Tag Archives: running

Back to the Pool

Me circa 1994 at the Tall Timber League finals meet in Junction City.

Me circa 1994 at the Tall Timber League finals meet in Junction City, representing the Toledo Swim Club.  Check out those sweet rainbow goggles!

In such times as these, I’m glad my parents signed me up for swim team as a little squirt.  I spent a good ten years swimming laps between the ages of 7 and 17.  It was my first sport and my first love.

Since joining the running camp, I’ve sort of given up swimming for the past few years.  However, now that my foot hurts every time I lace up my running shoes, I’ve been motivated to jump back in the pool.  Fortunately the Philomath pool is less than a mile from my house so I can easily bike there.  So I have been getting up early for their twice-weekly 6 a.m. lap swim times and putting in a few thousand yards before heading back to do chores at the farm.

The funny thing about swimming laps at the Philomath pool is that I used to race at meets there as a kid.  Our summer league competed there and my high school swim team as well. Back then, the pool bottom was painted nasty yellow and the facility was windowless, ugly space.  We always dreaded meets at Philomath.  They have installed a lot more windows in the last 10 years, thank goodness.

While I’m in marathon shape, I am definitely out of swimming condition.  It’s such good exercise though, and a good reminder why I had such strong arms and shoulders in high school.  I hope to keep swimming even once my doctor clears me to run again.  Hey, maybe I’ll do another triathlon if I ever get the time!

 

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Eugene Marathon – Race Recap

I’m a marathoner!  It’s still kind of hard to believe that I actually did it.

I followed a long, intense training plan for this race with my friends from the HOTV running group.  It was based on a marathon training plan by Coach Jack Daniels and it runs for 20 weeks with mileage up to 65 miles per week.  Suffice it to say, I heavily modified the plan because I’m lazy and I also just did not have the running base to begin throwing down that kind of mileage every week.  My main goals were:  Run the race as fast as I can and not get injured in the meantime. 

In retrospect I’m glad I was conservative.  Many of my friends ended up injured during training for various reasons and we all got a little burnt out from training so hard for 20 weeks straight.   I ran all the long Saturday runs (many at marathon pace or tempo pace) and most of the Tuesday track workouts and then filled it in with a few miles a couple times a week for a total of about 40 miles/week.   Not a lot, but apparently it was enough to get me there.

Marathon morning came early.  I was up at 3:45 after sleeping soundly all night.  Strangely, I didn’t feel anxious or overly nervous.  I calmly dressed and fixed my hair and made myself some coffee.   Then I grabbed my carefully packed bag and drove to my friend Lisa’s house.  At 4:45, Sourabh picked us up in his minivan and we made the rounds through Corvallis, collecting our other running friends.  On the way to Eugene, I ate a Clif Bar and a banana and helped Janine sharpie names onto her right arm for her marathon ritual of running a mile for each of her friends.

We arrived in Eugene as the sun came up and passed a downtown hotel with a line of yellow school buses parked out front.  They were the shuttles, taking all marathoners to the start line.  The streets were filled with runners making their way to the shuttles.  My stomach suddenly gave a lurch and I put my head in my hands and moaned, “Oh my gosh!  Now it seems real!  I can’t do this…it’s too far!”  Janine and Lisa patted me on the back and reassured me that I could indeed do it.  We circled through the UO campus and came across Gerhard’s secret parking spot.  It was only 100 yards from the starting line and the porta-potties, and no one else was there!

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We all piled out of the van and got busy pinning on our bibs, our black ribbons for Boston, tying our race shoes, and applying liberal amounts of BodyGlide for chafing.  I pinned a couple Gu gels inside my shorts, a trick I recently learned as a convenient way to carry gels without pockets.  Some did a few warm-up strides and we all made a couple trips to the portapotties which had steadily increasing lines which allowed plenty of time for photo ops with Ana Lu.

