Our Deepest Need

Yes, I know I’ve been horribly absent from here.  My life went for a big rollercoaster ride and I’m all the better for it, but it was a rought journey.  There were times of absolute bliss, and times of true heartache.  Friends have come and gone, and so has love.  As usual for me I turned inward for a while reaching out as needed but feeling alone in a sea of worries.  I don’t know why I let myself get like that but I do.  Thankfully this time I had my running to help me cope.  And each stride I took on the asphalt helped me work out another problem, a hidden cry fest, or an angry itch.

A toddler girl crying

A toddler girl crying (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

But this week, I came to understand something that I think I was ignoring.  I have a strong faith, it is not one I talk about much or express in day to day life, other than actions themselves.  I reach out to God often, but not as much as I’m aware.  This past month and more, I have had some days of just utter despair, where I couldn’t hold back the tears or the sobbing.  It had been a long time since I had cried this hard.  And even the last time I had not given in to the sorrow as much as I probably should have.  I felt like crying after my marathon, but held it back, maybe if I had this wouldn’t have gone on so long.

But whatever the reason, I cried and cried.  I sat with my head in my hands, I curled up in my bed, I leaned into a friend’s arms for relief.  There were no cries for help, no prayers from my lips.  But somehow I was heard, it just took me a little while to realize it.  There is a point when we all feel that pain in our deepest soul.  For some it just is there, for others it won’t go away, for some it results in tears, and for me it becomes a sobbing.  I think that is when we lay ourselves bare.  That is when you can’t hide from what truly pains you and what you are really looking for.  A solace that is more than companionship, love, or comforting.

Sermons teach us about agape, a love that transcends all.  I think this is what that pain in our soul calls out for.  And for some that can be found in prayer, for others a small gesture, and sometimes it just fills in slowly.  Last week, I had an emotionally charged evening, and woke up feeling overwhelmed and confused.  I headed out for a run in the rain, with a soundtrack to suit my mood, and a certain South Pacific song in the back of my head.  I came back feeling clear headed and cleansed of so much, but it wasn’t till I drove to work that I became whole.  That was when I saw the rainbow.

It’s a little hard to spot at first

This was the second time I had seen a rainbow in the past weeks.  There was something about this one that just struck me, and I remembered the story of Noah, and how a rainbow is god’s promise to us.  A story I think that is often overlooked, and this detail one that is overshadowed by animals and an ark.  But then I thought about how this was the second time in just a month that I had seen a rainbow early in the morning after a good run, and a long night beforehand.  And I realized that this was God’s way of showing me that all is okay, and will be okay.  That my prayers that I didn’t even know I had uttered were being answered.

Funny enough, I changed my phone screen saver to a shot of that first rainbow right after I saw it.  Now I’m reminded every day of this gift, and the peace it brings me is immeasureable.  Life is moving forward and sometimes you are not always ready for the changes it will bring, but at least now I feel supported in a way that is bigger than life itself.

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Salt Lick

While running my marathon, I was constantly passing med stations where you could stop and get assistance for everything from nausea to busted blisters and more.  But more importantly these volunteers stood along the course offering up salt packets and tongue depressers heavy with vaseline.  For those who don’t run long distance, let me explain these two things.  The salt is to help with fluid and electrolyte balances.  Knocking back this tiny salt packet can make a world of difference when you run.  This I learned at mile 16 on my race when I finally gave in and grabbed one, because I felt so awful that I would just about try anything they gave me.  And it was instant relief!!

Super runner!

The vaseline is for chafing, a common problem for runners.  So you grab the tongue depresser and start rubbing as you run, quite a sight let me tell you.  Some people also use it to keep sweat out of their eyes, but that’s what super cool 80s sweatbands and the new Halo and gutter style bands are for.  I mean why go for greasy vaseline when you can make a fashion statement!

All that aside I was really surprised by how quickly the salt was able to help.  I talked to many runners and triatheletes before the race and even after who have never taken a salt packet.  Basically as long as you hydrate well and grab the gatorade that’s offered, and have your gels you don’t need the salt.  Well, I had tons of water, plenty of powerade on my belt.  Gels and more as well, and that salt was a saving grace twice on the course.  So I know that I will be packing my own little packets as I train and on my next race day.  Which is just 4 months away now!

Recently, I stopped in at Wendy’s to get a salad and baked potato, my go to for lunches when I’m using my lunch break for errands.  I was getting silverware and saw the salt packets that are so common at fast food establishments.  Those little packets are what they have on race courses by the way.  Not sure if they order them or like me just grab a handful every time they stop by.  So seeing salt, I scooped up a massive amount and tossed it in my bag.  It was when I got back to the office and was transferring my loot to my desk drawer that I realized that something was different about this salt.

