Runfession #5, November 2019 – Gobble Gobble!

Back on track with the November Runfession!! Check out some other Runfessions at Marcia’s Healthy Slice!

Forgive me ASICS for I have sinned…

I runfess that November was actually not a bad running month for me. This was probably due to my extremely low running standards. I ended running outside at least once a week and then doing weights at least once a week. This did not lead to any weight loss or any significant gains in running fitness. On the flip side, I didn’t gain weight or felt like I lost any running stamina.

I runfess that I didn’t enjoy the Girls on the Run (GOTR) race this year. My daughter couldn’t do the program so we registered as community runners. I don’t know if it was our school program or the GOTR program in general, but they really were not very welcoming to girls who were community runners. My daughter trained by herself to get ready for the race. I did run with her a few times but she took it upon herself to run when her siblings were at other activities. Her initiative and determination are qualities that GOTR is supposed to admire however at the race, she didn’t get a medal and was snubbed by the leaders of the GOTR team for pictures. I was proud of my girl and I know she was proud too however I know that being left out was difficult for her.

I runfess that I ran on thanksgiving day, my own personal turkey trot and got this little but of recognition from my Apple Watch, and was so taken by my own awesomeness that I signed up for a SPARTAN STADION RACE!!

I know. I feel a little crazy. I’ve only done one obstacle race before and it was a girls weekend doing the Warrior Dash which is a bit “fluffy” compared to other obstacle races (like Tough Mudder). The Spartan is a step up from Warrior Dash and doesn’t come with a cute Viking hat. At least the one I signed up for isn’t muddy since it’s being held at a stadium but the obstacles still look daunting.

So, this is what happens when I run alone and get to thinking about what things I want to change or do differently for next year.

I’m glad I got all that off my chest! Bring it on December!

©️ iido 2019

A Crack in the Track – My October Runfession

I missed the October Runfession so I’m doing it now before it’s time for November’s. I’ve written this Runfession in poem form:

The Crack in the Track
(The non-Thomas the Train version)

I had it all planned
In my one track mind
The route with the hills
The sun beaming on determined faces
Shiny with chocolate infused sweat

Instead, the dark clouds cried
Spurring some to run faster
To get out of the wet
While others wept along with
Exertion and exhaustion

A crack in my plan!
My plan is off track!
Is that a thunder crack I hear?
I’m off my intervals and
Walking up hills and down

I still crossed the finish line
I still got the bling
But my body hurts
And my soul
My soul
Is still walking
This crack it still stings.

This poem is part of my catching up with Patrick’s Pic and Word Challenge #204 – Walking and #205 – Crack. I was on a streak (and I confess, this is probably not one of my best poems) – I’m hoping this make up counts!

This poem also runfesses the agony of my run at the 10th Annual Hershey Half Marathon which took place on October 20, 2019. I was not consistent with my training for this race and it showed. The weather was also miserable – cloudy and cold and then the clouds opened up! Most of the race was in the rain – I don’t think I’ve actually ran a half marathon in the pouring rain before. By the time I reached the half way mark, I was seriously considering exiting with the relay runners and calling it quits!

But I didn’t and I made it to the finish line a little shy of three hours. This was probably one of my slowest half marathon times but considering the weather and my inconsistent training, it was an accomplishment! Kudos to my BRF, Michele, who didn’t let the rain stop her and powered through for a PR at this race!

The other weird, awful thing that happened was my arm that was holding my water bottle and phone (in one of those hand held holder things) stiffened up and I could not move it after the race. I actually sat in the car and called my husband, worried about driving home because I could not move that arm without pain. It took a hot bath, Motrin and several days of rest before I got feeling and mobility back. It is still feeling weak and I am planning on seeing a doctor about in the near future.

Looking at the past few months, I am seeing a consistent pattern of inconsistency!! When I don’t schedule time to run or write, these activities easily get pushed to the side with other pressing priorities. Balancing my personal needs with those of my family has always been a struggle but I am hoping to do better! I’m back on track!

©️ iido 2019

Runfession #3, September 2019 – A Running Update

September has come to a close – just in time because I’ve been needing this Runfession! Thanks again to Marcia @Marcia’s Healthy Slice for this forum. Check out this link to read other fabulous Runfessions.

Forgive me Brooks for I have sinned….

I runfess…I only got in seven (7!!) runs this entire month! Between traveling to Texas to visit my cousin and having a sick kid who needed and emergency inhaler…oh, and school starting along with after school activities…oh, and hubby traveling…did I mention I was able to get in seven (7!!) runs despite all this?

I runfess…my 10 mile run this month was probably my best run despite my pace being slower than my average. We had a great group of women for that MRTT run! Michele and I ran for most of miles until the end when she sped ahead since she had to leave. Michele has been so consistent with her training and it showed in this run! I’m so proud of her! She definitely inspired me to finish my miles strong!

I runfess…that towards the end of my 10 mile run, two elderly people (with white hair and everything!) asked me if I was ok or if I needed help! Yes, that’s right. I must have looked particularly more sweaty than usual or maybe like I was going die at the end of this run. On the one hand, I am thankful that other runners and bikers are kind and willing to help someone in need. On the other hand, how bad did I look that these old people thought I needed help? Yikes!

