a lot of miles, a lot of thoughts…

Posts tagged ‘cross country’

Day 30, and just like that I was done!

Its taken me a while to sit down to write the recap of the last day of the challenge. Before I dwell on the why, I want to finally get it down.

It was a remarkable day. I didn’t really have a plan per se. I knew I would finish whatever miles I had at the high school track after the Cheetah’s cross country practice but that was really the only thing I had set in stone.

I didn’t know how my legs would feel in the morning. Day 29 had been such a success but SOOOO many miles. And, whenever I have a couple of good days there’s always a bad one waiting for me.

So, when I got up… I stretched. I tested my legs… And, it looked like I’d able to run in an hour or so. That was good. I had a little breakfast, took a pain killer, got dressed, yanked the hair back, brushed the teeth, laced up my shoes, put Sheila on my arm and headed out the door.


I wasn’t sure how far I wanted to go. I was hoping for at least 5, maybe 7 miles. The more I could do in the morning, the less I’d have to do in the evening. I chose one of my new favorite routes, a little hill in the beginning and fairly flat until the final leg back home.

I walked about the first third of a mile. I really had to warm up the right leg. Had it had its way, I wouldn’t have ran, but that wasn’t up for discussion. It had to come along whether it wanted to or not AND it had to participate and be joyful about it. And, for the most part it was.

When I turned the first corner to head up the hill I started running and I didn’t stop until the final hill home. A lot of things went through my mind… this was the last day, I was actually going to accomplish this gnarly goal, would my leg survive, what was I gonna do next, all sorts of things!

When I hit mile 5 I was feeling good so I kept going and ran by a different high school and then decided to lengthen the route. I bypassed some stop lights but the ones I did hit I didn’t let get to me. My average pace was pretty slow because I had started out walking and then each light added to the time. I ran by my church and through its parking lot. I ran by my gym and then headed for home. The pain killer enabled me to run almost 11 miles in that first run. At the time I thought that was awesome! (Later, and for another post, I found that was a huge mistake!)


I got home and my hubby asked “well? how far did you go?” When I told him 10.72 miles he smiled! The kind of smile that says “you got this! you are so going to crush this!” And, even though I was tired and my legs were sore, I smiled inwardly. He knows me. He gets me. 🙂


The next two runs were on the treadmill. They were painful and quiet. I didn’t even watch Netflix. I simply ran. I turned the mill on, put it on a speed that I could handle and just ran. In those two runs I knocked out another 10 miles. My legs were tired. I was tired. But it was almost over. Almost.






I went to the high school cross country practice. These kids have really grown on me. They know about my challenge and they always ask “Coach, how many miles did you run today? How’s your leg?” Today was no different. They are very excited for me and maybe even a little impressed. They can’t really complain too much when I answer “20 miles” and then they find out they must run 5 or 6. And, I’m going with them. Anyway…


Today’s run was one of the best ones for us all. We decided to do a 5 mile route and I knew I needed to hang with them. My leg was sore and I’d popped another pain killer but I was going to do all 5 with them… come heck or high water! I started out in the back of the pack, and slowly moved my way to the middle. Now it drives them crazy when I pass them. They’re runners now you know. 🙂 And, then I pulled in front of the girls and I actually surged a bit. Not sure why, legs felt good, so I went. The Coach on the Bike called out to the girls “go with her! go with her!” And something inside me made me go faster. I lengthened my stride, calmed my breathing and ran. I was looking to catch the boys in front of me. All the while, Coach on the Bike is encouraging the girls to pick it up, “don’t let her get too far out! you gotta go! pick it up!” It was almost like we were in a race! It was pretty awesome! Finally I heard one of the girls coming up behind me. I could hear her footfalls and her heavy, heavy breathing. I knew that if I surged again she wasn’t in any condition (based on what I was hearing) to take me but this run wasn’t about winning it was a teaching moment. I called back to her “relax! take deep breaths! you’re running too heavy, lighten your steps! relax! stay calm! persist… don’t push!” And, I could tell she was listening. Her footsteps quieted, her breathing became deeper, quieter and she began running more efficiently. And, slowly, she came up on me, ran next to me and then went in front of me. Strong. As she ran beside me I encouraged her, “you got this. slow your breathing down, don’t run so heavy, pick up your feet, lengthen your stride. run efficiently.” and finally, “go!” And with that she took the lead. I called out to her “nice job! stay relaxed! run easy! Go!” I don’t know why but I got the biggest grin on my face as I watched her pull away. It was crazy! It was something I won’t ever forget. Every run isn’t perfect but every run is worth it.

