Friday, September 28, 2007

Life Is Beautiful

I saw Roberto Benigni's movie for the first time last weekend and I cried. Incidentally, this is becoming a more frequent part of my movie watching experience. While I didn't cry when I came across this story, it still resonated with me. If you know me, you know that I love NYC. I don't know what it is about certain places that produce that spontaneous internal response. Last weekend, it was Life Is Beautiful, today, it was Raul's story and yesterday, it was pictures of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. My heart ached when I saw that familiar park. In part, it's about a sense of belonging. Guido, Dora, and Giosue belonged together. Philly was the first city I connected with as an adult. And everyone belongs in NYC, it is a true melting pot.

Anyway, if you have any affinity for NYC, I think you would appreciate this account of one person's random Wednesday night.

Don't Tell My Coach...

because I don't think ice cream for dinner is part of the approved marathon training diet. But it was yummy. And I'm not sorry. Or feeling guilty. Sometimes a girl just needs ice cream for dinner.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

22.

"It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse." Ann Trason

I fully understand that quote and I found it helpful to remind myself of it throughout the course. It's good to know it will hurt. What will hurt? Everything will hurt. But the pain's not going away and you still have mileage left to complete so get over it. Those are some of the things than went through my mind today. Other thoughts included: "I can do this," "I will not quit," "I am strong", "Just one foot in front of the other," "Have you hit a brick wall? Aim higher and jump over it," "My only job is to endure."

Several people have asked me how I felt after completing the 22 miles. My honest answer is, I don't know. It's strange. Perhaps I'm not able to process it just yet because I'm so tired. But it mostly feels the same as ever other week where the mileage has been increased. Every time I am challenged like this, I am sore in the same exact way. There's some comfort in that but it also makes the fact that I completed 22 MILES today a bit...anticlimactic. Now, don't get me wrong, I am proud of myself and my team. I feel great about knowing that I WILL finish the Nike Women's Marathon in 4 weeks.

My body has never been worked like this before so it's been an interesting journey. Training for a marathon is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge. I had heard that before but now I've experienced it. Thank you to my family, friends and teammates who have been so encouraging over the last 4 months. I couldn't have gotten this far without you.

There are two people I'd like to mention, my dear friends, Lisa and Heidi. Lisa will be running the Beijing Marathon the same day that I am running/walking Nike and Heidi is running the NYC Marathon two weeks later. I find inspiration in these women so when you think about me, think about them, too. Good luck, ladies! We can do this!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

5 Weeks

The Nike Women's Marathon is in just 5 weeks! I can't believe it. It feels like I just started training last week but in reality, it all began 4 months ago. I'm definitely getting nervous, a theme that's likely to repeat over the coming weeks of blog entries...sorry, in advance.

Today was another 8 mile day so it wasn't too bad. The hardest part was that I did it by myself on the treadmill. I didn't know until late last night that my usual ride was out of town this weekend and I didn't have enough time to come up with a plan B. I'll be sure to have the transportation situation set up for next week because it's a long one and I will certainly need my team and I want to be there to support them, as well. So, this morning, I slept in until about 8:00 and then spent the next 45 minutes talking myself into getting on the treadmill. I used the "Pumkin Spice Latte Motivation Technique" (PSLMT) with great success. When I finished my workout, I put on a sweatshirt, (that's right, I didn't even shower) grabbed my bag, walked to Starbucks, placed my order, and sat in the window writing in my journal and sipping on the tasty treat. When I was done writing, I caught up on phone calls with family and walked home. It's a perfect day for a walk, sunny but cool. I love mornings like this.

Next Saturday, I'll need more than the PSLMT to get me through the 22 miles scheduled for that day. So, this entire week will be focused on positve thoughts. (Warning to all Kansas Citians: This means there's a good chance that I'll be talking to myself more often than usual. Do not be alarmed. Feel free to look but try not to stare, that's just embarassing.) It's going to be hard but it will also be exciting. I mean, 22 miles is no joke. I'll have to come up with something really great to celebrate. Maybe a venti latte.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fall It Must Be

There was the obvious change in the weather last week. And school buses appeared more frequently. The sight of a small boy protesting his first day of school and a heartbroken father having to physically put the scared boy onto the big yellow transportation vehicle. The first required sweatshirt. Football. All of these things suggested that fall was more than "on it's way." However, I didn't believe. That is until yesterday. Somehow, I had forgotten about this treat that accompanies my favorite season. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, fall has arrived. Welcome back, my dear friend, my dear addiction.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

And We're Back

After 2 weeks of missing team runs, I headed out at 5:30 this morning to join my team in the 8 mile run/walk. As nice as it was to be on vacation, it felt good to be back out on the trails and into a good training routine again. I missed a 20 mile run last weekend which was making me feel very behind. But I have one more long one (22 miles) before the mileage decreases and we approach marathon day so I'm trying to focus and hope that I'll be ready.

These trail runs have been a lesson in nature. I think I mentioned the roosters that accompanied my run in Houghton and the deer that came to visit during a challenging hill training course. Well, today we met a beaver swimming down the creek and later a blue heron chilling out in the middle of the same creek. I love that. We also witnessed a grown man running in a blue one-piece speedo. (It looked like a women's one piece bathing suit but on a man.) There was nothing natural about that!

I bought some socks and new running shoes after training today. Why is it so hard to decide which running shoes will be best? I'm going to try these on the treadmill this week and see what I think but it was harder than I expected. I wanted to put my foot in a shoe and say "these feel great!" No such luck. Hopefully, these will work anyway. After all, they have to take me across the finish line in just 6 weeks! Yikes.

Thank you to these lovely people who have recently made donations:

Don & Lori Chaffer
Kathy & Tom Tehee
Lisa Zeshonski


I'm off to take a nap and then party the night away at Mary's wedding. :) Congratulations, Mary & Jarod!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

From Sea to Shining Sea


Some people live in the same town their whole lives, some move every year or so, and some fall in between. I average 2 years in any one location. My sister, Melissa, moved to DC right after college and stayed there until last Tuesday morning when she got in her car to begin her cross country move. That's 8 years in the same beautiful city. I was able to join her for 2 of her 4 days on the road. That's right, just me, Melissa and the open road. It was fantastic. We drove through Kansas and Oklahoma...


the Texas Panhandle (home of Laci Scott!)...


New Mexico (this picture does not do justice to this most beautiful state)...


Arizona, which presented some of the most interesting plant life I've ever seen...


and finally, California...


and more specifically, Los Angeles, where Melissa took pictures of any sign mentioning the city while I attempted to keep us alive on the freeways of LA...


In her defense, I had one job while I wasn't driving and that was to make sure and get a picture of the "Welcome to California" sign. We were crossing and admiring the lovely Colorado River and BAM! There it was. The sign. Melissa hit my leg several times while repeating "get your camera, get your camera" or something similar. Have you ever tried to turn on a digital camera and take a quick picture? They do not respond with the speed one would hope. Here's the result...


Sad, I know. Thankfully, we had a good time otherwise and I think I've been forgiven. We met my parents and my brother, Ben, who had flown out for a visit as well. I saw my parents' new apartment and neighborhood, met some of their friends & co-workers at a party my parents hosted, experienced Ben's culinary skills first hand, spent time with extended family, and of course, went to the beach. Seeing the water is a must for every coastal visit! All in all, a great trip. Everyone should be so lucky to drive across our beautiful country and share the experience with a sister. Thanks for letting me share it with you and may LA be good to you, Melissa!