I spent Fathers Day in Mammoth Lakes, California. Alone. Not alone exactly. With my friend Peggy who planned this with me six months ago and another woman named Jennifer who I’d met once. There are race stats here, but the best things about the race were the things I learned and the way I felt inside. Continue reading
We all have a running story and I love hearing everyone’s. So many people lose weight, get in shape after babies, etc… I’ve heard stories about using running to “run away” from being unhappy, running towards a goal, being able to drink more wine and beer or eat the things they love. Running to see the world from a different vantage point or raise money for a cause. Stories of absolute inspiration regardless of the why.
Someone asked me if I could afford it, would I have laser treatments to get rid of scars. It’s not like I’m riddled with them, but I’ve got some. No, I wouldn’t. My scars – and even the few stretch marks I got during my growth spurt in high school – are the map of my bodies story and if I’m not entirely proud of them, I’m at least OK with them and I don’t want them gone. I like my bodies story.
My running story isn’t about running away, it isn’t about my love for food or alcohol, it’s not a weight loss story. I like to deal with issues that bother me head on with compromise. No running away for this girl. I like food but I don’t have any issues with food and if I’m being completely honest I often have to remind myself to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy good food and I cook a lot but I don’t often have cravings. I don’t think about food. I don’t fight the urge to eat. I don’t drink alcohol so that’s not an issue for me either. Weight loss?? Nope. I’ve been pregnant 7 times and had 10 surgeries for those babies and the most I’ve ever gained from my current weight is 35 pounds. I weighed 120 pre-children and I weigh 124 now. When I get supplements for my menopause symptoms (which I manage naturally) I make sure there’s nothing in them that would encourage my body to lose weight. I understand that makes some people irritated, but I’ve never had a huge issue with weight. I’ve been conscious of my weight and exercise since I was 17 and I strongly feel that eating healthy my entire adult life and staying active has allowed me to not struggle with it the same way other people do.
My running story?? My first exposure to running was in Jr High School. The first time I ran to actually stay in shape was my Freshman year of college. Since then I’ve run off an on for cardio and an outlet until about 7 years ago when I “got serious”, actually trained and entered my first half marathon. Some of my best running memories are using a friends jogging stroller when Bri was a baby (yes, they made strollers 20 years ago….), buying my double stroller and rotating many of the kids through it and most sentimental is having my kids ride their bikes or run with me. I distinctly remember a 12 mile run in the winter on an almost eerily cold, still day when it started snowing huge, fat snow flakes and within minutes was nearly a white out. One of my best runs ever. Or the run I did on the 178 mile relay race last summer at 1:30 am when everything in my body felt epically amazing and I ran the leg with average 7 minute miles in the pitch black of night.
If I were posed the question that I enjoy asking “Why do you run?” I suppose my answers would be: I run to have time to myself, for myself. I run to be a healthy example to my kids. I run to decompress, to learn how to internally process, to work through my thoughts. I run to stay fit and age gracefully. I run to feel endorphins. I run to beat myself. I run because I feel utterly free. I run because no matter what life has thrown at me, I can handle it best when I run. I run because I love it. That, I suppose, is my running story.
I slept in. Seriously, my kids asked if I was sick because I never, never sleep past 7:30 and that’s a late morning. But today I must have needed it because I woke up at 7:30, went to the bathroom, figured I’d just lay and relax for a few minutes and wake up slowly and when I opened my eyes it was 10. TEN!!!! Holy cow! I feel like a new person today and very, very relaxed……
Tomorrow I have a trail race that I’m pretty excited about. 7.5 miles and hard on trails I’ve trained on – not regularly but enough to be familiar with the area. I keep thinking race season is over and then the team finds another one, or I realize there’s one more…. After this I believe there are only 2 more for the year but don’t hold your breath…. I feel very blessed this year as far as races go. I used to enter races and then took two years off from entering any events although I still ran very consistently all by my lonesome. I decided I missed the events so this year my goal was to enter a couple. To my amazement I had gotten faster, was asked to join my team and I’ve entered many more events than I had anticipated. For a hard year financially that’s even more of a blessing.
