Category Archives: Memorable Running Moments

Memorable running moments

Making Lemonade

My dad used to love the word ‘ade’.  I remember many times being in the reception hall at church for refreshments and my dad would offer to get me some ‘fruit-ade’.  My dad was a dork.  But he made me laugh.  And that is one word that I always get right on crossword puzzles.  3 letter word for fruit drink…got it.

Another thing my dad always said, that I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before, was the advice “Surround yourself with good people.”

Yesterday, I went for a run with my friend Ken Clark.  It was so appropriate to celebrate my first day of “freedom” (I finished my Medical Assistant externship on Tuesday) by going for a run with Ken.  A year ago today, I was on my way to Arizona for the big event.  Today, Ken is on his way to Arizona.  I just got a text from him a little while ago, he was sitting on a plane in Dallas waiting to fly to Phoenix.  Anyway, last year in Arizona, I was surrounded by good people.  I drove out with Ally, Brian and Dan.  My mom, brother, sister in law, niece and nephew met us out there.  I stayed in a house with a bunch of friends who were either competing or supporting.  A huge smattering of Swim Bike Run club members were out there.  I had lunch with a friend from High School and saw various other friends from different parts of my life throughout the weekend including all over the course.  From start to finish, I was surrounded by, not just good, but GREAT people.

Ken was one of those people.  He had gone to Arizona to volunteer on the course, earning himself early registration into this years’ event, like I had done the year before.  I never did see Ken on the bike course at any of the aid stations where he was an official volunteer, but he was waiting at the transition area as I cruised in to jump off my bike.  I remember he gave me a quick hug as I passed my bike off to another volunteer and threatened to throw my bike shoes into Tempe Town Lake.  Ken found me at various parts of the run course, he would run back and forth across the bridge to tell my family approximately where I was and how I was doing.  And when the sun had finally sunk low into the Arizona desert and I was resenting the people who had said, “Nah, you won’t need a headlamp. It’s well lit” Ken showed up with his iphone to light the way up that one lonely, dark hill on the course.  He was full of encouragement.  And since he was wearing a “volunteer” t-shirt, I could do things like throw my cup on the ground for him to pick up and not get in trouble.  We aren’t allowed to have “pacers” but that volunteer shirt got me a personal escort in the dark.

So, when I realized how close I was to finishing my required hours for my externship last week while I was at a small party for Ken’s 40th, I knew I had to finish up before he left town so we could run together again.  It had been almost exactly a year since the last time we ran together.  I needed to give him a send off since I can’t be on the course to support him the way he was for me.  Funny story, Ken and I met as teammates for the Smoky Mountain Relay a few years ago when I was in rough shape emotionally.  Ken and I spent a weekend in a smelly van with sweaty people, we ate lukewarm Ramen noodles at 2am, we had a conversation while in adjoining port-o-potties (nothing says bonding like pooping) and he is the one who came into the woods, grabbed me by the hand and pulled me up a hill on my last leg of that race.  Seriously. I love this dude like a brother.

On Tuesday, as I said goodbye to all the people I have spent my time with for most of the past 6 weeks at my externship site, I realized that through the good and bad of that experience I once again found myself surrounded by really great people.  I am already missing the MAs and nurses that I spent so much time with.  And as I drove out 40 towards West County to pick my kiddos up from school, I thought of the people who have played taxi driver to my kids throughout the past year while I went through this program.  And when I gathered the kids we went to Steak n Shake to celebrate everything that has occurred since a year ago when I crossed that finish line in Arizona and heard the words, “Lindsey Jacobs, you are an Ironman”.

While I drove towards my kids, I thought of those words, and how important they were.  It occurred to me that this week I tackled another kind of Ironman.  Last year in Arizona, the idea of going back to school hadn’t even occurred to me, but since then I set it up, started the program and saw it through to completion.  And with nursing school on the horizon, I have absolutely zero doubts that with the people on my team, I will make that happen too.  And in each season of life, in order to make those things happen, I will continue to surround myself with good people.

This morning, I woke up in a somewhat foul mood.  I got plenty of sleep, so I’m not really sure what my deal was, but today had the potential to be ugly.  However, when I walked into my neighborhood coffee shop to meet a friend for lattes after dropping off the kids at school, I saw the face of another friend that I hadn’t seen in ages.  Paul has his own business called Trickle Down Happiness.  I love that concept.  And I actually got to see it in action today.  As soon as I saw Paul, my mood changed instantly.  And when he asked me how things were, I immediately started rambling on about all the good things in my life.  That turned the day around for me.  I was focused on the good things happening and the great people involved.

A couple hours later, when I took my phone into T-Mobile to see why it hasn’t been working lately, I ultimately walked out with no contacts.  This could have been a huge headache, but rather than stress about it, I posted a plea on Facebook and waited for the contacts to come rolling back in.  As they progressed they have been funnier and funnier.  My face hurts from smiling, hearing from friends and the silliness of having to guess who they are.  Who knew something that has the potential to be a huge pain in the butt would turn out to be so fun?  I guess you could say I’m finding the silver lining.  Or I’m making lemons into “ade”.  But I think it just has to do with being surrounded by really amazing people.

When Ken takes to the course on Sunday, I already know he will be surrounded by some greats.  His wife Marti is one of the coolest people ever.  My friend, Jess, was the volunteer who handed me my Run special needs bag last year and she’s competing this year.  My friend, Nicci, who I’ve known since she was a peanut, grew up in the house next door to me in Michigan, this will be her third Ironman I believe.  And every other athlete on that course has a story, young, old, war vets, amputees, illnesses, losses, struggles.  The one thing they all have in common is that they’ve all had to overcome something to be out there.  They’ve all been handed some lemons.  And  all the people standing by, helping them, cheering the on, encouraging them, getting them whatever they need.

