Sunday, April 29, 2012

T minus 19 weeks

This is my feet after a 16 mile trail run. Getting them clean, especially around the toes was not fun.

Highlights of this week...

Seven miles on Thursday night, got passed by an elderly man wearing a tee shirt that said "either you ran today or you didn't". I get that. Not about speed, or how far, just that you did it.

Sixteen miles on Saturday, Steve ran with me. His first run after the 100K last weekend, it's his way of getting a long easy run in. The company was great. As we ran north, face first into a 15+ mph wind he noticed it was shifting to the east. And continued to until it was a NNE, and then ENE and then east. After we turned and headed home, with 6.5 miles to go, noticed we were now running straight into a south wind, about the same speed of 15 mph or so. I wasn't thrilled with that, but can't argue with nature.

At 14 miles in I was running and I was familiar with that part of the trail and didn't realize enough of the sand had eroded off the trail that I tripped over a buried rock. I had no hope of catching my footing. I did a face first arms extended dive any baseball player would be proud of heading into third. I laid there and realized the skinned knee and bruised palm weren't near as bad as my shoulders and neck were going to feel. On the plus side, I laid there for a couple of minutes and rested. Steve was a little worried at first, said he thought I was going to catch myself, it was like watching it in slow motion. This is not a commmentary on how fast I was running, because we finished in the time I wanted to

This video was made by two guys from Colorada who ran the Rockin K Trail Marathon early in April with me. If you are curious about the course, this shows a little more than my pictures did. Gives a better perspective of the climb up the bluff and the water crossings. It's about three and half minutes long. If you watch to the end you can see Steve cross the finish line.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Conversations with Whitney

Whitney: "Everything I need to know I learned from Simba".

When she "snuck" this in the cart, I let her.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heartbreak doesn't kill you

“If your heart was broken you would be dead”.

I recently read the above statement. I have overused the phrase that my heart was broken. Are you tired of it? I am, and since I feel pretty good lately, chances are you won’t hear it as much. But I will admit I was peeved that someone would make light of how I felt. Kind of like when I saw a guy wearing a tee shirt that said "Cancer kills grandmas dead" within a month of my grandma dying of bone cancer. Insensitive.

I read a lot. Last fall when I had multiple doctor appointments, I read an article in a magazine in a doctor’s office that didn’t subscribe to Cosmopolitan (don’t judge me) so I read a boring magazine. A news journal type. I read an article on the subject of heartbreak and the article pulled me in.

Interestingly, heartbreak is a real malady and it doesn’t kill you (it can, but it doesn’t always). Feelings of loss and rejection cause overstimulation in an area of the brain (not sure which area) that in turn affects a nerve in the chest (don’t know which one of these either) that can cause nausea (yep, I threw up…a lot), tightness in the chest (I also had trouble breathing) and even chest pain. It doesn’t last forever.

I wasn't going to say anything about this. But as I thought about the two instances of heart break I dealt with last year I thought it was worth talking about.

I raised Nate to be independent and leave me. I didn't raise a momma's boy. I figured he would move away freshman year of college. He turned down scholarships and stayed at home, so I got one more year than I was expecting. I knew 8 months before he moved out that he was moving out. He told me at Christmas he was moving away for sophomore year. I thought I was prepared. I knew it would be hard. Hard does not begin to describe how I felt. The first time he called me and was sick and said "I don't know what's wrong with me" I cried all day, threw up, and physically felt sick myself.

There are still times when I go in his room and have to stop and bend over to catch my breath. I know I'm supposed to be strong and let go. He's almost 20 years old. He's self sufficient. He's good. I told him this last weekend I miss him so much it hurts. And it does. I cried all the way back to the lake after I dropped him at his apartment.

So if I can feel this way over Nate moving out and some marriage difficulty, I can't begin to imagine how it would feel to really experience loss through divorce and death. I thought a few times that I was losing my mind. I was told by an unfeeling, uncaring person a co-worker to get some anti-depressants and get over it.

Please know some of us care. If you are dealing with loss or rejection and feel like life is out of control and you can't deal with it, hang in there. If you feel like your heart is broken, maybe it is. It's a real physical problem. But know that it gets better.

