Things we do on vacation…

I don’t know about you but when I run a half marathon race in the morning, I want to spend the afternoon going on an adventure (this is very sarcastic!).   Okay really I do like to do other things beside running and I kinda feel like we need to do something fun together after the morning has been spent watching me run.  So in comes letter-boxing.  Have you ever heard of letter-boxing?  I found out about it last year at work.  One of the clinicians was telling us all about how to do more things with kids.  Funny thing is, I told my other half all about it and we decided to do it in places we travel, like the cape this weekend for my race.  The best part is that it takes you to places you would probably never go and away from all the touristy areas.

Basically this is how it works.  You need to get yourself a journal/book with blank pages, a stamp pad, markers and an adventurous spirit.  You then go to a website such as this one and look up areas you are traveling to or areas near you and let the scavenger hunt begin.  Here are some pics from today, this one was from a graveyard which in a weird way seemed like a good place to visit on this memorial day weekend.

Really pretty cemetery.

Really pretty cemetery.

The Mad Jack letterbox we found today.

The Mad Jack letterbox we found today.

Our stamp book.

Our stamp book.

This isn't what the stamp looked like but it is a representation of some stamps you can find that are handcarved.  Pretty cool.

This isn’t what the stamp looked like but it is a representation of some stamps you can find that are handcarved. Pretty cool. (I don’t want to give away the cool stamp we found)

 

Give it a try.  It’s lots of fun to figure out if the clues are really good!  You might be surprised at how many letterboxes are in your community right now.  I know I was.  Oh and one more thing is that if you join one of these websites, you can create your own letterbox, plant it and others can find your plants too.  We haven’t done one yet but it might be fun in the future.

Have you ever tried this or something like it?  

PS – Stayed tuned for an update later this week about the half marathon I ran before we went on these crazy adventures.

Looking for Bling…

pretty cool medal to add to the collection

pretty cool medal to add to the collection

I have to admit, I look at the race bling before I enter a race.  I even sometimes don’t even enter a race if they don’t give away medals at the end.  Not sure why I do this but I guess it could be because I am wanting a reward for working so hard to get to the finish line.  (Please don’t say I’m the only one who does this)  There are some races I run because they were what I started with and they were the ones that pushed me to go farther, like the Lone Gull 10K in September.  I will never be in the top three who gets awards but my time has gotten better each race and I like to push myself in it because although it runs along the ocean it also has challenging spots that are very hilly.

But back to the bling….

The really cool medals!

The really cool medals!  Wine stoppers

I once signed up for a race the night before because the medal was so cool and I needed to do a long run that weekend anyway so why not do it with other running friends.  This year’s medal for the OKC marathon is huge and weighs a ton.  I didn’t realize how big it was until I put it next to last year’s while I was hanging in my room.  I guess it has lots of semblance too since it was the “Worst Best Marathon Ever” so it better be a big reward.

OKC marathon medal.  On the left is this years, in the middle is last years, and at the end is the year before.

OKC marathon medal. On the left is this years, in the middle is last years, and at the end is the year before.

As I prepare for this weekend’s half marathon, I find myself not real excited about the bling because it  isn’t that great.  Shame on me! I’m excited about the race because it is the same course as my PR in February and then I was still training for the marathon, now I’ve run the marathon and this should be a relaxing run by the ocean on what is supposed to be a beautiful weekend.  Not saying I’m going to PR but it would be ideal conditions.

Oh I get side tracked so easy….

Anyway the bling…. I started thinking after my short run at the gym today that really I get more than any race bling has to offer.  Through all these years (about 4 years) of training, I have gotten into incredible shape.  Not that I’m bragging but I found a couple of abs (which is nice, now I’d like to find the rest of the six pack), my butt is very perky, and I have great legs if I do say so myself.  Now I feel like I’m bragging but that is not what it is.  It is more I can visibly see the changes in my body.  For my insides, I make better choices when I eat (okay most of the time but I still enjoy wine and ice cream) and I feel healthier.  Then there is the mental aspect.  I am able to process things faster, have more energy even when my body says your tired my mind keeps us going, and I just feel nicer (most of the time).  There is also the race community.  Wherever I go there is someone who is a runner, training for a race or use to run who I have great conversations with.  That is so much fun!  This is race bling I never counted on but it rewards me each day as well as on the race course when I finish.