I just wish I could be out there to light the way up that hill for Ken.  Or maybe offer him some ade. 😉

With Ken at Creve Coeur for a send off run

With Ken at Creve Coeur for a send off run

Just Call Us…The Comeback Kids

Not all comebacks are created equal. They don’t all look alike and they don’t always lead you back to exactly where you were. But they do all have one thing in common. Every comeback requires that when you get knocked down, or fall down, you have to get back up again and keep going.

You might remember my friend Katherine that was in a really horrible bike crash back in April, we weren’t sure if she would make it. And if she did, we weren’t sure what the damage would be. A mere two or three days after she got out of the hospital, I was admitted to the hospital for dehydration and Pyelonephritis that went septic (that basically means the infection got in my blood and was trying to kill me).

This summer didn’t look at all like last summer for me or Katherine. Last summer, I was training for my first (and only for the foreseeable future) Ironman. By the end of last summer Katherine had qualified for the Ironman World Championships and was preparing to compete in Kona. This summer, for both of us, workouts were considerably less intense. Not that I am comparing myself to Katherine on any level, her accident was completely different from my illness, they left very different scars. But we were both brought back to zero for a while where triathlons are concerned.

On Saturday, I made a comeback, of sorts. Before I got sick I had signed up to be on a relay team of 6 people to run 82 miles. At the time, I had confidence in my abilities. 13ish miles in one day, sure, no problem. But as September 6 edged closer and closer, I wasn’t completely sure what I would be capable of. I gave my friends an opportunity to find a replacement if they wanted since I was the obvious weak link of the group. They assured me that despite my lack of speed they still wanted me on the team. And so, for the first time ever in my life, I asked for the shortest, easiest legs of the race. I knew what I was capable of, and I knew it wasn’t much.

As we started watching the 10 day weather forecast, we all hoped that there would be a major cold front to come in and push summer’s last efforts out of the way. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, so we were left to deal with 95 degrees, humidity and sun, which made the “feels like” temperature somewhere in the low hundreds, as we made our way from Creve Coeur to Hermann, MO. This had me a little (a little meaning A LOT) worried. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital again. No more IV’s for this girl this year, thank you very much.

When we got to the starting area, I immediately thought I was in some kind of a sick joke. It was awesome to see so many familiar faces, but with our start time being the last of many waves between 4am and 8am, I wondered what I was doing with all the fastest people I knew. My mileage this summer has been low, and my speed has been even lower. And yet, there I was with lots of speedy peeps.

I was the #2 runner, so I was glad to be getting my first leg out of the way early. I was set to go just before 8:30am, before the heat of the day, for about 4 miles. However, that first leg was 99% in direct sun. No shade. It was brutal. As I finally made my way across the Highway 364 bridge to the exchange point, the very last runner to start this leg caught up to me. We handed off our bracelets and the exchange volunteer said to me, “Are you the last one?” I responded, “Yeah, I think so.”

I was so glad to be done running. That was hot. And the reality that it would be even hotter when I had to run again 4 hours later was not super exciting.

As the race wore on, it did warm up even more. We all took care of each other, having bottles of cold water waiting as a runner would come in to an exchange, a bag of ice, sponges soaked in cold water to squeeze over our heads, salt tablets, whatever we needed. We worried when we didn’t see our runner in the anticipated amount of time listed on Angie’s spreadsheet. But I’m happy to report, we all made it to each exchange without anything catastrophic to report.

My other two legs were even less eventful that the first. They were both on sections of the Katy Trail, both 90% shaded and I even began passing runners from some of the slower teams that had started hours before us. We strolled into the finish line in Hermann around 7:30pm where they had brats, sauerkraut and beer waiting for us.

Despite the heat and my lack of training, it was a fantastic way to make a comeback. I wasn’t really racing as much as just being at a very sweaty party with a whole bunch of great people, who happened to be running. I saw lots of friends throughout the day, and I made some new friends along the way. My team was awesome and I genuinely appreciated their support to get me through my return to “competitive” running. It wasn’t pretty and I have no idea if I will ever be truly competitive ever again, but it got me back into the community I love. And somehow we managed to finish 6th out of 49 teams in our open/mixed division. It certainly wasn’t due to my speed, but this “down time” in training, if that’s what you call it, has reminded me that I am so much more than just a runner. To all of you who shared Saturday with me, especially the CRABS, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

As I mentioned earlier, not all comebacks look the same. I’ve never had a guest writer here, but there is a first time for everything. And the timing of this couldn’t be better. I read a post from Katherine earlier today and it oozed the essence of RRG and all that I want this blog to be. With her permission, I’d like to share it. Her life looks a little different now after her accident, but she continues to inspire all those around her, in any and all circumstances. I couldn’t be more proud to call this girl my friend and I am thankful for her perspective.

So without further ado, here is Katherine’s comeback…

Thanks for all the bday wishes. I’m so grateful for being able to celebrate another bday. Here’s why, in the form of an update.

.               September 8, 2015 at 9:12am

I believe that there are things to the be grateful for in every situation. My severe bike crash that occurred at the end of April is no exception. I am, of course, so deeply grateful to have survived. Not only did I survive, but I made it through with all of my faculties and body intact. I’ve been able to return to what I consider the most important parts of my life: being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a physician.

What I am not able to return to at this time is competitive triathlon and endurance sports. As a result of my accident, my amazing team of doctors discovered that I may be at a slightly higher than normal risk of a cardiac arrhythmia at this time. Based on the risk:benefit ratio of another severe and potentially fatal accident occurring at this time, I have decided to walk away from racing for awhile.

I’ll admit that it hasn’t been easy. My athletic hopes and dreams for 2015 and 2016 have been shattered. There were 6 races that I was registered for this year, all of which I have officially withdrawn from. The 3 biggest ones were ITU Olympic-distance triathlon Nationals in Milwaukee, the ITU World Championships (which I qualified for at Nationals last year), and Ironman Louisville. The ITU World Championships in particular were a dream come true. I was so looking forward to proudly donning my Team USA uniform in a race which just happens to be in my hometown of Chicago this year. I was then planning to race in Ironman Louisville where I was hoping to try to earn a repeat spot at the starting line in Kona.

