Monday, December 26, 2011

Training Run -28mi

The alarm sounds at 5:10 am, and feeling surprisingly well rested despite waking up three time in anticipation of my early morning run, I get into my running gear. I add an extra layer on both top and bottom as i hear the wind whipping through the trees outside the dark window. Sunrise was to be at 7:16 in Goshen, CT today.... that means I had quite a bit to get through before there would be any light.

Running down stairs and toasting up some bread and smothering it with PB and honey and drinking the last bit of my morning Liter of water. I take my omeprazole (tummy protectant, also keeps me safe if i need to pop a couple ibprofen mid run). And Im out the door... i jump in my car heading to the local camp to leave my car at "home base".... I step outside and vote its too cold to loose the extra layers, and too cold to waste time rubbing on the icy hot. So I strap my camelback on and my blinker (so I dont get hit by cars) and my little mini light, so I can see where I am stepping, and I take off running. Without much more than a seconds thought I was rolling through mile 5 mark, overly warm with "hot hands" in my gloves and shoes, I stripped my second jacket off.

I decided to take a well known route: miles 1.5-5 of the Litchfield Hills Road race course, taking me up past the high school and down past the track into White's woods and looping back, now at about 8 miles I decided to explore a new trail I'd never taken. So far so good, although strangely enough as the sun began to rise the temperature dropped. Me, now damp with sweat began to get colder, and the first wall hit... less than 10 miles into my 28 miles, I calmed myself knowing I was still running 8:30 pace comfortably, I could always slow down. I would be ok, right? doubt began to rise.

The path was gorgeous, and little did I know came out a well known road in Litchfield. Suddenly without planning I had tacked a couple more miles to my loop... which was Ideal, adding in more hills and tricking myself into the thought that I felt good.

The reality of this run was when I was at 11miles, I began to question my goal... or goals... all of them. What was I thinking, my Iliotibial band was already spasming creating an irritating, though not awful, pain in my knee. I was cold, my face was so frozen that moving my jaw was difficult. Eating my Hammer "gel" was awful, it was so solidified that I could barely squeeze out the nutrition while trying not to cut my lips on the packaging. My knees overall felt frozen, moving was hard and forceful, running on my legs in the cold feels the way I'd imagine running on wooden legs (like that of pirate from old cartoons) would feel. Painful, difficult but overall annoying. Did I mention my camelback hose froze... so much for water...:/... I would stop when necessary and drink straight out of the pouch- much better than nothing.

Mile 12 was a nice break, looping around my absolutely favorite place to run, the Litchfield CT Boardwalk, the bouncy wood was a nice break for my legs, the slick ice was worrisome with water on both sides, and no other souls around... but well worth the views. Two swans in the water, gorgeous and white as they were fishing for breakfast beneath the rising sun. I insisted to myself that I stop and take pictures... thats what this about right? I run because the long term personal goal is to have fun and see more, just faster.... ;).

The break also reset my knees, (for a little bit). Growing frustrated by the returning aching in my left knee but determined to continue forward I was now reaching 14 miles, my half way point, I turned around from my current position. The pain was enough that I wasn't sure what I had left and if i was brought to walking, I'd prefer to be closer to home base.

16 miles in, I was stopping every 3/4 of a mile to walk a bit and stretch my left hip... at 19 I sat in "hero's posture" on the side of the road, now only 2 miles from car, I was literally brought to my knees. I was tired, cold, and hurting... no one else care's if i run 21 or 28, I thought... who am I kidding. If i get hurt, it really doesn't matter at all does it? I rose to my feet, reminding myself that 28 miles, is 28 miles, whether you walk, run, or crawl, just keep moving forward, so i started walking, and broke into a run. At 19.85mi I chose to go straight (up hill) instead of taking the turn toward my vehicle. The relief the uphill brought my knee gave me a lift, pushing through the pain that returned as I coursed back down hill. Forgetting where these roads go, I progressed forward, turning where it seemed right. Mile 22 I was back at the stop sign where I had I agreed with my inner self that I was quitting, that my training run was not THAT essential that I should suffer through it. Now I was back to being 2 miles from my car... so I'd at least make 24miles, my minimum. Moving forward checking off telephone pole, mail box, relfector sign, pole, pole, mailbox as I slowly continued on.

Why- push forward on a "bad" run.... because God forbid your race day feels like this, you need to know how to move forward. Not to mention, aren't there always times in life we ask this question. "Why does this suck so bad right now, how can I KEEP on going, Why Should I keep on Going, Who Cares?" But we, ourselves care, and we can handle and grow from the challenges we choose to endure. And how will we ever find out what we can do, if we do not try...