If you don’t believe me, google it. Mayo Clinic will back me up. The Bible talks about it too. King David wrote in Psalms 69:20 that his heart was broken from insults and it made him sick.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Going further

The last two races I've been at have been fun. The marathon two weeks ago and crewing at the 100K yesterday. So much fun in fact, that I decided this weekend to begin training for a 50 mile race to call my own. I have one in my sights, and it's this fall. If I'm not ready, I have another one in my sights next spring. I guess this means I'm pretty serious about it if I have a back up plan.

I also have two I'm looking at in July that are in the 50K range. So I have plan...

Now, I haven't registered as I reserve the right to not start and DNF. But I am going to do one.

Since my summer is wide open, I have the time to train correctly right now. So it seems like a good time to push myself. I wasn't going to tell my plans because I might not succeed. But that's kind of chicken poop of me. So I'm going to lay it out there and give you the training updates, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And when it's ugly, I'll share pictures. Because I think I look great hot, sweaty, panting, in pain and out of breath.

Following Steve around I have made a few friends in the ultra running world that really inspire me.

This is Sophia. She is a Mizuno rep in Topeka and a running coach and an ultra-runner and the leader/founder of the "MudBabes" that run together in Lawrence. I have made myself an honorary member. And when Sophia comes to Wichita for work, we have her over. We luuvvvv her.

And Coleen, who coaches runners through her "Tramps Like Us" running group in the Olathe area. She is great fun to spend an evening around and a strong runner. Like places in the female divisions at 100 mile races.

I admire both these women, their strength and success in their sport. I also love LOVE watching them with their running clients (and every other runner on the course). Their clients success is important to them. They celebrate their successes with them. They push them to do more, be better. They show up at races and work aid stations and cheer their runners on (and everyone else), they run a marathon and then go back to the aid station and run the last 8 miles of a race with a struggling friend.

Most of all, I see in them one of the qualities I strive for in my life, and that is to cheer on other women. To be on their side. To encourage them. To push them. To tell them they can do it. To tell them they are beautiful. To say you did great. You worked hard. You pushed yourself. You are strong and amazing.

Because face it, no matter what, it's tough being a woman. Whether you are married, single or divorced; a parent or childless. Wheteher you are tall or short; thin or heavy; blonde, brunette or redhead.

I think we are all beautiful, strong and amazing in our own right.

And there are enough mean girls in the world already tearing women down. I want to be part of the building up.

I also want to say I ran an ultra marathon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Deal With It

At church yesterday morning Jonathon started his message with the statement/question that we all have things we need to deal with in our lives. I scribbled on the back of a tithe envelope (have to put them to good use now, they are going to waste with all the on-line giving) three things that I need to deal with.

The first one is a relationship that I need to deal with. Not so much the person, just my involvement and what level of involvement I want and how to deal with it. Not a shock.

Another one is long time habit that I need to change. Not sin even, just something I want to change. Again, no surprise.

The third one, though, was a surprise as I quit writing and saw the word "prayer". I pray pretty much constantly, I think. I have an on-going conversation with God, open communication all day. When someone asks me to pray for them or a prayer request, if I say I will, I do it. What I'm missing though, is a time that I pray for the people I love. Not a list of wants, not a list of thank you's. A time spent praying health and safety and blessings on those I love. Over the course of the last year my prayers have been more selfish than usual. Over several things. The fact that this came to mind leads me to believe that God thinks I'm ready to get past that.

I am going to do that. Deal with these three.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In my corner

I decided not to run the marathon yesterday. I decided that on Thursday night. It was the right decision, but I really wished I was running. I ran back and forth to the aid stations to take care of Steve. He did awesome. I'm so proud of him.

I went into Lawrence to take Nate to lunch, but he wasn't hungry. So I took him to Target and bought him stuff to fix his own dinner. And some other stuff too. Spent an hour with him, love him and MISS HIM SO MUCH! He's a good boy, I'm so proud of him.

Whitney told me Monday after the last volleyball tournament that she was tired of being sore. Her arm and shoulder hurt. So she dropped the track team. I'm so proud of her. Love this girl. I have all kinds of time for me now that there are no volleyball practices, tournaments or track meets. I might get back on a good training schedule. (I printed a new one today, I'm very excited.)
This is her track/Hunger Games hair style. My nephew says her Hunger Games name is Whitness.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Conversations with Whitney

Whitney: “I can’t take back the words I never said”.

Ooooooh boy. This really smacked me. I have been holding a person responsible for words they haven’t said. For making me feel a certain way that they didn’t, because I’ve done it to myself. I’ve allowed circumstances and happenings to be about me that kind of were, but really weren’t, and I know it.

