Wednesday, March 28, 2007

All in a Day's Work

Okay, so the PT said I could have the gingerbread boy use a rolling pin to massage my ITB, but I think I'll stick to my foam roller from now on.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Does competition really breed success?

As a runner for most of my life, this has long been one of my favorite quotes:

"Beating the competition is relatively easy, but beating yourself is a never-ending commitment."

I could never really remember where it came from, or who to give credit to, until I just found this on a runner's blog. I think my brother had that poster on his wall when I was a kid. I remember cutting out the words from somewhere - maybe the poster or a magazine ad, and taking them with me to college to post on a bulletin board. I still have them in a file somewhere. I still don't know who to give credit to for writing it - someone at Nike has had a huge impact on my life. Those words meant something when my brother would quote them in a letter or recite them while we were out on a run - wise advice from an inspirational sibling. Those words taught me to look within from beginning to end, no matter what the rest of the field was doing. It's you that you go home with at the end of the day, and you that you need to feel happy with. It's your own reality that you live with.

I've struggled recently with my title statement - the idea of competition breeding success. It feels like that's what the world says, until I sit back and remember that success lies within. I'd have to better define success as truly defining who you are and being able to live to that potential to the best of your ability.

My recent quandary? Registering the oldest child for middle school. Fortunately in life, you have the power of decision, and the power to choose. In the Emerald City, the choices are baffling. We live in an area where the public school system is called a 'choice' district - really meaning - you choose. Often, in other places, your schooling is decided by residence or by income. Surely, those things factor in here is well. It could range anywhere from home-schooling to the private, elite schools. The public school system here allows you to choose from any school in the district - residence area is a priority, not a requirement. Within this public system, free to the common tax-paying citizen - are a myriad of selections: the neighborhood school, the advanced academic placement school, the alternative school, the athletic school, the rich school, the poor school, the multilingual school, the expeditionary model, the outdoor education school, the school for the social elite . . .

Which one is best for our child?
If competition were to breed success, it would follow that our child should be placed in a school with the utmost academic standards. Perhaps the choice should be a school with the wealthy in attendance to be able to better fund extra opportunites, furnishings, buildings, learning materials.

But then the reminder - competition does breed success - but that competition lies within - being true to who you are and what you can become with that self. And true success can only be measured in the eyes of the beholder. So - a school with a place that will allow a child to compete with oneself would then become the goal. It would have to be a place that mimics that core value, and brings out the best of the whole person in that child - academically, emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. As parents, making that decision for an 11-year-old child, is perhaps the most difficult decision we've had to make.

The rest of the story becomes long and political - with school visits, tours, application dates and times, waiting lists, priorities. We'll know results in early April, but they might not be finalized until August. But we did find that school. It just felt right more than anything, and it blew us away. The process really forced me to look at our children and who they really are, and how to bring out their personalities and motivate them. I'll post more on the school in detail when we find out if she got in or got put on the waiting list.

On running notes - the quote has put things in perspective for me today. Running is all about how I interpret it for myself on a given day. Running Boston with an injury will be interesting. It's still day to day right now with how my legs feel, but I still intend to make the most of the experience. And I believe I am in Wave #2, -not officially, but by looking at my bib number on the website. Considering my slower race with an injury, that's a good thing at this point, and it'll force me to relax and enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

treading water

Somehow I'm WAY behind in blogging, and can't fit in the time to write lately. I think about it all the time - think about all the things I'd like to blog about - zillions of topics stored up in my brain that come out when I'm exercising - lost in thought.

A couple of quick responses to things without having to find the right places to send them (multitasking):

D - thanks for checking . . . I think I get self-absorbed sometimes and forget to realize there are other people out there who take the time . .
Katy - jumprope club is like an after-school sport (remember, my kids go to an alternative school). At first we thought it was sorta hokey, then saw how amazing it is for conditioning, how much our child loves it, and what it does for her confidence.
- the postcards were aweswome and hilarious! - I'm not sure which one of us liked them the most
Anne - as far as the commute between the Cape and Hopkinton - we're actually staying in town before the race, and the Cape is after. Thanks tons for the eating out tips - Durgin Park sounds like a hoot!
Robin - you're oatmeal/egg concoction is fabulous!

And to everyone who reads and/or comments on my posts: You're all truly an inspiration. I get busy with my kids and feel guilty taking the time on the computer. Then I read posts and comments from all of you guys and remember what an amazing support system running and blogging is. It blows my mind how we can all connect through simple technology.

