Monday, December 10, 2007
- Then Paul's birthday, and I threw him a Dessert Party. It was great times to over-feed so many for his birthday, and, yes, everyone who came went home with leftovers!!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
I signed up early for this one knowing that it would be the 25th anniversary, and David Horton's last year to be the Race Director. Last year the race was sooo hard, I had to go back and so I could take on the challenge again.
About two weeks out from the race I had a wonderful conversation with a friend and someone I respect sooo much. It wasn't just about tapering; it was about being ok in my head about tapering. She nailed exactly how I was feeling, and somehow it helped to know I wasn't alone. I must also admit that it helped that during taper I happened to run into her a few times out and about.
So here I am in this taper, my legs feel great, and the race is less than a week away. Tuesday night I feel a little scratch in my throat. Wednesday morning I just don't feel good...sore throat, sniffles, worst case scenerio in my pre-race book. I see Cassie, and the first words out of my mouth are, "I'M FREAKING OUT!!!" Here I am all tapered and now getting sick. She offered me advice, but I already had in my head to go to Whole Foods and hit the juice bar. I took shots of potions, vitamins, and pastes that will soon not leave my memory. I was determined to cure myself in the next 48 hours without taking anything that would dehydrate me. So I got through Wednesday, with the positive vibes of my good friends, and then Thursday repeated much of the herbal/terrible tasting remedy and more positive vibes. By Thursday evening I would say I was about 70%...not quite how I wanted to head to the race.
Friday morning I headed to Lynchburg Virginia with the hopes of beautiful weather, a not scratchy throat, and some friendly faces. I didn't know many doing the race, and wondered if I would feel like a stranger in their Kingdom. What I would learn over the next 24 hours is that the EAST COAST ULTRARUNNERS are just AMAZING!!
After enjoying some of the history of Lynchburg, the Point of Honor, I ate and then headed over to packet pick-up and the pre-race meeting. When I entered and got my packet, I was warmly welcomed with a hug from Dr. Horton himself. Then Annette introduced me to her friend, Amy, who wasn't going to run. Instead of just sitting back with some unfriendly small talk, she gave to me a friendliness and comfort I can't quite put into words. She offered me race advice, we talked about her move back, and we rejoiced in her reason for not running...even though standing at the pre-race dinner she wasn't entirely convinced volunteering was the position she wanted to be in. It was just incredible.
From there I enjoyed just the constant warm welcome and conversation I received. It was as though I was a part of this community that was foreign to me just a few hours earlier. Every race I have travelled to over the past year has left me with this same feeling...just awesome. I must admit to feeling honored with the people I get to share time with at these races.
The pre-race meeting/seminar/sing-along was quite something. How many times could people laugh, joke, sing about "Horton Miles??" So somewhere along the way, I thought the race was only 52 miles, and that "Horton Miles" were only 2 extra miles. Well, Friday night I learned it was actually 54 miles. I had wanted to have a 10hour race, but that is when I thought it was a 52 mile race...
I headed to the bus at 4:45am Saturday morning. They were heading to the start line at 5am SHARP. I had a nice crew on my bus, and there wasn't too much chatter. When we arrived at the start line, I asked the guy behind me, Jesse, if I could share his light until sunrise. He was super sweet and happy to let me run with him. Before too long, it was time to head to the start line. And after a prayer...off we went.
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
The colors were amazing, and the on-going company was even better. There was non-stop chatter with new folks, and the miles were just flying by. Before I knew it we were starting the set of climbs leading to the half-way mark. Part way up, I saw Sophie, a fellow Montrail Althlete, coming up. Her plan for the day was to take it super conservative in the first 1/2 and then see what she could do in the second half. So off we headed together....and before I knew it we entered the aid station that Amy was volunteering at. You must remember that I had just met her the evening before. She hollored and cheered for me, and as I was leaving the aid station I saw on the back of her SUV a set of signs, "Happy Birthday Meredith!" I was just blown away and so truly touched!! I told Sophie that the East Coast Runners had made my day so special. It was crazy. Sophie and I must have covered about 5 miles together, and they were some of the best of the race. We had great conversation, and just a really positive time together. As always, it just makes me feel so fortunate to be on a team with all of these wonderful people!
