Sunday, August 30, 2009

Superhuman Powers, yeah not so much!

This week has been so busy at work, with training, the kids, just life in general. I'm finally getting to sit down and breathe.

Work has picked up due to the holidays being right around the corner and everyone getting back to school. Training has intensified with miles being added daily which has been pretty exhausting however I am doing them. My children being back in school with their schedules, not to mention their social agendas.

So to say the least I am pretty tired. I am realizing that I do not possess superhuman powers though I can still argue that, and that I had to succumb to that realization on Thursday. I had an incredibly crazy day at work with only one break of about fifteen minutes. I left work at almost 8pm that night. By Friday morning I just wanted to become a crying piled up heap in the floor. I fought back tears all day long. It was frustrating to me because I see myself as needing to show no signs of weakness. Needless to say I took a much needed day off from running on Friday.

Saturday rolled around and it was time for the run with Lori, hills (dread, dread in Haigs Creek) for six miles. Though I hate running those blasted hills, there is always a sense of accomplishment completing those damn hills. These hills are a continuous grade straight up and then plain out not very many coasting downhills, which makes for a hard run. We did it though as we always do.

Due to the weather being absolutely beautiful this weekend, 68 degrees and overcast, we had one of our best runs. There were a bunch of other runners out yesterday. They knew Lori so I was introduced to them too. One guy we passed was comical, I'll expound. He was wearing all Livestrong gear from head to toe, he was completely coordinated.

Another runner was an older gentleman named Ron. He stopped us to talk for a minute. Lori introduced me to him and explained that we were training for the Governor's Cup Half-Marathon in November. She asked Ron is he was going to run it. He told us that these days he only gets to walk a few 5ks. Ron had a heart attack a few months back. In his hay day Ron has run many marathons, his eyes saddened as he told us about not being able to run any more. I felt sorry for him.

This week Lori had gotten bad news about her dog Gizmo. Gizmo has cancer. He will be having surgery on Thursday. Before me, Gizmo was her running partner. He was her excuse to run through sprinklers. Now she does it any way, we pray for sprinklers to be on for us to be able to run through them to get cooled off. Hopefully everything goes well for Gizmo on Thursday.

Lori also told me that she and Greg, are planning to move to Florida in a few years. I am really sad about that.

Last night we went to watch roller derby at Jamil Temple. Well low and behold, believe it or not, that is the distance the marathon is, from our house in Elgin to the Jamil Temple. Holy crap!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Commandments of Running

The 20 Running Commandments.

  1. Don't be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
  2. Don't make running your life, make it part of your life.
  3. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who is missing.
  4. Don't compare yourself to other runners.
  5. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
  6. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
  7. Don't always run alone.
  8. Don't always run with people.
  9. The best runs sometimes come on the days you didn't feel like running.
  10. Be modest after a race, especially if you have reason to brag.
  11. All runners are equal; some are just faster than others.
  12. There are no short cuts to run excellence.
  13. There is nothing boring about running, there are, however, boring people who run.
  14. Look at hills as opportunities to pass people.
  15. Don't try to out run dogs.
  16. With out goals, training has no purpose.
  17. Go for broke, but prepare to be broken.
  18. Unless you make your living as a runner, don't take running too seriously.
  19. Runners who never fail are runners who never tried anything great.
  20. Running is simple. Don't make it complicated.

A Proud Mom...

For a few years now I have been training Muay Thai with my boyfriend. I have done so in order to hopefully one day be able to get in the ring and fight. Recently my training has slowed down some because of all the running. My daughters and son have watched us train many times and have all expressed interest on training as well.

There had never been a follow through on their wanting to start to train until this past week. My oldest daughter decided that she wanted to train, so Nik told her what time to be ready. Believe it or not she tried her hand at Muay Thai and she really likes it a lot. She told me when she came in the first time that she was tired. The next morning she said she didn't realize she had ab muscles under there. Yesterday,m she was dressed in Muay Thai trunks as she did her homework. Last night she was asleep at nine o'clock. This morning she is wiped out and said she needed a day off but that she wants to do it again tomorrow.

I'm proud of her and I hope that she sticks with it.

Monday, August 24, 2009


As the days tick away to the Marathon at Myrtle Beach, 171days remain to be exact, the realization of the distance that these two legs of mine will be covering is quite overwhelming but not unthinkable.

The training miles increase, as does the ibuprofen, soaking in the bath tub and Thai oil rub downs. Mostly after the weekend long runs I just want to sleep and eat. In reading I have learned that on marathon day upon the completion of my glorious 26.2 miles I will have burned approximately 8000 calories, no kidding. I believe that number shocks me more than 26.2 miles. I have a hard time fathoming either of these two numbers honestly. I am almost certain that I will not fully understand them until crossing that finish line. I will be the one sobbing or as I prefer to call it "doing the ugly Oprah cry" as I finish. I will be overwhelmed for sure and starving.

