Friday, 28 November 2008

Thanks again

Really.  Your comments have been so kind.  I really appreciate it.  

The day after I wrote my last post - about how I didn't want to run anymore - I woke up and wanted to get out and run, so I did.  I also got out yesterday morning, on a crystal clear, cold, silent Colorado morning and I ran.  

I think I am dealing with a post-mid-life crisis and the death of someone I really cared about.  I have depressive tendencies anyway, so I know I can really go off the deep end about stuff that others deal with pretty well.  I think the training for the PF Chang's Half in January will help me with this.

I am at the Denver Airport right now, waiting for my flight to Houston.  I am going to spend the weekend with some dear friends in Houston.  It should be good for my soul.  I am bringing my running shoes... but not my Garmin.  I just have so much electronic equipment, you would think I am some kind of high tech genius.  All I am is a woman who likes a lot of gee-whiz gizmos.  I can live without my Garmie for the weekend.

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving weekend.  And thanks again.  Really.  

Monday, 24 November 2008

Thank you kind readers

You have really been kind.  I have been having my own brand of grief reaction to my friend's death.  Yesterday I wanted to lay in bed and pull the covers over my head and just stay there all day.  Instead I went out and ran 8 miles. 

The thing is, I did not feel better after running.  I did not want to run, and I did not get that elation after a couple of miles that makes you want to keep going - the way I used to.  And the thing was - the day before when I was not running because I felt the wind was out of my sails after hearing the bad news - I knew that a year or two ago, running would have been the first thing I wanted to do.  It helped me cope.  

The other thing is - I think my body has reached the maximum benefit from running.  I am going to be 57 years old on December 15.  I thought that running would help keep old age from my doorstep, but right now I think I was wrong.  

I started running when I was in my late 20s and a young mother.  It was my way of getting my body back, and getting some alone time.  I kept running into my 30s.  I never ran a race until 1987 - I was 35 years old.  It was the Bolder Boulder - which is an awesome way to start racing.  But I still smoked.  I ran that first race with a cigarette tucked into the tiny pocket in my running shorts.  My cute little pink running shorts.  I lit up after I crossed the finish line.  

I stopped smoking when I was 38 - and gained 40 lbs., and started smoking again for 6 months - and did not lose the 40 lbs.  I stopped again when I was 39.  And have not had a cigarette again. I weighed too much to run as a non-smoker, so I started race-walking.  I lost most of the weight, but I kept a bit of that weight on me all these years.  I walked a 12 minute mile at that time.  

In 2003, I was engaged to be married.  I was pretty overweight again...happiness seems to do that to me.  On August 19, 2003, it became obvious to me that I could not marry this man and we broke up.  I thought I was going to die.  Two days after the break up, I went out and tried to run.  I knew that running could save my life.  I would walk one mile up a hill from my house.  When I got to the top, I would turn around and run for 5 minutes. I was out of breath and could do no more than that.

I did that for a couple of weeks.   Then I made it 10 minutes.  A few weeks later, I ran a mile.  After a month or so, I was able to run a mile and a half.  I started losing weight.  I started feeling good.  I fit into a size I hadn't been in for a very long time.  My legs were hard.  My butt was like a rock.  I stayed at a mile and a half a couple of times a week for a while.  I was full of confidence.  I registered for a triathlon!!!  

I started serious swimming at the pool.  I could not swim one length of the pool using the crawl stroke.  But I kept trying.  After a while I could crawl 2 lengths, and then breast stroke, and then back stroke.  It took a few months, but I got up to a half mile non-stop of the crawl stroke.  It took about a half-hour.  

Biking was always my favorite, so I just spent more time trying to go faster.  I still couldn't run 3 miles, but I figured I could walk in the race.

I participated in my first triathlon at the age of 52.  I felt like a million bucks.  It was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me.  

On New Years Day 2007, I told a friend I was going to run a half-marathon that year.  I don't know where that came from.  But I trained and I ran my first half-marathon in May.  It was wonderful.  I knew I was slow, but I felt like a million bucks.  I felt like I had found my sport.  Slow, long-distance running.  And I am not being humble when I say slow.  I mean 14+ minute miles.  I ran another half in October 2007.

At a Christmas party last year, a friend convinced me that if I could run a half, I could run a whole.  I decided to do it in Alaska. I  registered for the Mayor's Marathon... June 21... Summer Solstice.  How cool is that.  I got up to one 15 mile training run.  Two weeks after I used another half-marathon as a training run.  I came in dead last in that half.  Ironically, it was my best half-marathon time ever.  But it was a field of 800 athletes, without the "feel-good" peeps that offend some runners.  I was the only "feel-gooder" at that race, and it wasn't feeling too good, let me tell you.  I did enjoy it though.  

I went out for a 17 mile run one Sunday morning two weeks after my 15 miler, and after 5 miles decided that I did not want to pay the price to train for a marathon.  I knew I could train for a half-marathon without ruining my life, so I decided to run a half in Anchorage.  The question I asked myself that day was "do I want to run with joy, or do I want to run with grim determination?"  The answer was joy.  

That was my last race.  (well, aside from my triathlon in August - which I still consider a pleasure, not a chore)  I am registered for the P.F. Chang's half on January 18.  I know I can pull 13.1 out of this old body, but I am not loving it.  I am not waking up in the morning wanting to run.  I am not trying to figure out how to squeeze in a few more miles to get up to a total for the week or month, the way I used to.  

