elisariva

Seizing life's joys and challenges physically, mentally, and emotionally.


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New Beginnings

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Semisonic Closing Time

Semisonic released Closing Time in March of 1998 and on April 29, 1999 the song really hit a chord in my life. My new beginning began that day when I signed up to run my first marathon to raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation and run in Dublin, Ireland. Little did I know that day would change so much in my life. Endurance sports – specifically running and triathlon – became a huge part of my life. Over the past 17 years I have run 7 marathons, over 15 half marathons, countless 5K races and a few 10K races as well. In triathlon I have completed one full iron distance triathlon and came within 5 miles of another. I also completed 7 half iron distance triathlons, one half iron aqua-bike (swim and bike – no run), three olympic distance triathlons and many sprint triathlons.

This past March I shared that I have developed arthritis in my left foot. The disease that first brought me into running long distance is also the disease that took me out of it.  I took four months off of running early this year and slowly started running a mile to two miles up to three times a week. By mid June I signed up to run a charity 5K with friends. I figured I would see if I could finish – I knew I would not set a personal record, but it would be fun. And it was! And I finished!rftp

With a 5K under my belt without significant pain in my foot, I took on a challenge to race three sprint triathlons and one olympic relay where I swam the first leg this summer. I had a blast – I knew I wasn’t going to place in my age group since my run was not strong at all, so I decided to enjoy the process. Also racing with my friends made it so special.

In March I met with a foot and ankle sports orthopedic surgeon. It was my hope that I would be able to have some type of surgery to alleviate the pain in my foot so I could run. Unfortunately it is not possible. She told me that I was classified with moderate arthritis, not mild, and it is a matter of time before I would decide the pain is too great to run. Throughout summer I would occasionally feel pain as I ran or after, but it was tolerable. After the last triathlon I did in August I knew my running days have ended. By 2.5 miles into the run, the pain was terribly sharp and I was only running an 11:30 minute mile pace. I finished the race and my foot ached for a few days. It was time and I had almost six months to prepare myself for the reality.

My running beginning that began in 1999 had come to an end. I am exploring options to find my next new beginning. What had seemed as a terrible ending has now opened up time for me to expand my fitness horizons.

With the extra time I added yoga to my routine and cycled and swam more. Cycling is so fun! Road riding to me is the most thrilling, however it also involves the most risk. More and more motorist are hitting cyclists and the cyclist is always on the losing end. I also have a mountain bike that I need to take on actual mountain bike trails. I did ride it a bit on a towpath through the parks here in Northeast Ohio. So in addition to racing a few triathlons, I also participated in a few long course area cycling events as well as tool around on the mountain bike. Again – much fun and great exercise!

Yoga is something that I have done off and on over the past six years, however this year it became a regular part of my fitness program. I have benefited tremendously from it – stretching, strengthening and calming. Recently there was a public yoga event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in downtown Cleveland. I went with a few friends – it was a truly fun and inspiring evening.

Over the years I have worked on my swim to the point I have gone from back of the pack to usually finishing in the top 20% out of the water. Since I am swimming more, I also want to challenge myself to participate in US Masters swim meets. My first was where my strength is – a mile open water swim in Lake Erie. It was a choppy day and I still did well and placed second in my age group.

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Almost  a year ago I registered for the inaugural Ironman Ohio 70.3 half iron distance race. Close to 100 members of the Cleveland Triathlon Club also registered. Not being able to race with my friends was difficult to accept, there was no way I could run 13.1 miles. I decided to volunteer at the race in the first transition and also cheer on the course. I have to say, volunteering is so much fun! I was able to be with my friends and cheer them on. Win win.

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This past weekend I capped off my racing season by racing in the Revolution 3 half iron distance aqua-bike. Aqua-bike races came to be when the demand to race came from triathletes who can no longer run – just like me. Rev3 does a fantastic job of organizing basically four races that take place at the same time. Both full iron and half iron distance triathlons and aqua-bikes. I was able to race along side my friends after all! One of my friends did the full distance triathlon and we stayed till he crossed the finish line. So I had the opportunity to race and then come back and cheer. Again – win win.

