Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Better Late than Never...

I have no idea how to even write this entry, which is why it is coming 2 1/2 weeks after the race. On a negative note, I've experienced some side effect emotions since then that I will try my best not to document as I explain the events of the day that was the Broad Street Run. I'll split the weekend up into 2 separate blog posts.

The weekend actually began with a different event. The 4th Annual Get Your Head in the Game Brain Tumor Awareness Walk was on Saturday, sponsored by the Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation. A family friend, Elizabeth Crossan, passed away in 2007 of a brain tumor. She was 27 and had 2 young sons. I knew her in high school as a best friend of my sister. However, it was the last few years of her life that I remember most. Her faith in God grew and she became such an amazing example of what true faith is. I've walked in this event for at least 3 years (maybe 4), and never ever thought to pass it up this year even though my training schedule said "Rest" for the day pre-race. It was uplifting and I was able to spend the day with my family, outside and enjoying the sunshine in honor of Elizabeth.

After the Walk, my mother drove me up to Philadelphia to meet Jess and Megan. In true Bethany fashion, I started crying about halfway up I95. Now I'm emotional about most things - marriage proposals, funerals, confrontations, puppies, American Idol, most season finales, fat days, bad hair days, mean comments, comments that weren't supposed to be mean but I took them as mean, pretty much everything else. But this was definitely a fear cry. I didn't want my mom to leave me because I knew once she turned that car around, I had zero way of getting home and I would have to complete the race no matter what.

This seriously was the first big step for me. Getting out of that car with my stuff and saying goodbye to my mom actually made me proud. Stupid, right? Such insignificant things that meant so much. Anyway, got my stuff and I headed to the room.

HILARIOUS! is the only way I can describe the rest of the evening. Jess and Megan were truly gifts from God in this whole thing, but I never knew how funny and crude they were. They also seemed almost as nervous as I was feeling. We stayed in our grubby clothes (me, still quite sweaty from the Walk) and sauntered down to the bar for some dinner. What, might you ask, was our dinner of choice? A nice grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables? Maybe a plate of wheat pasta with red sauce? Nope. I had a greasy roast beef sandwich with a huge pile of onion rings, also greasy. Megan ate a 2 foot long chicken cheesesteak (not really 2 feet but it was large) with french fries. And Jess ate a big ol' greasy cheeseburger, also with french fries.

Oh man, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Anyway, we scarfed down dinner and were pounding down the waters as we took in the scenery. The Flyers were in the playoffs at the time, so there was still a pretty good crew out watching the games in the hotel bar. (We were at the Holiday Inn right next to Citizen's Bank Park.) One gentleman in particular seemed to have drank his weight in alcohol and we sat watching him stumble around the bar, almost fall off chairs, talk to complete strangers, and somehow pop a lollipop out of a cigarette pack. As we sat and talked and watched, it became apparent that once we left the restaurant, the only thing left to do was to go back upstairs and face the reality that the sooner we went to bed, the sooner we would have to get up and run. So we ordered dessert - a piece of cheesecake for me and red velvet cupcakes for the other two.

I'm sure that all of the training guides and advice columns for running long races do not include this method of preparation. However, since this is my blog and I'm writing for my own posterity and for anyone else out there who may be considering running, here is my advice: Eat your heart out. Aw man, it was fantastic. You almost have to keep a healthy diet during the training because running sucks even more if you don't. But that night before was the best meal ever. I ate with reckless abandon, not thinking about my thighs or my butt or my waistline or my digestion or whether I would have to poop. Nope, I ate it because I was allowed to; and because I had earned a greasy meal topped off with dessert.

The rest of the evening was very relaxing. We laughed, we cried, we burped, we farted, we drank water, we pooped...and then we went to bed.

It's hard to describe the feeling I had when I took off my glasses and put my head on my pillow that Saturday night. It was nothing that I would have anticipated. I felt....tired. And at peace. I honestly don't even remember feeling any sense of nervousness as I drifted off. There have been so many nights that I've stayed awake until 12, 1, or even 2am, wondering and worrying about the next day. But God shielded me that night. As I closed my eyes, it was like I entered into a black hole of rest.

Or maybe it was that crazy noise machine that Jess needs to sleep with that sounded like we were in the middle of a monsoon.....

Friday, April 29, 2011

This is It....

I can't believe the Broad Street Run is in two days. When I started this blog at the beginning of the year, May 1 seemed a million years away. I struggled with running a mile, but found such pride in completing the task. Now I live for my 2 or 3 mile run days because those are my short runs.