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Jenna and Lisa came to the bathroom line to let me know the marathon was about to start and I better high-tail it to my corral.  By the time I made it to my corral, it was filling up with runners and I couldn’t find them.  I located Elias and Sourabh, but I felt a little distracted because we had all been planning on starting and running together.  The national anthem was sung and we had a moment of silence for the Boston marathon bombing victims.  It felt good to close my eyes and clasp my hands under my chin and calm my mind for a minute.  Then, the count-down was given and the wave of runners started to move.

The first mile was effortless, as we left the campus and wound through neighborhoods.  I couldn’t stop smiling as we sailed past crowds of spectators waving signs and cheering.  While I knew it was still early, the 7:50 pace felt ponderous.  “Twenty-six miles of this will be no sweat”, I told myself.

Soon, I spied Lisa and Jenna running right behind the 3:25 pacer.  Sourabh, Elias and I caught up to them and we all settled into running together, chatting easily with one another and the friendly Clif Bar Team pacer.

At mile 3, I saw Keith, Jessie and E holding signs and cheering loudly.  To my surprise, my sister Danae and sister-in-law Corina were there too!  Danae was wearing a shirt she’d made that said “Team Rachel – Run, Chicken, Run!” and they had a slew of brightly colored, encouraging (and hilariously sarcastic) homemade signs.  Seeing them made my heart soar – they had gotten up so early and come all this way just for me!

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I saw Scott and Jenni cheering a short while later.  It was so fun to be surprised by familiar faces along the course.  Things were going well and we were running easily.  That smile was still plastered on my face, but my right foot was beginning to hurt.  I have small extra navicular bones on the inside of my feet and they used to hurt when I was an adolescent but haven’t bothered me in years.  My shoes seem to have been rubbing them the last few weeks though, and the pressure on the bone was starting to cause my right navicular to be painful as I ran.

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I knew it was likely to bother me, but I also knew I could run through it.  So from mile 5 onward, the pain developed but I kept loping along.  The road canted sharply to the right for a while (it felt like we were in a NASCAR race) and I had to run along the center ridge to keep the pressure off my foot.   We were easily staying up with the 3:25 pacer though.  At one point, the girl next to me tripped over her own feet and hit the pavement hard.  I yelled and looked back to see if she was okay but we were running so fast she was instantly out of my sight.  The pacer quickly handed his balloon sign to a random runner and told him to keep up the pace while he went to check on her.  For a good two miles, Random Runner paced us and then the pacer suddenly reappeared and took the reins again.  I’m glad he didn’t hand me the sign.  I would have been horrified at that much responsibility!

The miles flew by.  I wasn’t even feeling tired as we passed the halfway mile mark at 1:42:00.  Our pacer was really helpful, giving us reminders to relax our shoulders, let the downhill slopes carry us, reminding us when to eat our gels.  He told stories and kept our minds off the miles.  I was really thankful to be running with a pace group.

Just less than two hours in, while I was somewhere around 15 miles, Keith got an automatic text message saying that I’d finished the race at a world record speed of 1:57:01.   Everyone got a big laugh out of that, especially considering they’d just seen me running a few minutes ago.  They chalked it up to a glitchy computer chip in my bib.

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Keith and my cheering crew kept popping up mile after mile, hollering my name and waving their awesome signs.  I was so happy to see them every time.  Every time I saw them, I needed the encouragement just a little bit more than the time before.

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Keith would run into the race with me briefly and hand me a water bottle and a Gu, and then duck back out.  It wasn’t til mile 17 that I breathlessly told him my right navicular was killing me.  I knew something was seriously wrong with it at that point, but I wasn’t about to slow down to find out.  I just needed to tell someone.

Scott L.  jumped in and ran a mile with me and took some pictures of me looking like a happy goofball.  I was quite impressed that he could run while talking, taking pictures and holding my water bottle.  After he left it took me a while to get back into the zone.  I felt a little lonely and my stomach felt strange from all the Gu and water I’d been consuming.

