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Days 72 of 112-Xtrain/Cardio and 74 of 112-Tempo Run-#everythinginbetween, #neverthesame

At my husband’s grandfather’s funeral a few weeks ago, the priest, in talking about grave markers, made a reference that I had never heard before but that I really responded to.  He said that the “dash” between the birth and death years on our tombstones represents the lives we’ve lived. Everything we did.  Everything we accomplished.  Everything in between.

This past weekend was sort of like that for me.  A cross training workout and a tempo run were the bookends that framed the weekend for me, and what was really important was what happened in between.

THE BOOKENDS
Friday
Cross Training-Cardio Workout
After a 20-mile run the day before, followed by 11 hours of travel time to Tucson, Arizona, I woke up at 8:00 a.m., and headed down to the hotel workout room for an hour of dreaded cardio exercises on machines.  I was tired of missing my cross training workouts due to my rearranged training schedule, so I decided to take advantage of getting some low-impact cardio exercise in.  Besides, my legs were feeling really good and I knew I could handle it.

UGH! I would much rather be outside doing something fun; but since I did run 20 miles the day before, I understand the value of taking things a little easy.

I started out on the elliptical machine that had a tv attached to it, which was totally awesome because it meant I wouldn’t have to suffer through a workout just staring at a wall.  As I made my way through my 30-minute, fat burner workout I caught up on the news via CNN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade.  Here is just a taste of last Friday’s headlines:  

  • Mitt Romney “doesn’t remember” bullying gay student in high school at Cranbrook. 
  • Catholic baseball team forfeits state championship title when it refuses to play opposing team with a female second baseman.
  • JP Morgan has “shocking” trading loss of $2 billion in trade from a failed hedging strategy.
  • Tiger Woods is tied for 100th place after his first day playing in the Players Championship.
  • Controversy regarding the article in Time magazine this week on attachment parenting….and it’s cover.

Disclosure-I didn’t have kids so I didn’t have to make the bottle v. breast decision. I’d like to consider myself rather liberal, but I gotta admit…this strikes me as a little severe.

After 30 minutes on the elliptical, I headed over to the recumbent bike and pedaled through a 30-minute, fat-burner workout.  I always choose the fat burner workouts on the cardio machines because it makes me feel like I am working harder, AND…I like the visual of my fat just burning away, which, I am sure is totally what happened. 

The smile isn’t entirely sincere.

After the recumbent bike workout, I decided to get some stretching in, and of course, due to the large mirror, it afforded me an opportunity to take some more ridiculous photos of myself, as is evidenced below.

It’s just not that easy to take a decent photo of oneself in a mirror while stretching, apparently.

 Sunday
Tempo Run
After a long day of travel and a few days full of family events, I wasn’t too sure how successful a tempo run would be—especially a 6-mile tempo run where the first mile is easy and miles 2-6 are supposed to be at a 8:59 pace; especially a tempo run being run in the Tucson sun (albeit at 7 a.m.); especially a tempo run in which I was in sprawlville out by the airport where all the main roads were about 6 lanes wide in addition to turn lanes. 

I had no interest in running this direction….

…..nor did I want to run in this direction either.

My plan was to head out and run either north, south, east, or west (depending on which direction had the best sidewalks) for 3 miles and then turning around and running back the three miles.  I asked the guy at the front desk if he had any recommendations, he told me to head east “behind the hotel” and I would run into a dirt road and that’s where people ran.

Half listening to his directions, I never found the dirt road, but I did figure out an out and back route, that at it’s busiest was a two-lane road with speed limits posted at 25 MPH.

If only the shadows had followed me the entire run.

The first few steps were tough, and those were the easy ones.  I was feeling tired and doubting that since this was my easy mile, that miles 2-6 at an 8:59 seemed possible.  I did have a Gatorade and a blueberry muffin about 30 minutes before I started, but hindsight tells me (Oh, isn’t hindsight ever so helpful) that in addition to taking my phone (for both photo documentation purposes and safety), that a bottle of water would have been a good idea too!

My zig-zaggy route had me running into the sun, away from the sun, and the sun hitting at various times both the right and left sides of my body.

I made it through mile 1 and realized I had to pick up the pace.  As I ran all by myself in a rather remote area of Tucson (and by remote I mean the airport was about a 15 minute jog away), the following thoughts ran through my head:

  • Would a coyote be out at this time of day?  And would the smell from my non washed wick-away running top and shorts repulse him/her or attract him/her?
  • Is this beat up brown pick up truck that just came around the corner going to turn my life into a Lifetime movie.  God, that could be worse than death by coyote.  Who would play me?
  • Why is that white Cadillac that is heading in my direction pulling onto the side of the road?  Why is the person getting out of the car?  Is he there just waiting for me?  Again, clearly another Lifetime movie in the making.  Do I keep running toward him or do I head the other way?

You might think that someone who has these kinds of thoughts might tend to avoid running in isolated areas in the desert without water, eh?  Yeah, a normal me would think that too; however, when you have to get a tempo run in, apparently logic and reasoning fly out the third-story hotel window.

In between miles 1 and 2, I received a text.  I had sent some “Happy Mom’s Day” text messages out and figured it was just folks responding.  I didn’t stop to take a look at it, but when I did stop to take a picture of this sign and my view, I checked out the text message as well.

I just love this!

It’s a heat, but a dry heat. Man! What a view!

RUNNING ROCK STAR!!!

 Man!  Christy’s message pumped me up!  I was so psyched for her!  She had placed first in her age group last year and while she hadn’t really counted on taking first again, she at least wanted to improve her time.  WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!  She snagged it on both accounts!!  Her performance motivated me and despite the ring of white, crusty, foam that started to form around the outside of my mouth-I persevered, and ended up with some rather great times myself.