I'm not sure I'm ready for Sunday to get here, but I really have no choice. Do or die, now or never, cliche, cliche, cliche.

I was talking with some colleagues today and had two very poignant realizations:

#1 - I have a fear of things being finished. Not really sure what my deal is, but I don't complete much of anything I start. I commit to something with ideas of grandeur and let them fizzle out before I can complete the job. In my home, the kitchen and bathroom in my home are 50% and 90% completed, respectively. Specific to working out, I've tried jazzercise, kickboxing, Zumba, yoga, Boot Camp and hip-hop dance. I've had a personal trainer - twice. I've been a member of the YMCA, Delaware Swim and Fitness, Gold's Gym (two locations), Plexus, Curves, and Planet Fitness.

I'm not really sure where the fear stems from. Maybe I'm scared the outcome won't be good enough? Maybe I'm scared I'll work hard to get to the finish line and I won't be able to make it? Maybe I'm scared of what's next? Who really knows. But I'll have to confront it head on with my epiphany #2.

#2 - There's no "not finishing" the Broad Street Run. Once that shot gun goes off and the race starts, the only way I'm getting somewhere that will ultimately get me back home is to use my legs to get me to the finish line. Oh sure, there are technically ways I could get down Broad Street without using my legs but 1) there's too many people who know I'm doing this and I'm not a good enough liar to tell everyone I finished the race if I actually hopped on the subway, and 2) I'm way to proud to have to be taken out in an ambulance.

So that's it. The next time I post will be once the race is completed. I'm going to try to make it the 10 miles in as close to 2 hours as possible, but my focus will be simply to do my best, whatever timing that may be.

If you're reading this, and I'm not sure how many of you there are out there or who you may be, but please send up a prayer for me this weekend. Continuously. My physical strength will get me there. My mental strength will have to cooperate. I will finish without a doubt. But I want to enjoy my day and be proud of myself. Please ask God to grant me not just the strength and endurance to get through the run, but also peace and no anxiety.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Words of Wisdom

As the race draws near and I deal with such mixed emotions, I have also been consistently touched by the words and actions of others around me. It's seems that just as I start letting the self-doubt and fear seep into my psyche, God places the right person or thing in my path to lift me up. Here are a few that have touched me just this week:

"Good luck and just ask Jesus to take the wheel. You will find your strength through Him.... You got this woman! Yesterday, I had Jesus on my mind and the greatest sacrifice of all that He made me, little old me, and I felt so horrible that I was complaining about not being able to run in the heat...I was thinking, "How selfish of me to be whining about THIS"...anyway, I find that running, for me, as I am not an "avid runner" continues to be a humbling experience, day in and day reminds me to be thankful everyday for SO many things in my life, even if it's as simple as having water to drink when I am sooo thirsty after my run. I guess that's why it's a love/hate relationship because, in a way, it heals my soul all awhile torturing my body!" - Jessica Williams, April 25, 2011

Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill - "How Great Thou Art" -

"Days get so busy, we don't often get the chance to tell you that you mean more to us than words can say...But your birthday is the perfect time to let you know that all year through, we're proud of you, and we love you very, very much." - Birthday card from Mom and Dad, April 26, 2011.

"You're as beautiful today as you were the day I first saw you ten years ago." - Flower card from Pedram Daneshgar, April 26, 2011

They're all sweet and uplifting by themselves. But the point is, all of these things were presented to me at times when I felt down or unmotivated or unworthy.

I don't know how to go about publishing a book, but one day, I would like to put together a compilation of encouraging words to honor those who have helped me along my life. I don't always say thank you or let them know just how much they have helped me get through the next minute, hour, day, week. Maybe the words that have meant so much to me would be able to lift someone else's spirits as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

OhMyGoshIt'sSoCloseICanTasteIt Blog

I have never been more tired to post a blog than I am right now. How could I not when I just sweat this much?

My goal today was to run 5 miles. Being that I was off of work because my bathtub was being refinished, I was planning on running outside for the first time since my little panic attack. Unfortunately, the weather continued to get worse over the day and by the time Joe (the bathroom refinisher) left, it was windy and raining and not at all motivating.

But I did it! 5 miles, that is. Not outside. You crazy?

