Posts Tagged With: training for boston

Something’s “Weighing” On My Mind

I’ve been thinking of writing about this subject for nearly a year, but finding the perfect words to express everything without writing a novel became overwhelming. So I decided to just write and not worry about the length.

I felt embarrassed to some extent, to delve into details of my past and the inner workings of the deep parts of my mind, but I also felt that it was important to bring up my past so you could see where I am coming from.  I also felt it was an important topic of discussion, one that maybe, just maybe, could help someone or cause someone to think about something differently. I’m hoping so.

Marathon running has given me something that I really don’t believe anything else could.  It has given me the ability to view my body and eating in a completely different and positive way.  I’ve learned a lot about myself because of it. And finally, FINALLY, I’ve been able to develop a good and healthy relationship with food and eating.

Back in high school, for some moronic reason, I remember looking in the mirror and telling myself, “Wow, I’m so fat. I need to lose weight”.  I could totally thump myself now, as I was a very active and healthy young lady of a healthy weight.  I honestly don’t know why I decided to do this.  Many people start controlling their eating when everything else in their lives seems out of control, but I honestly think that for me, it was that I simply wanted to be thinner, and that’s all.  I’d never liked my muscular, pear shaped build, and I always wanted to be one of those thin models from George Michael’s videos (I’m guessing you can tell about what era that was).  The crazy cycle of self-loathing and torture began when I was a junior in high school.  I’m not going to get into the gritty details because I don’t think it’s relevant, but I lost over 30 pounds in a few months. I purged in various ways, I restricted, I exercised to excess, I did it all.  I was miserable.  Absolutely miserable.  And all the weight I lost was never enough. Now, I can clearly see the addiction that comes with something like that.  You don’t see yourself in any way, shape, or form the way others see you and the way you see others. You see yourself in a carnival mirror, and it’s never accurate, no matter how much you twist and turn it.  You may be shrinking, but you feel yourself expanding.  It’s a scary and lonely place to be.

Finally, several months later, I got tired of it. I tired of starving myself, of being hungry, of being sick to my stomach, of being miserable, green, and a formerly happy and active high school girl. I lied to my parents, but most importantly, I lied to myself. I thought I was fat. I was ugly. I wasn’t worth anything.

When I confessed to my parents that I needed help after they begged to tell me what was wrong, they were scared and yet, relieved. They knew something was wrong, but they, like so many parents, didn’t know what it was and didn’t know how to find out.  I immediately went into after-school counseling for eating disorders, and I became the master of liars there as well. I did start eating again and not feeling so terrible about it, but there was no way I was going to just gain weight for the sake of gaining weight. I kept exercising and when I was honest about it, they told me not to exercise.  Well, I just quit telling them that I was.  Of course they didn’t understand that when I was running, I was just me, without thinking, without worrying.  I needed that run as much as my body needed food.

It took several years for me to get over the majority of the self-loathing what I saw in the mirror. Then I was always just “ok” with what I looked like, how I was shaped, and I had a love/hate relationship with food. I fed myself, but it wasn’t a healthy relationship with food, per se.  I did what I needed to do to give myself the energy to do what needed to be done. It’s crazy I went through so many marathons, half-marathons, races, and having two healthy children, that I really, honestly, hated what food stood for and what it “did” to me.  The verbal abuse towards myself continued as well, although the more years that went by, the more it eased.

Can’t you relate?  We can be so mean, so evil and nasty as we tell ourselves we are fat, ugly, terrible when we would NEVER, EVER see that in, let alone SAY it to other people. Sometimes and some days, we are just never good enough.

