Saturday, August 25, 2012

TOU half marathon ; the story of an unlikely pacer

I was set to pace this one at the 2:00 spot but with the health issues I've been fighting, it was one of the races I dropped from.  However, since I had already made arrangements for some of the pacers to spend the night at my sisters, I didn't think it was right that I didn't at least make the trip up.  Besides, I really wanted to spend some time with my pacing family.

When I contacted our pace leader to give him the bad news, I did throw out the suggestion of having a pacer at the back of the pack running "sweep"  or "clean up".  This one stays at the back and makes sure everyone crosses with some encouragement and camaraderie.  Sometimes when you are last, struggling, and ready to give up - if you have someone experienced to talk you through it, it becomes doable.  We weren't sure if the race director would go for it, but we figured we would try anyway.

Friday afternoon, Kimberly picked me up in her big red truck, we grabbed Sheri and hit the road north for Logan.  After much googling and a few turn around's, we found the park for packet pick up.  The other girls got their bibs while I waited for Walter and to meet the race director.  Once we/I explained our proposal, she was on board - and I was in!

After a ripping good time at the Firehouse with the group for dinner, us three ladies headed to my sissy's in Logan and bedded down for the night.
Look at the size of that pizza!  Walter is there in the background to give some reference on it's size.

No, I didn't eat any of it. It was covered in cheese duh!

I did however, eat this delightful dessert.

As we waited for the buses in the morning, I really had no idea what to expect.  A final finisher in a half marathon can come in anytime between 3 hours and 5 hours.  It was a gamble.  I didn't know if it would be all walking.  If it would be fast walking or if it would be a combination of jogging/walking. Either way, I felt good about it and was determined to just get out there and see if I could shake some of my own self pity and attempt to help someone else.  And to be honest, see how my body handles 13.1 easy miles.
waiting to load the bus in the am.  Kimberly, me and Sheri

At the start I found my cute Kim A. and offered her good luck before I headed to the very back.  As the gun went off, and the crowd started to move slowly forward,  I looked around to see who had also put themselves in the back and tried to start noting faces in my head.

The first couple of miles were pretty much some leap frogging around as people stopped for the potties, jogged a bit or walked faster than others.  It was clear that some racers, go into it with no intention of running at all.  This seemed entirely foreign to me but it gave me something to think about until about mile 4.

At this point, distinct groups were off.  The very two last people were a man named Matthew and a woman named Janiece.  They weren't together but happened to be striking up a conversation as they walked.  I jumped in alongside of them and got to chatting.  This was Matthew's first half marathon and he admittedly wasn't as prepared as he should have been.  He was starting to feel some aches and pains and had decided at the 6 mile mark that he was going to pull off and call it quits.  We encouraged him to keep going a bit and not make that decision until he was really at the 6 miles.

We kept a fairly good walking pace but I noticed that we were coming up on a solo lady that hadn't been anywhere near that back when the gun when off.  She was walking kind of funny and by her body language, looked quite miserable.

We easily caught up to her and as I approached her from behind, it was clear that she had had a bodily function accident.  Matthew and Janiece said nothing but kept their same pace so was quickly past her.  I hung back and tried to engage her in conversation.

She was pretty hesitant at first, and I don't blame her.  HELLO!  She was embarrassed and felt miserable.  She told me she hoped that her husband had figured out she wasn't at the mouth of the canyon yet and come looking for her.  Each step looked more and more miserable for her, so I pulled my phone out and told her we'd call her husband and he could come get her instead of her trying to get two more or miles further.

While we waited for him, I kept talking in attempts to put her at ease.  I reminded her that those things happen to the best of us, we have no control over them, and really - it just meant she was "hardcore".  I don't know if anything I said made her feel any better, but at least I would walk behind her when cars came down the canyon so no one else needed to see her cause of discomfort.

Her husband showed up, she crossed the street, offered a thanks and goodbye and quickly dashed off as fast as she would.  I jogged lightly to catch up with Matthew and Janiece who were still the last of the pack.  We walked together and talked.  I mentioned to Matthew that I thought there might be a better pair of shoes out there for him.  Talked some tricks for soreness and fatigue that hit you mid race, made sure we got water and kept on moving.  He decided that he would go ahead and push it and finish.  YAY!