Back to those 26.2 miles, Nik and I drove to have lunch today, the restaurant was not even 26.2miles from our house. I am trying to wrap my head around the distance not to mention that it will be run on my two feet consistently for hours. Of course I calculated the distance that we drove to lunch I still had about 9 more miles past where we had lunch. My goodness, I need a nap just thinking about that. (Visual: My hand is on my forehead as I am thinking what have I decided to do to myself. Then a small grin appears because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I can do it, all 26.2 miles.) I am the only person who can give up on me, I am the only person who can make me quit.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A milestone and a Cat

Today again was a milestone for me in training. Lori and I met to run six miles, the requirement for this week. It was not raining, shocker, and no sunshine and only 95% humidity. At 8:30 we made out trek through my neighborhood, which is in the country I might add, as we are approaching a curve a deer runs across the road! It was a pretty awesome experience, I wish I had like the deers, bounce and run, that's be so nice. We proceeded on our run through the back roads of the little town of Elgin, where horses galloped alongside us. As we entered another part of the course, no kidding a little kitten followed us for two and a half miles and then let me pet it. Weird I thought.

We pushed ourselves to finish and actually added half mile to the run. We completed six and a half miles in a little bit over an hour. I felt another sense of accomplishment.

Today I motivated Lori which is usually the other way around. She told me she wasn't feeling well, her cousin had passed away, her mother was mad at her and she was tired. (The latter is plenty enough to make me tired, dealing with mother issues is exhausting. I have given people around me permission to put me out of my misery if I start becoming my mother, dear god help us all.)

I enjoy our runs more and more as she talks more. I think we are really becoming friends. We discuss our children, books we read, things that annoy us, you name it we talk about it. I am fully aware that what we discuss is between her, me, the fence post, and maybe a horse, cat or pig, literally.

After these longer runs, which will soon be accompanied by "only five miles" which is so wrong for only to proceed five miles, are tougher on my hamstrings of all things. I am thankful for eucalyptus Epsom's salts that my friend Rebecca introduced me to, and I am ever so grateful. They compliment our garden tub perfectly. I believe she must have bought stock in the company as now I need an intervention to stopping using those salts.

All in all, I remain on track, progress continues. Tomorrow is my day off and for that I am thankful.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hell in a DVD Collection

We have a love hate relationship, Tony Horton and I. I'm not sure but I think that he has been sent to this earth to be my demise or certainly make me feel this way.

A little history on Tony Horton and how our relationship began. First off I was flipping through the television and happened upon an infomercial, which under normal circumstances I would have avoided like the plague, not on that day though, Tony Horton was selling his workout plan. (I ask myself daily what was I thinking and believe it or not I have watched this infomercial repetitively since!) At first glance all that I saw was ripped bodies on fit people that were not eighteen years old. They were people around my age. The exercises they were doing was challenging and intrigued me a little more. I decided I must order this workout program. I did every little bit of it and waited ever so anxiously to get it in the mail.

Finally P90X arrived in the mail. I was elated and ready to inflict whatever on myself in order to challenge my workout and switch things up a bit. ( I saved the box because if I didn't feel challenged I was sending it back immediately. Can we say ego which was by the way crushed like an egg on day one!) Needless to say the box was thrown away after round one of pure hell. I have never in my life done as many pull ups or push ups as I did that day. My whole self hurt which to me is a good thing, it was what I wanted, right?

After completing the first weeks of this hell in a box that I paid for, I became to know these people who were inflicting such intense workouts on me by name. I learned in the beginning if Dreya is on the dvd, watch out I was in for a extra dose of pain. If Tony and Dreya could only hear what I say to them, they would do more damage to me. I have cursed them out, flipped them off and told them how much I hate them out loud, as I masochistically finish those workout everyday. Will I ever learn? Probably not.

When I started training for this marathon, I decided I needed to let my body adjust to all the running and take a break from P90X for a little bit. During this time, the marketing geniuses at Beachbody (P90X distributors) sent me a message to say they had an additionalfive workouts to challenge me even more. What a sucker I am, I ordered them. These dvds encase the very bowels of hell. They make the first fifteen, yes fifteen dvds look like a cake walk.

After my two week break I restarted P90X. I must say that I will not make that mistake again. Once I was in the routine of doing the program I was pretty anesthetized to the pain, my body had adjusted to. Day one back on P90X, I went running with Lori, my hip flexers locked up, not a pleasant experience. Note to self, P90X never gets easier and the additional pack not necessary.

I did complete the upper body "hell in a dvd" workout this morning. It was the longest thirty-five minutes of my life, yes I said thirty-five minutes. I almost threw up, when doing an upper body routine that is not the norm at all, legs possibly but not upper body!