So here I am – my racing season is over and in the past I would be planning out what running races and triathlons are next. Not this time. My new beginning right now is exploring my options.  I enjoyed racing an aqua-bike race and I am sure I will do more. Swimming is still something I want to improve on and compete in a meet or two in a pool setting. I want to get stronger in cycling, but I do not have a desire to race road cycling. This fall I plan to get out on the mountain bike trails and overcome the fears I have of the sport. When the snow falls I want to ski downhill. I haven’t been on downhill skis since I was 16! Cross country skiing is something I have done in the past and I will get my skis out as well.

It is fitting to end this post with quoting the beginning of Closing Time. As I explore the options ahead of me, I am facing a new frontier – opening doors into the world.

Closing time. Open all the doors and let you out into the world.


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Advancement

The body’s ability to adapt and mend is an amazing thing to behold. Eight days ago I ran a marathon, a week ago I was struggling to walk down hill, two days ago I swam 1,000 meters and was ready to finish, and today I went to spin class for an hour covering 20 miles and then swam 2,000 meters right after. The only kink, and it was actually a kink, was in my left quad. When I was pulling in my swim warm up I felt a cramp start. I did most of the swim workout pulling after I did 4 x 50 with kicking. The cramp got worse and I wanted to finish. Even though I didn’t kick, I didn’t take it easy either. I was swimming my 100’s on 1:52 and most of my 50’s on 53 seconds. I even did a 200 without full force and came in at 3:56. That is fast for me. Yes, pulling helps me go faster. I was also giving my lungs a good aerobic workout.

Getting through a swim workout sometimes can be challenging. Today I swam with a friend and it helped both of us get through the workout. There is always a fun element to swimming together on the same timed send off. Being slower than most of the people I swim with, we make adaptions. When I did 4 x 100 on a 2:15 send off, she did 4 x 125. On the even ones when we finished on the same side I would try to glide ahead and feel like I was winning, even though she swam 25 meters farther! Hey, what ever it takes to stay motivated. Once again, the buddy system came through.

This evening I did a Pilates workout. My trainer told me to focus really hard on proper form. I don’t know if it was my focus, a week off, or a combination of both, but I am feeling the workout. As much as the body adapts quickly, it also loses strength when not challenged. Core strength is becoming a bigger focus for me. I am thin and have flat abs – it is surprising that flat does not always mean firm. Holding the positions is challenging and I would love to have a pillow for my head, but that would be defeating the purpose I guess…

In reflecting on my training today and over the past eight days, it is more evident to me than ever that nothing comes easy. Building endurance, strength, and speed take time. The training is always challenging if you truly want to improve. Maintaining, if not building upon, athletic levels is a constant focus. Oh and how parallel is this to life? Relationships, careers, faith – all require time to develop, build and even master. Then there is the constant maintenance – nothing can be left on a shelf and be expected to sustain. Sometimes it requires our own effort, sometimes the help of a coach or mentor, and many times the support of friends. Like the marathon course I ran, nothing is linear. There are always ups and downs, even when billed an “easy course”. Hopefully lessons are learned from what works and what doesn’t. It is a terrible sorrow when the same mistakes are repeated over and over. It is a wonderful joy when advancements are made. Yes, how parallel – in sport and in life. It may not be easy, but I want the path of advancement.


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A Few Things

Now that I am back home and getting fairly close to in my at home groove, it is time for change. Notice I did not say back in my routine, the routine keeps modifying – almost with the seasons. Today I started a few new things.

