Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Everyone Has a Struggle

It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Between homework, house cleaning, dog training, camping trips, running, and biking I haven't had a great deal of spare time.  I really should be doing homework right now but I am procrastinating a bit.

I participated in the Take Me Out to the Ball Park 5K on July 16th.  It was approximately 90 million bajillion thousand degrees outside.  Okay, that is a minor exaggeration.  It was only 85 million bajillion thousound degrees.  (Actually it was 95 lovely degrees).  Basically it was HOT!  The race started at 5:30 p.m. just outside Goss Stadium at the OSU campus.  Joe and Miss Meighan also were running.  I have done this run every year since 2010.  Why would I choose to do a run that every year is ridiculously hot?  Because this was my very first race, my very first 5k.  Nothing like picking a tough one to start out.  I never do very well because of the heat but every year I get a teeny bit better.  :-)
My favorite running peeps before the race!
I started out at a slow pace and was immediately in last place.  I was determined to not let this bother me.  I figured that just being out there got me big props considering the heat, even if I came in dead last.      After the race I would get to enjoy a baseball game so it was all good.  I came in 69th out of 72 runners.  Not dead last but pretty close.  I had passed several people during the first 1.5 miles and then I stopped to get water and just couldn't get things moving again so I walked the last 1.5 miles and they got passed me again.  But I did it and that was fun.  :-)

Then we went camping for a week.  That was fun!  We spent a couple of days at Cape Lookout with my family and I got to run with my brother-in-laws.  They both can run circles around me but they said they wanted to run with me and would go my pace.  We got an absolutely beautiful morning with blue skies and no wind and we ran along the beach.  We did three miles down the beach at a steady (and slow) pace.  When we got to three miles we stopped to get a beach selfie.
Steve, me and Nello.  I have fantastic brother-in-laws!!
Steve wanted to go a little farther and probably a little faster so he kept going.  Nello and I headed back to camp.  When we got back to camp I went just a bit farther down the beach because I figured if I did six miles I might as well go another .2 miles and make it a 10k.  :-)  I loved running with the guys and we had a lot of fun joking around and talking.  Since I usually run solo, am too far behind people or am too out of breath to talk I really enjoyed this run!!

The next big thing was the Tour de Cure which was a bike ride fundraiser put on to raise money for diabetes research.  Participants had to raise a minimum of $200 in order to be able to ride.  Those that were participating who have diabetes wore special red biking jerseys and were "Red Riders".  My friend had given me a jersey to wear while training for this event since I am now pre-diabetic.  I actually felt privileged to not have to wear one during the event.  I hope that I never am able to become a Red Rider which is why I am working so hard to make healthy changes.

My husband and Betsy did the 100 mile bike route.  It was Betsy's first century ride and she was very excited.  :-)  They took off at 6:30 a.m.  and were definitely ready and raring to go.
Century ride, here comes Joe and Betsy!
Then it was my turn to leave.  I can not even tell you how nervous I was.  I knew I was not as ready for this as I should have been.  I knew it was going to be hard.  I was really scared that I wouldn't be able to do it and that I would disappoint the people that had supported my fundraising.  That I would disappoint my friends and family as well.  I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up.  I was so glad to get started because then, one way or another, it would be going and then it would be done.

I was so blessed to have Josh and Wendie do this ride with me.  Josh could have easily done the 100 miles with Joe and Betsy.  Wendie has been working hard on her biking and could have done this ride faster.  But they both hung with me through almost the entire ride.
Getting ready to ride!
There were hills, big hills, big gigantic hills.  (Did I mention there were hills?)  We started at the Hillsboro Stadium and then out through the country side.  It was amazingly beautiful.  I have said it before but we live in a beautiful part of the world!  I realized almost immediately that I had forgotten my inhaler.  That didn't help my flip-floppy tummy at all.  So I just decided that I was going to the best I could and if I had to walk up some hills, so be it.  I had to walk up some hills, and you know what?  The world did not end.  Nobody pointed and laughed.  I got up the long hills but the really steep ones just kicked my butt.  The first hill that I had to walk up Josh and Wendie stopped and waited for me at the top.  I said I was sorry because I felt bad that they had to wait for me and Wendie pointed at me and said very sternly "No!  You don't get to say sorry today!" And she meant it!  I was going to get my ass kicked if I kept that up.  Since I am somewhat smart (on occasion) I did not say I was sorry for the rest of the ride.  :-)

Josh and Wendie wanted to get 50 miles in and the routes were 65 miles or 43 miles.  There was about 15 miles left and they decided to do a little out and back to add more miles to their ride.  I decided that I would keep going and finish the 43 miles.  I could tell that I was reaching the limit of what I could do and didn't want to make myself completely miserable.  I'm not going to lie, the last ten miles were hard.  Not in the sense of hills or super difficult riding.  It had flattened out and the ride was technically less difficult.  But my butt hurt, my back hurt, my hands were starting to ache.  I didn't stop at the last aide station because I was truly afraid that if I stopped and got off my bike I would not be able to start again.    

