Saturday, July 27, 2013

Be Safe, My Friends

It was quite a shock when I saw that a young father who went running was missing.  You usually see a female running alone ending up missing.  Very rarely it's a man.  After being missing four days, it was not really a shock, but disappointment in the fact that this father of a young child and husband to a wife would not be coming to his earthly home.  

Because he was called Home.

While we don't know the circumstances, one thing is for certain:  this father and husband won't be returning to his family.  By all information, this man knew and loved the Lord.  

And while we certainly want to go home to our Father someday, we also have a responsibility to our loved ones to prevent it from happening to us.

Well, while nothing will completely keep us from something happening, we can be proactive.

At one can purchase identification for themselves for under $20:

Road ID also has an app:

You can let contacts know you are running and how long you will be gone:
It will also alert your contacts if you are stationary for 5 minutes.

And there is a HORRIBLE alert sound you can make the phone make

Also, a lot has to be said for the FindMyFriends app.  A little bit stalker-type, but useful. 

Unfortunately, that won't change what happened to Chad Rogers.  Whatever it was, he is now running with his Father.  Which is awesome for him.

But tough for his family.

"Through death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there
Over us sin no more hath dominion,
For more than conquerors we are!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."
~Helen Limmel, 1922, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"

Friday, July 19, 2013

Run Like a Diva

After months and months and months (or at least it felt like it) of racing, I was finally at my last race before the summer started. . .the Divas Half Marathon in North Myrtle Beach.

Going up to this particular race, my friend Jessica and I had walked the path.  People were touting how flat the race was.  I have to gracefully disagree with that assessment.  The day before the race, I dropped by the Expo, which made the Princess Half Marathon expo look like there was no one present.  I then went to Jessica's house.  Same process as the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon.  I had learned from experience to get ready the night before by laying everything out:

This particular race was not too long after the Boston Marathon bombings.  It was evident that security was ramped up:

Thank you for being there, unknown South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) agent.

I was feeling pretty good that morning, with the exception of a small amount of tendonitis (that would subsequently put me out of commission after this race for over a month)

It was about this point that I heard nearby:  "Amanda?"  Manisha, a fellow buddy from the Princess Posse Facebook group showed up at my side:

This is a race where I did not take pictures in the middle of it.  As I said earlier, I had a weird tendinitis thing going on that seemed to get worse.  Although I would not typically do this, I actually took some Advil mid-run.

Which, I need to tell you who are not runners and want to do it. . .that is absolutely the WRONG thing to do for your kidneys.  Do as I say, not as I do.  I would have been better off carrying Biofreeze or Icy Hot on the run rather than popping that Advil.

Now, as I've said before, this is a pretty hilly course.  Near the last hill, I spotted Jessica's husband, who was working one of the medical tents, and then in the last three miles, another Athletic trainer friend of mine, Andrea.  

BTW, Andrea, so, so, so, sorry for trying to knock you down with my sweaty self!

In the back of my mind all along, I wanted to run a sub 3-hour half marathon.  It was my goal for the Princess, and Jessica herself knows how disappointed I was that I didn't for that race.  

But for the Divas?  With a hurt knee?

And the bling?
Even Nike knew what it was all about:

Unlike Myrtle Beach Mini, I stayed right on target.

After I watched Jessica and her neighbor cross the finish line, we went over for celebratory cheeseburgers.  

In the aftermath of that race, I had such pain that I was out of commission from running for a month.  First for the pain, then for the flu.  

It was not until today I was able to reward myself for such a great PR: 
The original plan was a Disney Dooney, but I think this matches me.  And I see the Dooney possibly coming into play for finishing a marathon the year of my 40th birthday.

But my reward is much more than a bag.  Or a PR.  Every day, I am finding I can do more than I imagined.  I couldn't run a quarter of a mile, much less a half marathon.  Tomorrow, I'll finish my third week of Galloway training for a full marathon.  It's taking a commitment to finish something--something I never thought I could do.

"Whatever you do; do well."  ~Ecclesiates 9:10

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Just Get Over It!

Ah.  Charleston, South Carolina.  The place of my birth.  A city that seems to step back in time and run slower and more deliberate than others.  The only city in the world I love more than Charleston is Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

You get that?  In the top five cities I love list, they are as follows:

1.  Lake Buena Vista, Florida
2.  Charleston, South Carolina
3.  Asheville, North Carolina
4.  St. Augustine, Florida
5.  North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Notice something about all of them?

One race I've wanted to run for a long time is one of the oldest races in the United States:  The Cooper River Bridge Run.

So when I signed up for this one, I was met with a great deal of excitement.

Followed by terror.

Even though I had proven myself by running a half marathon, and was training for the Princess Half at the time, I was extremely nervous about the Cooper River Bridge Run.

This is one race I thought the family would finally see, but within a week or so of going, my husband's friend let us know he was going to be coming through that same weekend.  Although the plan would possibly have us home in time to see them, it was cutting it too close as far as I was concerned.  Part of the thrill of a race is the after stuff.

So I ditched the family.

