Monday, October 25, 2010
This was a tough one. I learned the following things yesterday during this marathon:
1. I don't mind running in the rain as much as I mind running in the wind.
2. You learn more about yourself on the hard days than you do on the easy days.
3. I need to work on strengthening my legs so I can STOP having IT band issues.
4. I love the leaves changing in the Fall.
5. Anything that sucks is better when you do it with friends.
6. I don't drink enough Hot Chocolate.
The weather report had been calling for wind and rain. I wasn't happy about it. Trevor ran his first marathon in wind and rain. It was miserable. He swore if he ever woke up to that kind of weather on race day, he'd stay in bed. Maybe we should have gone with that instinct?!
We got up around 5. The race didn't start until 9. This gave us plenty of time to get things together and make the 90 mile trip to Hood River. On the way there, we saw a car that had gone off the road. We pulled over and Trevor helped her. She had just spun out and was fine. Trevor got her out of her predicament and back on the road. Good deed for the day - done!
We got to the race with plenty of time. It was drizzling, but not pouring rain. It was really hard to know what to wear. The sun came out for a bit and that made it even more difficult. I finally decided to wear my short sleeved shirt, arm sleeves, visor, capri compression pants and shorts. I figured that was right in the middle of not enough and too much.
It was not raining when we started. We saw our teammate Doug, his wife Melissa (who was doing the half marathon), Koby, Wendy and few other familiar faces. The gun sounded and off we went.
I had been really excited for this run. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the changing colors. I just love it. It makes me happy.
The first few miles were a climb. We got onto a beautiful trail that went through some amazing trees. Around mile 3, the rain started. Within a few minutes, it was POURING. I laughed and it started to POUR even harder. I can't remember how long it rained, but I remember that the wind started once we hit the peak of the trail. The view of the Gorge was amazing. I tried to focus on that as much as I could...you know, so lucky to be able to do this...blah blah blah. I had two Hammer Gels and my pill pouch with Endurance Caps in the pocket of my shorts. My shorts were so wet that they started to fall down because the weight of the gels was too much. So I carried my gels until I needed them at the 3 and 4 hour mark.
We went downhill and headed into Mosier, a little town of 430 people. It was there that I had one of the best moments of the day. I saw my friend Angel, who came all the way from Portland to run a bit with me! She ran about 3 miles with me. I just love her. She is one of the only people I can run with. We run the same pace, always good conversation...she doesn't get on my nerves. So I was glad to fall into step with her for a while. Plus, she carried my gels for me!
My IT band was nagging a bit and I was hoping it was all in my mind and would work itself out and go away. Angel left me around mile 10 (she didn't really LEAVE me, she was just done running with me.) I was so happy to have had her with me.
We were on an uphill section that went on for another 2 miles or so. At the top, it leveled out and the wind starting whipping. My IT band started really bothering me and I knew this was trouble.
In April, during the Whidbey Island Marathon, my IT band started bothering me around mile 17 and I was able to make it to mile 19 before I had to start walking. Once I start walking, I don't start running again. I know that and I know I have to run until I cannot run anymore.
My concern was how early the pain was starting. Walking 13 miles was not something I wanted to do. I did it an Ironman and it took forever. I was not about to do that in the strong wind and driving rain.
We turned onto a long gravel road and things got ugly. It was all I could do to keep moving, I was trying SO hard not to walk. I shuffled along until the end of the gravel road where we made a turn to start a long downhill. This really bothered my leg and I decided to walk.
I remember seeing the mile 15 marker. I wanted to quit. I thought about quitting. I thought that this marathon didn't matter, it wasn't what we've been training for all year. I didn't want the guys to have to wait for me at the finish for hours. I didn't want to hobble for 11 more miles. I could just find someone to drive me in. I envisioned being at the finish line to see Doug and Trevor.
Trevor and I have had lots of conversations about quitting. We were actually just talking about it on the ride over to the marathon. We talked about how it may seem like the right thing, but you'll regret it forever. At this point I was thinking about that conversation and trying to convince myself that I would never regret it! I also remember Doug saying "we finish what we start". I said out loud "you are a f-ing Ironman for God's sake. Just keep going".