I had stopped earlier to get a butt break and eat my Snickers bar.  My husband has this thing about Snicker bars on his long rides.  So I figured I needed to have one too.  It had gotten all melty in the pocket of my riding jersey.  Funny, I didn't care at all!  I ate the candy bar and then licked the wrapper.  I think that was the best tasting candy bar I have ever had!  The cool thing was that as I was standing there on the side of the road having water and my treat I had several bike riders go by.  Every single one of them checked on me to make sure I was okay.  I would smile and wave and say I was just taking a quick break.  It was nice to know that if I had been having a problem people I didn't even know would have helped me out.  

I finished my 43 miles in about four and a half hours.  I had never ridden more than 21 miles at one time.  I also had never done anything close to the hills that I had tackled on this ride.  I mentally had to push myself through the last ten miles because I really just wanted to quit.  So I was pretty proud when I got done.  You will never guess what I did when I finished.  Well, if you know me or have been reading this blog for any length of time you will know.  Yep, I cried.  :-)
43 MILES!!!
Wendie and Josh ended up with about 52 miles and came in about 15 minutes behind me.  Then we hung out at the finish line waiting for Joe and Betsy.  They came in about another 20 minutes later looking awesome.  We stood along side the finish and put our arms out.  As Betsy went by she slapped our hands and had the BIGGEST smile on her face!  Another accomplishment off of her bucket list!!  So proud of her and all she has accomplished!!  

Joe got done and stopped his bike and I went over and got my hug.  He told me how proud of me he was for getting it done.  He knew when he got to the hills on the first 24 miles that it was going to be tough for me.  But as I thought about the things he said later I realized that he never once expressed the idea that I wouldn't get it done.  Only that it was going to be really hard for me.  I can't help but keep pushing forward with someone who believes in me that much.  
Me and my Century Rider.  :-)
Next stop is the Hood to Coast.  Nothing like filling up my summer with things that make me nervous.  :-)

I like having friends around me that are supportive, fun and are just good people.  I feel like as I have gotten older I have gotten very good at figuring out which people I meet are going to be people that I am going to really care about.  Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of people I like and enjoy being around.  But I am blessed to have a group of people that I really treasure.  Some of them I see often, others only once in a while and a few I keep in touch with on Facebook or through emails.  But once you are one of my peeps that I really love, you are stuck with me.  :-)  

One of my newer peeps is a great guy.  He was introduced to Joe and I through Betsy and I have adored him from day one.  I don't know him really well yet but I know that I will because he is just one of those people that I know I'm going to keep.  (He's probably going to read this and think "Oh Crap!") lol  He is a hardcore athlete.  I mean the kind that makes me just go wow!  He is also a personal trainer as a side job for people he likes.  :-)  I have not worked with him in that area or even talked to him about it even though I know it would be awesome.  My main excuse has been that I don't have time for something that regimented or the stress of being that accountable right now since school has to be my main priority.  And that is the truth.  But it's only part of the truth.  The other part is that I am embarrassed.  I'm embarrassed to go talk to him because I'm a middle aged, overweight lady who can't seem to get this figured out.  Now this is completely ridiculous because he is the one who has been working with Betsy and, hello, she took her badassery to a whole new level.  The other reason is that because this journey has been hard for me, talking about it with someone who I admire I know I will cry.  I HATE crying in front of other people like that.  Happy tears, proud tears are good.  Embarrassed, frustrated tears are the worst.  

Why am I telling you this?  This week on Facebook he shared some things that he has been dealing with.  My heart goes out to him because he is my friend and I hate it when I see my friends hurting.  I want to do something to help and in this case I really can't.  Other than be there for him, which I hope he will let Joe and me do. 

Thinking about his struggles made me think about my struggles.  I have been so focused on myself and how my journey has not been easy and how frustrated I have been with my weight not coming off.  I forgot that everyone has struggles.  Some are more obvious than others.  I obviously need to lose weight.  But there are other struggles that can't be seen that have just as big an impact on people.  Money, addictions, time management, decisions about school, decisions about careers, family issues, sudden death of loved ones, cancer, medical issues, and unemployment are just a few of the things that people I know are dealing with. 

I had to admit I was ashamed of myself yesterday.  I do not want to be a person who is so wrapped up in my own struggle that I forget to support people in their struggle.  I know it is possible to struggle on alone.  I also know that it is easier, or at least easier to cope with, if we have people that we can lean on when things are hard.  

I have been working hard at not comparing myself to others.  My friend sharing his what he was dealing with reminded me that we are all struggling and my journey isn't going to look like his journey.  But we can encourage and support each other in our journeys.  I will wait until after I am done with my Masters degree before I ask my friend to help train me to reach some new goals.  And yes, I will probably cry, but since he is a great guy, and my friend, he will tolerate it.  :-)  But I won't be embarrassed about where I am at because I have fought for every mile, pedal, swim stroke and lost pound to get where I am.  I also know that if my friend needs me to be there for him I'm there.  No worries, no embarrassment on his part either.  Because that's what friends do.  :-) 

Thank you friend for reminding me that I'm not alone...and neither are you.  :-)

Monday, July 7, 2014

I See Fit People

The last weekend in June I went to Sunriver, Oregon.  We rented a house for the weekend and my husband, daughter, five old friends and three new friends all stayed.  Almost everyone was participating in an activity at the Pacific Crest Sports Weekend.  