I envisioned 2016 as being my peak year in endurance sports, a field in which women tend to peak in their early 40s. 2016 was going to be The Year, after which I was planning to transition to ultra-distance runs and shorter distance triathlons. 2016 was supposed to include Boston and Big Sur (my favorite marathon in the world followed in less than a week by a marathon that I’ve always dreamed of running). Then ITU Worlds in Mexico. Finally to cap it all off, the greatest starting and finishing lines that exist in sport: Kona. Dreams. Shattered.

Yet I am still so grateful for the fateful day of April 29, 2015. I am actually grateful that the accident even happened. So many things have happened that wouldn’t have had it not. For example, it has forced me to make changes in my life that I wouldn’t have otherwise made. After the 2 months that I spent in the hospital and rehab, I found myself with what felt like endless unstructured/free time, especially because I am no longer training to race. As a result, I have restructured my work days. I am now working more days per week, but fewer hours per day. For the first time in their lives, my kids no longer have to go to aftercare. I’m now personally picking them up from school 5 days/week. They’ve never complained about aftercare. In fact, they’ve asked to go numerous times over the years even when they haven’t had to go. It’s all they’ve ever known, yet I think that this change is for the better. It has happened just in time, at a crucial age when activities really start picking up as does the beginning of the formative pre-teen and teenage years.

I see my role as a doctor so differently now after being, and continuing to be, a patient. In particular, I think I’m a much better psychiatrist now that I understand what it’s like to be a patient. I also now know what is feels like to have to go through a somewhat big life transition so abruptly. It’s not easy. There are many ups and downs. There is no easy fix. Yet there is hope and so much gratefulness to be had.

Not only am I more focused than I’ve ever been at work, I also am at home. My family has always come first. There was a period of time right after the injury when I was in the ICU and it was unclear if I was going to make it through without brain damage. I feel horrible that the kids had to go through that, but it has opened their eyes to the fact that bad things happen. My accident and its sequelae are small things compared to the atrocities, hatred, poverty, and violence that happen throughout the world. Moreover, my accident was small compared to what so many people, including some of you, have to deal with on a daily basis, and every day going forward for a few of you. Things like incurable cancer, progressive neurological diseases, heart disease, and other chronic and severe illnesses.

I don’t know what the future holds for anyone, much less for myself. I’m still keeping active, but I now exercise like a normal, fit woman in her early 40s. Nothing long and nothing fast. It hasn’t been easy to stop endurance training. It’s been tough, even tougher than the hardest race I’ve even participated in, Kona. It’s been a process that I’m still working through, but I’m getting there. I’m starting to feel content with what used to feel like nothing. For example, a 1 hour swim used to be my warm-up or cool-down for my long bike rides or runs. Or it is what I used to do on my rest/recovery days. It is now my main form of exercise of any type for the day. I’ve actually grown to love it. Running 1 lap (5.5 miles) around Forest Park also used to feel like nothing. In fact, prior to my accident, I can’t remember a time when I went for a run and came back in less than an hour. Now even 1 lap feels like exercise and leaves me feeling content.

Who knows what the future holds? I may one day get back on a bike, something which is currently too risky for me to do. I may one day participate in triathlons again, even longer distance ones, but I quite likely may not. I do know that I am so thankful that I have such an amazing support system. I have family and friends who truly care, who have gone above and beyond. Same with my doctors, nurses, therapists, and the rest of my treatment team. Above and beyond. I couldn’t ask for more in terms of my recovery from my “accident.” I put accident in quotes because I don’t truly think it was a complete accident. It was meant to happen. It may be tough at times, but it has changed my life for the better. The future is unknown, but I do know that it is bright and that I hope to continue to be able to see what it holds.


I know I am not alone in how glad I am to be able to say, Happy Birthday Katherine! Let the birthdays, and the comebacks, keep on comin!

Pre-race eL CRABS, which stands for Lindsey, Chaz, Rob, Angie, Becky, Scott.

Pre-race eL CRABS, which stands for Lindsey, Chaz, Rob, Angie, Becky, Scott.

And eL CRABS post race

And eL CRABS post race



Part I: The Race

I can honestly say, this is the first time I’ve ever written a blog post hooked to an IV.  But I’ll get to that later.

On Saturday, I ran the Berryman Marathon.  Back in January a couple friends had enticed me into signing up since they were doing the 50 miler.  Coming off of Arizona, I didn’t feel like doing much.  And while my usual motto is, when given the choice, choose the longer option, I didn’t think I should push it so I opted for the marathon.  (That just sounds silly now)

On Friday night, after I closed up shop with James in Town and Country, I hopped in the car and drove to Potosi, a rural community on the edge of Mark Twain National Forrest, where they have a Super 8.  I checked into my room and was in bed eating pie by 10pm.  I had everything laid out and ready to go.

At 6:15 I rolled out of bed and began race prep. I dressed in my running gear and went down the hall to the ice machine so I could fill the bladder of my hydration vest.  I grabbed my bottles of Scratch out of the mini fridge that I had mixed the night before and added them to the pockets of my vest, which was also stuffed with Huma gels and Gu.  It was supposed to be humid, so I was going to be prepared.

Eventually I took my stuff to the car and went back into the lobby to grab some breakfast.  Or some coffee at the very least.  I was greeted by a gal in running gear who asked if I was headed to Berryman too.  I confirmed that I was.  While I drank my coffee, we chatted about previous races and our thoughts for the day.  She was hoping to finish between 4 and 5 hours.  I was hoping to finish.  While I was the more experienced of the two of us, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this course and I knew that I hadn’t properly trained for it.  So I set the bar low and my goal for the day was to go out and have fun.

