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I heard Dad say my name…that’s when my ears perked up.

“Max!  Blah, blah, blah, something, run?”  I screamed, “YES!”  but all they thought I was doing was howling.  So I started jumping up and down.  They think this is funny, Mom and Dad, but I just want to go out and run!  Why can’t we just go?!

Then they sit down…what is the hold up?  I ask, but they still laugh and think I’m howling.  I’m telling them, “Yes!  I want to go outside for a run!  Why are you putting those things on your feet?  Just go like me…without those things!” They are taking too long!  Let’s go!  Let’s go!

Then they put that thing around my front legs.  We are going out the door!  FINALLY!  We start running and we turn the corner.  Ooppss….gotta poop….wait….wait…..quit watching me…get out that bag….wait…wait……okay I’m done.  Let’s go.  Okay…pick it up…I’ll wait AGAIN.   

Now we can go!  Come on you two…I want to RUN!  Le’ts SPRINT!  Awwww…come on.   Wait…what do I see up there?  Too dark…..getting closer….A TELEPHONE POLE!!!!!!!  WOOOHOOO!  Yes…I have to pee anyway…let’s stop!!!!!!  Ahhhh…that feels better.  Let’s go!  Boy this is fun.  I’m holding my head high…I’m running…I might even be prancing.  I bet a big old horse can’t even look this good running. 

Wait…I think I’ll run on Dad’s other side now.  Cross over….oooppsss..nearly tripped Mom.  Wow…she knows lots of funny words.  Better go back to the other side.  Cross back over….oooppsss…nearly tripped Dad.  Hmmmm…he knows those words too.  Must be a parent thing. 

What’s up there?  Something looks interesting.  What’s that smell?  Too dark…can’t quite see yet.   What IS that?  Better go look….COME ON DAD…come THIS way……A PILE OF LEAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!  WOOHOO AND JUMP!!!!!!!!  Might as well pee again as long as I’m here.  Ahhhhh…..let’s go!

Hmmmmm……I see something moving over there.  Better go find out.  Cross over…wait… better forget it and just stay on THIS side of Dad.   Clip, clip, clip…are those my nails?     YES!  A TREE!!!!!!  I better pee again. 

What?  We’re home?   I guess I am tired.   Pant, pant, pant, pant.  Oh…water in my bowl, water in my bowl, slurp, slurp, slurp…I can’t pant and drink at the same time…but I want to.    Wow…my tonuge is long…and drippy.  Uh-oh…I’m dripping on Mom’s hardwood floor…there’s those funny words again.   Whatever hardwood is.  Pant, pant, pant, slurp, slurp, slurp and FLOP.   Aahhhhhh…..I love running with Mom and Dad.

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And It Begins Again…..

When I completed my first full marathon in June of this year, I was so exhausted from the rigors of training….mental, physical, emotional, that I vowed I would take a break.  I didn’t care if I ran for a while, but found myself out running about four days later.  All summer, I only ran when I wanted to.  I didn’t follow a plan and that felt so good.

It’s been almost 5 months now, and I’m ready to get back on a plan.  I want to run the Get Lucky Half Marathon in March again…the really fun Irish themed race in St. Paul, MN I did last year.  I have a new time goal for myself.  And that brings me to my real point here….myself.

I train by myself.  I get up early in the morning, by myself.  Sure, I read every running article I can get my hands on, I talk to my husband and friends about how I’m feeling and about my training and they are so supportive.  There are times that my husband Lane and I run together and I absolutely LOVE those times.  It’s uninterrupted time together…we talk…laugh…it’s great.  But the actual training….the blood, sweat, tears, work, running for a specific event/race….is done all alone.  By myself.  I know that Lane will join me someday, (so far schedules haven’t allowed for him to run the same events as me) but for right now, it’s just me. 

I sometimes wish I had a running coach…someone who really knows what they are doing and talking about….somebody really experienced who would run with me and tell me what I’m doing wrong, what I’m doing right.  It sometimes is hard to go it alone.  On the other hand, I don’t want to run with just anybody.  I don’t want to run with somebody who feels deep down that they want to compete with me…that they want to beat me…that they want to “one up me”.  That’s not the kind of person I want to run with. 

I started a “pre” training plan today; the first part of a lot of training coming my way.   It’s back in the saddle for me, alone.  And that’s okay, actually.  In an earlier blog, I wrote about how Saturday morning runs are my favorite because I really focus in on myself and my surroundings.  That’s what I do when I train.   It’s a good time to re-align my priorities, de-stress my mind and body, rid myself of toxic people and issues in my life that really don’t matter.

