Sunday, March 25, 2012

Just one more day: Days 79-85

Day 79 – March 19, 2012

A 3.5 mile warmup with the team was the extent of my running before putting the clock on the kids as they ran the real workout on the track. But, not a bad thing considering the two recent long runs of 17 and 18 miles.

Total – 3.5 road miles

Day 80 – March 20, 2012

Good thing I ran some trails to measure the course I wanted the team to take. Booming thunder and severe lightening cut the team run short as we fled back to shelter from the mountains. I suppose we should get credit for speed work.

Total- 6.5 trail miles

Day 81 – March 21, 2012

Wow. I ended up with all the distance and middle distance kids today. With many novice runners, the plan quickly changed. A slow run to the intramural fields, a couple 4-corner 5 minute drills, relay games, and the run back. The distance kids and I chose to take a nice trail back to base.

Total – 4.5 road and trail miles

Day 82 – March 22, 2012

Does running on a treadmill getting a stress echo test count for miles? That, combined with a run to and from the track and a run after I got home gave me a few miles.

Total – 5.5 road miles

Day 83 – March 23, 2012

A tight time frame restricted my running to practice time only, which consisted of a giant scavenger hunt with about 55 kids. Chalk up about 2.5 miles.

Total – 2.5 road miles

Day 84 – March 24, 2012

With rain pouring down, the Terrapin 50K and half-marathon got underway. I was not at the start line as a competitor. But, I did have opportunity to cover 18 miles of the distance as the sweep runner. Sweeping is always an experience and today was no exception. I ran predominately with two individuals,  with  intermittent stops to take down streamers marking the way. What great people and conversation! I am so thankful. However, back at the finish, I have to admit I was a little wishful of not being a racer. I’ll miss Promise Land, too, due to coaching responsibilities. Looks to be a bleak spring schedule with all the track meets I am committed to.

Total – 18 gravel road and trail miles

Day 85 – March 25, 2012

Whew. What a busy, busy weekend. Between being at the race Friday night and all day Saturday, and helping Caleb move out of his apartment and back into the house (he is building a tiny house on the property), there wasn’t a lot of time to run until this evening. I put in a pleasant country road run and enjoyed the rain that fell lightly at the end.

Total – 4 road miles
Year-to-date – Approx 512 miles

Friday, March 23, 2012

Boot-scoot'n boogey

Ah, to feel the breeze. To see the landscape rush by up close and personal. To smell the scents of early spring blossoms. These are but a few of the joys of motorscooter riding. That, and the 67 mpg in these days of $4.75/gallon gasoline.

We've had motorcycles before. Plenty of them. I had become adept at making all four appendages shift, brake, and accelerate on cue and enjoyed the open road. But after a hiatus from motorcycle ownership, Gary decided we needed a step-through motorscooter. More storage. easy to ride. Automatic. Low enough for my feet to touch the ground. And great gas mileage. Found it. Bought it. Now we ride it.

I've always been entertained how motorcycle riders seem to have their own greeting. Normally, as bikers pass in opposite directions, the left arm is extended obliquely downward, hand extended. It says, "Hey, I'm cool and so are you." I wondered if my little red scooter (which can still do a brisk 85 mph, so I'm told) would be worthy of such acknowledgement.

Yesterday I had occasion to ride a good distance to a doctor's appointment. It was a beautiful, warm day and lots of motorcycles had left there covers behind in the garage. Sure enough, no matter what kind of bike, a Hog, crotch-rocket, or decked-out Goldwing touring version, that arm dropped in an upside-down salute as they saw me coming. I smiled every time it happened, ponytail escaping the helmet and flapping in the breeze. But I kept forgetting the secret handshake. There I was, waving back at them like a princess on the way to the prom. I wonder what they thought. Probably, "Sheez. That's a girl for ya."

