Sunday, September 21, 2014

This Year, I Turn Left

So, Oil Creek 100 is made up of 3-31 mile loops, followed by an 8-mile, “Coming Home” loop.  Yes…. I’ve done the math.  I know that’s 101 miles.  I try not to think about it.

For each of the first three loops, when you approach a fork in the trail, marked only by two humble signs, you turn to the right.  However, should you reach that glorious Coming Home loop, you get to turn to the left.  Rog has asked me to have someone with me when I do that loop, as it contains a hill that is quite sadistic.  It is called, "The Hill of Truth".   I’ve trained on the loop twice, once with Rog, and once on my own.  I understand his concern.  

Roger knows how hard I’ve been training.  I’m not one to post every workout, but I’ve been putting in the miles.  He recently asked me my plan for this year’s race.   It is simple and summed up in five words:  This year, I turn left. 

That race has defeated me in the past and it had been quite a thorn in my side.  I changed my training this year to prepare for it.  I’ve added a dance class and a yoga practice.  What I didn’t expect was, rather than just making me a stronger runner, those changes have made me a stronger person.

Rog and I often talk about our ‘mojo’.  It seems at one point or another, one of us has lost ours, and needs a swift kick in the butt to get it back.   I have learned to focus more on the journey, and frankly, to just enjoy the ride.  However, I am far from perfect.  Sometimes my euphoria gets interrupted, and I have to readjust and refocus.  Then, BOOM!  It’s back, stronger than before.  It’s powerful to share that with a friend.

Today, I ran a half marathon in Philadelphia.  It is to be my last race before Oil Creek.  At the start, I looked to yoga, and set my intention.  I wanted to simply be there; be in the race; be in the moment.  I wanted to do as my running company professes.  I wanted to run happy.

I was able to enjoy the journey.  I crossed the finish line, feeling like a runner.  I felt strong and accomplished, but unfettered by such things as my finishing time.

Oil Creek will come, sooner rather than later.  I will reach it’s starting line trained, and with ample mojo.  But, I no longer worry about crossing the finish line.  I will be challenged, and I welcome those challenges (however, I do hope they are not in bear form).  I will run happy, and although my ability to do so may rest in a power far greater than I, I will do all that is in my capabilities to assure that this year, I turn left.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Go boy, Go!

Time with my son has become a rarity.  He’s hardly home, and his priorities, as they should, have switched from family time to his life outside of this house.   When the opportunity for Nat to have a weekend sleepover with her bestie, on the same weekend Noah wasn’t overbooked, AND the Finn McCool Obstacle race was running, I could not pass up the true gift of an opportunity. 

When we’ve done these types of races before, Noah and I generally keep pace with each other.   It was made crystal clear to me, on the first obstacle, that today was going to be very different.  The race took place at Kissing Bridge Ski Resort,  The first obstacle was a mega slip and slide down the central ski slope.  Just as I approached it, Noah purposely clipped my ankle, taking me out, then dove over me.  “See ya’ Mom” was all I heard as he took off down the mountain.  This was going to be HIS race.  Go boy, go!

That’s the last I saw of Noah until I tumbled through the mud pit and saw his smiling face.  “Mom, I took first place in the wave.  I’ve NEVER taken first place in a race before!”  He told me people were coming up to him and patting him on the back and praising him.  The look of pride was contagious. 

Just last year, his leg was broken.  He went from moving 100 mph to a dead stop.  Two surgeries and six months on crutches later, he was still looking to regain strength.  I signed him up for a marathon.  He was leery.

If you know Noah, you know he took on the training with vigor.   He has completed four half marathons, but it’s on his bucket list to hit the full 26.2.   He does every training run I recommend, and I sometimes have to tell him to stand back and to recover. 

Although he climbed walls, ropes, navigated mud, balanced on lily pads, traversed monkey bars (I friggin’ hated those) and ascended TWO ski slopes, when I asked him what he was most proud of, he said “his stamina”.  “Mom,” he continued, “the marathon...I got this”. 

Yes, Noah.  I know you do.   Make room on that trophy shelf.