a lot of miles, a lot of thoughts…

Posts tagged ‘positive thoughts’

2014, The Year of the GREAT Streak!

Yes, its that time of year when we look back at what we did or did not accomplish this past year and set our sights on next year.  Many make New Year’s resolutions or plans to do something different, better, more, or less but somehow around February this all goes awry.  Life happens, priorities change, that resolution or plan just wasn’t right.  It was too hard, too easy, too dumb, you didn’t really want to do that anyway, or you were just caught up in the moment and now reality has hit.    You’ll get a kick in the butt around June or July and rethink your priorities and then maybe you get back on the bandwagon and revisit the old resolutions or plans. Sometimes you even decide that you can and will do them anyway.  You make adjustments and get back on track.  For many, you will lose your way again.  For some, you will meander but sort of stick to the path.  And for a few, you will follow through and find the finish line. 

So, as not to offend anyone I would say “it’s all about the journey and as long as you at least take steps in the right direction you’ve accomplished something.”  But… yes, the but. 

What I really want to say is and, hear my heart, if you really want something bad enough then come hell or high water you make it happen.  I don’t care how bad you hurt, how many hours of sleep you didn’t get, how many kids you have or don’t have, how many people were mean to you or nice to you, how many activities came up out of nowhere, how grumpy your boss was, how your spouse doesn’t understand, or how tough your life is.  Really?  Yeah, mine too.  We all have the same “issues”.  Some worse than others, some more than others.  So?  And? 

I’ll be brutally honest.  Not just with you, but with myself.  These are simply excuses. Either decide that whatever it is that you want to do is important enough and make it happen or be happy with where you’re at and quit complaining.

Don’t tell me why you can’t do something… I can’t run, my knees hurt.  I can’t work out, I work too much, I can’t lose weight, I have no will power.  I can’t quit smoking, I have too much stress.  I can’t… I can’t…. I can’t… Know what?  You won’t.  EVER. 

SHOW me how you CAN do something.  Got aches and pains? Start walking.  Attached to your desk by a chain? Stand up and stretch, squat or lunge right there.  See the trashcan? THAT’S where you pop the sweets NOT your mouth.  Don’t buy the cigarettes. If you don’t have them, you can’t smoke them.  Right? 

Seriously.  Get a grip.  2014.  This is the year of the great streak. The streak that will change your life.  

 Start thinking… 365 days.  What’s it gonna be? Your streak better be freaking awesome!  I expect nothing less. 

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More to come…

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.

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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!)

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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. 🙂

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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.
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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…

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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.

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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!

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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? 🙂

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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!”

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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!

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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. 🙂

Day 29 (again) in video…

I forgot that I had taken a video before and after the 4 runs on the 29th. Before posting the recap of the last day I wanted to share these first.

Day 29… began with dread but finished with smiles!

Day 29, the most successful cuz I had a plan (and was able to follow it)!

By nature I’m a planner. I like routine, I like structure, I like lists. I’m basically a creature of habit. Every once in a while I like spontaneity but too much of that and I’m all out of sorts. Yeah, I’m pretty boring.

This challenge has caused me to step out of that comfort zone. I really try to plan the next day. Run this far in the morning, run this far before noon, run this far in the afternoon and so on and so on. But, sometimes when I get up in the morning my feet or my legs are just not ready to go. It derails my plans and I have to alter my game plan.

But not today! My plan was to go to Lake Murray and run ALL 29 miles there. That’s 4 times around the lake. Now, Sheila, she can’t hang for much more than 7 miles. I knew I’d have to charge her.

This is how it all broke down. Park outside the park by the Starbucks. Walk into the park to warm up the legs, start running at the gate and to the bull’s eye, snap a picture, stretch my legs, and head back to the car. Charge Sheila, drink some water, have a snack or two. Once my phone was charged enough, I’d walk back into the park and do the same thing all over again. And then again, and then again

I wanted to be able to run the 7 miles in under 2 hours (with the way my leg felt I figured I’d be doing a lot of walking) but miraculously I was able to run the whole way and kept my times under an hour and a half. I felt good, I ran well, and I finished strong!

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Where there’s a plan, there’s comfort! 😉

24 days of constant running…

And I don’t mean just running every day but literally running ALL the time! (Or so it seems.)

