Thursday, December 27, 2007

Body and soul need new challenges.
The Manual of the Warrior of Light

I'm in a bit of a post-Christmas funk. My visiting family members have left, my house is a disaster, I've eaten too much junk and hardly run, and I still have no idea what I am doing next year. Getting through the holidays is a little like an ultra: tons of prep, lots of work to make it successful, excitement, fun, love, endurance and commitment, and then it's over. I come from a big family, so Christmas is always fairly chaotic, but it's a blast. We are on overdrive the whole time. Then, when everyone leaves, it's both a relief and sad.

There is never a dull moment. My sister, mother and I laugh for five days straight. The men can't get us to shut up! We cook and eat, and eat and cook. We play the "humming game." We drive around so that out-of-town relatives can see how everything is changing in El Paso. We light luminarias on Christmas Eve and then walk around the neighborhood admiring everyone else's luminarias, taking in the stillness of the night and the beauty of the desert in winter - cold and clear. We hug and laugh and talk about our hopes and dreams for the coming year. My 93 year-old grandmother regales us with hilarious stories of her childhood when she "ran wild." My father gives a Christmas toast that leaves us in tears, telling each of us how much he loves us and all that he is thankful for in his life. We stay up late and get up early, eagerly anticipating that first cup of coffee around the breakfast table where someone is always waiting to talk. We hear my kids awake at 4:00 in the morning, cheering in the den when they see what "Santa" (sadly, they don't still believe) has left them. The adults smile at the irony that the favorite gift is the $15 marshmallow gun rather than the "big" gift. I feel love, and feel loved.

And now it is over. I'm trying to get my head around the coming year. Everyone seems to already have decided what they are doing. I feel a little lost. I'm ready to make plans, but have some scheduling issues that I'm not certain about. I feel slow, like a bear woken up early from hibernation. I just want to go back to bed! In fact, maybe I will. The Christmas mess will still be there in a couple (or three) hours, after a good nap. It is blowing like crazy (50-60 miles per hour), so I can't (really) go outside. Yes, a nap sounds like a very good idea. Maybe it will refresh my brain and body so that I will be able to imagine new challenges.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Olga just tagged me, so I'm going to add a little more to yesterday's post so that I do it right :) I have to change mine up a little bit because I didn't run a single trail run in 2007 (sigh), unless you count Umstead. I need some of the trail gals to come down to Texas and show me how it's done! I might actually brave it if I had company to ensure that I didn't get lost, eaten or maimed! Okay, here goes:

1. Most memorable moment in a race...FANS lightning storm while crossing a steel bridge- totally cool and totally scary!

2. Best new trail I discovered in 2007...hmmm, I can't figure out how to modify this one. I had to be pretty inventive this year picking routes so that I could get my mileage in without going stir crazy. I ran all over the city, across the border into Mexico (had to stand in line on the bridge to get back into the US and I didn't have any identification), through cemetaries, pecan orchards, and farms.

3. My best performance this year was... Ultracentric 126.99 miles.

4. I do not know how I previously survived without... M&Ms. For some reason, it is the only thing that tastes good when I have had enough of everything else at the aid stations.

5. The person I would most like to meet at a race in 2008...Olga. Her indomitable spirit is contagious.

6. The race I'm most afraid of in 2008 ... I'm also stuck on this one because I haven't figured out my race schedule yet. Frankly, though, I'm afraid of all of them!

Yeah for 2008! Let's go run!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When someone wants something then they should be aware that they are taking a risk. But this is precisely what makes life interesting.
The Pilgrimage

So, what do you want? Have you thought about your dreams for 2008? For the next 10 years? For your life?

The end of the year always gets me thinking: What do I want to do next year? Who do I want to be? I'm not just thinking about running goals, I'm thinking about the bigger picture. My kids are growing up (too fast), I've turned 40, my parents are getting older, some family members and friends have struggled with some serious health and personal problems. Frankly, life is moving forward. 2007 had so many great moments, and some scary moments - as does life.

