Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When the monster roars, I run....

Back again and really, really gonna try to blog regularly. Many people ask us why we run and most of us run for different reasons but we all understand why. Here is a recent and recurring situation and an insight as to why I run.

As I hung up the phone, my blood pressure began to boil, my fists tightened, my jaw clamped and my body felt tight. My head ached and I felt alone. Just another complicated problem and no one to turn to for help. Yea, my friends and family were there for emotional support and anything else, but the real solutions had to come from me and me alone. I knew what I had to do. I changed my clothes and laced up the running shoes.

I headed out and the dogs followed. I took off fast and hard in an attempt to outrun that monster that was once again after me. I tried hard not to let it happen again, but I failed. The tears welled up and sputtered out, running back towards my ears as I sped along. I ran until I couldn't anymore. I stopped, bent over and placed my hands upon my knees. My heart pounded, my breathing was fast and my head was dizzy. I stood up and glanced ahead, only to find the tears blurred my vision. I began to walk and then run again, this time a little slower. My feet were heavy, my legs were weak, my mouth was dry, my heart was was tight and my breathing was labored. I just ran.

Thoughts began to run through my mind and I felt powerless over my life. What is happening? Why? Each and every problem began to surface in my mind. Somehow I convinced myself that everyone faces these problems. But I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, I was wrong. But really, what did it matter what others face. I alone face these that lie in front of me. Then one by one, they showed their ugly faces and I confronted them. I tossed some aside and I felt some were doable and others could be micromanaged. My head throbbed but my heart loosened a bit. I began to see my problems as challenges. Challenges I could concur. The solutions began to develop. I began to feel better. My fists were gone, my blood had cooled, my jaw was relaxed, my head cleared and my heart felt strong. My pace was steady and my breathing was easy. I felt a release, a release of negative energy. I was done running away. I turned around.

Somehow I knew I could conquer each of these issues and action plans for each began to take shape. I got excited. My pace quickened. My feet were light, my legs were strong and my body was in sink. The air was cool and fresh and blew gently across my face. My engines were cooled. Somehow, I felt a sense of desire. A desire to conquer it all. To prove myself. To show them I was not weak and I could not be defeated. My run had purpose. The end was near and I turned it up a notch and finished strong just like I always do. Burn the legs, labor the lungs and feel the pain; it makes you stronger. Strength is what I need. Strength is what I felt. I was empowered. I was in control. I was happy. I was high.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rock Creek 2009 Heavy Half

The first time I ever ran more than 5 miles was Mother's Day 2008 at the Sandrat Trails in Lawrence, KS. I showed up for a group run with the Kansas City Trail Nerds expecting to run 6 miles. I realized first thing that I was not fast and two individuals hung back and ran with me, Gary Henry and Coleen Shaw Voeks. I am greatful to both of them to this day for making me run farther than I ever imagined I would have done that day - 11 miles. After that run, I went home and was wiped out for the day and so sore the next day I could barely move. I only share this as a pretext because I now realize that the body is an amazing piece of equipment that needs maintenance, work and TLC. Now I can go run 1/2 marathons and still have energy the rest of the day to carry out daily activities.
Rock Creek Heavy Half - October 24, 2009: I felt prepared for this, my third half marathon, and found myself quite excited on my way to the race. I was primed, full of energy and ready to tackle the course. There was the normal pre race activities complete with many friends whom I have made in the past year. I had a plan for the race - start slow, get to the first aid station and then speed up until the last aid station where I would then put it in high gear, well as high a gear as I can anyway. And so we bagan with a bang and up the hill, turn and into the woods we went. I positioned myself so that I would not get in the way of the faster runners. Once in the woods and on the single track, we fell into a long winding line of runners and we stayed pretty much together for a mile or so before we began to separate.

