Day +1: It’s For Real

I keep looking at this and thinking, “Wow, it’s real.”

http://live.xacte.com/templates/philadelphiamarathon.com/for-runners/race-results

I finished with 200 people behind me and 10,100 people ahead, but I finished.

The last runner in came in after more than 9 hours. That is the definition of endurance.

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Day 3: I Bet My Life

I’m hooked on this song. I’m playing it now. If I weren’t running with Linda on Sunday, I’d put this on repeat for 26.2 miles.

Something just hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not afraid. Really, I’m not. It amazes me but this race, this marathon, it’s just a stepping stone. When this is over, I can and will rebuild the path of my life, because once I do this, I know I can do this. And I will.

This will lead to bigger and better things because from here I will be stronger. I will be braver. I will not be afraid.

I am not afraid. But when this is over, I know I’m going to want more. Sure, it may hurt. So what. I can build on that too.

What more? Only time will tell.

I’m not afraid. Let’s do this.

10 days: Grateful Dead

I titled this post Grateful Dead because I keep thinking about what a long strange trip it’s been.

Can’t believe the big day is in 10 days. I try not to say “marathon” too much because a) it scares me down to my soul, and b) I don’t want to overuse the word. Chances are good I’ll have lots of time to do that AFTER it’s over.

I did a 10k this past weekend, and I have another one this weekend. There was once a day when I thought a 6 mile run was rough. Now it’s a pasttime. My plan is to run the race thinking, “Okay, I’ve done 20 mile practice runs before. They’re not easy but I can do them.” Once I get to the 20 mile mark, I just remind myself that hey, I’ve done 10k’s before, and that’s all that’s left.

Mostly I just want to know if I can do it. I want to put myself to the test and see what happens. I think I got what it takes, but the proof is in the pudding.

If the race were tomorrow, I’d be ready. Well, ready except for not being in bed by 8. If I have to get up at 4, I’m hitting the sack early the Saturday before. Not that I’m going to sleep. I remember getting maybe 3 hours of sleep the night before my first 5k. I was scared out of my mind, certain I’d forgotten something, some item or detail or information that would completely ruin the whole thing. I still remember finishing the first mile, seeing how much more I had ahead, and thinking, “I think I’ve greatly overestimated myself.” But when I saw a potential PR ahead of me, I rocketed for the finish line. My feet were sore for two days but I did it.

My Across the Bay  10k medal looks fantastic on my medal rack. (Also known as the curtain rod in my room.) It’s one of my prouder possessions not for my accomplishment but for my friend Laura’s. She wasn’t sure she could run 6 miles. Her longest training run was 3, and her foot still hurt from an old injury, to say nothing of the stress fracture from which she’d only recently healed. We talked most of the way through the 6 miles, occasionally checking in for physical cues, but when we crossed the finish line, hands held high, I could see the pride and joy (and great relief) in her face. I was so thrilled and honored to get to be there for her. I can’t wait ’til we do it again next year!

Sometimes I’m nervous when I think about the race. The latest check of the weather says the day before will be 44 degrees and clear. I have a space blanket from the 10k, and I found some amazing fleece pants that I’ll bring with me, along with a fleece/microfiber/knit blanket that I’ll burrito myself into when it’s over. I seem to have this thing about hypothermia, but I’ve come in from races and even from the gym on cold nights, and my lips are blue. Needless to say, I need to find myself a good pair of gloves.

I told Ryan the other day that I’ve put more thought and planning into this one race than for any book I’ve ever written. On second thought, I’m not entirely sure that’s true. I daydream about stories; I jot notes when they come to me; I listen to music and get ideas. For this race, I’ve read articles, watched videos, sat glued to marathon coverage for hours. And then there’s the training miles. I think it’s over 500, all told, and I haven’t gone short yet.

This race is all for me. It’s taken me a while to learn how to be selfish but when I go out to run this thing, the difference between success and failure is all me and only me. I’m the only one who can impact the end result. And I think I can do it. Now to see.

finish line ATB10k

Day 56: A New Wrinkle

So this was my horoscope today:

“An inspirational person enters your life today, presenting you with an intriguing opportunity. You could be so eager for something new to happen that you start dreaming about all the possibilities without considering the practicalities involved. Be patient and try not to prematurely jump to any extreme conclusions. Although your conversation might not catalyze an immediate change, it could lead to something else that’s ultimately a positive move.”

