Friday, October 8, 2010

#43891...I Run Because I Can...

2 days

So clearly, clearly, it was a lot easier training for 26.2 miles than it was blogging about it. It seems like a minute ago I registered for the Chicago Marathon after taking about a six month hiatus from running. That same day I went for a run and only lasted 20 minutes. I was so frustrated I went for another 20 minute run later that day.

I don't think I truly believed I was going to accomplish my goal until late in my training. I felt like blogging about it would keep me accountable and also serve as motivation, the ability to look at how far I've come. Last week on a run I was thinkinking about my failed attempt to be a member of the blogosphere and I realized that every run, every mile, every drop of sweat, is with me. I didn't need a blog to remind me of how challenged I have been physically and emotionally during my training.

22 miles was the hardest run for me. It was the only run I literally felt like I couldnt do it. People have been telling me mentally that is the hardest run. I pray they are right. So many times I have daydreamed aboout what the marathon will actually be like. I have had airport stomach for aboout a week now ("airport stomach" is an adjective describing the ball of energy that sits in your stomach when you wake up at 4 am to catch a flight). I have no doubt that 1.5 million fans, 45,000 runners, some of the people I love the most in this world, in my favorite city, will keep me going.

Besides running this with one of my best friends, Liz, and knowing that Danael will be there at the finish line, I think the greatest part about Sunday is that my mom will be there cheering me on, stronger every day and with hair!! Cancer free for almost a year, I don't think I could ask for a sweeter gift. My mantra during my training has been inspired by an article my friend Liz shared with me about the opportunity to run, not the necessity. It has grown to become a part of my run as I pray for my Mom, and others like Peden, Oakes' mom, Brittney's dad, and Jessica's mom. I ran for them, because I could.

A big thanks to all the kind words of encouragement from all my friends. This would not be possible without support from the people around me. I hope I make you proud!

Three Songs That Made My Run More Reale:
"Not Afraid" Eminem
"Cosmic Love" Florence + The Machine
"London Bridge" Fergie

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hope It Gives You Hell (But Not Too Much)

130 days
53 minutes

Running in the morning has really given me an extra bit of motivation. Part of it is because I am amazed I am waking up so early. I think the other part is that I am forced to keep running, if I stop I wont make it to work on time, etc. I am usually sleep running for the first half and praying I don't become a victim on "I Survived" when it's still dark and quiet right before 6 am.

The other morning I sent a text with a picture of me to my friend Emili. She lives in Brooklyn and beause of the time difference I figured she would be awake. Just wanted someone to know what I was wearing just in case. You can call me paranoid but the last thing I want is that creepy guy from "Unsolved Mysteries" to explain how I was a nice guy that went for a run and never came back...

Last week when I was on a morning run a song came on that really got my legs moving. "Gives You Hell" by All American Rejects...

I picked up my pace a bit and just let out some frustration...stuff I didn't know I was even frustrated about. My head just went and my body went with it. It was nice. It felt good to think about people I would dedicate this song to on open mic night at the trashy bar down the street.

I guess I should confess something at this point. I was actually listening to the Glee cover of All American Rejects' "Gives You Hell". I felt that provoked just the right amount of anger without getting completely pissed and end up 'roiding on someone, after all it wasn't even 7 am yet.

Sometimes it nice to let it out...but I definitely recommend letting it out Glee style if most of the world hasn't even gotten out of bed...

Three Songs That Make My Runs More Reale:

"Gives You Hell" All American Rejects (Glee version)

"It's My Life/Confessions" Bon Jovi/Usher (Glee version)

"Take a Bow" Rihanna (Glee version)


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, Just Sweat...

141 days
5 miles
46 minutes 13 seconds

I have completed two Saturday training runs with Luke's Locker. So far so good. I wish I was running a little faster than I am right now, but I know there is plenty of time to pick up the pace. I thought it would be really hard to wake up early, but am realizing I just may be a morning runner, I just never knew it. There is something peaceful about running in the morning. Katy Trail is quiet and empty. The opportunity to get my run over with and tackle the day has been really awesome.

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I met one of his college friends for dinner. She is one of those people you feel like you have known forever from the start. She is so sweet and we had a lot of fun. At one point she was talking about how she has always wrestled with "self-inflicted guilt". Feeling guilty for things she shouldn't feel guilty for. As I was running this week I realized I suffer from some self-infliction too. I stress about anything and everything, on and off the trail.

One particular run this week I had to go the restroom so bad. It was early in the run and I was so frustrated that I didn't go before I left the house. For the first half of my run I was stressing. How was I going to make it through this run? How will I make it through 26.2 miles without pissing my pants or worse? That snowballed into self-doubt and scenario after scenario of the challenges that I may or may not face. Like a holy vision, I spotted it, the most beautiful port-a-potty I have ever seen. Like a gift from heaven above. Orange and unoccupied. I was able to take care of business and have a really great run.

