Feet, don’t fail me now!

I guess you could say I’m “all in” when it comes to trying to run 50 half marathons in 50 states.  My original goal was to run 50 races (any length) in 50 states, but then I found the 50 States Half Marathon Club and the Half Fanatics, and I changed my goal!  Unfortunately, that means I am going to have to re-run a couple states but hey, that just means more vacations!

I admit I am an impatient person.  When I start something, I want to get it done.  Running 50 half marathons in 50 states is not easy to do quickly but, starting at my late age, I worry about finishing the task.  I’m trying to convince myself that finishing will be so much sweeter if I have taken the time to enjoy the journey.  A lot of goal runners enter races in different states on consecutive days, even up to 7!  I give them a lot of credit and I guess that would be a good way to cross off 7 states, but I don’t think I would feel the whole half marathon spirit and would almost feel like I was cheating myself because I surely would not be doing any running in some of those races.

So now I think I have the right mindset, but what about the rest of me?  Can my 50+ body that just started running three years ago withstand all this running?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I certainly hope so, but I’ve already had some injuries and my podiatrist calls my feet “deformed from the trauma of running.”  Yikes!  At least he said to keep going until I can’t.  But I wonder when that will be…

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Runners are lovers, not haters.

A couple weeks ago I ran The Biggest Loser 5k.  (I also came in 2nd place in my age group for the first time!)  This is a run/walk race sponsored by some former contestants of The Biggest Loser.  It was really inspiring to see people of all shapes and sizes out on the course, a lot of them participating in their first race ever.

Biggest Loser

That’s when it occurred to me.

In my experience, when I am at races or just running in general, I don’t hear the things I hear in other situations.  For example, no one is whispering about someone else’s size; that they are too big or too small, or how could they possibly go out in public in that outfit or with no makeup or with their hair like that.  No one is judging someone else’s sneakers because they didn’t cost $100+.  No one is saying you’re too slow, you don’t belong here.  In fact, it’s just the opposite; I find runners to be so supportive and encouraging and complimentary, no matter the situation.  I love passing a runner on the path, giving a smile and a wave, telling them they are looking good.  I love having little exchanges with other runners at races — I love your shirt — you’re doing great — are we almost there? And I love receiving these exchanges too.

Unfortunately real life does not mirror my running life. Racial slurs, homophobic slurs, catcalling, weight jokes, welfare jokes – we are bombarded with all of these. Sometimes it is overheard, sometimes it is in a Facebook or Twitter post, sometimes it is from a friend or family member who should know better.  Why is it still okay to use the “n” word or the “f” word, or to refer to someone in such a demeaning manner that it could make them cry?  Why would anyone ever use the word “retard”? Why is it okay to use those words in jokes, when it is so offensive?

It’s not okay.  It makes me mad.  It makes me want to run away, literally, to be with my fellow runners who don’t see differences but our common thread – people who run.

Race Reviews!

Since I’ll be doing some traveling around to complete my 50 states/50 races quest, I thought I would review some of the more well-known races I have participated in.  I previously talked about the Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and the Dirty Girl Mud Run.  Since then …

October 2013 – Lucy Town Inaugural Half Marathon, Jamestown, New York

I am all about Lucille Ball, so when I found out about this race not too far from my home, I was all in!  There is not too much to the City of Jamestown, but we arrived the night before so we could go to the expo and explore a little.  When we went to pick up our packets, the expo vendors already had packed up and left!  In our packets, however, were tickets to the two museums all about Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy, which I thoroughly enjoyed!  Included with the race fee was a pasta dinner the night before, which was very nice and quite tasty!  I enjoyed the race itself, it rained a little then the sun came out and there was an incredible rainbow.  The little after party was just enough, and my daughter came in second in her age division (her first half marathon ever) so all in all, it was a nice race.  Since it was the first year, it was a bit small; but I’m sure it will continue to grow. The best part:  the finisher’s medal!

Lucy Town

January, 2014 – Walt Disney World Marathon, Orlando, Florida

I also am all about Disney!  We go at least every other year (in fact, we are going to Disneyland in December!).  So when it came to choose my first (and maybe only) marathon, how could I not choose WDW?  Of course, this race is held in January, which is fine weather in Florida, but my training was going to take place in the dead of winter in Buffalo, New York!  Luckily I learned to dress appropriately for the weather, and actually really loved running in the snow!  (The light, fluffy snow, not the icy snow blowing in your face with 40 mph winds.)  Morgan and I headed down and of course Disney itself was amazing.  But here’s my take on the race:  First of all, you have to get there EARLY and it is pretty cool, so definitely have an old jacket or long sleeve shirt you won’t mind leaving by the side of the road when you warm up (which we did not have).  You are in your corrals a LONG LONG time, so you pretty much rely on the guys at the microphone for entertainment.  I was feeling pretty excited and proud that we were running our first marathon.  At this marathon, though, they have lots of alternatives where you run multiple races and are classified as Dopey, or Goofy, or Dumbo.  I certainly give those people a ton of credit, but this was OUR first marathon, and I wanted some credit for us too!  So when the announcer said who’s running their first marathon, it was very anti-climatic to his asking, but who’s Goofy, or who’s Dumbo?  I felt like running “just” the marathon wasn’t enough.  I know that was my perception, but it still bothered me.  The race itself started off with fireworks, and there were tons of photo ops along the way.  Some of the rides were even open for the runners!  After the race you have a photo taken and then are shuffled into a square area.  I sat on the ground and immediately was told no sitting, go to first aid if you want to sit down!  We just hopped on our shuttle bus and went back to the hotel.  I would definitely run the WDW marathon, but if I knew then what I know now, I would not have chosen it for my FIRST marathon.  It was great to accomplish with my daughter, however!

