Monday, March 4, 2013


The day after the race, I could hardly move.  My leg muscles (the above the knee in the front ones) hurt to the point I wasn't confident in their ability to support me.  A neighbor stopped by to borrow something and as I hobbled to get it for her, I explained, "I'm sorry.  I'm sore from running in a half-marathon yesterday."  

"Oh, did you not train?"

And my head hung in shame.  "Yes, I trained.  Just not enough.  And I'm not very good at running."

For most of that first week, I was very ashamed--of how sore I was, of how bad I felt when it was over.  I thought I would feel a huge sense of accomplishment, but mostly I felt how sore my muscles were and remembered how hard those last three miles were.

Tonight I went for my first post-race run.  I didn't know if I would keep running after this, but I feel like it would be a waste of a lot of time and energy (and money for cute shoes) to give it up now.  I was driving down into the Rose Bowl for the first time since the race.  Where I usually park just happened to be where the hardest part of the race for me began (the last two miles).  I didn't know how it would go after a two week sabbatical.  But it was amazing.  I only ran two miles, but I ran two miles.  No stops, no walking.  My leg didn't hurt.  I could breath.  That is huge.

I decided to join my friends in this race to raise money to free modern day slaves.  Somewhere along the way, I think I became a runner.  

I'll leave you (and this blog) with this.  Thank you, friends, for joining me on this journey.  In the words of Waterdeep, "It's a long hard road, with a good, good end."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My First and Last Half Marathon

There were three points in this race when I thought I was going to cry:
  1. About a mile in it just kind of hit me, I'm doing this.  It was overwhelming and intense.
  2. About mile 10, when I knew there were 3 more miles.  My feet hurt intensely and my stomach was spasming/cramping.
  3. At mile 13, with a tenth of a mile to go.  A friend told me that I should sing the Chariots of Fire song loudly as I crossed the finish line.  I started humming/singing it and almost starting sobbing (it's a very emotional song). Since I didn't want to cross the finish line as a hysterical mess, I quickly focused on something else.
I went into this race with several goals:
  1. Finish it (if possible in under 3 hours)
  2. Have as much fun as possible
  3. Not pee, poop, or puke in inappropriate places
I mostly accomplished these.  I'm trying not to be too disappointed about being over 3 hours (it was just 5 minutes and 48 seconds, but I know I could have done better).  There were pacers for various speeds, one of which was a man holding a 3:00 sign.  He led a group in walking and jogging at a pace that would have them finish at exactly 3 hours.  I was with them until about mile 1, when I passed them and stayed well ahead of them until mile 12, when they passed me.  By that point, my stomach was cramping so badly that keeping up with them was out of the question (I tried briefly).

Somehow I was born with a stomach that does not like mornings.  If I get up earlier than my routine, my stomach seems to know and will not allow food in before it's normal breakfast time.  When I woke up this morning at 5:11am I knew that I needed to eat something fairly substancial, but trying to eat made me feel like I was going to puke.   I finally managed half a banana and most of my hot tea, not really the breakfast of champions.  I was able to eat another banana as we walked to the starting line, but I wish I could have managed more.  I think this is what made the last third of the race miserable for me.

I think the combination of anxiety and not eating properly was really hard on my stomach.  It didn't stop spasming/cramping until 5 or 6 hours after the race.  Hopefully it will be normal again tomorrow.

I did have quite a bit of fun, more so in the first 10 miles.  Everyone running had a story.  I got a chance to hear some of them: a group of 130 teens from New York flew in to run to raise money for HASC-- a program for special needs children; a woman who had heart surgery a couple years before; a woman running in memory of a friend's daughter.  I was inspired by their stories.

I expecting to have pain in my fat leg.  I did, but only until mile 2 or 3 and not unbearably.  There was a big hill right before the second mile marker.  Hills hurt my leg like crazy.  I started up it chanting, "this will hurt, but I can do it."  I'm not sure what the people around me thought, but it helped. 

I wasn't running with anyone since all my friends are faster than me.  I needed company, so I used social media and texting.  That worked fairly well except typing and running is hard.

I don't think I ever want to do that again.  I'm not sure if I'm glad I did it this time.  Natural childbirth was easier and hurt less and I got a baby at the end.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I had a good run yesterday, slow, but steady.  For the first time this week, my stomach calmed down.  The stress settled there again this morning, but I think I'll be okay.

I'm hopeful today.  I'm glad that this will be over by this time tomorrow.  Tonight we have a carb-heavy dinner with all Oasis team.  I'm thankful that they let me (a non-runner) join them.  This experience has been ever so good for me (and not just for my health).

I took Charlotte to the library today.  As we were walking home, she got distracted by some rocks.  About 10 minutes into her play, I got bored and checked my email.  I had several donation notifications.  If I've done my math right, the goal has been reached.  (The on-line site will not let me enter the donations that people have given me as checks, so it doesn't quite match up.)  

I am overwhelmed with how many people have joined me in this goal.  I have been encouraged daily by people telling me they are cheering for me, by people donating to the cause, by motivational pictures that my mom texted me.  This morning I woke to Eleanor and Charlotte practicing their cheers, "Run, Mommy Run!" and "Run faster!".  The race course goes within a couple blocks of our house, so I'm hoping they will come cheer for me there and then meet me at the finish line, because I'm pretty sure I'll make it there.