Up ahead I could see a woman in white who also had not been part of the back of the pack at the start line.  Based on her pace, I knew we were going to catch up and overtake her.  As we approached and I caught her face, I could tell she was struggling and hurting.  As I asked how she was doing, she looked at me with pained eyes and explained that her feet were "burning".  I started jabbering in hopes of taking her mind of her aches and she tried very hard to keep the pace that Matthew and Janiece had set. After a mile, she looked over at me and said. "I can't keep these kinds of strides".

No problem, I shortened mine up to match hers better and we slowed it down.  It was just now the two of us as the rest of the people ahead of us got further and further away.  We were now long out of the canyon, the sun was up and it was starting to get warm.  I could hear by her breathing that she was pushing.  I kept talking.  At one point, I joked about gabbing her ear off and she responded that she was grateful because it made the time go by and it kept her mind off her body hurting.  So, talking I did!

As we hit each mile marker, I reminded her of how closer we were getting.  When she expressed doubt she could finish, I tried to have her imagine herself at the finish line.  Have her embrace the knowledge that no matter what - no one could ever take this accomplishment away from her.  I told her that as she laid in bed tonight and tomorrow when she could barely walk, that should could remind herself that SHE DID IT.

The miles seemed to slip by and she struggled more and more physically.  We took breaks in the shade, I showed her some simple stretches to relieve the cramping that was happening.  We made sure to get water, gatorade and the last aid station had bananas so we downed those.   As we continued forward talking and discussing ways to successfully finish and recover, I could see that she was close to tears.

I really felt for her.  She shared her weight struggles, her health issues, and her desire to be fit.  She knew that she had probably undertaken more than she was prepared for but she desperately wanted to finish.  Again, we took breaks in the shade, little stretches to loosen up and moved forward.

With a half mile left, I could see Kimberly and Sheri walking towards us.  I told Michelle - "Look, you have your own greeting party and cheering squad!"  It was perfect timing.  Just two more voices in her head telling her how awesome she was and encouraging her seemed to make a difference.

As we pulled in the chute to the finish line she turned to me and said, "I don't have to run through it will I?  I won't like get disqualified?"  After laughing, I told her no way, she could cross the finish line any way that she wanted to, just CROSS!

While all the other participants had long left and all that remained were race officials and volunteers, they still stood along the chute and cheered her in!  I stepped back, told her to finish it strong and on her own and watched as she had her finisher's medal placed around her neck.

We hugged, I thanked her for the awesome experience of being able to share this with her.  And then saw my sister off to the side.  After loving on her, Tay and Cade for a little bit, we relaxed for a second, got more water, one more hug and thank you to Michelle and then we were off to the truck and the drive home.

Kimberly and Sheri had a great 2:30 group that stayed with them and it sounded like a lot of fun and partying.  After getting home and reading of all the other pacers experiences, it solidified for me the service that a pacer can offer.

Our group had an invaluable and incredible pacers for 1:30 and every 10 minutes or so after that until 2:30 - these runners help others to reach their time goals.  Often assisting someone to reach their PR.  They are a voice of encouragement and positivity while a runner battles their demons on the course.

To my knowledge, this is the first time we ever put anyone at the very back.  Not a spot that most runners would want.  It's hard to hold yourself to a walk (and a slow one at that) when your heart wants to bust open with a sprint.  But that pacer is just as valuable to that one racer who just needs to finish.  Time be damned, they just want to finish.

I was the lucky one to get the gig this time!  Thanks Walter for helping me push the issue.  Thanks to the race director for allowing me on the course in the pace position.  Thanks Matthew, Janiece, unnamed woman whose hubby picked her up and of course Michelle, for allowing me to hang back - chat them up - offer some encouragement and be a witness to their outstanding achievements.

I most definitely came away the most blessed one from this event.  My body held out.  My heart was touched, and I came away with a renewed sense of appreciation for racing, pacing and the entire running community.  Good people they are.

So next time you have a tough race coming up.  Your first?  Your biggest?  You're afraid of being able to finish?  Find a pacer and stick with them!

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's on. Like Donkey Kong - wanna join in?

Remember (click here) this post last year?

My (click here) idea of doing a tree?