Bikers have this distinct way of acknowledging each other. Surfers do the "hang 10" thing. Snowboarders and skateboarders greet each other with "Duuude." High school girls shrilly shout the name of a friend and join in a big embrace. Cool guys shake hands and do the shoulder-tap, back-slap half-hug deal with the other hand.

The point is, we all have a way to identify ourselves. To the on-looker, we can tell a lot about who someone is by simply watching them. Their true identity is revealed by their actions, gestures, attitude, and the way they carry themselves. All this combines to make a good impression--or not!

We are children of the King. We are royal heirs. We are given all the resources of the kingdom to be kind, giving, unselfish, forgiving, thoughtful, loving, joyful, persevering, hopeful. Do I act the part? Is this what people see when they look at me?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just One More Day: Days 72-78

Day 72 – March 12, 2012

An early morning trip to the airport and three flights took its toll on my day. I ended up in Wisconsin and on a treadmill in the exercise center. I enjoyed watching some Fox News on the attached TV monitor but was still amazed at how had it was to run relatively slow paces with no incline.

Total – 5 treadmill miles

Day 73 – March 13, 2012

Today required an early morning workout before I headed off to do my thing at the hospital. While the workout last night was hard, this morning sent me for a loop- and that’s not a good thing. I struggled to get in but four miles.

Total – 4 miles

Day 74 – March 14

It was hard to get out of bed four hours after I went to sleep. Not sure what the problem was but my mind refused to settle. All too soon the hotel wake-up call roused me. Groggy and bleary-eyed, I headed down the hallway, into the elevator, and out the front door. It was unseasonably warm (so I’m told) and a nice welcome to the run’s start. It was a follow-your-nose kind of run. Down the quiet streets of Madison, WI, around the capital building, lit up brilliantly against the still-dark sky, and along the banks of the river. Other than an occasional bicyclist or small group of ROTC runners, the clean streets were mine. It turned out to be a great start to the day.

Total – 4 road miles

Day 75 – March 15, 2012

Meeting with a few of my runners, we took to the trails for a relaxed jaunt through the woods. Being spring break week, most of my kids were on beach somewhere. Jealous. But the early spring day and warm temps, easy conversation, and easier pace made it a pleasant morning group run.

Total – 5 trail miles

Day 76 – March 16, 2012

I am so glad my running buddy, Deb Watkins, moved back to the ‘Burg. We took advantage of the mild day to hit Flat Top, Harkening Hill, and Sharp Top, making sure we had a little picnic between each of the three mountains. It was a really nice, relaxed run.

Total – 16 trail miles

Day 77 – March 17, 2012

With building and landscaping projects keeping me busy and on my feet all day long, I opted for a weany 1.5 miles. With 16 yesterday and another 17 or so tomorrow, I didn’t fell too guilty.

Total – 1.5 road miles

Day 78 – March 18, 2012

A Sunday after noon in the mountains with UltraBaby, Sarah Quigg. Loved showing her the parts of next week’s Terrapin Mt. 50K that she didn’t know. It was a lot of up and a lot of down and nothing much in between. So good to have my second girls-only long run this week

Total - 17.8

Year-to-date - Approx 468 miles

Friday, March 16, 2012

Paint projects

A little color for the front entry
Stairwell dandelion
Freehand painted lower hallway rug
Upper hallway painted run (Sorry. Pic won't stay vertical)
Stenciled stair risers

Freehand cherry blossom branches and birds
$2.00 auction dresser gets a paint makeover
Color-blocked upstairs bathroom wall

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Twinkling twilight

The view below was mesmerizing. Looking out from my window seat, the landscape rushed by as my plane closed in on the airstrip. Though it was nighttime, I could see the impressive structures of downtown Charlotte jutting up into the dark sky. The headlights of cars made the roadways appear as moving streams of light, worthy to be an ever-transforming piece of art. I could imagine the aggressive, sweat-producing play of those contesting a soccer game on brightly lit fields below. Massive parking lots sat empty awaiting the morning rush, the security lights and their predictable shadows the sole occupants.