At any rate, today will be a lazy day spending a few hours at the lake with our boat. Some kids are going, some are hanging out at home. Every once in a while it’s just good to have a down day no matter how you end up spending it….. My thoughts, in part, are focused on tomorrows race, as well as the blessings in my life – my family, my friends, our home, my team….
Usually I don’t know who my blog followers are. Where they live, how the found me, if they enjoy following, if there are things they’d like more or less of, where they live, etc… Naturally, I can assume all my blog followers are witty, well spoken, well read and belong to Mensa….
I was absolutely thrilled to have a blog follower contact me a week or so ago. Melianna and her husband Alex live in Sedona, AZ where, many years ago, I also lived. I visit there occassionally because my sister lives near Sedona. Melianna told me she has followed my blog and wanted to introduce me to the company she and her husband own. Running On The Wall is a fantastic company for runners – like me!! Find them on Facebook as well as their website.
Over the years I have collected many running medals. In the beginning I had no idea what to do with them so some got shoved in a drawer, others in a backpack with extra running stuff (translation: crap I don’t want to get rid of but didn’t want to toss) while others ended up getting donated or thrown away. With my kids medals, we decided to turn them into Christmas ornaments so that they can keep the memories of growing up doing races with them and revisit those memories when they decorate their own tree as an adult. But mine just got squished. A few months ago I dug out as many as I could find and hung them on my dresser. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and I want to remember where I’ve been especially since I’ve been able to track my improvements. So they hung in a lump.
When I saw Running On The Wall’s website I was ecstatic!!! Melianna and I emailed back and forth and not only did I get to know her a little, I fell in love with her businesses products. I ordered the double hook wooden running medals display but wanted to customize my saying. Previously they hadn’t offer customized sayings, so I chose my favorite on the site, however Melianna and Alex pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and not only were able to customize my plaque with my FAVORITE saying, I believe they’ll be able to continue customizing for other people. Their prices are fantastic and the product is amazing. I was so excited to get a package in my mailbox!!!
I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to be missing some of my medals. A few of my races didn’t give them out, but there are at least half a dozen I somehow got rid of or misplaced. I didn’t realize how sad I was until I had a place to hang them. Sigh…. I’ll just have to go run more events……
I don’t heart winter. I make that pretty clear. Or, should I say I like it if it stays 30* and above, I do like the snow and no wind please. Also, start up the week of Thanksgiving until mid January and then hover around 60* until April when the temperatures can go up. That shouldn’t be too much to ask. It certainly was this year though and the winds have been worse than I remember in my nearly 8 years of living in Reno. 4 seasons with Winter, Spring and Fall being two months, Summer 6 months. Thank you very much…. Where is Utopia?? Exactly.
HOWEVER!!! We have had a couple of warmer days, we’ve gotten through the clock turning and now the buzz of Spring and Summer races are in the air. The weather might not be cooperating yet but we have light at the end of the tunnel!!
I’m signed up for the following:
APRIL: Relay for Life 24 hour run on the 20th; Escape From Prison Hill half relay the 27th
MAY: Rock N River Half 6th; Peavine 50/50 trail half 19th
JUNE: Odyssey 2 day, 178 mile relay 2nd; Reno 5000 with the family 5K 23rd
It’s exciting to have races on the calendar, pay for them and watch the weather get warmer as we also gain more light. My family loves summer – wakeboarding on the boat, camping, hiking, biking and pretty much staying outdoors for a few months straight. I look forward to the change in wardrobe, barbeques and flip flops…..
Yesterday I went on a field-trip with my two 6th graders to the King Tut exhibit. It was a blast because 1.) I was there and 2.) My kids were there. The exhibit was small but the staff was excited, had a lot to say and we learned a ton. The best part of it all is that my kids know how special and important they are to me. And they are.
SO, I got great input on the last post about asking for a reduced family rate for races. Thank you, thank you!! I did email another race – one that my kids entered last year – and they offered to do a flat rate for us!! I’m absolutely thrilled. The race director was fantastic (has 6 kids of his own), very understanding and willing to make it worth it for our family as well as worth it for his race. The kids will be thrilled!! Since this race is a series throughout the year, we’ll have additional opportunities to enter the family. I’m so happy. It’s hard to push my family to be healthy and active, to run and then not to have the money to enter us all in a race. Events are the icing. The goal. So this is fantastic.
