Astounded!

It is truly a sad state in this country when, in less than a week after being released, over 7 1/2 million people have uploaded and are playing Pokemon Go.  It has become so huge so quickly that it has actually made the National News for 2 straight days.

It has overtaken the deaths of the law enforcement officers in Dallas.  It has stopped Black Lives Matter in its tracks. We have an upcoming election with no adequate candidates to even consider voting for. Our country hasn’t risen like this to deal with heroin addiction, poverty, homelessness, mental health care.  Yet, we’ve made time to wander in areas that perhaps we shouldn’t be to capture an animated pokemon ball.  It just astounds me and makes no sense.

What it does do for me is explain why it is so difficult to inform, educate, and rally folks to meet the needs of meaningful causes.  Don’t get me wrong – we all need an outlet to deal with so many stressors in our lives.  But we sure don’t need to let the outlet become our lives.

And, that’s my rant for the day – I think I’ll go release my stressors with a RUN!

Over the Bridges and thru the streets…

I anticipated hot – 100 degrees predicted.  I anticipated humid – usually over 80% humidity around here.  I anticipated pain – still recovering from a groin pull and hip injury. I got up early and checked off my list….shoes √, watch √, hat √, sunglasses √, Body Glide √, Keys √, water √ and drove downtown as the sun rose over the Cape Fear River. I glanced at the temperature gauge in my car and was surprised (and pleased) to see 74 degrees instead of closer to the predicted 100. I took a deep breath – I was ready and this was going to turn out okay.

I lucked into an excellent parking space and noted that on Saturdays the meters don’t start until 9:00 – I’d be back long before that! I took my hat, but not my sunglasses, and with less than ten minutes before the start I ran back to my car and grabbed them. The day began with a lot of clouds but the sun was clearly trying to make a major appearance. I stepped into the crowd before the starting line just in time for the opening prayer and the National Anthem. The gun went off and I walked forward as the crowd causes so many to do, clicked start on my watch, and set out for a slow, but steady run.

I found my pace quickly and felt like I was back in the saddle. My first mile was a 10 minute mile – the first one in many months, so I decided I would simply listen to my body but try to keep an average of less than 11 minutes per mile (which I did). Around that first corner, we began with a hill – not daunting, but still – a hill! Turning right on Front Street and running towards the first bridge I found myself thinking about these store fronts and found comfort in realizing that I knew some of them and we were crossing streets that I also knew.  It was a sign that I’m adjusting…I’m beginning to feel myself in this new environment.

The first bridge appeared in front of us and volunteers clad in bright orange vests directed the 5K runners to the left and the 10K runners forward to the bridge.  I slowly ran up and was grateful to have been pre-warned about the metal bridge – I picked my feet up high so my toes would not catch in the grate and propelled forward.  As I made my way down the other side and turned onto the Battleship Exit I remembered that snakes live in North Carolina. I was near the side of the road and the grass was over grown (a perfect place for snakes to hide in waiting).  I did see one small dead snake, but other than that I mostly saw bungee cords.  It struck me how many there were.

Of course, seeing so many bungee cords pulled my mind onto a new topic – how do so many people lose bungee cords?  Keep in mind here that there were no signs of anything that had been held onto a vehicle by a bungee cord.  No trash, no broken beach chairs, no coolers, no towels. And then it was time to turn again.

I don’t really remember seeing much of the Battleship since we turned down a side road and traveled down to a spot where someone told us to turn around and go back.  I was focused on taking in water and wiping sweat off my chin and keeping my pace. I passed the 4 mile mark and realized I need a port-a-potty.  I knew I overhydrated.  I wasn’t sure I could make it to the finish line but I chanted to myself and that kept me going.

When I reached the second bridge I watched a group of 3 stop to take a selfie with the river in the background.  It was an awesome setting for a photo and I was a little sad that I didn’t have my phone with me. The third bridge was just after that and I saw my opportunity to photo bomb in their final bridge shot, but alas, I wasn’t quite fast enough to get there.  I knew as we headed down the other side that I was going to make it. I had slowed a little bit but was still near that 11 minute mark and hoping to meet my goal.

And, then at last, I saw my car parked at the turn to the final two tenths of a mile. The couple in front of me, walking, heard my footsteps and turned to smile. I encouraged them saying,”all that’s left is one lap around a track.” They began to run and we quietly rounded the final corner and saw the finish line. I pushed forward and told my legs to run faster, but there was very little kick for the end. I remembered to stop my watch and then zoomed straight to a port-a-potty.

At the beginning of the race I was a little sad – no one here I knew, no one here to cheer me on, no one here to run with, but by the end of the race I was feeling strong and working hard. And now, I think I need a nap!

Taking a Stand

I like FB because it’s fun. I can post cute photos and stay in touch with far away friends who I would not otherwise be in touch with. I laugh and sometimes I cry. I try not to post anything controversial. I don’t like to discuss politics.

But tonight I can’t help but take a side. I’m not siding with the police officers – my husband is one – he’s good and kind and fair! I’m not siding with black men – I work with many and they, too, are good and kind and fair. I’m taking the side of humanity.

We all need to be kinder, to care more, to take care of each other. We need to teach our children how to communicate effectively and solve problems together so that as adults they aren’t armed with only one violent solution to their many problems. We need to put down our electronics and have face-to-face conversations with one another – really get to know each other and enjoy each other. We need to collaborate and cooperate. If we cannot figure out how to all live peacefully together; to enjoy the uniqueness we all have to share then not only are we setting a bad example for children, and the world, but we are also destroying our lives and what we have.

