Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Looking Back

It is the end of the year, so I'm reflecting on my year of running. It was quite a year! I had a lot of firsts. I had some good things happen and some bad things happen.

I'd say the best thing that happened is that I learned that I can do more than I ever thought possible. I learned that I can push my body and it will do what I ask. Unfortunately, I also learned that if you ask too much of your body it will eventually start pushing back and you end up injured. So, I learned that I must listen to my body.

Some highlights from my year:
  • I ran my first Half Marathon!!!
  • I discovered trail running
  • I ran my first 25K trail race!!
  • From September 10 to November 6 I ran two 25k trail races, a 10k , a 5K and a Quarter Marathon. 
  • I ran to my dad's house! It's only 9.5 miles, so not my furthest run, but it made me happy. I loved the feeling of running into his driveway and the sense of accomplishment it gave me.
This year was not all good though. The heat of the summer really put a damper on my running. I'm still really dissapointed in myself and my inability to just suck it up and get out there and run. Also? I got injured. I am now doing physical therapy and am still not really sure what is wrong. I'm hoping it is something that can be fixed soon. At this point my long runs are really not going as well as I would like. I'm constantly doubting my ability to run the kind of distances I want to be able to run. I know my problem with the long runs is trying to run too fast. I need to stop looking at my watch and just run.

I am excited to see what next year brings in terms of running. I hope it brings lots of wonderful things. Right now I am hesitant to set goals. I do have some races planned but I will write a post next week telling you all what my plans are.

It was a pretty good year for me in areas other than running also. This year Ryan turned 11, Adam turned 8, and Rick and I had our 12th anniversary. We spent some time in Wyoming with family and also went to Branson and Kansas City for short getaways. I went to Connecticut and NYC.  Ryan's baseball team made it to State and some pretty neat things happened. It was an exceptional group of boys. Adam got his first "real" grade card with actual grades. Straight A's! Rick is continuing to work on his masters and only has one semester to go! Can we say Principal Bruce? I know he will be a wonderful administrator.

I welcomed some new members into my family this year. My niece August is adorable as is Katherine, my honorary niece. On the other side of that, my family lost a tremendous person today. My uncle Mike passed away. I can't say enough wonderful things about him. In fact, I will probably blog about him sometime soon. Right now my heart is broken and I can't really talk about it.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some major things that happened, but that's ok. The fact is, I am truly blessed in so many ways and I hope those blessings continue into the new year. Tomorrow is my last run of the year and I'm excited.

Until next year.....


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just Keep Moving

This is kind of my theme right now. It is how my life is going and how running is going. Nothing too exciting, nothing to bad. Just moving forward.

I saw the orthopedist last week. He really isn't entirely certain what is going on. Apparently, and if you know me this won't surprise you, my body is weird. It shouldn't be experiencing the symptoms that it is all at one time. Which either means I have more than one thing going on, or I'm a freak. I'm sure it's the latter. He wants me to go to physical therapy for a few weeks and see how that goes. I have my first appointment tomorrow. In the meantime, he said keep running. He doesn't think I have anything so serious that I shouldn't run while we figure it out. The more miles I run, the more painful it gets. He told me to run until I get to a level of pain I can't deal with and then don't run more. Make sense? I can run between 20 and 25 miles without too much pain. After 25 it's pretty bad. So for now, I'm staying at 25 or under.

My running is just kind of uneventful. One run from last week will probably stand out in my memory for a long time though. Last Saturday I got up early to run. I was just not feeling it, but I got up anyway. I got dressed, ate, and headed out. I ran about a block before turning around to go home. I took off my running clothes and sat in the recliner. Then Adam woke up and talked to me for a little bit. I decided he looked very comfy on the couch so I joined him under the blanket. A few minutes later Ryan joined us, then both cats. So it was Me, Ryan, Adam, Daisy and Lucy all on the couch. We goofed around a little and I fell asleep. When I woke up I was alone on the couch. You know what? I wouldn't trade that time snuggling with my kids for the best run in the world. While running is important to me my kids are more important.

I had planned to do my run after the Christmas parade and before Adam's basketball game. Unfortunately I would barely have time to run, then take a shower, so I decided against that. Instead, I decided to run home from Independence. I can run the lake way and not run into too much traffic. It is more than 10 miles, so my plan was to call someone to come get me when I got done. Rick was busy, so I asked my mother in law, Kay. Being the awesome person that she is, she said yes.

