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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grandfather Mtn Marathon

Dont you hate those stories that start in the middle and then go back to the beginning?  I am so far
behind thats the only way I know how to start, with my most recent race then go back to January.  Spoiler alert, you might get confused until I work my way back.  Its been one heck of a year.  Here we go...
so, two weeks before, I decide to do the Grandfather Mtn Marathon.  I know, smart huh.  Jyst wait until I go back in time.  I knew my time wouldnt be stellar, I just wanted to finish, say id done the race.  The race started at Appalachian State in Boone and ended on Grandfather Mtn at the Highland Games.  How epic is that?  There was a time limit, 6 hours (or 6.5, never got that straight)  you had to finish by 12 to cross the finish line, they broke it down for the games.  Im not going to lie,  I wanted that finish line finish but didnt really think I had it in me.  Just finishing would be great.
We started at 6:30 am with a half mile around the track, then off we went for a little downhill,  then up, up, down, up, up, down, and at 13 miles just up.  I felt sleepy and lethargic first half of the race, but was able to run with Alice about 11 miles.  We were averaging right under 11 min mile but my legs were already beginning to hurt.  I switched to run/walk, inevitable with that uphill.  Thank you heavenly lady with watermelon.  But at 17 miles the dreaded cramp so bad I couldnt move (you will hear much  more about cramps later)  my leg or foot.  All the sudden, racers all around me helping, offering tylenol, salt, bio freeze ( I will carry that forever now) and one runner gave me a message,  seriously, amazing.  Then one runner informed me, sadly, that I would not be winning the race, to take it easy.  Haha, she was joking around (well, I wasn't going to win but she was just being funny).
Surprisingly I took her advice, after a couple of minutes of not.  I was hobbling and trying to run on when I heard someone behind me say, "yeah, I'm fighting that too."  Turns out he had done the marathon several other times and was walking off some cramps.  We talked and walked for about 5 to 10 minutes then he went on his way.  I walked a little more, then gave running a try.  At first I was walking more than running, but I was getting it done.  Getting passed but getting it done.  I continued this way, passing through several aid stations.  Then I realized I was at mile 22 and I was running more than walking on the steepest part. I also could tell by my watch that a finish line finish was still achievable. Then I started passing people back.  With about two miles left I passed the first guy I talked to back.  Everyone who knew I had been hurting was cheering me on.  Kept making me feel stronger and stronger.  Would look at my watch and hitting 9 to 10 mph on speed uphill running.  I was going to do this and finish strong.
Half a mile left, Alice is standing there cheering me on.  Starting to cramp again but am determined.  Then, Mark is there, running beside me.  I cut into the parking for the highland games and go up another hill...finish line!  After I run the track I am informed.  It's time to find that something you save inside.  Pick up those feet, try not to look like you are dying and in pain and try not to cramp as you run a quarter mile around a track with everyone watching.  Halfway around the bag pipe marching band is coming the other way.  Amazing as I run past them, pick up my feet a little more.  Then there it is, the finish line.  5 hours 21 minutes.  Not fast by any means, but I am so  proud of the strength and determination I found in myself again.  My favorite marathon by far.  I'll do it again. 

The strength I found in this race led me to my next decision, which I had been doubting my abilities.
I signed up for my first 50 Mile Ultra.  The last Saturday in September, Table Rock 50 Mile Ultra.  Holy crap on a cracker.... :-)

Monday, July 27, 2015

That's A Really Big Bottle

In my Bible reading last week, I came across this verse: You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them.  Psalms 56:8. I'm sure I've read it before; this is my 4th year of reading the Bible through.  But I don't remember ever really thinking hard about it.  God keeps all my tears.  That's pretty amazing, really.  I think I could've filled the jar in this photo last Thursday alone.  Thursday marked 3 months since Kevin died.  One-quarter of a year.  13 weeks.  91 days.  An incomprehensible amount of time.  I tried several times to write a blog post to mark the day, but I couldn't finish any of them.  Most days I do okay at focusing on the good times Kevin & I had, but last Thursday was full of memories of his death, and I cried a lot.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

1,000+ Miles

After my 7 mile run on Saturday, my GPS watch informed me that I'd hit a new milestone: 1,000 miles!  Officially 1,001.7 miles run with my watch.  That doesn't count the miles when I first started running, before Kevin bought me my watch.  (It's the Nike+ Sport Watch, of course, because Kevin's favorite brand of sporting goods is Nike.)  It also doesn't count the occasional run I do without the watch.  But it's still a fun milestone for a number nerd like me, and it got me wondering where I could be if I'd run all those miles consecutively...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Anything that I got the strength to do...

2007, French Lick
People keep telling me that I'm so strong, and I just think "Oh you wouldn't say that if you could really see me."  You see the highlights on social media: the good memories I share because I like talking about Kevin, the race pictures & outings with friends because life has to go on...  You don't see me laying in our floor crying until I'm exhausted, begging God to give me Kevin back.  You don't hear me scream at God until my voice is gone, telling Him that He got this all wrong & I can't do it & He's got to fix it.

I mean, I can do the house stuff, and the bills, and the chores, and be there for the kids.  I was a single mom for almost 13 years before I met Kevin.  I can get the tasks done.  But I miss him, and it hurts not to have him here.  I just need to see his face, and hear about his day, and cook supper for him, and I would even take him just rolling his eyes at me when I tell him I want to try a triathlon next year.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Paddle Board Yoga
While we are waiting for Laura to tell us about her Grandfather Mountain Marathon (spoiler: she had a great finish!); I'll tell you about my first paddle board yoga class.  I've been wanting to try this out for several years now.

When I first heard about it, it was only offered up on the north side, Morse Reservoir I think, and I didn't want to do it badly enough to drive all the way up there.  A few weeks ago at Monumental Yoga I mentioned this to my friend Tammi, and she told me that Peace Through Yoga offers it at Eagle Creek!  We both decided to sign up for a class, which was last Saturday, and now we both agree it was a lot of fun and we hope to do it again.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I'm Not Ready For This

2011, in Michigan
I think most of our readers know why I haven't blogged since mid-April, but for those who don't: my husband Kevin went home to be with the Lord after a sudden heart attack on April 23.  I am devastated to have lost him at only 47.  We had 11 years together, the last 5 of those married, but it doesn't feel like nearly long enough.  I feel angry & cheated out of the 40 or 50 years I thought we'd have together.  And I don't feel ready for this life I have to now live without him.

I know, however, that God is with me and will be with me in all the days to come.  He knows what I need to get through this and He will make sure I have it, so I am living on faith and taking each little step as I see it in front of me, even though I can't see any farther than that right now.