Today was a good day. In the midst of my lack of motivation, God sent me some of the best advice I've received about running in the form of my bathtub refinisher. That's right, God sent me Joe. We got into a pretty in depth conversation about everything running, and I just soaked up the advice. (I don't soak up advice.) Here is what I took from our conversation that helped me tonight and will hopefully set me up to finish these last 2 1/2 weeks:

1) Endurance is not going to be achieved if I keep focusing on time. My 2, 3 and 4 mile runs are nice to get those low numbers, but I have felt like I couldn't walk another step when I've finished them because I've been worrying about the time. Joe mentioned Jeff Galloway who has a proven training schedule, which brings me to number 2.

2) Make walking a part of how I will finish the run. Don't let it effect my mental state by making me feel guilty. This is a big one for me. I always rewarded myself with walking after pushing a mile. But I would push so much that my "quick" walk ended up lasting longer and longer the more I went. Jeff Galloway's schedule is a run/walk ratio. Since my standard first mile is between 11 and 12 minutes, my ratio would be run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute. Walking wouldn't be a reward or cause guilt, but instead would be integrated into the deal.

Amazing results. The brisk walk every 3 minutes gave me just enough time to get my breathing under control and mentally prepare for the next running section. The outcome was twofold - I maintained a 12:17 average mile and I felt like I could have kept going if I had to.

3) Let this be all about me. Let myself be selfish because that is the only way I'm going to have fun with it or get through it with my sanity. My friends have been so great with their encouragement, but I do feel like I have started to put more emphasis on making sure I'm proving something to them rather than proving something to me. My run will be completed in my time, in my technique, and I will be focusing on finishing that race for me.

So that's it. I got some good advice on outside locations to run in Delaware that are safe. I completed 5 miles comfortably and mentally stable. And I'm going to be selfish for the next 2 1/2 weeks because this is all about me.

I'll be 29 in 2 weeks exactly. This birthday will be different. Because this year, I'm going to be happy with myself.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Inaugural Phillies 5k

This 5k was awesome because I got a rad Phillies tshirt. And I got to stand where Shane Victorino stands. It was like we were one; I felt his aura.


My First 5k

Horrible picture. But documentation, none the less, of my first 5k. May be the most expensive outfit I own and it doesn't even come with a sexy pair of heels.

6 Workouts a Week

So I promised in my last post to blog more often to hold myself accountable and keep myself motivated. 7 days and 4 workouts later, I'm apologizing to myself and working on the forgiveness side.

Here's a recap of my week (in horrible to better order):

  • Saturday, April 2: 6 miles outside with Megan
Talk about a sucky workout. I swear I have mental issues. The first mile went okay, but by the time I got through half of mile 2, anxiety crept up and punched me right in the stomach. Literally. I had to stop moving and bend over, half hyperventilating, to keep myself from a full blown panic attack. Megan was a trooper and kept trying to encourage me, but it just wasn't happening. I got through the second and third mile, intermixing running and walking, and finally sent Megan on her way.

I'm not sure if it was running with someone else, or the concept of running around a very long track 6 times, but my brain...had a brain of it's own. I finished the 6 miles, but walked the last 3. My iPod filled my head with worship music as I prayed the whole time for strength.

This run scared me. Will I get like this at Broad Street?

  • Monday, April 4: 50 minute cross train
I'm trying to figure out why running isn't getting easier. My first try for remedy is to follow the training schedule to a tee. This was only my second time cross training in the whole time I've been working out. As I go into a 6-day-a-week workout schedule, I'm hoping the cross training and strength training will build up my lung and muscle capacity. (And help me drop a size before bikini season?)

  • Wednesday, April 5: 3 mile run
1 mile - 11:24
2 mile - 23:16
3 mile - 35:30

My average running time on the treadmill is 5.1 mph. After running 2 miles, I normally need to slow down to a walk for a tenth to a quarter of a mile. Jess suggested I take it down to a slow run instead of a walk. And that's what I did. Instead of going to a 4.0 mph fast walk, I slowed down to a 4.5 slow run. My times weren't the best, but distance and endurance are my focus now instead of time.

  • Thursday, April 6: 25 minute cross train
If I were to work out today, it would have to be at lunch due to an after work appointment. It's a little bit of a hassle to get to the gym, workout, shower, and put myself back together to finish out the rest of a work day. I will not use that as an excuse anymore and got to the gym to do a modified cross training workout. 25 minutes instead of 45 minutes, but I still got something in when I normally would just opt out completely.

So that's been my week. I have runs on Friday and Sunday, 3 miles a piece. Hopefully, I'll be back on here with great updates. If not, I may have given up and you'll be able to find me at the local McDonald's eating french fries, fish sandwiches, and cheeseburgers.

Prayer and uplifting words of encouragement are much appreciated.