This is how I store my race bling.  I know very fancy.  Don't be jealous of my fancy $2 command hooks!

This is how I store my race bling. I know very fancy. Don’t be jealous of my fancy $2 command hooks!

So I will continue to choose some races due to their race bling because really I am a girl who likes to have some sparkly things but I will continue to remind myself that I wear my race bling every day and I am so thankful that I can be so healthy now in my 40’s and hopefully it will continue for many, many years.

How about you, every chosen a race because of it’s bling?  If so, what race are you planning on running, maybe I will join you!  What is the best race bling you have ever gotten?

Seeking approval

approvedSorry I haven’t written in a while.  Not sure whether motivational Monday’s really count since you don’t get to hear about my crazy thoughts going through my head.  So, here we go, crazy thoughts and all.

Yesterday I had a day that made me think (which is a good thing because you want a therapist to think so she/he can help you).  I wanted to write about it but sorry, had to go to Bunco with the crazy ladies I hang out with once a month for the past 9 years (wow, how time flies).

Anyway, I had a client who came in my office we chatted/did therapy for about an hour and at the end she asked, “how did I do?”  I was taken back by that question.  I’ve never thought of therapy of “how did I do” moments.  Being the constant motivator/encourager I replied with “you did great, let’s schedule for two weeks and see how you do then.”  We laughed and rescheduled.

As I look back I begin to wonder, was this an unusual event or do we all seek approval so much that we don’t even want to say the wrong things to our therapist?  Why do we constantly seek approval from others?  I can tell you right now that the last question has been answered that as I get older, I don’t do it as often, seek approval that is.   But what about seeking approval in strange places?

I know that when I started working in addiction (and even therapy in general) I was always concerned about whether the clients would see my weaknesses, whether they would think I did a good job for them, helped them.  I never really thought that the client would be thinking the same thing.  Why do we do this?  Well it does come back to my word of the year, “acceptance” as well as wanting to be liked.  I want my clients to accept me and want to tell me things so I can try and help them.  I also want to be liked.  I know sometimes it is better to be hard on clients and expect a lot from them but I still want them to like me.   So is there an answer for why we seek approval? I think it’s normal, has a lot to do with our self-esteem, and can even been sought at our therapist’s office when we are most vulnerable.

Just my thoughts from my crazy head….

What do you think… have you ever sought approval in strange places and now looking back and wonder why?

approval

Worst Best Marathon EVER! – Part 2

(At last publishing, we were off…..)

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A little after mile 7 seeing my friends and family and getting my fuel.

I was missing something… missing something crucial… ENERGY!  It was gone.  I had sat for 2 hours and my body was tired.  I was hopeful that it would come to me, so I kept pushing onward.  It was cloudy, a little damp and in the low 60’s.   Not the most ideal situation to run a marathon in but if it would have stayed that way, it would have been doable (you might already know where this is going).  Well what happens in Oklahoma after a storm is that the clouds clear away, the humidity sets in and the beautiful blue sky becomes clear, filled with bright sunlight and heats up to around 80 degrees!  Not great marathon weather.

The first 10 miles were slow and steady with the realization that this was probably not going to be the Boston Qualifier I trained for but I could still have a better race than last year.  I could tell the other runners were having some of the same thoughts because we were all packed together.  In years past, we all seemed to separate pretty quickly and run our own races.  It was almost as if we knew we had a long way to go and we wanted to stick together.  I was able to see Dave and my friends at about mile 7 and he told me later, that he knew there was a problem (and there was, I just wasn’t sure how bad it was about to get).

Starting to get hot.

Starting to get hot at 13.1, beginning to pace self for what is going to be a long race.