Whether the circumstances or happenings should have happened isn’t my issue here. It’s apologies and confessions have been made. Forgiveness requested and granted. Reparations made, as best as possible. And yet, I’m still holding on to hurt, wanting it fixed and the person I’m holding responsible can’t fix it because it’s not hurt they inflicted.

Today I’m setting them free. Releasing them of expectations. Expectations to fix things they didn't break.

Don’t discount wisdom because it comes from youth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Running, Beer, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Tornadoes

These have something in common. Saturday night.

One of Steve’s ultra-running friends is a Team In Training coach. Team In Training is a running organization that helps new runners through coaches to run any distance they want to. Scott is an extraordinary runner. The 100 mile Steve ran in under 23 hours (which I still find amazing and am so proud of him) Scott won first place, ran in under 17 hours. He does some long training runs with Steve on occasion.

He is also a “home brewmaster”. So that’s the first three, right? Running, Beer and the Leukemia and Lymphona Society. Saturday night Scott hosted a fundraiser for one of runners he coaches for Team In Training. Hannah is also an ultra-runner, she ran the same hundred mile race above in about 31 hours. Awesome job, she’s a great lady. Her cousin lost a baby to leukemia. This is her way of showing she cares. And she found out she loves to run.

We went to the fundraiser and sampled beer even though we are not beer drinkers. After three samples that we tasted and gave to one of the gentlemen there, we simply enjoyed the food and the company. It’s a room full of runners. What’s not to love?

I did sit comfortably in my superiority of having run multiple marathons in a room full of mostly half marathon runners. Of course, Steve and Scott can keep me in my place, just because I know what they do.

And the discussion on which grand slam of ultra running each of them want to do humbled me immensely. (Grand Slam is four 100 mile races that if you register to run all four and register with the Grand Slam group you get a special award. Currently there are two, the original grand slam, but one of the races is hard to get into, it’s a lottery. The Midwest Grand Slam which Steve wants to do next year is two 100 miles races in June, one in July and one in September. And then the third ultra grand slam is tri-state of Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri. This includes two Steve has already run which makes it enticing because it’s the devil he already knows. That may be 2014?)

I looked at the women in the group and compared myself. Since I don't know any except for Hannah, personal trainer at Genesis health club and 100 mile runner and Jennifer, marathoner, lawyer, president of the Women's Business Association in Wichita, I got to feel pretty inferior, and the other women? I didn't have anything other than appearance. BAD PATSY. BAAAAD! Don’t ever do that. Compare yourself to women you don't know. Or do know for that matter. No matter how much you like yourself, you are asking for trouble. A little bit of self flagellation, not even going to share how pitiful I was.

However, after 3 hours with them I began to realize that most of them were more insecure than I am. I won't go into details, but it was evident. I'm really not insecure. I realized this week in spite of the heartache I've experienced this last year and how broken I feel I am more at peace than I've ever been. I have looked hard and long at myself and realized that I like myself. There is nothing wrong with me. We don't always get what we deserve, good or bad. Sometimes things happen to you that you didn't do anything to cause. When you walk through the dark times and find peace, when you realize you are loved by God first and foremost, loved by your husband, your children, friends, etc., (and they all have pretty dang good taste in people, so I must be special, right?) how can you compare yourself to others and say God made you wrong?

And number four, tornadoes...

Then all the iphone meteorologist began talking about the storm that was coming. So Steve and I decided to head home before it got to Wichita. We walked out the door as it started to rain. We are good at that. We were about 5 miles from home on the highway when Steve even reacted to the weather and slowed down. I had been hanging on to the overhead hand rail with my eyes closed and teeth clenched since we got on the highway. Night driving in storms brings all kinds of anxiety on me.

We made it home safely and waded down the sidewalk to the front door. We had localized flooding in less than half an hour. BUT no tornado at hour house, no damage at our house, we had power, etc.

The tornado did hit my place of employment and I got two unexpected days of vacation. Which is okay if insurance pays for it, but if I have to use vacation, I’ll be short for my Colorado and South Dakota trips. Small things. Will deal with that as it happens.

I was one of the group called back to work early because the ceiling of the warehouse that houses my material caved in. I'm most likley going to have a rough month or so getting caught back up.

Fortunately, in the 97 tornadoes that were in Kansas Saturday night, there were no fatalities. Some lost property, but no one died. And that is a blessing that can't be argued with.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The good Christian woman

I'm not her. If I base my belief on good christianity on my upbringing and how I was raised, I'm an awful Christian.