Pretty gosh-darned happy with this one!

 THE IN BETWEENS
I
n between the two bookend workouts were two graduation ceremonies for my cousin Zachary Clark, who was graduating from the University of Arizona.

Friday’s ceremony was just for the graduates from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and it was during this event that they called out his name and he got to walk across the stage—very exciting.  I spent a fair amount of time running around the arena in 4” slip-on-heels with no back straps trying to position myself as best as I could in order to get a good photo.  Here is what I ended up with:

Might I add, that posting this photo of Zach on my Facebook page and tagging him, resulted in one of the most heavily “liked” photos I’ve ever posted on Facebook. Way to go Zach! One of Zach’s friends even wrote a poem about it.

After the ceremony, as is often the case, the family tries to reconnect with the graduate in order to document the momentous occasion for posterity, and here it is.

From left to right: Mark (Zach’s dad), Paul (Zach’s uncle), Melva (Zach’s aunt), Zach, Sienna (Zach’s cousin), Caitlin (Zach’s sister), Jane (Zach’s mom)

Awww……..Oh, by the way, that’s me. I don’t normally look like that in blog pictures so I thought I should clarify.

Saturday’s ceremony was for all spring 2012 graduates, and while individual names were not called out, schools of students were asked to rise by their Dean and pronouncements were made that they had met all the requirements needed to satisfy obtaining a bachelor’s degree in their field of study.

 Similar to the attempts of trying to locate your graduate after Friday’s ceremony, who is now 1 of approximately 4,000 graduates dressed in identical blue gowns and caps, the same exercise is undertaken, and with much success.

Graduation or not, this is pretty much how you’ll find Zach these days.

Awwww…two days in a row in a dress! That would be me, NOT Zachary.

 

So what is the point of all of this you might ask?   This whole “everything in between” bit? This is a running blog, and a blog about my experiences training for the Ann Arbor Marathon .  

Well, as I have spent the past 74 days of my life blogging about running, I’ve learned a lot of things.  I’ve learned that things on the surface, which might not appear to have anything to do with running, life lessons so to speak, are actually quite applicable to running.

Below are a series of what I think were some of the most thought-provoking questions and comments raised by the two commencement speakers and the two student speakers selected to speak at each ceremony.  You don’t have to be a recent college graduate to understand the importance of these; in fact, I suspect the longer you’ve lived, the harder you’ve struggled, and the more you’ve aspired….the more you might appreciate them.

As a 44-year-old female runner who is always looking for answers to a variety of running-related questions, and at the same time, looking for motivation and encouragement that will make me push myself harder and see the bigger running picture, these resonated with me a great deal. Whether you are applying these to your work, family, or an activity like trying to get a marathon PR—trying to become better, trying, at the same time, to make life easier for the ones around you, I think these are worth some serious consideration and reflection:

  • The fundamental question is what do you really want out of life?
  • You are not in control of your future.
  • Plans will change, and it is ok.
  • Ultimately find something you love to do.
  • Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
  • Doing what you like is freedom, loving it is happiness.
  • Giving and helping others makes you happy.
  • I wish you uncertainty.
  • The moment we stop dreaming, we start achieving.
  • Vote, mentor, and encourage education.
  • Today is a good day. It is what it’s all about.
  • We don’t know what we don’t know.
  • What is it that we are looking for?
  • Say yes to opportunities!
  • Fare well where you may fare.

And just when I thought I had my fill of “in betweens” for the weekend, I stumbled upon an email Saturday night from my running mentor/friend/aunt- Lynne Mixer:

  • “I am so glad you have Christy now.  What a friend, woman, running partner, team-mate you have with her.  You will never be the same runner you were a year ago.”

 This, ladies and gents, is what you call a game changer—one of the best “in between moments” of my life.

So here’s to the life lessons we learn in between our beginnings and ends!  Here’s to the game changers!  And here’s to the people that bring them to us!

Carry on, friends.  Carry on.

Or perhaps I should say, “Fare well, where you may fare.”

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Heather #

    Great post, friend! Coupla points:
    I, too, get that white crusty foam outside my mouth as I panic about not bringing hydration. Also, I get nervous that my smelly clothing will someday do me in.
    And, I think I would line up to play you in your Lifetime movie, but be much too verklempt to carry through with it.

    May 14, 2012
    • Heather, I suspect you are way too cheery and optimistic to get cast as me in a Lifetime movie. Plus, I would be afraid you would keep calling Doug, #2 instead of Doug and people would just get confused. However, I won’t rule you out. Would you prefer to be 1) eaten alive by a coyote 2) attacked by the coyote and left to die in the desert (which is 15 minutes away from civilization), or 3) get escorted away by what were likely two wonderful sets of people in the Cadillac and the brown pick up truck to a life of leisure?

      May 14, 2012
  2. Christy P #

    Thank you for the very kind words. As I look at the calendar, I see that we have 35 days til go time. It’s still a month away however, it feels so close in so many ways. We’ve come so far and yet it seems like yesterday that we started day 1 of 112. It’s been an amazing journey and one neither of us would be on without the other. There is a reason our lives merged again. We have both benefited in so many ways. We are going to do this thing and we are going to do it well!!

    May 14, 2012
    • 35 days left! I want it to be here tomorrow, but then I will be sad. I’m seriously not sure what I am going to do with myself as you train for Chicago and I train for??????? Do I just suck it up and run Detroit and then you and I pick an exotic/exciting marathon for next year? At this rate, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to give marathoning up! OMG! Did I just say that?!?!

      May 14, 2012

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