Up the next hill, and we separated. Before too long I hit mile 27, the half-way point. This is where I had my biggest time waster. I needed to go to the restroom, so I headed into the woods. I ended up having to head pretty deep in the woods to find a covered spot, which took about 5 minutes. Afterward, I went back to where I placed my gear on the side of the trail...a must to mark where you went off trail. I started up Buck Mountain at 5:06 into the race.
A Song of Ascents.
Does it really ever get any better than this?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It's gotten cold outside : ( I will now be cold, fingers and toes blue and goose-bumps all the time, until Spring crests it's happy head. Probably back to Bikram; I LOVE the hot room for 90 minutes...and the yoga isn't bad.
Have a great week and watch out for the lady with the two charging dogs! mer
Monday, October 15, 2007
At about 6, I thought I would go check out the race finish, where we would be taking a shuttle to the start in the morning. To my amazement the rain had let up, I would later see on the news that over an inch had fallen, and the sun was working its way out. I even saw a rainbow. I headed over to the finish, a 5 minute drive, and for the first time since I had arrived I got excited. It was just beautiful! I could smell the rain moving away, and see hope in the day to come.
I went back to the room, got my stuff ready, and got ready for bed. The race didn't start until 9, but we had to catch the shuttle at 7:15...still I would be totally sleeping in. That is if I were actually on cali time. I was up 3:30, 4, 4:30...still on Texas time. I was worried this would bite me later.
I headed to the shuttle, and sat with the nicest guy on the bus. He was going to be a fast one, but after we chatted about the race a bit conversation turned to our families (his wife and their baby and, of course, Paul) Anyway, we got to the race start and it was about 45 degrees; I could smell the crispness in the cold for the first time this year.
It was very cool to arrive at the start and be greeted by none other than Ann Trason. She was everything I had hoped she would be...down to earth and super friendly. She got us all set, and we had 30 minutes to kill. I didn't want to peel off my layers until the last minute.
We got to the start line and Carl gave us our final instructions. He said that the first section was going to be very nasty from the rain, but the rest of the course should dry nicely. He said not to expect a PR with a laugh...yikes, what have I gotten myself into. And off we went.
This is where things go terrible. We take off about 200 yds and start to climb. There is one girl and a stack of guys that take-off, see-ya, and then I am in the second pack. For a moment I am fine there and then realize that my legs feel like they weigh a ton. I have so much mud on the bottom of my shoes and it won't get loose. I stop and stomp my feet, but noone else seems to need to stop. They just plug along...what is wrong with me I think. I verbalize the trouble I am having to the next pack that passes me. I just keep telling myself to suck it up, but boy am I having a hard time with it. FINALLY, this nice man slows up a bit and mentions that once we hit a road at the top it should be much better. I hope he knows what he is talking about. He kind of lingers near me. I wasn't sure what for...to be nice or for my rotten mood company. At one point he says this is what the whole course is like, climbing, climbing, a short downhill, and then more climbing. I almost hit him when he says this. Seriously, I have NEVER had this bad of a start to a race, training run, or anything like it.
Sure enough, we cross the road and the terrain improves. The man is still with me, but I am not moving as well as I would like. Granted the climb is about 4 miles, but it is fairly gentle and felt I should be running it. I let the man who has run it a few times set the pace as we continue to climb. Then finally we flatten for a moment and head downward. I hop in front and he hangs on for the ride. Still my legs feel pretty heavy. From here we have some good downhill and I take advantage. Even if my legs are tired I want to test the push...in case I have to walk it in. Tim, I learn his name this section, stays with me and we chat about so much but mostly he tells me about the East Bay area. He points out the sights as we come to them, reminding me to take a look around. I need to hear what he tells me. It is also during this time that we pass the 50-milers, their course is an out-and-back. It helps me to see them. There are a few people I know, and I am thrilled to see Mike on the trail. He ran my training run in WS with me; and we ran together at TRT...we have documentary proof of that time together!! (Thanks John F. for the footage; Mike and I went on and on about how cool it was to have it!)