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I saw my crew again at mile 21 and high-fived all of them.  Keith made me take one last Gu and I tried to refuse it but he insisted so I tucked it in my bra strap where it stayed for the rest of the race.  I felt like I was going to vomit if I ate one more of those things.   Keith shouted that they’d see me at the finish and then I knew I was on my own for the next 5 miles.  That’s when things started to get tough.

Around mile 21.5, I felt myself fatiguing.  The pacer warned us this was normal and said we just had to push through the next couple miles and it would get better as we got closer to our goal.  But his balloons started to bob just a little farther ahead of me with each step.  I fixed my eyes on Sourabh’s shoulder blades, watching them go up and down with each step, trying to zone out and just focus on keeping up with him.  Jenna and Lisa and Elias had dropped behind me out of my line of sight.

Mile 22 suddenly felt very, very difficult.  I had gone from effortlessness to feeling like my legs were made of lead.   I let the pacer get a few more yards ahead of me and I told myself I’d catch him in just a minute.  The man running beside me had his 14-year old daughter pacing him.  She chattered on, “You got this Pops.  You knew this would be hard, but just push through the pain!  Reel that pacer in, Pops!  Just push a little harder and you can BQ!”  She’d been running with him for the past 5 miles, flitting in and off the path, running around fire hydrants, dropping her Gu and dodging runners to pick it up again.  She had been driving me a little crazy, but now that push came to shove, I found myself grateful for her incessant patter.  I ran beside her dad for a while, pretending the encouragement was for me and it really gave me a little extra push to keep my legs moving.

Miles 23 and 24 were awful.  I wanted to die.  I wanted off the course.  The idea of three more miles didn’t seem hopeful – it seemed an impossible distance.  The pacer and his ballons were out of sight around the bend in the path.  I slowed to a walk for just a few steps, feeling defeated.  There was no way I’d make my time goal of 3:25 and I was certain that Goal B of beating 3:35 was shot too.  I didn’t turn around but I just knew the 3:35 pacer’s balloons were right behind me.  I forced my legs to start running again.  It helped to look at my wrist where Keith had written in fine-point Sharpie, “Run fast, have fun. You can do it!” and at my fingernails painted blue and yellow for Boston representing both my qualification time goal and the victims of the bombing.  Each reminder kept my legs moving for just a few more steps.

At mile 25 I began straining to see Hayward Field but I couldn’t figure out where I was in relation to the campus.  At this point I truly felt the race would never, ever end.  I walked another few steps and thought how good it would feel to just lie down on the grass and quit.

But I wouldn’t let myself do it.  I’d trained too hard and this race meant too much to me.  I was going to finish victorious, if it took everything in me!

Then finally, FINALLY we were back on the road leading to the stadium and there were spectators lining the streets.  I felt like I was running SOO SLOW, but I think it was all in my head.  It took every last ounce of energy in my body to run through the gates of Hayward Field and round the corner onto the track. The thought of being done running consumed my mind.  I heard my family shouting my name as I ran those last 200 yards towards the finish line.  And then, unbelievably, the blue line was before me.  I put my hand over my heart for Boston and crossed the finish line at 3:27:16.  I heard my name over the loudspeaker and looked up and saw Lisa right behind me, pictured on the Jumbotron.  I did it!!!!

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Then a volunteer slipped a medal over my head, and someone else handed me a space blanket (which I eagerly grabbed – it seemed really important to me at the time to “look like a real marathoner”).  I got a water bottle and then just stood there spacing out.  I wanted a nap so bad. Water.  Sleep. Water. Sleep.   That was truly all that was going through my head right then.

I stumbled into Janine in the post-race area.  She was wrapped in a space blanket waiting for all of us.  She told me to eat something because I looked pale.  I ate about 6 mandarin oranges and they were the best thing I’d ever eaten.  Then I got a chocolate milk and drank the whole thing in record time.  Then I felt a little sick.  I tried to sit down to untie my shoe where it was rubbing my navicular but my legs wouldn’t cooperate, so I wandered around aimlessly for a while.