Sea Salt in a packet!!

You may remember that Wendy’s recently made some big changes to their menu.  Starting with using Sea Salt on their fries.  Well, they didn’t stop there.  The salt packets I scooped up, were Sea Salt!! That’s right! Tiny little paper shots of Sea Salt!  How ingenious and subtle.  To switch over to these.  But then I thought, well is Sea Salt as good or better than the table salt I was expecting to get?  Would it make a difference while I ran? Would I flop out because I had the “wrong” salt?

I began questioning this, and asking runners again.  No one had an answer.  It seems that it’s an age old debate as to the validity of these claims of health benefits of Sea Salt.  Even today as I prepared to write this blog, I did some quick research and found varying opinions.  All in all, the facts are the same.  Table salt is processed and some additives are added, but in small amounts.  Sea Salt is harvested and retains some minerals in small amounts.  Either way, you shouldn’t eat a lot of either and there is no definitive study saying one is better than the other.  I would love to see a study related to running but even the mighty Google and Bing were not that helpful with results.

For now I have a drawer full of Sea Salt packets, and I’ll just try those and see.  If I don’t feel I’m getting results, I’m sure I can find a Hardee’s or McDonalds with some salt to snag! For now, feel free to read the posts below where I found some good information.

http://www.athleticfoodie.com/2011/03/04/sea-salt-vs-table-salt/

http://healthonabudget.com/health-benefits-of-sea-salt-vs-table-salt/

http://healthy-is-hot.blogspot.com/2012/04/sea-salt-vs-table-salt-which-is-better.html

Tiaras, tears, and Triumph!

Well, I’m still alive! I made it through my first marathon and first race. A lot of people wondered why I went for such a big goal for my first, but my family will tell you I like to bite off more than I can chew. But now I know that I can take on the big challenges in life. More importantly I’ve learned how crucial a team and support is to big endeavors.
Yesterday was rough, I died a few times on the course. But the amazing coaches, Team in Training (TNT) staff, cheerleaders, bands, and just some great San Diego locals helped me keep going. Even better were all the people I met on the course. TNT runners, others who were just running, and the volunteers at all the water and med stations.
I knew long into training that it was going to be a hard race. My body is not really built for full marathons. Well not yet. My new goal is a half marathon, which I’ll be running the whole course if I can. Training will start at the end of this month and the race is in November. So I’ll be resetting my countdown. I won’t be with TNT this time, but I’m sure I’ll join them for a few runs here and there. I’m also going to check out some other groups in town.
Towards the end I met two amazing women from Calgary, Canada and we pushed each other till the end. We even took our victory photo at the end together, so I can remember them forever. It all sounds fun and positive, right?
It was definitely those things, but there is an emotional side to running a marathon. Especially when you run it for a cause. I was running in memory of my Grandma Virginia, and my Grandaddy Big Jack. Serval times when coaches were giving me pep talks to keep me going, they would tell me to think about those people who I was running for. As soon as I did the emotions would overtake me. In the last 4 miles all I could do was focus on my new found running partners and talk them over the finish line. If I had really thought about friends and family I would have probably collapsed in tears.
Thankfully I had provided my own encouragement and motivation by wearing a tiara on top of my hat for the race. I bought it on my birthday to have a little fun with my teammates at our pasta dinner. Initially we joked about me wearing it for the race, costumes being an integral part of the Rock n Roll marathon series. But then during the night when I couldn’t sleep I remembered why I started wearing a tiara on my birthdays. It was to remember all the birthday dinners with my Grandma Virginia and the little glitter cardboard tiaras and crowns she would have for us to wear. That was all I needed to make up my mind.
So yesterday I put all my gear on and rub on tattoos. I had shoe bling, a fuel belt, hot pink socks, and then a big beautiful tiara. All through the race I got compliments and was able to share the story of why I was wearing it. That was such a motivator, that I might run with a tiara more often… Just kidding.
I’m headed home with an experience of a lifetime, a big medal around my neck, sore muscles, sunburn, and the title of marathoner. So what goal do you want to accomplish? Believe me, you can reach it.

How Did I Get Here?

Steve Prefontaine in a post-Olympic 2-mile rac...