After the next aid station, I put one ear of my headphones in and keep cruising along. Tim and I continue to chat, but I need the background music to keep my legs moving. I am cursing myself for not tapering for this race. It could be so much more enjoyable than I am letting it be. In this section, Tim tells me that this one and the next are his favorites. He is right...they are beautiful. It was like being in an enchanted forest and because it had rained, it felt like an enchanted rain forest. We come up to the aid station before we head into the redwoods, and low and behold Graham Cooper is there to fill my water bottle. I want to stay and chat, but as we come in Tim tells me to hurry so that I don't get stuck in a group on the upcoming single track. I follow him, but his getting me moving flustered me and I need a moment. I back off and catch my breath. It is here that I get in a bit of a fight with myself. I tell myself that I didn't come all this way to be out here and walk or move slow. I ate something, and started to push. Tim was right that it was his favorite section because I never caught up to him. It is a constant climb with a small amount of downhill and some decent switchback flats. It is all moist, so I am fairly careful. I come out toward the next aid station and catch up to another guy. I was happy to be seeing people. I fill my water, and they tell me basically one good climb and then it is all downhill, kind off. I start the next climb with force. I catch another guy who tells me that when I hit a certain fork I have peaked and then should push hard from there. The sun is out and finally I am feeling good. Did it really just take me over 15 miles to warm-up?? I could feel my stride open up for the first time all day, and I realized that there might be some hope for me afterall...
Finally I wasn't having to force the good time. I was actually enjoying more than just the scenery. After the last aid station, you head down and the you open up to Lake Chabot . I wasn't expecting it, and just loved it. The race has it's last 1.75 miles on a road around the lake, but of course there were 4 climbs on this road...a very cruel joke. But, I put my head down and continued moving. In the end, I cruised in feeling better than I had all day, and thrilled that things turned around. Tim was waiting for me at the finish line...he finished 2 minutes ahead of me. And, then I come to find out he is 60 years old!!
After breakfast, I opened my suitcase and once again...even if only for a brief moment, the smell of the California trails came alive. Until the next adventure, the smell will have to remain in my thoughts. mer
Monday, October 1, 2007
By Friday evening, though, I was exhausted. I couldn't believe that I had agreed to get up to meet someone for a run at 5:30 the next morning. After an early dinner, I was in bed by 8:30.
At 5:30 the next morning, I had planned to meet one of my Tough Cookies for the first part of her run. She is training for Sacramento Marathon and had done all of her longer mileage on her own. The group would be running 8, so if we got in at least 8 she wouldn't have much to do on her own. Again, the day before 30 miles no incident, BUT not 1 mile into my run with her down I went. Blood was dripping down my leg and I was flithy. I recognized then and there that running extreme out of my pace comfort is hazardous to me...when I drag my feet I am destined to go down. I need to find a safer way to run with my running group.
So now, less than one inch from where my knees were healing I am all scratched up again.
Saturday afternoon we went to Kileen to celebrate my sister-in-laws twins' first birthday. They were very cute eating their big pieces of cake...cake was flung all over and Daisy enjoyed taking on clean-up.
Today, October 1, and it's going to be over 90 degrees outside...hopefully a few more weeks of this great weather!!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
He said that Jon Snoddy said, "Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you. When you are pissed off and angry at them, you just haven't given them enough time. Just give them a little time and they will almost always surprise and impress you."
"The Brick Walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop those who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the 'other' people."
And then the narrator said that Pausch ended on the topic of "more of us should think about what we would say if it was out last chance to say it; as he sees it, it is a gift you give not just other people but also yourself:
It is not about how to achieve your dreams. It is about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way. the karma will take care of itself...the dreams will come to you."
Words to live by!!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
One of my favorite things to do during the week! Luisa and I meet every Wednesday morning for a track workout and to let the dogs play. While it is Daisy's highlight to run the track workout with us, literally at some points, Scotch and Nick run and play with each other.
But today an incredible thing happened, as Luisa and I were running our active recovery we looked over and saw Daisy about to pounce in with Scotch and Nick. We were so shocked that we both screamed. Daisy, then, realized we saw her and ran over to us. It was the greatest.
Summer is still in the air and we had a great sweatfest this morning. I will be so sad when it is cold, but for now I will enjoy the heat!!
Yeah for Track Day!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Paul gave some good perspective yesterday when he said, in my abbreviated form, that people who are happy and create a happy environment will leave even those having a hard time feeling better.
I will strive to do that and create that environment for my friends. I would love to be a ray of sunshine for my friends...
PS...I PROMISE pics of the dogs from the track tomorrow.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I am so sorry, but because I don't have phone numbers with which to contact you with, e-mail will have to suffice as the means through which I have to share the sad news that Gina passed away Thursday evening.
Along with the email were details about her funeral from her husband of less than 3 years.
