Let the obsessing begin…

The Derby Mini is now 11 days away. The mix of emotions I am feeling ranges from excitement to fear to acceptance. Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross coined the five stages of grieving. Perhaps I can coin the five stages of pre-race jitters. I did my 11 mile training run Friday. That’s the furthest I will run in preparation for the race; this weekend I will run about seven miles. I love taper time – I’ve put in the time, and now it’s time to rest my body and stick to easy runs.

My 11-miler was a mix of positive and negative. One of my students had been asking about running with me. I didn’t think he’d follow through just because he’s a 14 year old, and typically 14 year olds don’t want to hang out after school with a grandma/teacher. I saw one of the boys at Walmart after school yesterday, and he was completely awkward. This boy was serious, so I told him I would be running slowly because I wasn’t concerned about speed; I just needed to run 11 miles. He agreed to run with me until he had to be at track practice. The kid ran six miles! He had never run more than two miles at one time, so he really didn’t know what he could do. I know him well enough to know that he would probably push through, and would not back out during a run. I really enjoyed the run. He did so well, asked a lot of questions about racing, and listened when I gave him advice. The first half of my run went quickly. I dropped my student off at the track, ran to the bathroom, drank some water, and took off for the next leg of my journey.

The second half? It didn’t go so well. My left knee, which is NOT the knee I had surgery on, began to hurt. It felt exactly like my surgery knee did when those problems started. I had to stop and stretch, and then I’d run a little more, and then I’d stop and stretch, and so on. The really frustrating part was that my endurance was awesome. Honestly, I felt like I could have kept running had my knee not hurt. My last two miles were well under a 10:00 pace, the fastest of the 11. I just need everything to work at once.

I am really not sure what will happen come race day. I have run twice since, but only three miles, so my knee was fine. I ordered new compression socks (in a lovely gray, pink, and black argyle print); I have a knee brace; and I have Ibuprofen and Celebrex. I need one good day. You should hear the conversations I have with God when I begin to have pain. I am sure we will have lots of conversations on April 19.

Now is the time I also begin planning my race attire. When I just run here in town, I might or might not match. At a race, I will match. I bought a super cute Nike running hat in a lovely pattern of pink and black, and I have a Nike light pink tank that is really soft, and I know would feel great in a race. I usually wear a skirt just because I like them (once a cheerleader?). I have some compression socks, but they don’t match the pink of my shirt, which would literally stress me out that day (hey, it’s the little things!). Who would wear hot pink socks with a soft pink tank? Not me. Do you see why this sport can get expensive? I told my [very understanding] husband that if I have to walk part of this race, I am at least going to look decent! I also ordered arm warmers. For those of you who are wondering what the hell arm warmers are and why I need them, here’s the scoop. It is usually cool when the race begins, but then it warms up, and I warm up, after a few miles. I want to wear my pink tank, but it will be chilly, so I put on arm warmers, which I can slip off when I warm up. They will (I hope) tuck nicely in my skirt, and will be much easier to take off than an extra shirt or jacket.

Music. When I first started running races, I didn’t use music because I enjoyed listening to the crowds, and then I tried music, and I ran super fast [middle-aged-runner-nana-not-so-fast-fast]. Since then, I have continued to sport earbuds. And so I am also working on my playlist. This isn’t just a matter of playing songs I like; it’s also a matter of strategically placing songs. My first song is ‘Here Comes the Sun’ because we begin at 6:30 am. I have fun songs for the first half. For the second, and hardest, half, I have songs that inspire me. I asked each of my girls to choose a song for my list that would remind me of her. I have a song for my husband, ‘I’ll Stand by You’ because he is my biggest supporter. I have a song for God, ‘How Beautiful’ to remind me that without my God and my faith, I wouldn’t be out there running. I am going to add a song for my dad, ‘Jesu’, which isn’t really a running song, but it one song I remember hearing him play on the piano and organ. Running is such a mental activity; you’d be surprised how music can inspire the legs to keep moving. I hope I get through my playlist! I made sure it’s extra-long in case I end up walking some. Or a lot.

