Sunday, October 25, 2009

A 5k, Chic Time and a Monster Dash

The school week ended with a math and a physics test and the weekend began with my first cross country 5k with the team.  It was time.  We left the campus at 7am, Saturday morning, and I was able to watch the sunrise on the way.  Have I mentioned what a beautiful place we live in?  A huge grin found comfort on my face early in the drive and I couldn't help but let it stay. 

We got to the race, and before I knew it, it was time to start. We got a pep talk from the coaches, had a huddle, and then the gun went off.

My lungs were really angry with me most of the race. More than anything, that's where I notice the biggest deficit; my cardiovascular fitness.  My body can go faster but my lungs are screaming, "STOP!" As I ran, I sounded like a poorly tuned musical instrument that needed to be put out of it's misery: a trumpet being played by someone with emphysema.  The girls around me were probably wondering what was wrong with me.  "It's okay ladies, just leap over me if I crumple to the ground!"  However, I achieved my goal of improving my time from last week, and took 1:10 off.   I feel like I've discovered a new side to running that is really FUN! I like playing this game.  My official time was 21:48.  The number is getting smaller, and it's feeling, I'm just going to continue to focus on that.  Here's a super picture of our team.  I was going to crop it, but I just couldn't do it.  Some things just need to be left the way they are. Good stuff.

I finished off the day with a long overdue dinner in the company of good friends.  A double feature and a sleepover followed...sans the lingerie pillow fights.  We woke up early this morning for the Spokane Swifts Monster Dash 5k (for adults and kids alike with a Halloween theme).  There's something powerful about being amongst a bunch of badass women in tutus.  We arrived at Manito park at 6:45am to set up, and continued to freeze our a$$es off for the rest of the day but it was worth every shiver.  Amazing day.  Stay tuned for photos on the Swifts website

Adrianne and I ended up being the "sweepers" on the course which worked out well, since I'm quite familiar with pulling up the rear these days.  Here we are out on the course, we asked some spice girls (as in salt, pepper and paprika) who didn't seem to be in a hurry, to take our picture. And for the record, we returned the favor to our photographers by taking their picture as well.

I was struck today by how many remarkable, strong, encouraging, positive women I have in my life.  I just want to acknowledge the women I spent the day with today, and all the supportive friends I've been fortunate enough to have in my life along the way.  I'm aware of what a gift it is, and I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I didn't die

Today I ran my first 5k since February.  I am finally back and running!  Considering my current state of fitness with my cross country coach this week, we decided it'd be better for me to run a random, local 5k before doing a team race.  And today was the day.

Let me start by saying, it's really nice to be racing again.  Regardless of how much fitness and speed I've lost or how much work is ahead of me, I loved getting up this morning, knowing there was a race on the docket. Racing is my passion and it brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction and motivation, in all aspects of my life.  And I've missed having the physical ability to go out and just much so, that I haven't really felt like myself in these past months.  I am incredibly grateful that I got to go give it what I had today, and especially excited to say, my knee felt PERFECT!!

There's not much to say about a 5k, other than, "ouch".  Because this was my first race in a while, I decided that although I was going to wear my watch, I was not going to look at my time or heart rate and just go on feel.  This was a great idea, although it's particularly sad when you come around for your second lap, thinking it's time to finish.  I came around the corner looking towards the finish line and saw the clock. I quickly realized, no matter how convinced I was that I had only one working lung and was seeing the light of God calling me home,  I hadn't run a 13 minute 5k.  So, I headed out on my third and final lap a bit discouraged and a touch slower.  There's always an upside though...I could have come screaming through the finish line, not looking at the clock--throwing my hands in the air screaming "ya baby!!".  I like to point out that things could always be worse.  Yes, I am grateful for these little things.

Now, I'll talk about my time.  Well folks, I ran this cross country course in a whopping 22:58 today.  Yes, that's right.  The fun little detail about this particular pace (7:23/mi) is that I actually ran my last half marathon (on a hilly course) at a pace of 7:22/mile, one year ago, after my Lupus diagnosis.  Shelby tells me I should not, and cannot, compare where I was then, to where I am now.  She's little, but she's wise, and she knows some things about me...well, maybe a lot of things. So, I'm listening.

There it is in print.  My baseline, my starting point.  I am grateful for a healthy, working body that allows me to run pain free.  I've been patient but now it's time.  And what I'll focus on, is that it only gets better from here.  At this point, all I've got is a working body and a motivated mind. The slate has been wiped clean and I've got some goals, not based on the past but based on what I want in the future.  And I have no doubt that I'll get there.  It's just going to take some time, hard work and a heaping dose of patience.  Game on.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Introducing: Miss Shelby Madden

So, ya'all have seen Shelby all over my blog.  As embarrassed as she'll be, I felt it necessary for a somewhat formal introduction.

I met Shelby when I was about 18.  She loaned me the money to do my first skydive.  From there, we became room mates and spent a couple of years jumping out of airplanes together and working at the drop zone out in Perris Valley, California.  Since then, we've encouraged each other to do ALL kinds of things.  I just happened to rope her into participating in triathlon.  But with Shelby, it doesn't take much to get her going on something.

Now for the reason I'm writing this little blurb.  Shelby has taken on a huge challenge and she has started blogging about it. Read it.  At the very least, you will be entertained.  But I'm going to bet, you'll be inspired.  There's so much I want to write about regarding how, where and when she started, what she has faced and the incredible strength and perseverance she possesses.  But, it's her story.  So, I'll let her tell it...for now.   But I might just pipe in if she forgets to mention something....

Monday, October 5, 2009

There's always an upside to change

Well, Fall is here and the Cross Country season is far underway.  I have missed the first 2 races because on the second day of school I seem to have contracted a nasty flu bug that I'm still recovering from 2 weeks later.  On the upside, I am starting to feel human again, I didn't miss one day of school and my boys didn't get sick.  I am surely grateful for that.  Below is our team.  I am second from the right.  I giggle every time I look at it.  We were supposed to look like we were on the starting line, ready for the gun to go off but I think we just ended up looking like we're all holding kitchen utensils.  However dorky our team photo is, this is a very talented group of young ladies and I am honored to call them my teammates.

I woke up early this morning to ride on the trainer before school and  I watched the sun rise out my window as I did so.  Often, I have these moments in life when I'm completely overwhelmed by the greatness of life.  This morning, while watching the sunrise as I sweat my rear off while riding my beautiful, orange Trek inside a cozy home, I had one of those moments.  I love my life! I was able to run today as well and tomorrow I'll get my butt back in the pool. I may have a different kind of "feeling" about my swim workout but I'll give it a good Tinkerbell try.  At least the folks at the Y will be entertained.  Moving onward!!

I'll leave you with a few great quotes:

 "The trick is in what one emphasizes, we can make ourselves miserable or make ourselves strong, the work is the same" Carlos Castoneda.

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing to do.  But to hold it together when everyone would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength" Author Unknown.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, it is the one most responsive to change".  Author unknown (often misquoted as Darwin).

If you can roll with the punches, find that "nugget of gold" in even the most dire of situations, and have gratitude for the journey no matter what it brings, I believe you can't help but be truly happy.