And so I kept going. I was walking very fast. Because the weather was so bad, I just wanted to get done as fast as I could. I ran some, until it hurt too bad to keep running and then I would walk. The rain would start and stop. The wind was blowing like crazy. Every once in a while, I would start to cry - from pain or frustration or loneliness...or a combination of those things.
This was a tough day for me, the toughest I have had in a while. I went all summer doing marathons and each one was better than the last. I was feeling confident and this one knocked me down.
I kept reminding myself that you learn more from the hard days. I was working to keep a positive attitude. I didn't want to get bogged down in negativity, but it really sucked. I wasn't having fun. Then, I came around a corner and looked into a little valley and there, amongst the evergreens was the most amazing yellow leafed tree. I looked it and smiled. "Thank you". I wouldn't be seeing that if I wasn't doing this.
I continued my walk/run and the walk became longer than the run. One thing I learned during Ironman was to focus on each mile, not to get caught up in how much was left. This was a good strategy for me on this day. I got to the point where there were 2 miles left and I was out of the hills, back onto a flat portion. I ran and it felt good. I came into town, turned and hit a steep downhill....that hurt. I walked down the hill, then came around a corner - all flat from here. I had one mile left. I started running and figured I could run the rest of the way. Flat, even road, with no slope - my leg liked that.
I ran over a little bridge and made the turn to circle the parking lot. I heard Trevor yell my name. I saw him and said many curse words. He said "I know. I finished in 4:50". I was on track for a 5:30 or a little less.
I made the final turn to the finisher's chute. I saw Doug, cheering me on, and of course, Trevor. I again said many curse words and crossed the finish line with a smile. No matter how badly it sucked, my two best guys were waiting for me at the end and that makes it all okay. 5:28...not my worst time, but certainly not my best.
I was SO glad to be done. It was a tough day for all of us. The guys had already changed into their dry clothes. We went into the tent to get some food. The spread of food was the best I have ever seen. They had a huge, heated tent. Inside that tent, they had soup and bread, plus a whole buffet of taco stuff. SO YUMMY!!!
We ate and then I started to get really cold, so we left. I changed into dry clothes, then we hit Starbucks for the best hot chocolate I have ever had.
This is a great event. I would have enjoyed it more if the weather was better and my leg didn't hurt. That made me sad. I wasn't sure what was next for this season. About mile 13 I realized that this needed to be the end of our season. Time to shift gears to the OFF season. There will still be running, just not such long distances. There will be more cross training and focus on strength training, especially for my legs. Next year I don't want to deal with this IT band pain at all.
The wheels are already turning for what next season will bring...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I have a route that I run two times a week. It goes across the street and through a neighborhood. I have probably run all or a portion of that route about 500 times. When I ran at 5 am, I liked it because the streets were well lit, no traffic and lots of houses. I like it now because it is comfortable and familiar. Its a 4 mile route that I can add on to and make any distance I want.
For some reason, I especially like this route on the last day before an event. I tend to reflect on things more. I don't know why that is, but I always look forward to that "last run". If and when we ever move from this house, I will probably cry all the way through the last run on that route.
I watch the seasons change and the years pass on this route. Right now, the leaves are changing and I love the colors. There is one lilac bush that I really love. At the first bloom in the Spring, it makes me so happy. Then, when I notice it is turning brown, I always say goodbye to it - "until next year" is what I always say.
As I was running today, I could see all the seasons....the heat of the early morning summer runs, the smell of the flowers blooming and the first mowings of the spring, the dark, wetness of the winter and the turning leaves of the fall. Last year, I ran on Christmas morning and saw the most amazing sunrise.
