Category: Running


Yesterday, Dianna and I went out to a farm west of town and met a couple who have two beautiful horses boarded there.   It wasn’t all that far from the house, but off the road a ways and tucked between other larger farms so that you felt like you were in the middle of nowhere.  I befriended a thoroughbred gelding who was cribbing.  When my hands reached through his new winter coat, I found nothing but ribs.  His hips protruded through his new coat.  He had no muscle mass on either thigh.  

Cribbing is defined as a “vice in which the horse bites or places its upper incisor teeth on some solid object, pulls down, arches his neck, and swallows gulps of air which go into the stomach, not the lungs.”  It generates a high for the horse and can kill them over time when the air in their stomach makes them feel “full” and reduces their urge to eat.  

There are cribbing collars which prevent the horse from angling their necks out and taking in large gulps of air.  Why this horse isn’t wearing one at this stage is beyond me.  I hope to find out in the next few days if there’s some way of getting him one to save his life.  Unfortunately with the economy in this shape, horses in particular are suffering. 

I’m also wondering about animals seeking out a high.  I’ve seen hot-blooded horses do this by pacing – they get a sort of “runner’s high” from it.  And I wonder how anyone could think horses aren’t intelligent when they search for the same way out so many humans seek out when it seems there is no way out.  

For now, my focus is that gelding.

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Things are really heating up here in the south.  I’ve heard it rumored that running in the summer air down here is like swimming.  Only underwater, you try not to breathe – outside, you haven’t a choice. It’s a challenge to get enough air right now, but I think this will only help in the long run (pardon the pun). 

I’m amazed at all the support coming in via email and comments regarding the upcoming fund-raising and half-marathon and all I can say is **Thank-you!**  It means a whole heck of a lot to see both friends and strangers reach out with encouragement.  Agreeing to run a marathon is not an easy decision and in this case it’s compounded by the fund-raising goal.  I’m in a new town where I know very few people and I’m not a natural runner.  As with the cancer-battle, this isn’t an act of physical endurance as much it is pure determination.      

This morning, near the end of my run, I thought about the people I’ve met who’ve inspired me.  Thinking of them took away the awareness of my fatigue and allowed me to make one more stride after one more stride until I crossed the imaginary finish-line.  Out of breath from trying to breathe in the thick air, I thought to myself, only twelve more miles to go!  Right now it doesn’t seem possible, but with each stride I’m a little closer to my end goal.  And as a team of mothers and fathers; sisters and brothers; husbands and wives and children; taking on this disease and running full tilt toward a cure; stride by stride, we’re that much closer to our goal for a cure.  

Tomorrow, Celli and I are walking for a cure for human and canine cancers: The 2008 Dogs Walk Against Cancer.  Lymphoma is a common cancer for dogs, so we’re proud to be taking part in an event to raise money and awareness for we two-leggers and our four-legged friends.

Thank-you again for your support!

I found this delicious phrase on a Cafe’ Press bumper sticker raising money for breast cancer awareness.  It’s time to start brain-storming fund-raising ideas and today I’ve been looking into selling items online to raise $2400.  I’m looking for funny catch phrases like F$%& Cancer or Kick Cancer’s Butt: Been there, done that!  I’m hoping for bumper-stickers, mugs and t-shirts.  Feel free to share your catch-phrases and ideas!  

I’m considering goofy things like “Pet a beagle for a dollar” on the sidewalk, so really, no idea is too silly to post.

Every year Team in Training members raise thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) participating in marathons, half marathons and triathlons.  And every year thousands of families just like mine benefit from the support of the LLS in battling blood cancers.  So, I’m considering running in the Kiawah Island Marathon (off the coast of South Carolina) this December to give something back and to work on strengthening my body.  I also think it would be a great way to meet people.  All expenses are paid for training, travel and lodging at LLS events, but you need to raise a minimum of $2400.  Could I raise $2400 in time?!  Training begins August 2nd.

Ideas for fund-raising?

ESPN VID

 


Our week back in Elk Rapids, MI afforded me some time for reflection on all of the recent changes in our lives. We spent the majority of our time near the water; either on East Bay or Lake Michigan, but I made it a point to visit the chain and made a special visit to the old willow whose boughs sweep the currents of Elk River.  We used to climb out onto limbs as thick as barrels over the water to watch fish make their struggles toward the falls.  Treasures found along the shore were tucked safely beneath the tangled roots born bare by sand.  I climbed Johnny Rock and took photos of each of the girls on the early day’s swimmer’s stone; once a goal for swimmers near the newly erected harbor: The goal, uprooted; now a monument. 

Despite a lingering chill in the air, something in the metered pulse of the waves sliding up against sand only to be swept back again brought me into the moment and gave me time to center.  It was clear all at once I have not felt centered for some time in Charlotte.  It’s also clear I’ll need to find some way of “chilling out” now that I’m back in the city.  

