Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Mount Lemmon 1/2 Marathon Report

Quite a few months ago I signed up with Muscle Milk Arizona (MMA) to do the Mount Lemmon Marathon (MLM).  We were going to have training runs, motivational emails, and get togethers.  A few of those things happened but not what Muscle Milk intended and not what we runners expected.  There were some personnel issues and issues with the event itself. 

“The Toughest Road Marathon in the World”
“The Only Uphill Marathon in the US”
“6000 ft of Climbing”

I went into training for the MLM with great enthusiasm.  I took the family to Oregon for summer vacation via Mammoth, California so I could run at altitude and see what it was going to be like.  In Oregon I ran all the hills around us.  I did hill repeats after hill repeats.  I felt great!!! 

Then we returned to Arizona and 118°F.  The kids went back to school.  No word from MMA or from MLM and my motivation flew out the window.  

We finally received communication from MMA that the race was still on.  At that point I decided to drop to the half.  I ran off and on.  Did long trial runs and hikes but did very little running three weeks before the marathon.

Reflection time...
In the spring I ran with a great guy named Milton Miller.  He was running from Miami, Florida to Los Angeles, California.  We ran 10 miles together in Arizona and he asked me something very profound that has stuck with me and I think I've learned from.  Milton asked, “Why are you so serious?”  

Hmm?  Why am I so serious?  I know I’m never going to win anything.  I’ve run faster but always seem to slow down to look around and enjoy where I am.  Then I get upset with myself because I’m not doing whatever I thought I should have been doing; speed, time, distance, etc.  I joke that I have running ADD.

So, I figured the MLM was the perfect place to relax and enjoy.  I decided to really take my time.  I never talk to people too much because I’m usually in my own little world huffing and puffing away.  This time I took lots of photos and chatted with a ton of people.  

I did run some but mostly fast hiked.  There was a lot of uphill!  Duh!!!  

We are not to the top yet!

The view from the vista point
At one point I felt a blister coming on so I pulled over and took care of that.  I ran out to a vista point to get a photo.  When we could finally see the finish line, I turned around to the ladies behind me who didn’t believe it was close and yelled, “I see it!!!” 

Due to the event changing hands and the issues with that, there were a few bumps along the way.  The Expo was very spartan but packet pickup was great.  Email communication was not consistent, I’m not sure if that was because I was with MMA but there were several emails from the race director that I did not receive.   

Other than that it was a great event.   I’m ready to sign up for it again next year!

Some cool things:
I had never had a timing chip like this one which I thought was pretty cool.  I wasn’t afraid I’d lose it and no wrangling it on my shoe.  

The sponsor hotel Sheraton was great.  The school bus drivers that drove us were wonderful.  Our pick up location was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel.  After the event the bus driver dropped us at the hotel on her way to the parking location. 

I have heard that the event organizer is considering changing the date of the race to the spring.  I vote for that!  Training over the summer here in Arizona is just brutal.  

So if you find yourself in Southern Arizona this spring and want to run a marathon or a half marathon up a mountain, I highly recommend The Mount Lemmon Marathon.  

This is going to be an event to watch out for in the future, I bet they have to cap entries someday. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To settle is a choice or you can choose to run after your dreams.

I am having a crisis of identity.  Who am I?  I am a wife and a mom.  More recently I’ve been more comfortable calling myself a runner.  But WHO am I?  I mean when the kids go off to college and hubby is at work, who AM I?

Well, I am a student. I went back to school to prepare for the day when my little chickens would fly the coop.  That day is very near and my crisis has started to fully manifest itself. When I went back to school I figured that the logical outcome would be a degree and a full-time career.  I recently walked for my graduation and then decided to finish two more classes to complete two minors.  It really makes sense but am I delaying?  Could be… but I think I have decided that I do not really want a career.  A job yes but a career maybe not.

More years ago than I’d like to think about I took flying lessons.  I actually soloed fixed wing and it was amazing, at least I think it was, my memory is going since I’m so old. About 16-17 years ago I was studying for my LTA (lighter than air) license, that was a ton of fun, but I missed many things about fixed wing. 

I have heard that once a pilot always a pilot, just some pilots are current and some are not.  So am I pilot that is not current?  Maybe… yes.

Part of the deal with me going back to school was that I earned my private pilot’s license.  My hubby was very insistent on this.  I always seemed to find one reason or another not to.  I would say, “okay! I’m going to do it!”  And then I’d find another reason not to.  I have always used money as an excuse but I think I’m really just nervous about making that commitment.  I think I am scared to pursue that dream of so long ago.  What if I’m not that person anymore and I make a $10,000 mistake? 

If I never try, I’ll never know.

The first step is getting a medical exam.  I scheduled that appointment.  Maybe I am a pilot after all who just isn’t current but is working on that.

“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key.” – Already Gone performed by the Eagles for their 1974 album On the Border.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh Lord it’s hard to be Humble…

...until You put me back in my place.

When I started running, one of the things that I thought about was that by my age my mother was not able to walk down the street let alone run if she had wanted.  The summer before my freshman year in high school she was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis).  It was really hard on her.  She had a teenager, a toddler, and a relatively new marriage.  There were many things that happened over the ensuing years but what I think about now is what if I were in her place?

Feeling down, losing my focus, being scared, and in denial about what I need, what I’ve chosen to do is not productive.  Nor is it worthy of me as a person of whom my creator has given this talent to.  Oh I’m not delusional in thinking that I’m going to win anything, but for some reason God has put this running bug in me.  So who am I to not do it? 

It is at times like these that God reminds me, sometimes with a gentle nudge, sometimes with a FaceBook message, that I need to get my head out of my own messed up brain and just get out there and run. 

I sit here and think about a few friends that I know wish they could go for a walk, play with their kids, make love to their spouse.  They worry about their future or if they will make it through Christmas.  I wish I could reassure them.  I wish I was smart and cure them.  What I can do is be there for them.  I can make that lunch date before it’s too late.  I can tell them that they have made a difference in my life.  I can get up off the couch and go for a run. 

In the wise words of one of the people I am so blessed to call my friend, “…don’t put off those things that bring you joy because you never know when that ability will be taken away.”

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Denial, it's not just a river in Egypt

Months ago I signed up for a marathon.  A marathon that is dubbed as the toughest in the country.  A 26.2 mile uphill battle with over 6000 feet of elevation gain.  

About a month ago myself along with other team members had no idea if our sponsor was still out there.  We Facebooked and tried to email and nothing.  Along with this I had a lump on my chest that I didn't know what it was.  The lump turned out to be nothing and we all finally heard from our sponsor.  The race was on.  

The marathon is in two weeks.  When was the last time I ran?  Almost 2 weeks ago.  Yep I'm am slacking big time.  I had already decided to drop to the half-marathon.  There was just no way that I would be ready with everything up in the air I had become depressed and discouraged.  

Now I am just in denial.  Some where along the way my running spirit has been broken or has gotten lost.  There is no explanation for it.  My last run was with a great guy who is very encouraging and whom I respect. My family is very encouraging.  I have friends and family coming in for the event.  

So what gives?

I have no answers.  

I can only hope that tomorrow is the day I get back out there and put a few miles in.