I tried to maintain my pace. I still had another girl behind me and I needed her to push herself. She needed to be able to beat Coach. And if I slowed down then she wouldn’t have done it on her own. I needed her to push. I could hear Coach on the Bike talking to her “watch that ponytail! Go get her! Move up! You got this!” And then I could hear her footsteps. Not too heavy, her breathing wasn’t too shallow. She was methodically moving up and catching me. I tried to surge just a little but my energy was pretty spent. And, finally she was beside me. I encouraged her just like I did the other runner but I told her “run steady, don’t fall back, focus forward, run relaxed, you got this.” And slowly she passed me and pulled away. I probably could have stayed with her for awhile but for some reason I let her go. I had tears stinging my eyes. My cross country girls were finally “getting it”. And, this run… this run, on day 30, was phenonmenal.


I ended up walking just a bit and then picked it up to meet them back at the school. What a great run! Seriously. A great run!


And, then I headed to the Cheetah’s practice. I had just under 5 miles left to run. 5 miles. That number never sounded so easy but sounded so long at the same time. Once practice was over, the high school marching band came out onto the field. I wonder what these kids think of the old lady who runs around and around and around and around the track while they practice. I wasn’t running fast, I picked a speed that I knew I could maintain for 20 laps, and I willed my legs to go. I listened to the band go through their movements. Apparently they have some book that’s got 44 pages in it that they keep track of their “dots” or spots where they are supposed to be on the field at any given moment. Some of the kids don’t move fast enough or take long enough steps to get to their next “dot” and they are always getting in trouble for it. The guy in the booth always threatens them. 🙂 They must have some big competition coming up cuz he was telling them what the judges would be looking for and if they weren’t on their “dot” the judge would know! And, this particular movement they were practicing required them to move slowly so they had to have PERFECT form so they should take advantage of this practice to get it RIGHT! Meanwhile, I’m sure they were distracted by the lady who keeps running and running and running. Will she ever stop? 🙂


When Sheila told me I had hit mile 4 you would think that I would have sped up! Get this over with! RUN Rhonda RUN! But, I didn’t. I maintained and I told myself… 4 more laps. 4 more laps. This is it. 4 more laps. I was looking for my hubby and my kids. I thought they’d be there. But, no it was just me and the marching band under the lights.

3 more… once again, I was accomplishing some CRAZY challenge that I forced myself into. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

2 more… you can do this. its almost done. you stuck it out. you never gave up. you kept going. no matter what.

1 more… and the tears welled up. I can’t believe its almost over. I’m doing it. I’m finishing. I’m strong. And, oh so slightly crazy! And the tears fell. Slowly, softly they rolled down my cheeks for the final 100 meters. Just me and the band. “Get on your dots!”


I crossed my imaginary finished line and came to a stop. I looked around. No crowds, no cheers, no one. I picked up my jacket and water that I had left on the side of the track and walked out the gate. I knew I’d probably run here again but it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be surreal like it was just now. As I walked to my car I saw the headlights. I wiped my tears and smiled. He stopped the car right in front of me, jumped out, a dozen roses in his hands, “You did it! You did it!” He hugged me and twirled me around! “You did it!” He apologized for being late and missing me cross the finish line (he knows me) and asked if I would take a victory lap with him. My legs were sore and tired but I couldn’t resist one more lap. Especially with the guy who is my everything. My biggest fan, my cheerleader, my coach, my trainer, my best friend, Mine. So we walk back up to the track, snap a picture and start walking. I know the band really had to think something was up cuz now I was carrying a dozen white roses and had a papparazzi following me around the track! It was crazy!