I suspect I already know who the new person is: me. Seems after what feels like years of pre-menopausal symptoms, I’m finally there. If you’ll pardon the TMI, this appears to be the first time in my life I’m missing a period without there being a really nice reason for it. I’m not even sure what to do about it. For all the times I cursed The Curse, here it may be departing and I’m wondering what the hell to do now.

So I went for a 14 mile training run. If nothing else, life does go on, and marathon training has been brilliant for weight loss. I’ve lost 12 pounds since I started and this is the end if week 8. I feel awesome and I’m adjusting to the changes in my appearance because I’m not used to seeing this new person in the mirror. I’m even thinking I’m going to continue training after the marathon, though I may do shorter long runs on weekends.

Alas, the run is over, I have some errands, and then I plan on spending the rest of the day doing as little as humanly possible, because the last two weeks have been insane and I’m due for some down time. Make it a good one, people!

Day 108: LaLaLa!

Different topic this time. (Though I will say I did my 3rd straight run today, another 4 miles, and I feel fantastic and I have no idea why. I feel like I should be exhausted but I’m not. Go figure.)

I belong to an amazing writing, critique, and support group called the LaLaLa’s. We got together because we didn’t final in the Golden Heart contest in 2010, and we all wanted to figure out what wasn’t working and start moving in the right direction. God bless Valerie Bowman for putting that first email out there. I can’t imagine where I’d be in this world without the LaLaLa’s. Granted, I think a certain someone was perturbed that I was focusing more time and energy into writing and less into him, but I will never ever regret joining this group of caring, talented, amazing women. I’ve met some and can’t wait to meet everyone!

Valerie happened to talk to Barbara Vey while at RWA National this year, and Barbara asked her to write up an article to post on her blog. It went up today, here. 🙂 That’s Jaye Garland in the first picture; she gave me my nickname, God. Long story. Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you some time. 🙂

But there was more to say so Ashlyn MacNamara and Abigail Sharpe added to the story: http://ashlynmacnamara.net/the-divine-secrets-of-the-lalala-sisterhood-two-more-stories/ I had to share just because it gave me such a laugh. It seems I’ve grown a reputation for butt-kicking. If it only worked on myself or teenagers…? 🙂 I hope everyone someday knows what it feels like to know they’ve made a difference in just one person’s life. Thank you, Ash! I might stop grinning some time next week. 😉

You know, I have to laugh. I went back to get links to everyone’s websites, and I’m pretty sure when we started in March 2010, none of us had websites. 🙂 I had this blog. Didn’t use it much. I’m getting there.

Thank you, ladies! You are my angels and my blessings and the wind beneath my wings!

Day 125: “Yo Adrian!”

I had a great run this morning. So great it should be in capitals, I think. Part of it was that I kept going, very few walk breaks. Part was that I was running with a friend, no music, just conversation. Part was that it was mostly flat; my kinda course. (Kelly Drive) And part of it was because it’s a beautiful day in Philadelphia. Nine miles of wondering what I did to deserve to be so blessed.

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I came home and made a fantastic brunch. I’d been craving homemade waffles for a while, and for a long moment I looked at the frying pan. I haven’t had eggs since Friday because I had to get up early for the Color Run yesterday and the Sunday Funday Runday run today. Though I do miss the eggs, I opted for the waffles and they were awesome, and I can eat them guilt-free  after burning 1200 calories on the Drive.

Now that I’m home and clean and relaxing, I went looking for something to watch on TV, and I tripped on a “Rocky” marathon. Of all the things! I was just at the Art Museum, and I just took my photo in front of the Rocky statue.

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Timing being what it is, I turned on the movie right at the start of the fight scene, and I cried all over again. I’ve seen this movie at least 100 times and I cry nearly every time. In my head I started making a list of the reasons why:

1. It’s a true Philadelphia movie, and I love this city. I was born and raised in NYC but I call Philadelphia my home. Somehow I knew I always belonged here.