Tony Horton is genius for having developed this plan, it is not to be entered into lightly as it will kick your ass in high fashion. The results are phenomenal when you follow the program, strength improves and body changes happen rapidly. His workouts are comprised of all the elements that we forget to use, being wrapped up in machines at gyms. Endless amounts of pull ups and push ups, lunges...he takes it back to basics and some days I could just ring his neck for it. Some mornings I could punch Dreya and him in the face, but the end results are all worth it, vomit and all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pieces of a puzzle

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent van Gogh

My running has been consistent now with times and distance. I have been shocked, elated and pretty damn proud. I am doing it, I am really doing it!

In the 103 degree weather this afternoon, we ran five miles in 40 minutes. The progress is happening, as long as I continue to push myself I will remain on track.

Lori and I are now running three days a week. We run rain or shine and even when the heat is unbearable. It is something I look forward to though sometimes I think I might not be able to finish the whole course but somehow I do.

Each small run is a means to a greater end like putting together the pieces of a puzzle...26.2 miles.

I didn't think it mattered.

I have a challenging relationship with my mother, I think I have missed out on many things that other daughters were able to do with their mothers. Honestly I get sad when I think about it but I am coming to realize as I get older that my mother is the one who has missed out.

I am fortunate to have someone in my life that I am able to share some of these things with her name is Irma, Nik's mom. The anticipation of meeting her the first time was so intense. It didn't help one thing that Nik had given my about two weeks notice so I had way to much time to analyze the initial meeting. My worst fear was that she would not like me because I was divorced, a single mother and that I am heavily tattooed. I must convey the amount of anxiety I was experiencing, I had gotten some Xanax from a friend to get me through the meeting.

When I met her that night, she hugged my with the biggest and most welcoming hug I'd ever had. Instantly I felt completely comfortable around her (no Xanax required), she was one of the nicest people I had ever met. She never judged me at all, not for the tattoos, the divorce or the children. I came to find out that she and I had a lot in common.

When Nik and I got home that night, I told him that I hoped he knew how lucky he is to have a mother like her. I know he does.

I have spent a lot of time with her, even without Nik. She and I enjoy sitting on her deck, drinking coffee and talking. She really listens and is genuinely interested. We have gone to the movies together. She frequently comes to our house for dinner, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Lately, we have been so busy that I had not called her. I also must admit that when I feel like I'm getting too close to someone I will hit the brakes and throw it in reverse quickly, I am terrified of getting hurt. I am the "wall up queen." Nik would tell me she said hello when she would talk to him. She called me the other day. Immediately I thought that something was wrong, she called to tell me I had not called her in a while. Truthfully, I didn't think it mattered to her if I called or not. It did though, even better than that I mattered.

I made a surprise stop by her house on my way home a day or two after the phone call. She and I just visited. I enjoy those times so much.

Times like these I have never shared with my own mother. I can not even fathom stopping by just to visit, we don't even talk on the phone. These moments are what she is missing out on, not me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

In search of a family

Throughout most of my life I have often wondered how I would have turned out having been raised by different parents. I have been curious to know what it is like to be hugged by parents who mean it, to be encouraged by parents who want success for me and are genuinely interested in just my life in general.

I have come to the conclusion that the people that share my DNA are uninterested, not encouraging and are not loving. I think that sometimes they forget I exist, literally. A difficult conclusion, I might add and certainly not one that I wanted to accept. I quickly come to mind when they have need for something.

I was born to my parents in 1973 after they had lost a child due to a miscarriage which I have been reminded of repetitively during my life. After the miscarriage the conception of me took eight years. Living in that shadow, I was expected to be the perfect child, sad but true which was the catalyst for a plethora of problems that would overflow into my adult life. More than once I have been told that I was not worth the wait or she (my mother) wished I had not been born at all. She said that she had waited so long for what, me? How's that for loving?

Our existence was filled with falseness that spilled over to the outside world. I was hugged when in public to maintain the facade that my family was "the perfect family." Inside those walls of the house there was a completely different atmosphere sometimes smothering. The portrayal of perfection was so stressful and expectations so high, I literally collapsed at six years old from exhaustion.

As I grew up and went school, the classroom became my escape. I attached myself to my teachers and the search for a family had begun. The older I got the harder I tried to seek acceptance from my own family. I would strive to make the best grades, get the lead in the play, or whatever it took to get their attention, because in order to do that I had to be perfect.

As a teenager I was in advanced classes as I had been my entire school life, I brought home my first "B" (not a typo, yes a B). I trembled as I handed it to my mother, a beating ensued as I had embarrassed her by not making an "A". The next time I made a "B" I forged my mother's name. My teacher called me out of class to ask me why I had signed her name to the interim report, I explained what had happened before, she never sent another report home.

At sixteen, I got pregnant with my oldest daughter Brittany. I attended a private school, I had to hide it. I decided I would graduate in summer school a year early. I did, then I told my mother I was pregnant. By this time I was seven months. I kept it hidden because I knew she would make me have an abortion or give her up for adoption. I was right. Of course, all of it ended up being about her as I again had embarrassed her, how could I have done this to her. She made me stand up in front of the church and announce that I was having a "bastard child." What more support could I ask for?

