Writing, Running, Being.

The finish line is a shifty Thing and what is life, but reckoning?
Ani DiFranco

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Paintbrush hairs and temper-tantrums

Sometimes all I can think about is how far I have to go. Then again, sometimes I can't see the big picture at all, but ironically, I can see tiny hairs that the brush left behind. I get caught up in them and obsess over them. Such a sad brave thing to be a brush hair that gets stuck in a painting. Those little bristles sacrificed themselves for art. Like suicide bombers. I remember when I sacrificed myself for art. And now I stay within the lines or do nothing at all. I wonder about the rest of the brush. What it's been up to, what its strokes are like these days and if it's different without the missing hair. I wonder if that hair is proud of where it ended up or if it longs to be moving again. It will never be a part of another piece. It is stuck.

I've lost too many friends since becoming a mom. I got stuck in a picture I painted and they all kept moving. Or maybe I'm just bad at keeping in touch. There are a lot of redneck-grandma cliches that swarm my brain when I think about where my life is going. "You made your bed, now lie in it" is one. I know how lame that sounds, but it won't go away. I keep thinking all it takes is strength, which is good, because that's something I have. But how long can a person expect to live believing their entire life is punishment?

No one ever mentioned all the guilt involved in marriage and mothering. Maybe because no one else has anything to be guilty about? Sometimes I pull myself aside for a performance evaluation: Are you doing it right? No. Do you know which areas need improvement? Yes. Ok, can you try harder? Meh.

The passion in a child's temper-tantrum is so intense and so real. He may be pissed about something completely stupid, but the emotions are undeniably alive. Jonas threw a fit when we had to leave. That always makes my heart ache. I know how much it hurts to leave when you're having fun. I didn't want to leave either.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Five Trails Half Marathon: Leavenworth, KS

On Sunday, I ran the inaugural Five Trails Half Marathon in Leavenworth, KS. This is my home town and it was exciting to be a part of their very first half marathon. The race went really well for a first-time event. It was well organized and had a great turnout. About 260 people showed up to run the crazy-steep hills in the rain in little ol' Leavenworth. That was exciting.

Although I lived in Leavenworth from ages 12-18, I never bothered to learn about its history. I remember bits of it from school, but didn't retain anything. I knew that it was a small town and I was bored there and that was it! When I came back to do this race, I wondered why it was called the "Five Trails" Half, even though the course didn't include a single trail. It was run entirely on streets and I didn't even know of any trails in Leavenworth. Then my mom told me they were historic trails: The Oregon Trial, The Leavenworth-Pikes Peak Express, Mormon Pioneer Trail, California Trail and Santa Fe Trail. Pretty cool!

Kansas has a reputation for being flat. In 2003, three geographers did a study that compared the flatness of an IHOP pancake to Kansas. The result was that Kansas is in fact flatter than a pancake! But if you've ever ventured off the interstate and gone running in the rolling plains of eastern Kansas, you'd beg to differ. This course was hilly!

That's one voluptuous pancake!

The weather was perfect for running. It was overcast and lightly raining. My mom, younger sister Teresa and I all ran. My youngest sister Erin would have, but she is out with a stress fracture in her foot. Teresa thinks of herself as the non-athletic, non-competitive one, but I knew she had been training pretty hard for this race. I had only a week and a half of running between my rest period after the 50 and this race. I decided I would try to stick with Teresa. That lasted about 2.5 miles. I kept her in sight for about 7 miles, then she completely dropped me and went on be the 2nd female finisher! Her time was 1:41, which was a PR by 10+ minutes!! I think she's doping (shhhh).
There's Teresa making it look easy.

I finished 6th with a time of 1:47 which wasn't a PR, but I did get my first age group award that was not by default. I was 2nd in my age group and got a pint glass from the High Noon Saloon and a complimentary entry into next year's race. My mom got a PR (by 8 minutes) and finished in 2:28 and was 3rd in her age group (but I won't tell you what age group that is since I know she reads my blog). We forgot to get a picture of us all together with our pint glasses.

We made Erin get out of the car and run the last 1.5 miles with my mom on her injured foot. Don't feel sorry for her, she was happy for the "permission" to run!

It was really neat to run in my home town. Every road brought back a ton of memories. I didn't remember the hills being quite so steep...guess I blocked those out. There was a water station at every single mile! I don't think I've ever seen that much aid in a race, but better to have too much than too little. I couldn't believe how many volunteers and spectators came out in the rain to watch the race and cheer on the runners. There was cheering along the entire course. That really surprised me since it was small race in a small town. Tracey from Midwest Running Mom came out to cheer because she lives nearby. Unfortunately she is injured as well, otherwise she would have been out there running. It was really great to see her again. Especially at the top of a long, steep climb!

I passed someone in the last mile. Yay!

I will definitely be using my complimentary entry to next year's race. It was just too fun to pass up and was even worth the 10 hour night drive.

The finish was on the track. NOT my favorite place to run!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Run Rabbit Run

Thanks to my generous investor, Aunt Maryann, I am now officially registered for the Run Rabbit Run 50 miler in Steamboat Springs, CO on September 18th. It's going to be higher, steeper and tree-ier than the Fruita 50. Don't worry, I'll train harder this time. The time limit is 2 hours more gracious than Fruita to accommodate the tougher course.

This course description is taken from the website:

Course Description
The course is a spectacular 50 mile run through the beautiful mountains and fall colors of the Routt National Forest of northern Colorado. The race starts bright and early at the Steamboat Springs ski area (elevation, 6,900 feet) and proceeds up, up, up to Mount Werner (elevation, 10,568 feet) then goes up and down and up and down some more and then across the Continental Divide to Rabbit Ears Mountain (elevation, 10,500 feet) before heading back and way down to the ski area.

The course will have nearly 9,000 feet of climbing. This course will test the endurance and spirit of any runner, whether you’re a tortoise or a hare.

Elevation Profile & Course Map
The Run Rabbit Run course is very much like life, in that there are many, many little and not so little ups and downs in between the obvious highs and lows. Be prepared. Any resemblance between the course profile and rabbit ears is purely coincidental.

My training plan will consist of more miles in the mountains and lots of time spent at high altitude on Pike's Peak. I will do back to back long runs to get my legs used to running tired. I also need to come up with an injury prevention plan. I have recently discovered ice baths for recovery. Not pleasant, but pretty effective. I have started strength/weight training which will hopefully make me stronger and help prevent injuries. I promise to be more proactive with my stretches, to not only do them when something is already bothering me. And I'm changing up my race nutrition plan to the liquid/gel diet. I'm going to try Hammer products first and see how my system handles it, then I'll go from there.

Can't wait to start training officially. Send healthy, injury-free vibes my way!