Running and Being a Kid…

Kassie Jackie Me

My mind works in mysterious ways.  I can jump between subjects in a conversation faster than my listener can keep up.  In my head, I have gone from one thing to another, and it makes perfect sense.  To the average listener (or my husband), I am sure what comes out of my mouth seems completely random.  That’s how my mind was working last night.

The two ladies pictured with me are my very best friends, Jackie and Kassi.  We grew up three houses from one another (Jack and Kass are sisters), and have been through all the ups and downs of life together the past 35 years.  Wow.  35 years.   That’s a long time to maintain a friendship – how very blessed we are!

When I began this running journey, Jackie decided to join me.  Together we pushed beyond what we thought were our limits.  Together we crossed the finish line of our first half marathon holding hands.  Once we began building mileage, and our love affair with running began to be noticed by others, Kassi took up running.  She quickly built her endurance and speed, and the threesome was begun.  Where we used to run the streets of Tell City as obnoxious teens, we were now running as fit and not-so-obnoxious moms.  Our favorite and most sacred run was our Wednesday Night Religion Run.  Kassi’s and Jackie’s kids had religion every Wednesday night, so they had a free hour to run.  We met at St. Paul Church, and managed four to six miles.  We have run in bitter cold and sleet; we have run in rain; we have run in blistering heat.  There wasn’t much we let get in the  way of our ritual run.  When I was asked to join the church choir, and I said I couldn’t because I run on Wednesday nights when they practice, I was asked why I couldn’t just run another night.  Sorry, Wednesday Night Religion Run is a priority, and God understands because the word ‘religion’ is in the name of that particular run.

Because of my knee issues and eventual surgery, I had not been able to run on Wednesdays since late March or early April.  I desperately missed my friends.  On those runs we have laughed at our own stupid jokes (we get each other’s humor), and we have cried because of some trial one of us was facing.  We have almost gotten hit by cars, and we have cheered for ourselves at the end of a great run.  We have walked when one of us is tired or hurting, and we have sprinted when Jackie commands us to finish strong.  We talk about our kids, our loves, our jobs, our poop, our snot, and other not-to-be-blogged-about topics.  Do you understand why I would miss these runs?  Why I did not want to give them up?  But I had to heal.  I couldn’t keep up.

I began running again about three weeks ago.  I started out running a slow mile.  The next week I ran two and then three miles.  Last week I ran four miles, and finally on Sunday I ran five miles.  After thinking I was going to be starting from scratch, being able to run five miles was an absolute thrill.  Tuesday I took off for a run after school, and it was my first pain-free run in nearly a year.  I could feel the runner in me emerging, and she was ready!  I texted Jackie and Kassi, and told them I was ready for Wednesday.   On Wednesday, October 23, I ran the Wednesday Night Religion Run with my friends.  It felt amazing, and by that I don’t so much mean the run; I mean just being with my friends and talking and laughing.  I know I am not completely healed, and will have to be careful to not push too hard, but I now have hope that my running life will resume, and I will once again be running the streets of our fair town with my friends.

Here’s where the random thoughts run amok….I was driving home from my run, all giddy and emotional, and I thought about Kass and Jack.  I thought about how we get to reminisce about our childhood.  We played outside all through junior high and high school.  We played hide and seek in our neighborhood until we graduated, and we rode bikes, and did a few things we shouldn’t have done (that’s on the not-to-be-blogged-about list).  In the summer we sat in Kassi’s and Jackie’s backyard with Sun-In in our hair (or lemon juice), playing Scrabble.  On snow days we played Monopoly and watched movies or found a vacant hill upon which to sled.   Jackie taught Kassi and me how to drive (I was apparently a better student because Kassi was always running into something).  Kassi and I ate popcorn and watched the Love Boat on Saturday nights.  We got all of the neighborhood kids together and played truth or dare, or we just sat outside and threw rocks at the bats by the street lights (which doesn’t seem very smart now).  Thinking about all of this on my drive home, led me to wonder what today’s kids will store in their memories.  How many teens do you see ‘playing’ outside?  They are so wrapped up in video games and computers that I wonder what memories they will share with their friends?  I find that sad.   We had such a fun neighborhood, and most of us are still friends today.   That’s where my thoughts stopped – just wondering about kids today.  I hope they are making worthwhile memories and taking advantage of their young, healthy bodies.   I hope their only memories aren’t of avatars and shooting and stealing cars on some stupid video game.  I hope they can sit down and have an actual conversation with their friends and not purely rely on text messages.

And you?  You’re not too old to continue making wonderful memories with your friends and family.  Get out and do something with them.  Go for a hike and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage.  Play kickball or shoot hoops.  Step away from the TV and computer and really live.  You only have one shot at life; make it memorable!

Peace and Love…

This photo has nothing to do with my blog, except that he is my gorgeous grandson, and I plan to make lots of memories with him!

This photo has nothing to do with my blog, except that he is my gorgeous grandson, and I plan to make lots of memories with him!

