Thursday, May 05, 2011
So... here it is, four days later. We crossed the finish line. We got that tremendous rush of accomplishment. I celebrated, and I got back on my program. But... I'm not training for a half marathon any more. I'm thinking about "what's next."
There are some things that are constants:
1) I will keep taking my stress-busting walking breaks at work. This is something that continues to serve me well, and in more areas than physical fitness. They help my mind work better. They give me time to think, to reason away any anxiety that may be arising from the work day, any pressure or stresses.
2) I will continue my nutritious eating plan. Because I just plain feel better when eating well.
3) I have started increasing my strength training, which had kind of taken a lesser role while training for that half. I'm feeling the need.
4) I'm cherishing the many possibilities:
Will my next training effort involve a bicycle? I started pumping up the tires.
Will it involve a "nesting" - something around the house or yard? A lot of things have been neglected while I spent time training... but I need something that will inspire me... my eyes wander over my home, seeking, seeking.
Whatever it is, right now I feel good about it... it's out there somewhere... the next dream.
5) And there WILL be a reward. I've promised myself a trail ride, and several work mates have said they'll go with me. Yes, on horses!
Spark on, my friends... the journey is not over just because one crosses a finish line!
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Some days I wake up and don't want to: this morning was one of them. I used this analogy of walking at the bottom of a swimming pool, as I'm impeded by what my body is doing to deal with "the aliens". Yes, those allergens that populate the world. They are cumulative.
This morning at 4, my 24 hour meds that I took yesterday morning at 6 had clearly been overwhelmed. So, I went through several stages of "jollying myself along". You see, one advantage of being more mature (read older) is that you do kind of know what's coming next with things you've lived with for a while. What I do is I start thinking of what is on my work agenda.
Usually I conclude that it's too important to shrug that off. I may stay in bed a couple of snoozes worth, but then I go into the routine: acting as if I didn't feel like this. Because I know that if I do that for a while, I might stop feeling like this. I move at a much slower pace, and allow myself to do so... I jolly myself into the shower. I take a headache pill, and the allergy pill when the 24 hours is up. I jolly myself into preparing my lunch. I jolly myself into fixing breakfast. By the time I finish breakfast (now)... I'm feeling better. The meds have kicked in, the hot shower has helped, and thinking about the good things I wish to accomplish today has helped, too.
Giving myself permission to move slower today, to listen to the body's needs, respect them, but not blow them out of proportion, is vital. For some people, moving slow is EVERY day. I think of people I know who deal with long-term illnesses or disabilities. For me, it's just during some intervals. If they can keep on keeping on, so can I.
I can live and enjoy even days walking at the bottom of the swimming pool, with gratitude.
Turtle on, people!
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
One thing that some folks will warn you about is that after a large athletic effort, you WILL be hungry. That's why they feed folks right after an event... be it a 5K, 10K, Half or Full marathon... there is always food... simple carbs a lot of times, fruit, milk, and lots of water.
These things are important because your body has been burning fuel and needs to replace it. As in SOON, before it starts tearing down muscle cells. Because your body will use what it has available.
What often surprises me is the day after munchies! Yesterday I let myself be guided by that... I was ravenous at 5 a.m. Still ravenous at 8 a.m. I was going through my meal plan a couple of hours ahead of schedule. In the end, I just let myself eat. I even let myself have some things I don't normally... including some candy. I went to the grocery store and make a conscious decision about what and how much, but it's not something I do regularly.
I took it easy in terms of exercise... it was a rest day and I got up and moved around pretty gently at regular intervals. No treadmill. No walking for transportation. Just taking it easy... under 5,000 steps.
And then I slept... brief naps through the day, into bed at 9, and a wonderfully sound night's sleep. This morning, I feel great, I'm ready to be fully back on program... and thinking about what's next. I'll let that soak for a while... don't want to over-commit too soon.
There's a place for celebrations, and a place for routine. The human spirit needs challenges, and it needs the recognition of triumph, and it needs quiet routine and recovery from the highs and lows.
Here's to today... wherever it finds you in the cycle of challenge, victory/defeat, recovery or routine. May you find just what you need... for today.
Monday, May 02, 2011
While we were doing our thing with the half marathon, the world had changed. Yesterday I was oblivious to all of this. I went to bed at 9 p.m., slept really well 'til about 1:45, then couldn't go back to sleep.
Of course, I puttered around and updated my Spark page, contemplating where my next phase of life will take me. Then I tripped over a bit of news, flipped on CNN and saw that the world has indeed changed. And I'm not sure how I feel. I'm not happy about the overt celebrations... this is a time for sober reflection, not celebration. Conflict in the world is a very complex thing: it isn't a football game. Yes, one clear enemy has been taken out. But the idea, the conflict, the struggle between ideologies has not ended.
I took today as vacation, figuring I'd need to put some space between the half marathon and my work week... figure I'll need to get up and move around gently at fairly frequent intervals. I do believe I'll be adding a few elements to my prayer list, too, though.
Praying for peace.
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!
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