I found myself feeling pretty good and running a nice steady pace when walla.........the first aid station. Wow, that went fast. Okay, I know, not really that fast but the time really flew by for me. I believe I took a cup of Heed, turned on the mP3 player and took off. First mistake, I should have had a Gu or Hammer Gel. Taking off from here, I was ready to pick up the speed a little bit but somewhere along this part of the trail it got rocky and the leaves covered those little stinkers. I was tweaking my knees and twisting my ankles. My back began to hurt and I started getting frustrated. I just wanted to run faster but I kept slipping and loosing my footing. I hung in there and utilized a few choice words as my memory started to come back, "I remember this from last year now. How could I forget this?" At one point, I even told myself I was not going to run this next year.
I then found myself catching up to 2 people, the guy in the red shirt and the girl in purple. I was still struggling a bit but foraged onward wondering where the heck that 2nd aid staion was. I started to wonder if I had missed it and wanted badly to ask the other two. Just then things began to look familiar and I knew I was close. I trotted into the Trail Nerd aid station and desparately asked for Ibuprofin. None was out and Ben kindly went to his car and found some for me. I am very thankful to him for that as my back was hurting. I drank a cup of Coke, snarfed some chippies and slammed a Hammer Gel and off I went again in pursuit of the girl in purple. This part of the race went very well and fast and I kept the girl in purple in my sights the whole time. I would catch up to her and then she would pull away. Drats!

Ah, and then the 3rd aid station, my buddies, my friends, the Trail Hawks. I stopped long enough to consume another Hammer Gel and get some Heed in the water bottle, only to find out a few minutes out that it was melon flavored - GAG! The girl in the purple took off out ahead of me as I finished up at the aid station and felt good at this point, especially knowing that I only had 2.8 miles to go. So off I went in pursuit of the girl in purple.

I soon found myself in the midst of those pesky, leaf covered rocks as I began to struggle on them again. I also found myself getting light headed at the top of the hills and was a little troubled by this and concerned in light of my Meneire's disease. Living life with such a condition can be scary when you feel like an attack could be coming on at any moment. At the top of each hill, I would pause and hang on to a tree momentarily until I gained a sense of stability. Being on a low sodium diet and being on a diuretic is going to be a challenge when I do begin my pursuit of ultra running but if it is one thing I don't mind, it is a challenge.

I began to feel some pain from the jolting and my mind began to question, "Why?" Whenever I get this feeling, I quickly remember and go over in my head, my friends' race reports of their ultra races. The details of those reports and the pain that they go through remind me that I can do this and I will. There is something about other people's experiences that make us realize we can do what we set our minds to do. I suddenly began to see the familiarity of the trail that leads to the end and I began to pick up the speed a bit. As I topped the last hill, paused momentarily, I knew I had to push through the pain not just to finish but to finish strong. I passed one person and then another and as I made my way towards the finish I began to hear the voices. Ah, there in front of me was the girl in purple and I just wanted to pass her. I sped up to try to get around her and she slowed down and stepped aside to let me pass. Well that was easy and I soon heard the cowbell, oh that wonderful sound of a cowbell.

I may have finished strong but I was 9 minutes slower than last year. Oh I have been humbled. I did win first place in the women's master division but I don't really feel worthy of that honor. I was slow in spite of what I considered a better training plan. I battle often with whether I want to train hard to be faster and better or just run for the fun of it. There are costs and benefits of each. I have a great deal to contend with in my every day life that sometimes I just like the break to get out and run. And because I squeeze my weekday runs in during the daytime, I can't really dedicate much time to them. I enjoy running alone on my gravel roads near my house because it gives me time to think and solve problems. Running with groups is rewarding as well but I feel I am too slow for this right now. I don't like to slow them down any. When I get faster, I will rejoin them but for now I want to run alone.

There is a very competitve spirit inside me that wants to train hard and push myself to be faster and better and to run farther. I see my friends do it and watching them achieve such greatness brings happy tears to my eyes. It is difficult to find the extra energy to train like that when I am stressed to the max in my life right now. I want very badly to step up and push myself but I am tired. My two young daughters need a devoted mother and there are many unfinished projects that need finalizing before I can commit to what I want to accomplish in my running. It is hard to explain to anyone who has never had to deal with the complexities of so much adversity at once. I am strong and I will rise above, just give me time. Remember my name as I will return.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why run?