Mile 24... 0.8 short of 40K.... I can make that. So I do, and then thats nearly 26.2.... I thought, and I moved onward.... 26.2 complete 3:59:11.... my slowest 26.2 yet... but thats ok with me today, I made it. The pain in my knee had long past plateaued as long as I stopped to stretch and walk a bit every mile or so. I was not on the road to injury, but I was certainly uncomfortable, but seriously---- it's  not like someone said this would be easy, (who in their right mind would think the 2nd time you ever run 28 mi, it'd be a breeze in 26 degrees.... HA)

Those last two miles I thought. I thought about the ppl who are struggling this christmas, I thought about myself- my goals, my past... I thought about all the questions I am searching for answers to. And before I knew it 4:19 mins 28.00mi flashed on my watch. FINISHED. (lol, it was the longest 2miles I've felt in a while.... but I honestly don't remember anything except being determined to finish and scared to be hurt. Well actually there was a women walking her dogs- leash free- so they kept chasing me (cute though not scary) and she was singing to herself... it seemed odd, but I kind of respected her willingness to be so free.- so there was something to those last couple miles...:)).

My first Really HARD run in a Very Long time. Lessons learned, experience gained. and most importantly.... I know I will keep moving forward.... Constant Forward Progress.....

Hoping everyone Had a very Merry Christmas!! Sending Love to those who Struggled this Christmas, with family, without family, or anything that can go wrong.... I hope the memories were filled with smiles and LOVE!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why... running?

50 states (DE, MD, NY -check)... wasn't quite my plan, but to be perfectly honest I still don't really know my plan, apparently a 50 miler, all 50 states and why not a triathlon too??

I was half hearted runner until college when I met "RnR" who despite her back injury at 16, which made her simply an average runner pace wise... she was the first true runner I had ever met. She inspired me, I fell as in love with a friend as you ever could, and in turn fell in love with running. That which I loved was now a complete infatuation. Sadly, running.... is not the only thing I do in life, and since I didn't know how to manage the world outside of my sneakers... my eating disorder helped me cope with the fact that I am: Quirky, strange, sometimes annoying, socially awkward, and truly just sure who the heck I am... (like many ppl)
So between binges/ purges of all shapes and types, my body began to break... season after season a new injury here and another there. By the end of my 4 yr college plan. My mind broke too. I was NO longer ok. I was no longer the average college girl struggling with a phase, I was now playing with fire, risking stomach rupture, electrolyte imbalances, and heart arrhythmias, these things were becoming a nearer and nearer future.  Treatment it was. I needed to something to STOP the addiction cycle that had now quite literally  destroyed my life as I new it, with the exception of some very extraordinarily strong friends who were able to be there for me.

SO... Out of treatment I came.... I gave it time ... I wanted to know for certain before I ever ran again... Why do I run? Did I JUST want to burn calories; was I only compensating? When I could safely say No, and was sure there was another reason, I set out... within 3 min.... ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome) struck me down, inflammation immediately took me to my knees. Apparently, despite my love to run, I was no longer a runner....

Clearly my wonderous abilities to cope were still stronger than any "tools" or treatment option.. So my eating disorder came and went in cycles.  It was almost 6 mo till i ran 1 mi.... I was so excited. I started up slow, and ramped up. My eating disorder was so much less a part of my life, but it still controlled my day, my food, my running. I fought with myself about my thoughts, my actions, my feelings, my body, my wants and my needs. Everything was a fight, but I was starting to win. The fight was exhausting, as was earning my graduate degree.

Well somewhere in here, I trained for the NYRR manhattan half marathon... on a depressive whim... Since I didn't know where my life was going, I was pouting one evening and decided there was nothing more I hated about myself that the "Somedays...." What about NOW... so I started to make things happen... NOW.... I ran my 1st half marathon, 2 weeks later,  in 1:34:??... qualified for NYC marathon!! :). So I took the ball further... I learned to ride a motorcycle and obtained a license and my own bike. I taught myself guitar and lifeguarded for a summer (couple of bucklist things).... Well what about the trip, I'd said for so long I was going to go away on my own, So to break up my running season and my marathon training I went St. Lucia for  10days.... in 10days I changed my life. I learned more about myself in 10days that I had ever realized. I was interested... in myself.... how was I so interesting and I never noticed before? I had a personality, passions, a good heart, I had legitimate fears, likes and dislikes.

But back to running... I ran NYC injured.... I walk/ ran it with loads of NSAIDS in my system, perscription and non, mixed, ace bandages and icy hot. Finishing in 3:54:?? I completed a huge thing on my bucketlist. And at 26.2.. tears came... I was healed, not of my injury (ITBS-again), but of my past... I'd never go back. Crossing that line separated me from the breakable self and brought me forward to the invincible self, the one living with hopes, dreams and love. And if I could have trained the last 4 weeks prior to Nov 7 2010... that 26.2 wouldnt have been so bad-pain wise atleast.