Steve Prefontaine in a post-Olympic 2-mile race in an International Athlete Club track meet, the Crystal Palace, London, 15 Sep 72. Rod Dixon, behind him, won the race (Photo credit: The Happy Rower)

Well as you may have read I’ve been training for a marathon. When people ask me why, I quickly reply that I was smoking crack back in December when I signed up. But let’s be fair, even crack smokers aren’t this crazy… And bath salts users, well they are apparently training for the zombie apocalypse. So no more joking about that. It’s also an insult to those who have helped me get here. Yes, get ready for it, it’s my “academy speech” where I thank all the people who got me to this place, because “you like me, you really like me!”
Well first and foremost lets start with the woman who gave birth to me (I hold back on using the “mom” word since my sister has worked equally hard in that role). It was my mother’s journey as she trained for two marathons that sparked this desire in me to do this. I just had this nagging that if she could walk them I could run something. That it would become a marathon was so far from my mind… But here it is two days away. So on Sunday I’ll be running for my mom, in fact her name will be on my shirt. And like she said, if I feel like giving up I have to remember that my mother completed two marathons and all while in her 50s. I’m also running in memory of her father my Grandaddy Big Jack. He was an amazing person who I dearly miss and who would have told me I was crazy at the same time he told me he was proud.
I have a book called The Southern Belle Primer. In it there is a rule about belles that says they will call their father “Daddy” even when they’re 90. So true. My daddy has been a big supporter during all of this. Every phone call and text he tells me how proud he is. He gave me a lift with postcards from his recent trip abroad. And never doubted that I could achieve this. His humor and positive attitude is something I hope I can draw from on this race. I will most definitely be laughing if anything goes awry because at this point what can you do but laugh! I am also running in memory of his mother my Grandma Virginia. A strong woman with a love of life. She would have asked why I was running past so many wonderful sights in San Diego. I will be thinking of her with every flower or piece of art I pass.
And now for the big sis, or Mom2. She has texted, called, skyped and more to keep me motivated and check on my progress. When Mom1 got concerned, she was there to defend me. She is even trying to keep track of me while traveling inTurkey! I first started looking at long distance running because of a challenge from her to run a half marathon. Neither of us reached that goal but I will be trying it again this fall. Maybe I can get her to join me…
All of the support would be nowhere without The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and their Team in Training program. I have had an amazing support staff, great coaches, fabulous mentors, and a team that I will truly miss when this is over. They have worked this girl down 20 lbs and into a runner for life. Please visit their websites and learn more about how you can help fight blood cancers.
So that just leaves my dearest friends and while I could go on and on I think the music might be playing me off stage. So here is a quick rundown.
Alyx, I could not be here without you. Your laughter, support, and texts pushed me along. I look forward to the day when we can celebrate this together.
Chrissy, thank you for always listening. Your patience with me and my endless talk of running is unmatched. Your generosity has been amazing.
Megan, the best running partner ever. You pushed me to run better and faster. Your voice will be in my head pushing me along on race day.
Kristi, always keeping me smiling. Whether it was a quick FB comment or a long email you were there. We will need to get some margaritas to celebrate!
Kevin, the best a girl could ask for. So amazing to be sharing this with you. Thank you for believing in me.

Ok sappy speeches done. Some really fabulous people donated to the cause to help me reach my goal of $2900!! All of you have given me great reasons to push ahead and keep up all the hard work.
So I’m ready as I will ever be. Right now I’m on the plane to San Diego. Trying to stay hydrated and get ready for the time change. We are hopefully landing soon, because I’m ready to get settled in and start enjoying San Diego!
If you want a peek at what I’ll be seeing as I run just watch this video

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20120602-060623.jpg

Broken hearts, Bad days, and Sore muscles

Well this week has taken me on a rollercoaster ride.  After an amazing weekend at home with my parents, I returned refreshed and eager to take on the mess at home and at work.  Little did I know what the week had in store for me.

Work kicked off with a couple emails that just made me sick.  Not gonna get into details, but let’s just say there was nothing constructive about the criticism I received.  And now I’m walking on eggshells every day.  Threatening someone’s job is not a motivator, unless you want a fearful office.  But all that went out the window shortly after getting home.

Defective parts - Broken hearts - NARA - 535072

Defective parts - Broken hearts - NARA - 535072 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you read my last blog, you know that my love life is a constant mess, and that soap opera drama seems to follow me.  Despite my best efforts to be laid back and relaxed, emotional people and crazy drama just happens.  Recently I had my heart broken, and it’s no one’s fault or someone being mean or hurtful.  Simply put, I had stronger feelings than they did and thankfully they didn’t string me along.  But the pain of that hasn’t healed, regardless of my best efforts to pretend it has.