Time to grade papers..or look up race times…I’d better grade!

17 More Days!

In my mind, that sounds ominous. I have 17 days until the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon. Only 17. I have one more long run, which if the weather cooperates, will happen this Friday after school. I would prefer to do my 11-miler Saturday morning rather than after a long day at work, but the girls have their first tennis match out of town Saturday, so Friday it is. This week I have taught four bootcamp classes in three days, and my legs are sore and tired. They  are so sore, in fact, that last night after I showered, I immediately crawled into bed. I  then texted my husband, who was still downstairs: I want to come kiss you goodnight, but my legs are too tired! They refuse to carry me. I love you to the moon and back! How pathetic is that? Seriously, I was that tired, yet, I couldn’t sleep! My body didn’t budge, but my eyes refused sleep. This was especially frustrating because I had to teach HIIT at 5:30 am.

I had planned to run four miles this evening, but – at the strong encouragement of my husband – stayed home instead. Rest is good, right? I teach bootcamp again in the morning, and we will be focusing on arms and abs, purposely avoiding power squats (that’s for my benefit, not the participants’). I might try to run a couple of miles on the treadmill before hitting the shower, but my legs might just have a different plan.

Then I will rest up for Friday. Hopefully my friend Jennifer will be running part of my long run with me. It goes so much quicker when someone is with me. I enjoy solo runs, but have done far too many in the past couple months. Because I still lack confidence in my knee and my endurance, I have hesitated to run with others much. And for some reason, this race is really personal to me, and I just want to do it on my own. Weird, huh? I am really excited for my friends who are running, especially those who will complete their first half marathon, but this race is for me – and for my friend Katie, as I previously posted. After bailing at the 8-mile mark last year, not running a single race since, and going through knee surgery, this is, perhaps, my most important race to date. Just a couple months ago, I was convinced I would never run 13.1 again; I just couldn’t do it. Then running seemed to get a little better, and I was able to run a little farther, and I decided that I have to run 13.1 again. I cannot give up what I love, until my legs refuse to move. Last year, I spent a lot of time focusing on several of my ‘newbie’ friends, and I loved it. This year it is going to take all of my focus and energy to get myself across that finish line. Once I cross, and I will even if I have to crawl or ride piggy back on someone, I will celebrate with everyone else. Lord, I hope I make it.

I said that running has gotten a little easier, but it is still so flippin’ difficult. Every single run takes so much effort right now. I am not running nearly as fast as I was a year ago, but I feel like I am putting in even more effort. We all have tough runs, but I would like to have just a few easy ones. Monday was a beautiful day, and I had looked forward to my run all day as I looked out the windows of my classroom. I was finally going to be able to run in shorts and a tank, and work up a great sweat. My legs felt like bricks. Most of the time, my first mile is tough, but then I fall into a rhythm, and it gets easier. That never happened. I had run five miles Sunday, so once I hit the three-mile mark, I stopped. I could run no further. I walked the mile back to my car, and chalked it up to a bad day…another bad day.

I have thought about goals for the race. Common sense tells me that my only goals should be to enjoy running the race (which is an incredible race with a huge crowd on a beautiful course), and to cross the finish line with my knee healthy. My husband would tell you I don’t often use common sense. The last time I finished Derby, my time was 2:04, and my last complete half marathon time was 1:59. While I know it impossible to get close to those times, I would still like to have a respectable time. And, I have been online looking at last year’s times. I always say I am not going to do that, but I always do. Always. I really have no idea what to expect. When Jackie and I ran our 10-miler, we ran about a 10:26 pace, and usually one runs faster in a race just because of the adrenaline (and because I get caught up in the crowd). If I could run a 10:00 pace, I would finish in 2:11. First, I don’t know if that is possible; second, I surely wish I could run faster. I should just finish this to prove I can run that far, and then concentrate on running faster for a fall half marathon. Will I? Do you see how there is a constant battle going on in my head? No wonder I couldn’t sleep.

