Attack of the Bowels

If you continue reading this blog then don’t say I didn’t warn you with the title.  If you are a runner, you know exactly what I am talking about. Sometimes we have to go at the most inopportune times and mid-run is one of these times.

Before I get to that, let me tell you that I had a difficult time dragging myself out of bed this morning.  My alarm went off at 5 am (quite annoyingly I might add) and I considered resting my head back on the pillow.  After all, we were running ONLY 6 miles today.  No big deal if I missed out.  Arg!  That is a really lame excuse, Heidi.  Obviously I managed to get out of bed and dress in my finest running clothes and think about what a spectacular day it would be.  Hey, at least the weather is FINALLY starting to cool down (thank you Florida!).  I grabbed my banana and bagel and headed out the door feeling pretty good by the time I turned up the music and hit the gas pedal.

So, I show up early and I am ready to go!  I find one of my running buddies and head off down the street… in the dark of course.  It is so dark on the sidewalk (we fear running in the street and getting plowed by a car) that I nearly trip several times since the sidewalk has seen better days.  We are also being whacked in the head by bushes that are protruding too far out (doesn’t anyone trim their hedges around here?).  Fun.  Okay, it wasn’t so bad because I was feeling pretty good and actually running pretty fast to keep up with my buddy (she is a good motivator… she teaches fitness classes).  Without losing any breath, my buddy told me about how she has to go to work after the run to dress up as Superwoman and teach one of her fitness classes.  Then, tomorrow she will be running the 10-mile pumpkin run.  Yet, this Superwoman says that she does not want to run the full marathon because 13.1 miles is enough for her!  Whatever…

As I said, I was feeling pretty good… until… yep, you have it right:  attack of the bowels!  It just suddenly hit me and hit me hard!  Right at mile 5.7 no less.  I stopped short because I couldn’t run.  I was afraid to run because I was thinking about what would happen if I did.  I couldn’t bare to have my finest running clothes ruined!  Needless to say, I told my buddy to continue on by herself.  Oh man, I really need to get to a freakin’ bathroom!  Now!  I walked as fast as I could manage without upsetting my bowels further.  With each step I feared that I would not make it.  Like a light at the end of the tunnel, there itwas… Starbucks!  I am usually  happy whenever I see a Starbucks because it means coffee, but this time my focus was on the bathroom. I will spare you the details of what happened next.

Once relief set in, I ordered my bagel and coffee and happily chatted with my teammates.  My running buddy told me all about her “attack of the bowels” episode that she experienced last week.  Ah, it is nice to know that I am not the only one…

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Route change

I did make it on time to team training today, but I did not take my usual direct route to get there.  You see, it is kind of difficult to drive through the same neighborhood where a mother of 3 children was shot and killed by a stray bullet while driving in her car.  What is this world coming to?  What can we even do about it?  Just focus Heidi.  You are currently working on raising money to cure cancer.  There is only so much one human being can do.  What can I even do to stop stray bullets anyway?  Or protect innocent children from being hurt? Crying it out kind of helped, but the problem is still there.

A change of route could also mean a change of view.  Possibly thinking about the good things in life.  I should also stop reading through Yahoo News.  Attending a funeral last week sure didn’t help.

On a lighter note, the run was perfectly pleasant.  We are gradually lengthening our Tuesday runs in addition to our long Saturday runs. Not too bad, but that also means more bridge time.  Boy, do I love those wonderful Jax bridges!  Okay, I am being sarcastic, but I kind of like the fact that we run during the darkened evening hours because the lights are on.  The Main Street bridge lights up in a beautiful blue.  I watch the line of cars and become thankful that I am not driving in traffic… however, I sometimes find myself zooming in and out of pedestrians (let me just say sorry to the lady I bumped into this evening).  The quaint little palm trees are adorned with white lights (not like the colorful fall I recently experienced in Ohio, but those palm trees are just fine and actually a bit amusing).  I also enjoy running past Hooters so I can take in the delicious smell of hot chicken wings (and I love how people on the patio just watch us run by… I sure hope they are thinking “maybe I should be running instead of chowing down on these here wings”).  Okay, I am getting hungry.  Toodles.

The ups and downs of marathon training…

With the exception of a few males noted in an earlier post, you have to be committed in order to run a marathon.  Essentially, it is a relationship.  Not just any relationship, but one of those good old-fashioned love/hate relationships.  Sometimes you love running and sometimes you just hate it, but you can never get enough of it.

Let me analyze this relationship for you.  The “love” comes from the euphoria of running along an isolated, not-so-well-lit road at 6:00 in the morning.  Yes, I did say euphoria: a profound sense of well-being as described in the dictionary.  Okay, the road could have had better lighting and maybe it would have been nice to sleep in, but once you are there on that road running you don’t really think about those insignificant details.  You just think about how great it feels to propel yourself in a forward motion at a relatively decent pace.  As you look in the darkened windows of the homes that silently fly past, you think about how proud you are of the fact that you managed to be awake and out on your feet before the rest of the city has even blinked an eye.  As those few early morning commuters drive by effortlessly, you wonder if they are thinking:  “wow, that person must have some dedication to be running this early.”  Then, as you finish those 3, 5, 9, 12 or 15 miles (whatever you desire), you just feel completely refreshed in mind, body and spirit.