2 mo later, still trying to get back to pace, and failing.... I read "Ultramarathon Man" by Dean Karnazes.... inspired ... I stopped running for 2 months.....I took a break and let myself delve into my yoga practice and workouts..... I never felt so good.  I missed running desperately, but was intent on  giving the routinely impacted body parts a real rest.

And when I started to run again in February, my running had changed. For one thing- I sucked... I couldnt run more than 4 miles at 6mph.... I didn't used to think that counted as a run.... barely a jog (for me personally, i dont mean to sound pretentious :/).  I'd lost the light from the 26.2.... So i'd never be a marathoner.... Thank god I COULD run.... I never want to LOSE that again. I'd rather be average or worse even so long as I can be running.

So there it is: fast= broken or slow= running... So i just kept running. My heart grew and grew. My running and yoga and bodyrock workouts had transformed my mind and body into something I was truly proud of.

Next thing I knew, my running was transformed... although I was training so slowly, when confronted by competition, but remaining detached from winning, I began to race with my heart.. and I began to improve.

My distance grew, my pace leveled off. I trained at 9-10min pace and raced at 7:40 pretty solidly. Felt strange since I never really felt like I was trying much....I was legitamately confused.

So it happened, I was talked into Marathon #2- Baltimore.... it's own tale in another blog....

After this, I did My tough Mudder, and was BEAT... DONE.. taking a REST... and then a friend asked me to pace them for the last half of the philly marathon, so how could I say, NO. I was able... easily to cover 14 miles that day without a thought. I wanted the distance more than ever. I want see what I can do. I know the risks of injury, sickness. And yes, I fear it, but life isn't to be feared but loved... and when we love, we live. I LOVE to run... and I live by running.... so why limit myself to titles, races, paces, courses.... I want FREEDOM from the created boundaries.

Its funny, the safety found in a marathon of thousands of ppl with medical staff and water stops... What about a 28 mile training run.... alone, on the open road... with my cell phone, my camel back, some snacks and a head lamp..... what if i dont plan it exactly... what if?... without the support crew, there is TOO much to question....

Here goes nothing: 28 miles on 12/24/2011 in CT.... open road... HERE I come.. updates to follow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon 2011 (pacer mile 13-26.2)

What an experience, one of three races I've ever watched and not taken part in, only I did take part in this one. What a GREAT marathon. Philadelphia designed a course that sends you around the city, and then following the river. Its scenic and a moderate challenge. Also to note, the race was well planned, and very well organized. Starting in front of the Rocky Steps at the Art museum and stretching into the city streets just as the sun begins to rise into the sky.

After seeing the runner to the start line, I took off back to the car where I was suppose to sit tight and read, instead I had the map out in my lap and found the nearest 7-11 where I could grab fuel and then pinpointed the 8 mi mark and determined to meet up there and run the last 18 miles of the race. Well, honestly I never saw my runner so after running a couple miles back and forth on the course I waited around mile 13 and joined up when my runner came through. The runners, the ppl cheering, the small town feeling and the bridges, the music, it was all so ..... breathtaking.

 After my last race I had lost my fire to run and had planned a couple week vacation from running to clear my head, but on this 67 degree late morning in a new city with 25000 runners I wanted to keep going forever, and now I might.

Now Im training for my first ultramarathon... 31 miles... which I will complete much sooner than planned as I hope it will go well and I can keep going for my First 50 miler this spring which will also be a fundraiser that EVERYONE I can reach out to, will here about!!! So excited, So happy!!

So grateful to have gone to philly to find my heart in the soles of my shoes once again... I will continue to follow my heart, one stride at a time... and I will Live, the fullest life I am able to.

Tri State Tough Mudder 2011

It 4am, my hair is in tiny little braids, I'm already filled with excitement and a crazy amount of fear. In 5 hours from now, I will be colder than I have ever imagined. Why was I doing this? Well once upon a time, a friend asked me to run it and I said, Hell Yes. 6 months after this agreement I came to realize I'd agreed to jump in and swim across a river in NJ in November. Now, there is only one thing that makes me a miserable unhappy wretch and thats being cold and wet, and I agreed whole heartedly to take part in 3 hours of misery. So, when it came down to it, why was I doing this? 1)I agreed to it and don't let friends down; 2)I'd pd for it and its probably the most expensive race I've ever signed up for. 3) The meaning behind the run, the challenge, meeting yourself on a very real level. and 4) in remembrance of vets who have died, for those that didn't and cope with the memories and experiences,  and for their families who lost time with those they love and dealt with it stoically.