So what changed?  Maybe it was maturity, maybe it was luck, maybe it was some sort of divine intervention. Maybe one day I just got it. I remember saying some pretty terrible things about myself, that I needed to drop a few lb’s, and how ridiculous it was that achieving only THAT was difficult. Then I saw my arm.  I don’t know what it was, the little arm hairs I saw? The few freckles, probably made while having fun in the sun? I don’t know, but something changed in me that day. I saw myself as a person. I saw myself as a little girl, one who was constantly berated by her own self, and I didn’t like it. I grew up in a family of love and my family now is full of hugs and kisses and laughter.  So felt like I was treating my own self like the black sheep, like she didn’t belong and didn’t deserve to be there.  I actually tear up as I think back to that moment, maybe an “AHA” moment, where I started, just slowly, but I started to feel differently.

Fast forward a few years.  I’m not perfect, and there’s days when I just can’t stand to think about bathing suit season.  But then I realize that I am not perfect.  And that’s ok, because no one really is. Finally, I can give my body the credit it deserves.  How many miles have I made it run? Thousands. How many marathons have I run? Yeah, I’ve run seven.  It has given me two very healthy children.  I’m healthy and able to run my ass off when I want to.  I can work, paint, throw my kids on the couch and watch them laugh and say “do it again”.  I’m very lucky to have that, and I don’t take it for granted.  Marathons were the mediator between a healthy vision of food and me. That’s what brought us together in a good relationship.

I view eating very differently now.  And I’m so thankful for the new perspective.  Food is fuel.  It’s a source of energy, nourishment, and pleasure.  When you put junk in, you get junk out. When you don’t put anything in, you get nothing out. You learn so much about your body and fueling when you don’t do it right, that’s for sure.  And another thing. I stopped comparing myself to others (for the most part).  I will never be anyone but myself, so might as well just realize it now and quit trying to make myself into someone else.  It’s pointless.  I think of all the time I wasted thinking about, planning, and worrying about what I looked like and dieting and food and just stupid stuff.

It’s a long process, the self-awareness that comes with marathon running. You push yourself, but you literally CANNOT do it when you don’t fuel your body. Instead of a downward spiral that comes with having a bad relationship with food, the downward slowly disappears and then turns into an upward spiral of appreciation, of need, of understanding the true and “normal” relationship you should have with food. The yin yang of eating and running. I can’t have one without the other. No, I may never truly LOVE what my body looks like, BUT I truly appreciate what it does for me, and really, I’m happy with that. I would have never known marathon running could do that for me, but it’s given me a relative freedom from the demons that will probably always reside in a cavern in my head, whispering their little lies to me.  I do not believe them anymore.   I’d much rather be strong than skinny.

Yin Yang

Yin Yang

 

It is now several weeks after the Boston Marathon. I think about all the hard work it took to get me there.  All the years I spent training to try and qualify, only to come up short.  The races between the marathons. The marathon when I did qualify. All the training since then. Hundreds and hundreds of miles, biking, swimming, yoga, strength. I think about how the relationship I have with food has actually turned into a good one. I appreciate the fuel I give myself as much as I appreciate my muscles as I see them work hard, see them growing and changing as I get faster and have more endurance. Food = muscle power.

I do have to say that there is a difference between having a good relationship with food and a good relationship with body image.  This has come to light recently, when I got a few pictures back from various races. I don’t mind most pictures of me, but when I get race pictures back, good Lord I just want to shred most of them.  My husband pointed out that I don’t see me the same way anyone else does and I have to admit that he’s right. I recently told coach that I wore shorts over my tights so others couldn’t see my fat butt jiggle.  Why I had to say that out loud, I don’t know. But at that moment, I realized how stupid I sounded. That day, I decided that I wasn’t going to SAY those things.  Because when you SAY them, you THINK them. Well, maybe, just maybe, if I stop saying bad remarks about my body (the same one that ran over 17 miles just because), then I will eventually stop thinking them. Truly, I do love my body and what it’s given me. So it’s time to start treating it like I do.

So here.  Here’s a picture that I never shared because I hate the way my thighs bulge out. Saddle bags. I had gained 5-10 pounds right before the race so I was heavier than normal and now. But I had just ran over 26.2 miles and the first thing I worry about is how my stupid thighs look, so I didn’t share the picture with anyone. Kinda silly, right?