As a dear friend says to me sometimes – Thing One. The first thing I did was a bit of my old routine – I was up by 4:30 this morning and made it to spin class. More of my friends showed up this morning so the class was really fun. To have a group around me I know well and enjoy makes the hour spin by quickly. I did notice that my legs were much fresher than the last few times I took the class while I was peaking in my marathon training. Now that I have recovered, I was able to push at higher watts and faster speeds.  After class several of my friends headed to the pool for a swim. I believe that will be in my future next week as long as I have the time in the morning. So part of Thing One is my return to spin and part is adding more swimming after. A nice way to start a day I would say.

Thing Two – for those reading on WordPress and not email – I have changed my layout again. Just a change in pictures and colors to fit the winter season. The layout has also come full circle. This is the picture I started the blog with almost a year ago. I took it one morning as the sun was rising over the lake across the street. It is such a beautiful scene, I could not think of a better one for winter.  With the welcome of December, the Christmas season, and winter’s soon arrival, I wanted to turn with the season.

On to Thing Three. As I am preparing the information my triathlon coach requested, I am assessing what I would like to do in my training and racing. Despite my doubts, I believe I will be participating in at least one 70.3 triathlon and a marathon in the coming year. My running coach and I discussed some training strategies. We are still in the planning process, but adding at least one long long run – 15 to 18 miles every 4 to 6 weeks will help me strengthen the distance bace I built up training for this marathon. I do not want to go too long without a good long run and risk losing all that I built up.  I also want to add one to two century bike rides this summer. I think there is a blogger reading this in the great state of Michigan hooting with agreement. Finally as part of Thing Three and being a triathlete I can not leave out swimming. If there is one thing my new coach can do to make me a happy camper is make me a faster swimmer. So he will be getting the details in my “help me” list.

This time of year there is one thing that is routine. And I love doing it. This evening I picked out my live Christmas tree, hauled it home, and put the lights on tonight. The rest of the ornaments and home decorations will go up this weekend. I decorated the outside of the house over Thanksgiving Weekend. I really enjoy putting the tree up. The lights, all 1,120 of them, give me a comforting feeling. I have a lighted star at the top, yes it is a representative of the star in Bethlehem, but to me it is also a reminder of my mother. She made the holiday so special for me. The memory of her lights up my heart as the tree and star light up my room. The holidays are said to be the most wonderful time of the year. With loved ones passed on, relationships sometimes in turmoil, and a host of other concerns -some days it can also be the saddest and loneliest time too. The tree reminds me of the hope that was born in a manger that will truly bring joy. Here is the tree – with just the lights so far.

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Spicy

Travel is a passion of mine.  The actual activity of traveling however, can be hit or miss with me. Lately when I fly, my return journey home has involved less than pleasurable activities. Food poisoning tops the list and that has happened to me twice the day I left. The more common occurrences have involved delays, missed flights, and missed baggage. Yesterday I got the trifecta of common occurrences. After being delayed in traffic and missing my original flight, I hurried through San Francisco airport and barely made it to my plane to Houston. It was a long way to rush through the airport and fortunately my suitcase made it onto my plane with me. When I finally arrived in Cleveland after a layover in Houston that was close to two hours, my suitcase remained in Houston. I did receive it today, but it amazes me how the airline was unable to transport my bag ten gates away to my connecting flight within two hours when it made it within thirty minutes on my first flight.

When I was rushing through the airport in San Francisco I realized as I approached my gate that I did not feel any soreness in my legs at all. I had run a marathon less than 72 hours prior and all of the aches and soreness had passed. My friend Jim at Fit Recovery was surprised to read that I ran the day after the marathon to speed up recovery. He is also a believer in active recovery and after thinking about it, he said it made sense. I learned from my first running coach that it is helpful to get out and run, jog, jog/walk a mile or two the day after a marathon. It may hurt and feel awkward, but it helps the body recover. I ran a mile and a half the day after and 2.5 miles the next day. With travel yesterday I did not workout and today I ran a very easy 1.7 miles. Today I happened to ready the post I wrote three days after I did the half iron distance triathlon in September. I commented that after I took two complete days off I was still a little sore the third day. That was not the case this time and I ran twice the distance. (Yes, no swimming and cycling this time, but it is usually the running that causes the most pain.) So I am even more a believer now in an easy run to help recover from long endurance activities.

