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.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Elusive 3:59:59

Sub 4.
It's a mantra.
It's a chant.
It's elusive.

This is something I've worked toward for a long time.  It has been just out of my grasp.

My racing shows it's possible, the vdot numbers predict it, yet I've never seen it.

My best is a 4:11:56 attained last fall.  The numbers tell me I'm capable of a 3:46:02. 

I stand in my way.

This past June I was ready.  I knew it was going to happen at the Winthrop Marathon.  It didn't as the heat flattened me.  My motivation has not been the same since.

Only recently have I been able to shake the blow my last marathon dealt.  A few incredibly strong training runs pulled me up from the dark hole I was in.  Looking down, I shudder at the depth of that hole.

It's not easy being transparent.

It's scary publicly stating my goals.

Bellingham Bay Marathon is 6 days away. The weather forecasts ideal running conditions.  Winthrop will not be repeated.

The course contains many hills screaming to my logic it is not conducive to a personal best. 

My heart says, "Try."

My will says, "Do."

The plan is in place.  Now, it's up to me.


Friday, September 21, 2012

The Taper : An Itch One Can't Scratch

Last week I entered into The Taper; the time in marathon training where the last long run has taken place and the mileage decreases before race day.  The hardest work is done, the endurance ability is created and the body is given permission to actively recover through less miles all in hopes to hit race day with a body well rested and ready to go.

Marathoners love to hate The Taper.  You think we would kick back and enjoy taking it easy; we don't.  Here are just a few reasons why.

Life is Just a Fantasy
Week after week as the miles build, the daydreaming begins.  During the last 22 miler before the marathon, you run and fantasize about all the free time you will have by not running so many miles each week.  The Taper and it's lower mileage look tall-stack-of-pancakes-smothered-in-syrup good; but it's not.  As soon as you cut the body a break, your brain takes over and you are acutely aware of every single twinge or ache or muscle or broken leg.  Panic sets in and you wonder if you are suddenly injured and question if you will make it to the starting line.

You realize the unicorns and glitter fantasy of The Taper has been stomped on by a T-Rex in full speed pursuit of it's dinner.  Which leads me to...

I Want a New Drug
Your brain is a magnificent organ which easily and happily facilitates your running addiction.  With The Taper in full swing the brain is no longer playing 9 year old boss of the playground with your legs.  The brain does not know how to handle this and looks around the body to find something else to pick on.  Without fail, the brain lasers in on the stomach and you are not thinking of marathon training anymore, you are thinking of milkshakes, french fries and pizza.  And somehow you convince yourself this is completely acceptable forms of carbo loading.

She Blinded Me With Science
There are many different training plans each with their own thoughts and ideas on how much to run in The Taper.  Yet all agree, The Taper is a necessary evil component to training.  The guys in white lab coats have proven resting does more good for the body than training hard up until race day.  Since they have lots of capitalized abbreviations behind their names, and shiny pocket protectors, I tend to listen to them.   Obeying them?  Well, um, that's not so easy.   

And The Walls Come Tumblin' Down
Once The Taper has started, nothing no longer stands between you and the marathon.  Waves of fear and anxiety become bedfellows with your nerves.  Before that last long run every run was a training run for an upcoming marathon; a marathon which was weeks or months away.  The Taper knocks down the wall you hid behind and shoves you right smack into reality.  The training is over, the marathon is almost here, and you are ready - no matter what taunts The Taper whispers in your ear.

Here I Go Again
With several marathons under my belt, one would think The Taper would be easy.  It isn't; and in honesty I would not want it to be.  My nerves doing the tango prove the marathon still matters to me.  The distance is hard, and it hurts, and it makes me learn things about myself.  I can't see the starting line without experiencing The Taper.  I can't see the finish line without crossing the starting line. 

And the finish line is worth it.  Oh, is it worth it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Be Selfish

The house is humming with quiet Sunday morning buzz.  Our youngest is discovering buried treasures (toys discovered while cleaning his room), the teenager sleeps, my husband watches football.  Here I sit sipping my coffee, painfully aware I have not written in awhile.

Life has been busy; very busy.  School has started along with fall sports, youth group, teenage outings and training for my fall marathons.  Our hot water heater died and two weeks later our washing machine followed.  Working full time outside the home does little to create any down time.  When the day finally quiets and I do put my feet up, it is difficult to keep my eyes open and I end up crawling into bed.

Do I feel sorry for myself?  Do I resent this crazy, fast-paced daily routine?  Not one bit.   This is not to say there aren't days I would love to come home from work, curl up on the couch and read a good book, or paint my toe nails, or write a post to my blog, or lay on the ground and stare at the ceiling.  Being blessed with the title of wife and mother brings different priorities and "me" isn't always the first priority.  Please note, I did not say me isn't a priority.  It is.  I said it isn't always the first priority.

Me becomes a priority at 5 a.m.  The alarm buzzes and I am out the door for me.  I run the miles for me.

I run to keep me healthy.

I run so I can have alone time with God.

I run to melt the stress of life away.

I run to pray my anxieties away.

I run as an example to my children.  I want them to learn health and exercise are important in life and don't stop when PE classes end with high school graduation.

I run and it makes me feel stronger.

I run and start my day with the star filled night sky which gives way to breath-taking sunrises over Mount Baker.  Starting my day with nature singing is an incredibly peaceful way to begin the day.

I run because it gives more back to me than I can ever give to those around me. 

I am a better wife, mother and friend due to my selfishness, due to making myself a priority.  When life gets crazy and I am being pulled in every direction but center, I am thankful for my 5 a.m. alarm.  I am grateful I am so selfish.

May you all be so selfish.