IMG_8167

 

So I’m still a work-in-progress.  The key is that I’m making progress. I’m realizing what’s really important, which is to be thankful for what I do have and take care of it.  I know I can’t have a scale in the house. I literally cannot play that game.  I have no idea what I weigh, but I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. I base my eating on what I’m training for, how I feel, and how my clothes fit. I’m sure I’ll always be a work-in-progress, and that’s ok. It’s kind of fun to drop some of the dumb stuff and think back to how stupid I was “back then”, and I’m sure in another ten years I’ll look back and think that something I’m doing NOW is stupid! So be proud of yourself. Be proud of what you can do.  Keep working, keep appreciating. For every negative you find, find two positives. Don’t SAY negative things. Be YOU.

If I could say “Thank you” to marathoning, I certainly would. Marathons have given me so much more than I could imagine. Happiness. Freedom. Thank you, Marathon, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me what nothing else could have. Peace.

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

It’s Go Time

I’m running a marathon tomorrow. I normally get quite a bit of performance anxiety, but it’s amped up quite a bit with this one. I’ve actually given myself a headache. I know, I know, just ENJOY the moment, the race, the crowds, feeling like a rock star. Trust me, I am. But I’m here to kick ass. I’m here for a PR and another BQ. I’m here to run my best race. I’ve paid for coaching, for PT, for tons of shoes, this trip. I’ve trained six days a week. I ran in the ice, the snow, the cold rain, the hot rain, the humidity, the early hours, the evenings, the afternoons. I put up with an allergic skin reaction to chlorine so I could cross train.  I missed ONE workout in over six months. ONE. And it wasn’t even a run, it was a swim. And I did housework that day so I consider that a workout 😉

I’m scared. I don’t want to admit it, but I am. I’m scared of the hills. I’m scared of having a bad run day. I’m scared of bonking. I’m scared of it being a little too warm, too windy, too crowded. Maybe I’m the only one who will admit it, but I’m not the only one who’s feeling that way.

So instead of letting it get to me any more, I’m going to focus. I’m going to channel all the positive thoughts sent from my friends. They’ve been priceless and I truly thank you. I’m going to focus on what tomorrow WILL be, which is the best race experience I could imagine. I’m going to push through the fatigue, the pain, the anxiety. I’m going to run my hardest.  I will keep this in mind “In the first half of the race, don’t be an idiot, and in the 2nd half, don’t be a wussy.”

We are heading to our downtown Boston hotel now.  Good luck to everyone running Boston tomorrow.

As for me….

fearless

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Anyone Else Sick of the Snowpocolypse?

I grew up in Iowa and then lived there again for about seven years as an adult AFTER living in North Carolina for about seven years.  In Iowa, as expected, we had blizzards once or twice a year, plus snow many other times, and we just carried on the best we could.  Kids would play outside unless it was below zero out, whether that was the actual temperature or wind chill.  When it was icy, they just salted the roads.  When it snowed, the roads got plowed.  We went out to play in our snow suits, and we sledded until we were exhausted.  We celebrated 40-degree days, which seemed few and far between for months at a time.

A ginormous pile of snow after they plowed my street. Yes, it really was that tall!

A ginormous pile of snow after they plowed my street. Yes, it really was that tall!

A path along the sidewalk. Because people were walking a lot.

A path along the sidewalk. Because people were walking a lot.