My journey to Boston and recovering from ITBS has taken me on an interesting journey. I've run exactly eight times in the last three weeks - either on the treadmill or the track. My longest run was 6 miles. I've been lifting weights - planning to train through this marathon instead of backing off too much. I've done yoga, I've been swimming, and I tried bike riding - that was a mistake - it set me back another week when I was feeling really well. Massive amounts of stretching and my foam roller have been the critical factors for me. I get really tired of it all, and I feel like I just wanna head out the door and fly - go for miles and miles on an early morning with no one around. It's not gonna happen yet. My husband is busy with training plans and schedules and I get jealous - it wouldn't be wise for me to get over-zealous and plan until I heal.

But what has really come out of all of this, is this pool thing. I like water. I can swim around and play. We do the beach a lot in the summer, and take the kids to the pool. But swim laps? It's not my greatest feature. The whole face underwater thing makes me nervous. And having to cope with another body in the same lane in the pool is a daunting task. Any time I've had to do pool time was because of an injury and the need for cross-training. I usually water-run, use a kick board, or create my own version of a side stroke. But really those things don't equate to the running I'm missing when I'm supposed to be training for what I consider to be a big marathon. So I needed to swim. Scary. My husband learned how. Last summer he overcame childhood near-drowning issues, faced the water head-on, and did his first tri. Now he's training for a half-ironman. With that inspiration, I figured I needed to overcome my fear. I really had no excuse.

I made myself talk to a swim coach about a class. Didn't register. Just talked to him. He said I really ought to be able to swim laps in order to take the class. I surfed the internet for stroke techniques (creative, don't you think?), then went to the pool. I swam for 45 minutes. Somehow, between the frustration of being able to run marathons and not swim, or being forced to take a beginner class if I couldn't do laps, something just clicked. At first I had to keep stopping to fiddle with my goggles, or breathe for a second because I was going too fast and thought that if I slowed down I would sink. I wrote down 800 meters in my training log. I wasn't until several days later that I figured out I swam 1600 meters. Perhaps it's a math class I should be enrolling in, but today I signed up for the swim class. I still can't allow myself to plan training until after Boston, but maybe there'll be a tri this summer mixed in with that running I'm looking forward to.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Red Wine and Chocolate

Oh, where HAVE I been, and what am I here to say?
(the red wine is gone - I just poured the last glass, and I could care less about the chocolate)

The world is a much bigger place than just me.

It's 5 and 1/2 weeks 'til Boston - the marathon of my dreams - and I'm having ITB issues. It's my own damn fault. It felt so good running so fast and far - until I ran my 17 miler and could barely walk by the end - literally. I should've known better. It's just like when you go out fast in a race, and you do it every damn time, and you know better. I got excited. And I guess I can still be excited at the thought that I conditioned myself to the point of maintaining a fast pace over a good distance. I'm capable of it. I proved it. Perhaps I needed to bottle it up and save it. I've run twice in the last two weeks - 3 miles each time. I'm done wallowing in my self-pity of injury and am in maintenance mode (icing, stretching, strength training up the ying-yang, swimming, arnica, glucosamine . . ) until Boston - then I'll reconvene with my brain and assess the situation.

I haven't wanted to blog. I haven't really wanted to talk about it or write about it at all. But then when I was at the gym there was this guy. Sometimes in life you need people to shake you out of your misery. This guy is always at the gym. He's probably around 75-80 years old. He always has on navy blue sweat pants and a white ribbed tank top. Sometimes he's on the bikes, sometimes lifting weights or on the rowing machine. He smiles and he talks to a few people, but he's fairly quiet. He's there to exercise. I doubt he's training for an ultra. I don't think he's into how sculpted his muscles are. I know he's not there for the social life. I'm pretty sure he's not breaking any records. But he's always there. He's there to take care of himself - to do what makes him happy.

I could write all night about how this little old man and my self-pity are connected, but I think it's as simple as my previous statement. The world is a bigger place than just me. In the long run, what's the big deal if I'm injured? I'm taking care of it, doing what I can. I can continue to do what makes me happy and healthy and move on. There is so much to be said of focusing outward instead of just focusing inward. And perhaps blogging about it doesn't just do something for me, maybe it will have an affect on somebody, somewhere else. The world is a bigger place.