 After the game I went to the bathroom to change and had forgotten a sports bra. Ugh. So I went to walmart to just grab a cheap one and they were crazy busy. I ended up leaving about 30 minutes after I intended.

I never could get into a rythm and the run wasn't a lot of fun. I started out way too hot. It was 57 degrees and I had packed a thermal nike shirt. By the end I was super thankful I had it though. I've never run this way, and knew there were hills, but I had no idea just how bad they were. At one point you are going uphill for almost a mile. Part of it is just a small incline, but some of it is NOT! At mile 7 there is a really large, really steep hill. I already knew I was walking up it, but what I didn't know is that I would barely be able to walk up it. It was rough. The sun was also starting to go down at this point so I planned to call Kay at mile 8 to have her come get me. I knew how long it would take her to get there and was hoping to get to 9. It would have been fully dark if I had gone to 10 and I didn't want to do that.

At about 7.75 miles my cell rang. It was Kay. She didn't know I had started late. She had fallen asleep watching tv and when she woke up it was almost dark and she hadn't heard from me. I told her to go ahead and come get me. She got there right on time! There was a very hateful dog that wasn't too excited about me running past his house. He never left the driveway, but I was happy that someone was coming if he did attack me.

I came home and had a shower and made popcorn. The boys and I had planned a Christmas movie night. Problem? Our dvd player wasn't working. I shamelessly had Adam call Kay and ask if we could have a movie night at their house. He called and said, "Hey Nanny, this is Adam. Can we come watch movies at your house? We will bring our own popcorn!" It was cute. We had a lot of fun eating popcorn and watching Miracle on 34th St. I love love love Rick's parents!

So, nothing exciting running wise. I think maybe I have found my next race! I'm not positive though, so I'm not going to say what it is yet. I probably will right after the first of the year.

Happy Running!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Let us run with endurance...

Since I ran the Oklahoma Aquarium half marathon, a phrase (actually a bible verse) keeps floating around in my brain. It pops up during all sorts of situations, not just running. During the race, we went over a little bridge. I think it was possibly just a pedestrian bridge, I can't really remember. Some people had written inspirational phrases, bible verses, etc that you read as you ran. It was pretty neat, and distracting, which was a good thing! One of the things I read was "Let us run with endurance the race set before us, Hebrews 12:1" I"m not sure why, but it was kind of an "ah-ha!" moment for me. I repeated this to myself multiple times during the race. And I thought about it and what it meant. Obviously it applies to running. But it can be about so much more than that.

Right after my race we went to Branson with my Mom and Alan. In the car on the way there I told Rick about reading this verse as I was running and how much it helped me get through the 13.1 miles. The next day we went to Silver Dollar City. In one of the first shops we went in, I saw a pretty picture of some horses with something written on it. I walked over to it and what did it say? See for yourself.
Obviously it is from a different version of the Bible, but you get what I'm saying ;). I got all excited and showed Rick and drug my mom over to see it. Neither were as impressed as I was. I would have bought it, but I think I would have had to sell one of the kids to afford it. While that sounds like a great idea sometimes it's probably not ok. Probably.

How is  it that I had never read this in the Bible or anywhere else? And why did it have such an affect on me? The truth is, I had probably heard it or read it somewhere and it just wasn't the right time for me to really notice it. While on vacation in September, I told my cousin Jennifer about it. She's so amazing by the way. She is also crafty and talented in ways that I cannot even fathom. I'm seriously in awe of her. I asked her if she would make me something to hang on my wall with that verse on it. She said to just e-mail her which version I wanted and she would do it. It took me forever to do it because I never do things as quickly as I think I will or should. On Saturday, I had lunch with her. Before we left her house she handed me a gift bag. In it was Cheez-its (my favorite food), a pair of my running socks, which is a funny story for later, and a frame with something in it. It was the verse! And it's beautiful.

This picture doesn't do it justice. I took it with my phone in my car in the sun. If I were a less lazy person I would take a nice picture of it with my camera so I could show off Jennifer's talents, but alas, I'm lazy. Anyway, I was so excited! I've been wanting to blog about this for a long time and now seemed like the perfect time.

It's truly impossible for me to explain what this verse means to me. It is a constant reminder that God is there for me and won't give me anything I can't handle. I ask God all the time while I'm running to just give me the endurance to finish. Did God set running before me? Who knows? I think God gave us free will, but I also think that he tries to steer us away from endeavors he doesn't want us to pursue.

