Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Conclusion: Life is Good

As all of my regular readers know, I tend to fall off blogging when something is wrong. Well something is potentially wrong. Aside from having some crummy experiences on the trail over the past few weeks I'm feeling injured. Here's the story...

Three weeks ago I met my group up for a 14 mile run. Needless to say I was disappointed to learn that the full group was going to be coachless after the first mile and a half. I mean I didn't exactly pay to participate in a training program that promises coaches and end up running coachless for the second year in a row. That was only the beginning of a tough run.

Picture from the cavern
We ran and watched closely for the turn around point. It never came so we eventually used our judgement and turned around. I then had some stomach trouble. Ended up alone after about 12 miles due to a quick trip to the bathroom. Around mile 14 I saw I was approaching a water stop just to see the water being pulled off the course by the organizers. Ugh, waterless 14 miles into a 14 mile run of which I knew I had about 3 miles to get back to the starting point AND they knew someone was still out on the course because my keys were patiently awaiting my return.

About 15 miles into my 14 mile run, the breakdown began. I cried, I cursed my running group, I swore and then I ran into the most amazing dude ever. I stopped this guy on the trail and pathetically told him I didn't know where I was going and that I was 15 miles into a 14 mile training run. He looked at me sideways and decided he was going to help me out. He asked me if I had anything in me, I said yes and he said follow me. I should mention he was probably clipping at about 7 minute mile pace and graciously slowed down to my 13 minute mile pace to guide me back to my car. I couldn't thank him enough and I don't even know his name.

The following week it was much of the same. Coachless after 3 miles, sore foot, running with some good people, water on the course was not pulled away but my foot hurt. I did some mild training runs through the week and showed up the following week to the SAME story. Fourteen mile training run, coachless after 4 miles, extreme foot pain after the run, could barely walk the rest of the day...

Now please understand, I am grateful for the people who I have had the opportunity to run with. I am also grateful that I have a group that provides water every couple of miles but I paid for more. I'm not complaining, just noticing that the services I receive as a slower runner are not quite the same services that the faster folks paid for. Am I worth less because I run slower? I don't think so... So here's the deal, I am grateful for what I do get out of the group, but wish the services that were advertised were the same services I actually receive. But they aren't...

Wow, that felt good lay it all out there. The thing is, there is something to learn in all of this. First? Life hasn't been bad at all!

In the midst of all this running I have logged many miles in the pool and on the bike. Those cross training days have provided a great relief to the pain in the foot. I am thankful for these other options.

This was cool!!!
On top of it I have been to Bowling Green Ohio, the Ohio Caverns, shooting (guns that is), to Hopewell National park, a friend's house for dinner, bass pro shop, fisherman's warehouse, out to dinner and the list goes on.

I did receive a reality check when I was asked today if I was planning on going to the doctor for my foot. I sheepishly said no, but proceeded to call the office anyway just to learn they had closed for the day. I have great hopes that I will get into the doctor SOON and he will tell me to continue running and suck up the pain. Worst case scenario? I don't even want to think about it yet, but for certain I know the cross training and fun will continue because despite it all: LIFE IS (still) GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olympics Say it All

I'm going to let the Olympics speak, for the most part, this week. I don't think there is anything I can say about my training that could even match up with some of the editorial pieces that can be seen while watching the Olympics.

Honestly, I was found whining and upset about my run on Saturday. There were many factors that impacted my attitude but when I spent some of my Saturday and Sunday watching the Olympics, I recognized I had nothing to fret about. So many people spend their days taxing their bodies for a living while I do it as a hobby. Rather than beat myself up about my shape, my speed,, I am going to congratulate myself for my persistence and accomplishments. I will not be winning any gold medals, but I have been winning self confidence and sense of accomplishment during this journey.

Two Amazing Athletes!
One of the things I am most proud of is my ability to take feedback, let it hang out there and own my misgivings. We are all human and there is always an opportunity for self reflection. Every time I push my body a little farther than where I thought it could go, I am expanding my mind and learning something about myself. The Olympics are amazing because many of the people who participate know they have no chance to win the event but they show up, toe the line and persevere. Why do they do this? Because of the personal accomplishment, to represent their country and because of personal pride.

I will be sad when the Olympics end because I will have to wait two years for the next winter Olympics and four years for the next summer games but what I have learned from this set of games is that it doesn't matter what sport you play, every time you challenge yourself you win.

Side Note

I can't finish up this blog without mentioning my two trips that have thrown a wrench in my training plans. Working out on treadmills, in the heat, on the road in the midst of work can take its toll. So what would you do while on the road? I train as much as I can and then enjoy a bit of the local flavors (literally). Here is a picture of the BBQ pit at the restaurant we frequented tonight.