Well, it's that time again and while I had it in the back of my mind all year, I have been sorta of pushing it aside.  I hate commitment.  I KNOW it takes a lot of time, energy and dedication.  That kind of responsibility scares me.  Inside, I was allowing doubt and lack of confidence to talk me into finding excuses to back out.

And then my cute Debbi (who I could never do it without) sat by me at dinner and we talked.  Add in John who now is an experienced FOT'er and they both had me believing that maybe I really could pull off.  I still couldn't bring myself to commit.

Yesterday, I had some time driving around to an appointment and I popped in the new CD from John's group Code Blue**.  Track 4 is a cover of "In the arms of an angel" originally by Sarah McLachlan.

BOOM.  You know how it hits ya?  That moment of truth and then pretty soon ideas start flowing?  Inspiration?  Yeah that.

That particular song is one that was used by one of Jill's coworkers who put together a beautiful video just days after Jill had passed.  That song always reminds me of her, and of struggles that I myself (and others) go through.

I had the idea last year of a tree involving suicide awareness, angels, mommies......something along that line.  Now the feeling of "do the tree" was pounding in my heart as I listened to the song and.....remembered.

Within an hour, I was home, logged into my email and don't ya know- there is an email full of support and encouragement from Debbi.  Done deal.  Sealed.  The final sign that I should pull the trigger, make the commitment and DO IT.

So there you have it.  Festival of Trees 2012 - Aisle Q will have a large tree dedicated to Jill and suicide awareness.

Now I need your help.  A LOT OF HELP.

First all, need a name and theme for the tree.  In my head have been the constant idea of mommies, angels,  hearts etc....... but I need a cute/clever name for the tree and then some solid ideas of ornaments, decorations, tree skirt and other items that can go with it.  Things that I can procure through donations and will be eye catchers to sell.

Second, once that gets decided, I can start gathering items and donations to make it happen.

So there you have it.

My plea for help!  Help with ideas to get the ball rolling......after that I'll appeal for help with donations.

And finally, if you are local and interested in helping, let me know - the more hands the merrier and it really will be an incredible experience.  I know it.  I have witnessed it in others, I have been there watching decoration day, I have read and heard their stories.  It will never be forgotten.


PS - all funds go directly to Primary Childrens Medical Center and are tax deductible.
*PSS - Code Blue is working on a video and website - I'll be doing a blog post on them in the future you won't want to miss!

And this pic has nothing to do with the post but it's cute.
Chlo's first day at Kindergarten!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Missing you....

I miss you.

I miss lacing you up, straightening your tongue and double checking your fit on my feet.

I miss the feel of your heel cup, your cushioned power and  flexible strength underneath me.

I miss feeling your smiles as the sun shines on us mile after mile.

I miss how even though you don't match very many of my running clothes, you always look just right.

I miss you.

I know we're just on a break, but.....  I miss you.

I really, really do.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The cat gets another year older



At least that's what I was told anyway.

I actually don't mind the birthday.  It just means I'm still here and kickin right?  And by the outpouring of love that was shown to me, it also reminds me that I am a very lucky and blessed mCat.

My cake.  Perfect isn't it?  No frosting and just a little tiny bit.  Makes it easy to enjoy!

Flowers from my VT's.  Thanks Ann and Melinda!

Treat from good friend and neighbor delivered by a couple of cute YW!  Thanks Carina and Janae and Jewel

One of the most thoughtful gestures......

Debbi studied up on GP, learned what I can eat and how I can best get nutrition (6 small meals).  She packed them all in individual containers all labeled "You can do it!"
Thanks Debbi!

Oh my gosh!  A beautiful shelf to display all my medals!!  And look at those Diva's!

Funny cards from Tiburon
I find it fitting that my BD always falls on Shark week- one more tie that binds us!

And a gift card to my new favorite clothes store!!!!  Thanks Tib! (she knows I no longer have anything that fits...)

Tuffy and 'Tana know how to take care of me - skittles, m&m's, crystal light, Monsters, and a gift card to Starbucks.  You know they have these frappe's and latte's there that are freakin LOADED with calories.  
Thanks kids!!

Of course my all time favorite moment(s) were when Chloee skyped and sang Happy Birthday to me (three times!) and showed me the cute card that she drew and made for me (shoulda snapped a pic)

So, I know I am late in expressing my thanks and appreciation but really....