So, looking forward to 2008:

1. I hope to be a good mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
2. I hope to enjoy each day to the fullest.
3. I hope to run as often as possible with friends.
4. I hope to see one really great tear jerker.
5. I hope to meet some of my blogging friends at races.
6. I hope to find the best book ever.
7. I hope to care a little bit less about what doesn't matter and a little bit more about what does.
8. I hope to get cupcakes on my birthday.
9. I hope to swim in the ocean.
10. I hope to have the best year ever.

This week, I'm finally back to running regularly. It feels so good! The weather here is gorgeous - low 30s in the morning, upper 50s in the afternoon. Although I'm jealous of those of you getting snow, I'm happy to have pretty running weather. I'm not sure I could make myself get back in the swing of things if I had to run in freezing weather - but I really do want some snow to play in (send some down here)!

I'm still a little iffy on my race schedule for next year. I've encountered some personal obstacles, and I don't know when I will be able to set a schedule. I really enjoy training with a specific race in mind, so I'm feeling a little lost not having a specific plan. As Scott reminded me though, right now is just the base building phase anyway. I need to be patient (yeah, right).

Tomorrow, I plan to meet the group for a run. I'm really looking forward to it as I haven't really seen many of my running buddies in forever! We'll do an easy 6-8 miles and then I'll try to run some more with my friend Ingrid later in the day. Thursday is supposed to be a hill workout, but I'm going to see how I feel. I promised not to overdo it, so I may stay down in the valley (where I live) and run flat.

Good running everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Know that no day is the same as another, and that each morning contains its own particular miracle, its magic moment, when old universes are destroyed and new stars are created.
Paulo Coelho

I am so happy to be back running (well, sort of running)! I've been doing an easy hour and then walking for another hour, or so. I can definitely tell I've had three weeks off. But, it is so great to be outside, to be moving, to have a rhythm back in my day, especially at this time of year when everything is so crazy!

I got a call last night from a mom at my sons' school saying that no one had signed up to be the room mother for one of my son's classes. His teacher was in desperate need of someone to handle the Christmas party next week. The kids' parties are always so much fun - still the same as when we went to school - cupcakes, goofy games, dancing, nothing fancy. The only problem is that I am a horrible party planner. Now, because I said the parties are nothing fancy, you would think that I wouldn't stress out about it. But, this is my 8th year doing this, and I still get totally stressed. You know how when you have no talent for something it doesn't matter how many times you do it, it still causes stress? Well that is me every Christmas and end-of-school. I'm a freak. That is why I tried to avoid being a room mother this year. But, when you have twins in separate classes, you invariably end up being the room mother one way or the other. So, I woke up at 1:00 am worrying about this little party. Hello! I need therapy!

Anyway, back to running. I plan to try to run a couple of hours tomorrow. I still feel pretty tight. I'm stretching, but I still feel about as limber as a hundred year old oak tree. I tried to lift one day this week, but that didn't go so well. Maybe next week. It probably isn't helping that my wonderful mother-in-law sent me a huge box of See's candy that I have almost finished in less than 24 hours. Yum!

Hope everyone is getting their shopping done. The holidays are almost here!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Running At Last!

I ran today for the first time in 3 weeks - yeah! Everything felt pretty good except my usual lower back problem that has plagued me for 2 years after a bad fall on an early morning run. I think the combination of 127 miles (inflammation) plus no running (stiffness and tightness) has added to the problem. I felt much looser at the end of the hour than at the beginning. I know some of you have suggested yoga for herniated disks and ischial tuberosity issues, so I think I will give that a try this year. Swimming does seem to help, but is such a pain in the winter (can you hear me whining?).

There is a super funny blogger out there that I'm adding to my favorites list: Bob Gentile. His blog is hysterical! I love funny blogs. Another super funny blog (but it is not running related) is the Fat Both of these blogs make me wish I could be funny! As I've mentioned, I love blogs that inspire and blogs that make me laugh because both make you feel good!