Everyone runs for their own reason. I find myself completely relaxed when I am running. I feel lucky that I love to exercise, that I feel most alive when I am moving my body. I know most people hate to workout. Not me, I think of how I would never see all that beauty if I wasn't out running.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I have been looking for some comfort and eating more than I should. Trail mix is healthy right, even if half of its ingredients are chocolate covered? I went through this when Wookie left us. It took a few days, then I started to feel a little better, not so utterly sad all the time.
Sunday we have a marathon to run - The Columbia Gorge Marathon. It is supposed to be the most scenic marathon in the country. Good news - its going to be windy and rainy, so not sure how that plays into the scenic part!
That will help get us back on track, or at least exhaust us! Either way, its good.
It is hard to believe that its the middle, almost the end of October. This year has sure gotten away from me.
I am finding some comfort and joy in the other animals....all 6 of them. They are all adjusting to Gus being gone, they know something is wrong, they can tell I'm sad and they seem to be giving me more love than usual - which is hard to imagine.
I guess my point is that life goes on. Its full of ups and downs, happiness and sadness. That's what makes it life. Its a good life for us, we'll get back to that soon enough. But for now, we are missing Gus. Alot.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Here it goes....
In my last post, I talked about Gus and told his story. I said that I knew the time to say goodbye was almost here. I have felt this way before, but that time I was right.
The last six months have been very difficult. Gus' diagnosis was a tough one. We knew there would be good days and bad days. We knew that it was a matter of time and we needed to focus on quality of life. The days were numbered and we had switched from trying to save Gus' life to making sure his transition from this life to the next was as comfortable and full of love as possible.
Gus had decided that the upstairs front room, my workout room, was where he felt most safe and most comfortable. The sun was best in this room and he sure got every ounce of sunlight possible out of each day. He was always laying in the sun (when it was out!). Sometimes he would lay under the desk, so we put a big blanket there for him. Sometimes he would lay in the closet and sometimes he would lay on his "hospice bed"
The hospice bed was a comfy pillow. This pillow was one that Trevor bought a few years ago. Our chiropractor had recommended it to help with Trevor's neck. It was ergonomically designed. Trevor loved this pillow, but only used it a few nights because Gus loved it too. The pillow became ergonomically INcorrect when there was a cat on it along side your head. The pillow has been on the floor next to the bed for a few years now. Trevor put it in the front room, right outside the closet for Gus. Gus loved it. He would always go back to it.
He would come out of the front room to eat and use the litter box. Sometimes he would wander into the bedroom or bathroom, but mostly he was in the front room.
Every morning I would get up and go find Gus. I would lay down with him and ask him how he was doing. How did he feel? This was a gauge for how the day would go. I would visit with him many times during the day. Then, always, at night before bed, I would find him and see how he felt.
I would tell him that if he needed me during the night, he knew where I was. I would tell him that when he was ready, he needed to let me know. There were many times that I didn't think he would make it another day. Many times I thought he wouldn't make it through the weekend. But he always perked back up. I would tell Trevor "I think he's just about ready" and Trevor would say "no, he's just upset because there is no sun" or "he's just having a bad day". He would say "I saw Gus making his Christmas list", he was convinced he would live through the end of the year.
Friday morning, when I noticed that Gus was having an issue with his back leg, I called Trevor up to see. He was quiet. We decided to see how the day progressed. I worked out that morning and Gus sat with me. When I was done, I was on the floor stretching. Gus came over and got up on my lap. I asked him if he was ready to go. He looked up at me and rubbed his face against mine. I took that as a yes. Friday night, Gus got up on the bed and slept up against my neck, my favorite place to have him. I could feel his heartbeat and his breath.
Saturday morning, I could tell he wasn't any better. I told Trevor that I thought he was ready to go and Trevor said he thought so too. I knew it would be time when Trevor agreed. This was the first time that he agreed. I called and made the appt from 6:30 that night. I figured I would lay in the sun with Gus all day long.
Trevor headed to work and I stayed home. I worked out that morning because Gus loves to workout with me. He loved it this day too - just sat and watched me. Then, when the sun started coming through the window, he wanted up there. He tried and couldn't do it, so I helped him.
