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.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Much Needed Answer

To say I've been struggling with my running over the last year is to understate my battle.  Although I've tried to keep my struggle private, it often flowed out into my words as I told of my races; most notably the Wintrhop, Bellingham Bay and the California International marathons.

Any runner can attest to having a bad run or a bad race day; I was experiencing a bad race year.  The head games birthed from so many consistent bad races left me feeling more than overwhelmed.  I spent many quiet moments debating on giving up racing, especially marathons.  My friends are the ones who would push me when I couldn't.

About 6 weeks ago a group of us met for an easy 8 mile run; it was 8 miles on a simple route at a conversational pace.  I couldn't keep up.  I was walking at mile 6.  Mile 6.  I felt as if I had no skeleton and was running on empty despite a solid week's sleep and eating right.  Once I got home the only thing I wanted to do was sleep.  For 3 days. 

This is when I knew something was wrong.

Not one to run to the doctor for a sniffle or an ache or a pain, my doctor knew something was amiss simply because I was sitting in her office.  She asked a multitude of questions, poked and proded.  We sent my blood sample away to the lab and awaited results.

The answer didn't take long to receive.  I am anemic.  Never have I been happier to hear there is something wrong with me.  This diagnosis validated my struggle.  It wasn't that my mind wasn't tough enough, or I wasn't determined enough, or I wasn't good enough.   My body could not physically do what I was asking it to do.  Iron deficiency stole my ability

I stand now in the middle of hope and promise.  There are millions of people who live with this every day and I know I am not alone.  But right now it has given me an answer, a much needed answer, to questions I faced for too long. 

A new marathon season lies ahead and now, finally, I am excited to see what it holds.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cows, Roosters and a Run

Karen’s headlights illuminate the ground as she turns down our road.  I tiptoe out of the house with my shoes in hand.  Slipping them on my feet, I then walk to her car as she gathers her things.  The sun is not quite up hiding the grey of the sky.  No rain; yet.

After our “Good morning!” to each other, we start our watches and head out of the driveway.  We wind our way through the neighborhood and Karen takes in the everyday surroundings of my daily runs.  The waft of fresh farm fertilizer hits our nostrils with it’s pungent smell.

“Oh my gosh, is that a cow mooing?” She asks.

“Yes it is.  There’s quite a few of those around here."

“I do not think I’ve ever heard a cow moo on my run before.”  Fifteen seconds into our run and there is already laughter.

The road we take is a straight route leading us to Corrinna who is waiting for us at the 2 mile mark.  There are more Good Mornings and the talk of ripeness of the farm.  With Karen at our side, the route Corrinna and I often run becomes new again; the countryside is an unexplored frontier for our city dwelling friend.

Turning from a half mile jaunt of a busy state route, we run down one of my favorite country roads.  Farms, homesteads and intermittent estates line both sides of the road.  We share the road with an occasional car and always seem to be greeted by a wave from the unknown driver.  Life is friendlier outside the city.

The first of 4 large hills looms up ahead.  As we crest the hill our attention is grasped by an eagle swooping out of the towering evergreen tree rooted humbly on the side of the road.   We see it’s bright white tail feathers peeking in flight as it effortlessly glides into the branches of a  massive tree on the other side of the road.   A short moment later, the unmistaken brown of a baby eagle rises from a tree and flies toward the parent, waiting with commanding nobility on the tree branch.

Hills lie ahead and we tackle each one.  Earlier in the week, I had warned Karen in an email the route contained a few small hills.  My ever present sarcasm lost in translation as today she turns to ask me, "Define small".  I fear the 750 feet of total elevation gain today may have just cost me a friend, or at the very least have my name now associated with torture.

Rolling farmland gives us beautiful vistas in which we can lose the pain of climbing yet another hill.  Horses and donkeys wander to the fence’s edge and stare as we run by the field they call home.  I think I saw a twinkle of jealousy in their eyes.  Then again, maybe they thought we were nuts for running those hills on purpose.

We turn around and head for home.  We keep the pace easy as the hills have worked us hard.  I am grateful the last couple miles are relatively flat and we can talk without huffing and puffing.  Rain is beginning to spit from the grey sky; we are finishing our run just in time.  Karen and I turn into the neighborhood and Corrinna continues straight down the road to head for home.

Just under 14 miles and it was not an easy run, yet the countryside invited us in and it was a run shared with friends ~ and an occasional rooster, cow and eagle.  Ah, life in the country.