30 days. 465 miles. I ran 465 in September. A mile for every day of the month. Nothing more nothing less. All because I set a goal and someone said I couldn’t. Someone said I shouldn’t. And, someone said I wouldn’t. They don’t know me. I could, I should and I most definitely would. 🙂 And, then I did. 🙂


The REALLY bad GREAT idea I had!

I thought I had this great game plan for Day 27. Yeah, well, not so much.

I had to take Cody to the concussion specialist to see if he could get cleared to play again. His appointment was first thing in the morning. So I figured I’d start my miles when I got home. That was the first mistake.

I did a simple 4 mile route – simple except all the hills. It was tiring going up and my quad cried going down. 😦



I then made my second mistake. I didn’t get the next 7 miles in BEFORE cross country practice. So I ran an easy run with the high school and then did another short route before I left there.





I still had 19 miles to run!!

Mistake number 3. I thought I’d just go run at the middle school. It’s a little over a mile loop. What’s so hard about 19 laps starting a little after 5 pm? Oh, I don’t know. Could it be 19 LAPS or could it be that it would be dark SOON? Good lord! I’ve lost my mind.

But, I head to the school, lace up and start running. Sure enough, 7 laps in and I can’t see a thing!




Only choice… Yep, the mill.

Ugh. By the final miles the bottoms of my feet were numb. I was tired, sore and just wanted to be done.







If you are eating an elephant, it’s best not to wait til the end of the day to get your fork out. Just saying.


Day 27, one mistake after another, but got it done in spite of myself!

26… So we’ve finally hit marathon distance!

Wow, can’t believe it’s finally here! Marathon mileage!!! Whoo hoo! Yeah, that’s enough of that. 😉

Since I tortured my mill yesterday I’d thought I’d hit the streets today. Great idea, just pushed too hard on the first run.

I chose another new route that I had just recently discovered. I was going to do at least 6 or 7 miles, well that was the plan anyway. My right knee and right quad have been acting up. Apparently they think they’ve run enough this month and want a break. Unfortunately I can’t run with just one leg so I gotta drag the right one with me. I’m sure I look like something is wrong with me when I’m running. Most would think I have a sore leg, reality is I’m just crazy and I don’t have a stop button. Anyway…


The first run was actually going pretty well until I started hitting multiple stoplights in a row and top that off with a long steep hill. That’s pretty much a leg-stopper there. I got to 8.57 miles and my right leg convinced my left leg that we were done running. And just like that I was limping along through the Von’s parking lot and then up most of the Avocado hill. If you saw me walking, just know that my mind was running, my legs just weren’t cooperating!

I ran with the high school or at least tried too! My legs were heavy but we ran a 5 miler!




I missed the beginning of the Cheetah’s workout so I did the cool down with them.




And I was trying to avoid the mill. It was sort of still light out when I got home so I did my quick 3 mile route.




But I ended up on the mill. He wasn’t too mad. 😉 But by this time my feet were so sore that I changed shoes 3 times and socks twice!




Oh well, day 26… Done.

Day 23… can she make it?

As I said before if there are one or two good days be prepared for a gnarly day ahead. And, although not feet-stopping, day 23 proved to be a challenge.

I started on the treadmill. I think that poor thing might quit on me.




Did a little work and headed back to the treadmill. When my legs are sore I tend to rehab on the mill.




And then it was time to hit the mean streets! Headed to XC practice with the high school.


They are definitely improving. And, well, I’m slowly crashing and burning. 🙂 Walked pretty much the last mile. The head coach gave his bike to one of our runners who is dealing with shin splints. I felt like the coach wasn’t quite up for a run. LOL!



