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Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

This is the first post I have tried from my phone. I hope it posts correctly.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I have to give a shout out to the state of Wisconsin (via the good Lord’s palette) for a wonderful run yesterday. The shining sun, clear, blue sky, open fields, and gently rolling hills of the countryside were the perfect backdrop for an eight mile training run. Even the stiff, west wind could not dampen my spirits.

There were geese in the fields and a multitude of birdsongs in the air. At one point, I thought I could hear wild turkeys. What a different experience from the suburban streets back home.

Later, as we drove down the road, my husband asked me, “Did you see that dead deer in the ditch?”

Thankfully, no, I did not. I have seen flattened squirrels on the streets back home, but I am glad that my little slice of heaven in Wisconsin country was not spoiled by a decaying deer in the ditch.

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Marathon Conversations

A marathon takes up hours of your day. There are many sights to see and cheering spectators on the course, but that isn’t the only entertainment. There are periods of time when there is no music and the roadside is bare, except for the aid stations, and you have the opportunity to hear conversations between runners and volunteers that bring a smile to your lips. Here are a few of my favorites from the Air Force Marathon last month.

Along the course, I saw two runners who were blind, each being led by a sighted guide. The blind runner of the first pair held the arm of the sighted runner, and the second pair held a short rope between them. What dedication both runners and guides must have to train for a marathon together! The second runner was wearing a bright orange shirt that said BLIND RUNNER on the back.

Male runner behind me:  “Hey, a blind runner.”

Female response:  “Where?”

Male runner:  “The guy in front of you with the bright orange shirt.

Female runner:  “Oh.”

Somewhere in the second half of the marathon there was an aid station with a late middle-aged couple just ahead of it who were telling runners where to go for hydration. He wore jean shorts and a shirt that he probably donned when attending Jimmy Buffett concerts; she looked equally comfortable.

Wife yells out:  “Water on the left, Gatorade on the right!”

Husband yells out:  “Water on the left, Gatorade on the right, cold beer in the back!”

Wife, exasperated, turns and yells at husband:  “Stop telling them that! There isn’t any beer!”

Husband, grinning slyly:  “They know that, but they think it’s funny.”

With the endearing way he looked at her after she turned back around, I think he was having more fun teasing her than entertaining us.

Around mile 23, as delirium set in, I heard a conversation from a group trying to find meaning in the insanity of completing 26.2 miles.

Female runner:  “Why are we out here?!”

Male runner #1:  “This is one New Year’s resolution gone wrong. Alcohol may have been involved.”

Male runner #2:  “Yes, alcohol was definitely involved.”

I am so glad I ran my race without music in my ears; otherwise, I would have missed out on some great entertainment.

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Don’t Rain on My Marathon!

The weather map when I went to dinner the night before the US Air Force Marathon.  The map looked like this all day.

Marathon weather

 

The map looked the same when I went to bed. Not much had changed when I got up, either. All signs pointed to a rainy marathon. I did not want to run 26.2 miles in the rain, but I would if it came down to it. Wetness wasn’t going to stop me after hundreds of miles of training.

Marathon pic 1

 

I prayed for a pressure system to push the moisture south and east. The precipitation was a steady drizzle as my friend, Kim, and I sat in traffic waiting to park. As soon as we got in the parking space, the rain slowed to a misty spittle. When I got to the start line, the rain was a light mist, barely felt. Did I start with dry feet? Uh, no. I stepped in a puddle not far from the car and another puddle almost to the start line. At least my feet were equally wet!

The weather was not the only thing putting a damper on my race start. There was no one directing traffic at the intersection off of the highway, so there was a huge traffic jam. I was an hour early, and I still got caught in traffic. The jam put me 45 minutes behind schedule, and we had to park almost two miles from the start line with 15 minutes left to get to there. I did not get to stretch, had to run/walk to the start, and I still did not make it for the gun. I fastened my race belt as I joined the back of the pack crossing the start.

While the start was not as I had planned, the race was wonderful! The volunteers and spectators were energetic, my feet did not blister, and the rain stayed away!

 

Yes, I do believe in miracles!

Marathon Map 3

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Running for Change

penny

When I told my friend that I was running in the United States Air Force Marathon, she got excited and showed me the album she made after running the Chicago Marathon. She had a graph of her training runs, pictures, her estimated finish time, a print out of her actual finish time, etc. She also had a plastic baggy with change in it (quarters, nickels, dimes, pennies); she said it was her prize purse. To break up the monotony of long training runs, she had picked up spare change she would find lying on the ground along the way.

When I told my husband about her prize purse, he said, “Where is she running? I never see change on the ground!”

