March 27, 2012


Remember back in January when I told y'all I'd be running my first half marathon?  Well, March 3, I did it ;)

I finished in 2:47:04, which I am really proud of.  It's way slower than my intended pace, but it's pretty awesome considering I hadn't run for almost 2 whole months prior to the race.

Yeah - that's right.  I hadn't run since January 12, and the longest run I completed was 5 miles.

I'm not bragging - it was dumb to take so much time off, and I really wish I hadn't.  January 7 was my first 5-mile run.  My training program consisted of 4 shorter runs during the week and then long runs, increasing by 1 mile each week, on Saturdays.  My 5-mile run went well and I was really encouraged - I can TOTALLY do this!

And then I hurt my leg - my right calf, to be exact.  And I thought it might fall off my body.  It felt like it was on fire.  So I waited for it to heal, but when it didn't feel any better after a week, I went to the doctor.  He rotated my foot around, moved my leg all over the place, and finally found the problem when he tried to bend my foot at the ankle and push my toes back up toward my shin.

"Relax your leg."
"I's relaxed."
"No, seriously...quit pushing against my hand."
"Dude - my legs are totally relaxed!  I can't relax them any more!"
"Holy shit - how are you running AT ALL?!"

Basically, he told me that I'm not at all flexible (um, durr...) and that I was doing some serious damage to my muscles without proper recovery time.  You know how when you work out, your muscles "tear and repair?"  Ok, well, I'm so NOT flexible that when I ran, my calf muscles were tearing, but they were tearing pretty severely which of course means they would need more time to repair themselves, which I wasn't giving them seeing as how I was running 5 times a week.  He referred me to a therapist, which I oh-so-smartly didn't go see, and instead I just waited for the pain to go away on it's own.

It finally did about 2 weeks later (so we're looking at late January, here) and I went out for another run.  After 1 mile, I turned around, limping home on my bad leg.  I iced it and made the executive decision not to run again until the half, so as not to hurt myself again.  I'm brilliant, I tell you, brilliant!  Saul was really skeptical of this training method and basically gave up hope on me participating in or finishing the race.

Fast forward to March 2, the day of the expo and packet pick-up.  I was feeling REALLY unsettled about my preparedness level and was pretty much just freaking the fuck out about the run.  I had dinner that night with some friends who were running, and they gave me all kinds of pep talks and told me I would be fine. Then I went home to try and sleep, which was just a pipe-dream - I think I got maybe 2 hours of solid zzz's all night, I was so nervous.

The morning of the run, we got up and out the door by 5:30am (race started at 6:47 for the marathoners, 7am for the halfies), and I was desperately trying to keep my piece of peanut butter toast down.  I planned to run alone since my pace was slower than the friends I had running, so I had my iPod Shuffle, my watch, my little SpiBelt with a few ShotBloks and some quick-release Tylenol, and my insane fear to keep me going.  I gave Saul a kiss goodbye and jumped into my corral, still trying not to hurl on the runners around me.  Saul and I planned to see each other at mile 1.5, and then not again until mile 10.

We started right on time, and my legs felt great.  After the first mile I was feeling more relaxed and concentrating on keeping my pace steady.  I have a tendency to try and keep up with people around me, regardless of how fast they're running, which is usually a lot faster than me, but I stayed where I was comfortable and was searching for Saul at the next half-mile.  He was right where he said he'd be, and I couldn't believe how happy it made me to see him, even though I had just left him 15 minutes before.  I was feeling really encouraged and knew I could finish this thing.

The course was flat and through a part of town I know, but don't drive through often, so the scenery was relatively new to me.  I hadn't really studied the course map before-hand, which I think ended up working in my favor because I never really knew where I was going and was constantly surprised when I saw a new mile-marker.  I stuck with a run 10 minutes, walk 2 minutes method, which worked really well for me.  Sometimes I would run longer, but would always walk through the water stations, which were every mile and a half.  There were GU stations, too, but GU kind of grosses me out, so I bypassed those.  I did not, however, bypass the cute kids that were handing out Oreo's at mile 7 ("Oreo Speed Wagon!").  Yum.

The first marathoner passed me up when I made it to mile 6 (the course was a loop for the marathoners) and I screamed my head off for him with all the people around me.  Oreo at mile 7, and then started raining a little when I hit mile 8 (MILE 8!!!!!  FUCK YEAH!) and kept up the whole mile.  It was a welcome distraction, and kept me cool.

Mile 9 was my insane mile.  I don't know what the hell got into me, but I was a fucking machine.  I was listening to "Good Girl" by Carrie Underwood, and hit repeat twice so I listened to the song the whole mile.  Weird because I'm not even a big Carrie Underwood fan, but something about the song had me feeling it, and before I knew it I was rounding the corner to the 10th mile-marker and saw Saul standing on the side of the street, waiting for me.  I finished that mile in 9 minutes.  WTF.  I slowed to a walk and gave him a kiss and a high-five and he told me how proud of me he was and how happy he was to see me doing so well and feeling so good.  I left him feeling on top of the world.  I was at 2 hours, 9 minutes.

