Monday, February 21, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

“We have to find the TNT check in tent so they know I am off the course”.

The most important thing to remember when running with TNT: when you cross the finish line, grab your medal and check in.

There are thousands of TNT runners on the course and TNT has to account for every one of them. So as each runner comes in, we check in so a TNT staff person can record in the computer who’s in.

Those people whose names are left on the “Not in yet” list are search for by the coaches back on the course. If they do not find you they call out the National Guard. If you are found back at the hotel sipping a beer and you just forgot to check in the coaches will kill you. If you are found dead on the course, the coaches will cut you a break.

If you are found on the course crawling to the finish, the coaches will walk next to you cheering you on until you finish. They’re good like that.

I did not want to be killed by my coaches for not checking in. (Actually, I just didn’t want to put them through the hassle to have to look for me when I was already in). Coach April and Coach Jim knew I was in. But they might not be the coaches assigned to sweep the course for the missing runners. So I still risked death if I didn’t check in.

Luckily the check in tent was nearby. I checked in and was given a 26.2 pin that was sort of like a second medal. I planned to put it on my TNT hat. But by the time I got back home to Santa Maria, I couldn’t find it!

I asked the nice lady at the tent where the TNT busses were. She pointed behind me and said, “Just walk that way.”

Sounded like they were close.

Kris and I started walking in the general direction indicated and I didn’t see any signs for TNT busses or anything. But there seemed to be a stream of people headed in the same direction so we started following them.

I was super cold now and I couldn’t wait to get on the bus. I probably should have stopped at the finisher’s boutique so I could have bought a sweatshirt. But too late now.

My legs were really hurting now. I think it was because my body temperature was dropping fast and it was causing them to cramp. (Plus the fact that I had been running on them all day probably had something to do with it).

I wasn’t even sure we were heading the right way as we seemed to have walked a long way already and still saw no signs regarding the buses. As we walked past a building I saw some people bring out a wheel chair. Oh, someone must have told them I was coming! But alas, they settled an elderly lady in it instead. I would have to keep up on my own.

I remembered I had to keep asking Kris to slow down. I could only walk at a snails pace.  And it hurt.

Finally, we saw a nice man holding a big sign stating: “TNT BUSES” with an arrow pointed to the right. Finally! I’d be able to sit in a nice warm bus! But as we turned right, we just saw a lovely trail through a wooded area. Surely the buses were just through there right?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Crossing the Line

Right after you cross the finish line the first thing you get is your blue Tiffany’s box with your medal in it. I think they do that because they want to get it into your fists before your body realizes the marathon is over and starts shutting down.

I felt great as I came across the finish line and was ecstatic when I got my box. Then right behind the firemen were people handing out empty ‘swag’ bags. That was smart because as you work your way away from the finish line you go through several areas and pick up goodies.

So I tossed my Tiffany’s box in the bag and headed for the shirt tables to pick up my “Finisher”’s shirt. They were out of my size (XL) but I held up a large and it looked like it was going to fit. I didn’t occur to me at the time that it was probably because I had sweat out 10% of my body weight over the last 26.2 miles.

Next, my timing chip was clipped off my shoe and I headed for the next table. The foil blankets were all gone. I could have really used one. I was moving slower now than I was on the course, and it seemed to be raining harder than ever. My body temperature was dropping fast. I was starting to feel it.

But they still had bottles of Gatorade to hand out. The nice boy who handed me mine cracked the seal for me first which I thought was very kind of him. I didn’t feel like drinking anything yet. (Common. But I should have tried to drink as much as I could).  So I dropped the bottle into my swag bag and red Gatorade promptly bled all over my beautiful blue Tiffany’s box! Ugh!

Next was the photo tents where you could pose in front of different back drops with your friends for posterity’s sake. Before the marathon I had planned the post-marathon pictures I wanted to take. One with me and my running partner Cindy. One with Kris and I together and one with Kris pretending to drag me out of the picture by my leg. Ha! Ha! But at that moment, all I wanted to do was find Kris and get to the bus back to the hotel.

Kris found his way to me and said, “So what do you want to do first?”