As everyone in our group crossed the finish line, we compared war wounds.  Janine was in a lot of pain but putting a brave face on it.  Something had happened to her hip at mile 18 and she’d finished the race in agony.  Some of us had ice packs on knees, some had stomach issues…we were all so tired and sore.  But we’d finished and we had a bunch of personal bests to show for it!  Oh glorious finish line!

I finally made my way out of the restricted area to find Keith, Danae, Corina, Jessie and E waiting for me.   They followed me around while I stretched and sat in an ice bath.  That didn’t last long.   I had had enough misery for one day!

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Keith checked the computer at the results tent and apparently my name was showing up as the winner of the entire marathon on the front page of the Eugene Marathon website.  Friends were already sending me Facebook messages and emails to congratulate me!  I’m not really sure what was going on with the electronic results system, but it was fun to have it work in my favor for a little while.  It’s probably the only time I’ll ever see my name in first place for a large marathon!

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My mom and Mark sent me a bouquet of flowers!

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Then we all went out to eat a post-race brunch at Glenwood Restaurant on Willamette and I tell you, food has never tasted so good.   And then, I went home and took a delicious two and a half hour nap.

My foot still hurts and is quite swollen.  I can only stand to wear flip-flops at this point, but I am confident it will resolve with rest.

I’m still reflecting on that race and what it means to me personally that I was able to run 26.2 miles.

It was simultaneously more fun and more difficult than I ever anticipated.

I feel so blessed to have a body and mind that are strong enough to go the distance.  I truly thank God for that ability every time I run.  It is a huge gift and I am resolved not to take it for granted.

I am endlessly thankful for the many friends and strangers who cheered for me, ran alongside me, sent messages of encouragement to me and otherwise helped me reach my goal.  No exaggeration – I could not have run that race without my community of friends and family.  

And all that?  That is why distance running feels just like life.

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Boston

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My heart hurts.  The Boston Marathon tragedy feels really close to home for me.  This is the first year I’ve known anything about the race and I spent the early hours of Monday morning eagerly watching the live feed from Boston as the elite runners ran their hearts out. I was cheering for Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan, both Portland-based runners who I admire greatly.  But I was also cheering for Yolanda Caballero from Colombia who lost her husband in January to an mis-diagnosed stroke.  I was cheering for all those athletes,  both elite and community runners who each had their individual reasons for pushing their bodies to the limit for 26.2 miles.  I was imagining how it must feel to be that brave, because my own race is just a few days away.  And I was thinking again about my own personal reasons for running a marathon, which I think must be just a variation on everyone’s reasons, so succinctly stated by Ezra Klein on the Washington Post blog:

It’s just a quiet, solitary triumph over the idea that she couldn’t do it

As a nation, our hearts are all broken by this tragedy.  I don’t know if it affects runners more or differently, but for the first time I do know a lot of people who ran Boston this year and a lot more who hope to go next year.

I admit to feeling fear in my heart at the idea of friends with small children cheering for me at the Eugene Marathon finish line, sick at the idea that I’d feel responsible if something happened to them.

I feel so angry that anyone would bomb endurance athletes.

I feel a little terrified at the idea of anyone running 26 miles and being stopped mere feet from the finish line and having to summon the strength to run a few more miles to safety.  Isn’t a marathon hard enough?  Must they prove their endurance again?

I keep asking God, “why?”  I don’t expect an answer because I already know it.  Evil exist in this world, plain and simple.  But I do keep crying out His name, “Emmanuel” as I lace up my shoes and run.  God be with us.  We need you here in the middle of all this darkness.  God, be with me.  I’m afraid.  God, be with them.  This darkness threatens to overtake us all and we need you.

I don’t really know what to pray most of the time, so I run and I let the tears fall.

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Life is Sorta Like a Distance Run

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I’m going to run the Eugene Marathon on April 28, 2013.  It’s everything and it’s nothing.