I question God. I'm not going to sugar coat this and say it's prayerful even. I really do ask him why. I know he doesn't owe me an answer. I know he's always good. I know we live in a sinful broken world. And he knows this. And he knows I'm scared and confused and disappointed and not always happy. All the things good christians are supposed to be; brave, fearless, unwavering faith in God, happy; deliriously so, so the world will want what I have.

My life doesn't allow this. I believe that in my crying to God asking "why this happened" he understands the heart that's asking. In the fear, and acknowledging the fear and moving forward following him in the dark times regardless he understands the trepidation, yet gives the strength to move forward. In the times of asking for a way out, any way out, not having to deal with my problems. My thoughts, my hurts, he knows that I want out because I hurt. And he knows that at some point I will pick myself up and walk through the dark time to come out on the other side because I believe him. I believe I have to go through it to get to the end. I believe the valley, the dark times, are only beautiful once you are out of them.

I also believe if we don't have the freedom to talk to God honestly, because let's be real, he knows our hearts anyway, and let him know we are down and discouraged, disappointed and distraught, we will never get victory over them. You know the old saying, the first step is admitting you have a problem?

He's God in the good times, he's God in the bad times. And I don't pretend to have it all figured out. I don't pretend that everything is okay. I don't hold it in (anymore). I ask my friends that I trust for advice. For prayer. I tell them what I'm struggling with. I trust that when I can't make out the truth from God, that they will seek him for me.

But bottom line, I am not afraid to go to God with very real hurts, heartbreak, disappointments, fears, etc. Because if I don't recognize him in the hard times and know that he will walk with me, then when those hard times come and I'm afraid to be honest, where can I go? So I pour it out to the one who can take it. And let him pour back into me.

When Scripture says "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you", 1 Peter 5:7, it's our invitation to bring him our cares. We don't have to pretty them up or fix ourselves before we come to him. If we did, I'd never be able to come to him.

I have some cares that I desperately need to give up. I am working on it. And it's not flowery prayers or pretty words or all postive. But it doesn't have to be. I love him. I fear him. I know he is God, and I know he loves me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My cauldron

This is me. Stirring my cauldron. A cauldron of bubbling nasty thoughts. I have them, and I have days (weeks, months???) where I struggle to control my mind.

Thoughts of fear, fear of what the future holds.

Thoughts of anxiety, what if?

Thoughts of insecurity, I'm not enough.

Thoughts of anger, how could you do that to me? Why did that happen to me?

Thoughts of discouragement, is this as good as it's gonna ever be?

Psalm 94:11 The LORD knows people’s thoughts; he knows they are worthless!

Yes, these thoughts are worthless, but they are real. They are something that I have to deal with. Along with these thoughts are other types of unnecessary and hurtful thoughts. I'm going to share a couple of examples of how ugly I can be sometimes.

How could you say that to me? My daughter only made the varsity volleyball team last year because so and so quit? "we were all wondering if Whitney would ever get a chance to play, how she would find a spot on the team." The thought that I managed to keep inside my head at this comment? Your daughter who is 6 foot tall and made varsity this year played twice before she got busted back to JV. She had a spot handed to her and she couldn't keep it. My daughter busted her butt and earned a spot, and never lost it.

How can you be that rude? I'm standing right here. As I'm in the middle of conversation with a friend and another one of her friends walks up (this friend knows me too) and begins talking like I'm not there. Never acknowledges me, makes eye contact and smiles or even says Hi. Just like I'm not there. This thought? Witch. You don't have to be my friend, you don't even have to include me, but I'm kinder to the person at QT that opens the door for me or the cashier at Walmart that's never seen me before than you were in church this morning.

So I throw these thoughts into my cauldron and begin to stir them up and make them more than they should be. I serve them back up to myself in a steaming mess of revenge and payback that should never be part of who I am.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Certainly don't have my thoughts fixed on Jesus at times like this. They are centered solely on myself. How I feel, getting even, having my say. This is not the person I want to be. I made that comment this weekend. I'm responsible for me. Not how others treat me or feel about me, but how I behave. If I lose sight of that, I lose a big part of myself. I don't ever want to be the mean girl. I don't ever want to pay someone back for how they treated me. Even if they deserve it. Even if I didn't deserve what I got. I always come back to this.

Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”

No room for payback or revenge. Sometimes showing love is simply keeping my mouth shut.

2 Corinthians 10:5 and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.

Capture every thought. Every thought. Be obedient to Christ. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In my corner

Third track meet of the season. She gets three throws, first one was flat, but was measurable and in the top 50% of the field. Second one she scratched, third one she got her cleats stuck in the mud and fell across the line and that was also a scratch. They let the boys throw first this time so we missed a wedding we really wanted to go to, but I would not miss her less than stellar performance at this track meet for anything. Even though we stood for three hours to see her throw. She is totally worth every minute of it. I know how much it would kill me to miss a throw and then have it be her last. Lived through that with Nate, won't chance it with her if at all possible. Here she is being goofy (as usual) wearing Steven's jersey.

Last volleyball tournament of the club season. We started off well, played some really good games. And for the only time I can say this in nine tournaments, in the last match of the day, Whitney could not find the court. That's volleyball language for she didn't know where she was. What was really odd, she was in her strongest position, back row. She was letting things drop close to the line, and just couldn't get her rythym. By the time she did, it had affected the whole team, and we lost the match. Which put us out of tournament play. After we got home, two to three hours earlier than we would've, I watched the storms go through McPherson and Saline Counties, up where her tournament was and was quite glad we didn't drive home in that.

We had Ashley's 20th birthday party. Cake, ice cream and punch. I made the cake and ice cream, and would've shared a picture but the cake was not a piece of art, it was delicious, and I don't know how to take a picture of delicious. I did eat too much of it. (So tomorrow will be my two hour night at the Y for core express, muscle pump and zumba).

Heard a great sermon this morning at church. I will be thinking about it and how I can apply it to my life and what I should do with it. Can't even put it into words right now what I'm thinking because it was very powerful to me, and I'm a bit jumbled from it.

Almost recovered from the marathon last week, pretty sure I'm going to run the one Saturday in Lawrence. The only thing that still hurts is the middle toe on my left foot.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I saw a facebook status the other day that someone shared. I don't know the girl who posted it originally, but it started out "I'm not hot or gorgeous..." and went on to say all the things she is not, but she is "me" and that is good enough, or something like that. You get the idea. I hate these. I believe everyone of us is special and yes, even beautiful, because we are created in the image of our God. Having said that, Mark took a picture of me* running into the aid station on Saturday and I was not gorgeous, however I looked hot. Literally. I look awful. My ponytail had come out when the rubber band caught on a tree branch and I put my sweaty hair back up while I was running, no comb, no hair pins, etc. It was a bad angle. My legs looked extra heavy in the skirt, the white tank top was not flattering and I was wearing a huge waist pack with two 16 oz bottles attached at my hips. I was sunburned, flushed, and wind chapped. But I like the picture. Because I was doing something I love. I was having a good time. I thought how I would never post that I'm hot (unless I'm physically sweating my butt off) or gorgeous. But I also will never post that I'm not. I do the best I can, and I like what I see...most of the time.

In light of this:

Things I won’t share as a facebook status

Pictures of meat I’m cooking on the grill. (Ya’ll have seen chicken breast before, right?)

My weight (nunja)

What Steve and I are doing on a date (you can pity me or be jealous, it could go either way)

The fact that I’m sitting on my couch (life in the fast lane)

That I did dishes, laundry or carpool (doesn’t everyone?)

The word I just played on words with friends (whether it’s 2 points or 104 points)

My political opinion (no one cares anyway)

What the weather is like (we joke at our house that we look at facebook to confirm that it’s raining)

Things I will share as a facebook status

Any encounter with a snake (if I grill the snake, I’ll break the above rule and share pictures)

That I was called a name while I was running (a name that would have to do with my weight)

Pictures of Whitney doing anything (whether it’s terribly mediocre or startlingly amazing)

That I drove carpool for Whitney and her friends and they said/did something outrageous (which is all the time. Whitney, Madel and Denae are hilarious)

What Steve and I are doing as it relates to running for extremely long amounts of time in very challenging terrain, climate, etc.

And everyone of you who reads this? You need to believe that you are created in the image of your heavenly father. Love who you are. If you don't like something about yourself that is in your power to change, go for it. Hair color, wax, tan, lose 10-100 pounds. But none of those things change your value as a person.

*while I say I loved the picture, I am not going to share it with you. Does that make me a hypocrite? I guess I can live with that.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why do you talk so much?