By 7:30 I was in the car, driving the 25 minutes to the course.  My race started at 8.  The thing about trail races that is very different from the huge races downtown is that you don’t have to get there an hour and a half early.  At Berryman, like many others, you basically pull up, get out of your car, slap on your race bib and away you go.

I saw several friends at the start.  Rosie and John had already started the 50 mile at 6:30, but Rosie’s husband Alex greeted me with a hug.  I handed off my keys to Megan and Seth to put in the Fleet Feet truck for safe keeping.  Then I gathered behind the starting line with some of the girls from the tri club and a few seconds later we were running.  About 10 steps in I knew it was going to be a slow day.  Not that I hadn’t already figured that out from lack of training, but the humidity was at about 99%.  It settled over us like a blanket.  An oppressive wet blanket.  It was making my legs feel like lead.  It was then that I knew my body didn’t have it that day, my mind was going to have to do most of the grunt work to get this race in the books.  But it’s not like I’ve never had to brush that feeling aside, and so into the forest I ran.  I stuck right behind Tara and Donna for the first 5 miles or so.  We broke apart at the first aid station, which was good for me, because then instead of mindlessly staring at Tara’s shoes, I started to take in the majesty of the forest.  It really is an unbelievable trail.  Tough, but beautiful.

I’m not really sure when it started raining, but it felt amazing!  The cool water on my face felt refreshing and it made running seem easier.  It also made the creeks rise, so where in the beginning I was able to jump from rock to rock to get across without getting wet, it wasn’t long until I would just trudge right through, soaking my shoes and socks.  There’s something to be said about the thrill of returning to youthfulness, playing in streams, enjoying the woods, exploring and the satisfying crunch of gravel under your feet.  This was the fun I had been seeking.  Yes, I was going slower than usual and no I hadn’t adequately trained for this race, but it was reminding me of what I loved to do.

Just before the 14 mile aid station I caught up to Donna.  She was walking, so I slowed to walk with her for a bit.  Her stomach was off and she was having a rough day.  Mine wasn’t the stomach, but we probably could have started a club.  We approached the aid station and when I was ready to take off, Donna waved me on.  She was done.  “Have a good race,” she hollered after me.  “Thanks!” I waved.  And I heard someone from the aid station ask if she wanted a ride back in the truck.

And then, I was alone in the woods again.  The terrain was rough, so there were several times throughout the day that I turned an ankle so hard I felt it down to my toes and all the way up the lateral side of my calf.  That would probably hurt, I thought to myself, if I hadn’t taken that Aleve earlier.  However, the Aleve was not only masking the ankle pain, it was also hiding the bigger, more serious issue.  While making them worse at the same time.

As the race went on the hills seemed tougher, I don’t know if that was the course, my body, or the fact that the sloppy conditions were making it more challenging.  I walked a lot of the uphills, I ran the down hills and the flats.  As I cruised into the aid station around Mile 17, I saw Tara. I told her that Donna had gotten a ride back to the finish; she said she had a feeling that would happen.  As we took off again, I vaguely heard one of the volunteers giving directions about when we get to the road the trail is only a little ways up.  When we got to the only actual road we would encounter that day, there were 4 of us, Tara, me, a random guy and a random girl.  We saw the arrow that appeared to point across the paved road directly at a gravel road, so down the gravel road we went.  About half a mile down, a big white pickup truck pulled out and almost blocked us.  The driver got out and said, “This here’s a dead end.  Whatchya’ll doin’ out here?”  We explained that we were looking for the Berryman trail.  “Well, ya won’t find it down that way, that’s just Joe Bob’s farm.”  Good thing he intercepted us.  He couldn’t understand why in the world we were looking for a tiny little trail in the desolate weather we were experiencing, but he told us generally where we needed to go.  He offered to drive us up there in his truck, but we politely declined.  Nobody likes a cheater.  But I can’t honestly tell you that none of us thought about it for half a second.

Usually around mile 17, 18, 19 of a marathon, your brain has to do a decent job of convincing your body to keep running.  Even worse at that point of a race and you realize you’re not even on the course.  You’re running to get back on course, I can assure you it’s more than a little deflating.  But, just as I said in that moment, what’s a race without a story?  We plugged along on that gravel road until we got back to the paved road, which we began to follow.  And about 10 steps up, we came upon another spray painted arrow on the road.  If only we had seen that sooner.  Ah well, such is life.  It wasn’t long until we ducked back into the woods again.  We trudged up a hill single file with the rain coming down.  Tara disappeared from my sight again shortly after that.  And eventually so did everyone else.  It’s funny how that works, one minute you’re in the midst of a crowd, the next minute you’re in solitude with a bunch of trees.

I continued my strategy of walk up, run down.  There were times that I was literally running in a creek bed, slopping through mud puddles.  It was amazing.

A lot of the latter part of the race is a little blurry.  Looking back on that now, understandably so.  I don’t recall ever feeling bad, other than tired.  I remember a lot of telling myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I even passed a few people in the last mile or two.  And then, just as we were about to come out of the woods, there were Tara’s shoes right in front of me again.  Just like I don’t  I don’t recall exactly when it started raining, I don’t remember when it stopped either, but it wasn’t raining when we came out of the woods and ran through the finish.  Despite running completely different races on the same course, we’d seen each other at the beginning, the middle and the end.  Two races with times that were just seconds apart, and we spent most of the day not together.

I was so glad it was done.  And even more glad I had signed up for the marathon and not the 50 mile.

Then there was a medal around my neck and I went to grab a bottle of water.  There was a great spread of food, that I couldn’t even think about enjoying until I changed into dry clothes.  I glanced around looking for Alex, but saw no sign of him, so I wondered if Rosie had decided to call it a day after 1 loop.  I couldn’t fathom doing that a second time.

