now or never.
So I'm in training. It's hard. So hard. Four weeks ago I had to run 11 miles. Two weeks ago I ran 12. Yesterday I did 13, and in two weeks it'll be 14. And on up. I watch the weather nervously, knowing that I'll be out there rain or shine. The rest of the week I'm doing short runs and cross-training. I'm one month into this with five months to go. The schedule is taped on my kitchen cupboard and I cross off each day. 20 or 30 years ago, I could have fudged and cheated on my program. Young bones and muscles can make up for a lot of fudging. But at my age, I simply don't have that luxury.
I completely agree with what all non-runners are thinking. This is crazy. But if I don't, what do I do with the Regret? So for now it boils down to Regret VS long hours of Hard Work. And for now, I'm choosing Hard Work, darn it. I'm banking on Hard Work eventually becoming Victory.