Once again it has been awhile since I blogged. I once thought I needed to run faster or farther to really fit in with this elite group of runners I have found myself associated with. The pressure is everywhere, "What's your PR for the course?" "Did you do well?" "What's your farthest run/race?" There are articles and books galore telling us how to run faster and farther and what to eat to perform at our best. I found myself caught up in this and was really striving to run farther and faster and then I realized, I wasn't enjoying the run anymore. It felt like work and constant pressure to always do better.

I don't run to win or break any records. I turn to running for relaxation and enjoyment, not for more competition in an ever competing world. Right now I am training for a 1/2 marathon in October. I originally signed up for the 50K thinking that the commitment would make me train for it. I only found pressure and stress to find the time to run and to run fast. I run to excape the stresses and pressure of my daily life. So I backed off and decided to run the 1/2 marathon, which will be my 3rd. I don't feel like I ran my first 2 that well so my goal is to keep running the shorter distances until I am comfortable with those and then we'll see what's next. I may run my first trail marathon in April if things go well.

I do love trail running and don't think I will find myself running too many races on pavement but I never say never. I am focused on enjoying my running and if that means I run slow, well then so be it. I think I suffer fewer injuries when I go slow and enjoy it. However, I will say that after an invigorating run when I push myself to greater distances or speeds, I feel pretty awesome. So here is my take, I will stick to my plan of running with cross training and when I feel good, I will go with it and when I feel bad, I will back off. Sometimes during a run I just don't ever get into it, but I know it is important to finish that run, so I do. Sometimes I get into a run and like something wierd and crazy and unexplainable just gets into me and I go. I still don't blow anybody away or anything, but there's just a purely invigorating sense that builds inside. Ah yes, the runner's high. And as all runners know, "If you gotta ask why I run, you won't get it anyway."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Two races in one I crazy? No.

July 25, 2009 - I first signed up for the Rock Creek Race series, which consists of 4 trail races over the course of about 8 months, in March. The third race just happened to be the same day as the SSG Adventure Race, which I promised my neice, Kellsey, I would do with her. And yes, I do love adventure races. I don't think it is any crazier than what some of my friends were doing that day - running a 50 mile race. I figure I covered about the same distance with just a little different approach.

Arrangements had been made to have my girls out Friday night to Sunday morning with their dad. I started by consuming a very yummy steak, potato and asparagus the night before the big day. Up at 5:00am for coffee, oatmeal and some juice and then out the door with Kellsey on our way to Perry State Park. Once there, the atmosphere was a little ominous with an approaching thunderstorm but it soon cleared up.

So we had three legs to complete and we could do them in any order but we had to come back and check in after each leg of the race. We decided to run/trek first which involved following a map to get a series of checkpoints. When you find a check point, you have to punch it on your passport with the punch located at the site and in the right square on the passport. Fresh out of the gate we made our first mistake, which I still think the map was misleading but none the less others found their way. However, we were not the only ones who went the wrong way at this point. Long story short, we ran a little over 3 miles out of the way and so we had to run back to get on track. We did take a shortcut through a hay field and skirted along a tree line in order to get back to the first checkpoint.

We then cut through the woods and all the time I was looking up to keep oriented and when I looked down, I realized we were right smack dab in the middle of a poison ivy patch with no end in sight. Not much one can really do about that now and I was pretty sure I was not allergic to it as I have never had a reaction to it. So I guess this is yet another test. Onward we foraged through weeds and brush and a small creek. We eventually made it onto a trail and managed to get out on the road only to find we had passed the checkpoint. Back we went and into the woods through a very deep, thick mud pit that sank us mid calf but we found the checkpoint. Back through the mud and out on the road again and off to the next check point. The next two check points were somewhat easy to find but were still a lot of trekking through mud and muck to get to. We each sucked down a Gu and more water and off we went.