Everyone knows that my mother is a saint, after all. She fails to remember that I was alive and old even not to forget the affairs she had. Not to mention the times she decided she wanted my dad and us to move out, it never failed that it was near the holidays. Still to this day I hate the holidays, all thanks to her. This will put the icing on the cake, for Christmas the first time she had us move out, Santa brought my sister and I a luggage set. I would never forget that Christmas, not because of my mother but rather my Daddy. He built me a doll house from the ground up. I even got to pick put the wallpaper, he and I made curtain rods out of q-tips. For about six months I lived in a camper outside my granny's trailer. That was when I really started to get close to my granny. She liked for me to read to her, she couldn't read.

I made a profound decision after having had Brittany. I decided and was determined not to become a statistic. It has not been easy, especially with two other children, a failed marriage and until now being completely alone in the world, literally. I have succeeded and continue to be successful everyday despite the lack of concern, encouragement and support from my immediate family. Never once have they said,I am proud of you or anything else positive but I have accepted the reality it won't ever happen, not from them at least.

Therefore, I search out and surround myself with people who will support me, who will be there even when I fail and love me just the same, and encourage me to go after my goals no matter how big or small and by no means expect me to be perfect. Some of them are clients, some are old family friends, some new people that trickle into my life and they all play very specific parts in my life.

For me letting people be a part of my life, to truly let them into who I am and break down the exterior that most people see is in all cases frightening. I am probably the most unsure person. I am afraid of rejection, of not meeting expectations and of just not being good enough. All of these come from a life lived in the shadow of the one they lost and my mother's inability to become less self-absorbed and love me.

My mother's words were far worse than her hands, the abuse happened both verbally and physically. I lived with fear stuck in my throat for most of my childhood and through my teenage years. A few years back I confronted her about a few things from the past, I laid it on the line and asked her reasoning for many things she had done. Her response to me was that she didn't know what I thought she had done to me but that I was crazy. I should have realized then that this relationship was not worth my time, she is toxic and that unless she changes it will remain unreconciled. A harsh conclusion to come to I know but I don't know what else to do.

Since then I have been in search of a family, not blood kin. I have acquired many sets of people that I consider parents. I have Mia and Bob, Toni and Randy, Kathleen and Lewis, Irma, Donna and JM, Brownie and Bill. Each of these people play a huge part in my life. They have cried with me, celebrated with me and watched me evolve into the person that I am today. I am fortunate to have them be a part of my life.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Saddle Bags and a Leftover Baby Belly to an 8 Pack

A very good friend of mine once commented that I was the most determined and bull headed person she knew and that if I decided I was going to do something I would do it. She had no doubt. She said that if someone told her that I was going to fly out of a tree, she'd believe it because I would fly out the damn tree.

I chuckle each time I start a new endeavor because her comment comes to mind every time. She was referring to finding out that at 28 years old, I had decided I was going to be a bodybuilder. To most this doesn't sound like too much a feat I guess but, I had already had three children, one by c-section which is supposed to deter the ability to have a six-pack abs. I was 165 pounds, 5'6" tall and could not even walk to my mailbox with out getting out of breath.

My youngest child had just begun kindergarten so I did not know what to do with myself having been a stay-at-home mom for years. I had let myself go, focusing just on my children. I decided that I would go to the gym and see if I could get someone to guide me on what to do. I found someone and because he saw my determination he trained me everyday at lunch. There were days that I trained until I literally threw up. I started out not being able to make it to the mailbox, within six weeks I was running two or three miles on the treadmill. I progressed so rapidly that from March to July my results we remarkable due to persistence, discipline and a lot of sweat. In July, he asked me if I was interested in trying my hand at a Bodybuilding show. I asked him if he thought I had a chance. (In the beginning of our training relationship, I had stressed so much that I do not want to be lied to and do not feed me to the wolves. He swore he would always be honest with me.) He told me with much enthusiasm that I definitely had a chance.

November rolled around, after many months of grueling workouts, running eighteen miles a day to cut body fat, and a strict beyond belief diet, the competition was here. I had learned a routine, and was ready to take the stage. After all the pose downs, routines, and long waits the judging took place. I had won my weight class. I had taken 2000 Southeast Women's Open Middle Weight First Place title. Yes, I have a national title in bodybuilding.

Within an eight month period, I had gone from stay at home mom with floppy arms, saddle bags, a baby belly, to a national title holding bodybuilder with an 8 pack. I say that to say this, when you dream, dream big, you just never know how far you can go. We are the only people who can tell ourselves no, we defeat ourselves, most of the time before we begin something new. Courage is all it takes, make the first step and if you merely ask, people are normally overjoyed to help you succeed.

Having the title is not something that I brag about at all, I am proud, but was taught to be humble about any accomplishments. Many times I have been told that I am not proud enough about my feats, but to me it's just another day of doing what I have to do to reach the ultimate goals that I set for myself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chat from this morning...

