Tag Archives: running

Olympic Gold

30 Jul

London Mug – a la TJ Maxx

We are crazy over the Olympics around here.  Our usually quiet TV has been kicked up a notch making an exception for the summer games.  I love the back stories of athletes overcoming financial, physical, and mental road blocks to become an elite few in their respective sports.  It’s fun learning about the host city 2-5 minutes at a time.  And the events, oh the events, we cheer, we cringe, we I even cry a little. Shocker!  Ryan and I have a tradition of staying up way too late watching the prime time coverage and this year is no different.  It was a fun, lazy weekend.  We let the athletes do most of the work but we managed to sneak in a few medal worthy moments ourselves.

Double Decker wind up bus — a la London

Hank took US gold in table begging, eye boogers, and drool.  We’re so proud.

We secured a team medal for reading but not before Abigail was questioned about possible foul play over jeans suddenly didn’t need rolling up any more.

Ryan shocked us all with his soft butter catch, landing himself on the podium despite slacking off during training.

Over at Playground Stadium Abigail captured the All Around Toddler Gold for near perfect scores on the see saw, monkey hang, and twisty slide.

Check out that focus before a second attempt at the twisty slide.

And me, well, I was just beyond ecstatic when I did my 3 mile trail run at a sub 10:00 mile pace.  It’s as strong as I’ve been since injuring my IT band last summer.  Sweet, sweet victory!

And did I mention Abigail wants to train for a spot on the 2016 vacuuming team in Rio?  Far be it from me to stand in the way of my kid’s dreams.

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Giving Thanks

19 Nov

I heard something I didn’t want to yesterday so I did this.  It was a little like one of those Facebook statuses that say, “Oh my gosh.  I can’t believe that!” and are totally annoying because you think, “WHAT?!”  but the person never tells you.  But writing is an outlet for me so I did it anyway and felt better.  Sorry about that Charlie Brown moment, friends.

And today I did this because it always makes me feel even better…

Which led to this kick in the pants from the Almighty upstairs…

And I’m crumpling up that bad day like a wad of paper and slam dunking it into the trash.  Because I’m really just so thankful.  For life and my family and friends who share it with me.  For being content with the way things are.  Because the grass doesn’t get any greener than this, baby.  And you don’t get the green grass without a little (or a lot) of rain.  Right, Oregon?

Hood to Coast: Part 2

29 Aug

There is really no possible way to describe Hood to Coast. It is just something you have to experience for yourself.

For me it was . . .

Two vans of 6 runners each – many of whom were strangers at the beginning and friends by the end.

Driving to the top of Mt. Hood before the sun rose as a thunderstorm pounded down rain and hail drenching the earliest runners we passed.

Rolling down a window and cheering for your teammate before you drove away to meet them at the next exchange.

Running seven miles down the highway and trying to remember the wise advice you were given to “relax and go with it” and sending up a prayer to please, please let my leg stay pain-free.

Counting the people you pass while racing and adding tally marks to the back window of your van under the word “Roadkill.”

Recounting race stories and running adventures as you drove.

Slapping the H2C bracelet on as you started a leg.

Running the hottest, most intense 4.25 miles you’ve had in a long time (without water because that distance is just lovely in the coastal climate you are used to) and wondering how you’ll make it to the end.

Passing on the H2C slap bracelet after finishing that brutal leg as your teammates hand you 2 waters: one to dump on your head and one to drink.

Using more portapotties than you care to remember.

Eating and drinking from a cooler for 2 days.

Sleeping for a couple hours (or at least trying to) in a field under the stars as dew collected around you.

Putting on a headlamp, reflective vest, and LED flasher because it’s 2 AM and you’ve got 3.75 miles to run.

Jumping out of the van a mile before the exchange with the official stopwatch and jogging to the start because the van traffic wasn’t moving and the teammate you need to meet just ran by.

Vans and SUVs and runners for days and days and miles and miles.

A big beach party with not only the rest of your team, but the thousands of other finishers, followed by a quiet, sleepy ride home.

A test of physical and mental endurance.

One of the best experiences of my life.

Hood to Coast: Part 1

24 Aug

In April I set a goal of completing the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon. I printed a training plan, taped it to my fridge, and I ran and ran. I stretched. I strengthened. I started feeling like myself again. I ran down 101. I ran hills and trails and beach and bayfront. And as I’ve mentioned before, Abigail was my #1 training partner. But a toddler is not going to text you or call you when it’s time to go for a run. If I didn’t feel like running the only person I was letting down was myself.