With our last check point of the running leg, we headed back to the transition area where we checked in and headed to the lake for the canoeing or paddling leg of the race. We grabbed our stuff and the canoe and trodded off to the lake. Once in the canoe, I was relieved to give the legs a little break but the continuous rowing started to wear down the back, shoulder and arm muscles. It felt like we would never get there. Once at the check point, I got out, punched the passport and back into the canoe to paddle back to the point where we started. We lugged the canoe out of the lake and up the hill to the check in gal and then back up, up, up to the transition area. Once we checked in there, I changed shoes and we geared up for the mountain biking leg.

Off we went out on the road and across to the Rock Creek bike trails. The first check point was at the trail head and now we just needed 2 more check points. We each sucked down another Gu and more water from our hydration packs. I examined the map and compared it to the one on the board and figured the check points were on Great White and Skyline. We started on Skyline and rode for awhile, stopped to check the map and then kept going. Walla...we found it. I was feeling pretty good at this point and figured we might actually have a shot a winning even with our error. So we rode for quit awhile on what we thought was Great White when we came to a convergence of 3 trails. We stopped and pulled out the map and was trying to figure out where we were and where we wanted to go when I looked up to see Willie Lambert marking the trail for the night run that I would be doing in a little over 8 hours.

So we were getting ready to go to where we thought we needed to go, even though we felt like we should have already passed the other check point when 3 other all female teams came up on us. Two had just gotten the check point we were looking for and sent us back and told us it was tricky. The other team also needed the same check point. We rode back to where they said it was, got off our bikes and hiked down to another trail. We trekked up and down the trail and we never found it. We went back to get our bikes to bring them down and the other team just kept looking on foot. We met up with an all male team and they headed off to Wild West to find it. We went back down to see that the other team had found the check point and told us its down there and pointed. We rode down and back and all around and never did find the little sucker. Realizing we were getting close to the cut off time and that we were in no way going to win now, I told Kellsey that we just needed to head out and maybe we'll see it on the way out. We rode and rode and rode and .... you get the picture.

Frustration began to settle in but I realized that I just love to ride the trails and how much fun it is just to be competing. It is fun to push the body and get sweaty and muddy and bloody and all scarred up. Yes this is fun and even though we won't be taking home a trophy, we still had our pride. We finally came out of the trail system and off we went to the finish. One big, very big hill was yet in our way. I didn't want to trash the legs any more as I wanted to fair well in the night race later in the day. We came up on the hill and I geared down to 1 1 and it went slow but the legs never fatigued. I do believe we finished right at the cut off time of 5 hours.

On an endorphin high, we headed home for grub and rest. Once home, I ate a little, took a dip in the pool, slept for an hour and then grubbed some more. When I woke up I was not feeling it. I considered not running but thought maybe the food would soon kick in and that I at least needed to go. A combination of the grub and some energizing beverages and up beat music had me going by the time I arrived. I was a little stiff and sore but none the less I felt pretty good. I was signed up to run the 30K but decided to drop down to the 10K for obvious reasons and I am so glad I did. I started off fast for me but I really wanted to push myself now that my health seemed to be getting better. At about 9 minutes in my legs began to feel it but I decided to push through it and not slow down. I maintained my speed and soon the legs felt fine again and I suddenly had a little giddy up in my go so I went with it. I caught up with a small group and ran with them for a bit but as I walked the up hills and they didn't, they slowly pulled away from me.

I suddenly began to want the aid station as I felt I needed a little pick me up. It was getting dark now and I needed the head lamp. I finally came up on the aid station and the group that I was trying to hang with didn't stop and just kept going. I stopped for some Heed and a short break. Off I went again and felt a little sluggish but I knew I had to be about 4 miles in and wanted to finish strong so I reached down inside me and kicked it up a notch even though the body didn't want to. I told myself to feel the pain and deal with it. I have come to realize the only way we can get through pain is to really feel it and deal with it. That is something that transfers over into life as well. So I just ran and I began to hit some down hills and I oh so love down hills. However, they are a little different in the dark of the night. I stumbled a half a dozen times but managed to remain verticle.