Then it was icy in coastal North Carolina.  I understand it doesn’t happen very often so they don’t have the equipment to handle it.  BUT oh my holy stuck inside, I am SO FREAKING ready for this freaking ice to melt so we can carry on with our lives.  Most of all, I want to carry on with my training that has seemed to come to a halt because I CAN’T RUN ON ICE and I refuse to drive on it.  I can certainly drive in two feet of snow, but I just don’t trust ice nor the other southerners who drive on it.  Case in point from yesterday, I witnessed Moron #1 driving 45 mph on a sheet of ice that doubled as a skating rink.  Yeah, Moron, try slowing down or stopping on that.  I went for a run yesterday, but the ice was nicely covered with a fine crunchy second layer of ice that provided some much needed traction.  I went slow, but I got a 5.5 miler in. Whew.  Then it melted a little and turned into a very dangerous sheet of ice.  And now I’m trapped.  I’m not sure if I can drive safely to practice but I can’t run from home.

Simply because I could.

Simply because I could.

So today is the kids’ third day out of school and my husband’s third day working at home, which is great except they will have three days to make up and they already go until the middle of June.  NO ONE needs to go to school in friggin’ July.  We really do enjoy spending time with each other, but holy hell, I just want to get out and do something and get my speed work in. In my mind, if I miss a practice, all my training is for naught and I can start from square one.  Yeah, I’m not overreacting or anything, am I?

Earlier, I thought, “Hey, why don’t we get out and walk down to the main road to see what it is really like?”.  So the family and the dog took off and we got one entire house away when my oldest son slipped and fell smack on his face.  Mom fail. His hands lessened the fall, thank goodness, because the kid could have seriously broken his face. He’ll get an extra scoop of chocolate in his cocoa….

It was fun while it lasted, but please, oh please, give me the Southern in the South back!

Categories: marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why I Can Buy Pink, Plus a Look Into My Week

THE NEW ADDITION

I’ve been a little out of it recently, partly because I wanted to shift focus on the blog to be more of what I’m doing and a little more involved in my training, but ok, let’s be honest, the real reason is because I saw a picture of a dog on a local rescue Facebook page last week.  “Liking” that page was probably my first step to “the downfall”, but we’ve been thinking of getting a dog after Boston, and I thought I had better willpower than that. (I’ve fostered up to about 20 cats in my house at ONE TIME, so I really should have known better than that. WRONG.)  I saw her picture, and that was all she wrote.  We kept her for almost a week to see if she and the cats would get along.  I wish the cats would appreciate her playfulness more than they do, as they seem to have forgotten what they behaved like when they were kittens. Oh well, she’s awesome, she’s loving, extremely smart, and she fits in very well.  When I get back from my trip next week, Scarlett will be the newest addition to our family.  And bonus – I CAN BUY PINK!!!

dog dog2

Back to the “stuff”……

Saturday will be three weeks til my first goal race, the Myrtle Beach 1/2 marathon. My goal is anything under 1:44 to finally bring me to an OFFICIAL PR for this distance.  I’m nervous.  I’m excited. I’m ready to take this race and bring my all.  I’ve had a few people ask my what my training plan is like, so I wanted to share that. Here goes!

Monday: Swim

Swimming has been one of those things that has required me to test my patience and understanding, something that I’ve rarely had to use made myself use when it comes to sports. If I can’t do something well relatively quickly, I just don’t do it.  That clearly explains why I do not play golf. If I hadn’t wanted to participate in triathlons, I wouldn’t have stuck with swimming.  To say that I like it would be lying, but I’ve found that I like the challenge of it more than I actually like to do it.  I guess it took me 40 years to realize that if you just stick with something and practice, you will generally get better.  D’oh! Swimming is finally becoming “easier” for me, not that it’s EASY per se, but just not kicking my ass every time I do it. Cheers to sticking something out!!!!

My equip before the swim.

My equip before the swim.

Tuesday: Tempo workout with my group.  I had previously never really enjoyed tempo runs, but in the last few months, I’ve come to like them.  A lot. Maybe it is the challenge of it, the endorphins after I’m done, I’m not sure.  But I know that these workouts are key in my race performance, so maybe that’s part of it.

