The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Moon Shadows

The door creaks open and the moonlight spills onto the floor.  I sneak out of the house quietly, shutting the door behind me.  This is my time.  There are no phones, no interruptions, no voices.  Only me.  Shaking the sleep from my mind, I begin my run.

Fall’s crisp air is warmed slightly by the breeze from the south.  Summer did it’s best to hang on, but there is no mistaking the changing seasons.  The chill gives me a brief shudder.  The moon in its glowing splendor is shining bright enough to cast shadows around me.  The clouds do their best to conceal it, but they are no match this morning for the moon’s brilliance.  It looks to be a perfect morning to run. 

My feet and breathing fall into rhythmic cadence.  This is where I am alone with my thoughts and the best time to talk with God.  My troubles become smaller and the worries loosen their grip with each step I take.  I lose myself in the beauty around me.  There is such grandeur  around me and I am momentarily a part of its landscape.   I am out in the pre-dawn silence of God’s creation relishing every step of it.  People always ask how it is possible I can crawl out of a warm bed, before the sun comes up and go run.  I look around and smile.  This is exactly why.  If they only knew how incredible this felt, there would be no need to ask.  The feeling transcends words and I fall short in trying to explain it.  So I simply tell them to try it and they’ll see why.

The run is over and I pause outside the door.  Drinking my water I look up at the big sky above and soak in my last few quiet moments.  When I open the door  there will be alarms, showers and packing school bags.  But not yet.  I am still looking at the moon and enjoying its splendor.  Most people today will have missed this and I feel incredibly blessed to have been a small part of it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Celebration Dinner

The chatter wafted only to be drowned out by the laughter.  I look around the table and smile.  These are my friends.  Like a large family eating Thanksgiving dinner, we are all talking at the same time.  Each one of us is reliving our last 26.2 mile race.  Some of us raced together, and some of us did not, but we each came to the table with our own experiences.  With understanding found only by another runner, we listen and identify with each race-day emotion felt.  And we celebrate.  Oh do we celebrate.

We worked hard the last 6 months, pushing each other, encouraging one another as we trained for our marathons.  We worked through injuries, anxieties and doubt.  We built each other up and propelled each other forward.  "I can't" was never spoken because we knew it wasn't allowed.  Can't is the easy way out.  There is nothing easy with this group.  Each week we left our jobs and families and came together to run and sweat.  And encourage.

Plans for next races are discussed.  One thing about marathoners, we are never satisfied and always have to be planning.  Always.  We determine which races we want do next and when we are going to do a weekend long run together again.  With giddy excitement we plan.  We are runners and we love to run together.  Like a family.

I look around the table and smile.  I home.

Stepping Stones and Pathways

Today the 2011 Boston Marathon registration opens and I figure what better day than today to publish the goals I've thought about over the last week.  The path I'm following leads to Boston, and along the way I'll have to use some stepping stones.  The journey begins.

Ultimate Goal: To run the Boston marathon.
I am 41 years old which in Boston Marathon language means 3:50:59.   Wish me luck as next March I renew my driver’s license and I’m not sure how I’ll convince those department of licensing people that 3:50:59 is an actual age. 

Stepping Stone Goals
  1. To run the entire 26.2 miles.
    The longest I’ve run without stopping is 22 miles.  I realize this will take not only physical stamina, but incredible amounts of mental fortitude.  Looking back at my marathons, I realize I break down mentally long before I break down physically.  This has to change.
  2. To run a 4:10 marathonThis knocks 7 minutes off my PR.  My last PR was by 7 minutes, I can do this.
  3. To run a 3:59 marathonWith improvement, I believe this stepping stone and stepping stone #1 could go hand in hand.
  4. To run a 3:50 marathonThis will cause wild celebration and tears for weeks as Ultimate Goal will then be achieved.
  5. To let my children see me succeed in my goals and if I fail at them, to have them see how to accept it, pick up the pieces and continue to move forward.  When our children witness this, they learn success can come in the shape of failure but we are never bound by them.

In a couple weeks a few Marathon Maniacs are putting on an uncertified marathon around Lake Sammamish.  It is an extremely laid back atmosphere with options to run 13.1 miles, 26.2 miles or a 50k.  The best part? It’s FREE.  Free is always good in my book.  I emailed the race director to sign up and ask some questions, and as of today, I am 90% certain I will run this race.  My goal is to work on Stepping Stone #1.  Now should any of the other goals fall into place, well, that’ll be pure icing on the cake!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Post Marathon Blues

One week ago today I couldn’t sleep. It was the eve of my 7th marathon and the anticipation and excitement were a little more than this 129 lb frame could handle. Standing at the start with 9,000 other runners in the torrential rain, the little voice inside me sighed. No matter how hard you work, nature has its own way of adding a special little twist to your race day. And there is nothing you can do to change it. Sheer determination propelled me forward despite the fact I could wring out my clothes before the race had even started.

I set a personal record that race. By 7 minutes! I feat you’d expect to find me jumping for joy and high-fiving every single person around me. Instead I find myself strangely quiet about this accomplishment. It’s a strange discerning feeling I can not quiet verbalize. I’m upset I didn’t make the sub-4 hour goal I had been training all year for. I’m upset that I feel ungrateful for my PR. I should be very grateful for my 7 minute accomplishment, but I can’t shake this blasé feeling and that makes me angry with myself. I know so many people who would be thrilled to have a marathon time of 4:17:17, so why aren’t I? I beat myself up and then get mad at myself for beating myself up. All my running friends reading this are nodding their heads in agreement as they can relate to what I’m saying and all my non-running friends, I suspect, are staring blankly at the screen now knowing that I am certifiably crazy.

Thinking long and hard about this the last week I came to a realization. My potential stays locked inside me. My intense training the last 6 months worked hard at bringing my potential out and although I was ready and willing to unleash it race day morning, it didn’t budge. It lay hidden in the recesses of myself, drowning in the rain the heaven’s poured out. The first 12 miles of that race I searched for it, prodding myself, encouraging myself, trying to coax that potential to the surface. It didn’t come. And it’s crushing.

But I know it’s there. I will find it. And when I do, I will show it to you. At that moment we will cry together. Follow me on this journey as I work hard on my goal to run the Boston Marathon. I promise you raw honesty, which is a scary step for me as I usually keep my goals and hopes locked inside of myself. If I don’t tell anyone, no one will know I didn’t achieve them therefore no one can be disappointed in me right? Isn’t that how it works? Today I stop that thinking.

I’m a wife and mom on a goal to run one of America’s greatest races. I will get there. Some day. And I’d love for you to be there with me.