Monthly Archives: March 2006

3/29/06 1,000 Points of Not So Light

Wednesday. I have some pretty big wagon wheel tracks running up and down my body from when I fell off the wagon and it rolled right on over me over the weekend. OMG when I fall I really fall. Let’s see. Saturday night went to a party where we had tons of wine and the ONLY food to eat was cheese, cheese and more cheese. I must have used up 1,000 points that one night. At least I had a big brick workout in the morning to use up some calories.

Sunday we had a book club brunch. We were doing Cuba (country of the month) so we went to a Cuban restaurant for brunch. I had TWO Bloody Marys to try to cure my hangover. Rice and beans and salad — not too, too bad. Then I ordered a cafe con leche and it wasn’t until later in the afternoon that I realized how many calories are in full fat milk and cafe con leche is like a whole cup of it. Oh yeah and there were fried plantains too. We went to see The Bodies Exhibit afterwards. After that we didn’t have enough to drink so we found a Cuban bar had Mojitos and MORE fried Plantains — a lot of them. I had some bread too. It was not good. No exercise at all on Sunday — who could exercise with that hangover? 1,000 points.

Monday I had a breakthrough in Bikram yoga. I made it through the class without getting nauseous. Yeah! I still got dizzy trying to do the camel, but I was able to stay with the class for the rest of it. I couldn’t balance or get into half the positions, but I’m not even concerned about that yet! Then Monday night at 10 p.m. I went out for a 10/10 party. A tasting of 10 wines at 10 p.m. Yes, on a Monday night. I have to admit we had fun and the food that they served was excellent. My friend and I positioned ourselves at a table near the kitchen so every time they came out with new appetizers, we had first dibs on the nibs. 1,000 points. Easy.

Yesterday I got back on track but I didn’t really put everything into my tracker until this morning. I was feeling terribly guilty that I had let all of my hard work for the last 4 weeks vanish like one of the glasses of Pinot Noir on Monday night. I was mad at myself and I found it was so hard to get back on track. Suddenly I didn’t want to enter anything in my tracker because it was all bad. I felt I had blown it so there was no point in tracking anything. I kept asking “what’s the point? It is all ruined now.” I agreed with myself that if I couldn’t be perfect I might as well give up.

Of course I know that was not the right answer. We talk about it all the time in WW. I talk about it all the time in my blog. The trick is to get back up every time you fall down. Just like in Yoga — it’s not so important that you complete the pose — just keep trying. Eventually it will come. Changes happen because of the attempt, not because of the completion. I thought of my friend Giddy who had a couple of terrible eating days while away at her marathon. When she got back she got right back on track and finished out the week tracking. I knew that is what I to do, so this morning I go back into my tracker and just started working backwards. I started with what I ate for breakfast today and just kept filling in what I could remember from the weekend. Then I just added 1,000 points because I figure that’s how many points over my limit I am. Of course the worst part is that after working so hard to lose 8.5 pounds this month and wanting to get to 10 pounds — I will probably have gained on Friday. AND, I just found out I have to fly to Minneapolis on Friday so I will have to go my meeting early which will not give me enough time to lose the weight before tomorrow. That stinks!!

Okay, what’s on the good front? Yesterday I did a 1:15 run with hill repeats. I think I did really well. I started out barely moving, as usual, but after I got warmed up I think I was really hauling. I felt good. If only I had run the Brooklyn half half that hard — I would have had a great result. It gave me a good little booster shot that I needed. Maybe, just maybe, there was hope for me yet.

Last night my team played their first match of the season. I lost my match. Big time. I stank. I was so bad and my partner wasn’t playing well either. We just kept hitting everything out, out, out! We showed no control, no finesse, no anything. We started to rally a comeback in the second set but it was too late. Tonight I have another practice — hopefully I can get it in gear. Believe it or not, my serve was not even the problem. LOL!