2. The music at the end inspires me. If you haven’t had the Rocky Theme come on your iPod while you’re out running, you haven’t really lived.

3. When I was in middle school (or to NYers, intermediate school) I was in the band. It started in 4th grade and kept on through 8th grade. Because of that, I took typing 3 years in a row rather than any of the other electives, because it was the only class that fit the band practice schedule. Because of that, I can type 100 words a minute, which has led to paying jobs and a lot of finished manuscripts. But when we were in band, we played music from the Rocky soundtrack at concerts, and we were good. We were damn good. Hearing the music in the movie brings me back to being 14 with my whole life ahead, and the friends I had then.

4. The story of Stallone rewriting the entire script in 3 days. To a writer that’s Herculean. When you analyze the story and plot, it’s really well written. I don’t know if Stallone knew the Writer’s Journey formula but he did a great job, and like Rocky, he never gave up on the story he believed in.

5. The underdog story theme in it. He busts his ass through that last fight. No one believes he can do it. He’s on the mat and even his manager is telling him, “Stay down!” but he gets up anyway. It goes to a draw but essentially it’s a win. A win of the heart.

6. The romance of it. Aside from the part where Rocky and Adrian realize they were brought up different but the same, this is my favorite piece of dialog:

Paulie: [talking about Adrian] You like her?

Rocky: Sure, I like her.

Paulie: What’s the attraction?

Rocky: I dunno… she fills gaps.

Paulie: What’s ‘gaps’?

Rocky: I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.

That’s what I want in a relationship, and I won’t settle for less.

7. Oh, and did I mention my cat’s name is Mickey? 🙂

Today I ran the Museum steps just like Rocky; I even took two at a time on that top level. (I reminded my running buddy Jack that even Rocky couldn’t run the steps at the beginning of the movie.)

At the moment, “Rocky II” is on and Rocky just proposed. You know, I think in their hearts, every guy who asks a woman to marry him reacts like Rocky did; like he’s thinking, “She really wants to marry a big dumb jerk like me? Holy crap, how did I get so lucky?” 🙂

I was wondering earlier what I should use as the starting line song when I run the Philly Marathon. I was thinking “Let It Go” but maybe it’ll be Rocky’s Theme. As I’ve been telling people, training starts August 4th. Nerves start August 3rd. 🙂

Day 133: Deutschland Uber Alles

I’m just a little psyched, and also a little melancholy. Most of my genetic history comes from Germany, including my father who came here in the 1950’s with $2 in his pocket. Germany just won the World Cup, and aside from all the controversy about Brazil’s social priorities during the games, I’m really very happy.

See, my dad is in his 70’s. He’s seen Germany win the Cup before, but he’s in his 70’s now and there’s a possibility this is his last chance to see his birth country win the World Cup. (Oh, and did I mention he ‘s a big soccer fan? He doesn’t go to the games but he used to coach soccer, he put my brother through soccer, you name it. He lives and breathes soccer. I visited when Germany was playing one of the first round games and the world essentially came to a stop so we could watch the game. I didn’t mind; I watched right along with him. Well, until I conked out during intermission.)

That being said, more than anything else, I wanted Dad to see his team win just one more time. He could very well be kicking harder than ever in four years, but who knows for sure? He and Mom have already laid out their wills, named their executor, set out their last plans. I hate that they did that but it’s practical and I get it. I have to do it too. It is what it is. We’re humans, and we don’t live forever. I’ve had lots of friends lose a parent or both parents, and I don’t want to have to imagine how I’ll feel to be in their shoes. The day will come, but today is not that day, and I’m grateful for that.

So seeing Germany win today, and seeing on Facebook where my mom said in regard to that lone OT goal, “About time. Dad is going nuts here.” I wish I could see the grin on his face now, but I know he’s happy. Life will go on, and one day life will end, but today, Deutschland Uber Alles, and my Dad was here to see it, and I couldn’t be happier for both of them.

Great game, Argentina. You deserved this trip to the finals and you played a very tough game. I don’t know how Messi stood on unshaking knees with that last free kick; I was breathing shallow and I’m not even there.

World Cup 14