My mind will be in turmoil for the next 17 days. My stomach will likely follow suit at some point, hopefully not race morning! That would be awkward. I am not a fan of porta-potties! My next few blogs will probably provide more information about the race than you care to know, but as you know, I write whatever is on my mind (not everything – you’d be shocked if you knew what all goes on in my head; it’s very cluttered in there).

Run on, Friends!

A Tough Decision

I made a deal with myself. If I could run nine miles this past weekend, I would sign up for the Derby Mini. I ran nine miles. I haven’t signed up. I just keep going back and forth and back and forth. I eeked out nine miles without walking, but at a slow pace; I averaged 11-minute miles. Last year – presurgery, pre-physical therapy – Jackie and I ran ten miles at a 9:20 pace while training. That’s super-fast for me. The last half marathon I completed, I ran a 9:09 pace – that’s smokin’ fast for this grandma! Saturday as I ran, I kept telling myself that the pace didn’t matter; I just wanted to see if I could run nine miles. I told myself (obviously, I spend far too much time in conversation with myself) that should I choose to run Derby, time would not matter. It would be awesome just to finish.

It wasn’t long ago that the idea of ever being able to run 13 miles again seemed as impossible as winning the lottery. I don’t play the lottery. Saturday, it seemed within reach. My run was difficult; I still don’t have my endurance built back up. At the four mile mark I said some not-so-nice words because I couldn’t believe I had only run four miles, and still had five to go. And then I got to five, and thought Only four more to go! I thought about the cheering crowds lining the streets of Louisville, and the drunk frat boys who always stand outside their house yelling as we run past. I thought about the little kids holding their sweaty hands out for high-fives as we trot by. I thought about my husband waiting for me at the finish line, and the pride that would be in his eyes as I cross the line (he truly is an amazing source of support for me). I LOVE the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon! There are 18,000 runners, tons of crowd support, and a beautiful course. I want to be there, and I don’t want to be on the sidelines. But (here I go) what will happen when I run through Churchill Downs? Will I have heart palpitations as I remember that point last year when my knee finally gave up? Will I cry? Would it be really cool to run that particular race because I haven’t run a race since last year’s Derby mini, and I returned to that same race? Is my knee really ready or will I just reinjure it by pushing too far too soon?


I have an appointment with my gyno this week (TMI?), and I will ask for his opinion. While that might sound odd, the reason I go to this particular doctor is that he is a marathoner and triathlete. No, he isn’t an orthopedic doctor, but I trust his opinion. He helped me through the half I ran after my hysterectomy. Funny story…last year at my appointment, I was sitting on that lovely table in my stylish paper towel gown, and we started talking about the IronMan that Gary and I had gone to watch. Doc whips out his Iphone and shows me pictures of him in that IronMan! Awkward. After talking with him, and attempting a 10-miler this weekend, I will decide. I will have to because they have a cap on the race, and if I wait too long, I won’t get in. And then I’ll be pissed.

In other news, Tabata Bootcamp is becoming quite the popular class! Breanne is starting her next session, and had to add another group because there wasn’t enough room in one class. My crazy-early-morning class also filled up, so I will also be adding another group. I will be teaching two classes before school on Mondays and Thursdays, and one class on Wednesdays. I see some early bedtimes in my near future. I am really enjoying having my evenings free to be a mom. After school today I was able to get groceries and fix dinner before the girls came home from tennis practice. While that might be typical in your home, it isn’t in mine. And I don’t have to feel guilty about not working out because I did Tabata and ran two miles before school today. Who knows? Perhaps I can do a better job at keeping up with this blog.

These will make me faster!

These will make me faster!

By next week, I will post my decision. Just in case I register, I ordered some super-cool new Asics! Although I had planned to get the Cumulus, the Asics 2000 come in a neon yellow that I just love, so that’s what I bought. I bet they make me really fast! When my daughters will little, any time they got new shoes, they would take off running and swear that the shoes made them fast. Now, who wants to run ten miles with me Saturday? And feel free to comment if you have an opinion on the Derby.

