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The Hardest Thing I have Ever Done

It is quiet.  The air is still. I hear a soft pounding in my chest and my feet on the asphalt.  My heart reminds me of the task at hand: kee...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Short and Sweet ...and Slow

I am really starting to like the short route through the ASU Polytechnic Campus.  There is a certain charm about the modest 2.5 mile loop from South Desert Village following Innovative Drive around the main buildings and malls.  It's short enough to leave me wanting more, but easy to get to.  However, if I cut up through campus, I'm treated to shaded pathways, towering cacti, and arching Palo Verde, not to mention a little distance extension, depending on how I take it.  Another find within the oasis of campus are the cooled water fountains.  Cha ching! These are within shaded alcoves and offer refreshing (tastes like filtered) water for the parched and weary.  Look for the vending machines, as these drinking fountains are not out in plain view.

Today was a warm run through the dry, desert air.  I saw mocking birds and quail as I ran.  I suspect it was already too hot for the lizards to be out and about because they were absent.  I ran slower than normal, pacing a staggering (literally) 12 minute pace.  I did this for 2 reasons: 1) I am no friend to heat so if I am to survive as a runner here in the desert, I'd better take it easy, and 2) I am still recovering from my terrible cold.  I was still congested, even.  In fact, I was concerned that I might get cited for spitting on the sidewalk today (honestly, I could not wait).

There is no shame in taking it easy.  Today, I take great pride in my ability to slow down and give myself a break.  If there is one thing that I have learned from Coach Joe Henderson (and there is much, much more than just one thing) it's that running slow can be an amazing tool to successful running. So often I find myself caught up in thoughts of PRs and time improvements.  This is silly, if I really think about it.  I mean, the fact that I can run at all is nothing short of amazing.  So, do I hesitate to blog about pacing 12 minutes today?  Sure.  Did I see birds and find drinking fountains and appreciate trees along my run?  You bet! And am I a healthier runner because I set my ego aside and took it easy?  I'm pretty sure I am.

Early Morning on ASU Polytechnic Campus

Don't get me wrong; I still intend to challenge myself.  I just know a little bit more about me and how I recover from working too hard.  I also know how I can actually make myself sick or sicker if I push it.  I don't need to do that today.  No, today, what I need is to feel the sun on my legs and shoulders and the feel my breath working with my heart, easy. Short and sweet and slow.  

I can sprint tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Running through ... Kleenex?

I have been sick three times since we left Oregon (warning: pity rant coming).  The first time, we were in San Diego for the holidays.  I spent New Years at urgent care with a bad sinus infection.  Then, once we got to Arizona, I thought I would settle in to a routine with running.  However, I got sick here...twice!  I am just now getting over it and still dizzy and weak.  The thought of running is nowhere in me.  I am tired.

Okay, that said, I would like to now count a few blessings.  Last night my 7 year old twin daughters pitted me to a little competition.  I was facing one in mǎbù (Kung Fu horse stance) vying for the title of "not giving up before you" when the other girl climbed up on one of my bent knees and hung herself from me, adding her weight to mine while trying to help her sister win.  I held it, yes I did.  For several more seconds I held it and we were all laughing.  I did give up first and my legs felt like rubber afterward.  Still, I was grateful for the moment with my daughters and my ability to be upright and strong, laughing and happy.

My daughters give me great strength.  They remind me that it is okay to be awkward and clumsy sometimes, or even tired.  They love me regardless.  This is something that I think about often.  When I ask them if they know how much I love them, they do not hesitate to answer with a resounding "yes!"  They often follow up their answer by saying "you tell us all the time."  And this is another reason to be truly grateful.

Another thing I am grateful for are the friendships in my life.  My dear friends who have taught me so much about being a woman and being okay with me, no matter what.  I often think about my friends Michelle, Toviana, Ellie ...and Emily.  Emily is a special cat.  She has a mission in life to bring joy to children through creativity.  This overflows to everyone around her.  It is wonderful to see.  I am charged up by her, re-energized!

Emily gives me great strength as well, though I am not sure she knows how much I love her.  I should tell her more often.  I should show her.

More about Emily, she and I have been friends for many years now.  We met under pretty interesting circumstance during which she was asking me for a certain kind of help.  Little did either of us know that she would end up helping me SO much over the years and in SO many ways.  In fact, Emily has organized this years' MS team to walk in my honor.  She has done so in past years as well (though last year my precious niece took the reigns).  This year is special though because I am walking with the group in San Diego, with my family and with Emily.  Usually they host the group in San Diego and I walk in Eugene or run the marathon or something like that.  But this year I GET TO be with them!

The name of the team this year is "Bee Cause."  This has everything to do with overcoming impossible odds.  You know, certain bee species are not supposed to fly according to the laws of physics, yet they fly, over coming impossible odds.  I may have mentioned this in previous blogs.  It is something that I believe in to the core of my being.  I believe that I too can overcome impossible odds.  And really, anymore, MS sufferers have more and more reasons to be optimistic.  We have new meds, we have less incidents of relapse, we have better care and more knowledge.  That's why we walk.  We also have hope.  That's also why we walk.  But there's this thing about bees that keeps coming back up for me. 

Bees are very social creatures.  They are highly organized into their social structures and they work as a complete unit, all together, all helping each other.  That's how they do what they do: bring flowers back to life each season, provide us with fruit and grain, and remind us of warm days on their way when we see the first bee of Spring.  Perhaps this is what makes them fly.  Perhaps I am able to do so many of the things that I can do because of the people in my life.  Yes, I bet that's it!  In fact, I would go so far as to say that I have remained symptom free because of the support and love of my family and friends.  Emily has been a big part of that.

For not giving up on me ever and for being the type of person to share creativity with the world, I am so grateful for Emily Huntoon.  She is an amazing miracle in my life and I thank God that our paths crossed so many years ago.  My life is richer because of her kindness, more colorful because of her creativity and also lighter because of her humor.  She is amazing!  In fact, thinking about her has my Kleenex out...and I am pretty much over the snuffly part of my latest cold by now.  Go figure!  I just love her so much.

Here is the link for our MS team.  If you want to sign up to be walk with us, GREAT!  If you want to contribute to the team's fundraising, that is great too, but you can walk with us just to show your support.


Lesson learned today?  I'm glad you asked.   Count your blessings!  If you happen to find yourself counting one of those blessings over and over again, give it a little more thought.  Think about why that blessing is special.  Emily is special to me because of her giving heart and wonderful friendship over the years.  I just cannot say enough about this lady.  She is terrific.  I hope everyone has an Emily.  And if you do, make sure to tell her how much you appreciate her.  Maybe write a blog about her and post an old picture that will make you both wonder where the time has gone...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Love you Em!  Thanks for letting me into your hive and being a huge part of mine.