This morning as I was on Facebook and blogging before work, I received this chat from one of my clients and friends. I copied it, it follows:

I want you to know that I was thinking about your post as I ran in the rain this morning...kept me going. It's not that I went that far or did anything amazing...just that I did not turn around and go home. Thanks for the spark
I'm so glad. Felt good didn't it? And you did do something amazing - you hung in there. I'm proud of you!
It was awesome...see you tomorrow!
It is and yes you will.

After reading that first chat, I actually teared up. Here I am thinking that my blogging and other posts never have any affect on other people, I was really shocked. I inspired someone. Never underestimate the power of words...

138 days...

Today is the day to register for the upcoming marathon at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I had to control a little squeal of excitement as I registered, well I tried controlling it but it did not work. I am doing it, I am!

Part of me is thinking of this as an accomplishment or completion of the goal on that Goals List that I had mentioned in a past post. The other part of me is looking at this marathon as a beginning of a lot of other future runs, gathering other friends for my support groups and definitely hard work.

Call me crazy but I look forward to everyday of running. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. I love how my oldest daughter comes out to the gym after I have returned from a run to see how timing went and that fact she reads my blog. Pride swells within me when Nik looks up and asks if we had to cut the run short because Lori and I are back so quickly. Then the next question is, you ran how far? A huge smile flashes across his face as well as Lori and my face because the two of us had no clue that we were running that fast to begin with.

Yesterday it was raining. I called Lori to make sure she still wanted to run and of course we did. The goal ahead was three miles. This time we met at our house. I knew a route that Nik and I ran religiously last summer which is 3.3 miles. Leaving the gym at 5:35 pm. In the rain we pounded the pavement for those miles, talking the whole way as usual. The run had gone pretty quickly I thought but the runs always do when someone joins me. We rounded to turn to come back to our house, and headed back to the gym. Nik looked up at the clock and it was a few minutes before 6, disbelief showed on his face. She and I had completed 3.3 miles in about 21 to 23 minutes. We all were shocked, amazed and extremely proud!

So, as is evident the training is going well, I have 138 days left and counting them down anxiously. Most nights I am so tired that I fall right to sleep. Other than dreaming about running all night, I sleep pretty well. Soreness is pretty minimal, but worth every bit of it. Thank goodness, Nik does not mind rubbing out the soreness and for Thai Oil and Eucalyptus Epsom's Salts. Changes in my body are happening crazy fast. I get to eat a lot of carbohydrates which all who live here are enjoying as well. Having always been on a low carb high protein diet, of all the elements required in the process of training and transitioning into a marathon runner, the diet is by far the hardest for me. My caloric intake has pretty much doubled, carbs have quadrupled, and I am loosing huge amounts of body fat. Funny how the metabolism works. I have also come to realize that what I eat today directly affects the outcome of my run tomorrow.

As the days tick away, the runs get longer, the soreness grows and the sense of accomplishment continues to build I have to stay focused on the goal ahead. The many miles that I will run over the course of these next 138 days and the many days after will bring me closer to the accomplishments that I striving for. I am so fortunate to have people who support me and for them I am truly grateful. They understand how important completing the marathon is and they encourage me, not hinder me.

...138 days

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Granny

My mind this morning cannot seem to veer from thoughts of my Granny. I think that she was possibly the most influential woman in my life and though she has since passed away, she remains to be just that. She was beautiful in her own way - she was the portait of strength, courage and dignity for the entire time that I was fortunate to have her in my life.

As I think about her, this morning I am a little sad but so grateful at the same time for all the values she instilled in me. My Granny was one of the strongest women I have ever known. She was a trailblazer of her time. She broke all the rules. I will expound. She was born in the early 1900's. At seventeen she got pregnant with her son while not being married, taboo for that time and though she was not forced to wear the scarlet A she was treated in that manner. Her son's father was a married man. Years later she married another man, had ten, yes ten other children. She divorced him which was looked down upon and never remarried. She was a mill worker and supported her children alone. She never had much but she was happy. She loved her children more than anything else. When my sister and I came along she retired to be able to stay at home and take care of us while our parents worked. Some of my fondest memories are of spending time with her. I was always with her, I never stayed at home, her house was my home. She always encouraged us to do anything we wanted and loved us despite stupid decisions that we made and rallied on our side against any obstacles had to be overcome. She defended us to the end.

When she was around seventy-five, she lost her sight, but as most blind people you could not tell unless she was in unfamiliar territory. At her house she still cooked on a gas stove and managed to take care of herself. Being so independent she was absolutely not going to ask for help, ever. She lived for a very long time after having lost her sight. Her only wish was that she could see all her grandchildren grown, which she did.