He knew I had a lot of things I wanted to do after the marathon:

Go to the stretching tent and get a professional post-run stretch
Go to the TNT tent and eat.
Go to the Nike tent and eat some more while hanging with the professional runners and get a massage.
Get my iPhone and necklace engraved
Visit the Finisher’s Boutique and buy up as much finisher’s gear as I could carry.

“I want to check in with TNT so they know I’m off the course and then find the buses.”

“What about the finisher’s boutique?”

“I just want to get back to the hotel.”

“Are you going to skip the Nike tent?”

“I just want to get back to the hotel.”

I think that’s when Kris realized I was hurting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Post Marathon Stories: The Aftermath

Kris asked me why I stopped blogging about the marathon after I crossed the finish line. After all, quite a bit happened afterwards.

I’m not exactly sure. I was still very much riding the post-marathon glee wave. But I just didn’t have the gumption. Maybe after ten posts covering the blow by blow of the actual event, I felt people needed a break. Or maybe I just didn’t want to revisit the memories of post-marathon pain. Which is a little like child birth. Hurts like hell. But you forget it quickly.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Forgotten Marathon Moments #3: It Hurts When I Sleep

The other day I was at a reunion of sorts with the TNT teams. It was the first time I had seen my fellow runners and coaches since the marathon.

A couple of us were swapping post-marathon stories when Lauren said: “Oh, and it hurt so bad just to turn over in bed!”

“Yes!” we all cried. I had forgotten about that! After the marathon, I laid in bed on my back. That was fine until in the middle of the night my body finally said, “Ok, time to shift position.”

As I tried to turn over, I noticed first that my legs weren’t going to move on their own to help propel my body over. Then I realized that to move my legs at all was going to be painful. But my body couldn’t stand being on its back any more.

With a Herculean effort, I rolled my upper body to the left and used my hips to roll my legs over with me. UhAahhhhhhhhh! I moaned. (Luckily I didn’t wake up Kris).

Why am I doing another marathon?? I think it’s like childbirth. It hurts a lot, but you forget the pain quickly and the result brings you a lifetime of joy.

February Book Review - Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)Heist Society by Ally Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Written for teens, I enjoyed it very much though I haven't been a teenage in a long long time. Heist Society is about a high school teen with a very unusual upbringing. She was brought up in the family business; Art theft.

She enrolls in an exclusive private high school to leave the life and get started on a fresh new path. But she doesn't make it through her first semester until she is forced back into the 'family' for one last job.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Repost from End Fat Talk's Facebook Page

Thought this was a great article about loving ourselves like we should! (I.e., at least as much as we love others). Enjoy!

"Not to get all cheeky with clich├ęs like "you must love yourself before you can love others," but how many of us truly adore, admire and respect our bodies? Just the way they are? Flaws and all?

Only about 10 to 15 percent of women, according to body-image expert and author of "Love Your Body, Love Your Life," Sarah Maria, who also says it's truly shocking that the vast majority of the current American population is dissatisfied with their bodies.

"One of the most pervasive cultural myths that is adopted by women is that they should somehow be different from how they are," says Maria. "This belief is internalized, and they spend their lives trying to be someone, trying to be perfect or better in some way. This is projected onto their bodies, and creates nothing but perpetual suffering and addiction."

For most women, that suffering begins with their weight, age or specific body parts (breasts, hips, butts and thighs top the list). And it's not surprising that society, media, peer pressure and Hollywood play a significant role in promoting the idea of a "perfect body" or even a "better body." Studies even show that when women see images of people they think have the ideal bodies, they feel more dissatisfied and ashamed of their own.

"This false belief drives people to chase after an illusion that does not exists, all based on a delusion that something is wrong with them to begin with and they need to change the way they look," adds Maria.

So if 90 percent of women don't like their bodies, the question then becomes, why? How can we be so critical about the very body that allows us to do what we do every day? The strong legs that run, jump, walk, hike, climb or bike. The beautiful arms that multitask at work, plant in the garden, care for our homes and give others a much-needed embrace. And the powerful core that bears our children, keeps us strong and holds us upright everyday. Our bodies are really amazing machines when you think about it. We just tend not to.

Women who seem to love their bodies the most are those who accept themselves no matter what, according to Maria. "They aren't worried about pleasing other people, and they know they are perfect just as they are -- not because they are special or look a certain way, but rather, they are perfect simply because they exist."