**Note – if you are in Downtown Disney, I highly recommend you check out the Fork and Dine AMC theatres.  Full restaurant and bar, full wait service, while you sit and watch a movie!

WDW Marathon

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April, 2014 – Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

I always have wanted to see the Oklahoma City Memorial, and since my sister lives there, this was the perfect race for myself and my two sisters (Sole Sisters) to run together.  This would be my oldest sister, Laura’s first race ever, so we decided to do the relay. Deciding who would run which leg was probably the hardest part, but since we wanted Laura to experience the feeling of crossing the finish line, and Robin is the best morning person, we decided Robin would do 1 and 2, I would do 3 and 4, and Laura would do 5.  Oklahoma City has some crazy weather; it was pretty rainy and cool, and the race ended up being delayed for about two hours because of lightning on the race route.  We all just sat around in various parking garages, and it was about to be canceled when we finally got the all clear.  By the time my first leg came around, it was sunny and downright hot!  The wind was crazy and instead of enjoying the sights, most of the time I had my head down trying not to go backwards!  We ended up coming in second in the Master’s Division (maybe because there were only two teams in that division), but we got a really nice trophy!  I enjoyed this race and really was awestruck by the beautiful memorial.  Oklahoma City is a nice size and has lots of restaurants and things to do.  We had a great time all in all.

This greeted us at the airport.

This greeted us at the airport.

I love the medal.

I love the medal.

Yes, we were hungry.

Yes, we were hungry.

Everyone should see the Memorial.

Everyone should see the Memorial.

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Truth to Remember!

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The Many Moods of a Mother Runner

This has not been my best week. After running a great 10k last Saturday in Ohio, I just haven’t been myself since. I drove home to Buffalo on Sunday, with every intention of jumping right back into my routine of running 4 days a week, around 20 miles a week. But since I’ve been back, I have only been out for one run, and I had to force myself to do that. My legs have been sore and cramping, and I have felt exhausted. I try to justify part of my listlessness to the windy, rainy and unseasonably cold weather we have had this week. Or maybe this 50-year-old body just needed a break. Instead of accepting a few days off, though, I have been experiencing major guilt. Why couldn’t I make myself get up and get running? Why couldn’t I go for a run when I got home from work? How much weight am I gaining by not running these few days? With the guilt came crankiness and difficulty sleeping, both of which make it even more difficult to lace up and get out the door.

The funny thing is, I didn’t start running two years ago to lose weight, nor to run a million miles a week. I ran because I was always told I couldn’t run. I ran because I want to be around to play with my future grandchildren. It is a bonus that I have lost 55 lbs. and generally have a more positive outlook on the future. It is a bonus that at my last physical, my doctor said I was so healthy I only need to have physicals every other year. It is a bonus that after seeing my success, both of my sisters have taken up running, and even though we live in different parts of the country, we either travel to run together, or do virtual runs on the same day so it is like we are running together. It is a bonus that my pace continues to improve (although I won’t ever be breaking any records). It is a bonus to run races with my 19 year old daughter, and have her tell me how proud she is of me.

So what’s the problem? The problem is, I started taking running too seriously. I have a husband, children, family, friends, a full-time job and a house, all that need my attention. Running is supposed to be time for me to get away, think, clear my head, be alone.   Sometimes when I run, I am so happy I sing along with my music. Sometimes when I run, I laugh because I am scared of the geese on the path. Sometimes when I run, I cry because I am thinking about how much I miss my daughters, or about family members who have passed away. Sometimes when I run, I am in awe of the scenery and wildlife that surround me. Sometimes when I run, I am dreaming about my next race and how great I will feel completing it.

And that’s it. Time to get back to basics. Time to run because I want to, not because I have to. Time to put aside the guilt and associated bad mood, and embrace the joy and associated positive mood. Time to stop resenting the time it takes to run, and be thankful that I can. Life is short – do what you love!

I turned 50 and life is crazy!

I cannot believe I have not posted here for almost a year! A lot of that has to do with the fact that on 9/9/13, I turned 50, and in 11/13, my sister turned 60! We decided to celebrate the WHOLE year through by getting together often, traveling, and running races. Since then, I have decided to complete at least one race in all 50 states before I die (or die trying). In the meantime …

Last post I was gearing up for my first half marathon, the Rock ‘n Roll in Virginia Beach, two weeks out of a CAM boot for stress fractures. It was great seeing my sister Robin and her husband at their home in Virginia, and then Robin and I headed out for a few days in Virginia Beach. What can I say? My foot hurt, it was really hot, and the route was not very beach-y. I would say we both were disappointed. Post-race we were both so hot and tired, we just went back to our hotel and collapsed. I was satisfied with my time, but I knew I would not be back to run that race again.

rock n roll

After a few more days in Virginia, Robin and I grabbed the Amtrak to New York City to visit my daughter Morgan, who at that time was a sophomore in the honors college at CCNY. We stayed near the walkway to the Brooklyn Bridge and for the first time I actually walked over the bridge, which was amazing. Our hotel was near many of the businesses that were washed out by the hurricane. There was a lot of rebuilding going on, but since most of the small businesses did not have insurance, I’m sure a lot of them cannot rebuild and reopen. It was sad. New York really is an amazing city, though; I lived there for a few years after high school, and would love to live there a few more years!

brooklyn 2

brooklyn

Robin and I then took the Amtrak back to Buffalo, where we “ran” the Dirty Girl Mud Run. It was unseasonably cold and windy that day, one week post-half marathon, and I was coming off my injuries, so it was a pretty tough event! We had a good time, though, and I might want to try it again when I’m healthy and the weather is warmer!

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Getting There!

Getting There!