I hiked up to my car, changed into my flip flops, made my recovery drink, took off my empty hydration pack and began stripping off soaking wet clothes.  Once I was dry and the Gu brew was gone, I started back towards the food.

I joined the other runners in the pavilion, downed a big cheeseburger, lots of chips, some cookies and more water.  I was tired, sore, but I felt good.  The girl next to me noticed my tattoo and asked which Ironman I had done.  I can’t remember which one she said she had completed last fall, but we both agreed that we thought that one standalone trail marathon was harder than the marathon at the end of an Ironman.  It took me 6 hours and 1 minute.  Even in Arizona, I was solidly under 6, at about 5:20.  It had been a tough day, one that I wasn’t truly prepared for.  But I’d made it.  And something I had thought about on that course was how often are we ever really prepared for the hard stuff?  We aren’t.  There really isn’t much we can do besides take things as they come and do the best we can under the circumstances.  Ah, and wasn’t that a prophetic thought…

Part II: The Aftermath

On the drive home I wasn’t in any hurry, so I plugged my address into my phone GPS and let it take me home by way of the back roads.  Hilly, twisty, turny roads with tiny little churches, grand houses with big white fences and fields full of wildflowers.  I enjoyed the ride home as much as the race, maybe more.  And by then the sun was shining.

I got home, unloaded the car, showered, and I was feeling pretty good about myself making 6:30 church.  I grabbed a cup of coffee on the way in to keep me awake.  As we stood to start singing, I felt it hit me.  A wave of dizziness passed over me.  I wanted  the singing to end, I was desperate to sit down.  Finally we did.  I was shifty, fidgety, unable to focus.  I was so tired, but it wasn’t an ordinary tiredness.  I felt like I was going to pass out.   I fought to maintain through the service.  I survived.  Then I drove home, grabbed more water and curled up on the couch under a blanket with my jacket still on.  I was shivering.  My heart was racing.  It occurred to me that I hadn’t peed more than twice that whole day.  Once in the morning before the race and once after the race.  That’s it.  I recognized some of the signs of dehydration and I started getting worried.  After talking to my mom, we agreed I should consider having someone take me to the ER.  I called Vega, who lives just a couple miles away, but he was over in Illinois so he suggested I call Heather.  I did and she came right over.

I had turned on the movie Wild, which I’d been wanting to see, because I knew it would hold my attention and keep me alert as well as anything.  I kept refilling my water.

When Heather arrived, I had already started feeling a little better, so we decided to sit tight and see how things went for a while.  We hadn’t seen each other so we caught up on each other’s lives and the time passed quickly.  Before too long I was going to the bathroom frequently and things seemed to be returning to normal.  I sent Heather on home and I climbed into bed for the night.

I woke up around 1am and stumbled clumsily with marathon fatigued muscles into the bathroom.  When I returned to bed, I had a hard time going back to sleep.  I tossed and turned a lot.  I didn’t feel right but I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I chalked it up to post-marathon yuck.

I finally got up around 8:30 the next morning.  My muscles hurt more than they should have.  True I hadn’t trained very well, but this seemed like an excessively miserable state.

I made my way to the kitchen and shoved a bag of lays potato chips in my face.  Yes, for breakfast.  Don’t judge me.  I knew I needed salt.  I chased them with a bottle of lemon lime Gatorade Silas had taken one sip of and then left in the fridge.  Typically I loathe lemon lime Gatorade, but on that particular morning it tasted like the nectar of the gods.  Again, I should have suspected that something was awry.  I downed an orange Gatorade and some other easily accessible items.  I avoided coffee, because I feared the feeling of my heart racing the night before was due to the quantity of caffeine I had consumed.  Pre-race coffee, caffeinated gels, cola at the aid stations, coffee at church.  It was a lot even for me.  I settled in on the couch to study for my Monday exam, this week testing on the Urinary system.  Oh, the irony.

As it closed in on 11 am, I got ready for work and headed out the door with enough time to stop for a burger on the way, I was craving one.  I swung by 5 Guys and Fries, got stuck behind a whole baseball team and was shoving fries in my mouth as I drove the rest of the way to work.  I pulled into the parking lot and in a cumbersome manner dragged myself and my supplies (food, water, Gatorade) into the store.

We were slow for quite a while.  I told Hannah about the race.  I used the massage rollers.  I wanted to lie down.  I wandered aimlessly.  Hannah was helping a customer with a Garmin when a guy came in for a shoe fitting.  Hannah knew I was going to have a hard time getting up and down off the floor, so she had already offered to take fittings first, but she was helping someone, so I sucked it up and did what I was there to do.  I did have to explain to my customer that I am not typically so inflexible that it takes me 5 minutes to get up off the floor.  He was kind about it, he probably should have laughed, I’m sure I looked absurd.  After those 2 customers left, the entire store was empty.  I was freezing, so I put on my jacket. Hannah and I were over talking to James and Ronette.  I really wanted to just go to sleep on the couch on the SBR side.  I went and stood halfway out the door.

James looked at me quizzically, “Are you cold?!”

“I’m freezing.”

At this point, Hannah started insisting I go home.  We were mostly through the day, the “rush” was likely over and I was pretty much useless to anyone.  So, I followed Hannah’s orders and I went home.  The drive was one of those drives where you get to where you’re going and you’re like, huh, how did I get here?

I went in the house and resumed my position on the couch under the blanket, jacket still on.  When B showed up about an hour later with my requested can of soup, I hadn’t moved and I probably looked like death.  I had quickly escalated back to worse than I had felt the previous evening.  I don’t recall that I said much for the next hour as I dozed on the couch.  He asked a couple different times if I wanted my soup, but my appetite had become a thing of the past.

He sat down on the couch at my feet.  I finally looked at him and said, “I don’t think I can fix this myself.”

B asked, “Are you ready to go to the hospital?”

“Yeah, I’m done suffering.”