When I saw my supporters at the halfway point (13.1) the sun had begun to pound on us all and my right calf had decided to cramp, at this point DNF was not gonna happen if I could help it.  I told Dave that this was going to be a long race but to bear with me because I was going to finish.  So I moved ahead.  Runner’s isolation began as we all crossed over the bridge to the lake where there are not many spectators because if you get there, you can’t get out until the race is over.  It is two miles of all of us depending on each other and that is what happened.  The runners began to take over on the crowd support.  The winds were whipping off the water about 30mph and the sun was beating down on us.  Some started walking, some like me tried the walk run method just to get through the miles and oh yes that calf cramp that was making itself known in my leg.  We as a running community would pat people on their shoulders as we went by saying things like “You got this”, “Hang in there”, and “You can make it”.  It was so nice to hear and see and great to be able to take my mind off the pain by helping others too.

We emerged to large crowds in the relay hand off area and it was great to hear the crowds, reading your bibs and saying your name, cheering us on.  Mile 17 became a blur due to the pain increasing and the conditions but I knew that I would see my fans again somewhere just past 18.  And there they were!  Cheering me on.  They made me run a little faster, added a little pep to my step and carried me to the upcoming hills that I knew would be difficult.  But again DNF was not in my vocabulary!  By now my calf cramps held me back to about a 12 min pace of walk, light jog and the thing that would make me transition between was spasms in both calves.  At about 23.5 miles something happened that scared the crap out of me.  My calves seized!  Both of them.  I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t move my feet.  I felt as if my feet were stuck in mud, I couldn’t even will them to keep going.  A spectator looked up from her chair and said “Is there something I can do for you”.  I just asked her to help me by holding me up for a minute, being hopeful that the cramps would pass.  She ran over to me, held me up and tried to calm me down.  You could see all the muscles in my legs having spasms.  Scarey!  We stood there for a few moments, she helped me lean over and try to stretch out.  She offered to get the medical officials but I waved her off, I had come this far and I was going to finish!  I asked if she would walk with me for a few steps and she said yes.  We walked about 50 feet and I was feeling a little better.  The crowd around all began to clap and provided great support.  Then I was off, okay I was shuffling but I was moving.

I was having leg spasms about every 20 steps or so (I didn’t count it but it seemed like a lot) but I was moving.  Then it happened again.  At about 24 miles in my legs seized again.  This time I was close to a course marshall.  He asked if I was okay and I said “no”.  I asked him to come over and hold me up for a minute which he did.  He then informed me that the medical tent was just up ahead and he could get them to come down at which I nearly dropped to my knees and started crawling because I did not want to be pulled off the course this close to the end.  I looked at him in the eyes and said, “I just want to finish, can you help me?”  He responded with a “Yes, what do you want me to do”.  “Walk with me, hold my arm and walk with me.  It’s only about 2.2 more miles if that is okay.”  He said, “Let’s go!”  And then we were off, me shuffling, him in his work boots.

IMG_2101[1]His name is Scott, I call him Marathon Scott.  He kept my mind off of my legs seizing, was there to hold me up when it happened, there to hand me water, powerade, and bananas along the last few miles.  We had other runners stop to offer to help me and talk with us as we trudged along.  But the answer we always gave was “not everyone gets an escort to the finish and now Scott is going to get to finish his first marathon.”  We got lots of cheers and there were tears in my eyes most of the last few miles, not just from the pain but because of the support, the fans, the runners, and the other course marshals.

When we turned the last corner towards the finish we picked up the pace and even a light jog at some points (followed by lots of leg issues).  I told Scott that when we get to the end we need to raise our arms up and jog over that finish line, I could collapse after!  The crowd began to yell for us louder and louder.  I saw my friends cheering and crying on the sides concerned for their friend who was being escorted by someone to the finish (but I also think just really happy to see me because those last few miles had taken forever!)  We crossed the line.  At the time it was the biggest victory just to cross but what I didn’t know was the battle that was about to begin… cue medical tent!