I was a faithful runner, but about halfway through my plan, when the mileage increased I started to have pain in my right leg. I got discouraged. I cried. I called my sister vowing that I was giving up. It was stupid to think I could even accomplish this in the first place. But Emily wasn’t having any of that nonsense. She gave me a routine to help strengthen my leg and made sure I was stretching enough. I took 2 days off and when a new week started I was back to running. My leg felt okay, but I still had pain. I started biking and stretched even more and my leg surprisingly took a turn for the better. I was still very nervous about the 13.1 miles I had committed to run the first weekend of September. I was glad I hadn’t really told anyone I was doing it because at this point I didn’t know if I could. There is nothing worse than that feeling of failure.

And just when I was ready to give up on the half marathon something pretty amazing fell into my lap. The doorbell rang and there was opportunity with a smile on its face. I was being offered a spot as a replacement runner in a local Hood to Coast relay team.

Um, excuse me. Hood to Coast. THE relay?!

The two events were back to back. Hood to Coast one weekend and the Half Marathon the following. I wasn’t sure I could do both. I was going to have to choose. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was no way I was saying no to Hood to Coast.

My team and I are heading to Portland tomorrow afternoon. At 3:30AM on Friday morning we will drive to Mt. Hood for our 5:45AM start time. Over the course of 30 hours the 12 runners of Team Platypus will collectively run 200 miles until we reach the beach in Seaside, OR.

I’m running legs 4, 13, and 25. Mileage is 7.18, 4.18, and 3.75 respectively. Will I be running the half marathon the following weekend? It isn’t likely. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball that you get to knock out of the park. I’m glad I did all of that training because I was ready. Which makes it feel like this was the race I was supposed to do all along.

I’ll be back on Sunday with a full report, and if I’m not it’s because I’m still sleeping. Because something tells me I’m not going to be getting much of that…

Go Team Platypus!

Breakfast on the Run

14 Jul

Looking closely at the word mother you will find “other” is the biggest chunk. Look a little closer and you will see the letters to spell “me”, but they are far apart almost not making it in the word at all. I’m glad they did. Being a mother does mean putting others before yourself, but it does not mean losing yourself completely.

I run 3 days a week. Ryan is super supportive of my running because he knows how much it means to me. With the summer weather and extended daylight I’ve had the luxury of being able to go out in the evenings alone. It’s a little chunk of me time, but not always. Some days Ryan has to work late or we have something fun to do in the evening, so I have to take Abigail.

It’s a challenge to juggle Abigail’s schedule and still make time for a run. When I know ahead of time that I’ve got to run as a “we” I pack Abigail’s breakfast to go.

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Running Against the Wind

17 Nov

When my mom asked if I thought I’d use a jogging stroller I said without hesitation that I would. I was excited when my parents offered to get us one. Last winter, my dad assembled it and upon returning home for a visit I saw it in the living room. The formal living room that is where it stood like a proud showpiece. It was very cool. Immediately, I had to try it out, but being pregnant and inside a house one could say I didn’t get the full experience. I couldn’t wait until Abigail reached the six month mark where I could load her in and set out on a brisk jog around the neighborhood. Abigail was sure to like the ride and as an added bonus I’d be getting back in shape. I had seen tons of moms out with their joggers running around so effortlessly. It seemed so simple. Lace up sneakers, secure baby in stroller, run. This was going to be great!

Except that it isn’t simple. Take today’s run for example. I’d been waiting since last Wednesday for this day. There among the typical rain, rain, rain, rain/wind forcast was a peek of sun and only a 20% chance of rain. Each day for almost a week I got on the website hoping that the little sun graphic would still be there. We woke up early and went about our morning routine at top speed. Abigail was content and Hank was snoring, opportunity was knocking. I found my clean running clothes waiting oh so patiently for me on the drying rack. I got dressed and scrambled to find my shoes. Hank’s sixth sense prompted an abrupt wake up from dreamland. He took one look at my shoes and started getting all wiggly. My sneakers which mean R-U-N to me mean W-A-L-K to him. Darn it, I thought. I guess I should walk him around the block first. I got the jogger out of the garage and went back inside to put Abigail in her coat and mittens. Hank was on his leash pressing his nose against the door, tail thrashing about. I took Abigail out first to load her in and felt the big, splashing drops. Within a minute it was raining. “UGH! Stupid Oregon. Stupid rain. REALLY!?” I yelled as I stomped back inside, but not before my neighbor, Ed, said. “Morning!” I always have really awesome timing like that.