We gathered my purse, a blanket, my phone charger, things I would need in case we had to be there a few hours.  I wasn’t planning on days.  I figured we’d go to the ER, they’d give me a bag of IV fluid, maybe a prescription for an antibiotic and send me on my way.

B dropped me at the emergency door and then went to park, I was already in Triage when he came in.  I told the nurse my symptoms, she drew some blood and started an IV and put me back in the waiting room for a bit.  I was glad I had brought my blanket.  I was shivering again.  B went and asked the nurse for another blanket for me.  A nurse told him she would bring one over.  The longer I waited, the more I shook.  I was freezing, I actually had a fever of almost 103. Eventually, B went back to the nurse and got a blanket that felt fresh out of the dryer.  It was heaven.  But with the shaking, came the nausea.  So then B had to go ask for something for me to puke in, just in case.  If you’re wondering, I never did. Finally after the longest hour ever, they took me back to a room and not too long after the doctor came in.  “You know your body well,” he said.  Turns out I was severely dehydrated, with a kidney infection to boot.  They planned to give me a couple more bags of fluid and some antibiotics.  That right there was enough to confirm the decision to come in.  They needed to run more tests, so they took more blood.  And then I was admitted.  More confirmation I had done the right thing coming to the hospital.

I got to my room just after midnight.  I was exhausted.  It took a while for that to change.  My temp would ebb and flow, waves of nausea mixed with episodes of violent shivering, vitals every 4 hours, midnight round of antibiotics and shots in the belly, 5am blood draw for labs, one day would flow into the next with the hope of going home tomorrow.  I started feeling like the little boy who cried wolf.

My diagnosis was Pyelonephritis.  What are the odds that I know exactly what this is because there was likely a question about it on the exam I missed Monday.  My kidney infection allowed the infection to be sent out from my kidney into my body through my blood.  Had I ignored my symptoms longer, I might not have lived to tell the tale.  Scary, but true.  The good news is RRG rambles on.  However, I may not be running much for a while.  But that’s ok.  I’ve got a lot to focus on.  And after 4, almost 5, days in the hospital, I’ve got some catching up to do.

Something Rosie texted me the other day was, “Take care of you.  Remember: your face mask first.” She’s right.  I know everyone calls me supermom, but what good am I to my kids, or anyone else, if I don’t take care of myself?  This was a good reality check that while I know I am capable of pushing through the pain, there are times that I probably shouldn’t.

So apparently, the moral of the story is, I’m not superhuman.  Huh. Who knew?  😉

As for Berryman, we’re on for a rematch.  Someday.  When I don’t have a potentially life threatening infection.  As for this weekend, be certain I won’t be traveling too far from the couch.



A New Town Adventure, starring Jen and Lindsey (aka, the Blind and the Blond)

I know I’ve said it before, but some days just Do. Not. Go. According. To. Plan.

Today was one of them. Wow.  It was spectacularly amazing how much today did not go according to plan.  The good news is, I’m in need of a lighthearted post since my last one was pretty heavy.  So this came at just the right time.

The plan was…I would pick up Jen at 6:30 (much to my chagrin) and drive to New Town. We would do a little open water swim practice.  Then the rest of the crew (Justin, Kris, Tony, Steve and another Jen) would show up around 8 and we’d go for a 30ish mile bike, followed by a run.  Kris was suggesting only a couple miles, I was feeling ambitious, so I figured at least 4.  Then I would come home, shower, relax and feel incredibly accomplished for the rest of the day.

Here’s what really happened…

As planned, or relatively close to it, I arrived, coffee in hand, to pick up Jen. She was outside with her gear ready to go, so we put her bike on the rack with mine and away we went.  She was cheery, I was trying not to be grumpy.  The sky was a stunning array of pinks and purples as the orange ball of light rose over 40/64. We were a few minutes behind schedule as we drove north on 270 but everything was going roughly according to plan, until I forgot where I was going for a second and we ended up on Main Street Old St. Charles.  Ummm, oops.

We had been having such a lovely time chatting that I just completely flaked. So, back to 70 and over to 370 and almost there.  My blond moment had set us back some, but Jen took it in stride.  We finally pulled into New Town around 7:40 and made our way towards the lake in the center.  I looked at the other side of the lake and said, “Oh, there’s Tony’s car.”  Yep, all of our friends who were supposed to be waiting for us after the swim, had beaten us there.  Super.  But in all honesty, the time in the car with Jen had been good therapy.  Ya know how sometimes, you feel like you just click with someone?  Jen is one of those people.  The funny thing is we’ve both had this same circle of friends for well over a year, but we just officially met a couple weeks ago.  Today was confirmation that we are supposed to be friends.

After saying hi to the crew, Jen and I began the process of wetsuiting. You thought wetsuit was a noun, didn’t you? I have decided it can be a verb too, because I assure you the act of putting on a wetsuit deserves its own word.  Other than the 4 letter words I associate with it.

The nice lady whose house we happened to be in front of, came to the door to let us know that her sprinklers were headed our way. We appreciated the warning, not that it would have made much difference.  But we were happy she wasn’t yelling at us or turning us into the authorities for trespassing.

Anyway, back to wetsuiting. Lather on Body glide, one foot in, the other foot in, slowly work it up and over the booty.   Somehow Jen managed to get into hers before I was anywhere even close.  Gerry had joined us at New Town this morning, simply to be our stripper.  Wet suit stripper, that is.  He volunteered for the task of helping us remove the wetsuits.  However, his presence proved much more valuable for assistance with the opposite task.  Eventually Jen and Gerry each took a leg and as they worked the neoprene over my knees they lifted me completely off the ground.  Laughing, I grabbed onto their shoulders so I didn’t fall on my head.  I’m sure the two guys in the truck behind us thought the whole scene was hilarious.  Who could blame them?  We were ridiculous.  It was fantastic.