I have to go on a business trip on Friday. Not really looking forward to it, but I’ll do the best that I can. Just another challenge to face among many. A lot of work on my plate (as well as a lot of food). Trying hard to settle in and be accountable. While I was running yesterday I suddenly noticed that I was actually running pretty fast for me. I actually thought — “whoa, slow down, you don’t run this fast.” But then I thought, if not now, when? These are the days that make up the whole. Right here, right now, this is the hard part — the daily grind. The not giving in. The not giving up. Rumble.

Namaste

“Never, never, never, never give up.”
Winston Churchill

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3/25/06 A Quick Fantasy

Saturday. I played tennis yesterday morning (four days in a row — finally got some good serves going.) I did another Bikram class yesterday late yesterday afternoon. Totally different style instructor — boot camp! She was nice afterwards but a little tough during the class — very different from my ever encouraging Georgia. I did like, however, how this instructor kept talking about going deep into your mind and your belief system. Part of dealing with the heat and pain is dealing with your head. I think that’s true. I’m not so proud to admit it; some of my problem is wimpiness.

I’m not sure if this is going to workout. I got nauseous again in class. They keep saying it is normal but I don’t know. I’ll give it one more week. If I don’t get used to it by then, I’ll drop it. I like how it makes me feel the next day, but the same day I’m not feeling so great. I wasn’t able to do anything last night ended up in bed by 9. Slept until 1. Read until 3 then slept until 5. Still 6 hours. Argghhh… Why couldn’t I just sleep straight through?!?!

We had a big brick workout this morning — 1 mile run and then 1:30 bike followed by 1 hour run. I made it through — was not that fast but I felt like I could have put a few more miles in if someone paid me. Unfortunately nobody so far has stepped up with that offer.

I’m really trying to watch my eating and hydration this weekend. Even though it was a big workout, I’m trying to track my points and not go too crazy. I have a party to go to tonight so I’m going to let myself have a couple of glasses of wine. I’m going to try to keep it under control because I have to spin tomorrow and I want to get a good workout in.

Tina (my bike) and I seem to be finally bonding. I seem to be able to get into the aerobar position now and can stay there until I see some bump or turn in the road. Then I get nervous and want to have my hands to the break. I changed the seat from my fancy Italian seat to my pink woman’s ergo seat and it is MUCH more comfortable for me. The seat that came with the bike was downright painful in aerobar position and I just couldn’t get used to it — I even lowered the nose — no good. I put the new seat on myself and think I did a good job. It actually feels okay — I may be able to do some long rides with it. Feeling good about that. Of course the pink seat does not really go with the silver and yellow frame, BUT when we did our brick today I could see Tina a mile away. That may come in handy race day!!

I’m harboring a secret fantasy (okay not so secret because I’m writing it in the blog, lol). I’m hoping that over the next ten weeks the Bikram yoga kicks in and loosens up my tight knees and hips and helps me run a little faster (I read one story of someone who got faster right away because it loosened up her legs). I think I have the endurance there, just not the confidence to push it a little harder. I’m also hoping to drop a few more pounds — say 5-8 over the next 8 weeks. Wouldn’t that just be kicking to go to Disney with the 40 pound weight loss under my too loose belt? I’m feeling good and feeling like maybe, just maybe this may all come together for May 21st.

Namaste

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”
Maya Angelou

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3/24/06 Breakthrough

Friday. Yahoo. Just got back from my WW meeting. Last week I was disappointed to find I had been up 1.4 pounds even though I felt I had lost weight. I didn’t let it bother me though because I just KNEW it was wrong — it had to have been water retention. I knew I had lost weight. My clothes were feeling looser and I was feeling lighter. This week I was vindicated! I lost 4.2 pounds bringing my total up to 32.2 — that’s the highest number it has ever been! That’s a huge breakthrough. My highest weight loss to date had been 31 pounds which I reached last June. From July – October I kept going up and down a few pounds here and there. In October I gained ten pounds and have been fighting to get it off. I have not seen that 31 pound loss number since last June and I was getting frustrated. But I lost 8.6 pounds this month. I’m really happy with that. I give all the credit to tracking everything I have been eating. I have four complete weeks of tracking everything I have been eating. That’s such a huge accomplishment for me. I’m very happy. I think I deserve it too! Just think 7.8 more pounds and I’ll reach my goal of 40 pounds!! (Remember that’s where I wanted to be in November…)