So here I am redoing all 30 little braids in the hotel mirror, trying to make my plan, to keep my hair from getting entrenched in mud or stuck on barbed wire, pan out.  Finally 5 am is here, breakfast time and Coffee at Denny's....I'd never expect a waitress at 5 am at the end of her overnight shift could look so unhappy, she kinda dampened my mood as my friend and I had to hide our beverage bottles.... I understand that outside things aren't generally allowed in the restaurant but 1- its Denny's<- that counts as a real restaurant?? and 2- its 5am, there no one else there and everyone staying in the adjoining hotel is running a crazy race this morning.... anyway I thought it was amusing and somewhat unnecessary.

Anyway... off to the race!! I found hot hands, and for the first time had the experience of being warm. Little pouches of warmth tucked in both gloves and each shoe, 4 pairs of pants and 3 shirts..... I was READY to WAIT.. seeing as it was about 6:30 and we started at 9...

I finally met my teammates... fun fun! I wish I could say that made it exciting, but I always get nervous around new ppl, and all 4 guys I ran with are much younger than myself... just enough so that I felt a little out of place... but that was fine... my mind was set on creating a blissful bubble of warm excitement as I rambled on and on about how warm the sun was and how Awesome it was going to be to. Then we headed inside... orange hair and face paint- um... YES PLEASE...  I also got interviewed by someone with a camera... wow did I feel like a dork... they asked why I'd run something like this... how do you say to a public interface "I'm recovered from my eating disorder and I have transformed my life and I think Anyone who wants to can do it to and for that reason I push myself because I never want to limit myself to any identity again- I am limitless... we ARE ALL DIVINE beings, who are inherently good..... and for this reason, I push myself forward- whatever the cost, whatever the struggle..." (wish I'd said that.. instead I kinda tripped over myself as bringing up my eating disorder THAT publicly filled me with some fear of judgement and embarrassment.

So thank goodness, we made it to the start.... me in a tank top, sprinting out of the start with my team... we all agree we should slow down, but none of us do. In no time we are rolling and climbing through the web of ropes, the first obstacle, quickly upon is a generator powered ice cold jacuzzi with green water... we jump, I had a split second hesitation that I quickly conquered until the shock of the cold hit... you look forward "OUT" is your only instinct, and theres a Giant plank of wood with a red arrow pointing down into the frozen green abyss... my conscious mind searching for any other option and also quickly realizing, there was only one, stop thinking and just GO... under water , up and in one stride throwing myself out of the pool of ice water. WOW, the air feels warm... I'm numb everywhere... this is amazing, kind of awful but mostly amazing! Running, very fast we soon come upon the river passage... 50y.. nothing much I thought as  I ran right on in, after all its not as cold as the green jacuzzi. Kicking, and swimming for about 30 yards before I realize Im gasping, my legs are sinking and the weight of my arms has grown tremendously.. I reach for the ground and find nothing, I quickly extend an arm for the rope to pull myself since swimming quickly became sinking... waiting in the water for one of four 15foot rope ladders to open, I can't wait... climbing I can do, I can do this.... half way up, my muscles won't move, well not very fast and not with conscious command, at the top a straight edge if not for the 2 other runners at the top pulling me up, Id have fallen the 15ft back into the water, like I watched my fellow teammate do just a minute later. By now it hurt everywhere, I'm frozen to my core, the wind is gusting... "Let's run!" I yell as we gather up one another and head out on the path.... less than a quarter mile, not nearly enough to conjure any body heat.. we are at the planks... 15ft drop back into the river to make it the 50yrds back across.
I had prepared myself for this for days, I was just going to jump, and then I stood up there looking down like a scared pup at the top of the stairs trying to manage the fear of what feels like death is approaching despite the minimal effect of the jump and swim in reality. My entire team has jumped and I'm still staggering around the edge trying to dream up a way not to get colder.... and finally i just step off.

When I hit the water I sink, about 5 ft deeper than I thought, I never found the ground and started grasping at water kicking my way to air as if it would be more comfortable to find oxygen. If only this were the case, upon inhaling, I rasped and my lungs failed to expand more than half of a liter. Realizing my inability breath or move much I reached for the rope again and decided to just keep pulling, I'd get there one or another... Meanwhile I was gasping for air, and between breaths I'd sink enough as my hands reached over one another that I'd swallow some muddy water and begin to gasp for my next breath. I just kept swallowing the air and the water, my lungs began to burn. The ground came and I was out, my first instinct was to sit down and cry. But my teammates were there, just as cold, grabbing me up from the embankment and cheering me on. We begin to run again, my hands are frozen clenched shut, I can't move, and I still havent managed a full breath between convulsive shivers, but I'm still running, sprinting really, always looking back at my team in hopes that if we sprint the whole thing, it will be over faster. No such luck.
Next we hit mud mile (a quarter mile of uneven ice cold mud water terrain), I ran the side line, I just didn't have it in me, if not for my team and my sick need to prove that I can handle a ridiculous amount, I d have dropped out. All I could think of us was my sweatshirt that a friend was holding. Waiting for my teammates who ALL did not skip the obstacle, I started doing push ups in hopes of making my heart pump just a little more strongly to create just a bit more warmth for my chest and arms. What seemed like 20 min, my teammates made it across, I was still convulsing, but breathing, and my hands were pliable again. We ran... a 12 ft wall- with some team effort we are over it in no time. running on and on, we run through some sprinklers over a dirt bike course terrain and head onto the race track area of Raceway park. I can now not only smell the fire but I can see it, I'm so excited to feel warmth.