And then to the Cheetah’s practice. This is where it all fell apart!


I just needed to go a few miles, about 4. But my legs just wouldn’t go. Everything from my hips down is sore. My quads, hammies, knees, calves, ankles, top of my right foot, middle toe on my left foot. My legs are thrashed! Seriously hating me!


It gets dark after the Cheetah’s run. See the lights at the track?



I started walking and after a bit I could run the straights. Then I could run a straight and a curve. Longest four miles ever!


No matter how bad it was, the day was done and the 23 miles were ran. Only a week left.

Day 18, planned and darn near perfect

Game plan: 3 runs, 6 miles each. 1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon and 1 and night. No brainer, right?

First run, ready to go!
6 miles and still smiling!

A few hours later…

Back to the mill.

A little rougher, but another 5 miles done.

And now to the high school…

And then to the Cheetahs…
Around and around…
18 miles, split up into 4 runs. But I’m still smiling!

Day 18 was actually one of the easiest days I’ve had. Legs are sore. Most likely just overworked. Imagine that? Started taking something called Arnica Montana. Its good for bruising and swelling. Whether its true or I just think its true, it keeps me on my feet.

Nonetheless… day 18, another successful day!

16 candles… Oh, I mean, 16 miles.

I have found that if I run a few hours AFTER I wake up then my legs have had a chance to wake up, warm up and rise to the occassion. So, on this day, I waited til just before 9 to start my run. I had breakfast; I had done some work from my computer; I felt ready to run!


My legs felt surprisingly good. The treadmill runs the day before really helped. My goal was to do at least 8 miles, more if I could, but at least 8. So, I plotted a new route and headed out!

As I was running I thought about all I have been through this past week or so. Emotionally, I was a wreck. Physically, I was beat. But, when I reached out and asked for a little support… things began to change. My right ankle was working again, although my left ankle was giving me some trouble, it wasn’t anything like I had experienced. I really thought, “I may actually enjoy this challenge after all!”

I added an extra loop to the run and tried to avoid stop lights. They kill my momentum. But that last gnarly hill? Yeah, it got me. Plus, my legs started getting super sore so I did walk a bit at the end, but over all it was a good morning run.


The picture shows my fatigue (LOL). But, the run was over, I was home and I was over half way done for the day.


That afternoon we took my older son to the doctor. He still wasn’t acting quite right from the concussion. We were told that what he was experiencing was still pretty normal and not to get too alarmed yet. Its just weird when your kid doesn’t act like your kid. Scary, but we are following doctor’s orders and praying for a full recovery.

I then headed to the Cheetah practice. They ran a VO2 workout so I started my last 6+ miles when they were done. Around, and around, and around, and around the track I went. First the football team finished their practice and then the band began their practice. I’m sure they were wondering who the crazy lady was running circles around them, literally. My legs started giving out in the last few miles, so I would walk one curve and run a 300, walk a curve, run a 300. And finally, mercifully, Sheila told me I hit my mark.

Smiling, ready to go!

The track I ran around under the lights.

And just like that, day 16 in the books!

When you set a goal realize that there will be challenges, obstacles and maybe even plan changers. But, don’t give up. Find a way, make a way, ask for help, ask for guidance. Just don’t give up. If its a goal that is really important to you, for whatever reason, don’t give up. Dig deep. Adjust your mindset. Put a little ice on it.

And, don’t give up.
Never give up

14 miles, thought it was going to be an all day adventure!

I’m still a day behind in my posts, but I will catch up… eventually!