Yesterday I had a lot of activity. I played 2 hours of doubles before work. I had my Pilates session at lunch. Then after work I went out for an hour spin on my bike. It sounds like a lot of activity, but I was feeling strangely different yesterday. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I realized it was I felt very energized and muscularly loose. Of course I immediately thought of the yoga. I feel it kind of kicked something into gear. I don’t know exactly what it is but I’m going back this afternoon for another run at it. I’m going to put my Pilates aside for a couple of weeks because I felt like I got a much harder workout with the Bikram yoga (to say the least!). I feel Pilates is not the challenge it was at first. Don’t get me wrong — there is plenty left for me conquer in Pilates, it’s just I feel I have conquered the big learning curve. Plus I can take 4 yoga group classes for the price of one Pilates private session.

I’m very happy right now. I know I have a long way to go, but I am so glad to be on track. This week I am going to try to pay more attention to my hunger levels and see if I can monitor that a little more. Of course I will be tracking as well. It seems to be working well for me to do my tracker and submit to my friend (who is doing great too — she PR’d at her marathon this week!) Could it be that Spring has sprung? Did we finally make it through the dark winter and now will enjoy the energy of the lighter season? I hope so. I feel optimistic and renewed. I’m ready to rumble!

Namaste

“If you keep at it, one day something which at first appeared impossible will become merely something very difficult indeed.”
Danny Paradise (yoga instructor)

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3/23/06 Nice Car

Thursday. Well, I guess if I have to sum up how I feel today it would be by asking the question “are we there yet?” Man I feel like I have a long way to go but I also feel like I’ve been in the car for a long time. Just when I thought I was getting close I find out we just crossed the state line and the exit numbers start all over again.

Tuesday night had a fairly miserable run. We were supposed to do an easy, social, 5.8 mile recovery run. I started out I couldn’t breath. When I caught my breath I found the front of my calves were killing me (probably from that Bikram pose where you balance on your tip toes and THEN go down into a squat — ouch!) Finally after making it up to the reservoir (I think I was running a negative 15 mph) Missy caught up to me after running sprints all around Central Park looking for me (see Missy more than one way to get a workout!!) I decided to cut my workout short and go home as soon as I felt some knee pain. That would be the last thing I needed. I felt like a broken down old car.

Yesterday I went for my second session at Bikram. I got a couple of claps from some of the people. I guess actually showing up for your second session is a big deal. Most people don’t. I have to be honest I can see why. But they are very clever there. For the first week they charge you $23 for the week. You can come to as many sessions as you want. After your first week it is $20 a session with discounts applied to buying multiple packs. I wanted to get my money’s worth so I wanted to get three sessions in my first week. So there is a very smart marketing engine behind them. I respect that.

I would love to write that I did much better the second time. I didn’t. It was still hard. I met one woman in the elevator on the way in. I told her that it was my second session and I found it very hard. She laughed and said “I’ve been doing this for years. It’s always hard. It never gets easy.” Apparently there is always another inch to go or another level to reach. The equivalent of searching for spiritual enlightenment — a process not a destination.

I brought in two 16 ounces sports bottles with me this time. I could have used a third. Man, can I just say that room is hot?!?!? HOT! At first I was so distracted by the heat that I really couldn’t find any balance with anything. Finally I just gave into the heat and focused on a pose. I got one standing bow pose. I was proud of myself for actually getting into the pose for 15 seconds. Unfortunately you are supposed to hold it for 30 and your back shoulder is supposed to disappear behind your front shoulder. I’m not there yet. I still need some remodeling.

As I was working out all I kept thinking was — I would gladly run twenty marathons instead of this. Within 30 minutes I was desperately looking at my watch thinking how long have I been in here and when dear God can I go home. (Oh and by the way, the 90 minute class turned into 105 minute class thank you very much.) The only thing I could compare it to was mile 22 (or so) of the marathon when I hit Central Park and I was a little delirious. I remember seeing Melissa and needing her to run with me because I was disoriented. But even that was not as hard as Bikram because although it was hot it was not 9,000 degrees. Geesh did I mention that place is hot?!?!

