Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us

Deena Kastor

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fast Car

I will be gone for about ten days without a computer so I thought I would write something before we left. We are going on a road trip to a number of places, the Grand Canyon being one of them. I have never been there and I am very excited. I like to see proof that the unimaginable does exist and I forsee that happening when we are there. Soon we will have the car packed and our dog Max settled and be on our way. Hopefully, I will get some running in during the trip :)

Last week I was listening to some older cd's that I haven't heard in a while. One of them I will admit was straight from the 80's by Whitney Housten. I am not embarrassed at all to say that I still know the words to most of the songs on that cd. It wasn't event originally sold as a cd-it was a cassette tape.  The other was a Tracy Chapman which had the song "Fast Car" on it. Does anyone remember that song? Of course you do.....that song is unforgettable. Of all the music I listen to that song is my favorite-hands down-no exceptions.

The reason I am bringing it up is because I believe it speaks so much to what I believe to be the most important gift that anyone can be given: Hope. If you listen to the lyrics you will notice that the woman in the song continues to struggle in life but she never gives up-she has hope that life will get better.  And it does. If I hear it correctly she ends up telling her boyfriend or husband to "take your fast car and keep and driving". Well, however you interpret the song, and I am sure there are many interpretations, I think it is about continuing to have hope despite the difficulties you face in life.

I had a professor in college who once spent an entire class  session on the importance of having hope in one's life. The class was actually about how drug addiction often causes people to give up hope and therefore continue to do drugs because they feel that life is, well, hopeless. People often don't believe that they are capable of having a different life or that life is even worth living if there's nothing to hope for. Abused children and teens feel this way sometimes.  Maybe more than sometimes.

We as adults are responsible for giving hope to children and teens who have been abused.  They have to know that there is hope, that there is a way to have another life other than drugs or suicide, or even prostitution.  Maybe everyone needs a fast car to "have a feeling that I belonged", to "have a feeling I could be someone".  Ah, the 80's, they were great times weren't they?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Rough Start

Tomorrow is officially the first day of training for April.  My body feels great after the marathon last week and is ready to go. The only problem is that I have been sick with a cold for the last few days and yesterday I got tired just doing the laundry.  So I am having a bit of a rough start.  The weather is perfect for running though-the air is crisp and cool, and the sky is clear-a perfect day to get pumpkins. I might try for a few miles and see how it goes.  The odd thing about running when you are sick is that it either makes you feel better or it makes you feel worse. You just have to decide whether or not to take the risk.

I did have the opportunity to watch old re-runs of  the popular 80's show"Family Ties". Does anyone remember that one? It was one of my favorite shows growing up.  I remember waiting each week for the show to come on and loving each episode. I still do. I remember wanting to be part of their family. There was alot of laughter and noone yelled at each other or punched holes in the walls.  Some people might say that a family like that is not real-a made-for t.v. family-as if its not possible for people to get along and treat one another with respect. The Keatons definitely had their problems, some of them very serious, but there was always a strong bond, or a core sense of responsibility that held the family together. As a child I felt it wasn't possible, my family was not anything like the Keatons, but I always hoped for it.  I hoped for it to be true somewhere, for someone. I want this for kids, I want them to know that it is possible, or at least to feel that they deserve to be a Keaton.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Wet, Soggy, Gummy Bears-A runner's Delight

This weekend I ran the Portland Marathon. It was not my favorite  and also my slowest, but there were some highlights that made it worthwhile. In the past it never rains on marathon day in Portland but that was not the case yesterday. It rained and rained and rained. You would think I would have the proper clothes to run in this kind of weather by now but I don't.  But I also don't mind the rain too much, the hard part is waiting at the starting line for thirty minutes until the race begins.  It was like taking a shower in the dark with 14,999 people standing next to you.

As morbid as it sounds, something that made us all laugh was the stretcher that the EMT's were trying to move through the crowd. There was no body on it but they had a bunch of gear strapped to it with some kind of draping over it that "looked" like a body.  Not what you want to see right before you are about to run 26.2 miles. Can you  imagine what a first-timer must have thought? 

So as you know, a runner needs some kind of fuel during an event such as a marathon. Our bodies are very much like cars and can only run so far on a tank of gas before having to fill it up again.  That's what GU  and other product like it is for. Another treat that is commonly handed out at races are gummy bears. There are several reasons for this. They are easily digested, they taste good, and they are small. I always eat them. This year, because of the rain, the gummy bears were soaked with rain and just kind of slid down my throat.  No chewing necessary.  And it didn't alter the taste at all-they were delicious!

You have to have a sense of humor during a marathon  and take in the experience for what it is. Because it is not always going to go as planned and you will have moments when you are struggling and wondering why you decided to do this in the first place. I do ask myself this question sometimes. Usually around mile 14 or 15. Why do I run marathons? They aren't particulary fun, especially in the last miles when your body is telling you to stop but your mind has to override every thought of stopping and giving up. I've seen video footage of people literally crawling to the finish line because they felt that the pain of giving up was worse than the physical pain they were feeling.

It was during this time for me when I thought about the many volunteers who were standing in the rain for hours with their arms stretched out, holding these tiny cups filled with wet, soggy gummy bears.  How many people do you know who would do that for a bunch of runners? And most of these volunteers were young teens.  They gave up their sunday, which as you know is a big deal for a teen, to stand in the rain yelling, "gummy bears!, gummy bears!" Maybe we inspire them to become runners someday- but more importantly, they inspire us to reach out to others and make things possible.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why not do a can drive instead?

I realize now that I did not give much in the way of background information on myself in the first post. I guess I assumed that the only people reading this blog would be those who know me pretty well already.  Any runner reading this can conclude many things about my personality  because we all share an abundance of commonalities-many of which of unique to runners- just as cyclists do, or perhaps anyone who shares the same passion as another.  I think it would be impossible to not reveal who I am thoughout this journey, that's what journeys are about anyway right?

One thing I do think is very important to explain is the reason I chose to run marathons for our fundraiser. Why did I choose running over something like, oh I don't know....a can drinve?  Well, I was on a long run one sunday afternoon and started thinking about two things: The movie Forrest Gump-my favorite-and then I started thinking about what my running does for other people. At this point I'm not sure it does much for others.  So I thought, how do I make this happen? How can my running help others? And that is when I decided to run for child abuse prevention and education.  It is possible to inspire others through running and if we can inspire anyone to help a child, whether its through financial means or donating a book, then I will run for as long as I possibly can.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

How many GU's does it take?

I took the advice of a wonderful co-worker of mine and started a blog.  This will be my first post.  Some of you may be wondering about the title of this post and ask, "What in the world is GU?"  GU is an energy gel, made up of glucose polymers (or something like that), some salt, potassium, and other stuff.  I use it for my long runs to keep me going and to avoid having to eat food while running.  Some people find it absolutely revolting, but I could not run without it. of the primary reasons for this blog is to share with others my journey through training and ultimately accomplishing my Run 4 for Children. I plan to run four marathons in four days in order to raise money and more importantly raise awareness of child abuse in Oregon. 

Why did I decide on four marathons ? Well, to be honest it started as eight but when I told my husband he looked at me as though it had "finally happened"-his wife had truly lost it now. So, I decided on four to represent the average of four children who die each day to abuse.  The planning has begun, including a training plan for myself.  I have a long road ahead, the event will take place at the end of April 2011 and I hope to have a few readers along the way to share this adventure with. I know at times it will be physically painful and mentally draining but I know it will not compare to the agony a child must go through when they are abused by someone who is supposed to love them.  It just has to stop.