boston…

Ask anyone why they run and you’ll get a lot of different answers. To relieve stress and maintain their sanity, lose weight, achieve new goals, have new experiences. But for many of us, one of the benefits of running is an unanticipated one – the camaraderie and community of runners you quickly find yourself in.

Thus, today I find myself absolutely sick to my stomach with a lump in my throat as I watch in absolute horror what is unfolding at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Two virtually simultaneous explosions. A third device nearby. At the finish line of the marathon? Yes, a marathon. All I can think is “Please say everyone is ok, please say this was unintentional. Please. Please say everyone is ok, please say this was unintentional. Please.”

And yet, so far at least 2 3 are dead and 9 17 of the 23 (and counting) more than 140 who are injured are in critical condition.

I didn’t know anyone who was running today. I didn’t need to. What I know is that they are runners. Just like you and me.

I can’t imagine – at one moment, joyful. Gleeful. Triumphant and victorious. Relieved to be crossing the finish line. And at the next?  Terrified, confused, panicked.

On so many levels, I simply cannot fathom…

Running is a journey. There are obstacles, challenges, bumps in the road. But training for a marathon is not supposed to end this way. No one should ever have to go through something like this. Ever. Anywhere. And yet I know this kind of thing happens around the world, nearly every day. It is a sad, sick world we live in.

There are no words.

My thoughts are with those in Boston and my heart goes out to everyone involved – the runners, first responders, the spectators, friends and family of the runners, the race organizers, the race volunteers and medical personnel.

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when aqua zumba gets the best of you…

Today was one of those days. You know. Those days. 

I was up and out of the house extra early for a 7 a.m. meeting only to find out it had been cancelled and I was the only poor schmuck whose email rejected the announcement. So there I was, sitting in the dark in the parking lot, all by my lonesome, waiting for a nonexistent meeting to start. That non-existent meeting kept me from a morning workout. 

I was lucky to pull off a lunch workout at all today, because, did I mention? Today was one of those days. All work week I’ve been getting my butt kicked six ways to Sunday. Things are popping. But by 1:45 I (pretended that I) had my stuff together enough to run out of the office to steal a quick run. Thank goodness too, I needed the fresh air. 

This evening, I thought I would take the opportunity to swim immediately after work (since this is the only pool I have paid access to right now…). I had even turned down an opportunity to go to an epic brewer’s dinner with goodness knows how many delicious courses and beers. Good times all around. But instead, I opted to try for a workout instead. Bad move. 

I had to stay at work a little late (also see butt kicked, above) and when I got to the gym I saw a pool totally full of dancing, squirming, floating, mostly white-haired waterbound Zumba-ers. WHAAAAAAAAAAt?

Now, this is not to be down on Zumba. Or Aqua Zumba… but let’s just leave it at this: it’s not really my thing. 

It turns out that Aqua Zumba is not only the latest rage, but also was going to last for another 45 minutes. Just my luck. 

Now, I would’ve stayed and waited it out. I hate to admit I let Aqua Zumba win. But I had left early for that non-existent 7 a.m. meeting and my dogs were stuck inside all day….And our old dog is not really holding it like he used to. And even though it was already one of those days, I DIDN’T want this day to be one of THOSE DAYS. You know, the days that end with you cleaning up your dog’s poo in your house. So I guess at the end of the day, you can say I was foiled not only by Aqua Zumba goers and the fear of a dog who couldn’t make it any longer.

The good news? I had Plan C. The bike trainer. (again). At home. At least it was a poo-less home thankfully.

 

Today, my key to Ironman training was flexibility and perseverance. And patience. 

But I was looking forward to swimming…Aqua Zumba, you’ve bested me for the last time! Just in case, I guess I’ll check the pool schedule next time.

swimming 2.4

Hubby and I decided to do a local open water swim, a 2.4 mile swim across the lake (the short way). It was a great event and about 150 people turned out on Sunday to swim ALL the way across the lake.

