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].

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Another Milestone

Tonight as I was getting to the Rose Bowl a Facebook alert popped up on my phone.  I looked at it and saw that a friend (another non-runner) has been inspired to partake in the fine art of torture that is running.  She said that she had run 17 minutes today.  My thought process went something like this: I don't think I've ever run 17 minutes straight.  I wonder if I can.  I think I can.  I'll do that.

Then this funny thing happened.  I started running around the Rose Bowl and just never stopped (I did stop half a mile in to stretch out my leg, but no walking).  I was working on pacing tonight and it was amazing how easy it was to run the full 3 miles.  Not too long ago, I was looking at the data from my app and realized that I'm running way faster than I can maintain (7-9min/mile) which leads to needing to walk.  So, with my phone in hand, I watched my pace as I ran tonight.  I averaged a 13 minute mile, which I realize is very slow.  I wasn't even winded most of the time and my leg didn't cramp (the two things that usually inspire a walking break).  It's amazing how much pacing makes a difference.

I'm not sure how much the cocktail of homeopathic remedies and drugs that I've been ingesting affected this evening's run.  I woke up this morning with much less snot and a much less sore throat.  I think I'm going to survive.  I may even make it all 13.1 miles.

Graph from run last week

Graph from today's run

Monday, February 4, 2013

Oh, the Stress

I was feeling okay about this whole race deal until I got sick.  I don't get sick often and am not pleased with the timing of this illness.  Why didn't I agree to a movie watching marathon?  Or a candy eating marathon?  I would be great at those.

I was just doing a little searching looking for how many calories running a half marathon would burn (just to get an idea of the energy expenditure).  I came across this anxiety producing gem "The death rate while jogging is about seven times higher than the death rate while sedentary."  Of course that's from the LiveStrong website, so who knows if it's true.

In effort to name and deal with the stress, I'm going to list the things that I'm worried about as of now, I'm sure google searches will produce more anxiety as the race day approaches.  In no particular order, I am scared of:

  • rabid dogs on the course
  • being picked up by the pace car
  • not meeting the fundraising goal
  • that my sinuses will still be filled with snot 
  • not eating/drinking the right things while running
  • not liking the music that's playing on the course
  • falling on my face
  • passing out
  • rabid cats on the course
  • having to make small talk while running
  • finishing last
  • not finishing
  • not knowing how to eat/drink/consume the gel
  • rabid squirrels on the course
  • not being able to find my family/ride home after it's over and having to walk the 2 miles home
  • not having cool enough clothes/hair  (it's the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon)
  • that I haven't trained enough (I know this to be the case)
  • and thanks to the LiveStrong site, death

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Run with Eleanor

I have a cold.  Last week Charlotte (the three year old) got pink eye.  Her pediatrician would not simply call in drops, so I had to take her to germland (much like Disneyland, but with fewer rides).  Two days after the visit, Charlotte's eyes were all better, but she started running a fever...and the snot, oh the snot. Charlotte, ever the generous child, has shared her affliction with Matt and me.  So, thank you Dr. Iwantyourmoney, for this gift you have given our family.

I decided to attempt a run this morning despite the snot.  Every once in a while when I am headed out for a run I ask Eleanor (the seven year old) if she wants to go.  She always says no, until today.  We took off, her on her scooter, me on foot.  I stuck a piece of flannel in my running belt thing to use as a handkerchief.

This run was actually quite enjoyable.  Eleanor was delightful.  She did get thirsty, so we stopped at a Starbucks and bought a bottle of water (I should have planned better where we would go by parks with water fountains).  It was a short (about 2.5 miles) run and somewhat slow, but what I needed for today.

I'm more than a little stressed about this race being only two weeks away.  I've started having the anxiety dreams--where I show up in the wrong shoes, where I'm trying to get to the starting line but can't find it, where I'm running the wrong way, where I fall down and break my arm but finish the race anyway like that gymnast.  You know, the usual dreams one has when facing a race they are completely unprepared for.  I've never run a race before of any sort.  Is there racing etiquette I should know?  The form said that there are stations for water and gatoraide set up along the course and one station with "gel."  I only hope this is hair gel.  Because by mile 8, I'm sure that's what I'll need.