I Ran Today…

…and I mean really ran!  The last time I blogged, which was not long ago, I was running a slow mile.  Today I ran five miles, without walking, at a 10:07 pace!!  I was pretty much to the point that I regretted my surgery, and felt I’d never be able to run again.  I just couldn’t accept that, so I kept plugging along.  That first week, I ran twice, a mile both times.  I was happy to do anything, but longed to run farther.

Last weekend my family was in Lake Tahoe, which just so happens to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  The lake is just incredible, and the mountains and trees make a perfect backdrop.  The homes are all made of cedar or stone, and fit right into the landscape, and the air is crisp and clear.  And the one thing I wanted to do while we were in Tahoe was run.  Whenever I travel, I love to go out for a run because it’s such a great way to experience new places.  We miss so much when we just drive through new areas.  When we get out and run, we can take time to take in our surroundings, smell the fresh air, and embrace the opportunity to just be in the moment.  Because my knee still hurt and I hadn’t done any substantial running, I was afraid I would be unable to run while we were gone, but I was certainly going to try!

Friday morning Gary and I got up well before the crack of dawn to head out on a run.  It was 21 degrees – a brisk morning to say the least.   We had packed our cold-weather running gear, so we suited up and headed out.  It was dark, but we took off toward the lake.  As we were running along the main road that runs alongside Lake Tahoe, the sun began to emerge over the mountains.  Ahhhh….those are the moments I absolutely love.  We stopped to peer out over the lake, take in the scenery, and just thank God for the chance to experience his handiwork.  That morning, with my husband nearby, I ran just over two miles for the first time in months.  I ran those miles in Lake Tahoe.

The next morning, Gary was going to play golf with his son, so I planned to run on my own.  I waited until it was light, and took off along the same route.  This time, the sun glistened on the lake, and the snow-capped mountains shone in the background.  I was in awe.  I looked at the detail in the homes I passed, enjoyed the magnificent pine trees that claim this land as their own, and breathed in the cold, clean Tahoe air.  I didn’t run fast; I was really too busy taking in the beauty.  And there is the little issue with elevation.  I didn’t notice it being too much of an issue, but when we got back to Indiana, I noticed it was easier to breathe while running.  That morning, I ran three miles.  Three beautiful miles.  My knee was pretty sore when I stopped, but I really didn’t care.  I had run in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  What’s a little pain?

When I returned to Indiana, I wanted to be sure to continue to run.  I went out alone Wednesday after school.  My knee hurt.  A lot.  And I was angry.  I cursed as I limped along, and felt that I had, once again, taken several steps back.  I am not sure how far I ran that day, but I think it was between two and three miles.  Friday I tried it again.  My sister/friend Jackie was free, and I was determined to run with her.  We went out and ran four miles, with a bit of walking in between.  I cannot begin to express how wonderful it was to be back out pounding the pavement with my friend.   As much as I’ve missed running, I’ve missed my running friends even more.  I love these ladies, and life just didn’t seem right when I didn’t see them regularly.

Today, Sunday, was a picture-perfect running day.  By afternoon, it was in the 60s, and the sun was beckoning me to get out there and soak up its rays.  I went out with no real plan.  I had hoped to be able to run at least three miles, but I really just wanted to run and enjoy the day.  I had eaten two pieces of gooey butter cake and drank two diet soft drinks, which can often be a recipe for disaster (or at least stomach issues).  I put on my favorite playlist and my new shoes (Did I mention I bought myself some gorgeous new Asics?  New shoes can be very motivating.), and took off on one of my favorite routes.  My knee didn’t feel great, but when the little voice in my phone informed me that I had hit the first mile, and I had run it in 10:03, I just knew it was going to be a good day.  I began to tire in the third mile (I found I got out of running shape really fast), but I wanted to get to at least three miles without walking.  Once I got there, I decided to try to get to four miles without walking. I hadn’t yet done that, and knew it would be another major post-surgery accomplishment.  I was just about to the turn-off for four miles, when I decided to keep going.  I knew I could always stop and walk should it be necessary, so why not?  It was such a great day, and no one was home, so I had the time.  I kept going, and when I realized I could make it to five miles, I was ecstatic – almost to the point of tears.  Today, I ran five miles without stopping.  Today, I knew I was back.  Today, I thanked God for helping me heal, and for giving me the drive and determination to keep trying.  It would have been very easy to give up.  When I have tried to run and my knee hurt like hell, I could have easily given up running.  But I can’t.  Running has become part of who I am.  I love pushing myself to run just a little farther.  I love the feeling of accomplishment I have when finishing a run.   I love the time with my friends when we can talk about absolutely anything, and know it’ll go no further.  I love the time alone to process my thoughts and to remember how very blessed I am.  I love the calorie burn running provides.