I figured I would run to the store, so we would have some food in the house for after he was gone. That way we wouldn't have to do it later. I was at the store, wandering around and a wave of panic came over me. Gus had 6 hours left in his life....why was I at the grocery store? Why was I not home with him? I started crying and realized that I had to get home as soon as I could so I could be with him.
I got home and he was still sleeping in the sun. I didn't leave his side the rest of the day. As the sun moved, he wanted down onto the floor, so that is where I put him. He would get up, every now and then, and head to the litter box. He had a tough time walking and could barely hold himself up in the litter box. It was like he was telling me that it was the right time - showing me that he didn't have any fight left in him. He got up once and I watched him walk and I had a moment of peace. At this second, I knew it was the right decision. There was no more doubt. It was time.
I had told him over and over how much I loved him. The last six months were full of conversations about our life together. We would always look at me and purr when we talked about our life together. He never seemed to get tired of remembering with me.
My biggest concern was that when the time came, Gus would be scared. I didn't want that at all. I kept telling him that it would be over soon. I told him that he would soon be with Wookie, eating pizza. I told him that his tail was waiting for him. His tail was removed a few years back and I always told him that when he got to heaven, he'd have his tail again. I told him the same thing I told Wookie before he died - "we will see you again, for you it will seem like a second has passed, for us it will be a lifetime".
Trevor came home around 5 and sat with us for a bit. By this time, the sun was fading and Gus had curled up in my hair. One last time.
I knew it was time to go. Gus was laying on my sweatshirt. I told the other cats to come say goodbye. Norwyn and Daisy both came into the front room and sat down. Animals know and they surely knew that Gus was sick. I felt like they were saying goodbye and telling him that they would take care of use. I wrapped him up in my sweatshirt and carried him down to the car.
Gus always loved to ride in the car and watch the scenery. He was alert on the ride there and watched the world go by out the window. It occurred to me that we have made probably 500 trips to vet with this cat over the years. There were many times that I was worried it would be the last. This time, it really was the last.
I carried Gus into the vet. I don't know how they are able to do this...watch people say goodbye. It must be so difficult. There were lots of tears, the vet was crying, the vet tech was crying, the girls at the front desk too. It made it seem more personal and I appreciated that.
Normally, when the vet comes in the room, Gus buries his head in my arms. This time, he did not. In fact, he looked at her like "its about time" and he laid his head down. Again, I knew he was ready and I was at peace with our decision. We said we were ready and then it was over. It was so fast. I had been saying goodbye for so long and then it seemed like I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. How can that be? It was such a strange feeling. Anyone who has ever been through this knows exactly what I mean. It is the most horrible, empty feeling. Even the right decision is not an easy one.
We came home and had pizza for dinner, because we were sure that Gus and Wookie were having pizza too. Pizza was Wookie's favorite and I told him that in heaven, pizza grew like carrots in the ground and you can have it whenever you want. Surely, he would share that with Gus.
And so its over. I miss him terribly. I am tired of crying, but can't stop. I told Trevor that I don't know who I am without Gus. I can't remember who I was before him and I don't know what to do now that he is gone. We have 6 other pets and I do love every one of them, but I miss my Gussie. Every second of every day, I miss him.
We've been through it before and I know it gets easier, that it will hurt less and less as time goes on. I've said it before and I'll say it now...he was my best friend. I hate how his life ended, but I am thankful that I was able to love him. I know that he knew how much we loved him. There is no doubt in my mind that he knew and he loved us right back. He knew he was lucky. He waited for me, all those years ago. He knew I would come and that our lives would be better for knowing each other. I will never forget him.
And from one of my favorite Bon Jovi songs...."when you get to the gates and the angels sing, go to the place where the church bells ring. You know I'll come running, running to find you...."
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
It is on my right upper arm. A friend asked me why I got it on my arm. Many people get them on their calves. My issue with that is that only people behind me would see it and there usually aren't too many people behind me...
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
My favorites are in bold...133 is my favorite. I'll remember that moment for the rest of my life. (Read the whole thing, don't scroll down to 133!)