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I started the day with a great run outside. It was early, I was feeling good. I took a route that I had just recently run. A little hilly, yes, but very few stoplights! As I came over the freeway I was thinking “who would have thought that I’d ever run over a freeway? Or up a hill? Or even run period?” I’m still amazed at how much I grow with each decision to try something different and push myself a little farther.

Anyway I took a wrong turn (I know, imagine that!) and as I rounded the corner I look up and there is one gnarly hill! Where did THAT come from?!? I mean, that hill was not part of the gameplan. Ugh! But up it I went. Beautiful views as the sun was rising. Never so happy to see my street, tho!

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Second run was a quickie on the treadmill. Although, I don’t really have “quickies” any more. My pace is downright turtlish. Which is another funny thing. But I’ll get back to that later.

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Runs 3 and 4, both on the mill. Just trying to get it done. My goal was to have only 4 miles left so I could finish with Team RockStar. Every once in a while the plan works!

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So excited to run the Secret Stairs with Team RockStar! These people are one of my rocks. Always uplifting, always glad to see me and always ready to try whatever crazy thing I put out there. I was so glad to see them and so glad to finish the day with them.

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As we were heading up Cinnabar (a monstrous hill) we were talking about pace – this is where we get back to the turtle comment. One of the RockStars said that “if you’re running a 10 minute pace, in most circles, that’s fast.” And on good runs lately, that’s my pace. It’s slower than my old average but apparently, or maybe she’s just trying to make me feel good, I’m still fast. Regardless, she lifted my spirits and I long for those 10 minute miles.

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Day 24. 24 miles…

Running along the beach…

I didn’t get home from the football game until after 1 am Saturday morning. I knew I would be tired in the morning and I had another long day ahead of me. But, as with every run, I learn something about myself and Saturday proved to be no different.

When the alarm first started going off, I was tired, my legs were tired, my body was tired.

I rolled out of bed, slipped into some running gear, pulled my hair back and headed to the mill…

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Seriously, I was barely awake. Bags under my eyes. Legs wishing they were still under the covers.

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I ran just enough to get the blood pumping. And, a little bit of a smile.

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And then I headed to the beach where the Cheetahs were going to practice. I’m not a real beach-goer. I don’t like to be wet, cold or dirty and most times a day at the beach leaves me wet, cold and sandy. Blech.

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We were going to run along the shoreline, out to the pier and back. We would be running in the sand, hopping over seaweed, juking from the incoming waves and maneuvering around surfers, body boarders and fisherman. It was quite the run! I was concerned about my ankles but I ran on the wet sand that was more hard than soft and I found myself listening to the waves crashing, the birds chirping and the laughter of the kids playing in the surf. It was quite the run.

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I’m so very blessed to be able to run where I do…

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I ran the first four miles of the run along the shore and the last 3 miles along the boardwalk. It was a great Saturday morning run. A beautiful change of scenery and literally a breath of fresh air!

And then I headed back home. Had something to eat and you guessed it, back to the mill. 🙂

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We needed to head out to Coronado Island. Cj’s football team was playing the Islanders. I still had a lot of miles to get in but having learned my lesson the day before I knew I just needed to run wherever I was at. So, I ran on Coronado Island. I ran out to the beach, past the Hotel Del, along the golf course and back to the school.

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A funny thing happened. As I was coming back from the golf course I passed a couple on their bikes. They had stopped and were off to the side. It looked like the lady may have been fixing something on her bike. I smiled and nodded and kept on going. A little while later I heard them behind me. She had a little bell that she would ring as we passed by walkers. I reached a stoplight and the couple caught up to me. She said, “wow, you are fast! I couldn’t even catch up with you and I’m on a bike!” I smiled. Then the man said, “we should be running instead of taking the easy way out on a bike!” I had to laugh. If they only knew!

My son’s football team won their game and we went home. And, you know where I went…

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Awesome scenery. Refreshing runs.

Day 21, another success.

The day the tears wouldn’t stop…

I knew Friday, September 20 would be a difficult day. My older son’s football team had an away game and I wanted to go. The team hired a charter bus to take up the cheerleaders, parents, and any other fans that wanted to make the road trip. I wanted to be on that bus. I wanted to go root for the Patriots.

