Monday, April 20, 2009

Race Report

My 5k was this past Saturday. I thought it would be fair to give a race report, since I talked about it last week.

So, in 5 words or less, here it is: "It was Terrible!"

When I left the Y last Wednesday night, I had just completed my last run before the race, and I was psyched! I felt like my goal was completely within my reach. Then, my ride home became the nightmare that I wrote about in the post below. And the race just didn't seem so important anymore.

Between Wednesday night and Saturday morning, I didn't sleep very well. I was crying at random times, and just really struggling with everything. But, I got up Saturday morning and went to the run.

It just wasn't happenin for me though. I felt like the race was poorly organized, and I almost missed the start, because they never announced that it was approaching. There was no sense of camaraderie among the runners, and it seemed like a chore to the volunteers to be there. There were no mile markers and no time clocks along the course, so I had no way of knowing how I was doing.

So, as far as my personal race goes, it was not good. I think that my body decided to release all of the stress and tension I'd been feeling since Wednesday. I was physically exhausted. After what I think was a mile, I seriously thought I was going to have to lay down on the grass and fall asleep. It wasn't that normal feeling of pushing yourself hard and feeling it. I really thought I was just going to need to stop and lay down. I kept going, but my legs felt like I was on a 10 mile run. After the race, I was physically sick, more than once.

My final time was 34:25. Which is 11:06 minutes per mile. That is 5 seconds slower than the 4 miler I did in March.

So there you have it. The ugly truth of just how badly I did. I'm not sure where to go from here. At this point, I'm trying to take care of myself. Both physically and emotionally.

As far as races go, I can sign up for another 5k in May. Or, I can focus on building distance to a 10k. I'll check with my tri mentor and see what she recommends, but I'm certainly open to suggestions.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When a Good Day becomes a Nightmare

Warning-This is a disturbing story. Feel free to not read it:

Yesterday was a good day. Actually, in hindsight, yesterday was a great day.

I got up, took the dog for a walk and got ready for work. I played with Kenz and Jack for a little while before I left for the day. Work was productive, and I felt good about it.

After work, I took Kenz to the bike co-op to work on our bikes. It's something we've been wanting to do for a month now. We had a great time! She learned how to fix the seat on her bike, and loved watching every one else work on their bikes. I brought Click, my new road bike along. It turns out, she's a great bike. She's in great shape for her age and just needed a couple of minor adjustments. I got detailed instructions on how to tape the bars, and I'll do that this weekend!

Then, we came home and I got the kids ready for bed. I planned to leave the house at 8 to go to the Y for a run. But, Kenz was exhausted and had a melt down. She only wanted me, so of course, I stayed home and snuggled with her until she fell asleep. By the time I got out the door, it was almost 9PM. I was so annoyed, because my training plan called for a 38 minute run, and there was no way I'd get that much time before the Y closed at 10. But I went, and put in a hard 30 minutes. After the 5 minute warm-up I cranked up the pace and kept it below 10:30 for the last 20 minutes. So, everything was okay after all.

I left the Y and stopped at Price Chopper for a couple of things for breakfast. While in the store, I called Shayna and we had a great conversation. It was fun and light, and I was happy when I got off the phone to get in my car!

I pulled out of the parking lot, feeling pretty Dam good about life. But, within 2 minutes, events occurred that will change my life and who I am forever.

Western Ave is a busy road. It's a four lane street with a full size median and businesses lining both sides of the street. The speed limit is 40, and it's a dangerous road in the best conditions. Last night, the road was not busy. There was me and a delivery car about 100 yards in front of me.

I came to the crest of a little tiny knoll and something in the median caught my eye-pretty far ahead- I mean about another 100 yards in front of the delivery car. I was pretty sure it was a person, but he was dressed all in black, and didn't seem to be moving.

I think my train of thought went something like this, "That's pretty dangerous I hope that guy sees him in the road he might try to cross in front of me right after that car passes him. slow down to give him room if he does. Okay i think it's gonna be okay." I took my eyes off the delivery car for a couple of seconds to scan a side road or driveway that I was approaching.

And then I heard it. That gut wrenching, sickening sound of a car hitting something alive. The delivery car stopped immediately. I pulled over into the nearest parking lot and jumped out of my car. I grabbed my cell phone and hit 911.

I didn't want to see what was on the other side of the delivery car. I had to see. I ran across the street. I will spare you the details, but the sight is something I will never forget. I ran back to my car and got my coat to put over the man. He was laying on the ground, not responding.