Random Running and other Gobbledygook

It’s one of those nights that I feel the need to write, but don’t have anything very specific to write about, so prepare to read random crap in no particular order (feel free to click the little X in the upper right-hand corner). This evening I was determined that once I got home, I was going to plop on the couch with a blanket, and be lazy. I haven’t had any down time recently, and I am just tired. I am trying to get through the book Divergent (which I really like) so I can pass it along to Addison, and can’t even seem to find time to read for any length of time. I typically read before I go to sleep; the problem is I read only a few pages before my eyes become heavy and the light too bright. Once I finish this blog, I will read. I will keep my eyes open. I think I can…I think I can…


Why am I so tired, you wonder? Like most of you, my life is non-stop. Because this is my first year teaching eighth grade, I have to put more hours in to develop curriculum and research materials, and because I teach language arts, grading can take ten to twelve hours out of a weekend. I try to get to school by 7:00, and leave by 4:00.  Sometimes I get out earlier and go for a run, and sometimes I stay later trying to stay ahead of the game.  Add to that my job at the gym, a husband, four dogs, two 17 year olds (who are in numerous extracurriculars), and an attempt to increase my running mileage, and time is limited. I do not complain (openly – I complain in my head all the time) because this is the life I choose, and I am so very blessed to have a job I love, to spend my day with kids who inspire me, to have a family that needs me and wants me around, and to have a home to care for.

Running…I am still on the fence about running the Kentucky Derby Half next month. I ran eight miles Saturday, and it went surprisingly well. During the run I went through a plethora of emotions. At several different points, I thought This is so stupid! I can’t possibly run 13.1 miles! My knee still hurts. Even after surgery, the stupid thing still hurts. And then a mile later my thoughts would evolve to Maybe. Just maybe I CAN run 13.1. I don’t feel that bad.  Another mile and I would begin to panic about that particular race because last year I had to drop out. Would I hyperventilate in Churchill Downs? That’s where my knee gave up and the pain became too much to handle. Do I really want to face that possibility again? Honestly, no. If the timing were different, I would try the Flying Pig Half in Cincinnati in May, but we have a wedding that weekend. The only spring half that works with our crazy schedule is Louisville.



So, this weekend I will try to run nine miles. If that goes well, I might sign up. Might. Might not. I have to work on getting it through my rather thick head that it is okay to run slower, and to be grateful to finish. I have completed four half marathons, and my times were 2:13, 2:09, 2:04, and 1:59:43. I am very unlikely to ever break two hours again; this I know. Can I be satisfied with 2:20 or 2:30? I am going to have to be. I plan to run with a friend, and I want to be able to just enjoy the time with her – to enjoy HER moment. I think my soul needs it. Stay tuned…

Zumba…I haven’t taught Zumba in two weeks, and it’s okay. I miss the people who were in the classes, but am enjoying more freedom in my evenings. I have taught Monday and Tuesday evenings for the last two school years, and am grateful now for time to run, fix dinner, and do what I choose.  I never dreamed that I would enjoy teaching early morning classes, but am now teaching three 5:30 am classes a week, and I love it! I get up early, teach Tabata or HIIT, shower at the gym, and am still at school by 7:00. It’s a great way to begin the day. I am so very grateful for the people who get up early to come to the classes; they make my job fun!

I bought Oreos today. That’s a confession. Benita and I were at Walmart, and there was this big, beautiful display of Oreos. I have said before that though I am great at working out regularly, I am not so great at eating healthy foods. And I am awful at passing up temptations. Just call me Eve. Only my tree would have had chocolate, not apples, and I wouldn’t have shared with Adam. Thus far, I have only eaten five Oreos, but the night is still young, and I haven’t poured a glass of milk yet. I saw that someone had posted some broccoli recipe on Facebook, and there was a caption that said ‘This recipe should be illegal’. Broccoli? Seriously? There is no flippin’ way broccoli can be that good. It could possibly be tolerable and puke-proof, but that’s it. Oreos and milk…that’s good.