About 10 am now, Im running through tires, the generic obstacle, which was less of struggle than I even perceived- guess I am kind of agile, haha. Then we run with a tire... heavy enough to actually create a little body heat. Happiness breaks through my misery in full force... I am so ready, we're already to Mile 5 of 12... as far as I'm concerned, this has already been so awful, so BRING IT ON... next came the fire- I walked through as slow as I can, inhaling the black cancerous but WARM smoke for 20 seconds breaking into a run again and then crossing the balance beam type planks across the river. A teammate falls in... we are all laughing, smiling and having a blast....running once again.

An underground muddy tunnel, no light, a claustrophobic exciting obstacle to me. after this there was a good mile plus of more sprinklers and dirt bike terrain with another mudding tunnel, the sliding under many ft of barbed wire and crawling under that orange plastic netting used to mark off construction.... Still sprinting between obstacles and waiting after each one for my friends, my temperature was still excruciating. Drinking water at each stop was awful, ice cold water.... but it was essential to eat and drink to avoid cramping especially with the way I was burning through calories shivering.

Crawling up some warm hay mountains and running up a huge halfpipe and then through some other hurdles and a 15ft wall to get over we kept moving, together, my mind focused on the sweatshirt just beyond mile 12. The Funky monkey bars, the obstacle I'd heard about the most, the slippery bars over that icey water, I was intent on not going in, I crawled across with my hands and feet hooked around each bar, as soon as I was on the ground, I started to run....and then... Wait.... we're missing one... Where's Dave??
Sadly, here at mile 11 at the funky monkey bars, Dave earned his first DNF along with a fractured tib/fib and was ambu'ed to the nearest trauma center. We kept running, with one mile to go, and knowing Dave was in good hands we agreed to finish for him.

Just then, as we begin to circle around a pond I can see it, we have to get back in the water, Im shaking, cracking jokes about the mud in my mouth and meanwhile trying to decide if I can just skip this one too. By the time we get to the waters edge, Im in a panic, everyone is in gone and I'm on the verge of crying... A whine begins to leave my lips falling upon the ears of a true veteran who looked at me, without knowing what I was starting to say there was some sort of drive in his eyes, and seeing it made me want it just enough to get my A** back in the water... swimming, diving under once, and then twice, once again gasping and sinking, i grab the dirt on the embankment and pull myself up, never having felt so desperate. I got up and started sprinting again. One of my friends yelling, just go... finish, and finally even though it felt a little bit wrong I took off ahead of my team and headed back to the web of ropes and rolled across efficiently and sprinting toward the last obstacle, the live wires... only to see that if you're careful you dont get zapped. DONE... shirt, headband, beer... Wheres my HOODIE.... and i see it... I throw it on and wrap a blanket around, no good, still convulsing... My friend holds the blanket around me as rip everything wet off and trash the outfit and put my warmups back on....

After heading to the 1st aid tent for a camping blanket and some dry heat, me and Dave's family were off the Robertwood Johnson Hospital for the diagnosis and plan of care for Dave. As I mentioned before, it was VERY broken... even in a broken, mildly medicated state we agreed to redo the TM to rid Dave of his DNF.

It was a very long emotional day... stressful and hard in the ways I am most equipped but least prepared to deal with. It was a true growing experience, an ultimate challenge. It was the first jump into a fearless trust in self that I'd experienced in quite a while. I would never do that again, or so I proclaimed for the week following this painful experience. But now, in retrospect, it was amazing, inspiring and I can not wait to do it again, but in all honesty the carolinas or FL sound a LOT better ;p.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I don't have much time to write today but something inside of me is screaming to get let out in self-expression!!

SO... todays message, Be positive. I can list a few reasons or I can go on and on about how reinforcing the negative only strengthens their impact on your brain, neural synapses and therefore your mood, attitude and personality, relationships (should I continue- I Think NO)

But really... F*** all that. Do it, because you Can... Action is Always better than Inaction.
Live with Determination, Live with purpose...

What ever you do, do it to the best of your ability.