My heart is racing the whole time I am in there. There was one new girl in the class yesterday. She was doing great. She was mastering all the poses very quickly as she is a dancer. But she is about 19 years old and her face was beet red and she looked like she was going to pass out. The instructor was giving her all kinds of encouragement because she really was a natural. Me? I’ve been relegated to the corner by the window in case of emergency air requirements. While I was sitting in a twisted pretzel pose staring at my bright pink face in the mirror for some reason it suddenly occurred to me — man I’m old. I’m a freakin’ relic in this room. These are all twenty and thirty year old kids. They are like brand new flashy sport car. I’m a broken down 1959 Corvette — sitting in the yard, rusting with some dandelions growing out of the front, flat tires.

For one second I fostered a little bitterness. I did the “when I was your age” bit. Yeah she’s eighteen years old, just came to the big apple to start her dancing career. She’s in the best shape of her life. I remember being in college and playing two tennis tournaments in a day and smoking a pack of Marlboros and going to a club until 3 a.m. — all the time! I was indestructible. But, that was 25 years ago. I remember what it feels like to push the pedal to the metal and have that fast charge of going from zero to ninety in sixty seconds. Now I’m lucky if I start on the third grumble of the ignition. The carburetor is clogged and gas tank is definitely low.

I made it through the class and I’ll go back on Friday if for no other reason than I’m pissed. I can’t believe some of the poses that I used to be able to do without even thinking are now a distant goal. Of course I was terribly worried about having a heart attack in the class so when I got home I googled all instances of people dying in Bikram yoga and people having heart attacks. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any — only instances of people with bad hearts reversing their conditions and finding a new lease on life. Hmmm… had I accidentally stumbled on a great mechanic?

Last night I played tennis at Roosevelt. I saw some of the gals from last season and they all thought I had lost so much weight. I actually haven’t lost any weight since they last saw me. I’m exactly where I was last year, but I think I have more muscle and I’m getting more toned. We had some fun. I played some bad tennis the first hour and showed some flashes of former brilliance in the second hour. I’ll never be as good as I was for that one moment in 1976, but look at Martina Navratilova — she’s a great example of how a classic can stay in the race. It takes a lot of maintenance but it can be done.

I started to think about it on my way home. What if it is possible to really restore this old classic? That’s really what I am doing. It is no different than taking an old car and taking out each part — dusting it off, scrubbing off the rust, putting a few new spark plugs, getting a good paint job. I’ll never be brand new again, but I might see flashes of my previous glory, and of course nothing looks as good as a classic restored.

Namaste

“the winner ain’t the one with the fastest car its the one who refuses to lose” Dale Earnhard

you know I’m loving that quote

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3/21/ Goal Kicking

Tuesday. I think I’ve recovered from my yoga experience but I realize that if I am going to do that I am going to have to get really serious about water consumption and I should also take some sort of salt pill. Sweating for 90 minutes straight is just hard on the body (like it will be in Florida trying to run for 3 hours in the heat). I want to stick with it mostly because of one thing Georgia said during the class. She said “if you master Bikram you feel like you can do anything.” I liked that. If I really could end up doing some of those poses, it really would be close to a miracle. I would like to try to get there.

Of course I did some googling trying to find out if there were any triathletes out there doing Bikram. I found some, but they were all on the Bikram sites as testimonials. I didn’t find anyone (well I didn’t look that hard) on their own site talking about it. I guess I’ll have to be the guinea pig.

And for my fourth sport — I have three days of tennis lined up — this morning, tomorrow night and thursday morning. Tennis is not really shaping up that well and I know it is because I have not been doing drills. Just like swimming, if all you do is practice bad strokes you just cement your bad strokes — you don’t get better. I’ll have to try to figure out how to get some drills in there. I may have to play a match on April 1st (hopefully I can find others to play) but if I do, I want to be ready — I’m not so sure I will be.