Wednesday: Yoga and strength.  I can do strength all day, but I hate yoga.  I asked my coach to add to my schedule or I would find ANY REASON to get out of it if I just said, “Oh I need to do yoga so I’ll fit it in somewhere”. I hate the flexible people that can bend themselves into a pretzel. Nothing personal, but I can’t do anything similar, so it’s just annoying.  I’ll certainly do what I need to do to improve my running, stretch every muscle that I have in my entire body, and well, try to improve my actual flexibility.  Maybe it’s like swimming: the zillionth time you do something, you’ll see improvement.  So maybe in a few decades, I’ll be able to do a real “fold”. Sigh.

Thursday: Speed work at the track

I’ve been in love with track work as soon as I started doing it, probably four years ago. I don’t know what it is, but I enjoy the challenge, the pushing, the everything about it.

Friday: OFF!!! But I do have a little strength work….

Saturday: Short(er) and typically easier run.  Sometimes I’ve given a distance range to do, say…3-4 miles, but I always do the higher number.  (By the way, I’m relatively competitive.  I betchya you other competitive people didn’t know that already! Ha!) I can enjoy these runs more and generally run from home and look at the waterway that’s about 1.5 miles away from the house.  I know what’s coming the next day, so I really do enjoy these days.

Sunday: Long run.  These runs have varied in their length and intensity, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge of pick-ups in the middle, running with a group from my group ( I guess that makes me a groupy, right?!), and again, I think it’s the challenge that gets me the most.  It keeps me interested, I run no matter the conditions, I run because I know to NOT run would be to leave out a piece of the race puzzle.  I’m not willing to do that anymore, to sacrifice an outcome that I want later because of how I may feel today.

I was kindly advised that my workouts will be changing after the Myrtle Beach race.  By whom, you ask? Well, after training myself several times, I decided that I wanted to go full force and have a coach.  I belong to the running group, Without Limits, and I have a training plan that has been specifically designed for me.  It does cost a bit, but after training myself on other people’s plans, I wanted to bring the level up a notch.  I never knew exactly what pace to run at, and I didn’t know how far to push myself.  There’s been injury and then the desire to do triathlons as well, so I figured this would be as good of time to have a coach as any.  I’m very glad I chose this route considering how my training has gone (injury and then definite improvement in speed and then there’s that swimming thing that I mentioned above) and it’s one of those “no-brainer” things.  I never have to worry about what I’m doing and how fast, as I’m just told, then based on my feedback, I get my next week’s workout.  I know I can’t do this for every race, but I wanted to step up my game, and give the Boston Marathon my best shot, so here we go! I would recommend this for anyone because it gives you more insight on what you maybe doing or not doing, and in a social aspect, it’s great to have running buddies to push you!

So that, my friends, is the making of my week of workouts and where I get them. I have one day off per week, but I’ve never felt like I’m burned out, I’m too tired, that I want another rest day.  Actually, I enjoy the variety and the social interaction, the daily challenge of it all. I have a race in just a few weeks, a race that I plan to test my abilities and training, and I believe that everything that I’m doing will lead up to an outcome that I can be proud of: my absolute best effort.

Categories: Boston Marathon, iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back To the Doc

The week before Christmas (and all through the house….oh wait, wrong story!) I started feeling an old ache start up in my knee.  I knew the holi-weeks were going to be pretty full with staying up late/sleeping in, taking care of the kids while not in school, doing my workouts, and hanging out with my family, so I waited until last week to make an appointment with my chiropractor/leg fixer-upper doctor.

I went in today with the diagnosis from my last chiro/leg fixer-upper from when I lived in Texas, so I could explain it better than “well, it’s the three bandy things that go across the inside of your knee and….. it’s a little achy”.  I felt pretty special when I could say that I had “pes anserine bursitis”, although I would have rather said that I was fine and the appointment was a mistake and was just there to share my Christmas candy.

