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.

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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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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