This week, I tried a little too hard to ignore it, and it ended up biting me in the ass.  It’s hard to be happy sometimes.  Oh sure you smile, and your life could be much worse, and you tell yourself this.  But sometimes you just want to have a pity party and feel sorry for yourself.  And by Friday I was in full pity party mode.  What made the week and that so awful was that the one person I wanted to talk to about everything I was feeling, was the one friend I couldn’t talk to.

Flower and leaves of Lantana camara Français :...

Flower and leaves of Lantana camara Français : Fleurs et feuilles de Thé de gambie (Lantana camara) Português: Flores e folhas de Lantana camara (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So now that I’ve said everything and nothing about the week, I guess I should update you on my running.  Today, I’m nursing a sore IT Band, and the oh so fun headache that I just seem to get after every long distance run.  I had a gluten attack Saturday morning, so I had to cut my run early, and run the rest of the difference today.  Then today I got shat on by some small animal in a tree… reluctant to say it was a bird, because of what it looked like.  And apparently Lantana can cause contact dermatitis.  I used a leaf to clean off.  So my throat closed up and I broke out in hives on my arm.

All in all an awesome day, that is getting better.  No really, I am starting to feel better and I’m sitting at the wine shop with a great breeze and some good friends.  Sucking down crazy amounts of Powerade and water, before I let my self drink.  Which I really just need to avoid, but hey when in Rome

I’m feeling optimistic about the week ahead, but know that I need to focus on some things at home.  The laundry has gotten crazy and the kitchen needs a good top to bottom scrub.  But I feel better about my schedule this week.  And if all else fails, I can focus on my trip to DC this weekend to run my first 5K!

Hearts will heel, tomorrow is another day, and epsom salts are cheap.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step…

Hi, my name is Sarah, and I’m addicted to Endorphins!!! There I said it! After a bad run this morning (really more of a walk) I came home and did another 20 minutes of working out. Then an hour of serious cleaning, followed by a walk with the dog (short walk, he has short legs)….

So this was my Facebook status update just a few minutes ago.  As soon as I started typing I knew it was time to blog.  Not only had I not made time to blog for a while, but when inspiration hits you have to take advantage of it.  So here I am sitting down very reluctantly and writing.  What I really want is to be outside in this amazing weather walking, or even riding my bike!! And if you knew how bad I was at bike riding you would know how crazy that sounds!!!

This week I pushed hard on all my workouts, I really wanted to feel the burn! And then I came down with a stomach bug that kept me in bed and still for most of a day.  Sadly it was this that made me realize I had a problem.  Even though every time I sat up or turned over in bed I felt nauseous I just wanted to exercise.  I wanted to be out of bed and moving as if that would make me feel better.

 

Laziness (1887)

Laziness (1887) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t deny this addiction any longer, but I’m not sure I want to fight it.  I’m more active at work, home, and life in general.  My body just wants to keep moving, which for me is a big deal! I am the queen of laziness and procrastination.  But when I come home at night now, I find myself looking for things to do to keep moving.  And thankfully I’m learning to focus it on cleaning and organizing.  Not because I enjoy either of those two chores, but because I know that I can set a timer and challenge myself to get more done.

It is this self competition that I think I need to nurture.  The more I can get in the habit of challenging and pushing myself the better! I know that I need to pick up the pace with my running if I’m going to finish in the time allowed.  When I have someone running with me I’m definitely faster, but I won’t have a friend with me all the time.  I need to check my pace more, and push a little harder on each interval.  Setting personal goals is the only way to move ahead.

Sitting still is driving me crazy.  I’m typing like a mad woman, and I have to do some serious spell checking now because of it.  The gorgeous weather outside is calling me, so I think I’ll throw open some windows (need to figure out which ones have screens, and get to work on a chore or two…. maybe a craft project as well…..

It’s Definitely Worth It

Ok, yesterday I headed out to start my run early.  As I’ve told you, I’m often the last one out there, so I thought starting a little early would still let everyone pass me but maybe not as soon.  All was going well, I was stretched and ready to go, and the storm started rolling in.  You know, the one that caused all those tornadoes. I had just started walking towards the road when I saw lightning!!

Needless to say I was back in my car in a jiffy.  But I waited for a good 20 minutes and saw nothing.  By then the team had shown up, so I latched on my fuel belt and headed out.  I got a pretty good start on the team, but they still all passed me during the run.  I have to say it was nice seeing them from the front and not just the back.