The only part of me that continues to hurt as a result of the race are my arms. Yes, I ran a marathon and my arms still hurt – where I chaffed from the arm warmers. It really is bad and today I broke down and bought Desitin on the suggestion of my friend I traveled with in Napa. She is a nurse and a mom and she is right. I may smell like a baby’s bottom right now, but I have found relief. The things one learns from sports…

My travel experiences and my race experiences have many joyful and memorable activities. Weather, lost luggage, sore legs, and chaffing may cause a few bumps in the road – but in reflection it only seasons the experiences. I enjoyed my time immensely and I also learned a few things I will do different next time. (Did you pick up on that? I said next time, I think there just may be a next time running a marathon…)  Part of seizing the day includes the good and the bumps in the road. All help add to the spice of life.

 


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December

This morning we left Napa Valley by 7:15 in the morning to head back to San Francisco. My flight out of SFO was scheduled to leave at 10:30. All maps, GPS guides, and the hotel agreed – the drive is 1:45 and I should make it in plenty of time. Well, the drive took 3:30 as a result of rain. Seriously, I have had enough of California rain. Traffic was absolutely horrendous. Fortunately I called the airline and was able to change flights. I made it in time and now I am writing as I fly to Houston before connecting home. I had a wonderful trip. Yes, the marathon could have gone a bit better, but I have no control over the weather. San Francisco and Napa were fabulous. I had a longer than expected drive to the airport, I made it and I am on my way home. Half empty or half full? I say half full.

Usually I review goals and set new ones right around the first of the month. One of my November goals was to enjoy my vacation. I most certainly did and now I am catching up. Last month my greatest focus was training and tapering for the marathon. I am very pleased with how my training went. I was well prepared. Going into the race, I had serious doubts about finishing it with the weather conditions. Part of my training really helped me prepare for this race emotionally. I had done several hard and long speed sets that kept me pushing when I was not sure I could go on. As a result, I made it through the race using the same self talk, along with the encouragement of friends – including several bloggers.

Now looking forward to December. This is a recovery month for me. I plan on swimming, spinning, running, and strength training, but on a moderate level. I have quite a bit of assessing to do too. This month I will be working with my new triathlon coach to determine my levels in the three sports, expectations, and goals. Goals – this is going to take some soul searching for me. My main goals for December are to enjoy the workouts as I give my body a break from intense training, work with my coaches to determine a plan for the next several months, and most importantly appreciate the holiday season. With so much commercialism, fears of cliffs and crashes, and disagreements on how to agree – I want to focus on what was written thousands of years ago for this time of year. Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All.


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Napa Valley Continued

I woke up this morning feeling a little less sore than yesterday. My friend is also a recreational runner, so I got her up and we went for a thirty minute run. It really felt good to get out, run without inhibition, and enjoy the scenery. My legs got into the groove quickly as we ran past quaint shops, restaurants, a hot air balloon in the sky, and of course vineyards here in Yountville. Our hotel offers a complimentary buffet breakfast with everything you could ask for in a vacation breakfast. We fueled up on eggs, brie, yogurt, fresh fruit, and plenty of coffee. There was far more food, but I am still being careful on the sugary carbs. My metabolic training is going too well to spoil it with a sweet roll…

After a perusal thought the local shops and lunch we headed off to visit three more vineyards. As I mentioned yesterday, what really makes a visit to me is the people. I am in Napa Valley – for a wine enthusiast, there are plenty of great wines here. The experience that the people offer make a good wine great. The first vineyard we visited was Whitehall Lane.

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The very moment we walked in I knew this was a great winery. I saw a glass door to where the oak barrels of wine were. I asked if we could go in to take pictures. A very nice gentleman not only said yes, he took us through to see (and smell) the most wonderful storage facility.