She became really ill a few years ago and ended up going to live in a nursing home, which to anyone who knows a blind person, is detrimental. She did not know where anything was because she was on uncharted grounds. My granny ended up having to go into the hospital for "Failure to Thrive" meaning she would not eat. She would just lay there in the bed. She was in total darkness which is something that I could not fathom. She lasted a mere two weeks in the hospital. Everyday I went to feed her on my lunch break and rubbed her back. She had rubbed my back throughout my entire life, now it was my turn. She would only eat chocolate ice cream. During that time, she and I watched endless episodes of "Little House on the Prairie."

One day as she lay there in her hospital bed looking so pitiful, her small frame even more shrunken because of the lack of nutrition, I rubbed her back. Even though I knew she could not see me but she could hear me I told her that all her grandchildren were grown, in fact the last on had turned eighteen while she was hospitalized. I told her that it was okay to die, she had gotten her wish. For me those were the hardest words I ever had to utter. That night as many of the nights before I slept with my cell phone in my hand. I knew it would not be long. My phone rang she had passed away that night while she slept.

I was sad, but happy that for one thing she had gotten her wish and the other that she never had to suffer again. This woman was strong beyond belief of all her children only two of them survived her.

That next morning I called my dad's wife and asked if I could please do my granny's hair for the funeral. I thought nothing of it, I thought it should be my duty as I would be able to say my good byes and make sure that no one put her in some crazy fru fru makeup and hairdo.

Seeing my granny on the slab was probably the weirdest thing I had ever experienced. It became comical though. I polished her nails and began talking to her, forgetting that the life was gone from her body. I told her of all things to be still. I started laughing immediately and just talked to her as I would have any other day. I think that was the best closure I could have gotten.

After all was said and done, time came to go through her belongings which I did not want but I went to look any way. What I failed to mention is that on the Friday after the funeral I was scheduled to fly out to California to attend a school for a week. Guilt had overtaken me as I thought I should stay at home because my granny had just passed away, I thought it was wrong of me to go. As I was looking through her thing I saw a pink doll case. I picked it up and opened it when something fell out. I leaned down to see what had fallen out, it was a medal of Courage. Upon further opening the case there was a collection of Wizard of Oz toys that I had no idea she even had. Eerie because the logo for the school that I was attending is Courage. I just looked up and spoke out loud, "I've got it Granny, I'm going." I took the collection of dolls home with me. They sit on my bookshelf. I would not take anything in the world for them.

"The kind of beauty I want is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within - strength, courage, dignity." Ruby Dee

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Creating Yet A Larger Support Team

While working today, a few clients came in that I knew also had run before, marathons, mini-marathons and just running in general. Three of them have now started doing P90X after I had raved so many times about how wonderful this program is. Truthfully it is probably the best workout for people who enjoy a challenge and like seeing results immediately. Of course they have been reaping the benefits of their hard labors and so have I.

During our conversations, I shared with them my goal of running a marathon.

Each of them were more than encouraging to my aspirations of running a marathon. I have a secret goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon before I am forty. (not a secret any more) I shared my ultimate goal with these people and they became my personal cheerleaders. They shared with me their own personal courses that they like running. They told me about marathons that they had each completed and how it felt. They described the pain after completing those 26.2 miles. However, the sense of accomplishment far outweighed the soreness as was evident by the twinkle in their eyes almost as if they were reliving the moment.

They were interested to know how my first race went. I expressed to them that I was disappointed in my time but I needed a starting point, something to work at bettering. When I told my client Dennis that I had completed the 5K in 31 minutes, the statement that followed was, "Pam,you trained a week for that race and you busted out a little over a 10 minute mile. You should be proud not in any way disappointed in that time." He encouraged me and said he had no doubt that you will qualify for Boston. E-mails of all my clients were given to me in the event that I needed any help with anything at all, diet, more courses to run, an overall view of the upcoming courses, you name it they are there.

I am pretty fortunate to have so many supportive people in my life creating yet a larger support team. Having people that truly care about me and see that I have potential, and encourage me to pursue these goals I have set for myself, is somewhat overwhelming but is much needed and appreciated. My heart is full, oh goodness how cliche'!

Regardless of the Elements

As I woke up this morning the reminders of the past few days of running greet me, sore calves, back and hamstrings.

Yesterday, in the sweltering 105 degree weather (not including the heat index), we trekked three miles. Believe it or not it was not unbearable. Don't get me wrong it was not pleasant but we did it. Afterword, we cross trained. These days I use Muay Thai as my cross training. It is my sanity and has made me a much nicer person. Muay Thai is also beneficial to the cardiovascular system, which we refer to as "having lungs." I have been training Muay Thai for over two years now. I am happy that I am able to continue with it while doing all this running.

Let me clarify a few things. We built a gym at our house. There are no frills, no air conditioning and no heat so one can imagine just how hot it was in there yesterday after running. We have three fans, one box fan and two oscillating fans. It is not at all comfortable but when an athlete needs to train, he or she just does - regardless of the elements.