Only two and a half weeks until my half marathon. We have relatives visiting from out of the country so I am aiming for 3 runs for the next two week since I am on hostess duty. I have a long run planned for this Sunday – don’t worry, I’ve already alerted the local nursing home to send out the “oldies but goodies search team” if not back by a certain time!

©️ iido 2019

Radiance Running – A Haiku and Race Review of the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon

Grey clouds have no chance

When radiance runs with heart

Summer sun follows

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, I ran the 8th Annual Niagara Falls International Women’s Half Marathon and 5K. I signed up because a good friend of mine, Danielle had signed up for it and I wanted to run an “international race”. Niagara Falls is a few hours drive from my in-laws’ house so we were able to see them on the way to and from the race – bonus!!

Read my pre-race ramblings here!

If you’ve never visited Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, then you are truly missing out on an awesome sight. The majesty and power of water as it rushes over the rocks is truly humbling. You can hear its roar and see its misty beauty from the walkway next to it or a boat ride (for an up close and personal view) or even overhead on zip lines.

The morning of the race was cold and grey. The forecast said rain later in the day but obviously the weather did not get that memo. It started to rain as I waited for Danielle to pick me up at my hotel and the rain would continue on and off during the race.

As if the rain wasn’t enough of an ominous start to the race, Danielle arrived frazzled – she had left her running belt at home and her lucky sunglasses had broken that morning. She also just had a baby a year ago so her First Big Race after the baby. But, Danielle is one determined woman who doesn’t give up with or without her lucky sunglasses. She joked that as long as her pants didn’t fall down, she was going to run this race!

When we got to the race site, Danielle’s friends, Tiffany and Angie, were already there. This was Tiffany’s first half marathon. Angie was coming back from an injury as well. If there ever was a tougher group of mother runners, this was it! Check out the awesome shirts they had especially made for this race just to show how truly kicka$$ they are!

There was some music and a tent at the start of the race but not much else. There were a few moments of heavy rain that stopped just as were starting – the sun showed its face for a brief second before it became overcast again. Perfect running weather in my opinion!

One cool thing that Danielle reminded us when we were lining up was that when the announcer was saying that there were so many other countries represented at the race, that those “other countries” included us. We were Americans in Canada so that made us one of those “other countries” running the race. This is what it’s like running my first INTERNATIONAL race! Mind blown!

The course started out by Marineland, went out towards the Rainbow bridge then back on the same street, past the start area and then further down the other side of the falls along the Niagara river. This was a pretty flat course on streets right by the water. The course formed a “lopsided bow tie” shape. While the first loop was beautiful and had some people cheering, the second loop was almost devoid of spectators – not even the people who’s houses we passed, opened up the front door to cheer us on. Maybe it was the rain at the start of the race that kept the spectators away?

It didn’t keep Katherine Switzer away though! That woman is simply amazing and so full of energy and positivity!

The four of us started out together before Tiffany went ahead. This was her first half marathon and she totally ROCKED this race finishing about an hour before Danielle, Angie and I did. While this race wasn’t the my fastest, it was full of great moments like this one

and this one

and of course, this one!

At the end of the race we were treated to cold towels, which was perfect for cooling off from that final sprint. There wasn’t much in terms of post race festivities. Maybe it was because of the rain and/or because we were towards the back of the pack? There were still a lot of ladies left so this was somewhat disappointing (don’t they know the back is where the cool kids are??).

Still, I couldn’t have asked for a better first race of the year! Thank you, Danielle for telling me about this race and training with me. Thank you Danielle, Angie and Tiffany for some wonderful memories!

©️ iido 2019

The Hershey Half Marathon – A Haibun and Race Review

Race day was wear-pajamas-and-a-blanket-while-sipping-hot-cocoa-by-the-fire chilly. The first few miles felt like getting slapped by icy fingers. The middle miles were warmed by enthusiastic cheers and hills that heated legs. At the end of 13.1, the glow of accomplishment kept us warm while our friendship felt as heavy and solid as our medals.

Wind whispers “Give up”

The hill is steep, legs are tired

Friend shouts “Keep going”

The race begins! See how nice my hair looks…

A quick photo stop with my MRTT running buds, Heather and Michele.

At the end with my KitKat medal in front of Chocolate a World. Notice the hair – courtesy of wind and sweat!

The Hershey Half Marathon was held on a windy day in October this year. It was cold but warmed up a bit as the sun came up. I ran intervals with two wonderful women from my Moms Run this Town chapter, Michele and Heather. Our goal was 2:45 which we missed by 3 minutes. But that was ok. It was a PR for Michele and my best time coming back from health issues. Heather is a speedster but wanted to take it easy this race since she had other races coming up and didn’t get much running before this one.

This was one of those races where we all agreed it was about the journey and not the destination (time 😁). We were pretty consistent on the intervals – except for the part when, after cresting a very steep hill that had a DJ blasting “Cotton Eyed Joe” at the top, I decided to celebrate by breaking out my dance moves. That was a mistake although quite fun! I broke my stride, started to cramp in my calf and needed some extra walk breaks after that. Note to self – doing the “running man” does not count as a running interval!

