Friday, October 26, 2007

Will That Be One Marshmallow, Or Two?

One of the greatest predictors of future success in life can be discerned at a young age: If you offer a very young child one marshmallow now, or two if s/he waits 20 minutes, you can conclude with a reasonably high degree of certainty that the child who will wait to reap the greater reward already grasps what it takes to be successful and will likely carry that trait into adulthood.

Marathon running is like that. There is a dedication to a long term goal that spills over into other parts of life. Perhaps it is the other way around. The connection is clear. If your hobby is running marathons, you are likely to be highly disciplined, full of integrity and faithful to a long term commitment and you are probably successful in life by most measures.

I was fascinated to read about the "business" of marathons. With some races drawing 10s of thousands of race participants in this highly sought after demographic, it is no small impact to the local economy of the hosting city. Having invested nearly $1,000 this summer just to race in St. Charles between hotel nights, meals, airplane tickets and other transportation is evidence enough. But, read on for some interesting facts.

Runner Profile Highlights from 2006 Runner's World Sub Study, Erdos and Morgan):
  • Gender: Women 47.4% / Men 52.6%
  • Median Age: 44.0 years old
  • College Educated: 93% Graduated College+: 74%
  • Married: 74.4%
  • Number of people in household: 2.9 people
  • 2005 individual employment income before taxes, average: $74,100 [$63,600 median]
  • 2005 household employment income before taxes, average: $139,000 [$113,000 median]
  • 2005 household net worth, average: $943,000 [$500,000 median]
This week, I am back in sort of a routine with real miles instead of my daily short runs. And ice baths only three times this week. Rick, your tip on getting used to the cold water BEFORE the ice could be the most valuable nugget of the month! Far more tolerable. Thank you! I ran 4 on Monday, 4 on Wednesday, 5 yesterday, 3 today and have 7 for tomorrow. My leg pain continues to wane, but lingers just enough to keep me edgy and a little nervous.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My First Full Ice Bath

I don't like being cold, and I really don't like being cold and wet. In fact, I'll go to great lengths just to avoid that combination (one reason why triathlons don't appeal to me). I'll wait until a hot summer day in late July before I'll even dip a toe in the lake where I live to be assured the water temperature is at least in the high 80s. So, to step into a large tub filled with cold tap water and a couple of large bags of ice... well... that should speak volumes of how badly I want my leg to heal.

It's been roughly six weeks since my right thigh started bothering me, an injury I got during taper before the marathon. Yesterday, it passed the annoying stage right into downright depressing. I feel like it's never going to heal. So, my running coach cut my runs dramatically and insisted I sit in a waist-deep tub of cold water filled with store bought bags of ice. For 20 minutes. And a few cups of epsom salt thrown in.

Oh, the pain and the agony of that first step. Indescribable, when I knew all I had to do to end it was just step out. Slowly I submerged. And sat. One minute ticked by, two, and I couldn't stop shivering. I had brought a magazine to distract me, but was shivering too badly and tensed too much to read it. But, magically, by the fourth minute, the shivering abated, and the pain of the ice started to go away. And, as promised, I became numb and no longer suffered. I actually completed this mission. And get to repeat each night for the rest of the week.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I Grieve

Grief is a funny thing; it comes in waves. You find yourself walking on the beach, firm sand under your feet and suddenly a wave crashes into you, and the sand erodes and you are on your knees. And then it recedes, you recover, slowly picking your self up, as the tide gradually fades away from you.

I always thought my mother's death would be like a hurricane, furious impending doom, with plenty of warning. I pictured myself at her bedside, watching her slip away. Instead, it was a microburst, that surprised all of us--most of all, me.

Today, October 8th (the actual day of posting, I started this draft yesterday), is the day 9 years ago when my first daughter, Rachel Sheyenne was born. It is a bitter sweet day for me, as she died in my arms a few days later, again, an unpredictable event that shattered me.

In honor of my mother, and my beautiful daughter, Rachel, I chose this video, I picture them now both held and comforted by angels in heaven. As a human, I cannot release my grief, it fills me now, clouds my vision and I am able to focus on little else. I know Rachel is saying to me now, "Please don't cry mommy," and she's probably holding grandma's hand. I, however, am helplessly crying my eyes out.

Hug your kids, your loved ones today. And remember, you never know when they will be taken from you.

I picked up my training again on Friday, so I missed a total of four days of running. Friday were two services for my mother, so I figured I'd need to be exhausted rather than nervous and edgy. Finally, I was beginning to sleep again, and plans were simply being executed and not made. I ran 6 miles, not very fast, with 4 striders once that was complete. I ran 7 miles on Sunday, and 5 today, also followed by striders.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Goodbye, Mother

“Your mother passed away at 3:34 this afternoon,” I hear my father matter-of-factly announce. I look over and catch my husband’s eye more than 100 feet away where I had crept to try to find a quieter spot to listen to the message. We had just gotten off the Astro Orbiter at Disney World in Orlando. I don’t even hear the rest of the voice message if there is more. But I am suddenly sobbing on his shoulder in the middle of the happiest place on earth. She wasn’t supposed to die today.

Death is an ugly thing. My mother had been ill for sometime, but had beaten the odds again and again over far greater complications. I had eaten dinner with her on a previous trip to Florida just three days ago. I don’t know how it was supposed to be but this wasn’t it. I am stunned left trying to accept the unacceptable. And I wonder if I were the daughter I should have been. Did she die proud of me? I always felt that I somehow fell short of her expectations—a disappointment—and there is a deep ache inside of me.

It will be days before I run again. And I have plenty I’ll need to work out on the roads.

Life is fleeting. God Bless you mom, and God speed. It is my hope that you have now found everlasting peace and heavenly comfort in the presence of your Saviour, and you at last are released from your pain and suffering. Goodbye mom, I love you.