Friday, March 27, 2015

Head Aches

A few months ago I stumbled upon a blog written by a woman losing her battle with cancer.  I arrived late to the party; I believe she originally used the platform to speak of motherhood and kindness.  With her breast cancer diagnosis, Kara Tippetts transformed her words to give the reader insight into her journey and her reliance on God.  Like some of you with Muffin's Madness, I received updates on Kara's new postings in her Mundane Faithfulness blog.  This morning, like most Friday mornings, I woke up to check in with the Crazies.  The rain was pouring down and maybe I'm getting soft, but I just wasn't interested in hitting the road.  I tried to fall back asleep, but that didn't work.  Instead, I checked the weather, Pinterest and my e-mails.  I had not checked my Muffin account in a few days; I missed two Mundane posts.  I started to read the first post from my phone, quickly realizing that Kara had passed away on March 22nd.  I immediately sprung out of bed to head downstairs for a cup of coffee and a bigger screen.  

And now, here I sit, at this empty kitchen table with a hot cup.  

I cannot wrap my head around Kara's perceived grace in dying.  
I cannot wrap my head around her willingness to leave this earth...her husband...her four children.  
I cannot wrap my head around the amount of strength that her family must develop (or had developed to this point) to continue walking forward.  

I'm so stubborn and I refuse to accept the endurance of such pain.  

And now, here I sit, a blubbering mess, trying to make heads or tails of this...ALL OF THIS.  What is all this around me?  What happens next?  How did 'we' lose focus on what's really important?  But...what IS really important?  

Too early for a drink?  I guess so.  
Photo Credit: Brad Kayal

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Do As I Say

I can be a bit of a preacher.  My Crazies know this; my family knows this.
I know how to do things.  I know some stuff.
Ask me for advice and I might talk your ear off.
Ask me for advice and opt for a 180, I might take it personally, in silence.
But this time, I went rogue.

5K Race Advice

1). Believe in the Taper - I personally find it silly to taper for a 5K; however, I, on average, will crank out 20 mile weeks.  But, there is value in customizing a taper.  For example, maybe going all out on a training run a few days prior isn't smart; maybe killing in the weight room should be the task for next week.
I killed it twice in the weight room.  There's nothing like a different sore from a different set of leg strength training exercises.  Oh, and my arms, did I tell you that I burned out my shoulders on Friday?  No?  Oh, well, I did.

2). Stick with What You Know - The night before a race is no time to try new foods, or get completely shit faced.  I think the potential outcome (no pun) speaks for itself.
I concocted what could have been the most dreadful casserole.  But boy, was I proud of myself.  I made a chopped tuna and hamburger salad with BBQ sauce, celery, onions and jalapeƱos  and mixed it with some gluten free pasta.  I poured it (more like plopped it) into a casserole dish, sprinkled it with gluten free panko and cheese before broiling.  Tasty.
I would have had a few drinks, but I was too full to lift the bottle.

3). Caffeine Could Hurt You - If you're used to having a cup of coffee before a run, this approach might be okay.  If you don't routinely load up on caffeine, doing so on race day could work against you.  Play it smart and skip that extra cup.
I had my cup of coffee with a bowl of deliciously topped steel cut oats - nothing unusual.
About an hour from race time, I dropped a tab of Nuun Energy Cherry Limeade into a 16 ounce bottle and drank up.  Oh, that flavor is so tasty — never had it before.  Oh, there's caffeine in here — never had an energy drink pre-race.  Oh, well.

4). Don't Go Out Too Fast - Try to steady your adrenaline and save your kick for the second half of the race.
Well, duh...I went out too fast, but I had my fan club with me every step of the way.

My Fan Club

I did everything I shouldn't have done, but it didn't necessarily end in tragedy.  By the report on my Garmin, I crossed the finish line less than one minute from my PR (which was, incidentally, grabbed at this race last year).  I know I'll be smarter next time around, but I don't think I cared enough to 'do it right'; And, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
So, there (sitting proud having defied myself while eating a tofu and bacon burrito bowl)!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Piece of Me

The winter months add a lot of weight to our bodies.  We eat heartier foods, but we're also pushed to dress in bulky layers to stay warm.  Summer clothes make a home out of the backs of our closets while the sweaters and coats take the limelight.  The entrance way into a house becomes littered with gloves, hats, and boots; this is their temporary resting place until the next outing.  As an all-weather runner, I have an additional wardrobe in the rotation.  Winter requires me to break out all my cold gear like jackets, face masks, and running tights.  I also have a few pairs of gloves that I'll wear together on bone chilling days.
The past few weeks have been somewhat of a Runner's Delight; going for a 5 am run at 30 degrees is practically a heat wave considering the freezing temperatures we've endured since December.  Needless to say, it's quite welcome.  Spring is in the air and I can smell it.  My Friday morning kicked off with a 5 am run with two of the crazies.  Twenty-seven degrees dictated a lighter winter get up of tights, arm warmers, short sleeved shirt, ear warmers and one pair of gloves (versus the usual 'two').
The route was tough (gosh, marathon training is going to break me), but we successfully nailed almost 5 miles well before the sun started thinking about making an appearance.
We spent maybe 5 minutes stretching before we went our separate ways.  I returned home to a hot cup of coffee and a lot of hip openers.  Before I knew it, the house blew up in its usual morning hustle of pre-bus activities.  With Ava on the bus, I organized the rest of myself to take Alli to day care.  I got her buckled and walked around the rear of the car to the driver side.  I noticed something on my rear bumper.  Oh no.  Oh yes.  It was...

At that moment in time, I knew exactly how other people felt when one glove went missing.  I felt hopeless; I needed to find that other glove.  Images of single gloves laying face down in a slushy parking lot or strategically placed on a door knob waiting to be claimed flooded my mind.  Hell, even OJ, made his way in there.  Crap.  I lost a glove.  I then inwardly retraced my steps.  I took of my gloves at the end of our run and put them on the back bumper before we stretched.  Clearly, I didn't grab them when I was ready to leave.  I.Just.Drove.Away.  Oh God, that poor glove.  Oh God, those poor gloves.  One glove fell off the car somewhere on my way home and the other had to witness the whole thing.  I left the house in search of the missing glove, with the surviving glove on my lap.  I drove the same route as I did that morning, in reverse, with no success.  I took Alli to day care and drove the route, again with no luck.
The gloves were free, but they were with me all winter.  They endured cold mornings and runs - both great and not so great.  Perhaps this is a sign of spring and Friday was the last day I'd need those gloves.  Perhaps this is a sign that I shouldn't put anything on my bumper.