Here’s a list of the upcoming events for the next two weeks (I know you don’t care, but I’m on a roll, so I am going with it):

  • Baby shower tomorrow for a dear couple who are adopting a baby boy in a couple of weeks.
  • Addison is in the high school play this weekend, and she and her best guy friend are playing twins. I cannot wait to see her acting debut!
  • Going to the in-laws Saturday, and will not only get to see them, I will get to see my totally gorgeous, sweet, intelligent step-daughter, whom I adore.
  • Next week is the last week before spring break. After state testing this week, we are going to do some FUN writing assignments.
  • Going to Chicago – my very favorite city – with Bethany, Addison, and Benita over spring break. Taking a bus (a bit apprehensive about that) .  I have a surprise for the girls, but they might read this, so you all have to wait.
  • And then?  Tennis season starts! I love tennis season. All of the girls have played, and I so enjoy watching them. This year our German daughter will also be playing, so I will be trotting back and forth between courts.
  • BIG wedding in May. Cathy Gelarden and I not only owned a business together, we also raised six girls together. Her oldest, Baylie, is getting married, and my oldest, Morgan, is in the wedding. My two year old grandson, Layne, is also in the wedding, which should be…interesting? It will be a great weekend!

I told you it would be random, and if you made it this far, you are probably wondering why you bothered. There is nothing enlightening, entertaining, or awe-inspiring. I’m just a regular nana with a regular life doing the regular old things. It’s time to get the Oreos and milk now! Have a fantastic Wednesday night.

Not Quite What I’d Planned…

Yesterday was the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/Mini Marathon, a day we had planned for since last summer.  We had a group of 20 runners who had planned our weekend together, and most in our group were running their first half marathon.  There were at least 5-10 other runners from Tell City who would also be running.  What a great representation our small town had at a big city race.  My husband, Gary, was running the full marathon; it was so important to him to have a good run, and we were all excited for him.

Since February, I have had several illnesses/injuries.  This is unlike me; I typically have a cold or two each winter, but overall, I am pretty healthy.  Not this year.  I have had a sinus infection, the flu, a stomach virus, IT band problems, and most recently, a pretty nasty eye infection.  That infection erupted the week of the race.  Great.  Two visits to the opthalmologist. and it seemed to be under control, but not completely healed.  I had also been babying the IT issue: two visits to the orthopedic doctor, a visit to the chiropractor, tape, stretching, rolling, and Motrin.  I wanted to run this race well, and had trained for months.  I was going to run this race, even if it was with one eye and a limp.

Raceday morning I taped up, took my Motrin, put on compression socks (that I happened to find in a nice pink plaid), and felt good.  I was able to get my contacts in, which was another plus.  I did not want to run wearing my glasses.  The excitement that morning was so very motivating.  The ‘newbies’ were nervous, and anxious to get started.  We took the token photo, and all headed to our assigned corrals.  Jackie and I were in corral B, so we took our places together.  I ran my last half marathon in 1:59:43, breaking two hours for the first time.  My goal for Derby was 1:58, which meant I needed a 9:00 pace.  The National Anthem was sung, a moment of silence was observed for the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing, and the gun when off.  I felt great!  I was running an 8:45 pace, and felt I would be able to maintain that pace.  It was also enough cushion that if I slowed later, I could still meet my goal.  With about 16,000 runners, the momentum helped move me along.  I had strategically planned my playlist, and felt energized by my music.