I stayed on the line with the dispatcher. He asked me to look for a pulse. This is the part that I am not proud of: I responded "You want me to touch him?" But, I bent down and took his wrist in my hand. I have been beating myself up about that comment since the moment it came out of my mouth. What a selfish, horrible thing to say. I have been thinking, those might have been the last words he actually heard, and I was treating him like an untouchable. But, this is what I realized tonight: I did bend down and take his wrist in my hand. I felt for a pulse and couldn't find it. Although that meant nothing, because I can never find any one's pulse. But here's what matters: I didn't let go. Long after I stopped feeling for a pulse, I continued to hold his wrist in my hand. The police arrived within a few minutes, and only then did I let go.

It is an eerie feeling to know that I was one of the last people (possibly the last) to see him seconds before he was hit. In those few seconds of normalcy, before it changed forever.

And I wonder if he was aware of our physical contact on some level. I hope that my touch was reassuring and calming in those last few minutes before the police arrived. I do not know if he had family who was able to see him in the emergency room. I do not know if he had any human contact after those minutes, that wasn't clinical and task oriented.

I learned today, the mans name was Nicholas Luna. He died sometime this afternoon.

And now I think, how lucky I am to have had that extra time for snuggles with my 6 year old last night. How unimportant those missed 8 minutes of the run were. How fortunate I am to be here today, and to have the ability to run. How brave are the survivors that I work with every day. And, that above all else, human connections and kindness are so important in this world. because you just never know what lies ahead.

Monday, April 13, 2009

2nd Race of the Year

One of my unofficial goals this year is to complete a race a month. Not a Tri a month, but a running race. Before I hurt my foot in 2004, I was running a 5K every 4 to 6 weeks.And, my times were improving. My race last month was the first one I've entered since July of '04.

On March 7th I ran and completed the "Running of the Green [Island]"-4 miler. My time was good for where I was a month ago, and I am glad I finished with no walk breaks. But, my time was horrific compared to everyone else who ran. Truly. Only 14 people finished behind me. If Blogger had emoticons, this would warrent the "eek" smiley. My time broke down to 11:02 minutes/mile. I didn't have any plan last month, except to finish. I had no vision of how I would do that.

This coming Saturday, I am running my second race of the year. It's a 5k...for non- runners, that's 3.1 miles. This time, I have a plan. In the Tri world, they say "Plan your race. Then race your plan." So, I'm making my plan and visualizing it every day I run this week. My goal: 10:30 minute miles. It's a bit aggressive to try to cut 32 seconds off per mile, in just one month. But I think I can do it!

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today is my baby brothers birthday. And although he will never read this, because he doesn't ever touch a computer, I feel compelled to say a little about him!

Derrick is three years younger than me. When we were little, he was my most frequent companion. Growing up in such a rural area, we didn't have many other options, but to play with each other. We spent hours playing in the dirt, climbing the rocks, and exploring by the creek. It's a miracle we never broke an ankle jumping from the roof of the shed, over and over again. Trying to reach the nearby tree, or to see who could go the farthest. He can still be goaded into an impromptu race around the house, or up the road on almost any given day.

Even when we were little, Derrick was my protector when I needed one. I'll never forget the time he attacked a snake in the field, because it scared me. In my memory, it was a BIG snake. I ran up the hill to the house, crying like..well a little girl (I'm not proud of it, but it's true.)He, at the tough old age of 4 or 5 stayed behind in that huge field to be sure that snake never scared me again.

And recently, when my beloved Bear died, Derrick gently and kindly took care of him for me. He protected me from as much of the pain as he could, in a way that perhaps only a brother can.

And sometimes, I protected him. Like, the time he skipped school with a friend and I went searching for him. I knew where he was, and I knew what he was doing. I knew that it was a bad combination of place and activity, so I went and got him.

We drifted away for a while after we both moved away from home. But in the past few years, we've been reconnecting. He's always up for some innocent ribbing, or a good political debate (which is amazing since we are always voting for the same person)

Now he's all grown up. He's married with 3 kids, and has an honest job that he enjoys. I have to say, I think he's a great Dad. It's probably the thing I'm most proud of him for. Although, the fact that he can fix my brakes for free, is a close second!

So Derrick, on your birthday, I'm saying to the blogging world that I love you. But, I can still give a serious noogie, so be careful!
Happy Birthday little brother!