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My friend and I enjoyed talking with him. He grew up near where she lives and his wife has run the California International Marathon before, so we had plenty to chat about. He then guided us up to take a look outside. I saw the wine emblem on the wall and took this picture.

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He said his last name is Leonardini, which means lion, and hence the emblem. He is part of the family who owns the vineyard. Very humble and very willing to share the story of the vineyard. He showed us the views including an oak tree that is over 700 years old.

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After talking quite a bit, we headed down to the tasting room. Not only are the people wonderful, so is the wine. And they ship to Ohio directly! Sign me up for the club membership. We had a great time tasting. Everyone there really showed us how wonderful the vineyard is. The family, the tasting staff, and the club coordinator. A true example of how a very good vineyard is great when you meet the people.

Next we headed to the Stags Leap region of Napa Valley and to Clos du Val vineyard.

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A very good vineyard, a very good tasting, nice people, but not the full “experience”. Of course it didn’t stop me from ordering a few bottles of wine.

Next door was the third vineyard we visited. Chimney Rock Vineyard, which is another great experience.

20121204-185145.jpg The speciality in the Stag’s Leap region is red wine, my favorite. We met Tom, who helped us with the tasting. Again, the people make the place and we really enjoyed they wine and the ambiance. The wine barrel room was beautiful.

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The wine was wonderful and I have plenty of souvenirs to take home.

Soon we will be going to dinner. Last night was wonderful. We had dinner at Bottega and tonight we will dine at Bouchon,

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This vacation has offered so much. I ran a challenging marathon, visited San Francisco (yes, my heart will always belong to the city), off to Napa Valley to visit wonderful vineyards and restaurants, and most importantly I spent the time with a very special friend. Seizing the day, appreciating what life has to offer, enjoying each moment – these are some of my top goals in life. Oh and I had a massage today too. Really, what could be better?


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California International Marathon

I would love to report I had a PR in PR – pouring rain. But alas it escaped me. I did run my third fastest marathon with an unofficial time of 5:30:12. For my seventh marathon in by far the most challenging conditions, I will take it with joy. I have run two marathons where both of my legs cramped up from calf to quad for the last thirteen miles – that was tough and I was much slower than today. But never have I run in a complete downpour with twenty mile per hour winds – until today.

The start had a steady rain and for the first mile we ran right into the wind. From miles two through five we were a bit shielded from the wind. I ran in a garbage bad to protect me more from the wind than rain. I knew I would get wet. By 1.7 miles I ditched the bag. The good thing about the day was the temperature – 58 degrees consistently so I didn’t need gloves. I wore a short sleeve shirt with shorts, a nylon vest, and arm warmers. One painful lesson – wear body glide under the elastic of the arm warmers. I chaffed terribly. At mile five two things happened. We turned into the wind again and then the consistent pouring rain turned into a torrential down pour. I am not exaggerating. By mile ten the rain returned to the steady pour. At an intersection around 10.5 we crossed a flooded intersection. The triathlete in me instinctively took over and I ran with high knees through the ankle deep water. I never thought open water swimming would help me in a marathon. So, even though I had on my Goretex trail shoes, water got in through the ankle and I was running in water filled shoes. Surprisingly, by the half marathon mark I was still on target for a PR.

The California International Marathon is billed as a net down hill race. Stress net – yes it does end up dropping 320 feet, but the first 16 miles are rolling hills. Climb 80, run down 100. Climb 150 run down 180. Over and over. By sixteen miles I was coming close to missing a PR. The rain finally reduced to a drizzle at that point, but I was spent. It was an exhausting experience and I still had ten miles to go. My hamstrings were screaming and I had not walked at all. At this point I decided to walk a minute each mile. That worked and at mile twenty a few good things happened. The rain stopped, the sun came out, and the local Caldwell Banker office had a huge “Hit the Wall” celebration. That gave me enough energy to get to mile twenty one. Then the extreme fatigue and pain hit. I kept running, but my pace was slowing and my heart rate wasn’t. At this point I just wanted to finish. I knew it wouldn’t be a PR, but I wanted to finish in 5:30. And that I did.