Here’s Ashlea, Gabrielle and myself at King Tut yesterday:
SO… One thing I heart about running is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. Having said that, it certainly can be. Most of my running career has been pretty minimalist. I believe in putting money into good running shoes but everything else – not so much. Having said that, I find shoes that I like and then look for them online for less or at discount stores like Big 5, or wait for a sale. So I try to spend less. As far as the rest of running stuff, it’s not as big of a deal. Having said that, it’s easy to rack up some pretty hefty numbers on the cash register and it would be so fun to go hog wild…. I suppose like anything else it’s about balance and importance. Some things I get for dirt cheap, some things I spend more on but I do always try to save.
Races are why I run. OK, there are lots of reasons why I run but races are the fun part. The icing on the cake, the ring in the Cracker Jack’s, the shiny object. It’s the pinnacle of all that freaking training in 8* weather and 30 mph winds. The bonus round for 100* temp runs, early mornings and night runs. I adore going to events!! Some of them cost too much for me to justify, some cost just fine but after adding travel, hotel, meals, etc… cost too much, some are potential goal races like Great Wall of China or winter fantasies like Maui. This leads me to a question….
It’s no one’s responsibility that I’ve chosen to have a large family. I love it so I don’t really care what other people think about that part. We pay for everything, support our family without assistance, work hard and all that jazz. BUT having a large family means (without a hefty trust fund) we have to choose what we do. Almost all of my kids run. Two of them do the mile fun run, but the other 8 that live at home or in town run the 5K or 10K. So it’s definitely become a family affair. I think it would be great for the kids to do two events a year. One they do is in October so I try to find another in Spring. The problem is how expensive it gets. I’ve looked at three different races for Spring and they range from $360-$400 for all of us to enter. Compared to some races this might not seem like a lot. For me, it’s a lot.
Is it wrong for me to contact the race director and ask if we can enter as a group and get a flat rate?? On one hand I would think the race would prefer for example $275 for us to enter as a group instead of nothing if we don’t race at all. On the other hand I understand that it costs money to put on a race and it can’t cost them money for us to be there. Is there a balance?? What if we didn’t get the T-shirts?? I did contact one of them and asked if that was possible. He was very rude in his email reply so I in turn felt bad for asking. Then I got irritated because it’s $45 for the 10K no matter the age $35 for the 5K no matter the age. We’ve done other races that are $10-$15 for the kids prices but we’re limited to what’s available for us locally. I just don’t know how to feel or whether or not to ask. For the most part I’ve had nothing but great experiences with events and especially the people who put in the time and effort to make them happen. I just love how excited my kids get, what a fantastic opportunity it is for them, how much they learn, how happy it makes them. I love this look:
Packet pick up is one of my favorite parts of a race. I like seeing the coupons, little goodies, get my chip and race bib. It lets me know it’s ON!!! And it’s the countdown to donning the race outfit, getting a little anxious and feeling the energy of a race. With the exception of Taylor finding a spider on him in the parking lot on the way out and freaking out so much I almost peed myself, it went off without a hitch but had all the fun elements of every packet pickup. Kids are jonsing for a run!! This is the race where I sit and watch them finish, hugging their sweaty bodies instead of them being there for me.
It was an exciting ride to the race and all the kids had a blast. It’s always difficult for me to sit on the sidelines but I also feel so much pride in being a spectator for my kids.
Gabrielle won first place in her age division, Alana won funniest costume as “Swine Flew” and Olivia won most unique costume as “Hoodie Ninja”…
Here are their times: 1/2 mile
Kezia (placed 5th overall!: 4 min. 23 sec
Samuel: 4 min 43 sec
Nicolas: 5 min 45 sec
Taylor: 27 min 24 sec
Alana: 35 min 41 sec
Ashlea: 35 min 42 sec
Olivia: 36 min 13 sec
Gabrielle: 36 min 14 sec
Everyone did fantastic, but most important is how much fun it was, that they all participated and mostly that they know how much I love and support them. Here are some shots from the event: