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Monday, September 28, 2015

DFL: It's a Badge of Honor!

Another Monday, another race recap.  I ran the Knobstone Trail Mini Marathon on Saturday, and I had several working titles for this blog post as I thought about it:


Lightning Couldn't Strike Twice

This was of course my consolation race since last weekend's Indy Women's Half Marathon got black flagged due to lightning near the course.  I decided against using this title though after I found out Laura's race got black flagged, although not due to lightning.  She finished 35 miles of the Table Rock Ultra 50 Mile Race, running in torrential downpours, until the race was black flagged due to flash flooding on the course.  She said they stopped them at an aid station, picked them up and drove them back to the Start-Finish.  She also said there were places on the out and back where the trail was completely gone just an hour or so after they'd gone through.  I hope Laura blogs about this soon; I'd really like to hear more about it.  I cannot imagine running 35 miles in perfect running conditions, much less in a heavy downpour.


Holy Hills Batman

The Knobstone Trail Half was much hillier than any trail runs I've done at Eagle Creek or Fort Ben before.  Some steep descents and lots of long uphill climbs with switchbacks.  About a quarter of the run was on gravel forest service roads, but most of it was single-track trails through the woods.  I really enjoyed it - one of my favorite races ever.  The trail was very technical in spots, and it was definitely one of the most challenging races I've run.  I beat my Summer Night Trail Half time by over 4 minutes to earn a new trail half PR of 3:38:46.


Half Fanatics Here I Come

Half Fanatics is the little sister club of the Marathon Maniacs.  Fanatics are people who love the half marathon distance and run lots of them.  There are different levels, but basically if you run a certain number of certified official half marathons within a certain time frame, then you qualify for membership.  I realized earlier this year that my fall race schedule had three half marathons within ninety days of each other, which will qualify me to join, so that became a goal for me.  This race was my first of those three.  The next two will be the Helen Holiday Half on 10/28 and the Santa Hustle Half on 12/13.


DFL: It's a Badge of Honor!

Yes, even though I set a Personal Record at this race, I still came in DFL.  And it's my second DFL in as many months.   (Here's a list of running terms if you don't know what DFL means.)  But there were only 97 runners who finished the race, so I was also in the top 100.  And in case you haven't seen it yet, here's Nike's ode to the last finisher:


Up Next

The Back On My Feet Marathon Relay with some awesome ladies from work.  We are calling ourselves the Pace Cadets. The weather forecast right now says low of 44 high of 65, mostly sunny with only 10% chance of rain.  I'm the first runner up for our relay team, so I should have just about perfect running weather at 8am.  I'm doing three loops for a total of 6.6 miles before I hand it off to the next runner.  It's my first time participating in this event, but I've heard from friends who've done it in the past that it's a lot of fun.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Five Months, One Thousand Little Good-Byes

Today marks five months since Kevin passed away.  I've been riding an emotional roller-coaster all day, and it's only lunch time.

One of the most unexpected things about grief for me has been the sheer number of times I feel like I am saying good-bye to Kevin.  Every time I part with something of his, it's a little good-bye.  Every time I change something in our room, it's another good-bye.  It's like I have to keep letting go tiny little bit by tiny little bit, and sometimes it's just excruciating.

Sometimes I can't do it at all.  Over the weekend, I finally straightened up the vanity in our bathroom.  All the things he'd left scattered around it were exactly as he'd left them, and so I got a little basket and put his watch, bracelet, lighter, Nike+ Fuel band, etc., all in this basket and put it over to the side of the vanity.  It doesn't sound like much, but it felt like a really big deal.  I tried to put his empty Mountain Dew can in the recycle bin, but I couldn't do it, so it's still sitting there next to the sink.

And that's one of the other unexpected things: how crazy and random-seeming are the things I can and can't do so far.  I can sleep on his side of the bed, but I can't sit in his chair.  I can wear his hats and sunglasses when I run, but I can't pick his jeans up off the closet floor or even empty his jeans pockets yet. 

I changed my Facebook profile picture today.  I'd left it as this picture taken of Kevin and me on our anniversary last year, but earlier this week I felt like it might be time to change it.  I don't miss him any less.  I still feel married, still call him my husband and call myself Kevin's wife.  But it's starting to feel more real that he's gone and not coming back, and it felt like time to change my profile picture to one of just me and not us together.  And that felt like another good-bye.  I had to think about it for a couple of days, and even ask some people if they thought it would be okay. 

Then shortly after I changed it, I saw that Pittsboro Golf Course had named their Thursday scramble the Kevin Hazel Scramble, and created a recurring Facebook Event for it.  I knew they were going to do it, and they'd actually posted this back in July, but I didn't see it until today.  I probably wasn't ready.  I just sat at my desk and bawled for probably 10 minutes.  (I know, I shouldn't be Facebooking at work, right?)  It was yet another good-bye, yet it also made me happy to see him remembered that way by his favorite place.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

From Pirate Flag to Black Flag

Yesterday, September 19, was International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  One of my favorite days of the year.  After all, who doesn't love a made-up holiday that doesn't require you to bake, shop for presents, decorate, or do anything besides talk silly all day?  Only a scurvy landlubber wouldn't enjoy this day.

When the kids were younger and we often still ate meals together as a family, I would make theme meals a lot.  Kimmy says my theme meals are some of her favorite memories.  And one year for TLAP Day I made a sort-of pirate meal.  I wish I had a picture of it, but I don't think we took one.  I got turkey legs and had Kevin grill them, and I made corn on the cob, a loaf of homemade bread, and some non-alcoholic grog.  Since the meal was all finger-foods, I didn't even put plates on the table.  The food was on big platters in the middle of the table, and I gave everyone bandanas and told them all to forget their table manners for one night.