Here I'd like to add in quotes from some very well-known texts... but again.. time is limited... so really thats all:

Just Smile because you're HERE. LIVE because you're breathing. LOVE because your heart is beating...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday in the country

Can you find the beauty in a crowd of thousands of drunken people passed out on dirt covered blankets on their lawn seats @ Merriweather post pavilion, only to be awoken by some random passer byer's beer spilling on them, and when then turning over they slowly coming to a staggering stand and heading for the burger, fries and fried chicken and oh but of course another beer, maybe a margarita??

I've never been much of concert goer, especially not the tail-gaitin' drunken type... I did my part this time though, Octoberfest for breakfast at 9 am with some homemade banana pumpkin bread..., enjoyed the music, was hungover my 1pm, and beyond exhausted by the end of the concert at 11pm....

So where's the beauty?

Maybe it's in the comfort people find from being around people with at least some similar interests. Maybe it was the sunny perfect fall day. Perhaps is was the underlying energy current, the life the thrived beneath our silly costumes and masks we where,( alcohol included here).

Life! Thousands of Lives, swaying, falling, spilling, laughing, yes even vomiting... coming together for an entire day. Strange that this could be beautiful, but it is.

So sunday in the country for me, meant limping around on extraordinarily tired pain-filled legs.... and no, despite everyone's belief, the beer does not help the pain. It was a beautiful Sunday, a great day to spend with some of my favorite people.

For entertainment as well as to increase awareness and knowledge the Marines and Army men offered challenges, (pull ups and pushups- upperbody...aka not my legs ;) ) I found it beautiful to see how many drunken people climbed up to the pull up bar, to see what they could do....girls, boys, men, women, other marathoners also tired and sore from the prior day...
I found myself cheering on everyone that was even willing to try.... And others often joined in my cheers.

My question is... why does it take this setting for us to cheer each other on for our silly little efforts... No one cares if you get a lanyard or T-shirt... if you got up there and tried... That was something worth watching... something that made you feel good inside.... Isn't every day our lives like this? Don't we all Get Up and just Try, every day.... some days more than others. some days we're stronger than others, but we all Need each other every day.

We would all benefit to be each other's cheer leaders in life. This Life ain't easy... but it's worth livin'... this life ain't long, but its worth the trip....

I was touched by the whole disgusting human scene.... we all try so hard.... Just don't forget to enjoy it....

My last note on this wonderful Sunday 10/16/11.... After starting up a conversation with a rather attractive military man, I asked him how long he has been in. 9 years he responded, so naturally I asked where'd he'd been.... Afghanistan he answered. I thanked him, and as we talked lightly about his experience and my running experiences I watched him play with his wedding ring... I'm not sure why this touched me so deeply, but I found a great respect for him in that moment. I thanked him for the conversation and went on my way, realizing that I hadn't asked what I meant to. I went back and asked my question... which involved charitable events for military veterans and using my running effectively towards those causes.... his response was something of pain and endurance as he expressed how badly these men and women need the support, his expression as I've seen in most of the military was something of humble disassociation.... He too needs support... We All Do, because we are all human. Not one of us, the strongest or the weakest can handle it ALL by themselves.....

Status Post Sunday in the Country... I will wait till I can walk pain-free but I will beginning to train for my first ultramarathon run for which I will begin to raise the support and awareness I can for those who need and deserve it. So if you do read this, please check out facebook or come back to this blog soon... so that I might share the fundraising page with as many people as possible. I'd be very appreciative of your time and thoughts.... but more to come... for now....

I have to start my career(S)..... and recover from The marathon....
Happy Fall Everyone! Love yourself, Love one another!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Baltimore Marathon 2011... mile by mile

Today was my second attempt at conquering the 26.2 mile feat, the Marathon. When I chose to run Baltimore marathon, I barely had an inkling of hope that I could even survive the training again without injury or mental collapse. However, since making the decision to run, I moved to Baltimore.

Here in Baltimore, I found a home. I found friends willing to run, and if not run, support my crazy dreams, and ridiculous efforts. CJ trained some of the longest runs with me, for which I am eternally grateful. Also Frank, Everett, Gina.... there are not words for the gratitude, love and respect I hold for you. The aforementioned people are my Heroes, some of many that have touched my life. The inspiring love and drive that these people have is above and beyond what I would ever expect from an ordinary acquaintance or even most friends. I must mention Sophia, for she was the reason I attempted this marathon at all, a great friend and also an inspiration! Jessica and my parents, Allison and my other Jessica.... you are all, amazing!! Also necessities in my life.