I have a few running goals for myself this next year….in 2012.  And I hope I can attain them.  I will keep working hard and keep reading….by myself.  But when it’s all said and done, the thing that matters most to me, is that I’m out there, training, doing something I love to do….even if it is by myself.

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Memoirs of a Band Geek

As many of you know, Lane and I both marched in the University of Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band.  We met in marching band, fell in love, and got married.  We had never gone back to march in the Alumni Marching Band at Homecoming until this past weekend. 

For any of you who follow college athletics and have been to games/events, you know that the atmosphere is exciting.  At Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, the atmosphere is not only exciting, it’s electric.  It has been stated by many, many sportscasters that the atmosphere in Kinnick Stadium is one of the most exciting and electric in all of college sports.  I know that I am biased, but they are not Hawkeye fans!   My point is, that as soon as we arrived downtown Iowa City Friday afternoon, you could feel the excitement and electicity in the air.

We walked around downtown, went to a sports bar and had an appetizer and a beer before parade check-in.  Once we checked in, we put our horns together, started to warm up as everybody else was getting there doing the same thing.  It was very fun to hear the percussion warming up on the familiar cadence.  It was soon time to line up…I was put on the outside of the saxophone line which meant that I would be able to see the crowd, and they would be able to see me! 

The parade stared and we were at the very beginning, right after the firetrucks. We alternated playing between two songs, with a shortened drum cadence in between.  We “high step march”, which means lifting your legs to a 90 degree chair level height with every step.  And add playing to that….for a couple of miles.  Yes…it’s tiring!  The crowd was cheering, waving, smiling….it was so fun!

It was an early morning Saturday.  We had to report at practice at 7am to get our field assignments.  To our surprise, the Alumni Band was the entire pregame show!  We practiced our pictures on the field for about an hour and a half.  Things came back to me very quickly…again…high step marching with a swagger which is a signature Hawkeye Marching Band move!  I did get a little emotional the very first time that we ran through it with the full percussion and playing.  How fun it was to be back there doing this!

We gave a little pep rally of our own, separate from the “junior band” and then we lined up to march to the stadium.  We marched to our Iowa drum cadence and the tailgating crowd cheered for us!  As we enter the front of the stadium, you can hear the drumline echoing in the concorse and hear people on the concourse cheering.  They are reaching out to us for a high five as we march by.  And then we enter the tunnel.  The tunnel takes us right to the field.  I start to tear up with excitement.

Out of the tunnel is the bright sunlight and the green of the field.  People are getting to their seats, watching the teams warm up.  Pretty soon, it’s time for US to line up for pregame.  The drumline and sousaphones line up in the endzone, while the rest of us split up.  Half of us are on one sideline and the other half of us on the other sideline.  We crouch down and wait.  When the announcer says, “Are you ready for the BOOM?”  the drumline starts and they, along with the sousaphones, start marching out, we march out then.  We are facing the one endzone, with half an empty field ahead of us to march and make our formations.  I have never been in that first line…but I was Saturday.  It was such a different view…not having to look around somebody else. 

We started playing and marching (high step again) our traditional school rousers and fight song.  They added a song in between for us to play as well. 

What was really neat about marching…and I feel so blessed to have experienced this as a student and now as an alumni….it is quite a feeling to be on the football field, marching and playing your school’s fight song and other familiar songs of our school, and have the entire crowd stand up, clap and sing along.  The attendance that day was 70, 598…..imagine….70,598 people clapping and singing along with you.  Imagine that many people watching you and cheering for your group.  It was absolutely amazing.  And in the time since I left Iowa, I had forgotten how thrilling it is to be on that field. 

I probably am a band geek, and I’m proud to be.  Being in band was one of the best activities I’ve ever done.  I was also an athlete in high school and I ran cross country in college, and I had wonderful experiences with all of my athletics and wouldn’t trade those for the world.  But music has brought so many opportunities and experiences into my life that I would never have been able to experience had I NOT been in band.   The roar of 70,598 people is very difficult to describe, and saying it was exciting and electrifying really doesn’t even touch on how it felt or sounded…or the amount of pride I felt for my school that day.

Being a member of the University of Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band is a very neat thing.  There is a camaraderie….it’s sort of a “club” if you will.  One that I’m very proud to have been a member of.  But the very BEST thing about being part of the Hawkeye Marching Band…is that I met that handsome trumpet player and married him.

