12 February 2011

A Walk with My Dad

Today I participated in the Fruita Sweetheart 10k. I had originally signed up for it with the designs of pushing myself to finish with a good time and as a prelude to next weekend’s Lost Dutchman in Arizona. That changed after my Dad signed up to walk it with me. He had surgery on his back in December and for an active man, the health-imposed lightness of activity has been driving him nuts. When I was telling him about the race (I use the term “race” for all my walks – it sounds more exciting), he decided it would be a good event to take part in. So my goal of a fast time (for me) went by the wayside – I wanted to walk with my Dad and I would walk at his pace.

This is the second small, local race I’ve done and I’ve come to really enjoy them. No hoards of people, no fancy start line or finish line, no “D” tags for timing: just 3 or 4 organizers, about 30 volunteers, 2 policemen, tons of donated goodies and a simple route with beautiful scenery. I have no idea how many people were participating in the combined 5k/10k route but it couldn’t have been more than 500. My Dad tells me, “I thought you said there weren’t going to be a lot of people?” And I said, “Well, there’s really not.” Shows you the size of races I’ve come to get used to over the past few months because last year I would’ve been hyperventilating from the crowd. Today I was comfortable knowing that I’d be able to breathe.

When we started off, Dad told me to not let him hold me back. I told him I wouldn’t and was thinking to myself, “I can’t even keep up with you right now and you’re worried that I am going to hold you back???” I think my legs don’t like to walk the first 2 miles. They are always stiff and I clomp down the road like a Clydesdale Horse. I told Dad that my shins were really tight today and that he should just ignore my clomping. After the 2 mile marker, however, my body gave in and walking became smoother and I wasn’t having any trouble walking at my Dad’s pace.

For an hour and forty-eight minutes Dad and I walked. We talked about my siblings, my kids, my brother’s kids and genetics. Talked about the half marathons I’ve done and how his back is healing. For almost 2 hours I had my Dad’s company and I found myself feeling like a little kid again, out on “special night” where my Dad was all mine with no other competition for time or attention. I loved the time with him and while we didn’t set any land speed records, we finished the race (and a little bit more cause we kind of deviated for a little bit off the course). I have a pretty cool Dad and I am so glad I had that time with him. And, according to my Cardio-Tracker on my phone, I burned enough calories to gorge myself on 2 avocados. Not that I’ll be eating avocados for lunch, mind you.

By the time we made it back to the Rec Center and the finish line, we were the last to come in off the course. In fact, everything was already being torn down and put away so I have no “official” finish time. But I wouldn’t trade a finish line for the time I had with my Dad. It was a beautiful day for a walk with my Dad. I hope we do it again soon.

Distance: 6.47 miles
Pace: 16:44
Climb: 168 yards
Time: 1:48:24

08 February 2011

Musings on a Mustery Day

I have a friend who has been in Africa since mid-December – roaming about and collecting experiences and memories galore. I have another friend who travels frequently for her job to places I would love to go – Switzerland, Holland, Germany, etc. I’ve another friend who travels all over the states for work, collecting frequent flyer miles like Andes Mints at Olive Garden. And I find myself envious of their travels, wishing I had those opportunities, failing to appreciate my own adventures. This ends today. Ok, so at least it ends for now.

Upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that I have been very fortunate with my travels this past year. I’ve been to Washington State, Tennessee, California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. I experienced the Bahamas with my children for the first time and became reacquainted with the place I call “home”, Germany. I’ve shared my love for travel with my BFF and might have even infected her with my bug. I discovered that my two best friends from high school are still as cool as they were back then and that I love the friendship that is growing – I look forward to being “little old ladies” with them and relish in the fact that they just can’t get rid of me.

My races (and I use that term incredibly lightly) are my call to travel, my excuse, my own little experiment with insanity in an attempt to maintain sanity. They give me the reason TO travel, TO experience, TO battle. I am also very happy to report that I have recruited others to my cause, having been recruited by a die-hard “runnerd”, Jackie. I ran the Rock n Roll Phoenix in January with my camp bud, Digs. I’ll be running the Lost Dutchman this month with my high school bud, Deb. I’m meeting up with my Loopie Girls in March to run the Rock n Roll Dallas. My friend, Amber, is joining me for the Oklahoma City Memorial in May and I even got my Dad, who just had back surgery in December, to join me for a 10k this weekend. My friend in Africa just signed up for the Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon on February 27 (By proxy for me – which means I get the medal! Come on, Mike! You knew I’d lay claim to the medal!). And in order to keep things interesting, Amber and I are doing a “Muddy Buddy” in August in Boulder. Yes – insanity is catching and I hope each one of them find their own personal reasons for continuing. For me it’s the travel and the inner battle that is my “crack”. I wonder what it is or will be for them?

I was attempting to trace back the roots of my current infatuation and I am afraid I have to blame it on the good ole Highline Hustle Sprint Triathlon in June 2010. This is the triathlon that took me out for a spin and left me crumpled and discouraged, failing to complete and yet, ever more determined to finish at least one. This unsatisfied thirst to finish dug its heels in and gave me the oomph to finish the Black Canyon Sprint Triathlon in October. Shortly after Black Canyon, I participated in my first ever half marathon – the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. This marathon I entered as a lark (it was a lottery drawing for participants), got in on amazement and finished out of sheer determination to not leave without the shirt. I then had to sign up for a second half marathon just to prove the first half marathon was not a farce. And by then, I was hooked.

I have friends and co-workers tell me that I am an inspiration to them and I just laugh at the idea. How can I be an inspiration for someone when I just do it – no thought or planning or, god forbid, training involved? I thrive on the battle that rages inside the day before the race (“Why bother – you’re just going to be last”), getting to the race (“No one will blame you if you don’t show up. Heck, they won’t even miss you”), during the race (“Quit now. You’re a big fattie and have no place here”) and then after the race (“That was a fluke. Bet you can’t do it again”). I love it even more when my inner Drill Sergeant comes out to play – she can be a real bitch.

I have found a love and that love is endurance whatever-it-is-that-I-am-doing. Perhaps I’ll one day move up to a 26.2 but not yet. I have not become a Half Fanatic yet (http://www.halffanatics.com/) and I’ve not run out of internal battles yet. And 13.1 is still a challenge to do. It’s hard to say if they’ll ever not be a challenge but if that ever happens I’ll be looking for something else. It might be a 26.2. Who knows?

I am going to stop being green with envy when my friends travel and I am going to take that moment to realize that I have been incredibly fortunate. I still have a lot of traveling to do and I still have a wild and crazy path ahead of me. Instead of looking longingly at someone else’s path, I’m going to look at anticipation to the road I’ve got ahead of me. And if I don’t want to turn right, I won’t. It’s my road and I get to determine where it goes – what wondrous new paths I’ll get to set. I am looking forward to walking (or wogging) a time with those I know and discovering new and exciting people, events and places.

Happy inner-battle to all!