When I hit the four mile mark, my knee began to hurt, but it was tolerable.  The further I went, the worse the pain.  I started to think that I would not be finishing the race, but I was still maintaining my pace, and I just kept praying.  I just wanted the pain to stop.  I had already calculated that if I maintained an 8:45 pace, I would finish in 1:55, which would be incredible.  Please, God, just make the pain go away.  It didn’t.  It continued to worsen.  As we descended down a tunnel into Churchill Downs, the downhill caused pain that stopped me in my tracks.  I walked through the tunnel, and then tried to run again as we came out into the infield.  I couldn’t run.  I walked a little, and then tried to run again.  Pain ripped through my knee.  I thought to myself This is stupid.  You have to stop.  That’s it.  I can’t do it.  I can’t do it.  Dammit, I can’t do it.  I was done.  I had run eight miles, and could go no further.  As the other runners trotted by, the tears began.  I didn’t know how the hell I was going to get back downtown, but I knew I couldn’t walk five miles.  I had told our friend, Bob Walsh, that I might have to call him to come get me, but I did not want to make that call.

I found a police officer, and asked how I could get back.  He said he could have EMS take me, but I was not about to do that.  I wasn’t dying.  He told me where the best place to meet Bob would be, and, of course, it was about 1/2 mile walk.  I began walking away from the race.  As I walked, I cried.  The months of training were wasted.  I was so disappointed.  I was not going to meet my goal, not going to get a medal, and I would not be there to see all of my friends finish.  And when I did see them, I needed to be excited for them, and I knew how hard that would be because I was so damn upset.  I began to let people know that I had stopped because I knew they were tracking my progress.  I finally made it to a corner where I would meet Bob.  Because of all the streets being closed, he had to take the long way around, and it took about an hour and a half from the time I first called, until he arrived.  I just sat on the corner by myself, looking quite out of place in my pink and black running outfit and a bib number plastered to my front.

Bob took me back to the hotel, and by that time, I could hardly walk.  I limped up to my room, stopping every few steps as pain stabbed my knee, with tears streaming down my face.  I just wanted to crawl in the bed and stay there.  If you are a non-runner, it might seem a bit over-dramatic.  If you’re a runner, you get it.  Rather than crawl in bed, I had to change into warm clothes, and get back to the course.  I still had friends to support, and my husband to cheer on.  I made my way back to the race area, but it took quite awhile because walking was painful.  As I ran into friends along the way, I tried to keep my composure while congratulating them (I didn’t do very well).  I finally made it to the area where I had planned to wait for Gary.  I kept getting my text alerts as my friends finished.  They were all doing so well.

I am so very proud of all of the Tell City runners!  Every single first-timer met his or her goals, and just did an amazing job.  I think they are all hooked!  Others knocked time off their previous runs.  As I spent time with my friends who were staying to wait for Gary, their enthusiasm began to cheer me up.  As I read the messages from people on Facebook, I felt so blessed that I had so much support.  The kindness was overwhelming.  I also received this great text from my daughter Morgan:  You are finishing through all the people you coached – that’s your real success.  She has no idea what those words meant.  This wasn’t my day.  My friend Breanne said that God had another purpose for me that day.  I guess He did.  I do believe there are lessons in every circumstance.  And, though I am still disappointed, I will not stop.  I am going to take some time to heal this stupid IT band, and am already planning for a fall half marathon.  I will run the St. Louis Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon on October 27.  And now that I know I can run an 8:45 pace, that will be my goal.

What about Gary?  Well, he is incredible.  Truly.  He finished a full marathon in under six hours, which was his goal.  I was able to run the final block to the finish line with him (Gosh, it hurt like hell!), but I would not trade that moment with my husband for anything.  He has an artificial knee, and was told he could not run on it.  Really?  He just did.  I am so proud of his hard work, dedication, and determination.

We’re both moving pretty slowly today.  He is sore and tired, and my knee hurts.  Non-runners might ask why on earth we’d put ourselves through all of this.  Sometimes I ask myself the same question.  But, I will continue to run, to train, and to try to meet goals.  I can’t imagine life without running.  It has provided meaning; it has provided friendships that are unbeatable; and it has made me a stronger person.  So, I will be back.  I will continue to run races.  And I will continue to challenge myself.  Just not today.  Today, I’m taking a nap.

I cannot end this blog without congratulating my wonderful running team:  Jackie, Kassi, Kathy, Breanne, Tyler, Breanne, Blair, Danielle, Heidi, Derrick, Kara, Jennifer, Lisa, Tomi Jo, Krystal, Debbie, and Gary………….I am so incredibly proud to call all of you my friends!  Thanks for sharing this weekend with me.  I hope it’s the first of many.  St. Louis, anyone?