Soon I came up on the group (a little strung out now) that I was running with earlier. I passed them one by one and made my through the night on my own running faster than normal and feeling absolutely awesome. I kept telling myself, "They are coming to pass you. Run faster!" Self talk got me through and up the big hill to the finish line where people were cheering and ringing the cow bell. I finished strong and felt great. I know it was only a 10K but for me I felt a huge accomplishment and very proud to push myself to a faster pace. I managed to take first place in the women's master division and for that I was happy. Getting older does have its privileges. Not too shabby for this older but wiser woman.

I hung out and grubbed and drank margaritas and a couple of beers. I chatted with Jim, Lisa, MK, Renee, Deb Johnson and others and eventually found myself helping out at the finish line while the 20K and 30K runners finished up. I hit a wall and decided it was time for me to get home and to bed as I had a birthday party to organize, a house to clean and a yard to mow the next day. I crawled into bed at 2:00am and thought about my friends who ran their 50 mile race that day and wondered how it all went for them. Will I do that someday? Only time will tell:)

Summer Psycho Wyco 2009

July 11, 2009 - I originally thought I was going to run the 15 mile or one loop of this race. However, life does have a way of messing things up. It is not really messing things up but more of life's challenges that I must conquer in order to get better that kept me out of this race. When I realized I was not up to the task of running, I volunteered to work at the race. I was placed at the start/finish, which also served as an aid station for the 50K runners who ran two loops of the Psycho Wyco trail. Once again this experience proved to be quite a learning experience for me.

The day was a hot and humid one. I arrived shortly after 8:30am, which was after the start of the race. So there wasn't much going on for awhile but we prepared for the runners and chatted a bit. It wasn't long though and they started to come in. The first to arrive was a 50K'er who decided not to go out for the second loop as he was dealing with an injury. I pretty much filled bottles for the runners going back out and that proved to be rewarding. The runners were all very sweaty and nice. I love seeing the pain and agony of such determined people and then to witness the enjoyment of the accomplishment when their race is done.

Like I said, it was a pretty miserable day on such a tough course. Many 50Ker's stopped with the 1st loop, which was still quite an accomplishment for that day. We had two runners go down with heat injuries and had to be taken out by the local EMS. Really not much to report as volunteering is pretty much uneventful but rewarding and educational. There really is a great deal that goes into putting on a race, especially one of this caliber. If you ever run a race, be sure to thank the director as they a considerable amount of work for something they are very passionate about. This race was put on by the Kansas City Trail Nerds and directed by Ben Holmes.

As previously mentioned, I have been struggling physically and mentally with functioning which also effected my training. I did contact my physician and my ENT and it was determined that I was having an episode of the Meniere's Disease. It appears to have lasted about 3 weeks and was getting worse. I did get a 6 day course of Prednisone beginning on July 14. I felt awesome while I was on it. My runs were great and I was full of energy. I accomplished a lot with my work and time spent with the kids was oh so happy. I felt like my old self again. Traditional medicine does have its benefits.

When I came off the medicine I felt a little yucky again. Not quite as bad as before but certainly not like I was when I was on it. I was strugling a bit but knew I had to keep training for my next challenge - two races in one day! I set out on my bike one day feeling a bit yucky. It was a short ride but within one hour of finishing up I was sitting at the computer workng, feeling the endorphins, and ahhhhhhhhh ........ it was like the fog just lifted and my head cleared up as the pressure eased off. I am not really sure how to explain it to someone who doesn't know what it is like to try to function with what I felt. And life goes on!