Anyway, the appointment went as expected, me learning the proper way to do squats and deadlifts, and then having my leg myofacially released as I planned my mental grocery list to keep from yelling, “STOP THAT IT EFFING HURTS” “OUCH!” and kicking said doctor in face as I politely explained it was just a “reflex”.  I expect that my knee will recover quickly and that my hamstrings will be hugely buff in the coming months from my strength work to prevent the bursitis from returning…. again.

One thing I learned and would like to pass along to other runners is to NOT ignore those aches and pains that are out of the norm.  Sure, we all get them from time to time, a twinge here and a stab there, but those should go away with a little time.  If something persists, GO SEE A DOCTOR or at least, stop running.  I’m guessing that my husband would take a second job to pay for any medical costs to fix me so he wouldn’t have to put up with me in my “I’m injured so I can’t run so I’m going to make everyone around me miserable because I am miserable because I can’t run” mode, so really, not running isn’t a good option for many of us. I also understand that the previous sentence was probably grammatically INcorrect, and I am sorry about that.

I had to made some choices because I do understand treatment is not cheap.  I went through weeks just this fall when I was logging in about TWO whole miles per week, so I totally get the anxiety, the frustration, and I really get when you just have to stop. I honestly believed that if I ignored my shin splints, they would 1) go away 2) make me stronger 3) disappear.  So I ignored them into a pretty bad injury and then into having to defer a marathon I was planning to do (one that keeps boasting on Facebook “oh, only two weeks more” as I quickly scroll past thinking that they’re real bastards for leaving me out), one that probably could have been run had I just taken care of my shin splints before they turned into torture.  But it’s still a little their fault, right, all that boasting… and giving people time lines…. and, well, I’m just blaming them for all the pressure they made me put on myself.  Just kidding, it was totally my fault.

Lesson learned.  Take care of yourself because 1) believing an injury will suddenly heal itself is completely whack and 2) you probably won’t have to take as much time off running if you take care of it.  Simple, isn’t it?

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Gallop for the Gravy and a Bobble Head

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! Since I’ve had to be on the road so many years on Thanksgiving, I now enjoy staying home and most of all, running a race on Thanksgiving Day. This year it was the Gallop for the Gravy 5k held by the YMCA here in Wilmington.
The race fell on my 6th day of exercise, the day before my one day off per week, and my schedule had me running a 2 mile warm-up prior to the race. Needless to say, I was tired but I was ready to run. I don’t enjoy running pre-race, because I have always believed that that warm-up can take my precious energy away from my race. But I did what I was supposed to.  One mile in, I got warmed up so I took my big sweatshirt off.  I don’t know how, but the pins in my garmin strap came out so my watch started flapping all over the place. I haven’t had an equipment malfunction for a race before, but I knew I could just hold the watch if I couldn’t find anything to “fix” it with.  Thank goodness the lady at the Y dug through the front desk and found the perfect solution:  duct tape.

Duct tape can fix almost everything.

Duct tape can fix almost everything.

It was about 30 degrees out and felt that if I hadn’t done the warm-up, I could have gotten injured because it was just cold.

The race started at 8 am and I took off.  My goal was to run at most, 7:30 minute miles, and I was happy to find my pace was a little faster once I got settled in and past the crowded start.  I haven’t run a race in those temps before, so I was surprised to find that my lungs were a little, how do I say… sore?  Whatever it was, it was slightly uncomfortable, but I don’t think it had any affect on my finish time.  I was very please to finish in 22:17.

I had heard the race had cool bobble heads and a lot of pie giveaways, so I stayed for the awards, hoping to at least place in my age group.  I was thrilled to find that won First Place Masters Female and got to take home my own bobble head and chocolate chess pie.  I have never had chess pie before so when we dug into it, we found it was delicious!!!!  I was also very happy to find that my shin splints appear to be fully healed.  I’ve been doing speed work, longer mileage, and with all of that and a race, no pain when running or after.  I’ve been doing everything I can to help them heal and to prevent them from returning.  Let’s hope it works.