And, Bob Walsh, thanks for saving my butt!  I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you.  Sherry, Cathy, Caroline, and Scott, thanks for coming and supporting all of us!  Chris Hollinden, thank you so very much for coming to the race, running a few miles with Gary, and helping keep him on track to meet his goal.  And all of you who posted such kind words or texted me, Thank You!

For the Love of Running

Along with most US citizens, my heart has been with everyone who was affected by the bombing at the Boston Marathon Monday.  As a runner, I ached for those runners who had family members – who were there to support them – injured or killed.  I was so sorry for the over 4000 runners who didn’t cross that finish line.  Their dreams were stolen by a couple of thugs.  The countless hours of training they had put in, seemingly wasted.  Time away from families so they could log miles…all for naught.

One of my favorite aspects of being a runner is that I belong to an incredible community.  Runners are truly supportive of one another.  It doesn’t matter if one runs a 6 minute pace or a 13 minute pace, we are all runners.  We have all had fantastic runs that we can’t wait to post on Facebook, and painful runs that make us think we will never run again. We cheer just as loudly for the last person to cross the finish line, as we did for the first.   We all watched in disbelief as two explosions rocked the finish line at the ultimate marathon, The Boston Marathon.  While I will never run Boston, I feel a connection with those who are able to, for they represent the epitome of running.  When they are hurt, I hurt.  I might not run Boston, or any other marathon, but I know what it feels like to run my race with the crowds cheering, and I know what it feels like to cross the finish line, meeting a goal I set for myself.  I know how special it is to have family and friends on the sidelines, clapping and yelling as I run past.  I do not know what it is like to have evil show up at a race.  And, dear God, I pray I never do.

I assume (and have been told) that non-runners don’t really ‘get’ us.  Why do we love running?  I actually wondered that myself this morning as I drove home after my 8-miler.  I was having a bad allergy day; my left eye was red, swollen, and dripping.  I have struggled with an IT band injury for months, and it hurt beginning at mile 5 today.  I have had a hip injury, stomach issues, and terribly sore muscles.  I have put in hours upon hours of time, just to run.  Life without running?  It would suck.  It’s what I love.  I ran with a good friend this morning, and the miles passed quickly as we caught up with one another’s lives.  I was able to enjoy the beautiful morning.  Running makes me happy.  It cures a bad mood, celebrates accomplishments, and feeds the body and soul.  It’s time with friends, time alone, and time for reflection.  Running is exhausting and invigorating, frustrating and fulfilling.

This week when I visited my orthopedic doctor, he told me my IT band problem could cause me to have to stop running.  Completely.  Those words cause panic.  Not run?  But all of my friends run.  What would I do if I couldn’t run?  I enjoy other forms of exercise, but nothing as much as running.   It is such a huge part of my life; I cannot even imagine not running.  Sorry, Doc, I can’t stop.  I will do whatever it takes to continue.

One week from today, 15 of my friends, my husband, and I will be running the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon (my husband is running the full).  For many of my friends, it will be their first 13.1.  While I am excited for my run, I am even more excited for them.  I know what it feels like to complete 13.1 miles in a race, and I want that experience for them.  I can’t wait to hear about their runs, and to hear the excitement and pride in their voices when they say “I did it!”  And I can just about guarantee they will all do it again.  We will all run for Boston:  for those who didn’t get to finish their races, for those who were injured or killed, and for those whose lives were forever changed.  We will run because we will not let the evil in this world steal what we love to do.  They will not win.

To Our Running Group:  Kick Ass!  You will all do great!  I have so much confidence in each of you.  You have done the work; it’s almost time to reap the rewards (which happens to be a highly-valued race medal).  Best of luck, Lisa, Kathy, Kassi, Jackie, Breanne, Tyler, Breanne, Blair, Heidi, Derrick, Debbie, Danielle, Patrick, Jennifer, and Kara!!