Yesterday was the 14th. I needed to get 14 miles in but Friday was a rough day. Physically and emotionally I felt beat up! In the afternoon I went to the high school cross country meet. The kids did great. They’ve made a lot of progress and I think we are ready to get down to some serious training. Next week should be fun. 🙂 Then, my older son had a football game. During the second quarter he was on the kick off team and ran down the field, delivered a mighty hit and then “rung his bell”. He popped up right away but walked over to the sideline. His coach tried to talking to him and immediately sent him to the trainer. From the stands I couldn’t really tell what was going on. It looked like he had spoken with the coach and then wandered over to the trainer, shared something with her and then went and sat down on the bench. So unlike him. The trainer was still talking to him and then he took off his helmet. Bad sign. But, I still couldn’t tell what, if anything, was wrong. Then the team doctor came over and started really talking to him. When he did the “follow my finger” routine, I knew something was up. A few minutes later another coach from the team came over to the stands and I knew they were looking for Mike or I. Mike went down on the field. Spoke with the doctor, the trainer and Cody. After a few minutes he looked up at me and gave me the “we’re leaving” sign. I knew something must have happened. Sure enough, I get down to the gate where my husband was walking him out, and the kid was delirious. Yes, he has a concussion. The next few hours were a bit anxiety ridden but he’s gonna be okay. Just real scary for a while. He’s still not quite 100% but he remembers almost everything and he’s really chatty. Right now you can ask him about anything and he will tell you ALL about it! 🙂 He’s normally very reserved and quiet. So, to have him talk, literally non-stop, well, its quite overwhelming! But, that’s a whole other post. He’s gonna be fine…

Anyway, the Cheetah XC team was going to meet at Lake Murray for a run Saturday morning. I love this run, nice and easy, beautiful scenery, rolling inclines. And, you can make it either a 6 mile run or a 7 mile run depending on where you start. So, my game plan was to get there early, about an hour, and do the run once and then do the run again when every one got there. Don’t you just hate when game plans don’t go according to the plan? UGH!

So, I get there. My ankle is a wreck. Hurts just to walk but I know if I can get it warmed up, I may be able to run a bit. But, after Friday’s run I was willing to walk ALL 14 if I had to. I knew I needed to give the ankle a break.

Its foggy, a bit chilly, basically perfect running weather. I’m even wearing a sweatshirt! A Nebraska one at that. Go HUSKERS! Anyway, I start walking. Its sore, the pain is searing, and when Sheila tells me it took 16+ minutes to go the first mile I knew I was in trouble! I’d be “running” for HOURS to get the 14 in. I didn’t have time for a 4 hour run! Seriously! This was NOT going to work. The second mile clocked at about 15 something. Still not good enough. I picked up the pace, and the third mile was a bit faster. By then, thankfully, my ankle was warmed up and I started jogging a bit. Before the Cheetah team got there I had logged 4 miles. Took me almost an hour, but 4 miles were done.

Once the team was there I headed out and around the lake. This is a 3 mile run out to the bull’s eye and 3 miles back. I was actually able to run most of those 6 miles. I even ran two of them in under 10 minutes a piece. There was still hope! But, and isn’t there always a but?, Sheila’s power was almost gone, so before I could finish the last 4 miles I needed to “charge” her. I was gonna go two more miles out and then turn around and come back. It was taking too long to charge Sheila and it was getting hotter by the minute. The Cheetahs had left. So, I decided to call it a “run” and head for home. I’d finish the last four at home.

Believe it or not, my ankle wasn’t too terribly bad. Don’t get me wrong, it was sore as heck, and I thought I probably wouldn’t even be able to walk. But, prayer is a very powerful thing! During the walk/run I listened to my ankle. I changed up my foot fall to ease the pain and I had a few miles that were seriously pain free. My leg, far from healed, was at least willing to go the distance.

I got home. Had some breakfast. And, headed to the mill. I “charged” Sheila and turned on Netflix. I’m in Season 2 of the West Wing. 🙂 I ran the remaining 4 miles.

Day 14… 2 runs… 14 miles… I got this…

The Lake run…
before 9 14 1
after 9 14 1

And, the mill run…
before 9 14 2
treadmill 9 14 2
after 9 14 2

Thanks for the prayers… they are working and helping. Seriously. Wouldn’t have made it through days 14 OR 15 without them. And that’s another post…