1/26/07 Nun on the Run

Friday. Still have my cold.  Yesterday it seemed to be worse in the mornings and evenings and better during the day.   Today I’ve just been miserable all day.  Yuck.  No training, not even trying.   My right eye has just been streaming tears all day despite taking the limit of cold pills. 

Went to my WW meeting today.  Was disappointed to find myself up 3 pounds!  I’m not sure if it is a real weight gain or just a lot of salt in my body from a lot of chicken soup and drugs.  I’ll admit that I haven’t been shopping or tracking this week so it might be a legit gain although I can’t recall any real off-eating days.  I don’t know, my head is foggy — we’ll see next week and just call this a blip — a big 3 pound blip.

I managed to get 1 hour in on my old terrible trainer yesterday while watching the video of the Badwater Ultra Marathon “Running on the Sun.”  Was fun to watch in a weird way — not fun to watch everyone suffer through this crazy, yeah, I’ll say it, CRAZY 135 mile, 130 degree run through Death Valley in July of all months (’cause January just wouldn’t be hot enough!).  It was fun to put a face to my former coach Lisa Smith-Batchen’s voice that I got to know over the summer.  I had seen pictures, but watching the video was most interesting — like finally meeting her face to face.  She is an amazing athlete — she makes it look like it is nothing and very cheery despite the grueling conditions.  It was so strange to hear her familiar voice coming out of the video and matching it to the face on the screen.  To hear her say she is not tired after 60 miles is mind blowing. My lame 1 hour on the trainer doing some standing pickups here and there seeemed nothing short of pathetic in comparison.  But at least it was something.  Maybe I can try to finish the last 40 minutes of the video today if I can breathe later on.  Pathetic.

We went to see Sister Madonna Bruder last night.  She’s an interesting character — speaking of cheery athletes — she certainly tops the list.  I wouldn’t really call her a motivational speaker — she just talks and tells what her story of how she competes in triathlons — it was kind of rambling randomness.  But she is inspiring nonetheless.  She’s complete over 300 triathlons and something like 30 Ironmans (I can’t be sure of the real number — it changes depending upon sources.)  She started all of this at 47 or 49 years old she’s now 75!  Last year she did two Ironman’s, two half ironmans and a bunch of Olympic distances.  She looks fantastic, not an ounce of body fat on her and she looked like she can out run most of her audience (well at least me!)  Her most striking aspect, however, was her incessant smile.  She said that she has never experienced a runners high — I have a feeling she’s on one 24/7!

She made the observation that the sport of triathlon is very friendly — trithletes form a kind of family regardless of speed or level.  I think that’s true.  Last night I was sitting with my friends and every one of them can whip my butt in a race but none of them make me feel like I don’t deserve to be there.  I guess that’s a good definition of family — people who make you feel like you belong, no matter how different you might be.  Everyone who has ever trained for a race and has known the fear, struggle and exaltation that comes with starting, racing and finishing shares a life blood.  I think we all felt a bond with Sister Madonna in that we knew her struggle and shared her spirit.  She was definitely a great illustration of age being a matter of mind over body.   She finished the Kona Worldchampionship 2006 in 16:59 — 1 whole minute to spare.

The one thing she talked about which I am going to start to adopt in my own training and races is the concept of the living cross.  To bear the pain of whatever I am doing so someone else does not have to bear their pain.  I liked the image –it’s kind of a prayer meditation but using your race or workout to do it.  Maybe through my sufferring, someone else’s suffering might be eased if I meditate on it.

After the meeting I asked Sister Madonna for any good bible passages that she might recommend to pull up during a difficult time.  I mentioned that I had heard the story about how the nuns from her convent had made tshirts to support her Boston Marathon and they were something about St. Paul saying something about going for the goal.  She told me to look in St. Paul’s letter to the Pilippians.  I found a couple of good lines if you don’t my picking and choosing….

Philipians 4:13  I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straight forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I think the Sisters had shortened it to “press on toward the goal.”  Which I will do.


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