On a technical note: my wonderful sister, Linda, is dropping out of the blogosphere for now. She is working on her next book and making appearances for her current book, "The Devil in the Junior Leauge," so she is swamped. She was feeling guilty about not posting and I was feeling bad about taking over the blog with all of my running content, so we just decided that I would go solo until she has more time. I apologize to those of you who were reading because of Linda - I bet you are in a boredom-induced coma by now if you had to read all the running posts!

I still haven't figured out my race schedule for next year. I don't talk to Scott until next week, so everything is still up in the air. I reallly want to run something in the spring, but I don't know what's available. There don't seem to be many 100 milers in the spring, and the usual suspects (Umstead, RR) are full. Hmmm. I'll keep looking.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Are We Crazy?

Currently, the topic of "random inappropriate comments by non-ultrarunners" is making a showing on the Ultra List. Many of them involve people's comments about an ultrarunner's weight, and the validity of such a comment. Because no one is worried about me being too thin, the only comments I get consistently are, "Are you crazy? Addicted to running?, etc." In fact, a friend called last night to "congratulate" me on Ultracentric, and then proceeded to spend much of the conversation bagging on me for my unhealthy addiction. I totally get that ultrarunning is not for everyone - but frankly, that's what makes it so fun! And as far as it being an addiction, maybe so, but maybe not.

When I was five years old, I saw a swim team practice taking place at our local pool. I begged my mom to let me join, but since I was the youngest of four children, she didn't have the time to drive me down into the valley every morning at 7 am. Not to be deterred, and because I really wanted to swim, I went around the pool and found four other mothers willing to pick me up. And I was on the team! I swam competitively for 10 years, training for 4-5 hours a day by the time I was 9 years old. And no one was pushing me. I wanted to do it. And when I wasn't swimming, I was outside practicing my round-off/flip flop combo or my one-and-a-half off the diving board. I loved any, and all, physical activity.

After swimming, I went through a phase where I tried to be "normal." I didn't do any real exercise, just hung out with my friends. But it didn't work for me. I went stir crazy. So in high school, I ran cross country and taught aerobics, and then continued running and aerobics in college. In law school, I would run between classes just to get rid of some of the extra energy. It made me able to sit for long periods of time and totally focus on what the professor was saying, what I was reading, or what I was analyzing. I loved to study, but I loved to move! I still love to move!

So, my point is only that I think some of us are born needing to move a lot. Does that make it an addiction? I don't really know. I watch my twins and see how they both have (and always have had) different physical needs. One needs to move a lot and the other is more static. They were like that in the womb. I think it really is more about temperement and finding what works in your own life. As I said, I know that not everyone wants to run for 24 hours. But there are plenty of things people do in their lives that I don't necessarily want to do, and I don't think that makes them crazy (or at least not much :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Non-Running Musings

So, I'm getting pretty bored not running. But I am enjoying sleeping until 6:30. Tim told me that it was weird waking up before me and that he was ready for me to start running again (it might have something to do with my hyper-ness since I have no way to expend all of my extra energy). I did start walking a little, and I went swimming last Thursday. Both activities felt good, but just aren't the same as running.

I am so bummed that nobody I know got into Western States! I was so looking forward to following Ronda, Julie, and/or Olga in their training for, and competing in, the race. But none of them got in! I know they all have alternative race plans, so I'm sure it will still be an exciting season. As I've said, I'm not a trail runner, so I love to follow others. It seems so exciting (and tough)!

I still haven't figured out what I am doing next year. The only "for sure" is the Walt Disneyworld Marathon. We are having our family reunion at Disneyworld, so four of us are going to run the marathon for fun. I'm really excited to get to run with both of my brothers and my husband. Most of our other family members are going to run/walk the half-marathon. I think it will be a blast! Now that I know how to post pictures, I promise to post some.