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Homecoming

And I have a voice back!  What a nasty sinus infection….nasty laryngitis…hopefully I’m done now!  I’m so grateful that I’m better because it’s here comes a big weekend.

It’s University of Iowa Homecoming this Saturday.  Lane and I have not been back to Homecoming…I’m pretty sure since we left Iowa City.  We’ve been back to football games, but not for Homecoming weekend.  We decided to go this year and to do something we’ve never done, march in the Alumni Marching Band!  We take off Friday morning, march in the Homecoming parade downtown Iowa City Friday evening.  Early Saturday morning we head to practice, then the pep rally, march to the stadium, march pre-game, and then kick-off at 11am.  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!  I’m excited to be going back to the atmosphere at Kinnick Stadium and all the hoopla surrounding a Big 10 game.  I’m excited to see friends we marched with in college.   I’m excited to be going back to the memories, the place, the band that brought Lane and I together in the first place. 

The memories….my sister Jenny was in the Hawkeye Marching Band when I was little.  My parents and I would pick up my grandpa Chet and we would head down early on Saturday mornings to watch her practice.  We would tailgate with her until the pep rally before the game.  My parents had season tickets, and we would head to our seats and watch the game and watch her march.  After the game, we would enjoy the post-game atmosphere for a while before taking her back to her dorm and then make the trek home.  It was such a fun time….for all of us….and treasured time with my parents and my grandpa. 

My parents did the same thing when I was in the band.  They came down, watched my practice, we tailgaited, watched me at the pep rally and game.  My very first year in the Hawkeye Marching Band we went to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, where I fell in love with a handsome young trumpet player.  The rest is history!

And now, all these years later, we’re going back to march again.  Probably the best part….my dad, whose birthday is Sunday, will be there to watch us march….and so will my son.  My mom is not able to be there as she is still recovering from hip surgery.  Those of you who know me well and know how much this all means to me will know that I probably won’t be able to play a note.  The flood of memories will get me…my sister marching, time with my grandpa and parents, meeting Lane, all that history….. I’ll probably be bawling the whole time.   That will be okay, as long as I stay in step!

I’m not sure I can put into words what this weekend means to me.  How special this will be.   I was thinking of a quote from the movie “Shawshank Redemption” when Morgan Freeman’s character is finally paroled and he is heading  to see his friend Andy.  He says, “I find I am so excited, I can barely sit or hold a thought in my head.”  Yup….that’s how I feel…for so many reasons.

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Saturday morning runs

I’ve had a cold, on and off, since Labor Day Weekend.  I’ve thought that maybe it could be allergies?  I’ve never suffered from allergies before so it would be a new thing for me, but I’ve heard that a person can develop them.  I was sort of figuring that I must have developed allergies because it was coming and going so much and everything was pretty clear.  Through all of this, I never really felt absolutely horrible.  I felt pretty good, but not totally myself….if that make sense.  Certainly not bad enough to stay home from school, but yet it was difficult to concentrate and my energy level wasn’t up there like usual.  Until Thursday night.   In addidion to the runny nose, I developed a cough, and now the cough is just a little deeper today, (Saturday morning) and my runny nose is just a little “thicker” and not so “clear”….I know,  TMI.  How do you know when it’s allergies, just a virus, or a sinus infection?  How do you know when to go in and get it checked out?   I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m still going to wait this out. 

I have been running this week, even though I had a runny nose and didn’t feel quite up to par.  I shortened my runs and just got out there.  Even though I didn’t feel “sick” this week, how I described myself above, my runs didn’t feel great.  I felt heavy, tired, sore….but it felt really good when I was done.  I kept pushing myself to get through these short runs because I sort of felt like I was ridding my body of whatever this bug is.  And I figured if it’s allergies, then I will just have to wait those out anyway, so might as well get out and run. 

And that brings me to today.  I look so forward to Saturdays for so many reasons….family time, college football, friends, sleeping in a little, crisp fall days, coffee…and my runs.  Saturday morning runs are my absolute favorite runs and it doesn’t matter the distance.  On Saturday morning runs, I escape…I am in a place where I’m not thinking about anything.  I am not thinking about work, what I need to get done at home, other places where I need to be to help out.   What I think about is how my body feels.  If I’m able to be outside, I take in all the scenery, the smells, the sounds of nature, the silence.  When I’m done, my mind is clear.   It’s so freeing for me.   I’m in a whole different world on my Saturday morning runs.  I treasure them and look forward to them all week.  And on a week when we are not home and I’m not able to get out and run, I miss them. 