Seems like everyone and their mother is running a marathon these days, so really it’s nothing.  26.2 miles is an arbitrary number, a strange line to draw in the sand and run towards.  There are a thousand reasons not to run a marathon and I’ve thought of them all.  I mean, people poop themselves while running marathons and keep running.  I have seen it with my own two (subsequently scarred) eyes.  Clearly marathoners are not right in the head.

But it’s everything.  2012 was a good year but also a really tough one.  I am choosing to run this particular race to declare that I can rise victorious over anything life chooses to throw at me.

Distance running provides a very relevant metaphor for life.   I think that is why I am drawn to the sport and to other runners.

Maybe you can’t understand it unless you’ve pushed your legs and lungs through mile 13, then 14, and then up that long, steep hill of mile 15, then when you think you must stop or you will die, you find it in you to put one foot in front of another for hill and another mile.  It hurts and you can quit at any moment but you make a choice to keep going.  There is so much beauty despite all the pain though.  You can see views of the whole valley at the top of that steep hill, the clouds parting just for a moment to let the sun shine through as though to impart God’s glory to the world.  You speed on the downhills, splashing through mud puddles on the trail like you did as a carefree kid.  You see sunrises while the rest of the world still sleeps, fog freezing on your hair and gloves,  horses cantering along the fence lines of grassy paddocks in the mist.

Isn’t life just like that?  Life doubles up and punches you in the gut sometimes and you just KNOW you can’t go on.  Many of us don’t.  But those who do go on are the ones who also get to experience the beauty that life also has to offer: another vermillion sunrise, a perfectly roasted cup of coffee, laughing at your friend dancing in a gorilla suit.  It’s worth it.  It’s worth pushing through.

But you can’t go it alone.  Just as you need friends and family to make it easier to bear through life’s heartbreaks and challenges, it would be really hard to run the distances alone.  The only reason I keep putting one foot in front of another (and signing up for these crazy races) is because I run with a group of friends who encourage me that I can do it and they run the miles with me.  Inner strength and physical strength sometimes aren’t enough.  We need others to come alongside and encourage us.  I’m glad I have a family who taught me resilience through their example, and running friends who show me that I won’t die if I run around the whole town of Corvallis twice before having my morning cup of coffee.

So, I will be running the Eugene Marathon on April 28 because I ran 16 miles two weeks ago and I ran 18 miles yesterday and I’m just gonna keep going. Life is tough but I’m tougher.  

And I hereby publicly promise to find a Port-a-Potty rather than keep running, should the need arise. I’m not that crazy, people.

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A Day in the Life of a Farmer (Winter Edition) – Sunday

7:00 : Up and showering to get to church

8:30 : Keith and I arrive at church (Grace City Church) and I begin putting together the Powerpoint presentation for our church service.  I’m in charge of projecting all the worship songs, announcements and the sermon slides.  One thing I love about our church is the number of women in leadership roles.  Kristin Osborne knocked it out of the park with her sermon on Mark 5. You can hear it here once it’s uploaded to the internet:  http://www.gracecitychurch.org/media.php?pageID=5

While I’m putting together the Powerpoint slides, Keith contacts a seller about a Craigslist ad we saw last night.  It’s for a 2006 Ford Freestyle, which happens to be an earlier version of the Ford Taurus X we were enthralled with yesterday.  We arrange to go see the car in Monmouth this afternoon.

9:30 – 11:00 : Church!

11:30 – 12:30 : Home for lunch

1:00 : Drive to Monmouth and see the car in person.  We take it for a test drive and decide it’s a keeper.  It’s got so much cargo space I can hardly believe it! We negotiate an awesome deal!  It was owned by a 89 year old woman who hardly put any miles on it.  The bank is closed though, so we have to wait til tomorrow to get funds from our checking account.

