Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It Takes A Village

I'm a firm believer in the theory that it takes a village to raise a child. We've been blessed with a wonderful village of people that are helping our kids grow up to be the people we want them to be. It occurs to me lately though that it takes a village to build and ultrarunner as well. This is where I prove once again that I'm a total wimp and need a lot of support. I know there are lots of runners out there doing it all on their own and don't have the amount of help and support that I have. That's awesome that they can be that tough. I'm...not. Well, maybe I could be, but I hope I don't have to find out any time soon.

The most important people in my village of helpers are my running partners. The person that goes the most miles with me is Deanna. Bless her heart. If I'm running long she rides her bike with me and if I'm doing a shorter run she runs. She carries my stuff in a pouch on her bike, she gets up at all hours of the night to start with me (we started at 3 am last Friday), she waits while I stop to poop, then stop to poop again, then stop to pee. Then I stop to relube with vaseline. I tell her way more than she wants to know about my life. She does it all with a cheerful attitude and a smile on her face. I'm lucky to have her! Lately I've also been joined some by Joy, who is as wonderful as her name indicates. She's always happy and is just fun to be around. Someone I don't get to run with very much is Tammy. I wish we could run together more, but our schedules don't match up well. She's great because her husband is also a school administrator and I can talk to her about things that no one else understands. It's nice to end the run feeling refreshed both physically and mentally. One of the sweetest people I've ever met, Misty, walks with me on Monday nights. It helps loosen up the muscles after the weekend long runs and is just an hour of fun chatting that I look forward to every week. Without these ladies I would skip a lot more runs and when I did run I wouldn't have as much fun.

Besides people that run with me, there are those that let me stash stuff at their house or on their property. Joy lives in the country and has the absolute perfect spot to stash a cooler. In fact, oops, I still have one there from this weekend! I will go get that tonight. I hope. I've left stuff at lots of houses and am always so grateful that people let me do that so I don't have to worry about something happening to it or having to carry everything at once. If all else fails, Rick will bring stuff to me, but both of us hate it when he has to. I've met a few people in Eureka that tell me any time I need water or a bathroom please feel free to stop at their house. I just need to meet some more people out in the country!

I've talked about my friend Libby on here before, but I can't express how much she means to me. Not just with running, but in general. She's a really great person and I'm not worthy of her friendship. She supports me no matter what. She makes me believe there's nothing I can't do. I could go on and on, but just suffice it to say she's one of the most important people in my life. I'm also thankful for Rebecca, who I "met" on a running forum and have become friends with, even though we've never met in real life. She listens to me via facebook messenger and she gives advice or just an ear. She's always encouraging and is totally my diet/fitness role model. My dream is to look like her!

I can't write about the people that support me without talking about my husband and kids. I've gone on and on about them, but I'm really thankful for them. Ryan is always willing to pace me or crew for me or do anything else I need at races. Rick is just there for whatever I need. He's not always happy to do things like bring me ice when it's really hot, or bring me extra toilet paper, or get up early and ride his bike with me if I need him to, but he does it. He has started running and we're having a running date tonight. So excited! Adam is just Adam, which is a pretty special thing. He's not old enough to do much, but I know he supports me. He talks about me with pride at school. He brings me water or snacks if he can. He waits at home alone while I go run even though he hates that. He will put in a mile or two if I need him. He also makes me smile and laugh every single day, which is priceless.

There are so many other people that are helping "raise" me into the runner I want to be. I could go on and on. The Eureka Run for God group has been great! They continue to motivate me to reach my goals and encourage me. I meet so many people in town that are really nice and encouraging when they find out what I'm training for. Of course, they think I've lost my mind, but they're generally nice about it.