I have not seen her since I moved, and have only been in contact with her via email, but shocked me to hear this. She was 28 years old. We worked together until I moved. She was so intelligent, and actually worked on a grant with my mother. It was fun to share a common person with my mom. My mother who is terribly judgemental was actually able to get over Gina's jet black hair, pale white skin, bright red lipstick, and long pointed fingernails to appreciate her genius. Gina and I couldn't be more different, but what we shared always kept us friends:
- a love of animals. Her dog Casper came to the only birthday party I have had for Daisy. She and I always shared an appreciation for the joy a pet can bring to your life!
- she is the only person who ever picked at her cuticles more than I do...random thing to share, but one year we both tried to quit and failed miserably.
- Halloween is her favorite holiday, not so much mine, but we both LOVE candy corn. We shared the theory of one heavy dose of candy corn rids you of the desire for needing to eat them throughout the year. (Clea I guess I will have to eat my dose of candy corn this year for both Gina and I...crazy that you and I were just talking about it)
- desire to have our men well-put-together. She had Paul try on many many pair of eyeglasses to put him in a trendier pair. I won't even mention what he wore before. She took such pride in making sure her boyfriend, now husband, was as handsome as possible...must make engineers not look like engineers.
Anyway, update with a more cheerful note later, but for now I just wanted to take a moment to remember a lost friend...
Monday, September 10, 2007
On Labor Day, I had the joy of watching Paul have one of his best racing days to date. It wasn't so much that it was his fastest day ever it what just what he was able to do given his schedule and how busy his life is. Melissa put it perfectly: "That's AWESOME that Paul did so well at the race! It's almost unbelievable that he can balance a full time job, full time school (and be doing so well, Mike told me about his grades), a marriage, AND still somehow manage to keep in race shape. Wow. I'd say it was unbelievable instead of almostunbelievable (in that it can't be true, something must be giving), except that it's Paul we're talking about so I buy it. What a great guy you found, Mer!" He swam fair, but given that he had only done about 5 swims it was excellent, he biked great, and he ran incredible. He has this switch, which many don't, that he can drive through and almost relish in the suffering his body might be enduring to push and be so strong. It is always just incredible for me to see. Those that have seen him race hard, know what I am saying.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I have had a chance over the past two weeks to fill so many roles in my life, that I have come to realize I am happiest when I am working to fill them all.
Very selfishly I decided (with hardly a nod from Paul) to head to San Francisco to tackle my final race of the summer. I needed a good one to find some level of peace for the tough challenges I have had to face. Somehow I justified this race, by saying I would crew for my friend and a fellow trail-runner after I finished. It became such a win-win situation.
I had the race of my life on August 11th. I had been totally out of my pre-race routine, and had turned over the priority to go to the men who were racing longer than I. This allowed me to just move on instinct. I know how to plan my drop bag. I know what I am wearing, and how to plan for the final pre-race moments. And when given the chance I know how to race. I just let what my body was wanting and preparing all summer to do...run with freedom and joy. I did just that. I enjoyed every moment. I sang out-loud as I descended, and I smiled as I climbed. I shared miles with all of my friends: Luisa and Steph got the first 8 miles, Catherine and Bryan shared the climb with me to mile 22, Clea got the ridge on the way out, Paul brought me on the way back (what I considered the most important section of the race) and boy did he push me, I kept the downhill from Pan Toll to Muir Beach to myself...which actually turned out to be my best moment of the race, descending to Legacy and singing feeling the blessing all the way down. (I knew the day was a gift and was lifted by the spirit of it all; it was a very spiritual descent that I continue to have a hard time putting into words) I shared the most difficult climb of the day with Shan because there was noone that could pull me uphill better than her. I thought about how hard she is working and wanted to share every minute of the last hard climb with her...thanks for pulling me up. I came through the final aid station with my dream in front of me; I needed to move to break 10 hours. I thought about someone who has become my "email" friend, Jamie, and what she must have mustered to get to the finish at Badwater and I pushed. She was injured and continued to climb; I felt great and had no excuse. I pushed and pushed and when I crested the top I ran as fast as my body and legs would go to my very favorite: Avril! I sprinted ALL the way to finish to Julie standing at the finish. She could tell by the smile on my face that I had the day I had been wanting for. It was amazing...9:55:12, 3rd woman, 13th overall!!
Was it being out of my routine and having to let my instinct take over; was it sharing this day with everyone I love; or was it just a freak occasion. Whatever it was to be I took it and still savor it!