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3:30 pm : We arrive back in Philomath and head over to the farm to do a little work before sunset.  I try to take advantage of Keith’s weekend availability to do things that I can’t easily get done by myself. Together we clean some old nestboxes and heave them into the barn loft. We store a bunch of chicken roosts and feeders, and then wash a few baskets of eggs to keep up with the farm store demand.

6:00 pm : It’s now dark and I haven’t had a chance to get in my long run this weekend.  I am starting to get more serious about base-building and upping my weekly mileage at this point, because I have my sights on the Eugene Marathon at the end of April.  It’s only 21 weeks away and it’s time to get cracking.  More immediately, I plan to run the Cascade Half Marathon on January 20th, which was my inaugural half marathon earlier this year.

We live near a pretty sweet bike path that runs from Philomath all the way to the Corvallis waterfront, about 7 miles away.  Keith and I decided to do a 9 mile out-and-back run on that path, so we strapped on headlamps and put a leash on Emmie.  She doesn’t usually run with us, as she gets plenty of exercise racing around the farm. Today she was inside a lot while we churched and car-shopped though, so we thought she better join the family run.

It was a beautiful dry December night.  We ran through quiet neighborhoods and enjoyed seeing everyone’s Christmas trees sparkling through picture windows and elaborate light displays decorating porches and yards.  Emmie was extremely well-behaved, trotting quietly at my left heel without pulling the leash at all.  She’s so fit that the run was like a stroll in the park for her.

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Keith and Emmie during a run earlier this year

7:30 pm : We trot back home and stretch in the driveway for a while.  It’s so warm and peaceful out…a rare December night in Oregon so I try to soak up every minute.

7:45 pm : Showers and then we start warming up leftovers for dinner.  Keith got a pasta maker for his birthday and he whips up a batch of fettucini noodles to go with some leftover spaghetti sauce.  The man is a genius in the kitchen, have I mentioned that?

8:00 pm : We eat dinner and watch Netflix movies til about 11:00 when we both get sleepy and head to bed.

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A Day in the Life of a Farmer (Winter Edition) – Friday

5:30 a.m. : Up and out of bed.  I’m joining a few of my favorite running girls to do a quick one hour run around Corvallis.

6:00 – 7:00 : Run baby run! I’m starting to enjoy running in the dark, past the grand buildings of the university campus and through sleeping neighborhoods. We live in a very fitness-friendly town with plenty of trails and bike paths.  The variety comes in nicely when you are training a lot. We run nearly 7 miles, stretch and chat back at our cars and then head home.

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7:30 – 9:00 : I make breakfast and coffee for myself and take a long shower.  Keith wakes up and heads to work around 9.

9:00 – 12:00 : I have a lot of accounting to finish up and then I head to the bank to make a deposit.

12:30 : Lunch

1:00 : Head over to the farm and wash a bunch of eggs to stock the farm fridge.  Keith calls in his weekly Friday order for his “Buying Club” … made up of his coworkers  at Marvell. I pack up a case of eggs for the Marvell employees and drive them over there.

Afterward I do some grocery shopping at Safeway, as we are having dinner guests this evening.

2:00 : The too-few hours of sleep are catching up with me.  I’m fighting off Keith’s cold too, so I suddenly feel terribly tired. I take an hour nap.

3:00 : Back to the farm to work until dark.  I am trying to tidy up the place and get all of our seasonal equipment put in the barn for the winter.  Slowly but surely it’s looking better around there.

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5:00 : Keith is home from work already and has tidied up the whole house and set the table formally in anticipation of our dinner guests.  He is in the kitchen, frying bacon in butter against all common sense.  We have Julia Child’s Coq au Vin on the menu, as we’ve got a lot of stewing hens in the freezer and they are excellent for Coq au Vin.  I guess it isn’t technically Coq if you are using a hen, but I don’t speak much French.

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My major contribution to this meal was lighting the cognac on fire.  If you only get to have one part in cooking a meal, always try to get the part where you light food on fire.  Fortunately, I survived the fireworks with my eyebrows intact, and the Coq au Vin was amazing.