My days are pretty busy with work so I’m trying to position my workouts to early morning and then evening. Tennis today from 8-9:30 running tonight from 6:30-8. I’ll move Bikram to 9-10:30 tomorrow morning and play tennis at night. (I’m supposed to swim tomorrow but not sure if that might be too much). Thursday I’ll play tennis from 8-10 and try to bike right before it gets dark. Friday I’ll do Bikram in the a.m. and swim in the late afternoon (have to squeeze in my WW meeting too). In between get my work done — this is a busy time for me. Well I guess I’ll do as that old saying goes “rest when I’m dead.”

This kind of morning/evening double-up training is what I read a lot of people training for the ironman do. I read in Runner World last month that this is also a great way to boost your metabolism for weight loss. Even taking your regular six mile run and splitting it into two sessions can be a better workout for your metabolism. I guess the idea is just as it is about to go to sleep again you kick it back in. I kind of like the idea of morning and evening workouts because one single workout is not that overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong — running twice a day is not something I look forward to, but yoga in the morning, run at night I think is a nice balance. As long as I don’t have anything else to fit into my schedule like errands or cleaning or shopping…. I’ll be fine. To be honest, I’m not sure if this schedule is maintainable, but I won’t know until I try. Either I am going to feel great or I’m going to feel burnt out.

I think all the best athletes have to learn to manage their time and their goals. It’s funny to me when I used to think about how to fit a one hour run into my schedule. A one hour run seems like cheating now. (Although I don’t always even get that in). Of course I don’t have a long commute to work or children to get off to school or a job that demands me to 12 hour days (usually) so really I have no excuse. If I just take the time most people commute to and from work that should give me 2 hours of workout a day easily.

So much of this comes from habit too. I’m early riser, but when I’m heading down to the tennis club this morning at 8 a.m. I will run into a lot of people coming out of the gym on their way to work. These are the people with the commute, the kids and the long work hours — they just make the time because it is important to them. Our club is open at 6 a.m. and there is always a line of people waiting to get in. Some of those people have been working out at 6 a.m. for years and years. Now that’s dedication. No excuses, just working out. I think they are at the point where they wouldn’t feel right if they didn’t work out.

The one thing I have learned about myself is although I need the structure of a class or a group the most important thing for me is to have a goal to work toward. Sure I am capable now of doing a run or a bike on my own, but quite frankly if it was not on the schedule and I was not working toward the half ironman would I really do it? Maybe for a short while, but not for long. I need a “winning outcome” as they say in WW land. What is it you want? Visualize it and create the plan to do it. Without knowing what it is you want you won’t keep going.

Even in Bikram right now I really want to be able to do one particular pose — Supta Vajrasana (you sit with your butt in between your ankles and lie all the way back.) I can’t do it. I used to be able to do it when I was in my twenties. My knees hurt too much now — they are so tight and the arthritis is really getting worse, not better. But now I have a goal to work toward and I’ll keep trying. Kind of like my goal of doing a good push up (which is coming along.) Without a goal in mind I just don’t seem to want to do it. Let’s put it this way, my arthritis is not going to get better without yoga and there is a chance it will get better with it. I think the goal is clear.

So today is good day for some goal setting. We do this little exercise in WW all the time. We start by asking, What is it I want to do? I want to do the half ironman without passing out and within a reasonable time frame i.e. cross while the finish line is still up. What do I have to do to get there? I need to watch my weight, do all my workouts and work on flexibility and speed. What are the first or next steps? Commit to tracking my weight and attending meetings, complete my 1/2 ironman workouts with 100% intention, do yoga/pilates/speedwork 3 times a week. Can I do it? Yes. Will I do it? Yes.

Namaste

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis

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3/20/06 Hot Yoga

Monday. Whew. Is it hot or is it just me? I just got back from my first Bikram Yoga class (well, my first class in 8 years). Either this is a brilliant idea and will make my experience in Florida better, or this is a huge mistake and I’m going to drop dead of heat exhaustion.

I had taken the Bikram yoga class at my health club about 8 years ago (scary to think it was that long ago). The problem was they could never get the room hot enough so the teacher ended up leaving probably because it wasn’t a “true” Bikram yoga class.