Another thing I love is the support of the running/fitness community.  Without all of you, I might have given up.  The running/fitness community is an amazing group that supports the very best, and encourages everyone.  We get such a natural high from our fitness endeavors, and we want to share that with anyone who will listen to us.   When Gary and I began running, I kept expecting to quit.  I always had.  I would get on an exercise kick for a few weeks, and then just quit.  The past four and a half years have changed our lives.  It isn’t an exercise kick, it’s a lifestyle change.  I cannot imagine my life without fitness.  My running has led me to become a Zumba instructor, which I love, and most recently, a Tabata Bootcamp trainer.  Through running and fitness, we have made the best friends.  I am blessed to have my incredible husband by my side through all of this, and to have such amazing friends who have never given up on me.

Did I mention I ran five miles today?

Gotta Tabata!

I have a hundred things I need to do this evening, and writing isn’t really a necessity, but sometimes I just have something to say.  Combine that with time by myself, and I am going to write.  Surprisingly, I don’t plan to whine in this blog – not one bit.

This week I embarked on yet another fitness quest:  Tabata Bootcamp.  When the Everbody’s crew went to Atlanta this past summer, Gary and I went down a day early so that he could be certified to teach Spinning, and I could become a certified Tabata Bootcamp Trainer.  It seems odd to even write that as I am basically a wimp.  Putting the word ‘bootcamp’ in the same sentence as my name is somewhat of a contradiction of terms (kind of like putting the word ‘badass’ with my name, Missy!).  I have very little upper body strength; my abs are buried somewhere; and I am wimpy.  Something about the HIIT training (high intensity interval training) appealed to me, and I decided to step out of my comfort zone, which I seem to be doing a lot lately.

Tabata Bootcamp is not like a regular class that gym members can go to when the mood strikes.  It is an eight-week program to which participants must commit.  They have to register for a website, and will have assigned home workouts on days we don’t have class.  Despite the fact that I am not a morning person, I am meeting with my group on Mondays and Thursdays at 5:30 am.  I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t mind getting up this week.  I wasn’t thrilled when the alarm went off, but once I got to the gym, I was glad to be there.  Because of the format of the bootcamp, we have to limit the number of participants, so we have 16 bootcampers.  We have a really fun group, which also makes getting up before the crack of dawn bearable.  I have even run a mile (yes, that’s right, RUN) afterward.  I still have time to shower at the gym, and am at school at 7:00.  I am thrilled with the program, and anxious to see the results in eight weeks.  You know what I like?  I like pushing people to the point that they don’t think they have anything left, and they hate the sound of my voice, and then they do it!  Then, well then they usually thank me.   They still think bad thoughts about me, but they also accomplished a huge goal.  Pretty badass, huh?

I am also stepping out of my comfort zone (pretty soon there will be no zone!) and swimming.  I stink at swimming.  I don’t breathe correctly, so I wear myself out before I get to the end of the pool, but I am learning.  Our school’s wellness program is hosting lap swimming for staff members every Thursday.  I hope if I keep it up, I will become a stronger swimmer.  Senior Olympics, maybe?  I really enjoy it, and when I get tired, I just grab a kickboard and work my legs.

Saturday is the Evansville Half Marathon.   While I am sad that I won’t be running this year (I am not whining; I am stating a fact.), I can’t wait to watch some newbies finish their first half marathon!  I know what an amazing feeling that is, and I look forward to being there to cheer them across the finish line.  A couple of ladies from our Biggest Loser team, Danielle and Michelle, will be running their first.  I think Mary might also be running, but I am not certain.  My friend Emily Miller will be running her first half marathon, and I am so excited for her!  She has lost a bunch of weight in the past year, and has become a great runner in a very short time.  I know how thrilled she is, and am blessed to be able to share her moment with her.  Our friend Scott just started running in the spring, and he is now ready for 13.1.  He started losing weight in January, and after being pretty sedentary, has become an athlete.  Wow.   I know there are several other Tell City runners who will be pounding the pavement, and we will be there to support them as they run toward that almighty finish line.

And, of course, there’s my husband.  He has run several half marathons, but I am anxious to see how he does because he has really cross-trained, and I just know he’ll have a great race.  Last time he ran a race without me, I was a baby.  We were in Norfolk on a gorgeous summer morning, and I wanted to be running so badly that I just couldn’t enjoy his race.  I wasn’t very nice.  Saturday, I am going to be nice.  Promise.  And since I am going with Caroline, it’d be hard to be in a bad mood!   Good Luck to all of the Tell City/Perry County Runners this weekend!  I know there is a bunch of you, so I won’t even attempt to name everyone.

Shout Out Time!  Kim Oliva ran a mile without stopping for the first time ever before dawn, after Bootcamp, this morning!!  She will be hooked now.  If not, I hope she knows how persuasive I can be.  I will drag her butt out after our morning kickass workout, and we will run.   Me?  I ran a mile very slowly twice this week.  It’s a start.  My IT band hurt afterward, but I can walk, so it’s all good!  It is going to take time, lots of time, to work back up to some decent mileage, but I won’t give up.

What have you done lately that you never thought you’d try?  Do something new.  Step outside that stupid box.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You’d actually like it?  Or you wouldn’t like it?  At least you’d know.   Your body can do some pretty amazing things – test it out!  Need help?  There are a whole bunch of us willing to help!