1st Place Masters Female

1st Place Masters Female

Thanksgiving was a wonderful day that I got to spend with my family.  Bonus was that we drove less than a mile to my sister’s house where we spent time with her and her husband…. a dream come true.  I have so much to be thankful for and spent the remainder of the weekend, sleeping in, doing my workouts, watching Christmas movies, drinking wine, and just being.  It. Was. Perfect.

Now that December is here, I’m enjoying a few last weeks of “light” training before the real Boston Marathon training starts.  I’m so excited, beyond thrilled, and have very high hopes for my running future.  The sky is the limit as far as I’m concerned.

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Unbreakable

“A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain.”  ~ Pete Zamperini

Wow, I’ve been out of the loop for a while now, doing my training, going to Myrtle Beach for the weekend, my household duties, but most of all, I have been totally entranced with a book that was suggested by a Facebook friend.

The biography, titled “Unbreakable” and written by Laura Hillenbrand, is probably one of the best books I have ever read.  It tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, from toddlerhood to adult, through running the streets as a teenage tyrant hell-bent on causing as much mischief as a person can, through his transition from said tyrant to one of the fastest mile runners of all time, through his truly death defying years as a POW in WWII and his troubles after the war, and then as he learns the power of forgiveness.

I can’t say this book changed my life, but it does change the way I look at things.  First, it was difficult to read the details of the absolutely terrifying torture so many of our WWII veterans suffered.  I have always appreciated our veterans, but to know a little more of the atrocities that occur in war….. well, my levels of appreciation increased quite significantly.  To all you veterans and current military, friends and family, THANK YOU.  From the bottom of my heart…. thank you.

I don’t want to simplify this book.  I don’t want to take this beautiful, horrible story and pick parts of it out and discuss to take away from the whole as to minimize this man’s life story.  That is not what I’m trying to do.  I think we could all learn something from Louie Zamperini’s story.  Many of us runners can learn something from it too.

Something that really grabbed my attention was a statement from Louie’s brother, Pete, that Louie thought about just before he ran in the 1936 Olympic games. “A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain.”  That statement, coupled with the experiences that Louie endured during the war, had the most effect on me.  To put it into my own personal perspective, I can’t help but view this as a runner.  I think about how I feel when I run races, the fact that I still don’t think I’ve ever once given a race all I had in me.  And it makes me want to do just that.  I want to be empty when I finish, to be totally depleted, to be stick-a-fork-in-me-I’m-done done.  I want to finish knowing that there’s absolutely nothing, without a doubt, NOTHING I could have done to finish better.

The book also makes the biggest case for “mind over matter” when it comes to facing difficulties.  Louie lived in the most horrendous conditions.  Beatings, starvation, torture, back-breaking work, dogged sickness, agony, death everywhere.  Knowing that he lived, that he CHOSE to keep going, to persevere in the worst of the worst of experiences, shows us all that the body can withstand much more than it normally could if the mind allows it to.  Don’t we marathoners constantly use our mental strength to get through our marathons?  Don’t we say that you can only train your body so much, but your mind will carry you to the finish line?

This book gives me a fresh perspective as I head into full Boston Marathon training mode in just a few weeks.  I say, bring it on.  I know I have a lot more effort in me.  I know I have a lot more strength, both physical and mental.  I’m so proud to be a part of the 118th Boston Marathon, my first Boston experience, and what I’m hoping will not be my last.  If I could, I would thank Louie Zamperini for his service to our wonderful country first.  Then I would thank him for teaching me that I can go a little farther, a little harder, and a little faster than what I ever thought I could.  (In fact, he is much alive at 96 years old so I just may have to carefully craft an email to Louis himself!)  So for now, I’m heading to the store (with me eating like an endless pit and feeding two growing boys and a husband, I’m always going to the store because we’re always out of food) and when I see one of those old guys proudly wearing their hats showing they are veterans, I’m going to go up to them and personally say thank you.

Thanks to all veterans and current military men and women for all they do.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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