To My Husband:  I hope you know how proud I am of you!  A marathon?  On an artificial knee?  You rock!  I wish you the very best, and can’t wait to meet you at the finish.  You are an inspiration to so many, and I am blessed to be your wife!


Run On, Friends

I cannot believe it’s been a month since I even looked at my blog.  Spring is always incredibly busy for our family; Addison is on the tennis team, academic teams, and in We the Youth (a leadership program).  Gary and I have been training for the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon that takes place next weekend, and in the past two weeks, have decided to put our house on the market.  So we’ve added ‘Operation Sell Our House’ to our already packed spring.  You know how we all learn to live with things in our houses that need to be fixed, painted, or removed?  Then you decide to sell that house, and suddenly you’re inundated with an endless to-do list.  That’s where we are – fixing and planting and painting and decluttering.  I have to say that last weekend, when we had a couple coming to look at our house, we worked our tails off, and the place was cleaner than it had ever been, and it was all clean at one time – even my teenager’s room and closet!  What a great feeling.  Too bad it doesn’t stay that way for long.

Anyway, enough on our house (unless you are interested in a lovely home surrounded by 54 acres of woods, then I can provide all the details you want!).  The Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon (13.1 miles).  I ran it last year 12 weeks after having a hysterectomy, and for me, I ran it very well: 2:05, which was a 9:37 pace.  It was one of those rare races when the stars aligned perfectly.  I felt great; the weather was perfect; my friends were there; and my legs didn’t disappoint me.  As this year’s race approaches, I can feel the anxiety building.  I want to be able to run it as well as last year, but maybe the stars will be out of wack that day.  Maybe my stomach will not cooperate.  Maybe the weather will suck.  I have trained well, and have had some strong runs, so I will have to accept that I did what I could, and take whatever time I get.  I know that the energy of the other runners – all 17,999 of them – will provide a major boost, and the fan support at this race is amazing.  There is entertainment along the way, and my husband will also be running.  And I will say lots of prayers this week!  God, give me strength…

Tomorrow I am going to Clarksville, Tennessee to become certified to teach Zumba.  I have been going to Zumba classes in Hawesville since last summer, and have thought about teaching for awhile.  I finally decided to take the plunge.  It sounded reasonable a couple months ago when I registered; now I am wondering if I am just too old for it.  I love the classes, but can I lead them?  I am almost certain I will be the only grandmother at the training.  And then there is the fear that I will injure myself and be unable to run next weekend.  That would not be good.  I am sure that I will have much to write about the training; I just hope it isn’t from the ER!

This past Monday was the Boston Marathon – the most prestigious marathon in the world.  IN THE WORLD!  And my friend, Kim Strobel, ran it.  What an amazing accomplishment to be a part of that race.  My third graders tracked Kim’s progress on BM maps, and were so excited each time we got an update on her run.  This year the temperature in Boston hit a record high, the upper 80s.  This is not good for runners whose bodies have not had a chance to adjust to running in the heat.  In fact, it’s downright dangerous.  The marathon officials even recommended that unless runners were in the elite category, or very marathon-experienced, they should consider not running.  After training for months, flying to Boston, and spending money on accommodations, do you think many backed out?  I don’t think so.  Kim didn’t.  She ran Boston, and she ran it like a gazelle!  Her time:  3:43:12.  Her pace:  8:30.  WOW.  For us average runners, that’s super fast.   Yet I also know that had the temperature been lower, she would have run faster.  Kim spoke with several runners afterward, and all said their times were much slower than previous races.  As I told Kim before she left, running Boston is a huge feat in itself.  Whether she ran it fast or crawled across the finish line, I am so proud of her.  What a great inspiration and a wonderful representative of Tell City.

I hope that you are meeting your goals and taking time for yourself.  Sometimes it takes some creative scheduling, but it’s worth the effort.  Running has gotten me through some extremely stressful days, and has given me time to process my days.  Take the time – you’re worth it!