This is just one example of how I tend to live my life in a constant state of stress. After 30 years I have come to understand that things always works out. No matter how bad things are at the moment, my experience has been that there is always a port-a-potty along the way.

As I increase my mileage and continue to prepare for October I know the stress will be right on my heels. My palms are sweating just thinking about how nervous I will be the morning of the race. Breathe, run, sweat, but not the small stuff.

And when that stress catches up with me, I will picture that port-a-potty, in all its glory, and know that it will all be okay. It always is!

Three Songs That Made My Runs More Reale:

"California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)" Katy Perry
"Woo Hoo (feat. Nicki Minaj)" Christina Aguilera
"Wash, Rinse, Repeat" Kelly Clarkson (unreleased)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Lucky Day...

165 days
40 minutes

It has been a while since my last entry. Almost a month. During that time I bought new running shoes, returned them, bought different new running shoes, and continued to run. Today's run was my favorite type, unexpected. On Wednesdays I typically work until 9 pm so I consider "hump-day" to be my "off-day". I was able to get off early and took advantage of the remaining daylight to squeeze in a run. Because I only had about an hour of light I decided to run fast and hard and had a great run.

I felt so lucky that I was able to make it out to the trail and as I was running I was reminded of an article in Runner's World that my friend Liz(hardcore runner, my biggest fan, and if you ask her--the reason I started running in the first place) passed on to me. It is all about feeling lucky for the opportunity to run as opposed to feeling like you have to run.

As I was focusing on my breathing and not letting my shoulders touch my ears, my mind started to mentally list all the other ways I am one lucky person.

I saw my mom this weekend. It was just for a few hours, but she looked great and best of all, her spirit seems to have found its way back. I am so lucky.

For the first time in my entire life I love someone just like you. Many people call my love wrong, a choice. But I am pretty sure this is what love is supposed to feel like. Each day my love grows. Each day I learn something. And unlike relationships in the past, each day I know I have someone in my corner. I am so lucky.

I moved around a lot when I was younger. My mom made a promise to me that when I started high school she would make sure I graduated from the same school. And even though she lived in another city for my senior year, she kept her word. During those four years I met my core, my favorites. Our parents raised us to be smart, independent, successful, compassionate people that contribute to society. I am Uncle J to alot of little ones and nothing makes me happier. All of the babies are healthy and there is nothing more amazing than watching your friends transform into parents. There truly are no words. In about 10 days I will have lived my life with them longer than without them. I am so lucky.

I have more friends than a person should. As I have moved through life I have been impacted by many people. Some live far away, and I am not always good at keeping in touch, but my love for them continues to grow and if I could give them my left arm I would. Some have funny nicknames and make me laugh til I want to cry. Some new friends continue to push me to think and question. Just last night we were discussing Arizona, immigration, and homelessness. I have people in my life that are as passionate, if not more, for what is right and wrong for all people. I am so lucky.

I have the chance to meet and earn the trust of young people that most of the world would write off at first glance. I pray for their lives everyday, that they never give up, they continue to dream, and they have half the chances I have had in my life because we are no different. I am so lucky.

This notion of luck is something I explored one time in college in one of my history classes. I wrote a paper on this very word in relationship to survivors of the Holocaust. One would assume that it was the survivors' faith which got them through these atrocities, but an overwhelming majority attributed their survival to luck. That they were no more deserving of life than the person to their right or left.

I am no more deserving than the person to my left or my right. I will run because I have the chance, not because I have to. But I hope even when I am not running, I will always remember I am so lucky.

Three Songs That Made My Run More Reale:

"Flaws and All" Beyonce
"Lose Yourself" Eminem
"The Heart of the Matter" India.Arie

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dirty Shorts, Kids on Scooters, and Lady GaGa, And The List Goes On...

194 days
45 minutes

1. Knowing I can't run after work, setting the alarm for 5:20am
2. Snoozing until it is too late to make it to gym before work
3. Squeezing in a run anyway...but not at the usual time
5. Favorite shorts...dirty
6. Tying shoes about 12 times because they are either too loose or too tight
7. Gnats in the mouth
8. iPod Shuffle not so "shuffle-y"
9. Kids on scooters all over the trail
10. Kids' moms power walking (do people still do that?)
11.Same moms not paying attention to the fact that if this kid doesn't scoot over then the guy on the bike going 90 mph straight for me might in fact kill me.
12.Needing to stop for a quick gulp of water but not able to because a couple of desperate housewives are talking plastic surgery over the water fountain
13.Being jealous of the guy running past me doing the air drums (I love that zone where the music is literally moving your body faster)
14.Having to fart really bad but too many kids on scooters around
15.Finishing a run that was not as far or fast as the last

This list represents some of the cons I have experienced when running outside. On today's run I was lucky enough to experience every item on the list. I was more tense when I finished than I was before I started. The only time I actually felt as though my mind and body had let go was the walk home.