My body doesn't feel like a jock's anymore.  It feels old.  I am no longer noticing the rock hard muscles, but the flabby skin.  Not fat, mind you, skin.  It happens when you age.  I am pushing 60 and it is happening.  

I recently got in touch with one of my high school acquaintances.  She sent me pictures of a group of them at a restaurant.  The class of '69.  Well, I hate to tell you  - they are old ladies.  chubby old ladies. I am no stick figure - I wear a size 12, but I am not wearing huge shirts that are not covering my huge belly.  I have my rolls and my bulges, but I do not look like my classmates. I know that is because of running.

I don't even think I expect anyone to read this.  I am just facing a decision point I guess. I wish I had other old folks to talk it over with.  Most of you are young and energetic and happy to be running.  I know what that is like. It is GREAT.  I am just not there right now and I am pretty sure that time has passed.

I will put in my training runs this week. I will consider that it is a shock to find out a friend has died. I am probably more upset than I am even admitting.  I will not make any decisions this week.  I will definitely run P.F. Chang's - and I am really looking forward to meeting some of you.

Since I have already written a book, I will add this little story.

I just cancelled my land line service.  I use my cell phone for everything, so there is no sense in paying $52. a month for something I don't use.  Today was the last day my land line was on, so I wanted to listen to the voice mails I have saved.  Like from my granddaughter's first day of pre-school, etc.  Tucked in there was a voice mail from the man who died last week.  I was not expecting that.  I really wasn't expecting to hear what it said.  I have been feeling so bad about our last conversation and wishing I had been a better friend to him.  So, this morning, I got to hear a message he left for me in May.  It said "Thank you for your friendship.  You have been a really good friend to me.  There are so many things I love about you. Thank you."  I felt like he reached out to me today to tell me that it is OK.  

OK enough out of me!  Thanks for reading if you have read this much!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

socks and 8 miles

Ok, so this is a sock I am knitting.  It is so pretty that several people have decided that these are their Christmas present from me... but the news for them just might be that I decide to keep these for myself!  I haven't kept a pair of socks for myself for years, and there is absolutely nothing like hand knit socks.

I did manage to run 8 miles today.  I did not enjoy it.  I might have mapped out a course that was too hard. Or maybe I am just fried on running.  I kept thinking that I should just sit on my sofa and eat whatever the hell I want.  I should get fat.  I should cut my beautiful, stylish, hair with blonde highlights and red lowlights and let the gray come in, on my short hair.

I feel like throwing in the towel.  This is too hard.  

Maybe a touch of depression?  Maybe.

I will keep running, and keep my hair.  I will not sit on the sofa and eat.  But today I would really like to.

Thanks for listening to me.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Just call me Jackie...

Short for jackass.

After all the planning to run on Saturday instead of Sunday?  I am sitting in bed right now, waiting to crawl back in...  the heated mattress pad is heating up.

My socks are a lot further along and I could post a picture.  Well, just like I could run today.

Yesterday I heard (on the news) that one of my beloved former boyfriends was found dead in his home.  I feel like someone just kicked me in the gut.  I couldn't sleep last night.  He was having terrible problems, chronic alcoholism and many associated problems.  After our romance ended 2 years ago, we remained friends.  I am really so sad about this.

I will go do all the things I have to do today - after I wake up - and I will get my long run in tomorrow.  I did my 2 runs of 3 mile each this week like I said I would.

And tomorrow I will run 8 miles.

Today I just can't.  

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Training Problems

(I am starting my Christmas knitting - a pair of socks)
I ran my 2 times during this week... that was OK.  This morning I went out to run 8 miles and ran 3 instead.  I felt like crap.  My hip hurt.  My water bottle was leaking.  I forgot the receiver for my Nike + iPod.  I was not enjoying one second of the run and decided to bag it.  

Here is my plan for this week.  I am going to run 3 miles on Tuesday morning.  I am going to run 3 miles on Thursday morning.  I am going to run 8 miles on Saturday morning.  

I am going to switch back to long runs on Saturday.  On Sunday everyone expects me to make Sunday dinner.  And I really do enjoy that - unless, of course, I just finished my long run and I am at the grocery store trying to figure out what I can cook quickly.  That is not my idea of fun.  I had a house full of family this morning when I took off to run and it just felt wrong to me.

But I must get my long runs in... next week.  I commit to this.

Sunday, 9 November 2008


It feels strange to not have a long run this weekend... like I am somehow slacking in my training.  I ran 4 really great miles yesterday.  My times were good and the trail was great - 2 miles uphill to start and then the reward at 2 miles when you turn around and start flying downhill.  The weather is glorious - in a manner of speaking.  Frankly, I would rather have seasonal temperatures  - this is more like summer.  

I am having a hard time getting in my weekday runs.  I am so busy at work and I cannot seem to run and get to work on time.  Maybe I should endeavor to do that, eh?

Sunday, 2 November 2008

7 mile long run

Today I happily completed a 7 mile run.  I really felt great.  My time is still good, despite running on hard trails, including some pretty good hills.  I am now sitting with an ice pack on my back, a diet pepsi in front of me - and a football game on.  The best way to spend a Sunday afternoon! (well, if the Broncos decided to win, that would definitely improve the day.)

I have 10 weeks before P.F. Chang's.  I think I should have no problem getting a half marathon out of this body in 10 weeks - barring unforeseen circumstances - like injuries.  

I am so glad to be in training mode again.  It really helps me to focus.  When I have no goal, I just don't feel like getting out there.  This is good.