140.6 Reasons to do an Ironman:
001. Makes everything else seem so SHORT.
002. The 3 week taper before the race.
003. The 4 week recovery after the race.
004. To reach down and find strength you never knew was there.
005. As much Pizza as you can eat. (and my coach can’t say no)
006. To find out who you really are.
007. Beats watching the new Survivor, Big Brother, or anything else on TV.
008. For all the times you heard someone say "I'd do one of those ... I just can't swim."
009. Sunset in Madison.
010. Because I've told everyone I one day will be an Ironman.
011. Mike Reilly's hoarse voice still bringing people home at 11:30pm
012. The Massage Tent - anywhere.
013. My friends waiting for me at the finish line,
014. For the ones that believed
015. ...and the ones that didn't.
016. Chalk on the road.
017. Easy rides and runs the week before.
018. Finishing your last workout and smiling because you know "I'm SO ready."
019. For everyone who has ever asked you "Why?"
020. For the teachers in school who told you you'd amount to nothing and to silence the one voice inside your head that still believes that bunk
021. The view from Richter Pass (IM Canada)
022. You want to test the endurance limits of the iPod music collection in your head.
023. Creating your own, "Amazing Race."
024. Spectators looking up your name and cheering as you plod past at sunset.
025. Where else can someone ripping off your clothes in public be considered a benefit ? (Wetsuit Strip)
026. Miles in the Run
027. See the world and eat the food in each country, guilt free.
028. So you can answer "One." When people ask "How many days does that take?"
029. To wave at the scuba divers.
030. To backstroke and wave at the TV helicopter.
031. Encouraging Cards in your special needs bags.
032. Encouraging Cards in your T1 and T2 bags.
033. Chicken broth and coke, ultimate power cocktail
034. Chicken broth (Yes - it's worth 2 by itself)
035. To one day show your child what he or she can do...and at an earlier age than you.
036. The view from Lake CDA. (Ironman Coeur D Alene)
037. One step further to your dream.
038. Because I gave up ice cream to do this!!!!!!!!
039. Driving the bike course in a caravan of friends, again and again.
040. Valet Parking and Catering ... all day long.
041. You might get on TV
042. To gain the confidence to do anything.
043. To have the confidence to say yes or to say no.
044. Takes as long as having a baby, nearly as satisfying, only without the morning sickness and the 21 years of bills that follow.