Finally, wetsuits, swim caps and goggles on. We walked over to the water and in we went.  The cycling crew was long gone, but Gerry sat and watched as we sputtered through our first strokes.  We all laughed as I was immediately tangled in seaweed.  Ok, try again, a few strokes in…anxiety attack.  Can’t breathe.  Remain calm and begin again.  We both started to find a rhythm.  Every 100 meters or so, we’d check in to make sure the other was ok and catch our breath.  Then, right back to it.  Somehow we managed to stretch a .6 mile swim into over a mile.  We were a magnificent display of criss-crossing each other’s wake.  We did a virtual high-five from about 10 feet away as we arrived back at our starting point.  And the even better news was that the cyclists weren’t back yet, so at least we didn’t take THAT long. We climbed out of the lake, walked back to the car and removed our wetsuits, which took considerably less time than putting mine on.

We had stashed my car key in Jen’s saddle bag so I unzipped it and unlocked the car. We weren’t practicing a fast transition so we took our time changing into dry cycling gear, pumping tires, putting on cycling shoes/gloves/helmets and having a quick snack.  Jen had stashed a bag of gummy bears in her car yesterday so her boys wouldn’t find them and when she showed me the blob they had melted into, we laughed about the inappropriate form it had taken.

We debated waiting for the group’s return, but ultimately we decided to take off. And I really had to pee.  So we rode over to the little market and Jen stayed with the bikes while I went in and used the ladies room.  It was a miracle I didn’t get lost, because it was about the only time I made it to my destination without an unplanned detour during the entire morning.

When I returned to Jen waiting outside, we mounted the bikes and slowly began making our way out of the neighborhood. I said, “I’m not really sure where I’m going out here.”  Jen responded, “Me neither.  I usually just follow Tony.”  Yeah, that’s what I usually do.  We joked about the blind leading the blind.  Maybe it should have been the blond leading the blind?  Sadly, we got lost several more times just getting out of the neighborhood.  But sometimes getting lost is the best way to figure out where you want to go.  (Take a second and ponder that)

We eventually found our way out onto one of the main roads and in the middle of Jen’s response to my question about her job, I glanced forward and saw that her saddle bag was open.

“Uh, Jen, I don’t want to interrupt but your saddle bag is open and we need to make sure the car key is still in there.”

She came to a screeching stop and we both grabbed for the bag. It’s not there.  She pulled the spare tube out, looked through everything.  Nope.  Not there.

And so began a slow retracing of our route, eyes glued to the other side of the road, scanning for the only key I have to my car.

You want to know what happens to Lindsey in that much stress? I go silent.  A girl who never, ever stops talking when there is someone to talk to, suddenly has no voice at all.  I began praying silently in my head, Please let us find the key…over and over and over.  They were the only words I knew.  About 2 minutes later we ran into the rest of the group.  Oh good, more eyes means a better shot at finding it! Unless…oh no, please don’t let that key have rattled free as we crossed one of the bridges over the lake…

We all rode slowly back into the neighborhood. Jen and Steve (or Justin?  Or both?) rode one way to cover one of our little accidental detours.  I headed back toward the market with Tony and Kris.  I think “other Jen” went a different way.  I wasn’t entirely sure who was where since I was so focused on starring at the ground.

Jen pulled over a couple of guys in a maintenance vehicle and asked if they might have seen a key on the ground. They said to check the market.

We rode back to the corner, back over the cobblestone section of road where I was desperately hoping it would be due to the jarring as we rode over the bumps. Nothing.  Solemnly, we headed down the last stretch toward the cars.  “Please let it be by the car…”

As we arrived at the car and leaned the bikes, Justin had me retrace exactly how we’d done things. Tony and Jen looked through the leaves by the curb, Justin and I started walking back the way we had gone.

Justin and Kris decided to put on running shoes and look for it that way. Great idea!  Too bad my running shoes are locked in the car.

As a last resort, Jen and I rode back over to the market to see if it was there. There was a guy setting up chairs for a wedding.  And just as Jen asked him if he had seen a key, he said, “Yeah, I was trying to yell to you guys, cause I thought you were looking for it.  I took it into the market.”

Oh Thank you Lord!

We affirmed the wedding setter-upper with “Thank you!”, “You are my favorite person EVER!” and “You’re awesome!”

I practically flew off my bike, handed it to Jen and ran into the market, my cycling shoes clicking on the tile floor. I saw the cashier and searched his face as I simply asked, “Car key?”  He said, “Right here” as he reached into a drawer behind the counter.  That market was my beacon in the night today.

As I returned to Jen outside, a wave of relief washed over both of us. We pedaled back to the cars and as soon as everyone was within earshot I let out a loud “Woohoo!”  We heard their return cheer echo in the distance.

I looked at Jen and said, “Should we quit while we’re ahead?” She said emphatically, “Yes!”

Most lame training ride ever. We covered about 6 miles in an hour.

Justin and Kris were headed out for a run, so we traded our cycling shoes for running shoes, ditched our helmets and locked the bikes back to the car.

I firmly clutched the car key in my hand as we began running, trying to catch up with them. Again, we weren’t entirely sure where they were or where we were going.  They said a loop around the lake, right? Sure.  A mile or so later, we were back at the cars having gone around the lake, and never finding them.  Hmmm…

And then we saw them coming toward us. They were shooting for 2 miles so we joined them for a little back and forth on the road where we were parked .  Well, at least this way we can’t get lost.  Or if we lose the key again, we won’t have much ground to cover to look for it.  In the future, Tony has been assigned the task of marking the bike course with chalk.  And I am accepting applications for a “Key Master”.

Jen and I finished the day at just over a mile swim, about 6.5 on the bike and just under a 2 mile run. Not even 10 miles in total. But we had done a mini-tri, practiced transitions (sort of), held a scavenger hunt and had quite an adventure.  Most importantly, we had gotten in a practice swim in the wetsuit.  And we bonded.

