Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hope, Healing, and Humanity

When we travelled to Punta Cana last month, I snapped this picture of something that at first made me incredibly sad –
I felt sad because I can’t imagine not being able to walk or run.  I felt sad because, whether the person lost his ability to walk due to something that occurred at birth, an accident, or a disease, he lost his ability to walk.  Period.  Worse (in my opinion) was the person owning that chair was a young teenage boy.  I remember thinking to myself, “I must never take my abilities for granted.  You never know….”

What you don’t see in this picture is how the chair came to be empty.  And that’s the good part of this story.  I watched family and/or friends accompany this teenage boy as far as his wheelchair would take him down the boardwalk to the ocean side.  Once his wheelchair ran out of traction, they removed him from his chair and carried him off to their spot on the beach.  He had a support system there to physically help him, but also to emotionally help him by not letting the lack of traction stop him from enjoying his beach vacation like everyone else.

I now reflect to the present with regards to so many who are facing new lives that may include wheelchairs, crutches, and/or prosthetic limbs.  The horror of this event leaves me angry, sad, and even discouraged at times with humanity (if you consider terrorists humans, that is).  So the humanity I prefer to think about is what happened on April 15th immediately after the bombs went off.  Medical personnel who expected to see blisters were faced with some of the worst war-like injuries they could ever imagine.  Race volunteers leapt into the still smoky “ground zero” of the bomb blasts to triage and help move victims to ambulances.  Regular people spectating at a race became heroes.  Our law enforcement was outstanding and seemed to be everywhere in that moment and beyond. 
Runner on left had finished the marathon; he and others likely saved this man's life
We are all victims of this unspeakable attack, but the victims who are grappling with physical injuries that will change their lives will need our support for a long time.  Onefundboston  has already raised an incredible amount of money that will help victims and their families start their recovery process.  Runners and walkers everywhere have been staging events to honor Boston and its many victims.  There are so many good people displaying such heroic traits that I choke up as I type this.  That’s humanity.

You may click on the bib to contribute

I feel like this entire country – maybe even the world – has stepped up to do what the family in Punta Cana did for their wheelchair-bound teen.  In the bombing victims’ moment of losing traction, we’ve picked them up and have continued to show that we support them.  Every day, we hope for their physical and emotional healing.  And when they start on their road to recovery and begin re-entering their daily lives again, we’ll remind them that, even though they are changed, they are one of us and vice versa.  We are all in this together.

We are one week since the attack.  Four precious lives have been lost and too many other lives have been changed forever.  We mourn for so much loss.  But with humanity comes hope, and with healing comes living again.  Healing takes time, and is most definitely not a sprint; it is indeed a marathon. 


Sunday, April 21, 2013

All smiles

What post-kick-ass-22 miles looks like -

P.S.  Hello Taper, lets dance!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Some Good Memories from Boston 2013

I will never forget what happened at the 117th Boston Marathon.  Although not completely emerged from the shock of this brutal attack, I am trying to embrace the positive – which includes my important role on Monday as a volunteer.  As a runner, I’ve always thanked the volunteers and sung their praises, for without volunteers, our races could not happen.  I felt privileged to be there at this, my 2nd time volunteering at Boston.  Given the events of the day, it was even more special to me that I did something positive for runners on a day that turned so tragic.

Monday started out very early in our household; Scott flew off to grab a bus to Hopkinton, while I commuted into Framingham for a 7:00 am meeting time.  Framingham is not close by the way!  Once we arrived, we were given our badges and volunteer jackets –

Then we got to work!  There was quite a bit of setup needed; tables, signage, cups, water, Gatorade, pouring, etc.  And that was well before the runners arrived.

I was giddy as the elite women arrived – Go Kara!!!   Go Shalane!!!  Gawd, they made it look so easy…
And if I wasn’t already inspired, the Hoyts happened along –

Hoarse and slightly sun-kissed from being outside all day and cheering nonstop, I felt so happy and satisfied.  If you can’t run Boston Marathon, volunteering is the next best thing!

Shortly after I arrived home, our neighbor delivered two “congratulations” posters for Scott made by her two children –
Sad memories – yes.  But lots of good memories too.  And hopefully soon, the good memories - like this beautiful poster - will overtake the sad.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

“The fighter still remains…”

Per usual during my many long runs, I’ve gotten through some of my tougher miles through song.  The song that breezed into my head and carried me during my latest 18 miler on Sunday was the classic Simon & Garfunkle's “The Boxer”.  As I’ve numbly stumbled through this Tuesday after the sad and horrific events that draped over the Boston Marathon like a veil, I again have found myself thinking of this song.  In a small way, this song gives me strength – as music so often does.