Every run is different. The same five miles is rarely "the same five miles". This is a hard concept for someone who lives for a routine...the same routine. If I could have every run like my run yesterday I would be so happy. But that isn't how it works. Today's run was hard and frustrating. During the marathon, when I encounter things that are not a part of my routine, I need to focus, clench my fists, and keep going...keep running.

Three Songs That Made My Run More Reale:

"Poker Face" Lady GaGa
"Poker Face" Lady GaGa
"Poker Face" Lady GaGa

(#8. iPod Shuffle is not so "shuffle-y")

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Great Escape...

199 days
45 minutes

I managed 40 minutes on Monday and Tuesday and took yesterday off. My runs seemed to control me, not the other way around. Today's run was in the back of my head all day long. I needed an "escape" and it couldn't come fast enough. I still have that sense of doubt and anxiety when I lace up. Will I run well today? How far will I make it? Why did I get off track in the first place? But today I was ready to just hit the trail.

Health care Reform, sleazy political agendas, and overused talking points from both sides of the aisle seems to be all that people are watching, hearing, and regurgitating. I am so over this debate.

This is why I could not wait to turn my pink iPod shuffle (in honor of my Mom)up as loud as I could stand it and RUN. I felt strong, I felt like I was back. Last week my runs seemed to be in my chest. Not today, I was running from my core and using my legs to pick up the pace. It was nice to let my mind go.

Ironically, it went straight to the very thing I was escaping, but I managed to squeeze some clarity out along with the sweat.

The clarity: Your talking points will never convince me that the new law will not impact people like my mom in a positive way? Is it the best...I don't know...but it is better than what we have now and that is all that matters. My Mom has been fighting cancer for two and a half years. The impact physically, mentally, and economically would make you want to run the Chicago Marathon everyday of your life if it meant not having to face what this woman has had to face. Thank God she is successful. Thank God she has options. Thank God she is not so many other women out there who do not have the resources, including insurance, to fight this son of a bitch we know as cancer. Thank God.

I needed this run today. I needed this escape. I needed this clarity. I am done fighting to get you to say I am right and you are wrong. Because you could never get me to do the same.

I hope it will be the "escapes" that will keep me going on October 10th. When I am tired and hurting I will remember to let my mind go, run from my core, and use my legs to pick up the pace. So at the end of my very first marathon, I will cross the finish line and celebrate with all my friends and of course, my mom.

And such is life, my mind clear and feeling like I managed to outrun all that was bogging me down, I started to head home. A guy I dated at a time when I had lost myself and replaced it with a whole lot of messy passed me with his boyfriend. I smiled, waved, and then laughed the entire way home. I guess we can't "Houdini" everything in life...

Three Songs That Made My Run More Reale:
"I Need You Now" Lady Antebellum
"In Da Club" 50 cent
"Coming Home" Kanye West with Coldplay's Chris Martin

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tomorrow Is Another Day, Another Run...

203 days
45 minutes on a treadmill

I didn't run yesterday...instead I feasted on pizza and beer. Snow on the first day of spring in Texas has thrown many people off including myself. It is so much easier for me to want to run when it is pretty outside. That is what I love about running, it ain't easy. You must force yourself to push the limits of where you feel comfortable just by simply lacing up those shoes and lubing up those nips with anti-chaffing protection, day after day. Like I said, it ain't easy. But I promise, I would rather run outside any day of the week than have to run on a treadmill like I did today. Boring, repetitive, and surrounded by people who look like they belong on the cover of health magazines or PSA's for the dangers of steroids. That is how I feel about the gym. At this point, the most important thing for me to keep in mind is that I have alot of work ahead of me. I need to log many miles and build my strength and stamina before I even think about Chicago 10.10.10. I cannot let inclement weather talk me out of working towards my goal. If this means becoming "hamster-like" for 45 minutes and making awkward eye contact with the women that could crush me with their adam's apples, so be it. Not my best run and definitely not my preferred forum, but I did it and thankfully tomorrow is another day. Another chance to push myself towards my goal and be better than I was today.

Three Songs That Made My Run More Reale:
"Run This Town" Jay-Z, Rihanna, & Kanye West
"Hate This Part Right Here" The Pussycat Dolls
"Mr. Brightside" The Killers