Along the hardest parts I had many of the self doubts marathon runners have. “I am never doing this again.” “I am not sure I will even do the Syracuse 70.3 in June.” “I am getting too old for this.” Now that I am a few hours past that (and in beautiful San Francisco as I write), I can not say with certainty that my doubts have passed. Yes, I am entertaining a marathon maybe next year, but far from committing. I love the half marathon and will continue running those distances. I love triathlon, but I need time to think on committing to 70.3 or, yikes, even 140.6. From February through today I have done a lot. I have run three half marathons, a five miler, a 10K, a ten miler, three sprint triathlons, a half iron triathlon, and a marathon. Eleven races in eleven months and a sprained ankle that kept me from racing in April. The rest of December will be my recovery month. I will continue to train, more swimming, but no serious hard workouts. I did have a sign today that may lead me to think my doubts will pass. I was in Union Square here in San Francisco texting a friend about my doubts. I turned around and saw this:

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It isn’t over yet…


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Trust Believe Run

I made it to Sacramento safely and on time. Actually a little early. My rental car pick up went smoothly and I found the hotel easily last night. So far all is going well. This morning I ran easy for 15 minutes just to get the blood flowing in my legs. It was raining and about the same temperature expected tomorrow – around 58 degrees. This was a good chance to get a feel for what to wear tomorrow. I mapped a route from my hotel to the race finish area and back that was about 1.5 miles round trip. If it is going to be raining at the finish, I want to know exactly how to get back to my hotel as quickly as possible. My run was just over 15 minutes and I have a good feel for the area. As for what to wear, I know long sleeves and a rain jacket will be too much. I was covered but warmed up after a mile. Too much coverage to run 26.2 miles. I am thinking a short sleeve/arm warmer combo with a thin vest will work. The vest has enough pockets for my GU gels and to stash the arm warmers if I get too warm.

After breakfast I headed over to the expo. I am staying at the host hotel and it is perfectly located. The expo is right across the street and the finish area is a half mile away. Marathon expos are my favorite activity the day before a big race. The volunteers are excited to help and the energy of all there is invigorating. We get nice nylon back packs that double as our gear check bags tomorrow. Besides technical running shirts, we also get running gloves and a band that can be used as a headband/head cover/neck warmer. Nice extras to take back. I was surprised that not only are the timing chips worn on the shoe instead of on the back of the bib, the chips are not disposable. They are the hard plastic squares that are secured to your laces. At the finish the volunteers have to cut them off. While at the expo I picked up a few things including a nylon race cap for tomorrow. Yes, I did bring one, but this one matches my vest. It may be raining and windy, but I will still be stylin’!

Despite the weather, race weekend is going very well. The sun did pop out briefly, then the next band of rain moved in. All things considered, I am very pleased with my experience so far. Tomorrow I will take the bus to the start, which is 26.2 miles away. In previous races I have had trouble with race shuttles. They have been late and even never showed up. This is the 30th year for this race on the same course, I certainly hope it is well organized by now on transportation. All I can do now is eat a good dinner and get downstairs in the morning in time to hop on a shuttle. I am confident in my training. Wind and rain are out of my control but not something I haven’t experienced in training before. It is time to trust in my training, believe in myself, and just keep running.


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Contingency Plans

This morning my run workout was thirty minutes easy, shake out the legs. I was able to run right within my desired race pace and keep my heart rate right in zone two. Two days before a marathon, this should make me happy. While I am happy at my progress, I still have feeling of trepidation. The latest weather forecast now estimates winds at 23 miles per hour at the start. Coming from the South West, and the point to point course runs South West… I received so many comments of encouragement from my post yesterday that have given me much to think on for motivation. Thanks to Steve at Chasing Fifty, my main mantra will be “Just keep running.” And if all else fails, Jim at Fit Recovery will have me singing with Dory “Just keep swimming.” Let’s hope that is not the case.