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Scott and I at the finish line

Scott and I got our picture taken by someone at the end, I picked up my medal and new t-shirt and sought out my family and some food, cause I could not eat another pretzel or drink anymore water or powerade.  But my legs had a different idea.  My family and friends found Scott and I as we headed toward the medical tent.  When we made it inside they asked me to get up on the bed and put my legs up in the air.  Upon sitting on the bed, my legs unleashed.  They unleashed all the pain that I had just put them through.  The spasms were so bad, I was screaming, arching my back, reaching for arms to grab and take the pain way and just wanting someone to make it all stop!  But little did I know that this was just the beginning.  My friend who is a therapist gathered my head, got in my face and walked me through breathing.  It took about 1.5 hours for the cramps to stop, there was lots of ice, lots of rubbing, lots of me just trying to calm down, and lots of eating pretzels and drinking water/powerade.  (Someone asked me today if it was worse than childbirth and I said yes because at least you can get drugs then!)  Finally able to hobble out after 2 hours, I was unsure whether I ever wanted to run again much less run a marathon again.

Now I look back … yesterday was my first run since that crazy Sunday… and I think, yes, I want to run again, yes, I want to do that marathon again.  Not because I am cray, cray.  Okay maybe I am that, but because it was the Worst Best Marathon Ever!

 

My new friend Ryan in the med tent.  2 hours of leg spasm fun!

My new friend Ryan in the med tent. 2 hours of leg spasm fun!

Relaxing with my friends, my new medal and a great glass of wine!

Relaxing with my friends, my new medal and a great glass of wine!

My new jewelry!  Love it, Earned it, Now time to train for another one!

My new jewelry! Love it, Earned it, Now time to train for another one!

Worst Best Marathon EVER! – Part 1

This title should give you a little hint about what happened this past Sunday.  The other title’s I threw around were, “Almost DNH (Did not Happen)” and “What the Hell was I thinking?!”

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Bill, Mark Bravo, Dick Beardsley and packet pick up!

Anyway, the days leading up to the marathon were filled with travel and anxiety.  After arriving late on Friday night, I struggled to sleep past 8 (I was too excited to sleep) so we were up and moving and headed to the Expo for bib pickup.  I was ignoring the weather because it was so iffy about what was happening.  The weather was nice, hot but nice, but that was supposed to change and here comes the anxiety.  I figured if I didn’t look it wouldn’t happen, right? Right!  Well, wrong! IMG_2083[1]

After spending a wonderful early evening carbo loading with my wonderful college friends of 20+ years, we called it a night.  I made it home (mom’s house), gathered all of my stuff for the race, and headed to bed because I needed to get up by 4:15 to make it down to the race for all the events by 5:30 (yes that is AM!).  I slept the majority of every hour from 10pm until alarm time (which never goes off but at least it is set).  I ate my oatmeal, gathered my stuff, and we were about to head out the door when it happened.  My stepfather said the horrible words no runner wants to hear, “Well the storms are firing up!”  I was hoping he was wrong, praying he was wrong, but as we approach downtown OKC, he became correct.  Little drops were falling on the windshield and there was lightening happening all around.  Nothing big but enough that I figured it would be a problem.  But onward we went, in hopes that it was going to pass by us.

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My crazy friends of 20+ years.

Dave and I dropped my mom off to meet a friend and we made our way over to the starting corrals via the port-a-potties cause if you run, you know before any race there is a need!  The rain became steadier and so we sought shelter in the 4 story parking garage right by the corrals.  We found an area in a reserved parking spot that we claimed as our own.  Little did we know that this spot would be ours for almost 2 hours.  Yep, that’s right, nothing like being ready to run, keyed up, excited that you have done all the training only to be told that they have to wait for the storms to pass.  We didn’t know it would be two hours from the start, it started as 30 mins and then an hour and then they had to check with the city of Oklahoma City to see if they could start the race after 8am.  Evidently they had a drop dead time of the race starting by 8am or it would not have happened.  So we sat… and sat…. and stressed that the race might not be run… and sat some more …. Oh and

Nothing like hanging out in the parking garage.

Nothing like hanging out in the parking garage.

the storms moved through.  It cooled off to low 60’s, hailed a little, rained a lot but we were protected.

Finally the word came down that the race would start at 8:20am.  They began all the prerace activities with the 168 seconds of silence for all the victims of the bombing, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and inside the parking garage we all hummed along until the last few lines that we all sang together (it was beautiful!).   We all reentered the corrals, cheered on the wheelchair start and then counted down to the beginning.  The horn sounded and we were off (okay it took me over 5 mins to cross the starting line but we were off)…….IMG_2094[1]