When I arrived at the Bikram studio on 8th avenue today I was a little surprised at how hot it was, but I didn’t feel totally uncomfortable at first. I’m always cold anyway so it was kind of nice to be toasty warm. First thing I noticed, however, was how absolutely SKINNY everyone in the class was. There was one guy next to me that I would consider average and some of the gals were on the thin/average size, but a lot of them were scary skinny. Ribs sticking out skinny. I thought oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?!?!?!

Bikram yoga is a series of 26 postures. It starts with certain breathing techniques, then it goes into balance and strength poses, then it goes into stretching poses and it ends with twisting poses and a short meditation. It requires great focus to master some of the poses and each pose has varying levels of difficulty. So simply mastering pulling up my left foot while balancing on my right was a great accomplishment for me while the guy in front of me was able to extend his leg straight out. (Click here for a link to what the poses look like) Let’s just say if Bikram himself saw me attempt number 5 and number 12 he might have closed down the shop.

As the session went on I was surprised that the room didn’t smell. Everyone was very clean which was nice. As the room got hotter and hotter, however, I found it harder and harder to breathe. The instructor Georgia said today’s goal was to just make it through the 90 minutes without having to leave the room. At one point I said I have to go outside. She cracked the door an inch and told me to sit on the floor. As soon as I got some air I was fine and could continue. There is so much steam in the room the air feels so thick. If I can learn to manage that kind of heat — I might have a shot at managing the heat at Disney.

I talked with Georgia afterwards and asked her how often I should be attending class. She looked at me as if I was a little confused and said — “every day, this is a life practice.” I told her about the triathlon and my other sports and we compromised on three days a week. She said if I want to increase my flexibility and fix my knees I have to come every day. If I just want to get used to the heat 3 times a week is fine. I think I answered my own question when I got home. I was so wiped out that there would be no way I could go running tonight — so on Tuesdays and Thursdays — no hot yoga.

I’ve had about 100 ounces of water today and I’m just starting to feel better. Before I went I drank a big 32 ounce container of water. During the workout I drank one of those 16 oz sports waters. Since I’ve been home I’ve had another 64 ounces of water. I think another 64 and I’ll be okay. I was wiped out and I knew it was dehydration. I was just spurting like a sprinkler for 90 minutes. The guy in front of me who was by far the most advanced student — he actually looked like he might be a real yogi or something — was so skinny andthe sweat was just dripping off of him like water from a hose. All the guys wear tiny bikini briefs. Good thing they are all skinny because otherwise it would look look awful. The women all wear outfits that look similar to tri-outfits — shorts and midriff.

So that’s my new adventure for this week. I promised to go Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I also need to practice a few poses on my own at home. Balance, balance, balance. I think in the end it will be a great supplement to my triathlon training. That or it will kill me.

Namaste

“I was in yoga the other day. I was in full lotus position. My chakras were all aligned. My mind is cleared of all clatter and I’m looking out of my third eye and everything that I’m supposed to be doing. It’s amazing what comes up, when you sit in that silence. ‘Mama keeps whites bright like the sunlight, Mama’s got the magic of Clorox 2.’”
Ellen DeGeneres

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3/19/06 Brooklyn Half Marathon

Sunday.

A couple of weeks ago we had a meeting with Team in Training called “Connection to the Cause.” This is when the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has all of the honored teammates speak. Honored teammates are people recovering from or in the throws of treatment for some blood related cancer who act as honorees for the different triathlon, marathon and cycling teams. Over the last several years I have been to more than one Connection to the Cause and they are inspiring events. This time one of my friends Larry got up to speak (he did his first triathlon with me Sept. 2004 and now he is training for the ironman!) One of the things he talked about was how when in the park he is struck by all the yellow vests (mentors for the different teams). When he sees them they are a reminder to him of all the people who are out in the park working out for a cure for cancer and that he is a direct beneficiary of their efforts. I thought that was a nice image.