The bus was leaving the school at 12:15. It wasn’t expecting to be back until about 1 am.

It was Friday. It was September 20th. I had to run 20 miles.

All before 11 am?

As soon as I found out about the bus ride I started dreading that day. Originally I figured my husband and I would drive up to watch the varsity game that started at 7. But, then they came up with the chartered bus. My husband couldn’t go because he had to work that day and wouldn’t be done til after 3. I told my son that I probably wouldn’t go cuz I don’t like to do things like that by myself. My husband is like my safety blanket. If we couldn’t go together, then I’d just stay home. But, I could tell that my son didn’t think that was an appropriate response. He wanted me to go. And that’s when the real dread set in. I had to commit. One, I had to go by myself and two, I had to get all my miles in before I left. Ugh.

Then my son got hurt. He wouldn’t be able to play in that away game nor the following week’s game. Should I not go? No. Yes, I wanted to see my son play, but the purpose of the bus was to bring the Patriot fan club to the away game. And, whether my son plays or not, we are fans. My husband couldn’t go so I needed to represent.

I started really dreading that Friday on the 17th. That was a tough day. I knew Friday would be that much tougher.

I made a plan. Get up early, run on the mill. Take the boys to school. Run on the mill. Work for about an hour, run on the mill. Run on the mill. Run FAST on the mill. Have 20 miles done before 11 so that I could get ready and be at the school by noon.

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I got up early and headed to the mill.

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First 6 miles done but it took longer than expected. My legs were heavy.

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I took my oldest son to school and decided to run a few miles before I took my second son to school.

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I ran just under 3 miles. My legs wouldn’t go fast enough.

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I came home from taking him to school, turned on my computer and looked at the time. I started calculating how many miles I had left versus how much time I had. If I couldn’t run a 10 minute or better pace I wouldn’t make it. I wouldn’t have a prayer.

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The pace was too slow. I just couldn’t get my legs to go.

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About 2 miles into this run, realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to get them done, get ready and get to the bus on time my eyes welled up and I started to cry. I felt like a failure. I was trying so hard and I just couldn’t get my legs to go. It was just too much. The tears turned into sobbing. I was crying hard. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t make my legs go and I couldn’t get the tears to stop. Why was I even trying? This was a dumb challenge anyway. No one in their right mind does something like this. Who do I think I am? People run marathons all the time and they do it in under 3 or 4 hours. Here I am, I can’t even get a measly 20 miles done before 11 am. I started at 5:40. What is wrong with me?

I just kept crying. I sobbed my way through 6 miles. (Which probably didn’t help my pace either.)

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I finally turned off the mill. I took a deep breath. Well?

And that’s when I knew it wasn’t over. I just needed another plan. I was far from giving up, far from quitting. I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to find a way to get the remaining 5 miles in.

Earlier in the day my husband had asked me if I was going to run up in Ontario before the game. I had laughed at him. “Are you kidding? No, I’ll get my miles done before I leave.” He gave me that look, you know the one that says “Yeah, you might want to rethink that.” And, as much as I hate it when he’s right, it was exactly what I had to do. So, I got ready to go. I dressed to run and I brought clothes to change into as soon as I was done.

Up in the stands I told a few parents that I needed to go run. I got that blank look. “What?” “Yeah, I need to run 5 miles. I’m going over to that neighborhood (pointing the direction I was headed) and if I’m not back in about an hour or so could someone come looking for me?” One of the moms (thank you Lord!) pulled out her phone and said “What’s your number?” I gave it to her. They all wished me luck and off I went. I know they probably thought I had lost my mind but when I have a goal… Just try and stop me. Ain’t gonna happen!

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I forgot to take a before photo because I was trying to figure out where I was going to run. I saw a neighborhood that looked safe next to the school and decided to head over there.

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I ran around and through all the culdesacs.

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And, I finished all 20 miles.

When Sheila said I had hit the 5 mile mark my eyes welled up again. Not because I was failing but because I just conquered another day.

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The Patriots went on to win, JV 50-15 and Varsity 35-13. 🙂 I’m so glad I was there!