I am incredibly grateful for the 24+ people who have donated financially.  I am incredibly grateful for the people who have said they will pray for me tomorrow (7:45am- 10:45ish am Pacific Time).  I think I can do this.  Thank you friends.  

Friday, February 15, 2013


When I started this training, I didn't know how it much it would change me.  I expected to lose weight (I didn't).  I expected to be super fit by now (I'm not).  I didn't expect to become so emotionally involved in the physical act of running.

Years ago, when I first started hearing about modern day slavery, I accepted it with sorrow, but an attitude of helplessness.  27 million people are enslaved worldwide.  What could I do?  I did what I could, which mostly involved changing some of my buying habits (more fair trade or used items).  When my friends gave me the opportunity to fund raise with them, I thought Finally, something tangible to do.

Now through all the wonderful, supportive friends, family and strangers, we've raised enough to redeem the lives of several young girls--to give them a chance at something more than being property  To give them freedom and a life.

I'm running for the freedom of these children.

I'm running for my freedom from learned helplessness and apathy.

I'm running for the freedom of my daughters, so they will learn that they can change the world.

I'm running for the freedom of the girl whose parents sold her to a brothel owner.

I'm running for freedom from my fat leg.

I'm running to celebrate life and health.

I'm running for freedom and it makes me very happy.

I'm going in a few minutes to pick up my race packet.  I have to keep reminding myself why I'm doing this because honestly this race deal scares the bejeebes out of me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Less than four months ago I decided to publicly display my lack of athletic ability for three reasons:

  1. I thought it would help with fund-raising 
  2. I thought it would keep me from quitting and
  3. my friend Claudia told me I should blog the experience.
There have been many, many times in the last three months that I have wanted to quit.  Many.  But if I did, everyone would know that not only am I bad at running, I'm also a quitter.  So, thanks for keeping me running.

I had a bad run today in the midst of a busy day.  I forgot to eat breakfast and missed my morning tea.  I'll try again tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be the last run before the race.  

Today is Ash Wednesday.  I like Fat Tuesday a lot better, but I guess everyday can't be about gluttony (unless you live in America).  I love the structure the church calendar gives to my life: a season to reflect on joy and hope, a season to reflect on lament and repentance, and a season of "ordinary time."  Matt and I went to Fuller's Ash Wednesday service today, which was outside and beautiful.  After a poetically beautiful sermon and the imposition of ashes, we sang this song:

We must go live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go

To act justly everyday
Loving mercy in every way
Walking humbly before You God

Metaphors of walking and running now have a new meaning for me.  My mind has tied running and moving forward with justice and peace.  I realize I'm not changing the world by running a race.  But I am changing me.  

I have $696 to raise to meet my goal.  If you can, please consider giving to change the world of a girl who desperately needs it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Random Ramblings

I was apprehensive about today's run because my last two runs have been so good and almost easy.  I was hoping that it wasn't just a fluke.

Tonight I set out to go around the Rose Bowl.  It was cold, ever so cold (by SoCal standards, so like 60).  As I was running, I was thinking about how far I've come.  I'm still running the same circle, but now I'm actually running and almost enjoying it.  Almost.  It's still really hard.

Once when Matt and I were waiting for the Indonesian embassy to give us visas, we went on a tour of friends.  While visiting one friend in Dallas, we went to the dog park with her.  This beautiful white dog walked over and stood in front of me.  I made polite conversation with the owner about its breed and such.  Then it peed on me.  I have held a grudge against this dog since.  Tonight a dog very similar to that beautiful white dog ran into me.  I was able to mostly dodge it, but I was not pleased.  I think this particular breed has it out for me.

Tonight's run was my fastest yet, my pace down to 11:20 min/mile average.  I kept having to slow myself down.  I like going fast, but don't yet have the stamina to maintain that speed.   I finished the three miles in 34 minutes (and 5 seconds).  I'm proud of that.  Four months ago I couldn't run a quarter of a mile without feeling like I would collapse.  Now I'm really running and even passing people on occasion!

Last night I had my worst race anxiety dream yet.  In the dream I had showed up at the starting line only to realize I was in jeans and a t-shirt (and underclothes completely unsuitable for running).  I didn't have my number bib thing.  I didn't have my shoes or the little thing that goes on my shoe to time the run.  The guy who was telling the people when to go held all the people back to wait for me to get my things ready, but I couldn't figure out where my running clothes were or how to get them.

I woke up from this dream to find email notifications of more donations.  This almost alleviated the anxiety from the dream.  I am amazed and overwhelmed by all the kind words and support that my friends, family, and even strangers have shown.  For the few of you who read this, thank you.  It means a lot to me to know that I have such wonderful people backing me.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In the Nick of Time

I think I have learned how to run.  I'm doing it.  I ran with no stops 3 miles again tonight.  I even shaved 40 seconds off my pace (down to 12:23 min/mile).  It kind of blows my mind that I get sick, hopeless and extremely discouraged and then the next time I go out to run it suddenly works.

I'm still nervous about running for 13.1 miles.  The pain in my leg stopped tonight and last night after about a mile and a half and didn't start again until I stopped.

The only other thing that I'm worried about is raising the other $1,045.80 to meet my goal [insert expectant, pleading smile here].