Inside I sat there watching the steady rain. Was it too much to ask for this one thing to remain constant in my life? Running here had been harder to manage, but I had been faithful. I took the jogging stroller along even though instead of making me feel strong and amazing it made me feel awkward and out of shape. I ran seemingly in place as strong winds pushed us backwards. I found the routes that were more gradual inclines so that Abigail would not be sent flying down a canyon. I tried not to be frustrated at the start/stop nature my runs had to take as I worked through the grid of Newport.

I kept my running shoes on, but slowly came to the realization that I might have to start running at the Rec Center. On the treadmill.  Around 2:00 there was a break in the rain. I still had on my shoes. I grabbed Abigial, told Hank I was sorry about the W-A-L-K, and tossed him a milkbone. Three miles and 6 hours later we were finished. I got the mail out of the mailbox and there it was. My first issue of my brand new subscription to Runner’s World magazine. I had forgotten that I had ordered it from a fundraiser for my nephew’s school. Inside were some of the most inspiring profiles of some very extraordinary runners. And while I don’t feel in any way close to the caliber of those people, I, too, realize that each time I manage to fit in a run it is about more than clocking better times and more mileage. It’s about perserverance.

A Path Traveled

13 Oct

If I could transport all of my Lynchburg people to Newport, life would be perfect. But I can’t. And as much as I would love to enjoy the coastal lifestyle and a glass (or bottle) of Oregon wine with the people I left behind, let’s face it, Newport just doesn’t have the booming job market that it would take to get them here. All that seems to remain now is our little family. We have trekked so far and I hope that if we walk in circles long enough we will feel content enough to settle down. But until the settling occurs I know we still have a long way to go.

There are plenty of things I could busy myself with to avoid an inevitable truth. As wonderful as we are together, we cannot exsist in a vaccuum. We need to meet people. We may not need them now, but eventually we will. This I had been dreading. Although I find myself to be a realtively social person, the thought of how much effort it was going to take to start over and put myself out there was exhausting and frightening. When I saw the ad for the “Free Flight 5K/10K” I knew what had to be done. I had to peel myself off of the couch, lace up the old sneakers, and hit the pavement. I was ready. I woke up Saturday morning to pouring rain. I strapped on my new, rugged Oregon persona and told Ryan I was doing the race. “In the rain?” he asked. “Yep, rain is a part of our lifestyle now. Plus, we might see someone under the age of 70!” I threw on a hat, we loaded the minivan, and were off. Pulling up to the Marine Science Center I had first day of school jitters. I hoped that the race wasn’t full and I could still sign up. The time was 8:05 and race day registration had just begun. Or so I thought. Where was everyone? “Are you sure this is where the race is?” I checked on my phone to be sure. MARINE SCIENCE CENTER – 10/10/10. WHOOPS! That would mean the race was tomorrow. Who knew a race would be on a Sunday? Those West Coast Heathens! Sheesh!

Take 2. I woke up SUNDAY morning and had a typical feeling of dejavu as I put back on my running gear and headed out into the rain once again for the big event. We were running a little late this time and I felt even more nervous about going last minute to sign up. That’s when I realized that were weren’t in Kansas anymore, er, rather Lynchburg. This was the most laid back race I’d ever been a part of. I walked in, signed up, got my long sleeve t-shirt (yes!), and had 45 minutes to kill. Ryan kept pestering me to “warm up” which was hilarious. When did he become my running coach? So I took a lap and came back right as they were gathering people up at the starting line. All 30 of us. It was right around the part where the man in charge was explaining the course “run out to the south jetty along the bay, circle back, then 5Kers will finish after a loop on the estuarary trail” that I realized I had no idea what he was talking about. He told us that if we didn’t know where we were going to just make sure we weren’t in front of or behind the pack. Thanks for the tip. He laughed as he said, “Ready, Set…Go!” And we were off! We reached the path that led us to the south jetty around mile 1. We ran along the bay. The only thing that separated us from the water was a narrow sandy strip lined with rocks. The cold rain pounded on my face and turned my legs red, but I kept going as fast as I could. I circled back feeling great. I hit the estuarary path and before I knew it the race director was shouting 28:43 as I crossed the finish. My best time to date! I could go on and tell you how excited I was about the young couple that came up to us after the race, so friendly and nice, telling me about where moms go for playgroups around town. And it was an answered prayer – finally a place to start meeting more people. But the answered prayer that was in my heart went much deeper than that. I was, for the first time, at peace in Newport. Life is life everywhere. There are many things here that are different from what I am used to, and making new friends takes time. But in the meantime I get to be in this incredibly beautiful place, while I live a part of my life that I never knew was waiting for me.