I was talking to a friend at church Sunday. Not a close friend (yet), but a lady I love dearly for as well as I know her, and we have plans to get together soon, because I need all the friends I can get and I unashamedly admit that I pursue friendships with godly women.

She commented on something I said last Easter. After a second I realized what she was talking about, I remember last Easter very well. Talking about all the pretty people dressed up in the pretty Easter clothes, all the pretty families, and we weren’t one of them. Whitney in jeans and Uggs and an Alaska hoodie. This Easter she was sporting a pink, yellow and orange tie dyed volleyball tee shirt that says “I love this game” with very distressed jeans and brown toe sandals. (I say that, because when I looked I was shocked it wasn’t the orange chuck’s).

I don’t know if we are any prettier than we were last year, but we are a lot happier. All of us.

Last Easter was a turning point for me at a particularly dark time of my life. In fact, I remember 3 major turning points for me in a 3 month time frame and they were on Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. How awesome is it that the good moments God gave me, (and I would say that they were only big moments to me; they wouldn’t be remembered or matter much to anyone else), came on days that I will remember. He made each of those holidays a good day.

Back to my original point now that I’m done chasing rabbits…hee hee.. Easter. Rabbits? Get it?

I was flattered that she remembered what I had said. But more than that, I was fearful. More fearful even than I was when running from a rattlesnake and staring down a mountain lion (hey, he was real in my head).

We can build up or tear down with our words. I have thrown some difficult ones out recently. I’m not sure I would take them back, given the circumstances I used them in. I do, however, remember the hurt that words have caused me and how long they stay with me. Proverbs 12:18 “Sharp words cut like a sword, but words of wisdom heal.” I have a personal practice that when I’m upset with someone and want to air an issue I pray about it first and then talk to a friend that I trust their counsel before I act. I’ve even had them read e-mails before I send them to make sure I’m not striking out in anger. I haven’t always been this way. I don’t want to cut people down, I don’t want to hurt. And writing this makes me realize I owe a couple of apologies.

Hearing Lori repeat something I said last year has made me think about what I say and just in general how often I talk. This verse makes me laugh, Job 38:2 “why do you talk so much when you know so little?”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rockin K Marathon Race Report

I wasn't sure this weekend that my training was up for this, but Steve told me I was ready, and I decided to run it, just to try and run it smart. I had a strategy all lined out and stayed with it for the first 8 miles. Ran the downhills and the flats, and ran them pretty well. Walked the uphills. But then came mile 8...

From the beginning.

At the pre-race dinner Friday night got to see a lot of familiar faces, ultra running friends. Made a few new ones. It's always a lot of fun, more of a family feel than a pre-race feel. Shirt was cool, free GU, some coupons and I won a pair of injinjis. You run with cow tags instead of bibs for numbers, yellow for marathon, red for 50, with your name, number and the year. Pretty cool, huh?

The race director told us that with the sun coming out and the heat of the afternoon the next day to be aware that there might be rattlesnakes. FREAK ME OUT!. But not enough to keep me from the starting line.

Saturday morning we left our hotel and headed south in a fierce thunderstorm. But when we turned west, we drove out of the storm and Lake Kanopolis hadn't gotten rain. Yippee! We only had 15 minutes to check in and use the facilities before Phil said go.

It was beautiful. Spring was definitely in bloom. This was shortly after turning completely into the trail. (Yes, I was far enough behind by this time that there were no people in my horizon).

I am working my way down to where this string of people is. See the water? Had to go through it. First time my feet got wet. 3.10 miles in. Ankle deep. I sloshed for the next few miles. It was about this time that I heard rustling behind me as well as what could best be described as growling. Cat type growling. I know there are mountain lions at Lake Kanopolis. (I had also just watched Grey's Anatomy where people got mauled by a lion). I was sure a mountain lion was about to land on me. I turned around to meet the beast head on, but it was just another runner with a very strange breathing habit. Sounded like a mountain lion, growling. I was able to put my fear of being mauled by a mountain lion to rest and focus my anxiety on the multiple rattlesnakes I was going to encounter.

This was going uphill, very pretty, lots of rocks. I had been climbing for a while and wanted a break, so I stopped and took a picture.

And this was water crossing number two. After winding through the woods at this part of the trail, very narrow single track, lots of foliage (OH! I left out the warning about ticks, but we warned about them too) I was running high up above this small creek, seeing people going the other direction on the other side, so I knew I'd be crossing eventually. Eventually I crossed, through the creek. This one was almost knee deep on me. My feet were almost dry, and now I was back to sloshing.

