Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Always on the go

So, since birth, I have lived...

in Colorado
Colorado again
Georgia (Wyoming and Florida during summer breaks)
Colorado (again!)
Arizona (again)
And now Hawaii.

The most interesting part of all these journeys seems to start after Georgia. That's when all of these moves became both voluntary and necessary to take my life in a direction that was interesting to me.

Isaac has said I should write about it. I dunno... I need to work on some basic improvements with grammar, mechanics, and style first. Maybe. Probably not. But maybe...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Well, boys and girls. I'm moving to Hawaii. In December, no!

Turns out, the island I'm moving to has tons of running events every month, including the Maui marathon which is one of the oldest running events on the islands!

I'm not going to lie, I'm interested.

Hopefully I can hold my own in year-round heat and humidity!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Don't Talk to Me About Mile Twenty Three

I am officially a marathon runner. I almost didn't do it. Not that I almost did not finish, but I almost did not show up. A series of times, I almost forewent the opportunity.

I won't touch down on the series of things this past week that almost made me too exhausted to quit.

My Dad
However, the day before the marathon, my parents had plans to fly into town, to meet Isaac's family and to cheer me on. Unfortunately, that did not happen. At about 2am on Saturday, my dad had a heart attack and was in the hospital. I wanted to go home immediately to see him. After they went in and fixed a few things, I was able to talk to him. I believe his exact words were, "No, no, you get your head on straight and run that marathon."

When a Marine, who also happens to be your father, tells you something like that and leaves no room for questioning, you don't question him. You do what he tells you.

So, that's what I did. Isaac and his mom got up with me at 4:30am, and we headed to Portland. I was nervous, but more than ever during the past 6 months of training, I really felt that this was something I had to do. To make myself proud, and I especially felt it was a good time to make my dad proud.

The Runners
The thing that impressed me the most about the overall marathon, was the incredible variety of people there that I did not expect to see. Mostly, I expected to see other young, wiry, strong-hearted myself. What I saw was the elites...those people who run 26.2 miles faster than I can sprint the 100, and who were competing with one another for the prize money that they hoped would be their salary. I saw people in their 80's! I saw old couples with silver hair, holding hands, smiling in excitement that finally, after all those years of marriage, they were going to get to share this great accomplishment. I saw people in wheelchairs, whose legs were hidden or missing and whose arms were totally ripped. I saw older ladies wearing swishy pants, in groups, with silly team names (like "The Walkie Talkies") giggling and gossiping, not just at the finish line, but during the entire race! I saw two men back from Iraq, in their full army cammo suits, with their full 40-lb packs, and their BOOTS, who were going to walk the marathon in honor of friends they lost at war. I saw crippled men and women...who had hunch back shoulders, severe scoliosis, arthritis that would slow almost anyone else on earth down, and legs that were so mis-shaped, I was (wrongly) surprised to see them at the starting line. But more than surprised, I found myself in deep admiration for these people, who all overcame self-doubt to do this great event! Most fully able-bodied people say they can't do it (they can), but everyone here lacked that doubt, and went straight for the marathon! How wonderful!

Although my family couldn't be there, I felt a great sense of family comradery as everyone in Isaac's family (minus his sister who is in Ohio for school) was there to cheer me on. Popping up every 5 miles or so to give me regular updates about how my dad was doing, bring me little running snacks, and shout my name! The guys acted as videographers and photographers (so we can share with my parents later). Isaac's dad went about a mile with me. Isaac jumped in and ran with me a few times too, even though the only thing he had to wear was dress shoes and jeans. I may have been tired, or faded, but I definitely felt loved.

The Race
During the first half of the race, I felt strong and alive. I suppose that is to be expected. Isaac ran with me around the half-way point. He asked me if I would do it again. I said "yeah totally! I may even do it next year!"

By the time I got to mile 19 and Isaac's dad was on the course with me, he asked how I was feeling. "Everything hurts," I said, "Everything." Did he think I would do it again, "I don't know. Everything hurts."

Up the hill to the St.John's bridge, I got a second wind. I plowed right through the hill that was making others cry and moan. There were army soldiers and several ambulances standing by, just in case, because was that kinda hill.

By mile 23, I kept almost reaching runner's Euphoria...a state of mind and body where the runner is almost daydreaming, unaware that their body is even moving forward, but doing so mechanically, and then voila! When they snap out of it, 5 miles have gone by and they can see the finish line!

Well, my runner's euphoria kept being interrupted just as it began. I'd start to slip into that blessed state, and then a big whiff of raw sewage would waft through the air and punch me in the face. You know that smell, the kind that instantly makes you more alert than you care to be.

By mile 23 (Curse you, Mile 23!), also, I was starting to have my mental collapse. I was getting emotional, my brain was telling my body that the pain was worse than it was. The mile began to felt like 2.... I just wanted mile 23 to be over. Where was mile 24 already!? I passed some guy, who looked crazy, who said "Don't worry, kiddo. You've got less than 2 miles to the finish line!"

Less than two miles? What did he mean less than two miles? Was he lying to me. I could do serious damage if he was lying to me. I caught up to another runner. "Is it true? Less than two?" "Yeah," she huffed. "Those teenage girls on the sidelines back there turned the 24 sign around so we couldn't read it. I gave them serious hell for it." "Oh, thanks...for the hell."

Eventually, the pain almost stopped me. I pushed through! When the finish banner came into sight, there was a hoard of crowd all around me. I'm sure they were all screaming and cheering (that's what I'm told). But I had only one thing in sight: the finish line. I was deaf to all the cheering. I saw nothing but my goal. My eyes teared up, I cried, and my legs became more spry and got me through! I had done it! I finished it!

The Day After
All I can really say about today is that, although I am proud, I am in serious pain. I may have conquered 26.2 miles of my favorite city by running on foot yesterday morning, but a 4-step staircase today is a nearly impossible feat that causes great pain and requires assistance. A walk across the living room to the bathroom takes several minutes. My muscles have been torn to shreds and need some time to rebuild themselves.

In the meantime, I'm a marathoner! I ran a marathon. And nobody can ever take that accomplishment away from me.

I love you mom and dad. I'm sorry you didn't get to make it, but I'm glad you were where you needed to be in order to be well again.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

2.5 days

Tomorrow I fly to Oregon. Saturday, I introduce my parents to my future in-laws. Sunday, I run the Portland Marathon!

It has been a very stressful and sad week. It may have interrupted my "mental preparation," but there's nothing I can do about that now.

A weekend in Oregon, and 26.2 miles on my feet, and I will return to Arizona a marathon runner!

Can't say I'll take on the challenge again at this point, but I'm glad I made a season in my life to challenge myself to something truly difficult, both mentally and physically. (And let me just say, if you've never taken up long distance running, you may NOT tell me that it is not mentally challenging.)

I will post next week about the marathon and I'm sure I'll have some thoughts and feelings to share about it.