As soon as I changed and got some soup; I was ready to work. The guy I had met at Miwok, Steve, and had silently pulled me on the ridge was tackling the 100. So when he came in from the first loop. I helped fill his bottles, get him soup, and try to get him moving out of the aid station. He was having a grand time visiting with everyone around...and eventually knew he needed to move on. Although I didn't see him again I heard he had a great finish. I am very happy for him!!
Soon after, Stuart and Henry came through. I was ready to work. I got them soup, and started to help them at the drop bag site. It was quite cold at the beach and the winds were kicking up a good breeze. I quickly moved their bags and them to the car so that they could change and move on without getting chilled. This process took longer than I would have liked but they left in good spirits and so I was happy for the time taken. My plan was to deliver them a "real" dinner at the next aid station. Both of their weights were down and I wanted to make sure they were eating well. I met up with them 11 miles, and more hours than I would have liked later. Henry was in great spirits, but Stuart was feeling very cold, tired, and low. Again, I sat him in the car to eat. He was expressing to me all that was going wrong, to which I replied, "are you here to have fun, or are you here to finish?" He told me that he was there to finish, so I kicked him out of the car and told both that I would see them at mile 75 with breakfast in tow.
At mile 75, they came in with very little time to spare before the final cut-off. I was concerned. Again, Henry was in good spirits, but Stuart came in and said he was done. I needed to get Henry moving out quickly, so I looked at Stuart and told him that if he wanted to stop that he needed to talk to Wendell, the RD. I wasn't going to make the decision or break the news for him. Henry looked at me and was disheartened with Stuart's decision. I asked Henry what he wanted to do. He said he didn't know. I told him to walk away from the aid station and make his decision. He walked over to the car, changed his shirt, filled his bottles, and told me to meet him at the next aid station. He was invigorated by owning this fantastic decision to keep going. As I took Stuart back to the room he explained that he would hav e never made it because he wasn't going to the restroom, was drinking a surprising amount, and his legs were completely shot from the difficulty of the course...he is a flatlander afterall. I did what I could to make him feel supported.
We headed over to the next aid station to meet up with Henry. When he arrived he wanted to be done. I explained to him that it would be better for him to fight until the clock ran out, then just throw in the towel. Again, I sent him away to make his own decision...I told him he had two minutes and that I would be in the car waiting. Again, I saw him fill up his water bottles. I ran over to him, and he threw me his gloves and told me to meet him at the next aid station...and for the first time in many hours he ran off. It was just incredible.
I decided that the only way he would have a real shot was if I joined him for the last 9 miles. I knew he had been on his own for a long time and that it would be so much easier for him to speed up if we were chatting away. Stuart said that he would take over the driving. Although I couldn't believe I was doing this after I had raced and been up all night, I put on my running clothes to get ready to head out. When Henry came in, he didn't look great but I told him to head out and I would go with him. I caught up to him, and he was having issues other than the clock that was doomed to run out of time. He decided it was safest to call it at day. At mile 91 with no time left, Henry's race came to an end. He showed more heart and will in those last miles, and it was awesome to be part of.
As we were eating our final meal before travelling home, we visited about the weekend. We talked about the difference in my crewing for him at his first 100 finish and my tone this time around. (I was a crazy hyper, intense, and overwhelming crew and pacer...I am surprised he ever forgave me for my behavior) As I have been part of more and more people's races and have done my own, I have come to the realize the importance of calm and ownership. If I remain calm and collected as crew my runners will take the cue as everything is great. I don't have to be hyped-up to have them take care of what they need and get them on their way. I also have come to realize that this is not my race when I am crewing. Decisions have to be made and owned by the runner. I knew their goals, and left it to them to make final decisions. I was paid the most wonderful compliment regarding my crewing style from Stuart:
"You were perfect for crewing! You "thought" for us both, anticipated our needs, yet challenged us to make our own decisions. That was the perfect balance between being too passive and too pushy." Ok, I wasn't perfect, but he was very kind. Although they didn't finish, I was there for them and hopefully gave them exactly what they needed...who could say no to: avocado sandwiches, IN and OUT burgers, Sausage biscuits, and Lattes. (By the way, you too run 100 miles and these foods can be part of your diet)
I barely had time to let the dust settle from that trip, and Paul and I took off to the Smokey Mountains to spend a long weekend with my parents to celebrate their 40th anniversary and our 3rd, which are on the same day. When Paul and I were choosing the date to get married I figured if the date has worked for my parents for so long, it would be perfect for us.