Follow this link to the recipe if you’d like to try your hand at Coq au Vin : http://www.wgbh.org/articles/Julia-Childs-Coq-au-Vin-Recipe-6971

Learn from the incredible Julia Child herself with this video:  http://www.wgbh.org/articles/The-French-Chef-Coq-au-Vin-6970

If you need a stewing hen for your Cognac-lighting adventure, you know where to go:  www.provenancefarm.com

6:50 : Our friends arrived for dinner.  They are another farming couple who have 30+ years of experience on us.  They mainly raise Angus beef and I have to tell you:  their beef is the finest.  We buy a few animals from them every year to finish on our own pastures and are always so pleased at the gentleness and quality of the cattle.

What do you feed cattle ranchers?  Chicken, of course!  (My grandfather the cattle rancher would not have approved).

We all wined and dined until nearly 11 pm and then parted ways.  I truly enjoy this time of year, because we and all our farmer friends are less busy and can afford time to spend visiting over a good meal.  The seasonality of farming is so good.  We all need a rest period after a Spring, Summer and Fall of hard work.

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Run Away

 

These western Oregon winters used to really bring me down.  Coupled with a job that I disliked and being newly married in a college town that all my friends had just deserted, the endless overcast days had me pretty depressed most of the time.  One January day, however, Keith and I decided enough was enough.  We took ourselves down to Timberhill Athletic Club and plunked down a pile of cash for a membership.  Immediately it was like the skies had parted and little rays of sunshine were peeking through the clouds.  I would leave a long day’s work, drive to Timberhill,  don my cap and swimsuit and put in 2500 yards in the pool. Stroke, breathe, hard flipturn, stroke.   I would swim until all the tension loosened from my shoulders, until I didn’t care about my awful boss anymore, until I no longer felt like I was the biggest failure on the planet.  When I would pull myself out of the pool my biceps were ripped, my  lungs were strong and the water slid effortlessly off my sleek, lycra-clad body.  It was like a lightbulb had come on: this exercise stuff could really pull me through!

Eventually, I got some new friends.  I got fired from my job by the awful boss (good riddance).  I took a hard look at my life and decided to be brave and start the farm I’d always dreamed of.  We moved to Philomath and the athletic club wasn’t so convenient anymore.  Despite the physical labor of farm work, I still wanted something active to do.   Stacking feed bags and moving broiler pens just doesn’t fit the bill for aerobic activity.  I know enough fat farmers to rid myself of that delusion.

Enter running.  I watched Keith run the Portland Marathon in 2010.  I thought he was crazed in the head.

I did the Beaver Freezer Triathlon in February 2011 and asked Janine to team up with me and run the 5k part.  I mean, I’m a swimmer not a runner, people.

I watched Keith (and everyone else I know) run the Corvallis Half Marathon in April 2011.  I thought they were all crazed in the head.

But, everyone looked like they were having a blast.  So, I bought some running shoes and a pair of shorts and joined  the madness.   Turns out these things are highly addictive:

So, now I’m a runner.  I love it more with every track workout and every race.   In lieu of swimming, it’s a pretty decent sport.  And the people I’ve met through running are darn awesome!

Today I completed my first half marathon ever.  Because I’m mildly obsessive/competitive, I have been nervous about it for weeks.  I also didn’t train very much for it.  Over the holidays, I think I got confused and thought I was training for an almond roca eating contest.   But I braved the snowstorm and the very icy roads and finished the Cascade Half Marathon in 1:48:27 and placed 2nd in my age group to boot!  If you’ve never experienced running 13.1 miles into the wind while constantly wiping snow off your eyelids, I highly recommend it.   Seriously.  It beats sitting on the couch in the winter and being depressed by a long shot!

Victorious finish! Yes, it's cheesy. Shut up.

 

Seconds after this photo was taken, I started crying about how cold I was.

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