Yesterday I did the Brooklyn Half Marathon. I did about average for me. There were some good things about it (no knee pain and I FINALLY did my nutrition right — YEAH!) And there were some not so great things — I was pretty slow again. I just couldn’t get motivated to run fast so I just treated it like a long training run. I ran at about 60-70% effort the entire time. I wish I could have found a little more zip but I just didn’t have it. I probably was still a little tired from the overdrinking I did on Thursday night with the gals — a little wine and chat fest that went a little later than it probably should have!

I had actually been looking forward to the Brooklyn half because it was supposed to be flat and fast — which it was for the most part. And, I know it sounds crazy, but I like the 13.1 mile distance. It’s long enough to feel like you REALLY worked hard but not so long that you have to put your feet up for a week. There was one big hill in Prospect Park at mile 10 and that is the only time I walked a smidge because I got a little pulled muscle in my right bootyock and my left Achilles starting acting up again. I took a Tylenol and by mile 11 I was actually fine again and finished stronger than I started so that was good.

The hard part about the race for me was coming in the last two miles and seeing EVERYBODY walking home. It was just me and a couple of elderly people and a handicapped gentleman. I’m not sure if the woman on crutches was actually in the race but she passed me too. I was not going too fast to say the least. It’s also still early in the year and there are not as many people out there as there will be later in the season as people are preparing for the marathon. So, a lot of the slower runners were not out there.

I knew my half ironman team was not going to stick around. They were all going to be done in 2 hours or less and I was going to take at least 2:45. The one person who would have waited for me was Merisol — my Westchester Triathlon Angel — but she was really sick and I told her to not stick around afterwards because I didn’t want her to get sicker. (She sounded AWFUL I don’t know how she could run with that chest cold!) The rest of the team members were going to a pub for breakfast after the race and we were supposed to meet up there.

As I started to see everyone going home and realizing I was going to be crossing the finish line alone I started to get a little cranky about it. I was mad at myself for being so slow that I couldn’t hang with my teammates. All the other people who were in the “slower” category on our team opted to not do the 1/2 marathon and went for a run in Riverside Park. It was just me and the fasties. Missy who would always wait for me wasn’t going to be there either. So I was feeling let’s just say a little sorry for myself. Oh poor me, I’m running alone again and I’m so slow and cranky, cranky, cranky…. I wasn’t going to go to any stinkin’ pub for breakfast — I’m just going to go home…

As I am running down the hill to the final mile and a half, all of a sudden I see these two yellow vests in the distance coming over the crest of a hill and running in the other direction. The memory of Larry’s speech from the previous week came rushing back to me. Then reality struck me. Oh my God. I wasn’t running alone. I was running with tens of thousands of people right behind me. Maybe they weren’t there physically but they were with me spiritually. I was running with every person who made a contribution to my website and every person who ever came to one of my events. And even more important, this run was not about me — this run was about the people with cancer. This was for their families and friends. I couldn’t believe how much I had lost perspective. This wasn’t about whether I was running a 12 minute mile or and 11:19. How ridiculous. This was about running for the people who can’t. I started to run a little faster. For them I could be a little faster. For them I could finish stronger.

As I neared the 13 mile mark I still couldn’t see the finish line. It was very frustrating. Then finally I rounded the corner and saw the finish line and a little orange jacket and black hooded angel comes bounding out of the crowd. It was sick Merisol. She had waited for me. She couldn’t cheer because she had totally lost her voice so she had the marathon team cheer for me. I was so touched that she stayed. She’s one of my angels. She ran the last 50 yards with me over the finish line. Pop, pop, pop. (That’s what Merisol says as she is running with me to get my feet moving faster.)

My final time for the Brooklyn 1/2 was 2:48:30. That’s 1 minute 30 seconds faster than Staten Island, but I thought the Staten Island course was harder. It was definitely better than Manhattan because I didn’t get sick on the gels. (I’m using Enervitene packs now which are GREAT!) So I didn’t do the 2:45 or better I was shooting for but really in the big scheme of things 3 minutes doesn’t mean that much. I got so much more than a PR out of the experience. When I got home I found out my friend Simon had donated $250 to my fundraising effort. Talk about a message from the universe. I felt like in the end I had a personal best after all.

Namaste

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.”
August Wilson

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