And then I saw it, a large area of twinkling lights in an area of otherwise darkness. Whoa. Did someone forget to take down their Christmas lights? It was a beautiful but curious sight. None of the other night lights in the distance were doing the twinkle-toe tango.

Suddenly, an explanation occurred to me. It must have been a residential neighborhood nestled among tall stands of trees. The glow was streetlamps lighting the way. As I watched from my perch in the sky, my constantly changing perspective made it look like the lights flashed off and on. But that wasn't the case. The lights, I'm quite sure, remained lit the whole time. The issue was that the branches of the trees momentarily obscured my view of the lights until my position in the plane changed just as quickly. Hence, twinkle-twinkle.

"God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." (I John 1:5). God is always "on." If His light seems to flicker, it's not His fault. It's mine. Something has come between His light and my viewpoint. Perhaps worry stands between. Maybe its priorities that are misaligned. Or maybe its the fact that I am constantly on the move, failing to keep my focus on that stabilizing light.

Bad things happen when I can't see the light. I stumble in the dark. I trip. Splat, I fall. I lose my way. Relationships suffer because the darkness prevents me from seeing those around me. In fact, my life get all out of whack, losing perspective in the absence of the Light. What to do?

Embrace the light. Gaze into it fully. Do whatever it takes to be focused on the beam. Follow the light. Let nothing come between us and the Light. Remember that "if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just one more day: Days 65 - 71

Day 65 – March 5, 2012

We had a little snow last night and the superintendent at LCA made good on his promise. He cancelled school at the sign of the first flake. It wasn’t long until one of my runners called to see if we could run in the big mountains. YES! There were five of us and though there was little to no snow down low, we got into some knee deep stuff up high. So glad to have adventurous high-schoolers! Go team.

Total- 9.5 trail miles

Day 66 – March 6, 2012

Knowing it was the first day to have middle-schoolers join track, it was prudent to run a little beforehand since I would have the youngsters to deal with during practice. I hit some local trails and gave the new kids a little test run during practice. All I can say is that middle schoolers must come from Mars.

Total – 6 trail, track, and road miles

Day 67 – March 7, 2012

It was a warm and windy day, sun shining: a day where the woods calls out to you. I texted a friend and we met so that I could show her some trails new to her. We ran about eight miles before I went to track practice and led the new middle-schoolers through a short run before team pictures.

Total- 10 miles, mostly trail with some road

Day 68 – March 8, 2012

With a trail day planned for the my team, I ran the required course the older kids would be tackling before practice. I have this habit of thinking they can do a little more in the allotted time. When I finished, I headed down to practice, sent the older ones on the way and headed to the hills with the youngsters. We put in about three miles and they did much better than expected. They even got to witness my total wipeout when running downhill and crashing into a tree doing a belly slide. Oh well, things happen when you run trails.

Total – 7.6 trail miles

Day 69 – March 9, 2012

With no official practice today (yeah!), all I had to do was open my door and step outside into the windy weather. A familiar loop was par for the course. The headwind made me feel puny but the tailwind. . .well, I’ll take that any day.

Total – 6 road miles

Day 70 – March 10, 2012

It was going to be a busy Saturday, full of hard, manual labor. My chipper was calling me to make mulch out of piles of branches just waiting to be shred to itsy-bitsy bits. Then, I had to dig about 14 post holes for a raised bed I am building. From past experience, I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk after a good eight hours of work. Therefore, I made sure to get in a couple miles before the work started. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt better than I have in a long time.

Total – 4 road miles

Day 71 – March 11, 2012

I had another good run today. One of my medical issues is a fairly severe microcytic hypochromic anemia. Interpretation: I have too few red blood cells and the ones I have are shriveled and tiny, making it hard to transport sufficient levels of oxygen. (They must be empathetic to the looks of the cellulite on my legs.) The anemia panel suggest that this is primarily due to an iron insufficiency. It takes 2-3 weeks for the iron to start increasing RBC production. Perhaps I am beginning to benefit from increasing hemoglobin levels. I’ll take it, regardless. There are still other issues to sort out but at least one thing is getting better.