It is strange returning home after a long absence, but I haven’t been away very long.  For me, this trip was about saying goodbye and reveling in the emotion unveiled through the process of letting go.  It was about replacing my grief for losing money on our house with gratitude we weren’t one of the dozen new foreclosures in the paper each day.  And about recognizing my ability to travel cross-country in good time with little worry.  This trip also reminded me that no amount of distance can squelch a good friendship.  And no matter how mature we become, we can still wade ankle-deep in Lake Michigan, jump waves tracing lines in the sand, and climb trees.  

On my way home to Charlotte, I occasionally glanced back in the rearview mirror at the thin horizon and worried about when I would return, but mostly my eyes were trained forward on the adventurous mountains ahead, and on the road immediately before me.  When I was a child, it was the road that moved as our car stood still, but yesterday, I accelerated past those reservations I’ve had about moving forward in this new life.  Despite warnings about dangerous cross-winds and steep grades, I was determined to make this trip work- determined not only to reach the destination, but as the saying goes, to enjoy the journey. 

And now for some theme-appropriate Walt Whitman: 

O living always, always dying!

O the burials of me, past and present!

O me, while I stride ahead, material visible, imperious as ever!

O me, what I was for years, now dead, (I lament not – I am content; )

O to disengage myself from those corpses of me which I turn and look at where I cast them!

To pass on, (O living! always living!) and leave the corpses behind!

Please click photos to link to flickr photos of our travels.

 

Carpe Viam (Seize the Roadway)

Just some obvious factoids on marathons:

The distance of 23 miles for a full marathon represents the approximate distance from Marathon to Athens, Greece.  Some humans can run a mile in under four minutes.  I’m beginning to think they’re aliens as I can barely run an 11-minute mile.  They run three miles for every one of mine.  Yes, aliens.  They are among us and apparently, they can outrun us…  Where am I going with this?  To bed.

The fish are being transferred in December.  I just finished cleaning their tank and they seem really happy with the results.  We lost power today several times; once for more than two hours and I was concerned about the water temperature dropping too far, but all survived.  I’m going to miss them.

Back to running…  It’s nearly impossible to run in this weather, so I’m not, but I’m looking forward to our move south where I’ll be able to run most of the year without ice, snow or sleet.  I’ve always enjoyed humidity, though I doubt I’ll be prepared for the kind of humidity that lay ahead.  Still…  It’s more like a long swim than a run when the air is thick with heat.  Oh yeah, hear me roar!

Time improved last night and I felt like I really put a lot into the run. Erick got home late, so I was running home in the dark. It was peaceful. And sometimes not being able to see the distance ahead of you can be to your advantage; keeping you focused and in the moment.

My oldest expressed an interest in running with me last night, so I promised we would run together today. She’s “in training” and excited to run the full distance, though I’ve tried to convince her we should start with half a mile.

Last Friday when I took Lady with me on a run, she became very apprehensive after the first mile. She stuck both front legs out at one point and stopped in her tracks, leaving me holding a leash and collar a few strides ahead of her. I drove her home – meaning I pushed and pushed to keep my time reasonable, but also, I think, because I saw in her a part of me who used to give up.

When we arrived home, Lady looked defeated and sad. I hadn’t physically caused her any harm, but I had certainly called her name and pulled on the lead and worse, ignored her need to slow down. At the front door, she would not come into the house, but stood looking forlorn on the front step. I had to coax her into the house, which is very unusual.

My other reason for rushing home was a meeting I had promptly at 5:45, which meant I needed to be home and showered with time to spare. Once Lady was in the house, I gave her a rub and told her I was sorry and that I thought she did a great job and then leapt up the stairs on my own schedule.

When Christy and I arrived home later that evening, both Lady and Celli were acting very strange. Christy sat down on the couch and Celli jumped up beside her and puffed out her chest in a proud manner. As Lady approached the couch, Celli very purposefully lifted her left paw and set it down atop Lady’s head.

At first I suspected this was a dominance thing, though it didn’t feel like dominance. It felt like a healing touch being applied to a wounded friend. When Christy began taking notice of Lady’s bad eye, she buried her head in the couch cushion and I saw then she’d had enough. We both apologized to Lady for causing her so much grief and she seemed to relax into our voices.

This experience helped me see the fragile line between respectful encouragement and downright pushiness. On my off-nights, I will walk Lady and Celli and a child or two at their pace, in their time. And we’ll all heal and get stronger no matter the distance.

I missed the funeral, but thought of this poem and decided to post the Housman poem for Ryan.  He won every CC meet following his third in HS and continued to impress us with his determination and ability well into his professional career.  

A.E. Housman: To an athlete dying young

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder high-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It whithers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
of lads that wore their honours out,

Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echos fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.

We drove my path and found I’m running almost exactly two miles which means I’m averaging a 12-minute mile. Even better, should I decide to add an extra mile here and there, I can simply double my loop. And getting to 20-minutes means a 10-minutes mile. I think this is an easily obtainable goal.

For more information about running or preparing for a marathon, visit Coach Joe!

Ryan’s funeral is today. I was planning on going, but woke up with a really sore throat. Trying now to nurse myself back to health. I’ll certainly be thinkin of Ryan and wondering how Stephan did in yesterday’s race. Ryan’s brother flew to Utah Friday to compete Saturday and fly back in time for today’s funeral. Our thoughts are with the Shay family.