But today, I’m not sure that I feel up to running.  I’m snuggled in, fireplace on, Max sleeping at my feet.  I’m coughing, blowing my nose, eyes watering.  If I were to talk, my voice is barely there.  I feel tired, but not totally out of it…somewhere in the space between.  But that Saturday morning run is tapping me on the shoulder…it’s that itch you can’t scratch.  Maybe this Saturday, my morning will just be rest only and maybe I will have a Saturday afternoon run and I will enjoy that just as much.   Or maybe it’s one of those Saturdays that I just simply rest….and listen to my body.  We’ll see what the afternoon brings.

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Blue Monday AND Tuesday

It’s been an interesting week and it’s only Tuesday.  I’ve been annoyed, sad, tired, happy…you name it.  Full moon?  Maybe.  Lots going on in my life?  Definately.  Being pulled in several directions?  For sure.

So for the positive and the things that I’m grateful for in spite of feeling blue………***Cinnamon ice cream.  I absolutely love cinnamon ice cream and ONLY buy it in the fall.  ***Running with Lane and MAX tonight.  Max has not always, wait, NEVER been a good dog to run with.  But as he’s getting older ( and he’s not THAT old) he is better.  He stays with us instead of getting distracted at every little thing he sees.   ***A message from a dear friend…a message that reminded me of how much I love her and how I can always count on her.  ***That Harmony IGA had Taco Pasta salad in the deli when I went shopping.  It’s my favorite salad from there and it hit the spot tonight.  ***The hug Lane gave me when I said I was feeling down.    ***The nice talk that I had with my son before he went to the volleyball game.  It was one of those wonderful talks about everything and nothing special…football, school, Max…topics changing and not a pause in between.  Hugs and those talks are priceless

Tomorrow is a new day.  I get that.  And it will be chin up tomorrow and start over.   But tonight, I’m going to allow myself to feel down and feel grateful for those things in my evening that did make me smile. 

 

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Pause

My new friend Theresa ran the Chicago Marathon today.  I was following her online throughout the day…watching her progress.  This afternoon I got on the website to look her up and noticed a tragic and sad story.  Someone died during the Chicago Marathon today.

He was 36 years old, a fire fighter from Greensboro, North Carolina.  He collapsed only 500 yards from the finish line.  He was revived, but died an hour and 45 minutes later.  His name has not been released.  I feel so badly for his family. 

Reading that story about the young fire fighter made me reflect and pray for my friends who have lost loved ones, either recently or not so recently.  We still miss those people we’ve lost, even if it has been many years since they’ve passed. 

I am grateful that Theresa successfully completed her marathon.  I pray for that young man’s family.  I pray that we all stop and feel grateful for our loved ones.

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Weekend!

I love Saturday mornings.  I love the feeling of not “having” to get up at a certain time or “be” anywhere.  I love having coffee and watching the Today Show and then switching over to ESPN College Gameday. 

On the agenda for this beautiful Satuday is a five mile run, laundry, some cleaning, Hawkeye Football, maybe a nap and more college football!

Looking back on my week, it was a really great week.  I had so much fun teaching  and I came home every day  feeling so blessed to be a teacher.   And to cap off that “warm, fuzzy feeling” (and I truly mean that) of teaching, it was so fun to see our football team play such a hard game and win!  Still undefeated!

I am grateful for my job.  I am grateful for Saturday mornings. 