I was thinking the same thing, but I started looking for change, anyway. For the first week or so, I only found a screw and two nails. They had no monetary value, but I pictured myself saving a poor driver from a flat tire. There were also plenty of cigarette butts and a dirty band-aid, but I wisely left them on the ground. About a week ago, I found a plastic bottle cap and a metal beer cap. My prize purse was looking pretty pathetic.

Then, last weekend at the beginning of my 16 mile run, I saw a bright, shiny penny on my path. My first currency for my prize purse! And, it was not just any penny; it was a 1999 penny. Significant because 1999 is when I started having symptoms of Meniere’s disease (vertigo, loss of balance, vomiting, hearing loss), had surgery to try to alleviate the symptoms, and lost the hearing in my left ear. That was 14 years ago, and look how far I have come.

As I completed my 16 mile training run, I reflected on what I had accomplished since 1999:  I lost 50 pounds, got my symptoms under control, started running, have run almost a dozen half marathons, a trail marathon, and I am now running a street marathon. That 1999 penny is a symbolic trophy worth more than any prize purse!

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The best parts of summer trail running:

  • Cool shade running in the woods
  • No icy spots
  • More hours of sunlight
  • Time off of work to run

The not so great parts of summer trail running:

  • Eating gnats like a whale eats krill
  • Humidity
  • Heat
  • Tree roots (any time of year)

The ugly parts of summer trail running:

  • Ripe coyote kill in middle of trail
  • Sweating like you just took a shower

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Another Indianapolis Mini Marathon is now complete. I had a good time; I beat my time from last year. The weather was nice, but there was a strong headwind for the second half of the race. The most excitement actually came before the race.

My husband, Terry, and I left with time to go to our favorite parking spot. The lot is usually half empty. This year, unfortunately, half of the lot is now restricted parking, and they moved the full lot sign across the entrance just as we got there.

Terry said, “Now what?”

“Uh…uh…,” I replied, as I tried to get my bearings.

“Tell me something!” He isn’t native to Indy.

“Uh, turn right, I guess.”

So he turned right.  No parking places were in sight. I told him to circle back around and park on the street curb. He wondered if we could get closer. I understood his concern. We were so far down the street that there were no longer any parking meters, the race started in 20 minutes, and we were still a mile from the start. At this point, we were in danger of not getting to the start line in time to get into our corrals. What is the point in getting seeded if you can not get in your corral?

I looked around for my race bib; I did not see it.

“I can’t race today,” I said, dejected.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t have my race bib,” I said, my head down.

“You didn’t notice it sliding across the dash with all the turns we made?”

I looked up, and there it was! Relief!

We got out and started down the street. The man who parked in front of our car joined us. He was Michael from Illinois, middle-aged, and he was very excited to be at the Mini. He talked a blue streak and was literally hopping around us. A woman, mid twenties, joined us a few feet later. At the cross street we had to walk in the bicycle lane due to construction that closed the sidewalk. A car passed us, stopped at the next intersection 20 yards ahead of us, and the car door opened. A woman leaned out and lost her breakfast, or at least the energy drink she had for breakfast.

“Did she just throw up?” asked our young companion, with a look of shock on her face. We all confirmed that she had indeed tossed her cookies. “Don’t look at it!” she commanded, as she turned her head. We gingerly stepped around the wet spot as we passed.

We were getting a little nervous about making it to the start, so Michael, Terry, and I started to jog as a warm-up. I started to walk, again. I mean, I was already running 13.1; I didn’t want to overdo it. Michael started jumping around.

“Come on, Dawn. Keep going. We want to make it the start. You can do it. It’s just a warm-up,” he encouraged.

“You have a lot of energy,” I calmly grinned. So, I started jogging, again. The National Anthem started to play; we jogged a little faster. At the corral, they dropped the flags separating the corrals, and the bodies started pressing together. I quickly hopped the corral gate. Well, maybe not quickly, but I did climb over it in time to get a spot. Later, my husband would tell me how Michael was high-fiving and talking to everyone in their corral. That image still brings a smile to face.

So, we just made it to our corrals. At about mile 9, I was wishing I could have that warm-up mile back, but it was worth it for the memories it created. Now, every time I hear the name Michael, I will think of the that energetic runner who took the tension off of a frustrating start to the Mini.

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For some, 4-20 is celebrated as national pot smoking day. I do not put mind altering substances into my body, and I do not knowingly break the law, unless you count slightly speeding once in a while. So, in the spirit of the day, I ran 9.5 miles (best training pace this season) and got a runner’s high. Why 9.5 miles? I figured I would end my last mile half baked. Peace out.

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