The run: Mile 1.... oh dear god, 7:43... I'm going to die, I need to slow down... Mile 2: I feel really good... 7:22 pace..... Oh DEAR... Mile 3.... met Michael....ran the next very fast miles with him... only to PB my ten mile at 72:50... , swedish fish are amazing... wouldn't it be grand if they sold them for endurance sports with E'lytes in 'em..... Mile 11: Hey Kim!! SO awesome that everyone is out cheering... this is spectacular!!!!! Michael is falling behind and my Half marathon 13.1 mi time @ 1:36:XX??

 Ok so about here, Im running essentially alone... my quads are aching a bit, already!!?....but nutritionally and cardiovascularly... still Good to Go.... (Yes I was amazed and wondering how long this would last).... Mile 14.. Mile 15... Mile 16... Holy Momma... still holding 7:30 pace and feeling pretty good... only 2 GUs left .... Am I really going to be able to maintain this pace? Mile 17 ...Mile 18... and Lake Montabella.... WOW, flat.... long, very windy, sunny.... Pain sets in.....legs are heavy.... GU time, re-dose on E'lytes... keep pushing.... hills are next.... one foot in front of the other... Mile 19... This is Where you decide who you are, as a runner, don't give up....Sign reads "Its like child birth, Keep Pushin'" Darn, they're right,.... I can do this.....

Mile 20... why am I doing this again, oh yea.... for the people in my life that have helped me be able to do this!!! :

"Dear John Gibb, I miss you, your death was unfair, unexpected..... I WILL push through for you... the pain you endured at the end of your life was unjust... for you I can be strong, for all that you gave me and taught me, I can at least do this."

"Dear Mrs. Christy, Why do diseases cripple and take away the ability to experience life, to ever run again, at all, and then to suffer until you inevitably are taken from those that love you... For you I run, because I can...

Dear Nicole, The words don't exist.... I miss you, Every day of my life that I struggle I think of you, such a beautiful life that had no right to be lost, I Will run for you, and for your family, because I am here, in part because of your love and kindness and because I Can.

Dear Veterans, of all War, but especially those of Iraq and Afghanistan, I can't even pretend to imagine that I have a clue what you've gone through to keep my life as easy as it is, that I can run down the street in safety, that I can I enjoy my freedoms, For everything that you have endured and for what you continue to endure....I am grateful and empathetic toward you and those that love you. I Will run.. because I CAN....

Dear People, because everyday in this life, the hard days and the beautiful easy days are all a gift. Because we get caught up and forget how strong we are, how lucky we are...Because I am Strong and Lucky I will Run....because I CAN....

Yes, I CAN DO THIS... everyone who has been in my life, effected my life brought me here to this point and I grateful.... Keep Going....

Mile 21... Pain in my legs quickly approaching 8/10.... heavy, weak.... refuel and keep moving forward...

Mile 22, you've felt worse... get over it.... keep it up... one foot in front of the other...body check..,.. the pain is in my muscles... lactic acid building, but still functioning like a fine tuned athlete.... thank goodness for my training partners!

Mile 23.... sweet, 5K left.... This is what counts....this is it... Boston.... dreams....being able to give back through my running.... Don't lose it now... you CAN do this...

Mile 24....How am I going to do this?... body check: legs, OUCH, heart... tired but strong.... mind... weakening...come on power through... no injuries, no sickness... you lucky girl... and a perfect fall day.... 2 miles... and runner X comes up....
      "REady to take this home" Me: I hope so.... X:"Two more hills and then let it out.... you got it, you look strong! Me (thinking): I don't feel strong.... but if he can share support with me, I owe him to try.... and he's right, I got this....

Mile 25: OMG.... Im really going to run this whole thing... Im going to Make it! OUCH.... eyes filled with tears for a second..... really hurting 10/10... but upper body is ok.... heart still beating, lungs still going.... feet still landing and muscles firing coordinated... alright.. I'm alright
Mile 25.3: Am I there yet?, how much further, I can't take this... just 30 secs of walking.. NO! do it... just move your legs and you'll get there....
Mile 25.5: Really, thats it.... (wow those half marathoners look good... I am jealous!!!)
Mile 26: 1/4 mile to go... owww... can  I cry???.. Nope.... Do this... too many people suffer for you to let this go now.... dreama big, nothing can stop you  until you let it...
Mile 26.1: OMG.... i can see it... (trying) and NOpe... legs wont go any faster... and thats ok.... Making it....
26.2... : THANK YOU FRANK, THANK YOU EVERETT, THANK YOU CJ!!! Tears, smiles and lots of pain.... oh crap.... my legs don't work.... a few hands to hold me up .... security guards to help me balance... Halleluia!!

5 min later: Tim a PT downtown, saved the day and got me a REGEN: chocolate milk stuff.. yucky... but 15 min later... guess who could almost walk normally?? :)

2 hours later: FEED ME!!!

And here we are...