Yesterday was also the Indy Women's Half Marathon.  As part of the Indy Women's Training Group, we had been training together for this race since mid-June.  It's one of my favorite races, starting downtown on Monument Circle and running northwest towards Riverside Golf Course before coming back downtown to finish in front of the War Memorial.  It's a lot of fun, with a real party atmosphere and lots of great ladies cheering and encouraging each other.

Unfortunately this year weather stopped the event shortly after it started.  There was lightning near the northwest part of the course, so they had to call the race off.  You can't take chances with severe weather, so it was the right call of course.  But it still turned out to be a really fun day.  Since the lightning wasn't close to the finish line area downtown, they were able to keep the festivities going.  Kudos to Carmel Road Racing Group and all the volunteers who kept everything rocking even in the pouring rain.

We still got our medals from polite, hunky soldiers.  We still got to pose with friends on the free picture stage.  And as part of the training group we had access to the VIP tent, so we still got mimosas and massages, donuts and coffee, and just had fun hanging out.

I heard some ladies say they didn't feel like they'd earned their medals, but I disagree.  We trained hard for months.  Hot humid summer months.  We got up and ran when we didn't feel like it.  We pushed each other and encouraged each other and learned from each other.  We made new friends and got closer to old ones.  We got stronger, mentally and physically.  We battled that awful flu that went around, and we still kept running.  We showed up ready.  We earned those medals.

I'm hanging mine proudly on my medal tree, just above last year's.  And next year, Lord willing and the creeks don't rise, I'll be back to earn another.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Here's Your Sign

Kevin & I have a lot of stuff.  Partly from blending two households, partly because Kevin always liked to get new things, and partly because I don't like to throw anything away that might still be useful.  Even before Kevin passed away, I'd realized we have too much when I thought about how spacious our house seemed when we first moved in, and now it feels too cluttered.

At the beginning of the year, we thought we'd be empty-nesters about now, and while we were not planning to move to a smaller house, we had decided to start decluttering: to simplify what we have down to what we really need and use and enjoy. We made some pretty good progress doing 40 Bags in 40 Days during Lent.  But then everything changed when Kevin died.

Suddenly I feel emotionally attached to more stuff because it carries memories for me that are a lot more precious now that we don't get to make anymore. Yet at the same time I know that once the boys move out, I probably won't want to stay in this big house by myself for much longer, so I don't want to have a lot of stuff that I have to pack up and move.

Something that I don't feel attached to is all the surplus electronics. DVD players and cameras and printers and so on. I wanted to start there but I don't know what to do with all this. I'd found a home for a VCR when the one in the Senior Center at work broke down and they asked for a replacement. But I still was feeling overwhelmed with these things, and Sunday night while praying I asked "God, please help me know what to do with all these things."

Monday I saw on Facebook where a friend had shared a post from another friend who was looking for an old police scanner for a  nursing home resident.  I thought the closest thing we have is a weather radio but that wouldn't really help.  Later that night I was filing some papers away and straightening up the desk and picked up what I've always thought was a walkie-talkie, intending to put it with the other electronic stuff.  I wondered why there was only one since walkie-talkies usually come in a set so I looked at it closer.
Pro-39 Hyper Scan Programmable Scanner
Could this be an old police scanner, like my friend's friend was trying to find? I googled it, and sure enough that's exactly what it is.  I had no idea we had something like that, and I really don't know why Kevin had it or what he ever used it for. The next day I put fresh batteries in it, and it still works.  So I downloaded and printed out an owners manual to go with it, and let her know I had one she could have.  

She's very happy to get it, and I hope that it will bless and comfort the resident she is taking it to.  I'm sharing this here with you now because it was just a really neat message to me from God, saying "I AM here, I AM listening to your prayers, and I AM going to help you figure all this out."

He listens to my cry for help and will answer my prayer. Psalm 6:9

I know my prayers won't always get answered so speedily and so obviously, but in this moment when I really needed it, God showed me a big sign.  

I'm feeling encouraged by this, and I hope you are too.  If you have any stories about how God has answered a prayer in a neat way, I'd love to hear those too.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Don't Suffer But Take The Pain

Deep Thoughts

Run(317); Pic from Indy Women's Training Group
Blog post inspiration usually seems to come when I'm running.  If I had a way to transcribe my thoughts as I run, I'd be posting a lot more often probably.  These thoughts have been mulling in my head since the Mass Ave Run(317) race a couple of weeks ago.  I was listening to a playlist on RockMyRun (great app - highly recommend it) and a song came on with the line "I hope that you don't suffer, but take the pain."  I can't tell you the name of the song or artist, because I don't even remember which playlist I was listening to so I could look it up.  But it got me thinking about what that would look like for me, because it sounded like good advice.

Take The Pain

In GriefShare they call this "leaning into it", like when you are wading in the ocean and the waves come in, you lean into them so they don't knock you down as you let them wash over you.  You can't avoid them and run back to shore every time a wave comes, or you'll never get anywhere.  Similarly I can't avoid the pain of missing Kevin.  If I try to avoid it by distracting myself from it or numbing myself from it, I'll never make any progress.  I know I will always miss Kevin, but some day I will get to the point where the pain isn't so intense.  I won't get there unless I take it now as it comes, though.  
Grief is the price you pay for loving someone. - Zig Ziglar