After a very long travel day, our connecting flight was delayed for 6 hours, we entered what Paul ended up terming, "Eden." We stayed in the beautiful haven of Blackerry Farms outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. It was complete Nirvana for days. It is where we learned, "Yes is the answer...what is the question." So many gifts came from our trip:
- a wonderful amount of time spent with my husband
My best moments and days over the past few weeks have come from thinking a little less about myself, and a little more about those I care about. It was in turning my pre-race priorities over to others that I had the race of my life; it was in giving to others when they needed it most that I could cherish my time out on the race course. It was in creating what my husband and I needed as a couple that we could cherish a real vacation, and it was in letting go that I could fully enjoy my time with my family.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
We woke up VERY early this morning to head to San Marcos for Jack's Generic Triathlon. Since I wasn't racing, I planned to go for a bike ride pre-race and just help out however needed while Paul raced. Before I headed out on the bike the guys in charge asked me to help with bike SAG. This consists of changing tires for people, doing minor bike repair, and getting help quickly if something happens on the bike course....first and foremost it is safety, but really it is mostly a catering service :)
I went for a fantastic hour bike ride on the course, and then changed and got ready for my duty. First thing was to give Paul his split from the few people infront of him. He would be finished and hanging out by time I finished my job. I took off and not 800meters from the transition area did I come up to a guy with a flat. I asked, "Do you have everything you need?" He said, "I have no idea, I have never done this before." I hopped out of the car, took his tire off, and changed it. Off he went. Then I drove maybe 200meters more, and there was a guy sitting at the top of the first climb. I pulled over and went over to him. "Are you ok?" He said he was light-headed from the climb. I helped him pour water on his head and cooldown a bit. Then a girl came riding up to me. "I think I might have a flat." I felt her tire...and she said. "Or maybe I didn't air it up this morning." I grabbed my pump and pumped up her tires which were both extremely low. Off she went, and the guy got up and headed on his way, as well.
I continued on down the road...pumping up many tires (about 5 more), and changed 2 more. Although I must admit that the next two were actually prepared, and just accepted my help for speed-sake. I finally got onto the main road I was supposed to be keeping an eye on. As I got to the end of the road I came up to a guy who had very nice race wheels on and had a flat. I asked if he had a spare. He said, "It's a sprint race. I figured if I flatted I would just quit." As we were discussing this matter, the lone wheelchair athlete came over to me and said he had a flat. He did...there was a wire sticking out from his tire. He walked me through what needed to be done to remove his tire: prop up the chair and take the wheel off. Well I wasn't really prepared for this... Without much deep thought I went back to the car and got our cooler. It was the perfect prop. I took his wheel off and started to remove the tube. I didn't have a spare for him, either did he, and I didn't have a patch. What I found was tape in the car and figured I would just tape the tube, and follow him to make sure he could continue safely. In the meantime, the other SAG approached and they had a spare for the chair. We got him all set and on his way. (I will give him a ton of credit in that he did have a cellphone, and immediately called his family that was waiting in transition just in case they needed to help)
After a few more people to help, I headed back to help serve up food and socialize. It was really a ton of fun.
Anyway, my point...
I am by no means a cyclist. BUT, before I even spent much time cycling I learned about taking care of my bike and changing flats. In my first long distance duathlon I got 3 flats and only had to stop after the 3rd because I had run out of spares. During a 1/2 Ironman it was just pouring buckets and I got a flat on my race wheel. Again, I changed it (with a little help) because I was carrying a spare. Yes, it took time but I just thought that was part of the deal. And finally, to brag on my husband, during a sprint tri last year he got a flat on the bike, changed it, and still won the race. Now, of course, that is not normal...but he never would have not changed a flat during a race.
Now as I do ultramarathons, I feel the same applies. As I am packing my drop bags, and advice I have always been given is to prepare for what can happen. (Better to have and not need, then need and not have) Yes, you may have a perfect day and not need any of that stuff...but chances are you are going to wish and want whatever it is to solve a token issue that arises. It is in that detailed preparation you can calmly face whatever comes your way.
I was so happy to be able to help so many people today, but it was fun to reflect on different skills people choose to have before endeavoring on an adventure. I'll leave it as a good opportunity for me to enhance my tire changing skills...just call me the pit crew!