Friday-Dan did the Tour de Crest, a 55 mile bike ride. 
Saturday-Joe and Wade participated in the Long Course Endurance Triathlon (1/2 Ironman distance). Tony did a 1/2 Marathon and Betsy did the Long Course Duathlon.  
Sunday-Meighan did a 5k and I did the 10k.  Joe and Kristy did the Olympic Triathlon and Wendie did the Olympic Duathlon.  

Josh and Mary were sherpas extraordinaire!  

Notice that Joe is listed twice.  Nope, not a typo.  Last year he did the Ironman.  This year he wanted to see if he could do back to back events.  He not only did them, he did them well.  As always, I'm super proud of my husband and all he has accomplished.  

I was frustrated going into the weekend because I knew that I wasn't going to be going fast or even coming close to getting a PR.  My husband pointed out (firmly!) that I needed to cut myself some slack because it isn't like I just am choosing to not run.  I work, I am going to school, I have a daughter, I have puppy, and I took students to DC/NYC.  Something has to give and right now it's running.  He is so right, I shouldn't feel guilty and should just do the best I can.  

I found this on Facebook and it was a very good reminder to myself.  I'm out there.  I'm trying.  I'm not quiting.  Those things alone make me a winner. 

I have done the Pacific Crest 10k once before in 2011 when I had been running for about a year.  I had a terrible time with the heat and breathing at the higher altitude.  Here's my result from 2011:
I was in the "Athena" category because of my weight.  I didn't like being in that category.  
This was my results from this years 10k:
Pretty similar pace. 
It is weird to look at these two results and realize how similar they are.  The races felt completely different.  In 2011 I had to walk about half of it and this year I only walked about 1/2 a mile.  The main difference was that this year I felt fit.  I felt like I was just out having a good time, enjoying the day.  I didn't push it or try and crush my time because I knew that would end up frustrating me.  I ran almost the whole thing but walked up a hill for about 1/2 a mile at mile 4.  In 2011 I was working my very hardest and that time was fast for me.  It is strange to feel more fit than I was before but the time be almost the same.  My goals for next year are to run this 10k with a 12 minute pace or lower and to be able to get a womans shirt for the race instead of having to get a mens shirt.

Miss Meighan and I before our races started.
I got this shirt at the Expo at Pacific Crest.  This is on the front. 
This is a small circle on the back shoulder.  :-)  
Miss Meighan did great with her 5k and I loved seeing her smiling face at the finish line!!  New friend Wade was also there cheering me on.  :-)  

Finish line at the Pacific Crest 10k
On Sunday one of my friends had some struggles during her Olympic Triathlon.  The open water swim was really hard for her.  She didn't finish the swim but she did get on her bike and finish the triathlon.  I was so proud of her that she did the rest of the race!!  Then on the Monday after she posted this on Facebook:

I feel very blessed to have found wonderful, supportive, kick ass, don't give up people!  Kristy is definitely one of them!

On the drive home I sent a message to a friend of my mine who is also a teacher.  She had been asking me about the side effects of Metformin because her doctor wanted her to start it too.  I suggested she begin taking it at the beginning of summer vacation because by the time school starts in the fall the worst of the side effects would be over.  I was checking in to see how it was going.  We sent several messages back and forth, chit chatting mostly and the conversation turned to fitness.  She is planning on doing a 5k next fall and wanted to know how to work up to running the whole thing.  I told her how I just ran a little farther every time I went out until I got up to running the whole 5k.  This was one of her messages to me which cracked me up because it sounds exactly like me and all the frustrations I have had the past year and a half!!

I spent all weekend comparing myself to all the fit people in the house at Sunriver that were kicking ass.  I do not see myself in their league at all, not even in the same vicinity at all.  And then I get a message were someone is saying they want to be FIT LIKE ME!!!??  What?  I have so far to go, I'm not a Fit People!  And I admire her so much because she kicked cancer's ass!  My health issues are annoyances in comparison!  

I need to remember, and I have said this before, that I am not competing with anyone but myself.  So I am not allowed to compare myself to others.  I also need to remember that I am my harshest critic and other's do not see me the way I do.  Evidently some people think I'm fit!  lol  I also need to remember that my journey has had some obstacles along the way that I have no control over.  Health hiccups that have made my journey slower than most.  But I am heading in the right direction so I'm going to keep plugging away.  Quiting is not an option!

Today I went for a run while Joe was doing an open water swim at Foster Lake.  It was about 8:30 a.m. and it was already hot!  I did pretty good for the first two miles but ran out of gas for the last mile.  I'm going to need to work on that.  Better hydration and food before I go.  I am going to work on doing that same run only faster when Joe is swimming.  :-)