Sunday, May 01, 2011
First off, I need to give credit where it is due. Today might never well have happened for me, were it not for a Sparkfriend, who challenged me, back at New Year's. Deanna, a.k.a. HOT4FITNESS, is a local Sparkler, and she was looking for someone else to step up to the challenge of the half marathon distance as a speed walker.
I did not figure my knees could take a jog longer than a 5K, and had almost given up hope of ever doing a half marathon, although in younger days I had those aspirations. Deanna didn't know what she was getting into, in all likelihood, but she triggered those desires in me again... and after all... we'd be WALKING! No big deal, right?
People, let me tell you, it is no small deal to walk 13.1 miles. Particularly if you have been unfit, particularly if you have been battling the bulge... you have to train. You just have to. It is not an option for a 50 something to "Bogart" a 13.1 mile race. If you were 18 or 19 and fit to begin with it's a challenge, but you could probably do it... but for us in the over 50 crowd... DO train, but DON'T think you can't do it!
I started upping my mileage and stopped jogging so much in preparation for this outing. I signed up in January, putting my money where my mouth was... and I'm glad I did, because I found others who waited until later in January and were locked out by the cap on number of runners.
There were 2,000 full marathon runners on the course today, and 8,000 of runners and walkers in the half marathon. It was a perfect day, in terms of weather: cold, but clear. Some wind in places. But gorgeous. We walked East into the sunshine, South past great old neighborhoods, West along the bike path, North back along the Country Club golf course, and then through downtown, and oh, my gosh, the last couple tenths of a mile to the tunnel walk music and into the huge football stadium to finish on the Husker Vision giant TV at mid-field. Except... I forgot to look!
Seriously, Deanna and I paced each other through 12 miles, then I lost her, weaving my way through some joggers, and I tried to slow a bit to catch up and my calves said, "don't... you... dare... slow down... or we will shut down!" So... my final mile was spent at a strong speed walk, and then, sorry, couldn't resist... broke into a jog on the ramp down to the field and across to the finish line. Woo-hoo!
Sadly, my son did not get to watch me cross the line. Why? One might well ask. Well, we kinda got drawn in by the adrenaline. I told him to show up and we'd finish between 10:45 and 11:15... oops. Actual finish time was about 10:28. He was still on his way to the stadium from his parking garage. Still, we linked up and celebrated... with him giving me the talk many parents give their kids: "I'm mad at you and proud of you at the same time" is the essential message. He woke up, checked the online tracker showing our pace, and said we were going faster at the end than the beginning... and in fact, that was kind of our pacing plan.
To all the people in our fair city who come out year after year to cheer the runners on (I know about the year after year, because that's normally my role for this event, as a cheering crowd member)... I have now experienced it from the inside, and it feels great. For each of you who put your boom box out with motivating music, for each one who yelled encouraging words, for each kid who lined the route and offered "free high-fives", for each sign to family members, we could imagine ourselves being that person. Those messages say "someone loves you". It was incredible.
Thanks to all my Spark friends who have put up with my training ups and downs... and a special thanks and congrats to Deanna. We did it, girl! We did it!
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Yesterday afternoon I spent with my son. The current research shows that human connections are a vital part of emotional/mental health, and spending time with my son is a precious event in my life. We aren't a "every Sunday dinner with mom" kind of family. And since he got back from Iraq and has been busy with school, I take the opportunities as they arise. My daughter in law was at work, so this was entirely a mom-son connection thing. And that meant it was soul-filling for me.
We went to lunch and just hung out after he took me down to pick up my car. We talked of many, many things. Deep things and surface things. And I got my share of son-hugs. He left with my charcoal grill in the trunk of his car... living alone and not entertaining much, I don't really need it... it's too big for one person. It saves the kids a few bucks to have it at their house, and it gets one more piece of unused clutter out of my house: this was a great decision!
I learned which muscles I have NOT worked on: my hands seem horribly weak when he tried to train me on a couple of actions! But that's for the next fitness drive: maybe it will make jar-opening easier?
Today is packet pick-up day for the half-marathon. I'll be heading downtown in a couple of hours to do just that. Tomorrow morning is forecast to be cold (36 degrees F), but in fact, that's a good thing for speed walkers... remember, we did the State Farm 10 mile in SNOW! But today I might just drop by the sports store and see if they have some of those hand warmer packs.
Onward... to tomorrow!
Friday, April 29, 2011
Yes, I did get up at 3 a.m., US Central time. This really is not a particular hardship for me, because I normally rise at 4:18 anyway. We are into "rest" day on the exercise program, and I have my comfy jeans and sweatshirt on while watching these incredibly beautifully turned out guests arrive at the wedding. Love my pomp and circumstance... and it brings echoes of my niece's wedding last Autumn which was pretty posh, but of course NOTHING like the scale of a Royal "do". Also thinking of the wonderful Easter church service, which also tends to pull out the stops, in terms of worship days.
As I told a co-worker yesterday when I mentioned getting up to watch this, "the hard part will be keeping my feet OFF the treadmill, because my default for TV watching is to do so while walking on the treadmill"!
I took my last long walk yesterday, as it was an incredibly nice day. I walked home from work, with earbuds in for a change. Listened to Andre Rieu... a whimsical conductor... kind of the European Lawrence Welk of classical music. One of my sisters took me to a live performance by his orchestra, so I can see in my minds' eye just what he is doing... the physical gags that go with some of the sounds.
As a consequence, the auto is sitting in its downtown garage, but since I'm not to do any more long walks until Sunday, I have offered to take my son to lunch in exchange for a ride down to pick it up. That way he can sleep in, as he has no classes today. And since it's a State Holiday, I don't have to be governed by a schedule.
This is definitely going to be a good day.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Last night I did my five miles on the treadmill... to watching The Biggest Loser at its scheduled broadcast time, for a change. I'm normally an NCIS watcher, but it was a re-run, and I was restless.
I have never been a huge follower of the Biggest Loser, considering it to be unrealistic (as most so-called reality shows are). Many of them are psychology experiments, televised and produced for entertainment of the voyeur in all of us. BUT... since weight *is* an issue for me, and I've been working on this puzzle for essentially my entire adult life, even highly-produced psychology experiments might have *something* I can glean for my own use. Even if it's just the music and artificial tension that keeps me walking on the treadmill to finish out my five miles.
One HUGE lesson, though, from all of these shows, and all of the programs, and even from the low percentage of long-term success in the arena of weight management: in the end, it's all about YOU... you, deciding you're worth it. You, choosing action over inaction. You deciding that even though you had a bad day, or week, or month, you're not giving up. You... choosing life. Nobody can make that choice for you, but you can make it for yourself.
In a family culture and a work culture that prizes self-sacrifice... self-nurture can be an alien concept. When surrounded by others who flatteringly ask your help and your time and your attention... self-nurture can be hard to come by.
But today is the only day you have. And YOU are worth the investment of self-nurture. Today.
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