Now when something in my life challenges me I can pray, "Ok God. You have given me this challenge. Now please help me rise up and meet it. Give me the endurance/strength/perserverance I need to make it through." I think that God set that verse before me as a lesson. A lesson that it's ok to ask for help. As it turns out, you can ask God for help with even the small things, like running. He might be a little busy with the big stuff, but me praying for strength somehow allows me to gain some. Often just admitting that you need help gives you the courage to finish on your own.

I have a friend who is struggling with something that I have struggled with all too often. It breaks my heart. I pray that God will give her the endurance to to get through this challenge like she has before.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with an orthopedist about my hip. My greatest fear is that he's going to tell me to take time off from running. But I know that no matter what happens, I will be ok. If anyone has any spare prayers or positive thoughts I could use them!

Happy Running!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sometimes you just need to run

This post is only sort of about running. Mostly, it is about something that happened and the courage of a little boy who stood up for himself. I'm so proud that he is my son.

Last friday my son came home crying so hard I couldn't understand what he was saying. I finally calmed him enough to understand him say that an adult who works at his school had kicked him. Over the next hour the story continues to come out of him in fits and starts. My immediate reaction was denial. That doesn't really happen. Adults don't really do that to kids. Surely she was kidding around. If she was, it was misguided and certainly inappropriate, but not true abuse. Then I keep hearing more. And I see how upset he was. Within the next couple of hours I started getting phone calls and text messaged from other parents whose children came to them and told them what happened. Shockingly, the stories were very similar. It didn't seem like Ryan was exaggerating. They were playing dodgeball in PE and the adult in question was playing with them. Ryan hit her in the head with the ball on accident. She asked who did it and he said he did and that he was sorry. Was he wrong to hit her in the head? Absolutely, without a doubt. Her reaction though? She kicked him. Hard enough for him to fall to the ground. At this point the PE teacher said to the other adult something about getting in trouble. Ryan doesn't remember exactly what. But did the PE teacher report this to anyone? No, he did not.

After the period was over the class walked back the the classroom. On the way there he saw the person again. She taunted him. When her supervisor asked about it, she made the comment, "Oh, I kicked him in the butt." The supervisor laughed. Ryan then went to his classroom, crying, and told his teacher. She questioned him and questioned the class. Did she report this to anyone? No, she did not. Keep in mind, these people are all mandated reporters. My son was kicked, then bullied by the person that kicked him. And then several adults failed to make him feel safe by not doing anything about it.

The more I heard about this, the more upset I got. All I could think was that I wish it hadn't happened. Selfish maybe, but I knew I had to do something about this. And I hate confrontation. Saturday morning I called the Superintendent at home. I won't share the details as I don't feel comfortable doing that, but suffice it to say I wasn't really thrilled with the results. He acted like this wasn't really a big deal. He wanted Ryan in his office first thing Monday to meet with everyone involved. I was not going to let Ryan go into a meeting with all adults and have to tell that story. I informed the Superintendent of that and he said we could meet with him alone. When we got to the school and he started telling the story, he started crying. I can't tell you how hard it was to sit there while my son cried and talked about what happened. After the story, the Superintendent still didn't act like it was a big deal. I informed him of the steps I planned to take if he didn't follow the law in this situation. I'm pretty sure I'm not high on his list of favorite people. Then he had Ryan write down what happened. Ryan was shaking the whole time. He was so scared.

I won't share the rest of the details about what happened, as I don't think that's fair to anyone involved in the situation. I will say that I am satisfied with how things turned out. Could I have done more? Yes. Could I keep pushing? Yes. But I'm not, for a variety of reasons. Ryan is the main one. He asked me after the meeting yesterday if it could just be over. I don't want him to ever have to talk about it again if he doesn't want to. I don't want any kind of investigation. I wanted my son to feel safe at school and he does. I hope everyone involved learned something from this. I know I did. I learned that no matter how much I don't want to do something, if it comes to the safety of my kids nothing will stand in my way. I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. And I learned that Ryan and all of the kids in his class who reported this have a lot of courage. It isn't easy to "tattle" on an adult.

Now for the running part. I was sick about this all weekend and all day yesterday. I was just miserable. Then I went for a run. During the run I went over all of it in my head and really processed what happened. And then I just let it go. The run finally calmed me completely and allowed me to put this behind me.

Hopefully next time I blog it will be about happier, more lighthearted things. Until then, Happy Running!!