I've had people lately comment on how much more dedicated I am these days and how much more I run. For a while I was all proud of myself and felt pretty awesome. Then I realized it's not me that deserves any credit for that. It's my village. I've built this village up around me and they're the reason I continue to get up at 4 am (or even earlier) and put in the miles. I know that without their help it wouldn't happen. To everyone that has helped, is helping, and will help in the future: It may not always seem like I appreciate you or notice what you do, but I promise I do. I know that if (when!) I finish the 100 it will be due to your efforts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

When all else

August 7 was my 15th wedding anniversary. Yay!! I've been anticipating this for months. I was excited and it felt like a big milestone we should really celebrate. Rick and I had an amazing summer, spent a lot of time together, and I was really happy. Well, I say "we" had an amazing summer. I did and I hope he did too. Anyway, the anniversary was coming up. I made plans, got a babysitter, etc. I mentioned it lots of times. Rick told me he had enrollment that day, but that's no big deal. Our plans were for the evening. Then Ryan's enrollment papers came home and I started reading through them. There it was in what seemed like enormous font. Enrollment lasts until 8 pm. That meant Rick would work until at least 8:30. On our anniversary. The boys were already scheduled to go to Rick's parents house, so I was going to be spending my anniversary home alone. To say I was angry was putting it mildly. I was furious. It's no secret that I've struggled with Rick's work schedule and not getting to see him much. I was so nervous about school starting this year but we had both vowed to make sure we spend more time together, have dates, and communicate better. Then this happened. It was like his job was punching me in the face. Overdramatic? Yeah. I probably was. I just felt like this year was going to be  repeat of last year and I cannot handle that.

I moped and whined and was hateful to Rick. I complained to friends. I was mad. I decided I'm not even going on a date the next night. Just forget it, we're not celebrating our anniversary. Then I realized I was being a giant baby and sucked it up. I had 15 miles scheduled for Sunday. It was going to be hard to get that done as my brother was getting married that day. I thought that it would be perfect to run the 15 miles on Thursday evening. I could do an anniversary run. 15 miles for 15 years. Deanna agreed to bike with me. I was really dreading it because we all know I'm a heat wimp. I was right to dread it. It was HOT.

We started at 7 pm and the sun was bright. Within half a mile I had sweat pouring off of me. I pushed on. At nearly the two mile mark a dog came out and chased me. Long story short, I used my pepper spray on him. Sadly, the pepper spray came back and hit me in the face. Within a couple of minutes my face was on fire. I pressed on. I finally had to stop. I was almost in tears. I had a frozen bottle of gatorade so I held that to my face for a few minutes. It helped. Deanna asked if I wanted to go back. I did. So bad. I was hot, my face was burning and it sucked. This was my anniversary run though. I hadn't given up on my marriage in the tough times, so I wasn't giving up on the run. Plus, I'm trying to be less wimpy and learn to tough it out no matter what. I walked a bit, then started running again. We came to a big hill that I knew was going to be hard. We were doing the usual loop backwards. I normally run down this hill. By the time we got to the top I think we were both cussing.

We trudged on. Up and up and up. I was not pleased. I felt horrible, it was hot, and I had no energy. I was trying out Tailwind Nutrition as I've heard great things about it. Well, it just isn't the thing for me. It's a powder you mix in your water so it is your nutrition, hydration and electrolytes all in one. The problem for me is that it means every drink you take is flavored. When it's hot and I'm thirsty I just want cold water. I don't want flavor. I got the the point that I didn't even want to drink because I didn't want the flavor so I knew it was time to make a change. It was late enough I thought Rick would be done working so I called him to bring me water. He didn't answer. I texted him to call me and waited. He didn't call back so Deanna called her husband Ryan. He was kind enough to bring me some water. I dumped out the tailwind and filled my pack with water. Ahhh, so much better! I was 8 miles in and thankfully had a lot of downhill from this point. The sun was also going down, so it was a tiny bit cooler.

Not a lot to say about the final miles. It was just a lot of walking with some downhill runs thrown in. Lots of nasty frogs! They were everywhere. I was thankful for Deanna's company because it was late and dark and scary out in the country. I wish the run would have been a little more enjoyable. The important thing is that I finished. I'm so much stronger than I was a year ago. Mentally and physically. I'm happy with where my running is. Just have to keep pushing!

The moral of this story is, when it seems like everything else is falling apart and you don't have anything else to do, just go run. Running will always be there for you. It might not always be pretty, but you learn from the tough runs and they prepare you for the tough times in races.