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that layed him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains

To me, this song reminds me of the fact that we all have a fighting spirit in us.  We may be angry now, we may be saddened beyond belief, we may be mourning the loss of innocence and purity of a traditional event that normally brings joy and triumph, but we may never give up or give in to acts of terrorism.

Today, I’ll admit I don’t feel much like a fighter.  But I know that will change.  For now, I continue to choke back tears as I watch the gruesome details unfold of the blast, as I listen to distraught family members on the news who have lost a loved one or who have endured severe injuries, and I’m overwhelmed at the sadness that hangs over our city….our country….our world.

On a positive note, Scott and I received an overwhelming volume of calls, emails, texts, FB posts from family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, my company (since I was on a work sponsored event)….all checking in to make sure we were OK.  I was never even close to Boston, since I spent the day volunteering at mile 7 water stop.  Scott finished his race and exited the finish area immediately to meet me at home.  Had he made any change to his plans, he might have…..  And here’s where I have to stop myself from playing the “what if” game.  I instead remind myself of how fortunate we are to have our health, each other, and a wonderful support system of family and friends who were so worried for our safety.

Although currently buried beneath despair, my fighting spirit is slowly returning.  I resolve to celebrate all the wonderful people and things in my life.  I will let the music back in.  I will value each new day.  Like all of you, I mourn the loss of life and the temporary loss of hope and promise, but I will run on and I will continue to live and love. 

And to prove my fighting spirit is returning, here’s a message for the cowards –


Peace to us all.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Boston Marathon...excitement is in the air!!

It’s Boston Marathon time!!!  I know, I know, I’m actually not running it this year.  But here’s the thing….I feel as excited about this race I’m not running as I would if I was running.  I’m excited for Scott and for friends I know in real life and blog life and I’m also excited to be part of it by volunteering at water stop (mile 7).  As much as I hate going into the city, I always get motivated or remotivated wandering about the Boston Expo. 

The air at the Expo was charged and I drank it in.  No, not by way of Kahlua Truck –
Yes, they were carding for this "fluid stop"
Scott got his bib#8917 without any problem (thank you volunteers!!!) –

Although I wasn’t able to catch a glimpse of my runner-girl-crush Kara Goucher, I got my fix via poster –
Could this be her year???
And stalk Kathrine Switzer from afar –

First woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry!
We finally splurged on a rolling stick!  After 38 marathons between us, where has this stick been all our lives???  The thing is magic!

With so many people crowding into the Expo, we eventually traded this –

For this –
As we continued on to our car, we stopped to admire a beautiful old church, when I saw the Boston Marathon colors flying at the very top –
Although it seemed at first like a contrast, I guess it really wasn’t.  We think the church goes back to 1640, but with the Boston Marathon celebrating 117 years on Monday, perhaps there was very little contrast at all.

The Expo is always filled with inspiration; lots of runners excitedly anticipating their 1st or their 31st Boston Marathon and all of the excitement that goes with that.  Lots of contrast too – fast runners, slow runners, old runners, young runners, runners equipped with all of today’s technology, runners who run as minimally as possible.  This is why I love this sport so much – we’re all doing the same activity, but in very different ways and paces, and for many different reasons.   

Thanks BAA and all the runners for sharing the excitement of the 117th Boston Marathon!  I’ll be out there at mile 7 in Framingham, handing out fluids and ringing my cowbell – whatever it takes to help you get to the next mile.  Have a great time out there everyone!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cowbells are ready!!!

4 days ‘til the Boston Marathon!!  I’m ready to volunteer, hand out Gatorade, get a lump in my throat multiple times, hopefully catch a glimpse of Scott, and....ready to put these cowbells to good use –

We’re here in Boston waiting for all the runners, doing a weather dance to keep the temperatures well below 90, and wishing you all the best on your journey from Hopkinton to Boston!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

3 Hours

"....a 3 hour tour"

Yesterday, my Mom, Aunt, and I headed north to Maine to visit my twin brother and his family.  I hadn’t been up to visit in some time, so the six pack (aka my six nieces) has definitely done some changing and growing up.  The oldest niece is away at college and the middle niece was engrossed in a school project at a friend’s house, so I only got to see four of the six during this visit.  Seriously though, how do kids grow up so damn fast???