It's this confidence, this gratitude, this sense of purpose that allows a woman to feel great in and about her body.

For the majority of us who may lack that self-esteem and positive body image, the good news is that it's possible to change simply by starting to focus on what we have versus what we don't have.

Maria says the first step is to recognize that you have a negative body image and be willing to change it. From there, it's an ongoing process of shifting your attention. For example, whenever you find yourself obsessing about your body or lamenting how it looks, shift the focus instead to the gift of your body. "Each and every body is a true miracle -- a living, breathing miracle. Simply becoming aware of this fact can make all the difference in the world."

Psychologist Robyn Silverman agrees.

In her book "Good Girls Don't Get Fat", Silverman talks about the importance of "assets" or the positive aspects of a woman's life. The more assets we have, the more likely we are to thrive despite the negative messages out there about our weight, size, shape and figure.

"Assets such as an encouraging support system (positive parents, peer groups, mentors), a strong sense of purpose, positive self talk, positive role models and involvement in constructive activities like sports, extracurriculars and volunteerism all go a long way towards shaping the way we think of ourselves," says Silverman.

Again, it goes back to focusing on what our bodies can do -- not how flabby our arms are, how big our butt is or what the scale says every morning. In fact, why not get rid of that scale? Most of the time, we don't like what it says anyway, so why start our day with that negativity? Instead, focus on how you feel each morning. Let the amount of energy you have and your outlook on the day be your guide to making any shifts in what you eat, how much you exercise and how you relate to others -- not some idealistic image of someone else.

In addition, here are other ways that Silverman says you can learn to love your body:

Speak up: If you have friends or family who are constantly talking about weight, size and appearance in a negative way... say something! Many peer groups get into a pattern of "fat talk" that is detrimental to everyone. When you bring it up and ask to make your gatherings into a "Fat Talk Free Zone," you may be surprised how much others are sick of the fat talk too. If your friends aren't interested in changing that focus, re-evaluate who you are hanging out with!

Be accountable: Take note of when you feel happy with your body and when you feel the most dissatisfied. If you are unhappy after watching certain shows or spending time with certain people, make the necessary adjustments.

Focus on health, strength, joy and energy rather than weight
: Eat and engage in physical activity that makes you feel great rather than tired and drained.

Think positive thoughts.

Volunteer your time: There is nothing like getting a little perspective to help you realize how fortunate you are. Volunteering can get our minds off what's wrong with our bodies and focused on how we can be helpful to others. When we are helpful to others, we feel gratified and valuable. We stop evaluating our worth based on appearance and start evaluating it by the good we do in the world.

Be the role model young girls need: We need more women to show young girls that we are more than a sum of our parts. Show them that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Imagine a young girl you love (a daughter, niece, etc.) standing by your side at all times. What are you saying about yourself? About others? Realize that you are part of this culture and by changing the way you speak and behave around weight and appearance, you may just influence someone else to develop positive body esteem. Set the example!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

First Hill Run of the Season

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

This was the first hill training run I've done this season. They were just little rollers. But they felt like they were kicking my butt! Glad I did them though, of course!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Heather Has a Heart Arrhythmia....The Good Kind!

So the vet has just told me the results of Molly's blood work (all is good there). And I say, "Hey, before you hang up, I have a quick question about Heather. Last night I gave her a hug and I heard her heart beat. It sounded like it was missing a beat."

I went on to describe how it would beat three times then it'd pause and then beat three times. And it was such a regular pattern that I thought it must not be anything immediate/serious. But wanted to run it past her.

She said, "Oh yes that's thiofalisanictropalopogusicasmic arrhythmia. It is very common in super fit animals and is absolutely ok."

Phew! (I should tell you I made up the word 'thiofalisanictropalopogusicasmic' because I didn't recognize the type of arrhythmia she called it. But it sounded big and important).

She went on to explain that in "super fit" (her exact phrase) animals the heart will slow down when the animal exhales and speeds up again when they inhale. So it sounds like they miss a heart beat. Absolutely a good thing!

I was so proud! One because we have such a fit dog. Two because when I told her, "I try very hard to pay attention to what's going on with my animals." She replied "Yeeeeeah, [pause] I don't have many clients who are in tuned to their dog's heart beat."

Ha! Maybe I'll finally get that nomination for Mommy of the Year?