I plugged along though.  3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking.  Working hard to keep up my pace while I walked.  Timing my water breaks, and after the first hour starting my snacks.  Somehow the legs just kept going even though I was exhausted.  I also was really excited to notice that my asthma was so much better.  Insignificant almost, and that was without using my inhaler before or during.

The sun came out early on in the run, and right as I got to the 5 mile mark the most amazing rainbow had developed as you can see in the pictures.  I don’t look so great, but hey I was running 10 miles.  Love my bangs, but for runs they are gonna have to start getting pushed back.

I pushed on and while I found my pace slowing down I didn’t stop running my intervals.  For once I did them all the way to the end of my run.  Today I really saw a difference when I was able to run for a full 15 minutes.  I actually could have gone more, but I had hit my 2 mile mark, and I didn’t want to overdue.  This week starts 3 mile runs for all my short runs, ending Saturday with a 12 mile run.

I’m trying to work in some P90X workouts as well, which are hard but seem to be helping.  The fundraising seems to be getting a good start too, and with an upcoming fundraiser for a group, and my fundraiser at the local wine shop I think I’ll be fine! But an extra plug right here couldn’t hurt http://pages.teamintraining.org/nc/rnr12/suebaby

 

Off The Deep End

Have you heard that I have gone off the deep end again? I’m training to run a marathon!

Every 5 minutes someone new is diagnosed with a blood cancer.  This is why I have committed to run the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon on June 3rd.  I am busy training with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.  My goal is to raise $5000 to help stop leukemia, lymphoma Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.

My grandmother Virginia Barbee taught me many things in life but most importantly she taught me to give to others and to strive for excellence.  My grandfather Jack Bishop showed me that a charitable life is a full life, and that any goal I want I can achieve.  It is for them and for some other very important people who are still fighting that I am preparing to run 26.2 miles.

Everyone who has lost this battle and everyone who continues to fight this battle has a story and a family who loves them.  Their courage and faith drive me to continue my fight for a cure in hopes that no one else will have to lose a loved one.  A financial contribution in   support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society would be greatly appreciated.  All donations are tax-deductible. You can visit my personal webpage to donate and to keep track of my training and fundraising:

http://pages.teamintraining.org/nc/rnr12/suebaby

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.  ~Dr. Seuss

The poetry of running

Fun runners taking part in the 2006 Bristol Ha...

Image via Wikipedia

Well back in January, I started training for a marathon.  No I’m not one of those crazy runners who are just addicted and wear the skinny leggings… but I’m on my way.  I have tried several times over the past 2 years to train and run a distance run.  First a 5K, then a half marathon, then I spent a year with injuries.  Now I’m going whole hog and training for a full.  But I’m not alone in this.  I’ve signed up with Team In Training to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I watched my mother train for 2 marathons that she completed so I know it can be done.

The question now is will I be able to survive all of this.  Yesterday for a good part of my run, I thought I might have to give it up.  Muscles were hurting in places I didn’t know could hurt.  My body felt like absolute lead.  But then I got in the last 2 miles, back in a neighborhood, all by myself.  Now this is not because I’m an awesome runner.  Far from it, in fact.  I’m running in intervals of 3 and 3.  So I run for 3 minutes and walk for 3 minutes.  I keep an okay pace, but not great and Saturday it was way off.  I’m also usually the only one in my group training for the Full so in the next few weeks I’ll be running about 2 miles further than they will.
English: Mailboxes in Italy Italiano: Cassette...

Image via Wikipedia

So here I was with only 2 people behind me and 2 miles to go, hating my body.  And then something happened… Yeah not a runners high so much as an odd epiphany.  I realized why I was so miserable.  I had stopped listening to my music it was now just noise in my ear.  I was looking at trees and mailboxes as goalposts to stop running at.  My muscles were aching but I hadn’t noticed how even my breathing had become or that my legs just kept pulling me along.  I was missing the point of running and more importantly the point of doing this with Team in Training.

So I changed my playlist, and found a salsa mix to give me a real rhythm to run to.  I focused on the beat of my feet hitting the pavement.  I looked at the yards and the houses and the gardens.  Most importantly, I thought about my grandfather and my grandmother who I am running for.  And then I thought about our mission moment and the family waiting at Duke to hear about their child.  And suddenly I didn’t hurt anymore, and I ran longer, and I breathed better.
See I think Team in Training is about more than getting in shape to run a marathon.  It’s about giving purpose to your endeavor.  There are lots of running groups out there, but here is one that inspires your soul.
To donate to the cause please visit my fundraising website at http://pages.teamintraining.org/nc/rnr12/suebaby