Today will be a repeat of yesterday, another three miles, maybe Muay Thai and it will all get done, despite the heat and soreness. Afterward we will still be smiling believe it or not and looking forward to the next time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

UFC 88 - an old post that is Nik's favorite from my myspace blog

This past weekend had been anticipated since May - UFC 88 in Atlanta, Phillips Arena - the fight - Liddell vs. Evans.

The adventure began on Saturday morning as a motley crue headed down to Atlanta. The trip down consisted of a gas station stop, that was the first of many sugar overloads that would occur in less than twenty-four hours, fight predictions being discussed and the need for Krystal Burger. Having missed the exit to Krystal a much needed stop was made to the Golden Arches, I think I heard the Hallelujah Chorus singing out as the bags of purchases were opened and consumed. Quarter pounders with cheese, fries, chicken strips, cheeseburgers and a caramel sundae were all eaten as though it were fine dining.

The music selection was random as stories of childhood memories, adult occurrences, G-Man and the knowledge that Joe Burke's name fits in any song's lyrics perfectly were shared. (You should try it, it really does work!)

As we proceeded on our trek to the fight, our next stop would be the hotel. Dear God! Thank goodness we were only there to crash for the night not a good choice for an extended stay, but one perk was that there was continental breakfast, which ended at 8 or 9. The other perk was that the hotel was conventiently located by a gas station that sold $2 40 oz. Miller Lite. The beds were tested out for "spring-abilility" by jumping on them. The five of us re-loaded, re-couped and returned to the xterra to continue the journey to Phillips Arena and to get a peek at Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell and whoever else we could see.

The trip was an eventful one as we got lost in Atlanta, but who doesn't, the roads are always under construction, detours and lanes that are too small. DON'T DRIVE A WINNEBAGO THROUGH ATLANTA! Thanks to GPS we got back on track. We finally arrived, Hallelujah Chorus, again I swear! We were uncertain where the arena was so we just decided to follow all the other people wearing Tapout, Throwdown, Fairtex, Affliction and any other fight tee shirt.

There were a sea of tattooes, Chuck-style mohawks, scantilly clad women, beer guts, MULLETS, and a plethera of bad hair and no teeth. YES WE HAVE STEPPED BACK INTO THE DAY OF WRASTLING, I KNOW IS WRESTLING BUT IF YOU ARE FROM THE SOUTH, IT'S WRASTLING! UFC fans are crazy and that's an understatement.

Upon arrival, we decide that we are starving. Golden Buddha, a Thai restuarant, is spotted. (I swear two people on the trip should have slanted eyes and sprout wings, but they shall remain nameless.) Apparently as we are seated, the five of us became either transparent or invisible as we could not get serviced. We exited the Golden Buddha disgruntled, sadly without any food in our bellies which is not good especially for me. Next stop some Mexican restuarant where we just strolled our way right through, from the back and guess what, NO SEATS! We finally settled on Chick-fil-a which I ate in two bites while sitting on the floor straight out of the bags. I think that was probably the best food we have ever eaten, sitting on the floor.

Time to line up for entrance into, Hallelujah chorus again, the arena, almost fight time, woohoo. 18000 seats all sold! We even watched the undercard fights. Just so you all know the blood on the mats at the UFC fights that you pay-per-view at home, come from the undercard fights not the main events.

Time was fastly approaching for the Main Event. As we took our seats, lo and behold, an action sized Chuck Liddell sat in front of us. I don't think I can convey appropriately how much this guy looked like a pint-sized Iceman. Mini Chuck as he was loving nicknamed by all of us, had the chuck hawk, the Iceman teeshirt and the yell and poking out of the chest down to a science. He is probably Chuck's biggest fan. We all laughed at and with Mini Chuck as he provided us free entertainment all night long.

Finally, after much anticipation the Main Event, the last Hallelujah Chorus! Round one of the Liddell/Evans fight was pretty low key. But in the second round and much to our shock and amazement, Evans knocked Chuck out. COLD! The arena went completely silent.

It only left me wondering one thing...what would become of Mini Chuck?

Now you have to realize that food consumption had not occurred again for about 7 hours, a gas station was very appetizing! Ice cream, reeses pieces, poppycock, and pretzel combos were on the menu for the late night dinner buffet. I ate so much sugar that I went into crash mode and fell asleep so hard that I woke up at 9:30 which is unheard of. For those who know me, the consumption of that type food is not something that I do, EVER. Disbelief was on the face of those around me!

The next morning, we all decide that we are starving literally to death, and hit up Cracker Barrel, which was delicious and odd being surrounded by over-all wearing people, who are shocked and amused by the way that we look. The waitresses are staring in the direction of the table and come over to ask if the guys fight for the UFC. We all had a great laugh and filed our bellies. The store out front as you all know is filled to overflowing with candy and games and other stuff that impulse buyers crave. Travel Bingo was purchsed and played on the way home as well as Big League Chew, which resulted in bubbles the size of the guys faces being blown.