Yes, I may be nutz, but my intention is good.... and in time, I will bring this good to others... I am so thankful to my friends.... my heart could literally burst.... <3

Thank You for my LIFE... I never would have expected so much Love to be mine... <3

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Message To America

I am Recovered. I am a healthy, emotionally mature adult female who actually knows what she wants from life. It amazed me to really come to terms with these facts and the fact that they are facts.

At 25 years old, I am All that I can Be, and how fantastic! I never joined any military component of our countries promise to help you find your road to success. I came very close, so close in fact I am still receiving emails from the marines, the army, the air force, the navy and yes, even the coast guard. To imagine that less than a year ago I was so confused, and imagine just three years before that I was even more confused and four more before that... this was the first time I considered the military. My path was different. I never joined. For this I am grateful.  Despite the ultimate gains that our many members of military society have had and for many continue to take part it in is a beautiful and wonderful gift. At what cost?
The commercial never tells you, Be all that you can Be, but change everything about yourself and who you used to be. This is NOT meant harp on the advertising, my purpose is much more simple. I have been reading Brain Bugs: How the brain's flaw shape our lives by Dean Buonomano and to see how we are so susceptible advertising, the promises we here and see and imitate. We naturally imitate those stronger than us. Evolution guides this.... after all there is no benefit for us to mimic weaker members of society.
So why join the military... it is proposed in more than few ways to be a force that pushes you to become the stronger members of our society. What went wrong that we have ALWAYS had men and women suffering from the neurological impact on their psyche after their time in war.  Warrior Life Coaching LLC. points out how we train our troops to act in specific manner, to ReAct in specific ways... ways that keep them alive... ways that in turn protect our rights and freedoms, whether or not we recognize it. Veterans of war have literally changed their brain chemistry.

Before I continue, it is extraordinarily important to recognize the plasticity of brain chemistry, it is always changing. Our scientific knowledge of the titrated values of neurotransmitters is vastly undetermined due to the difference in individuals. However, we do know that changes occur when levels change. Serotonin is key to happiness, pleasure and even, possibly, spirituality. Each neurotransmitter has key roles that do impact personality and mood. If the chemistries are abnormal to an individual they may become depressed, psychotic or manic. (I have no citations as this is my understanding and thinking, not a scientific article.)

The journey to be Strong has its purpose, as stated, we would not indulge in a great number of freedoms if people did not offer themselves to these programs. But when they return and don't quite "fit in," we turn away, sometimes with sympathy other times with anger, and worst of all when we don't take notice at all.

Whether or not we understand what they've been through, they have gained experience and knowledge beyond our stories and books, they have become our stories in the history books. And they struggle, not all I am sure, but a great many. Having never understood the impact,  I've had my eyes opened.

Before moving to Baltimore I didn't see much of anything military besides men on leave in NYC. But here I have met, seen and experienced a great number of people having come back form Afghanistan   and Iraq, the ones that have touched me range from 24-35y/o, and not one of them after more than a 10 minutes of observation in unaffected by their experience. They are certainly strong, confident men, proud to have been a part of all they have. There appears to me, something that underlies their pristine outward presentation.

My Mom has had this comic strip on the fridge for years of superman sitting with a psychologist asking, "When is it my turn to be saved?" When Do you we save the SuperMen and Women of America... when do we give them what they have given us??

There is an increasing number of organizations forming to aid these vets to restore their brain chemistry, to learn to re-route their expertly trained minds to function in non-war society, but people have to want this change and must be willing. "How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just One, but he has to want to change" Sadly, of the many I have met more than half of these men, think that it's all just fine, I've heard lines like, "He's been back for over a year, he's fine" meanwhile the painful drunken young man is spilling his beer on the bar and cussing and swinging about angrily over how someone looked at him. I truly cannot tell the entire story but please trust that I am not simply labeling him as "screwed up." For All I know, the story I heard wasn't real and he had just been dumped, or his mother passed away.... I do not begin to analyze the reason people hurt, because we ALL hurt.

My take home points:
-Veterans of War welcomed back into the Arms of American Society deserve our help, deserve our understanding and most of all deserve our support- because that is what they have given us, if not more; Many a life, many a limb, and many other incomparable struggles.
-But why can't we help each other to recognize this FACT: WE ALL SUFFER, WE ALL HURT... and we DO NOT have to alone. Perhaps in War (I hope I will never know) One must always be strong. But here, in America, in this land we believe to be free and wonderful... we are ALLOWED to be HUMAN.... to feel, to express (within reason). Reach out a hand if you struggle. Open up, face your fears.... and maybe just maybe find a better life.
-Lastly, this message is to anyone with internal struggle, whether you suffer from depression, from an eating disorder, from neurological diseases or from physical ailments that effect who you are, Find An outlet, find a place you can be open.... There is no need for any human being in this country to go on without help.