Saturday, August 4, 2007
- The sun is finally shining and summer is in full force! I am in my glory in the heat. I wait all winter for the sun to shine and the weather to be just downright hot!! It makes everything you do a little tougher, and you feel so much better when you accomplish it strong.
- I have been sharing my runs with my closest of friends, which is such a treat. Luisa and I have finally nailed down our training schedule and hit the track on Wednesdays and do a hilly long run on Fridays. On Wednesday mornings we meet at the track with our dogs in tow. They get to enjoy the wonders of freedom and friendship, while we explore our speed and pain threshold. Scotch and Daisy get so excited to see one another, and Nick just wants to play. I will take pictures of them this coming Wednesday to post. For the Friday runs I have to admit that Stephanie and I started these runs a few months back in her wonderful support of my WS training. But now they have taken a different turn. I pick a good solid hilly run and off we go. Steph climbs like a champ, and they let me set a slightly too aggressive pace. All along we laugh, we visit, and we suffer just a little. We are going to try to continue these every week, which really excites me!!
- Today Luisa and I met up with Clea for the last 8 of her 15-miler. I was feeling quite good, but Luisa was feeling yesterday's run. Clea was being positively neutral in the pace. It was fun, not only to spend time with the two of them, but also to have the two of them get to know eachother better. I think it is such a gift when friends from different circles can come together and enjoy eachother's company!! I think that Steph and Luisa are going to run without me next week when I am out of town, and that just thrills me!
- On the other side of my life, Paul and I got to have dinner together on Thursday night. This is the first evening we had a chance to sit down together in over a week. Between school, work, and sleep imbetween we just have not seen eachother. It was wonderful to talk and catch-up in person. We needed it, and honestly I was really missing him. Soon enough we will see a break, and have more time with eachother. It will be very nice!
Again, all and all a fantastic week! I look forward to many more to come :)
Side Note to my last post: Olga makes a wonderful point. I think we all start blogs, keeping journals, writing down thoughts with an initial intent. Oftentimes, that does change, evolve, mold into something else..maybe wonderfully unexpected and even not as intended. At the end of the day, it is our own evolution. By putting it out there, we risk judgement....I guess that is not what I am here to do, so maybe I have mistakenly read too closely. I will work to read with the intent to enjoy others accomplishments and happiness in them, share what my friends want to say, and learn from what is written.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Then we talked about we have seen some people almost tranform their personality in their blog...to almost use it as a forum to pat themselves on the back or talk about how great they are. We thought that those are pretty funny because the self-absorption begins with the title.
What I have decided is my favorite type of blog is one that just gives me a brief glimpse to my friends' lives and what they are thinking. It helps me know when someone is having a good or bad day and so often I follow-up the read with an email to them to check and make sure all is ok. I love to read the light-hearted moments in their lives; it keeps me close to them even when I don't hear from them regularly. It has actually brought me closer to people I may never have been, but in their blog I see a side of them I am very fond of and want to share.
On a side note to this I have to say that nothing quite beats the emails or time I share with all of my friends...especially those that don't keep blogs.
Now, unlike David/Dave, I am not going to start blog-hopping...I just am not that interested I must say. But, I will continue to read on and glimpse in...the funny, the happy, the busy, and even the self-absorbed. Isn't that why we write??
Saturday, July 14, 2007
It was that first summer that I found my Austin family...I just didn't totally remember that until today. It was Sundays at Bull Creek with Henry, Mike, Jim and sometimes Robert and Diana....and of course Joe with an appearance or two. It was Thursday evenings at Ladera with Paul, Joe, Joyce once, and even their kids. Joe was there to teach Paul and I how to run downhill like we meant it. Then it was oh so many runs with Shan on every trail, and up and down Jester. Little by little I met oh so many more of this group, and always felt a part of it. I was always included, and always enjoyed my time with them. But all of this became so much more than running to me, they became my extended family.
As time has gone on in Austin, and our life has settled, I find that I do so many more runs on my own and spend so much less time with people I used to make time for...until this past week.
You may not always be so close to your family, but when they hurt or need you...you are there. That is what I tried to do this week and the gift actually came back to me ten-fold. A week ago Friday in a terrible tragedy, one of our friends and fellow trailrunners died on the trail. We all went out and aided Search and Rescue last Sunday, and one of our friends and fellow trailrunners found him in the debris on the trail. Words cannot fully describe the loss or the details of being part of that, but my friends who found him gave the greatest gift of speedy closure to his daughter and the rest of his family.
