Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Six More Week of Winter

Breaking news!! 6 more weeks of winter...damn groundhog.

Okay - that means zilch to us desert dwellers. However, it means a bunch to me. My right foot is currently "under construction." So that means, six more weeks of winter.

Hey, but I've got a plan...

Remember last blog, where I basically said I was going to make Lake Sonoma my bitch? Well, plans change. Upon seeing Dr. Dean, he gave me the diagnosis  - torn ligament=bootcity. So, I won't be ready to make anything my bitch by April 12th. But we talked Western States, and he said *if I heal well, it should be no problem.

I know, I know...ifs. But, I'm holding on to hope. In the meantime here's the plan:

  • Rest
  • Do as much core, upper body, etc as I'm allowed
  • Get some writing and schoolwork done 
  • Spend some much needed time with the man and the family
  • Eat veggies like a champ
  • Learn Minecraft with Alexander
  • Heal
  • Mental training

So that's what I got. Let's go, life

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Last week, I watched my son get pelted in the face with a soccer ball. He came off the field crying, and like any good mother :), I urged him to get back out there and keep trying. I quelled the urge to coddle. He was fine; he needed the experience of "suck it up."

Huntsville, TX. 6am the start goes off. "Man I am ready for this," I think. I quickly find my new teammate Connie, and we introduced ourself in the first 10 minutes. She started giving me some advice, saying that "these roots don't seem like they are here now, but they'll be here in the last two laps. Just make sure to pick up your feet." I tell her, "thanks! I've actually got pretty strong ankles. I can turn an ankle pretty severely and keep going." Just like that the first mile clicks off, and I feel like a loaded gun. Someone finally let me out. This is the first race in probably a year that I've showed up healthy, trained, and ready - 100%, 

Alexander runs over to the other side of the field and grabs a drink, and his coach also tries to get him back on the field. I can see the exchange, and Alexander seems to have a ton of adrenaline. Still, he tells the coach "No, I don't want to play anymore. I don't want to get hit in the face." Then just 30 second later, something happens, and he's out on the field. The coach didn't even notice it at first, and they scrambled to shift the fielding around. Alexander is out there being aggressive - the kid who 20 minutes before would back up from the ball is going after it.

As I run, I'm playing it conservatively, but god, I'm wondering, where Pam, Michele, and Kaci are at - this is my day. I take a stride and POP. That's my ankle. I try to keep going, but it's painful. I get all sweaty and sick to my stomach a bit. I pull over to try to address it, and I quickly decide I need to keep moving - blood flow, right. My gait is noticeably changed, and I'm favoring one side. Every .10 miles I stop off to check back it, but it keeps getting worse. I don't even think about quitting. I keep inching along. 100 miles is a long way, I can recover. Except that I can't. My day is done. I know it, but I'm not ready to accept it. I continue on slowly for .50 miles, and then I stop and accept defeat. 

After the game, I run up to Alexander, and I tell him how proud I am. I explain that his determination was awesome. Then he looks at me and says, "Mom, soccer is really good anger management. I just put everything I had into the kicking that ball after I got hit in the face." The mom in me corrected the anger concept, I mean I'm not sure I'm comfortable with my 8-year old saying anger is okay. Then again, I know he's right. He had teammates were violently pushing each other and kicking the ball out, but he took his anger and respectfully used it to play more aggressively.

Anger. That's what I feel as I hobble back to the start. I wanted this so badly. I didn't cry or sob - that's my normal way of dealing. I just felt angry. I yelled some choice words into the woods. As I reached the start, I tapped on the car window, startling John and showing him my ankle. As we drove back to the start, I didn't wonder "why me," my anger is doing something else to me. I refuse to be the victim of circumstance. 

This weekend, I didn't sulk (I mean I did watch movies and eat candy) - I didn't stew in my defeat or my failure. My anger grew into drive, and I thought about the next target. 

So, Lake Sonoma 50m, I'm coming for you...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ode to a Running Partner

Dear Diesel,

We had you for 9.5 years. You left us much too soon. One special bond we shared was that of being running partners. Before we started running together, I'd watch owners jog with their dogs out of duty - running for the dog. And, sure, it's popular wisdom that tired dogs are better dogs. Those runs were as much for me as they were for you. During the course of a run we bonded, fought, shouted together (okay you barked), proudly floated on pavement (an yes, you had the best "prance"). And sometimes, just for fun, you'd pee on my shoes at stop lights while I was distracted.

We started by hiking with you. However, it became very clear that you hated the mountains. John and I once took you on a hike that resulted in us combing cactus out of your snout. Yes, this was as painful for us as it was for you. And we walked you, but the walks were about John and I (or John, Alexander, and I). We'd watch you at the dog park, but still that was something different.

You, Jessie, and I would take off from our house, and I could feel the energy between us. Most of the time we'd run at night, after we'd both had long days - okay your days were full of sleeping. You'd race from the house like a horse out of the gates. At times, you weren't the most obedient. You'd want to stop when I didn't. You'd decide that you needed to growl at another dog. And sure, it was frustrating. Sometimes, I'd take you running out of duty, and we'd spend the first mile fighting. I'm sure you could sense I was tired and unenthusiastic about running that evening, and I'm also sure that was the precise reason you decided to test me. After the first mile or so, we'd get synced up. Our strides seemed effortless, and I'd look down and see you, head held high, proud to be a dog running.

You enjoyed being part of our little running group - Jessie, you and I. You had to be just a little be in front of her and always on her right side. This formation felt so normal. As the years progressed, Jessie slowed down, and we'd have to go alone for a couple of miles and swing back to pick her up.

Just before Thanksgiving, I remember coming home after a run with you and telling John "Diesel's gonna be alive for ever." That day, you and I ran 7 miles at sub 8-minute pace, and you didn't miss a step. You came home, panted for a couple minutes, and proceeded on with your day as if nothing happened. I was sure we'd have you in our family forever.

As December grew on, I noticed you getting smaller and skinner. Despite your protests, I didn't run you as far or as fast. We stuck to short jogs and dog park visits. I thought maybe you needed less exercise and more food. I fed you as much as I could.

On New Year's Day, Alexander woke us up exclaiming, "Mom Diesel's got a lot of throw up in the yard." I jumped out of bed, looking for you found you shaking under the bed. That was very unlike you; you were a people person, a snuggler, an attention whore. I held you, knowing that something was really wrong. Alexander and I spent about an hour just holding you, waiting for Grandma Rhonda to come get Alexander, so I could take you to the emergency vet. From there the day went drastically downhill.

Of all the things I miss about you, the thing I miss most is my running partner. I get to go on big, adventurous runs through the mountains with fun, interesting people, but Diesel, running with you was the highlight of my day. For that short 30-60 minutes, we were together - with nothing else to get in the way. We didn't traverse mountains or run for hours at a time, but we bonded in a way that I'm having a hard time explaining. When we returned to the house, I felt satisfied, not because I ran my dog, but because I ran with my dog, side-by-side.

Thanks for the memories Diesel. I will miss our runs, but I have an erie feeling that you're still right by my side as I jog along.