Despite that running gaffe, the race itself was great! Michele and I had trained together for this one and we had all run it before so the hilly route was familiar. The wind was definitely a factor – I had to chase down my visor at one point after it blew away. They give out little Hershey chocolate bars in the last 2-3 miles of the race which is nice little treat. The one part of the course I don’t like is running through the empty parking lot as you head towards the stadium. The crowd support, especially around the Milton Hershey School, is excellent which is such a contrast to this desolate area that comes right at the end of race. Also disappointing this year was there was no cookie at the end!! Not that I needed a cookie but yes, I did need a cookie!!

I still don’t have any races scheduled for 2019…any suggestions, especially for races with great swag, are welcome! Lastly – a big shout out to MRTT and especially Heather and extra loud for Michele!! You ladies are in inspiration for my perspiration! ❤️

My Greatest Fear

This post was inspired by the Go Dog Go Tuesday Writing prompt: write an acrostic poem that spells out your greatest fear. Wow. Good thing my greatest fear isn’t disclosing too much or being too vulnerable. Seriously.

I had to think about this a lot – what am I afraid of? Not any type of animal or insect (although I will scream if it means someone else will do the dirty deed of killing the latter). Not really any activity although I’m not thrilled about things that involve heights especially if I’m being dangled on said heights with just nylon between me and the swan dive of death. Thinking of death, I don’t feel afraid of dying either. It happens to us all. Dealing with loss – I’m surviving that.

I remember a moment after giving birth to my twins, Lucas and Larissa, when they were only 22 weeks old – just a week shy of the “age of viability”. The doctor told me, “They’re really small and at this stage of gestation, they only have a 50/50 chance to live. Do you still want us to do everything we can to save them?” My answer, of course, “Yes – anything, everything!” My children didn’t survive, but it was at that moment that I thought to myself, “If I had to die so my children would live, would I be willing to die for them?”

******

My Greatest Fear

Crying will not help

Only sacrifice

Will be enough

Am I enough?

Realizing that

Death is an option

I am afraid

Courage escapes me

Eternity will know I failed

******

What I really fear is being a coward – being afraid and not standing up or speaking out when I need to, especially when it comes to protecting my children or others who I care about. It’s being afraid to make the ultimate sacrifice if it comes down to me or family/friends.

I know people have given their lives to protect others – as part of their job or because they felt compelled to. I know people put their lives at risk to speak out for those who are unable to. I know people intervene when they see injustice or see others getting hurt.

I am afraid that when the time comes, I will not be one of those people. I will cower in my comfortable life and leave the heavy lifting for others to do. I am afraid deep down inside of showing the world how much of a coward I really am.

Although, when it’s written as an acrostic poem, it doesn’t seem so scary….

Not a Humble Brag

Nope – we don’t play those games around here!

This post is about some pretty cool things that have recently happened…much cooler than keeping my kitchen island clean!

First, I recently received a “Notable Mention” on the nature themed haiku I submitted to Vita Brevis. I am over the moon about this because Vita Brevis showcases some really beautiful poetry. And to know that they actually thought my haiku deserved a shout out…I’m seriously so proud and honored!

I told my parents about the Notable Mention and my mom wrote back this haiku for me:

<tears> My mom was so proud of me that she wrote a beautiful haiku despite her admission that she doesn’t even like haikus.

<still crying here> <heart overflowing>

Second, I’ve admitted – out loud – several times – to different people that…I want to be a “real” writer. And by “real”, I mean someone who spends time during the day (or night) to write something, anything with purpose, and then sends it out into the world in hopes that at least one other person (who isn’t their mom or other family member) finds their writing worthy. And by “worthy”, I mean, that after reading it, the other person can say, “I’m glad I spent the time to read that”.

Hopefully, that’s what you, my dear readers, say to yourselves after reading my posts. Am I right? Can I get a “like” in here?!

Since making this admission, I’ve joined a writing group at my local library. I met with this lovely group of writers tonight and was blown away at the amount of knowledge and insightful critique imparted. While I throughly enjoy the connections I’ve made on the blogosphere, meeting other writers in real life is a necessary experience for me. It’s just like needing to meet other mother runners in real life to run or needing to drink coffee around 2 PM or always needing to get fries with that.

Thirdly, I finished typing up a “back to work” resume. It seems that being a mother runner writer is not really making the big bucks (note to self, if you’re thinking about that career choice). So, I’m in the market to do something where my interpersonal and creative skills, coupled with my expensive…I mean, intensive schooling, can make a difference in some type of (paying) organization. This is definitely one piece of writing that I hope someone will find worthy enough.

Lastly, I’d like to brag about my awesome family who has supported me and continue to support me through this chapter in my life. I realized after I wrote this last post, that I really would not have been able to get those things done without my husband watching the kids while I ran or my mom (who was visiting) helping to clean up after the kids or even my kids who have started to consistently bring out their dishes (it only took all summer to get into that habit!). I am surrounded by some super wonderful, loving people and I just want all of you to know that!

Well, that’s it. I’m turning off the spotlight and putting away my jazz hands…at least, for now.