I hear over and over again – it’s the guns….it’s the lack of mental health care….we pick and choose what we are most comfortable blaming, but yet it is all of us. Each one of us needs to consciously step up – speak to someone we don’t know, extend a hand, pay it forward!  Each one of us needs to be kind – to say smile at someone we don’t know, to show we care, to help others in need.  We need to put effort into relationships – they’re hard work! Each one of us needs to learn how to reflect, brainstorm, solve problems – not erase them or obliterate them – actually find solutions. We need to do it for the sake of our country, our families, our lives.

We are not good at pulling together. We do so quickly in the short term. Boston Strong! Orlando Strong! Prayers for flooded West Virginia! Thinking of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut through 9-11, Hurricane Sandy, and the Sandy Hook Shooting. We responded to wildfires out west and the churches burning throughout the south. Yet these horrible incidents continue to happen, so we haven’t really pulled together at all. Isn’t it time we all set aside our differences, our prejudices, our fears?  Isn’t it time we return to a simpler life where neighbors know each other and look out for one another?  Isn’t it time we reach out because we want to and not wait for a tragedy where we have to? Isn’t it time to become human beings again – to love, to laugh, and to live?

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First NC 10K

Saturday draws closer and my nerves grow faster.  I’ve been training – in fact, I’ve taken off 10 seconds for each of the last 5 runs, so now I’m back under 11 minute miles…finally.  I’m nowhere close to where I was but the improvement has at least increased my confidence level.  BUT, it is expected to hit 100 degrees on Saturday so running up and over 3 bridges in 100 degree weather is making me nervous.

I posted my fears on FB and asked for advice – I was lucky to hear from a few local runners. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and eat some hydrating fruit like watermelon. I guess I can handle that, but still….I look forward to some cooler fall weather.

Today I tried something different – just a short run since it was 90 degrees outside but I followed it up with a 3 mile bike ride. I actually feel pretty good and both workouts worked the legs. Tomorrow some resting and pick up my number for the morning. I’ll be ready to tackle this new goal – bring it on!!

Even after Tacos

So Taco Tuesday was upon me.  It was 80 something degrees outside and really super humid.  I got home after work after 6:00 and decided I could use a rest day.  I have been making a better effort – knowing a 10K is right around the corner has kept me fairly motivated, but on this day – Tuesday – it was not happening. I procrastinated around the house and hoped for my daughter to suggest a Mexican restaurant that was not close to the house. Instead, she suggested Flaming Amy’s right across the bridge.  ARGH!  Way too close.

BUT, she also insisted that I still run when we returned home.  So I did.  And, I made it 2.5 miles.  The workout plan only called for 3.0 miles so I was feeling pretty dang good about accomplishing close to the goal.  And, I was faster than the last two times I ran. Thinking motivation had returned I went to bed feeling proud and back to the norm once again.

The real key – Saturday – I’m very excited to run a 4.8 mile race on Cape Cod with my other daughter.  So we’ll see – it’s a good test!  And, I’m actually looking forward to it!

Creatures of the Wild

The longer distances I run, the more time I have to think.  Sometimes I think about very profound things or try to solve a problem at work or make a big life decision, but often nowadays I find myself looking for and thinking about wild creatures.

SNAKES:
1. The blue, red, and yellow striped bungee cord, that has scared me on more than one occasion, is not a snake and has been removed from the side of the road.
2. Although an agitating sprinkler may sound like the rattle of a snake, it is not; it is an agitating sprinkler.
3. Cement sidewalks cause shin splints but they are not a snake’s preferred highway.
4. The mantra “no snakes, no snakes” will not prevent an encounter with a snake, so “keep on running, keep on running” is probably a better mantra.
5. Garden hoses, cable wires, and s-shaped sticks are not snakes, so stop jumping a mile into the road every time you see one.
6. Keep calm and enjoy the run!

ALLIGATORS:

  1. If they aren’t yet on the side of the pond, they probably can’t get out of the pond and up the embankment fast enough to get me.
  2. If they’re already on the side on the pond, are they fast enough to get me?
  3. Does every pond I run by have an alligator?
  4. Can alligators camouflage themselves so I can’t see them as I come around the bend from behind the trees?
  5. Are there really fish in that pond?

DOGS:

Dogs are the one wild creature I should be afraid of while running.  They actually run faster than me and they will bite and it will hurt. Why do so many people allow their dogs to be out free? If there’s a dog to the right, run to the left.  If there is a dog being walked run on the other side of the road just to be sure the owner has full control.  Small dogs can bite just as hard as large dogs, but still large dogs are scarier.

#running#snakes#southernrunning

 

Inspiration

Shalane Flanagan

“To me, it’s not all about being fast; it’s all about finding your best self. I’m out there, yes, I’m trying to beat other people, but I think a lot of athletes just want to find their true potential—whatever that potential is. I think it’s important to not always compare yourself. Go internal and say, ‘Am I maximizing myself on this day?’ Once people let go of the comparisons, they can actually realize: I’m a great athlete and I’m doing the best I can. That’s a victory in and of itself.”

And so today I slogged along in 90 degree sunshine with 76% humidity and even walked for a few short stints, but made it my goal of 3.1 miles. Every day I run, even slow, even just a short distance, I am running and doing the best I can.  That’s really all I can hope for.

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