Being a planning type A’er, I have a few contingency plans in place. Of course plan A is get to Sacramento and run the race I have been training for all these months. Worst case – my flight to Sacramento from Houston is cancelled and the race is cancelled. My plan B – get to Austin, TX tonight and visit a friend then head to San Francisco on Sunday for the rest of my vacation. Also plan B includes a run alternative. The Jacksonville Marathon in Florida is December 16th. I have enough points to fly free and the race offers same day registration. Not to mention it is a flat course. Then there is plan C – I make it to Sacramento but the race is canceled or the weather prevents me from finishing – Jacksonville is still an option.

To many it may seem silly. I am writing from the plane on my way to Houston and I have already come up with two back up plans. To me, it helps relieve stress. (And I know there are others reading this, nodding their heads, and saying “Amen sister, me too.”) My daily desire is to appreciate the day and all it brings. For me, controlling the things I have control over helps reduce stress and allow me to focus on the now. What do I have control over? Not much, but I do have control over my attitude and how I chose to perceive my surroundings. Back up plans help. The weather – well I live in Northeast Ohio, I get rain and clouds. I can’t control it. But I won’t let it get me down. One thing I know is I will enjoy the days ahead. Rain or shine.


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It Never Rains In California?

Today was a complete rest day. Normally I would go to bed by 9:30, which I did last night, and get up around 4:30, which I did not do today. I slept in until 7:15. It felt wonderful. Then I checked my messages. I find a post on Facebook from the California International Marathon that read “Folks! The CIM will NOT be cancelled this weekend. This is a rain or shine event…” The rest of the post just continued to make my stomach flip. I knew that rain was in the forecast, but now I learned that a very heavy rain storm is expected (with high winds) to last from Friday through Sunday. Joy.

Then I received an email from Jill at JoggingJeans at 8:29 this morning. She sent me a link to Team Hoyt. Dick Hoyt had recently been mentioned to her and she wanted to share his story with me. I was familiar with the story but didn’t know his name. His son, Rick, was born a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. In sum – Dick now competes in running events and triathlons (including several Ironman races) to raise awareness and funds for his charity. Oh and he brings his adult son Rick along with him. The entire race. I read Jill’s email and replied thanking her. The timing was perfect. Aware of the story, I know a little rain (or torrential downpour) is not a huge challenge compared to what Dick Hoyt voluntarily puts himself through for a wonderful cause. Jill replied writing that she watched the video on the site and was struck that Dick is not a young man, he is in his 60’s and still competing. As for the timing of her encouragement, well we both agree there had to be some divine intervention involved.

I was running late this morning since I slept in, so I didn’t take the time to watch the video. All day the weather in California did stay on my mind. I even searched for other marathons in December that are not full that I could run in the even the race actually is cancelled or worse yet I am not able to finish. I knew I wanted to incorporate Jill’s email into this post, so when I finally finished all I needed to do this evening, I watched the video on the web page. Watch it. Please. I was so moved by a video only as long as the song playing. The pictures tell it all.

My perspective has changed for this weekend. My greatest concern now is just having a safe flight in tomorrow to Sacramento. Once I am there, what happens – happens. Strong wind and rain are forecasted, as long as I am able to make it through the race I will do so. Yes I am frustrated that I have trained so much and so hard for this race. I have it in me to set a personal record. The common thread in all reports on the CIM site is “don’t expect a PR in this weather.” Okay…. My goal now is to finish. I have friends I will see both at the race and then I am off to San Francisco and Napa Valley for a few days. What really is important? The quality of my race or the quality of my life with those dear to me? I will take those dear to me.