After our 3 hours of driving (round trip), I was happy that I had planned ahead and prepared dinner for us.  Friday night, I cooked a big batch of American chop suey, picked up some Italian bread, and prepared a garden salad. Perfect dinner for my evening before my 20 mile training run and a nice way to end the day.  Sorry, no pictures of the delicious spread to make you drool; we ate it too fast!

While yesterday’s 3 hours was spent driving, today’s 3 hours was spent running.  I’m well into my training for Maine Coast Marathon and, although I missed that first 20 miler a few weeks ago, I seem to be back on track now.  Over the last couple of days, the weather forecast continued to show temperatures in the high 50’s today.  Notsomuch.  I awoke to 29 degrees and was not happy with it.  I had hoped today’s run would find me in shorts, but not in temperatures below freezing.  Nuh-uh.

As I headed out in my winter garb (again), I didn’t feel very strong mentally.  I had to work hard to shake it off (not sure if it was the surprise cold weather or what).  Somewhere around mile 6ish, a couple of fast guys came up behind me.  They asked if I was doing Boston, I replied “no, but my husband is”, they wished him luck, and we each went our ways.  That silly little exchange seemed to reframe my picture.  Maybe it was the instantaneous camaraderie or maybe it was simply the distraction.  Whatever it was, it worked.  My step felt lighter and quicker and my mind finally decided to show up to run.  Reward for locking it up?  A 2:59 finish time. That’s a 20 mile training PR for me.  Uh-huh.

The next 3 hours has been spent trying to recover.  I definitely pushed some for that 2:59, but I also experienced a very salty run today.  That usually points to something that’s “off” with me.  Yes, I’m eating.  Yes, I’m drinking.  Yes, I’m taking it easy.  But no, 3 hours later, I’m still not feeling quite recovered yet.  It’ll come…it always does.  It’s just going to be a foggy afternoon until then.

It's been a very productive weekend, filled with 3 hour blocks of productivity.  In the spirit of recovery, I wonder if a 3 hour nap is in my future.  It does kinda go with the “3 hour” theme afterall….

Do you remember Gilligan’s Island? (even if it’s via Nickelodeon, that counts!) 

Are you a salty sweater/runner?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Running against the wind

I had Bob Seger along with me on my lunch time run today.  No, really!  OK, so maybe not physically, but his song was definitely playing loudly in my head as I ran.  Because I run in the vicinity of a large lake, I typically hit wind at some point during any given run.  However today was one of those runs where it felt like I was running against the wind no matter which direction I turned!

Don’t know Bob Seger?  C’mon, I’m not THAT old….but here you go, just in case:

I headed out and felt strong, but also felt the wind pushing me back and decided I wouldn’t waste physical or emotional energy on fighting it. I have a 20 mile training run scheduled this weekend, so I didn’t feel the need to push too hard.  I enjoyed the sunshine and celebrated the fact that I was lucky enough to have the time to get out on a busy Friday work day. 

Glancing at my Garmin, I got a little jolt….8:35?  Wow, I felt like I was a full minute slower!  No complaints, I’ll take it.  I continued onward and still felt strong.  I continued to see 8:30’s and thought, “Wow, where is that coming from?”  The wind continued to threaten my forward motion, but I felt strong despite the wind.  Usually, I start to drag a bit during my last mile – regardless of the distance.  Not today!!  I glanced at my watch somewhere in the midst of mile 3 and saw 8:18 (DOH!) and, now that I was becoming completely focused on speed, looked again and again…. 8:05….

Holy thanks-for-lending-me-your-fast-legs-Kara-Goucher J  Not truly a Kara pace, but I’ll take an 8:22 Lisa pace!

My run today was not intended to be about speed, but then again, I usually don’t specify the exact type of run I plan on doing.  Maybe that’s bad training, but this “low pressure” approach seems to work for me.  That’s not to say that I never plan speed work or hill work, but for the most part, I run how I feel.  Today, I channeled my inner Kara Goucher to the beat of Bob Seger and it felt good.  Damn good.

Do you listen to music while you run?  If so, what kind? 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Running Reward

Is it wrong that I’m already looking forward to my post-20 mile running reward this weekend?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either!

What’s YOUR running reward(s)?