Well, if it’s so great to run, then why isn’t everyone doing it?  Okay, so I just started with the list of pros.  There are a few cons to running too, especially when you are training to run a very long distance.  I will give an example.  Last night my husband and I attended a Coast Guard function at an awesome pizza restaurant.   “Sounds fun and I love pizza” I thought to myself.  Then I had the realization that I had to get up the next morning at 5:00 am so I could go run a whopping 9 miles.  I sit down and look at the super cheesy pizza in front of me and say “I wish they had pasta here.”  Oh yes, it was delicious… too delicious.  I ate 2 small pieces and realized I should stop if I didn’t want to have a lump of cheese sitting in my stomach.  Then I watched as everyone around me enjoyed a cocktail or a beer and I felt like I might as well have been pregnant again.  Last, but not least, we said our farewells at 8:30 pm so I could get home and crawl into bed.  Yes, very lame I know.  So, to be a long-distance runner, you might as well join the ranks of the senior citizens.  Not just because you have to watch what you eat and hit the early bird dinners, but also because your body creaks and cracks and you have to limp around while saying “ooh, ouch, eek.”

Still, why doesn’t everyone run a marathon?  Because 26.2 miles is a really, really long ways when you don’t have a car.  It is the distance from my house to the Jacksonville zoo for crying out loud!  It takes us an hour to drive to the zoo!  So, if you do decide to run a long race, here is one tip:  pay for the registration and your hotel first and then start training.  You need to have some incentive to keep going.  🙂  I just thought about finishing those 9 miles today because Fay didn’t have a chance to live a full life… myeloma took it from her.  I want to give others a chance to live longer.

They are just kids!

I came home tonight all pumped up from my awesome run on the bridges only to find an e-mail in my inbox that brought me back down. Well, first of all, I need to mention that we had some new Team in Training members out there running the bridges with us tonight.  It is always great to see more people supporting the cause!  So, this spring season group has their own official honoree just like we do (“we” being the totally cool winter crew).   An honoree is someone who is a cancer survivor who shares their story with us to get us motivated to train and raise money.  Alan is our fabulous honoree and we are all happy to see him running out there alongside us. 🙂

Now, about the down part.  I read the e-mail and it talked about the honoree for the spring season.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we are thrilled to have Alan as our honoree.  However, when it comes to kids, I feel a strong connection (maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am a teacher and I have 3 beautiful kids of my own).  Yes, it was another sad story about a young child coping with cancer. Madysen has had cancer since she was 14 months old and after 2 1/2 years her family thought she was free and clear.  However, that was not the case.  The evil came back for more.  She is still currently undergoing treatment, but strongly pushing through.  I can’t wait to meet this little fighter!

You know what?  You can help Madysen by ensuring she gets the best treatment options to fight back.  Also, think about the financial woes that the family must be facing right now.  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offers financial assistance to patients in addition to all of the many other wonderful services.  So, I urge you to visit my website and donate $5 right now.  Depending on how many people actually read my blog, that could add up 🙂  Thanks!

http://pages.teamintraining.org/ncfl/wdw11/haponte

Only the lonely…

Running a distance greater than four miles without anyone else around really sucks.  It is lonely and boring!  If you don’t have music it can be even more boring!  If you don’t have good scenery to enjoy along your running route, then you might as well just forget it!  During past half marathon trainings I had an awesome running buddy and we would endure those 10-mile runs together.  It was fun even if we didn’t talk to each other (yes, Bridget, I miss you!).  We also had the race to look forward to together.  The Napa to Sonoma half marathon was a blast because we got to hang out, drink wine and enjoy a fabulous pasta dish pre-race and then scarf down Mexican food post-race.

To put it simply, it is hard to train for a long race (like one that extends out a full 26.2 miles) without a support system to urge you along.  That is another reason why Team in Training is so awesome (the first reason being that the team raises money to help cancer patients).  I could run while talking to a new friend and not even realize I had just run 7 miles!  That is why I try to make it to every team run regardless of how far I have to drive.  Unfortunately, I was not so lucky this weekend 😦  My husband (he tries, but sometimes he just can’t help his poor memory) had to work on Saturday morning.  Therefore, I was left to run my miles on my own.  And it just so happened that my new running buddy tore her ACL… eeeeek!  (Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers).  So, obviously, she was not an option and it looks like she may have to stay on the sidelines for awhile… poor thing.  Yep, so there I was this morning, running around my neighborhood ALONE.  And let me tell you, those 7 miles seemed to drag on and on and on.  I felt like I was moving in slow motion (and according to my Nike+ I was, indeed, moving very slowly).  All I could think about was calling my dad to tell him happy birthday.  We are fortunate that he is still around to celebrate his birthday and the many more to come.  🙂

Oh crap, 13.1!