Total- 6 road miles
Year-to-date: Approx. 415 miles

Friday, March 9, 2012

Recipe for golden apples

 A few weeks ago my twin brothers had a birthday. Being a good big sis, I dutifully extended my greetings via Facebook. Doesn't everyone do that nowadays?

Then I learned that one of them was disappointed that his phone didn't ring with more frequency on such a special day. I immediately felt guilty. I had actually thought about calling him but pushed the idea aside when Gary and I got involved in watching a good movie. Pretty lame, I know. But the whole incident is causing me to reconsider the power of a simple spoken word.

The smallest compliment given to one of my on-line students produces miles of smiles (or at least that's what I envision when they write back to thank me). An acknowledgement of a race well run seems to give my runners an added boost of confidence in the next practice. Thanking the preacher, acknowledging the musicians visibly produce signs of encouragement. Even making a grumpy Wal-Mart cashier smile seems like the right thing to do.

All these things are good. No, they're great. But I think we forget that those same positive, uplifting comments we consciously dole out to the friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and others are far too rare inside our own four walls.

Why is it that we miss opportunities to speak a kind word or acknowledge a job well done to the ones we love the most? I don't think we intend to be neglectful. It's that we simply take them for granted a little more than we should. Our children and spouses, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, should never have to wonder if they are special. They should never have to wait to be told they are loved. The sounds of silence should not be our song of choice.

 "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Proverbs 25:11)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Just one more day: Days 58-64

Day 58 - February 27, 2012

I had a lot to think about when I ran my miles during team practice. A visit to the doctor revealed a few things of concern, some of which explain why my running has felt increasingly hard. More tests to come. But the good news is that I am, at least, moving. For that I can be thankful.

Total – 5 road and gravel miles

Day 59 – February 28, 2012

It was a beautiful day for a birthday. 55 years on the planet. Hard to believe. But I had to take advantage of the day and head to the hills, running a new trail before practice and then repeating it as a group.

Total – 11 trail miles

Day 60 – February 29, 2012

Leap year! My dad was a Leap Year baby. I thought it was the coolest thing to turn 12 and have him be stuck at 11. The run today was light and fun, incorporating strength, balance, hills, and tons of stadium steps.

Total – 3 miles

Day 61 – March 1, 2012

March. In like a lion. . .The winds blew strong but with temps around 70 degrees, it was a great day to run in the woods. Practice was relaxed as we broke into groups and ran according to our abilities. I was feeling puny on the uphills, and alive only when gravity-assisted. It’s frustrating.

Total – 6.5 road and trail miles

Day 62 – March 2, 2012

Almost too embarrassed to post this but. . .On a windy, stormy day, I sure wasn’t “feeling” practice. But, when I heard we had access to the indoor track, my spirits rose. Still, we didn’t do much at all. 1 mile warmup, 5 x 200m, another mile to end the school week.

Total – 2.6 track miles

Day 63 – March 3, 2012

I am working way too hard for how slow I am working. I know I am anemic and am waiting results of some other tests. When I hit the roads, the plan for was for either 8.5 or 15 miles. It didn’t take very long to decide the shorter version was more prudent. I ran downhills but had to walk on most of the ups. Ugh. I feel anything but an athlete.

Total – 8.5 road miles

Day 64 – March 4, 2012

Another slog fest as I await more lab tests. But 3 miles is 3 miles. Cold and windy with a prediction of some snow tonight. Maybe a white snow in the morning would spur me on to a good run.

Total: 3 road miles
Year-to-date: Approx. 345 miles

A walk in the park and a pink finish line

By the time I finish most races, I've figured out at least the first paragraph of my post-race story. This was one of the few where the ...