And the terror increased by 10,000 fold.

I was going to be in Charleston by myself.

Early the day before the race, I got up and headed into Charleston.  First stop:  the Expo.

Now the last Expo I had been to was for the Disney Princess.  I was expecting a mob here.

I was wrong.

After picking up my bib, I headed into the city of Charleston to walk around:

And then I headed through the Market.  I was hungry, and it was starting to mist rain.

Pasta for lunch at Bubba Gump's.

Soon after lunch, I headed to the hotel to check in.  A friend of mine from college and I arranged dinner together, and I got in a much needed nap.  I was catching cold, and I knew rest was necessary.

After dinner with my friend, I headed back to the room and put together my race outfit for the next day

What they don't tell you about running is that it takes forever to be ready.

The next morning, I got up, and drove to park in a garage.  I was so afraid I'd forget where I parked, I took a picture of the ticket.


I walked to the school buses and ate my oatmeal on the way.  

Now when I say school buses, I mean school buses.  Gone were the Disney Cruise Line buses to take me to a race, lulling me to sleep.

These buses took us what seemed to be halfway to the race start while we had to trek a good 2 miles to the corrals.  On the way, I passed a Dunkin Donuts that was open.  I bypassed it, but stopped at the Starbucks that didn't have too much of a line.

I know those places made a killing that morning!

It wasn't too long until it was time to start.  And honestly, I took no pictures during the race.

The race was pretty, yet at the same time, no doubt the 2nd toughest course I've done (after one runs any half marathon in Disney World, you understand).  Had I not been sick, I'm pretty sure I would have PR'd this race.

Nearing the finish line

A very welcome sight.

The key to this run is that miles 2-4ish are over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge in Charleston.  It crosses the Cooper River, and it is a pretty steep climb.  42,000 people run this race, but to me, it was less crowded than the Princess Half, which had about half the number of participants.

And what does it look like?

Yeah, that's a whole bunch of ants there starting their way up the bridge.

One of my best races ever, and a comeback for me:

After the race, I found my truck, put some miscellaneous items in, and walked over to have lunch near the Market.  My typical post race lunch is a cheeseburger.

But not in Charleston.

That'll be Shrimp and Grits, y'all.  With sweet tea.

I learned a lot about myself and racing after this race:
  1. After a disastrous 10K  in Florence, this one was highly successful
  2. I got over my terror and conquered it
  3. This is almost my favorite race I've ever done
So, I got over it.  I got over the failure of a previous race.  I got over a head cold.  I got over terror of an unknown.

Anyone can. 

Just take the first step out the door.

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still."  ~Exodus 14:4 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Her Irish Eyes weren't Smilin

Ah.  The race that started it all.  The one that convinced me I could actually finish a race.  In 2011, for that particular race (the 5K, not the 10K), I had a difficult time convincing myself I could actually complete 3 miles.

3 Piddlely Miles.  That was it.  Today, three miles is nothing.  Then, in 2011, 3 miles was forever.  And to be honest, I almost didn't make it.  At the end, I was woosy, had a headache, and just wanted to go home.

But the morning of the McLeod Sports Medicine Challenge on March 16, 2013, I knew 6.22 miles was nothing.

After all, I had already done 13.1.  Twice.

When it was time to start the race, I noticed one thing, though.  There were only about 50 of us running the 10K and most of them looked like elite runners.  As the race started, all of them ran past me.  I was left in the dust.  And that was with me running a 9.42 minute mile.

There are races that are great successes.  Those that the runners feel were perfect in every way.

Although I had high hopes for this one, it was definitely NOT one of those successful races.

As a matter of fact, it was as far from a successful race as possible.

First of all, during the 10K, the first 3.1 miles is with the 5K runners.  Although I don't have a particular problem with that, planning is that the 10K runners are BEHIND the 5K.  I thought I was going to knock over some 5K walkers.  As I finished the first 3.1 miles and started the second half of the 10K, I realized something.  I was no longer surrounded by runners.

I was by myself.

All by myself.

Except for at the mile 4 mark.

Where 50% of the 10K runners met me on their way to the finish line.

Talk about discouraging.

For 90% of the rest of the race, I clearly felt I was in last place.  I was running as hard as I could, pushing myself, mostly because I didn't want people to be waiting for me too long.  And to top it off, between miles 2 and 5, there were no water stops.  I didn't carry water, because I expected since there were 2 water stops on the first half, there would be 2 on the second half.  I was so totally wrong.

It was also, however, at that point that I realized that there were either 2 or 3 people behind me.  Which made me feel better, but not much.

At about 1 hour 15 minutes later, I was coming in for the finish:

And let me say, I really love how my triceps look in that particular picture.
A few notes about this particular race:
  1. This is the fastest race I've ever run
  2. Races planned by the Carolina Running Company look like rat races.  Take a look at that map.
  3. Even the worst race is a success when you don't give up.
 To date, those were my race bibs.  6 Races since 2011.  Before the end of April, I would have run 5 races in 2013.  That, by itself, is a success.
"It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure."  ~Psalm 18:32