I felt so helpless. I didn't know this man very well, except for brief encounters on Saturday mornings on the trail. But what I knew what that my friends, people who had welcomed me into their family, were in such pain. I just wanted to make it better.
One of our club members decided to set up a memorial run for this morning, and his family set up a memorial service last night. Both took place on the trail. I decided the best thing I could do would be to be there to help. I ended up being the recipient of this gift.
The memorial service was wonderful, and his daughter's words about her father will be in my heart forever. With such passion she spoke of the parallel of the force of nature and the wonderful man her father was. She has such incredible strength. After the service it was so great to be there to share hugs with everyone, and talk about what a great person he was.
And then this morning...I woke up very early to meet Robert and Diana. We were going to tie flowers to the trail intersections to lead people to the site where he had been found...his final resting place. We headed out in the dark with arm-loads of stuff. We tied flowers to trees and fences so that any and all could find there way. Robert took me all the way to the site before I headed back. I found that I could hardly stand there amongst the debris. It was a harder location to be at than I thought it would be. I, then, ran back quickly to help greet people, tell them where to go on the trail, and say a few words before we headed off. I had been so composed up until that point, but got a bit choked up as I spoke, and said:
Before we depart on the Memorial Run, I would like to say a few words. I am not here as one of his closest friends. I knew him only by the brief hug, hello, and quick update on Saturday mornings we would exchange as we passed each other either at our cars or on the trail. As we run today, let us remember a man who leaves a legacy to strive for: honor, grace, dedication, care, and kindness. And may the canopy of trees that line the trail of the Greenbelt emit his spirit forever.
I described the trail and off we went. It was just amazing...his family, co-workers, fellow runners, and even people who hardly knew him came to join. We ran, we walked, we stumbled, and we remembered.
I arrived at the fence to turn in to where he was resting and I stopped. I couldn't go back in there. I waited with Mike for people to come out and we helped them turn back. Mike and I ran and caught up...it had been over a year since we had run together.
When we got back I spent time with each and every person I knew and didn't know very well. It was so strange... so many people came up to me to thank me for helping. They told me how much this short walk meant to them, and words I will never forget are those spoken by his daughter. She said, "Thank you. What you did was so important for us all."
What I realized was that all of this was so important to me, as well. I was able to offer some help and healing to my family. I was able to be there when I was needed, and not just when it was good for me. For this I must thank our lost friend...his legacy I will keep close to my heart.
If only we can all strive to have the things said about us that were said about him...I know I will. I will strive to have the smile on my face read kindness. I will strive to include everyone, so that all can feel like they are my friends and that I am not just part of closed circle. And I will move forward with determination to reach my goals!!
Monday, July 2, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Here is the dream:
- training hard
- staying healthy
- staying positive, as often as possible
- spending my last few days of taper getting positive vibes from those closest to me
- envisioning that run around the track at Placer High School on Sunday!!
In my dreams, I couldn't have asked for more in my days of taper...
- ran with friends (Friday runs have been the BEST, and Karen thanks for having my same schedule and enduring whichever route I pick!!)
- Daisy had her first post-surgery long run...my last trail run before the race. She ran 7 miles effortlessly and healthy!!
- ran with Daisy, her boyfriends, and one of my closest friend's Luisa!!
- surprised my dad and took a trip home for Father's Day... and got to spend time with my 93-yr-old grandfather. He is enough to inspire me to the finish-line!
- went to see Catherine, her new house, and her super adorable son....he was seriously entertaining
- had my favorite meals at my favorite restaurants in both Houston and Austin
- took a road-trip with Paul to Houston and enjoyed having him spend time riding with friends
and as if that wasn't enough...
- have shared the most wonderful email conversations with friends that have only been so supportive to me during this journey.
- and have received the most incredible inspiring notes from friends...I have them all packed!!
Having such a rich and FULL week of joy, love, friendship, health, and fulfillment will just make Saturday/Sunday that much more powerful. I will share my journey with each of the people who make my life richer everyday. To everyone who goes out of their way to be a positive light in my life: you will run with me; you will send me power; you will feel what I feel; and you will be part of my dream.
Off I go...to dream!
So, in all of the irony of the power of my wonderful husband...on 6/23/06 he have me a card that sits on my desk that reads:
If you can DREAM it, You can do it!
He wrote inside:
"You've Dreamed it. Now Go and Do It!!"
As I was finishing this post, I looked over and saw the card...amazing!