Please check out the link below to a slide show that Rick Mayo put together that really is AWESOME!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Volunteering at Free State Trail Race 2009

April 25, 2009 just might be the turning point in my life, or at least one of them. I have had a few in the past several months and I can only say they are making a better person of me. When I signed up to volunteer at this race, I not only wanted to help the runners and the event organizers, I wanted to learn about ultrarunning. I wanted to know if this was something I wanted to pursue. I have always run, just not very far. Running was just an escape, a time to think and solve problems. I never desired to run a marathon as my visual of such a race is a bunch of skinny, half naked, crazy, obsessed, competitive idiots running in a bunched up pack on pavement on a hot, steamy day in the middle of a smog filled city. Not exactly something that peaked my interest. I liked the solitude of running country dirt roads on a cold crisp morning.

Then I discovered trail running which led me to the Kansas City Trail Nerds. I joined the group and lurked on the website, reading the posts. Mother's Day 2008 was my first venture out on a group run with the nerds. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Gary and Coleen hung back with me on the run. Running trails was absolutely enjoyable and the people were so nice and helpful. I knew nothing about ultrarunning but what I did know is that it did not sound like something I could do. Afterall I was 39 and I had knee issues. Little did I know that most ultrarunners are older runners and my knee was just an excuse.

So there I was trying to help as much as I could and trying to keep the kiddos occupied and out of the way. They did pretty good with a few mishaps. I mostly filled water bottles and tried to keep food stocked as best I could. The other volunteers were much better at keeping with the game plan. Having the kids there was more difficult than I had imagined, although I am not sure what I expected. I enjoyed seeing my fellow running friends finish their races and come in for food and drink only to head out again. Liz, Lisa, Levi, MK, Kim all finished the marathon in fine fashion. It was great to see Christy, Debbie and Laurie finish their first 40 miler with the highlight being Christy's smile when she finished. She looked great. Debbie and Laurie looked like they had definitely pushed themselves. Jim put in a fine performance as did Nick. Coleen never looked like she was bothered much each time she came in as she was running the 100K. She's so spunky. Gary looked as though he was doing very good each time in as well.

Seeing my friends, acquaintences and others there, running and battling issues was a learning experience for me. It has inspired me and sparked something inside to aspire to greater things. I realized at this race that I don't really push myself like these people do. Push to and through pain, push to fatigued legs and nausea, push beyond anything you could ever imagine yourself doing and then go a little bit more, a little bit farther, a little bit harder. It is time for me to rise up and do it. I face some adversity but I think everyone does. No one's story is the same but none the less, we all have a story. So what's mine? Well, if you really want to know read on, if not, please stop and move on to bigger and better things. Now is your chance to bail, otherwise, I will suck you in to my life.

I have struggled through many of life's obstacles. I believe there is nothing in life more powerful than adversity to make us better and I believe all things do happen for a reason. The reasons are not always evident but usually there is some sort of growing inside that must take place before we can really say, "Ah yes, now I know why." It is the sruggle through adveristy that makes us better and that struggle many times is done alone. Maybe someone is by our side but the battle must be won by our own determination, will power, strength and endurance. We must perservere. Working at the race made me see my friends come out of the forest after fighting the battle. I can help them as much as I can at the aid station and fellow runners can help them get through tough spots on the trail but it is each one of them that fights through it to get to the finish and to achieve such greatness. To say, "Yes I did do that?"

My challenges to fight through cannot really be any different than most but let me share. I suppose it really began with the death of my mother. March 20, 2001 I had just finished a measley little 3 mile run and was doing some stretching when the phone rang. To make it short, my mother had had a heart attack while on a visit in Ohio to see my ailing grandmother, who had died the day before while my parents were enroute to see her. My mother was in ICU and the picture was bleak. This was totally unexpected. She was 64 and very health conscious. My life was suddenly upside down.

