Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us

Deena Kastor

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not the end of the World

"Running is real and relatively simple....but it ain't easy"  Mark Will-Weber

Yesterday we decided to cancel the event in April. I have an injury that is not going to heal in time for me to run. For several weeks now I kept hoping that everything was going to work out and that this was just a small glitch in this whole process. But it turned out to be more than that and although I am extremely disappointed, there are many things I have enjoyed throughout this journey.

I have been running for almost fifteen years and after awhile it just became more of a habit than a passion. I felt like I had to run because I was a runner-which made it alot less enjoyable. But training for this event really brought back my deep love for the sport. It felt as if I transcended from being "a runner" to actually become "running". As difficult as it is to explain, I am sure there are many of you who understand what I am talking about. I have read stories of people who climb to the summit of Mt. Everest and being unable to describe how or what they felt. Sometimes its the same with running.

The support I received and continue to receive from family, friends, and co-workers has been incredible. I have enjoyed sharing my small triumphs along the way as I gradually increased my mileage each week. This is going to start sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech but really, I am so thankful that my husband was there for me at every long run-whether he was bringing me water or just checking to make sure I was still alive. I'm sure he is a little relieved  by the fact that we won't have to eat so much pasta for a while:)

And I have really enjoyed writing this blog. Some people have told me that I make them laugh. That is good for me to hear and I hope I can continue to do that in some way. I don't know, maybe I'll write a book some day.

So, I have had some great runs, alot of time to myself. I learned how to pee and run at the same time-not something everyone needs to know how to do but believe me, it was necessary at the time. I know my body, and I know its ability to heal itself over time. It won't be long before I'm running again. At this point I am not sure whether I will continue with this blog. I will give it some thought.

More importantly, I have not forgotten the reason we began this journey. I was running to support child abuse awareness and prevention. I will continue my work towards reducing the number of deaths we have in the U.S. from child abuse. Maybe in the future there wouldn't be any reason to run four marathons unless it was just for fun.

Take care everyone......and run a few extra miles for me ok? :)))



Monday, January 24, 2011

Your ride is here

A few weeks ago I ran my first back to back 20 milers and it  went surprisingly well. The second run was actually ten minutes faster than the first. I even felt like I could have run another 20 on the third day but that would have been too much mileage to add at this point. The following weekend I ran one 25 miler and that went great as well. I was tempted to run another 1.2 miles to make it a marathon but I held back.

So far the most difficult part of these long runs is not having someone to run with. Actually, there are people to run with, I just need to break out of my anti-social shell and ask someone to join me. Normally I enjoy the time to myself but I have added so many more miles now and I have  spent a fair amount of time talking to myself.

Sometimes I talk to my sister Alisha. She is planning to run ten miles each day with me in April and I am so excited for that. She has four young kids and a full time career in law enforcement so I know it could not have been easy to find a way to take time off. I hope someday I can do something for her in return. I am confident that it will not involve snakes because she is just about as afraid of them as me.

We are very close and I think she knows just about everthing there is to know about me. Some people have said we look alike but we don't see that. We probably have some of the same mannerisms or facial expressions. I think  some of our most memorable times together were from when we shared an apartment together in our early twenties. Everything was new to us right down to filling out the paperwork for a rental agreement and getting a phone hooked up. Our only transportation at the time was unfortunately, a bike. We both worked at the same grocery store which was less than two miles from our place. The tricky part was bringing groceries home. And on the nights when only one of us worked the other would ride "the bike" to the store to "pick up" the other. So, if it was your night to work you got "a ride" home. It was a great workout for both. Either you were building strengh in your legs from the extra weight on the front of the bike, or you practiced your balancing skills by keeping yourself from falling off the handle bars. We will never forget our apartment manager showing us our parking space and saying, "Now don't go squealin' yer tires".  No chance of that happening.

There was a time when she tried to get me to run with her and I would do my best to avoid it everytime. Then at some point, about fifteen years ago I just decided I wanted to be a runner and ran around the block. That was pretty much all it took. The first race I participated in was a five-miler in the small town we lived in. Alisha ran the race as well. We didn't really train for this run. If I remember correctly, we ran five miles the night before just to see if we could run five miles. Then, without  a car (we didnt' have furniture either) we had to walk three miles just to get to the start of the race.  But we both did very well and placed in our age group. I've been running ever since.

I have plenty of stories to tell you all about my life experiences with Alisha. Maybe next time I will tell you the "Carrot Cake" story. She might not remember that one but I do. Time and memories with siblings is diffferent than that with anyone else isn't it? They seem to know just when to call or write. They know what to say when you are going through tough times. Alisha and I have some kind of invisible-energy-connection- like thing where we can read each other's mind from thousands of miles away. I am sure there are many of you who have the same experience.

I wish you all well and I hope that your life is moving in the right direction. I know that sometimes we want life to move much faster than it does, especially when we see great things ahead. But I know from experience that often our only means of transportation forces us to take our time and carry some extra weight. The pedals are harder to push. However, it all seems worth it in the end. Before long you will be cruising along with only memories of that time.....just don't go "squealin' yer tires".



Friday, January 7, 2011

Out of order

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and had a wonderful time with friends and family. The start of a new year can be a very exciting time. I know for many people it is a time to begin the work towards accomplishing a new goal and look forward to the months ahead with hope and possibly a bit of doubt. For others the new year might be a dreaded thing. And for some, it is a time to just plain start over.

 It has been a while since my last post and I have run quite a bit in the last few weeks. Although I just watched a documentary about three men who decided to run across the Sahara Desert (4,000+ miles) over a period of three months, running up to 60+ miles each day. Now that is quite a bit of running. One of my favorite quotes from the film went something like this: "If you don't want excitement in your life, just run a marathon". Well if you need to be running in 100+ degree weather with a constant stream of sand in your shoes, mouth, nose, and eyes, wondering just how hostile the next border crossing will be (land mines?), just to be excited then I say, "Go for it!" Most healthy-minded people are perfectly content and even get excited to run one marathon at a time.Yes, I know what you are thinking.....but at least I'm not running in a desert! That would be crazy. There could be snakes!

My body seems to be changing a little. I still have my Fred Flinstone calves though, only they are getting bigger. The other day I put on some white knee high socks, thinking I was going to wear a short skirt with them. When I looked in the mirror my calves looked more like those of a bulky rugby player who happens to play the bagpipes on weekends for weddings and other community events. Not the look I was going for.

For those of you who know me well have probably heard me complain about my calves before and know that if I could change anything about my body it would be these two things. I suppose we all have something we wish could be different about our body. For many women I know its  hips, thighs and boobs. For men, I don't know. I guess I never hear of men sitting around the table discussing the tragedy of various body parts or talking about how they are never eating again because the jeans they wore at age fifteen no longer make it past their knees. Its not just what our bodies look like though its what they are capable of doing-or not doing. As we age our bodies begin to respond by slowing down and sometimes malfunctioning. Everyone gets here one way or another. Really its proof of life-the way we grow and change and adapt to our environment with our "new" body. Maybe its part of the meaning of life. I think I've been searching for that for thirty-five years now so I'm only guessing. The problem is that sometimes the things that give our life meaning are the things we aren't able to do anymore because

But we humans are quite awesome that way. We tend to find meaning in everything. And so we move on and find new ways to move our bodies, taste different foods, mend broken friendships, travel to exotic countries, and begin to accept ourselves for who we are-yet again.

I will try not to let so much time go before I write again. This weekend I will be running my first back-to-back 20-milers. Not alot for the weird desert people but its enough for me :) I wish you all well and good luck to those who are in the beginning phases of a new journey.