2.4 miles is not a long way to bike and not even a long way to run. But it’s a commitment to swim it. And staring across the lake that morning, I’ll admit it seemed pretty far.

staring across the water to the “other side” of the swim

I might have avoided the distance, unwisely, but my hubby, who is much wiser than I and only really started swimming a year or so ago wanted to get the distance under his belt before Ironman. Or at least get an attempt and figure out just how much more work he would need to put in between now and June. (But probably the first one.)

The start funneled everyone between a couple of docks, so we didn’t have room to spread out immediately. You either waited for things to thin out or went along with the pack. Hubby waited. Having just gone to a swim clinic put on by a local tri coach who encouraged us to be aggressive on the start, I decided to throw in with the masses amid the flailing elbows, fists and feet.

So as I give him a kiss good luck, here’s what he says to me just as the cannon’s going off, “See you on the bottom!” It didn’t really click for me right away.

But ten minutes later, as I’ve finally found my way through the crowds and have a nice little pocket on the draft train (something else we practiced at the clinic), it occurred to me what he had said. Some Freudian slip, huh? I had to think happier thoughts the whole way across, carried across by my confidence in him which was fairly easy because I know how hard he’s been working to improve his swimming and because he made it through last week’s 70.3 – a 1.2 mile swim -without any problems.

Fortunately, we both made it across safe and sound.  It’s nice to know we can both make the distance. Nevermind the fact that in June, the lake will hopefully be 55 degrees. If we’re really lucky, maybe 57, not the balmy 70ish it was on Sunday. And nevermind the fact that the next time we jump in the lake to swim 2.4 miles we’ll have to follow it up with a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. For now, it’s nice to know we can survive the first step. And I’m happy to report that I didn’t see my hubby – or anyone for that matter – on the bottom.

the back story…

Way back in late 2009, I decided to do my first-ever half-ironman triathlon. For those of you new to the tri world (as I very much was), the half-ironman (aka long course, aka 70.3) is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run for a grand total of one 70.3 mile-long event. I’m still not exactly sure what came over me. It just popped into my head one day. Since I’d started running in college, I’d done countless 5K, 5 milers, 10Ks and half marathons. And I swam competitively in high school. I guess I was looking for a new challege? I distinctly remember thinking to myself (and rationalizing to my husband, “Well, I know I can swim the distance and I know I can run the distance. And heck, ANYONE can ride a bike…”). And the rest is history.

I started with a couple of sprint distance tris and threw in an Olympic distance tri for good measure. In August of 2010, I completed the Calgary 70.3.  Two months later, in October 2010, I ran my 1st full marathon in the pouring rain. Two weeks after that, I flew to Denver to run with my mom as she completed her first half marathon (yes, it was crazy and very painful, yes I shoulda given myself time to recover and no, I do not intend to do that again! And yes, people do MUCH crazier things, but by my standards, this was NUTS!). Let’s face it, I was tired. Mentally, physically, emotionally. Toast. The very next day, I retired to the couch, determined not to train again until I damn well felt like it.

Fast forward to today. Spring 2012.

My husband, Jason, indeed quite the athlete himself, has been pondering races for the year, did not do Calgary with me (instead stood beside me as I trained, ever the wonderful, devoted and stalwart supporter) and decided to take on the 70.3 this year. I will be training alongside him and we are both registered for a local 70.3 in early August.

The “official” day 1 of training is fast approaching. In reality, we have both been preparing for a while. He has been learning to swim (not something that comes naturally to him) and I have been remembering what its like to like to run again.

This will simply be a tool to share my stories, reflections, recipes (!), inspiration and motivation (and often, my lack thereof), (mis)adventures in training, and, perhaps more realistically, balancing the eat- sleep – WORK- swim- bike- run- repeat sequence that will become my life in less than 2 weeks.

I hope you’ll enjoy the journey. Heck, I hope I do too.