There are four of us siblings and we had all made arrangements to fly to Ohio the next day. I was the first to arrive and my husband came with me. My aunt prepared me for what I was about to see as I approached the ICU unit. I went in and my husband and father went to the waiting room. Next to arrive was my brother. He is a tall, strong and intelligent individual but when he saw my mother he collasped on me and I had to use all my strength just to keep him and I from falling to the floor. Here was this woman who never showed a sign a weakness, who held the family together and never complained, lying on her death bed with tubes everywhere. My other two sisters arrived later in the day. The week ahead was an experience that I wish no one ever has to go through. What to do and not to do decisions to be made by emotionally distrought individuals, whom until this point, I thought were a normal functioning family. All the while, my mother was kept alive by machines. For some unknown reason, before I left home, I pulled out my copy of my mother's living will and brought it along. It was a smart decision as we used it more for our own peace of mind in making the decisions we had to make. The week was long and the sleepless nights combined with the bleakness of our situation left a non-desireable memory entrenched in my mind. Soon it was evident of what had to be done. Being the youngest of four I found myself suddenly in a place of the decision maker. I found myself being the voice of reason and they not only listened to me, they trusted me.

All life support was removed and my mother was moved to hospice. My husband had left mid week to go back home. It was better that way as he wasn't much support to me. It was early on Tuesday, March 27, 2001, that my mother peacefully passed away. The snow was falling outside her window as she lay in the hospital's hospce unit. The day was cold and gloomy. My two sisters and I stood by her bedside as she took her last breath. My brother and father waited in the waiting room. I believe in my heart that women are extraordinarily strong. Most people remember 2001 as the year we lost a lot of American lives, but for me it was the year I lost my mother. With her last breath came an immediate responsibility for my father. We knew he drank but we never knew how much nor did any of us know the problems and stress he placed upon my mother.

Over the course of the next 6 years, I struggled with what to do with my father. I struggled too with the death of my mother and allowing myself to go through the grieving process. I was trying and at one point, my husband looked at me and told me I just needed to get over it. He failed to support me emotionally during that time. I was left to deal with my father and his alcohol issues. Two siblings lived out of state and one sibling couldn't handle it. Matt made himself sparse every time I had to deal with my dad. There were car wrecks, hospital visits, treatment facilities, police issues, evictions, multiple movings and a short time living with me. There were calls at all hours of the night. There were money issues and many issues I care not to discuss. Let's just say that it is something I think about every time I have a drink. In December 2007, I really feel like I found a good place for him and he is still there and doing well. Well, as good as can be expected. Visiting him is sad as there is not much to converse about as he has lost his memory. He is stable though.

In the meantime, I gave birth to two beautiful little girls on July 24, 2003 and February 17, 2005. They say children change your life and they certainly are right about that. There are good times, bad times, sad times and happy times. Chilren make you cry when you want to laugh and laugh when you want to cry. I certainly wouldn't want to be without them though. The majority of the time my soon to be ex-husband was non supportive to me and the children. He was absent most of the time and did not want to participate in the family life. Hell, we all know there are a lot of times we wish we didn't have to do many of the things that we have to do. The only problem was is that he never did those things. Nobody wakes up early in the morning eagar to change a poopy diaper but we do it out of love, responsibility and necessity. Sometimes we grow to treasure many of the moments we thought we would dread while other times we grow to realize that its just not that bad. Get over and do what yo gotta do. Unfortunately, he never got to that point.

That's it for now. Time to end this post but believe me, it is far from over.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Psycho Wyco - February 14, 2009

5:00am on a Saturday morning and my alarm tells me it is time to get out of my nice warm bed to go run something they call Psycho Wyco. Mmmmm, kinda makes me question my sanity but at least I am not alone as there are at least 250 others doing the same thing. So I bound out of bed (yeah right) and hit the shower. There's nothing better than a hot shower and hot coffee to get the day started!

Once there, checking into the race proved to be a frigid experience to say the least. I was freezing and I still had a layer to strip off before the start of the race. So there I was amongst all those crazy ass people getting ready to run through the woods when it was cold as hell. Okay, so hell is not cold but you get the point. I see familiar faces like Debbie, Coleen #1, Colleen #2 and Christy who all inspire me to even be there. The friendliness and great attitudes of the Kansas City Trail Nerds warm me right up and I start to anticipate the start of the race, mostly because I want to get the blood flowing.