Another break cause I was tired. There are beaver dams. (Am I afraid of beavers? Not sure yet, but probably). The beavers had been working on this tree. I thought it was pretty cool.

Along with the water crossings, there were two barbed wire fences we had to cross. They were kind enough to wrap blankets around them.

I had climbed from the bottom of this hill and stopped to catch my breath and took this picture of where I'd just climbed up...

And was still winded, so this one of where I was still going.

This is from the top of the bluff. I was scared to get too close to the edge of the bluff. I'm scared of heights and the wind was fierce. It was blowing me around. When I had a tailwind it was great, the headwind sucked, and in the crosswind I couldn't keep my balance.

Another one of the bluff, the rock to the right of the picture was a straight down drop.

Water crossing three (four was pretty much like this too, and was less than a quarter mile away). This is looking at it before I went in, while I was dry.

I took this of the group behind me, it ended up waist deep on me. This is what it looked like from the other side when I was wet.

My award.

What happy trail running shoes look like. They were dirty and wet and very worn out, but quite happy.

At mile 8 my right calf cramped. All I had with me were GU and water, so I loaded up on them for the sodium and potassium and downed 16 ozs. of water, but everytime I tried to run my calf would cramp and shoot pain up my leg and my knee would buckle. So I walked, sped walked, and jogged as much as I could. When I got to the aid station I popped some endurolytes, ate a turkey sandwich, a couple cookies, boiled potatoes rolled in salt and a banana.

Dennis and Mark, two of Steve's good friends were working the aid station and they took good care of me. I felt like I got special attention. (I did.) I ran out for the Big Bluff loop hoping I had fixed the cramping, but no such luck. It continued to bother me. The loop included the pictures of the bluff I have above, and there was one climb that was muddy and steep and I had to crawl up using my hands.

I came back into the aid station at 18 miles and took more endurolytes and headed out on the stretch to the finish line. Finally, FINALLY no cramping. But at this point I was so tired from the heat, fighting the 22-27 mph winds and the cramped calf that my run didn't resemble much running at all. I did real well (in my opinion, don't tell me otherwise) for the next 3 miles and then had a spell of I-just-don't-care-anymore and began to walk. When I came out of the second waist deep water crossing I had 2.2 miles to go. I looked at my watch and realized I had been out there an awfully long time. At the rate I was going, I would be out there much longer. So I sucked it up and ran the last 2.2 miles in. Feeling pretty good. Ran up the hill to the finish line. Back down the hill to the car, .2 miles away to put on dry clothes, and then drove to a closer parking spot (so I didn't have to walk back up the hill).

Walked around good, felt good, food was great. Waited for Steve to finish the 50 mile. Cheered for the 50 milers as they finished, talked to volunteers. Steve finished and after saying goodbyes and eating we headed home. We stopped to eat (a full meal, 45 minutes later) and when I got out of the car I thought someone had put my legs in a vise.

Saturday night I woke up everytime I turned over, my lower body hurt that bad. Got up Sunday morning for church and my left foot was swollen, big blister under the big toe, losing the nail off the middle toe, stiff and sore. And my right calf and the back of my right knee are swollen. My legs are covered with thorn scratches and I have a big knot on my arm where I ran into a tree and stabbed myself.

I encountered two snakes, and one was about 5 feet long and very scary, and I looked up the pattern on the internet and I'm pretty sure it was a rattler. I was backing away from it and it was scurrying away from me. It probably couldn't tell you what color my skirt was either. We were both afraid.

My hardest and longest marathon ever. I also overheard three guys comparing their garmins and they all said the marathon was actually 26.79 to 26.82 miles long. Furthest I've ever run.

504 minutes and 55 seconds. Way longer than I wanted. I would like to say I enjoyed all of them, but that would be a lie. Steve took 50 minutes off his time from last year. So very proud of him. And he believed in me, and he was right. I did it. (I found out after the race that he checked on me with the volunteers everytime he went through the aid station).

I loved this race, and I will do it again.

You can check out Steve's race report .

Come and See

See the cross?

He's not there. They took Jesus down after his death and put him in a tomb.

See the tomb?

He's not there either. The one that created life defeated death. He offered a new life to us. Eternal life.

Where we will see Jesus.