I am grateful to be watching this exciting football season.  And to add on to this, yes, how awesome it is that we are undefeated.  But more importantly, I think the true sense of happiness and excitement for me lies in knowledge of how hard these boys have worked to get to this point.  This doesn’t just happen overnight.  One of the seniors does work for us in the high school band office every morning.  I teach at the high school two mornings a week.  It never fails….he sits down with me on those mornings and all he wants to talk about is football.  (Hmmm..ME want to talk FOOTBALL?  Okay…if I MUST.  ha ha!)  His excitement is right out there on his sleeve.  We have always talked about a lot of other things too, but right now, it’s all football and I can’t blame him!  It’s wonderful and I feel grateful that he wants to share that excitement with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I am grateful that my job allows me to teach K-12 grade students because I get to see it all and appreciate the differences in the ages/levels.  On Friday, the elementary P.E. teacher had the students outside.  For Kindergarten, she had them coloring with sidewalk chalk.  I went outside to see how it was going.  One little girl sat down my me in the shade and she and I were talking.  She had a rock and a pink piece of chalk.  She had an idea.  She would hold the rock and I could color it pink.  She knows my favorite color is pink and she chose that color on purpose.  How sweet right there.  I told her I that was a great idea so I started coloring the rock.   It was a little difficult to take that huge piece of chalk and try to color a rough, small rock…but that wasn’t the point.  Neither of us were saying anything…was a nice few moments.  She broke the silence and said in her sweet, soft, little voice,  “Wow, you can really stay in the lines!”  And right then it was time for them to go in. She gave me a hug and ran to the line.  She came back and wanted to take the pink rock home with her.  I handed it to her and she put it in her pocket with a big smile.  I’m guessing the chalk probably rubbed off in her pocket, but again, that wasn’t the point. 

How blessed am I?!  Two students….one who is beside himself with excitement about his senior football season, and one who was excited that together, we colored a rock pink.   Excitement….it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

I never knew that I was such a good rock colorer…and didn’t really know there were lines on a rock.  That little compliment still makes my heart smile.

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Planning

I have my races planned out for 2012.  I hate even calling them “races” because I don’t “race”.  I know people do…I was in cross country and I’ve participated in many “races” over the years and there are people there to “race”, but I don’t care if I’m first place or last place.  I care that I’m out there.  Anyway, our family schedule, school schedule permitting, I know what events I’ll be doing.  Hopefully they’ll work out and maybe more races than what I have planned.  That would be great.

I am excited about the Twin Cities Marathon next October.    I know I’m probably crazy, especially after going back and reading my past blogs about the rigors of marathon training.  But I know what to expect and I’m ready to do it again.  I think one of the events I’m most excited about is….the Warrior Dash!   I was asked to do one with a group this September and my schedule didn’t fit with the event day, so I couldn’t go.   I hope our schedules fit for the next one because I can hardly wait!  And I am excited about all of them, but those are the two that I’m MOST excited about.

Today……….I am grateful for my husband and son……my friend who gave me a ride tonight……my friends who had my son and me over for a visit…….a family friend from my childhood who last week gave me the best homegrown tomatoes I’ve ever eaten.  I’m even grateful for this THIRD COLD in four and a half weeks because it reminds me of how blessed I am to be healthy.  And on this October 5, 2011, I am grateful for the life of Steve Jobs.  What an amazing contribution he made to mankind as a pioneer in technology.  May he rest in peace.

 

 

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The Next Chapters

I haven’t been writing much since completing my marathon.  I took a much needed break from running.  Over the summer I got back into it, but without a plan, just running when I want to and it’s been nice.  I felt a great relief in not feeling the pressure of HAVING to run, but yet there was a part of me that did miss it, as insane as that may seem.   I’ve also missed writing…blogging.  It’s really a great outlet for me, just as much as running is. 

So here are my next chapters…yes…plural.  “Chapter One”…This past July, I made the decision to run another marathon.  It will be the Twin Cities Marathon in October 2012.  That story I am saving for its own blog because that story deserves to be told with the blog completely devoted to that, but my journey to prepare for marathon #2 has started…slowly.  And again, that will be in blogs to come.

 “Chapter Two” is that my blogs are going to be a combination of a few things in addition to running.  I remember several episodes of Oprah in which she talked about how her life changed when she started a gratitude journal.   I want to incorporate  gratitude, things I learn each day, where can I improve on my attitude in my blogs.  I hope I can do that.  Some entries to my blog may not be organized in a neat piece of writing.  Some entries might just simply be lists.

Tonight I will start.   I am grateful to God, because no matter what worry I have in my life, He always has His loving arms around me.  I am grateful that my dad’s scan came back clean.  I am grateful that my mom was able to have her hip replaced and that she is working so hard on walking and healing.  I am grateful to my sister for being there to help them right now.  I am grateful for my husband who understands when I need to be with my parents and holds me when I need to cry.  I am grateful to my son, who knew I had a long, worry-filled day waiting with my dad for his scan results, and bought me a piece of strawberry cheesecake just because he thought I would like it.  I am grateful for my friends who checked in with me and asked me how I was doing.  I am grateful for a long phone conversation with a friend whom I hadn’t talked to in a while.  

One of my favorite quotes, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, it will be enough.”

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