I started slow with the ones who claim the status of "the turtles." I felt like I fit right in and like a bit of a wimp as I was only running 10 miles, which to my non running friends is, "WOW, that's crazy. I can't even run to the mail box." But to this select group it's like, "Why waste your time and money on 10 miles." Well let me tell you, it is what it is and some of us are just at that point. I do aspire to run a 50K someday and who knows where that'll take me. I am in AH of those who do run farther and just being around them and watching them totally inspires me.

I found myself running along the trail with another who was running pretty much my pace so I struck up a conversation with Greg. From that point on, we pretty much ran together through out the race. We came upon what is referred to as "the dreaded triangle." Weaving in and out, back and forth and over the tree branches was quit invigorating and kinda put a kick in my step and I found that little kid inside this soon to be 40 year old body. Coming out of the triangle, I felt good and strong but that soon faded as we headed on through the woods.

Greg and I talked for awhile and the miles seemed to go quite quickly and then Colleen caught up to us and we all ran together for awhile. It was during this phase that I fell down and of course, my first thought as I was going down was "Not the shoulder!" I was envisoining yet another dislocation of my shoulder. The shoulder survived as I just landed flat on my ass. The fall slowed me down even further as the trail was still frozen throughout this part. I slipped alot but kept upright for the remainder of the race. It was a little scary as I found myself downhill from Greg a few times and hearing the slipping of his feet. If he goes down, so do I, but he kept upright for most of the race as well.

I felt good going through the 2nd aid station and on to more slickery trail spots. Towards the end, the trail began to thaw a little and mud began to form and the splattering began. We made our way up to the third aid station where there was music and more yummy food, I stopped briefly for pringles and M&M's. I wanted to keep going though as I was only running 10 miles and didn't want to really stop. I was off towards the finish and Greg was still with me and he informed me we were getting ready to run up three hills. This was my very first time running at Wyandotte County Park so it was all new to me. It makes it more of an adventure and that is just kinda what trips my trigger. The first hill seemed a bit steep but it was doable and the second wasn't bad but then came the third and they called it the second hill. What? I am not so sure about the math here but I could have sworn this was the third hill. But what do I care and why would one really argue over a mute point. It was a doozy or else I was just a wimp, which really could be the case as I have a long way to go if I ever want to run a 50K. And then there was another hill!

I climbed the last hill and finished strong as that was not hard as it was all downhill from that point. I was proud to earn my little dogtag as I will keep it as a reminder that we all have to start somewhere, right? I made it in for some post race goodies including some awesome black bean soup that Vicki provided. Everyone at the race was extremely nice and accomadating from all the volunteers to all the runners and the dogs.

Once I was done I went with Debbie, Debbie and Julie up to the third aid station to help out. I had a great time putting faces to the names and watching all the work that goes into putting on a race and all the work that goes into running 20 miles and a 50K. Everyone looked as though they were having a great time. I was even offered a beer by Shane who doesn't even know me. Thanks Shane! What better way to spend a Valentine's Saturday afternoon than drinking beer, listening to Air Supply and watching all those muddy runners work their asses off. James also provided some awesome soups and yes, I sampled them both. The celery had a different taste though, hmmmmmmmmmm?

I was tettering on trying to help out and trying to stay out of the way. I hope I did something useful there and thanks to Debbie, who is an awesome person whom I loved hanging out with who also gave me a beer. I hope to return the favor of helping out in some races this year and push myself to greater distances and greater things. It really did inspire me more just to be involved in this race.

I made my way home where after a hot shower and some pizza I tried to ice my knees and drink a glass of wine. My kids had other ideas in store so we played instead. After they were in bed I settled in to watch MASH reruns and finally drink my glass of wine. At least I am not a whiner but I am a winer. Just then the black bean soup started to RAWR! Oh yeah, what a great day.