And then I crashed.  I don't know what it was (maybe my crazy pace during mile 9 had something to do with it), but my last 3 miles were just brutal.  My breathing was fine, but my feet were killing me.  My legs felt great, but every time I struck the ground, my feet felt like someone was taking a jackhammer to my arches.  I started to get a little sore behind my left knee, too.  My last 3.1 miles were a struggle and I wasn't able to keep the 10/2 system going, but I made it through.

I finished under 3 hours, which is awesome, but I am so proud of myself just for finishing.  The feeling I had while running through the chute and receiving my medal is not one I will ever forget.  Seeing friends and family along the course, cheering me on and yelling for me was amazing.  I will most definitely run more halfs in the future - I've got my eye on one that goes through Disney World - and will absolutely train better for them.

Here's to 13.1 ;)

Me, Sarah and Genevieve - 1 half and 2 full finishers

Some of our fans and fellow 1/2' Saul's sign

March 22, 2012

If it be your will

On our second date, Saul introduced me to his parents.  Compounded with the fact that he forgot my name on our first date, our early dating escapades are something I always give him shit about.  He just tells me that he knew a good thing when he saw it!

We actually intended to go see a movie, but when we got to the theater there was nothing playing we really cared to see - actually, at that point in our lives it was more that we didn't care to PAY to see something...we were both broke as a joke.  I was living with my parents at the time and I hadn't even mentioned to them I was seeing someone, so there was no way in hell I was offering up "my" place.  He lived on the other side of town (for the first year we dated, we drove 40+ minutes each way to see each other...), so he mentioned his parents lived close and we could just rent a movie and go there.  I assumed they were out of town or something.  What sane dude would bring a girl to his parent's house on the second date?  Um...yeah, that would be the man that is now my husband.

I followed him to the house and when we pulled up I was shocked to see bright lights in the windows - definite signs that someone was home.  Also, I was wearing jeans and a hoodie, which isn't unusual for me (it was February and cold as shit), but it definitely was NOT what I would wear when meeting the parents for the first time.  I had makeup on and my hair was done, thank god, but I was still feeling like they would think I was maybe someone he found on the street, begging for food, rather than a girl he CHOSE to call and ask on another date.  I was nervous and certain that when I left, that'd likely be the last time I ever saw them or the boy I was slowly starting to like very, very much.

I couldn't have been more wrong.  We walked into the house through the back door and, while they looked a little surprised to see me, welcomed me with comfortable ease and a "so this is her..." to Saul.  His dad warmed up to me immediately, making jokes and laughing, while his mom was a little more traditional in the whole "ask a lot of questions so we know what you're about," role, but she was really easy to talk to, as well.  By the time she stood up, an hour or so later, and announced she was going to bed, I was genuinely looking forward to my next conversation with her.

Saul and I had rented a movie (Zorro 2, for inquiring minds), and put it in when his mom went down the hall, expecting his dad to follow suit.  He didn't right away, so we just settled back, Saul and I sneaking glances at each other, wondering when we'd be alone to make-out talk.

AN HOUR LATER Larry was still in his chair, hanging out, enjoying the movie.  At that point, I decided this was definitely the weirdest date I'd ever been on.

I don't remember what caused him to get up, but just before the movie was over, he got out of his chair and bid us goodnight.  It's something Saul and I have teased him about for years - thanks for intruding on our date, we'd say.  Well, thanks for invading my house, he'd say.  It was absolutely an odd date, but one I remember with a smile, always.

Larry passed away on March 13...just a little over a week ago, and I can't believe he is gone.  He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on November 2 - not even 5 months ago.  None of us were ready for this, and my heart is just broken for the loss Sue, his wife, and his kids will always feel.  I only knew him for 6 years, and I will always feel a little cheated that I didn't get more time.

He was a Lutheran pastor, which I think I have mentioned here before, and very, very loved throughout the country.  He'd worked for a bunch of different churches and knew people all over the world.  The man lived quite a life (he was part of a traveling circus band at one point, for crying out loud!), and the impression he made on those he touched was evident at his memorial service, which drew a crowd of about 300 people.

Walking into the house where I first met him and was greeted by him many times since, knowing I'm not going to hear my usual, "hey babes!" and get a hug from him, stings.  I tear up every time I realize that my husband will no longer be able to talk to his dad, or build things with him, or take road trips with him.  To me, it is just so, so unfair.

I don't know when it will feel real.  I don't know when it will feel normal to go to the house Saul grew up in and not look for Larry when I walk through the door.  I do know I will miss him, and will remember him as he most often was - sitting on his deck in the sun, having great conversations with his family and friends, holding a cigar and smiling.

I love you, dear Father-in-Law,


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