A great time was had by all, with discussions of attending the next fight that is near by.

My only question, what will become of Mini Chuck?

A Sense of Accomplishment

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I had a new running partner, Lori. Yesterday was our first adventure on the road. In all honesty I think that she is just as excited about running with me as I am with her.

On Saturday, she and her husband drove their neighborhood to mark out a course that was 5 miles, which according to Hal I was supposed to run on Sunday. She and I had decided to meet at her house bright and early Sunday morning to tackle to run due to the cooler temperature. I was excited and nervous. Little did I know that she had run just about every race that I want to run, that she had been running for many years, and that she would be as encouraging as she was.

Sunday morning came, I met her at her house. She was waiting on me outside to start the run. We timed when we left so that we could get an estimate of what we would run. According to my training schedule, week one, for the Governor's Cup in November Half-Marathon, the five miles required of us seemed a little intimidating not being familiar with the course. The time went by quickly as she and I talked most of the way. As we rounded the turn back to her house, we were amazed that we had finished 5 miles in about 40 minutes. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Afterward, even though we were pouring sweat, our tongues hanging out, we were smiling. We didn't quit and this is only week one of training. We had done it.

We decided that we would run a couple times a week and on the weekend. I am so thankful for an addition to my support team. She pushes me and she encourages me too.

Being so excited, I called home to relay the news of our time. My excitement and joy was shared as usual which I appreciate more that anyone will ever know Epsom salt soak was followed by a rub down with Thai Oil and a much deserved nap. Surprisingly my legs felt pretty good, I was expecting them to be very sore.

I forgot to mention that I had been bored at home one day last week and had done a leg workout (P90X leg workout) not real smart when I am pounding the pavement every week at least 20 - 30 miles a week, so my hamstrings were hating me. I was hard headed as usual and had to pay the price, I learned my lesson.

This morning, my cell phone rang. It was Lori. She called to check to see how I was feeling, if my legs were terribly sore and to schedule our next run. She also encouraged me by telling me that I had done really well yesterday. We are running together on Wednesday, it's a quick 3 miles. This time it's my course, which is flat with a small increasing grade but nothing like those hills. I am looking forward to it as well is she.

I have come to the conclusion that I have found much more than a running partner. I have found a friend and for that I am even more thankful...

Friday, August 7, 2009

A reason for celebration

Funny how things always seem to work out for the best.

Yesterday while I was working a client, Lori who is actually a neighbor of mine as well, came in to get her hair done. Well, I mentioned that I was looking for running partners. I had remembered in our past conversations that she had been running a lot, so I inquired about her willingness to run with me especially on the long hauls. The reason for celebration, she said she would love to. We start Sunday!


"Beauty comes from a life well lived. If you've lived well, your smile lines are in the right places, and your frown lines aren't too bad."...Jennifer Garner

While thumbing through a magazine I saw the above mentioned quote. I thought it was very appropriate. As women we get so wrapped up in what we look like, about the lines on our faces, the cellulite on our butts, small boobs, the list could go on for a mile. I am guilty too. But as I am coming to find out, the people that love us truly, love us for who we are. Sweaty, stinky, no makeup, they still love you and would not have you any other way. They love our freckles, our dimples, our humor, our accomplishments and many other things too numerous to blog.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

the beginning of the journey

It began as a jotted down goal on a "Goals List," one that I make every five or ten years on milestone birthdays, to complete a marathon before my fortieth birthday. Well the journey through the training has begun. Many miles have already been put on these legs, many more to come. The training is intense and laboring but a sense of accomplishment is felt after every run whether it be a quick three miler or much further.

When I talked to my family about it, most of the responses were why would you want to do that. My answer was why wouldn't you. No running is not for everyone, but for me it is truly freeing. Having run my first 5K a week or so ago, the rush of the crowd cheering for the first over the line to the last over the line made it all worth while. No, I did not make the time that I wanted to but I felt a sense of pride. I was doing something I was told I'd never do again. Overcoming is a huge part of running for me, and I'm doing it.

I am fortunate to have someone in my life who is willing to support me in whatever goal I choose to try and tackle. He runs with me though I know he doesn't feel up to it. When I have a 5K, he's waiting for me at the finish line patiently. He's proud no matter what my finishing time was and he is encouraging.

My children, they are proud. I have commissioned my son the skateboard along side me on the longer runs. My oldest daughter, she laughs and says for me to have fun with that but she supports me too in her own way. The youngest well, she is just as athletic and competitive as I, she understands fully.

With a support group that I have how could I not be successful? I ask myself that daily. I'll answer that, if I'm not fully determined, disciplined and dedicated, failure is inevitable. It is a battle against myself to keep pushing when I don't feel like it any more, when I don't think my legs can run one more step. Running is more mental than physical and I am finding that out daily. However I keep on, sore and tired, knowing it will all be worth it, every little bit.