Look around. Do you see Jesus now? He's here in his creation.

He's in the visible signs of spring.

The young deer I saw off the side of the highway.
The grass turning green.
The cardinal in my front yard.
The lightning and thunder of spring storms.

He's in us.

The healed hearts and the healed bodies.
The forgiveness and grace extended to us when we don't deserve it.
The forgiveness and grace we extend to others (because on our own, we aren't that good).
The acts of kindness to others.
The words of affirmation to each other.

He walked out of the tomb and ascended to Heaven. He physically left. But he gave us his spirit. He's in us.

John 14:15-17
“If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you."

Look at the cross. It's empty.
Look at the tomb. It's empty.

Look to Heaven, because he will return.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Into the woods...

Race weekend.

I’m expecting more of a hike than a run based on the course description. I hear from people (Steve ran last year) who have run this marathon/ultra-marathon that it is lots of hills, lots of wind, and some waist deep water crossings. I’m always up for a challenge.

And the course is open for a looooonnnnngggg time.

Picture courtesy of Mark Berry, Rockin K finisher 2010/2011

Course map

Thursday, April 5, 2012

When life gives you lemons...

There are several ways to finish this saying. Two of the most popular are:

Make lemonade.

Squirt them in someone's eye.

Last week I was handed lemons. I got an email. Unexpected. No subject. And the sender has not been kind to me in the past. Actions as well as words. Publically and privately. I looked at the email with trepidation, wondering whether to read it or delete it without reading it. (I love my delete button). I felt like I should at least read the beginning and get a feel for it.

It was kind and complimentary. And this almost ticked me off. Because after all the ugliness that I had received from this individual I was now hearing kind things, compliments about myself. I LOVE COMPLIMENTS. I'll say that again, I REALLY, REALLY LOVE COMPLIMENTS.

Steve and I were sitting at the sports bar Saturday night watching the KU basketball game, and I was drinking a long island iced tea and pulled the lemon out of the drink and ate it with the flavor of the drink soaked in, I realized I like lemons.

Mostly in my drinks, because regular iced tea with lemon is my favorite summertime drink. Actually trumps diet coke in the summer. Doesn't it look delicious in this picture? I'm going to go have some right now.
I also realized that the majority of my life when I've been handed lemons it's been the biggest growth opportunity. I don't believe that everything that happens to me happens the way God wants it to, because he never wants us to sin. But I do believe that if we let him, he will use the consequences of our sins to grow us, to teach us, to help us become more like him. We can't be perfect, but we can strive to be more like Jesus everyday.

So life has to hand me some lemons to get me there. I don't get to choose the lemons either. I was talking to a friend via email this week that I trust God, and I do believe he knows better and I rarely get what I want. But I still want what I want. Sometimes I want to go back in time and make events never have happened.

Some people say everything happens for a reason, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, God doesn't give you more than you can handle. To all this, I simply say "pfhttttttt!" Sometimes bad things happen because that's just the world we live in. How's that for a reason? What doesn't kill me may leave me curled in the fetal position with my hands over my ears. Does that sound stronger? And God gives us more than we can handle. ALL THE TIME! Otherwise, we wouldn't turn to him for help, we'd just say, "Thanks God, but I got this one on my own."

So I'm looking at life's lemons a little differently. I'm not always going to like everything that happens. But I do love Jesus. I trust his heart is good.

After all, he created the lemon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I have learned

My glass may be half full, it may be half empty, but either way it will have lipstick stains on it.

You can sunburn in 70 degree heat in March. Bad enough to blister and peel.

Diet soda does not make you crave sweets or gain weight. It’s not as good as
water is for you. This information about craving sweets came from a low tier nutritional study. I believe this, because I read it in the May issue of Runner’s World. And because I love diet coke.

I have no latino rhythm. Just when I think I have zumba figured out, (it’s been two months now) and I’m grooving along, feeling pretty good, the girl in front of me says “do you want up here where you can see?” Darn full wall mirror.

Being called porky, even by a hateful unknown person, will put a stagnant eating way of life back on the right track.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In my corner

First track meet, first javelin throw. Great form! (She's throwing varsity.)

Second to the last volleyball tournament.

Dinner with our friends Chris and Elia, just moved home from Texas. Whitney and Brielie had a great time.

Marathon next Saturday. Not sure I'm ready, training a little iffy. Strategy will be a little different. Plan to incorporate walk breaks in the first half to save energy to finish well.