Thank you to everyone who made my day special with a call, text, FB message, emails and every other communication way you can think of.

I really do have the best friends and family that a lil ole mCat could ask for!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Every once in a while (seems like more so lately) life events occur that stop you in your tracks and cause you to ponder life and all that you have.

I started a whole list back on Sunday to be posted today but then when I went back and re-read things, the words sounded funny.  Admittedly I am horrible at grammar, so that explains why.

I guess I need to leave it at this:

I'm grateful for friends, family, health and life.

I'm grateful that I don't have to know all the answers.

I'm grateful that I don't have to judge anyone else or be responsible for anyone but myself.

I'm grateful that I am afforded the luxury to just love people and that it comes easy for me.

I'm grateful I have so many people in my life for me to love.

And today of most days - I am super-di-duper grateful for Splenda Daddy.

He's a saint ya know............

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another exciting adventure of flat mCat - courtesy of LG!

Oh, that mischievous flat mCat!   

Notice that she has been folded and prolly stuffed in someone's back pocket!  On the other hand, the last picture, I am told, is straight up LEGIT!  No photo altering.  I know right?  She's always wanted to go to the horse races!

Thanks for the fun LG!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wrandom Wrambling for a Monday - kind of a downer, proceed at your own risk

I usually save the random crap for Wednesday's but today is just one of those days.

I had a great birthday and got some cool stuff and have pictures to post.   
Sometime later.

I ran the Epic relay with some FUN friends and have lots to say and pictures and videos to post.  Sometime later.

The world lost a brilliant human being Saturday and my heart hurts terribly.  I will likely share my feelings about him in a completely separate blog post.   
Sometime later.

For now, I will just say I love you Jason.  Wish we would have had that BBQ we were working on.   Should have told him I loved him more often.  Interestingly, I say those words a lot.  To my family and friends.  On a regular basis.  And yet, I still feel like I should say it more.  Show it more.

I hate regrets.  I need to remove the words "sometime later" from my vocabulary.  How many wake up calls do I need?

My stomach is in bad shape today.  In fact, all weekend it was a challenge.  I faced the reality that I need to stop running for a little while.

That reality makes me cry.  

Prolly more than the stomach pain.

At least sometimes more.

Going back to the GI doc next week.  "feeding tube" was part of her nurse's words to me.  That freaks me out.  

More than a little bit.    I am going to make sure that doesn't happen.

On a bright note though, me and Splenda Daddy have our flights booked for some SoCal kid time.  There is a half marathon on base the weekend that we are going.  

I'm not going to run it.  Typing those words suck.  

BUT - I do get to cheer on my son and DILove!  Typing those words makes me smile!

Are you watching Breaking Bad?  In the words of my friend Rob  "HOLY SMOKES!"  
Seriously, it's taking a dark turn, but the writing is oh so good.

Love me the Jesse Pinkman, yo.

Now, off to catch up on some New Jersey housewives. Oh how I love their bitchiness!

Peace out.

I love you


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gastroparesis - PROGRESS!

Yes, I did yell that title!

Stopped the thyroid medication, started a low dose of Reglan (not sure if I will stick with it since I'm not thrilled with the side effects)

Based on the number above, I'm stating it as progress.

Gastro doc in two weeks and continued hoping for more energy.........

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

He just keeps nailing it!

Another proud Mom post.  This time however, I leave it to his beautiful wife to put it into words, she does it much better than I (or is it me? )

Congratulations Corporal Catmull, you've earned this!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The adventures of flat mCat - courtesy of LG

I have the best internet friends ever!  Seriously!  I swear to you that I need to make a special trip back to the East coast and spend time with every single one of them!

Until I can go in person, flat mCat will have to do.  

My virtual BFF Laz took her to the Yankees game and! 

Let her out of the house for a little bit and that hussy goes WILD!

**I may need a little visit with my bishop clarifying the beer vs paper vs real thing

**There is another flat mCat visiting the Countess right now (after a raucous trip to Texas) so clearly the girl gets around.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Walking Away

Corb sent this to me on Facebook a couple of days ago.  

I've read it and re-read it several times.


 I'm walking away from the nonsense and my head IS held high and the nonsense can continue to babble behind me.