045. Flying with a bike case makes business trips seem EASY.
046. Sharing a smile with people wearing the finishers T-shirt the next day.
047. Knowing that as you step in the water on race day - YOU MADE IT THIS FAR! Now just get home.
048. How many people can say they did anything for 12,13, 14, 15, 16...hours?
049. Knowing that you are running the same race as Kate Major, Desiree Ficker, Chris Leigh, Cameron Brown, etc.
050. The wristband that somehow becomes your favourite fashion accessory.
051. So that when you tell your grandchildren stories about what you did when you were young...yours will be true.
052. Running along the ocean in Oceanside, CA.
053. High fives from people you don't know.
054. The Sponge as a fashion statement
055. Because even when you are hurting, you can still run !
056. Knowing that after the gun goes off, you don't have to worry anymore.
057. First Place and Last Place get the same amount of cheers.
058. Walking to the start with friends...
059. Getting lapped on the bike by Michelle Jones, Chris McCormick, Craig Alexander, Chrissie Wellington...
060. Getting lapped again on the run by Michelle Jones, Chris McCormick, Craig Alexander, Chrissie Wellington......
061. Making the turn for home in Ironman Canada
062. Because MolybdenumMan doesn't trip off the tongue in quite the same way
063. If Judy Molnar can, dammit, so can you.
064. You might get to run with Alexandra Paul!
065. High fiving Daryl Haley, and going backwards 5 feet.
066. Sunset over Lake Coeur d'Alene on the run.
067. If Randy Caddell can do it with just his arms, you can certainly do it with your legs.
068. Easier than Eco-Challenge.
069. Didn't play sports in high school.
070. Because everyone knows you are training and you can't stop now.
071. For all those 4:45am mornings, when you wished your head was still on the pillow.
072. Makes US Navy SEAL training seem like a good idea.
073. You enjoy the smell of chlorine in the morning.
074. You've had enough with your current social life.
075. For the love of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream!
076. Your friends are watching on the web.
077. You need to prove to your mom that even if you get on the bike right after you swim...you won't catch a cold.
078. Your ex'es think you are nuts and they actually admire you a bit (secretly).
079. Roadies think you're nuts.
080. Masters swimmers really think you're nuts.
081. Your running club KNOWS you're nuts.
082. To see the Maori Warriors right before IM New Zealand
083. Monday morning swims... you feel like every Monday is the start of a new thing (even though it is not)
084. 3 hour breakfasts after the morning swims
085. To fulfill a dream.
086. To say, "I am an Ironman".
087. The sunflower fields in Madison (IM Wisconsin)
088. Glow sticks on the run close to midnight
089. Silent hugs on the start line.
090. Because Winston Churchill said I can't ever give up.
091. The 12-step program to make me stop hasn't been invented yet.
092. Any National Anthem, before the start, anywhere.
093. Knowing that when you wake up at 4:00am, the next time you go to bed you will be VERY different person.
094. 3 miles down on Main St. (IM Canada)
095. The whole ride of IM New Zealand
096. Because you've always wanted to see how many CD's and towels it would take to ride the whole IM CDA course on the CompuTrainer
097. Makes your next marathon just a nice morning run.
098. To make your Boss jealous because YOU have a life that doesn't involve the office.
099. Because the longer you're out there, the less per hour it really costs!
100. Being there is way better than watching
101. Finding yourself in the middle of your doubts ... finding a new meaning of being scared.
102. Finding out that you're far stronger than those doubts a few miles later.
103. Falling in step on the run and making a friend to the end, without having to say a word.
104. A fried breakfast the day after.
105. Watching people headed home while you're headed out, thinking "I'll be there soon ..." and they cheer for you.
106. Understanding why that is as your cheering for people headed out when you're finally headed home.
107. That feeling of ice cubes in your hat on a hot run never getting too cold.
108. Telling folks with flat tires "It's a long day - hang in there!" and seeing them breathe and smile for a moment.
109. Hearing people cheer you up while your changing a damn flat tire.
110. Rolling into T2 knowing that no matter what - you can't have a flat sneaker from here on in.
111. Having someone catch you, and hold you up when you can't do it anymore.
112. Miles in the Bike.
113. The IV's feel SO good the next day.
114. To see if it really feels as good to do as it does to dream.
115. And then to see if it really feels as good the second time, and the third, and the fourth....
116. To learn the power of commitment and determination.
117. Morning in Panama City (IM Florida).
118. To try and finish in daylight.
119. To try and finish before midnight.
120. To try and NOT get stung by that (*@! bee this time.
121. Your nieces/nephews already think you're a hero - prove them right.
122. Your ex'es don't...but you might prove it to them, too.
123. An M-Dot Tattoo would look swanky on your ankle.
124. 5000 Volunteers - all for you.
125. Hearing them say "You're almost there!" all day long.
126. Being nearly almost there - for real.
127. Chicken broth and coke! (It's been awhile)
128. The finish line.
129. Because your training partners said you were a fighter
130. The first time you think "Holy crap - I'm doing an Ironman!"
131. Beating back the voices that say "Holy crap - you can't do an Ironman!"
132. Mile 26.
133. That moment when you KNOW you're going to make it for the first time all day.
134. Running down Lakeside Avenue. ( IM CDA)
135. Running down Sherman Avenue.
136. THE FINISH LINE
137. The first step after you cross the line and think "Oh, My....God....!"
138. Hearing Mike Reilly say, " You are an Ironman!"
139. The Medal
139.6 Because they said I can't
140.6 Because I say I can.