Saturday morning I woke up at 4:45 am with a feeling of pure dread.  Oh crap!  Why did I sign up to run a half marathon??  When was the last time I ran 13.1 miles?  That was 2 years ago when I ran the San Jose Rock n Roll half marathon!  Not only was it 2 years ago, but I had trained specifically to run that half marathon and had all of the mileage I needed.  This time, however, I kind of threw myself into signing up, all the while knowing that I wouldn’t be as prepared as I should be.  So, last weekend I ran 7 miles with the team… the furthest distance I have run in over a year.  Now, I was rolling out of bed with the awful feeling that I wouldn’t be able to make it 13.1 miles.  Over and over again I kept saying to myself “well, just run as far as you can and then walk the rest of the way.”  However, I knew that I would never let myself do that.  You see, I am a pusher.  I push and push and push.  Even after divulging my anxiety to my best friend, she put it simply: “well, you probably will push yourself.”  Then I could only think “Great, now I am going to injure myself before I even have the chance to run the Disney World marathon!”  But, wouldn’t you know it, I got out of bed and got dressed in my best running clothes.

So, there we were.  When I say “we” I am referring to my husband and I.  It is just so easy for him to be here regardless of whether or not he has trained well.  You see, he is a man (well, duh!).  No, really, what irritates me is that men can just run an endurance race without even giving it much thought and do better than the average women who has worked her butt off training for the same race.  So, I stood there among a group of 5 men (they all work with my husband) and listened to their sappy little stories:  “Man, my foot really hurts.  It is really bothering me all of a sudden.  I don’t think I am going to do so well.”  You know what his time was in the end?  1 hour, 33 min.  That poor sap had it so rough.  Then the other dude:  “My goal is just to finish this thing.  The furthest I have run is 6 miles.  I have never done a race before.”  Well, you know what time he finished in?  Around 2 hours.  Okay, how about this guy:  “I am shooting for about 2:15.  I have been cramping up.  I just found it that it is because I don’t take in any calories while I run.  I didn’t know I needed a nutrition plan.”  Well, here you go:  1 hour 56 min.  Then, my husband practically limped across the finish line with an injured foot after he had walked a mile.  He did it in 1 hour 57 min.  So, what the heck were all you dudes complaining about?  You were still all there at the finish line as I crossed at 2hr 14min!  And I worked my butt off for that time!!  Okay, but I least I can say that I just gave birth 3 months ago!  Men have NO IDEA what that zaps from your body!  You go girl!  And I also must say that our honoree sure kicks butt when he runs with the team.  Sure he is a man, but he is a man who battled cancer!  I have never experienced the toll that cancer takes on the body, but I think it is definitely greater than giving birth (and when you give birth you get a beautiful reward… when you get cancer there is no reward).

A positive attitude is the most important thing you can have during a race.  It doesn’t matter if you are feeling pain or if you are thirsty as heck.  If you think you can do it, then you will.  If you think anything less, then you might as well quit.  So, I knew better.  I kept my mind on that finish line.  I thought about how my mom was watching me and thinking about how proud she is that I decided to follow in her running steps.  Sure, I hated it when she dragged me to those fun runs and 5Ks when I was a kid.  And I really, truly hated P.E. in school.  And I never participated in athletics during high school.  But here I am now, a changed woman, running 13.1 miles just for the sheer pleasure of doing so.  In January, I will be running 26.2 miles.  I will let you know how I feel about doing that… I just know that when I crossed the finish line on Saturday, I couldn’t even imagine running 13.1 MORE miles!

So, I ignored the burning sensation on the bottom of my feet (yes, I think new shoes are in order), the burning in my calves and thighs and the feeling that my groin was going to be ripped apart (okay, maybe too much information there).   No need to talk about the chaffing in my armpits as my tank top rubbed against my skin.  Otherwise, I felt great!  Like I was floating instead of hitting the pavement.  Like I could do anything if I just put my mind to it!  Time flew and before I knew it I was crossing the finish line.  To put a cherry on top, I bowed my head as a nice looking Marine slipped a medal over my head and handed me a pint glass that I will soon fill with some nice cold beer.  I sit here now a little sore, but satisfied with my accomplishment.  My husband, on the other hand, is creaking around like some old man who needs a wheelchair 🙂

*  Just a quick note to my audience:  I know that some folks are reading my blog, but I have no idea who.  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also, don’t forget to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by visiting my website: http://pages.teamintraining.org/ncfl/wdw11/haponte       Don’t feel intimidated by high $ amounts.  If everyone just gives $5-10 then we will be well on our way to finding a cure for cancer!