As we drove out of New Town, I yelled out the window to our friends, “Maybe you should follow us out of here so we don’t get lost again.” They all laughed.  And then Jen said, “It’s funny but it’s true.”  And we laughed again.  We did beat them out of New Town.  It was the only thing we won at today.

As we drove home, we resumed our continual chatter. During the run, Jen had continued the story I cut short upon noticing the open saddle bag.  And our conversation went into deeper topics.  I still can’t believe I haven’t known this girl my entire life.  As I turned into her neighborhood, and onto our street, I was a little sad that our morning was over.  We hadn’t really done what we set out to do, but I know I got so much more out of it than I ever could have imagined.

Then I drove the mile back to my house, sat my nasty self on the couch and ate a bag of goldfish crackers. I don’t mean a handful.  I mean I opened a brand new bag and ate every last morsel of that flavor blasted goodness.  Hey, better to drown my frustrations in goldfish than calling up Gerry to see if he has any more of the Tequila left that I kept refusing last night.

While our workout today left me feeling like a huge embarrassing failure, the time I had with Jen was priceless. And I can’t thank that group of people enough for sticking it out today until everything was under control.  I have my second 70.3 next weekend to prove myself as an athlete.  And I’m so glad that most of the folks from this morning will be out on that course with me.  Justin, Kris, Steve and Jen are all after their A race for 2014.  Other Jen is on a relay team.  Hopefully, Tony will come out and take some stellar pictures of us since he isn’t registered.  For me, it’ll just be another day at the office as I use it as a big training day in prep for Arizona.  I can’t think of a better way to spend next Sunday than having a “do-over” of today.  But even if I had known what was in store for today when my alarm went off at 5:45 this morning, I wouldn’t do this “Triathlon of emotions” any differently.

PS-Justin, I think I’ll head over to the Hyundai dealership right now to have a second key made.


Jen and RRG, aka the Blind and the Blond

Jen and RRG, aka the Blind and the Blond


Grand Intentions

If you read my last post, you know that I spent the past few days in Michigan with my kiddos visiting Mama J.  As we left town on Monday, I had grand intentions of getting up early every day to swim in Lake Michigan to ensure that I’ll be a pro for the open water swim at Racine.  However, intentions are what we make of them.  Due to an arrival time of 4am (Thanks to Diet Mountain Dew and Jason Mraz), I didn’t manage to crawl out of bed until about 10am on Tuesday, which I still thought was fairly respectable.  The kids had slept the entire drive, so they were up early and ready to go.  Grandma hauled them all off to the beach to let me keep sleeping.  That was the day that swimming in the lake would have been ideal…I repeat, would have.  There was a haze in the air and the water was like glass.  But sadly, I let the opportunity slip away.

On Wednesday morning, I went off for a long-ish run down the lake road that I love so much.  I didn’t intend to go far, but I felt good, and that road has the capability of drawing me farther and farther along, so I let it.  Running out of water on a humid day, meant it was a good time to call it quits.  I considered jumping in the lake for a quick swim, but I got back to the homefront later than I planned, my mom had somewhere to be and the wind was really picking up, so I decided to wait thinking the next day might be better.

By Thursday, the wind was whipping and the waves were rolling.  Fun to play in, but swim?  Not so much.  Ugh.  What to do?  I really wanted to post this blog and brag about my impressive feats, like saying I had managed a full mile, or two even, in the open water waves.  But, Alas, I cannot.

So, let’s talk about highlights of the week.  Tuesday night we swung by Nancy’s and grabbed milkshakes to take with us to the beach for a fantastically amazing show of a sunset.  We lucked out with that one, because earlier in the day it stormed and we weren’t sure we’d see the sun again.  But New Buffalo came through for us, the clouds moved on by and we got our sunset.

We pretty much started and ended the trip at the best burger joint in the world.  Redamak’s.  A Jacobs tradition since 1975, give or take.  I had my usual. Both times.

But here’s my biggest highlight…walking on the beach with my kiddos.  On Wednesday, Ethan crashed on the couch right as I was offering a walk to anyone who wanted to go.  Ally and Silas were my takers, Ma offered to stay with Ethan.  So, picture this…LJ strolling down the beach, looking like a total hoosh (For my non-St. Louis friends, that’s short for Hoosier, which is the equivalent to Kirksville’s “cricker” or in Michigan we go with straight up “white trash”).  Yeah, so, I’m meandering down the beach in my cut-off jeans that I’ve had since college (literally) and a wife beater style tank.  In classic Lindsey fashion, a visor covered my hair, which had gone unwashed for a few days.  Random side note: The other day I got a text from Diana declaring that she had gone almost a full week.  Dang!  She broke my record.  Now the challenge is on!  I’m pretty sure I’ve got this in the bag since if you’ve known me for more than say, 5 minutes, you know how I put off washing my hair.  And this new messy hair look that’s in, just go ahead and ask me how much I love that?!  I can rock a pony-tail or a messy bun like nobody’s business.  Throwing on a visor earns me at least another couple days, right?

Ok, back on topic…so cruising down the beach, looking really classy.  We were picking up beach glass and cool rocks.  Silas had a collection of odds and ends, mostly sticks.  Just as we got back to the public beach, I stopped and faced the water.  I held my arms out like I was flying and closed my eyes.  Ally asked me what I was doing.  I said, “I’m feeling the wind”.  I stood there, eyes still closed, listening to the sound of the waves crashing and the seagulls calling.  Feeling the spray of the waves, the sand between my toes, the sun on my cheeks and just feeling the wind.  Feeling the wind reminds me to enjoy being alive.  It reminds me to feel everything.  The good, the bad, and everything in between.  This is kinda like that thing I do when I run down hills with my eyes closed, but not as likely to send me to the ER.

Fast forward to Thursday, another walk on the beach, this time all 5 of us.  The kids knew I planned to swim and they really wanted to see me get out there.  I wasn’t sure it was going to happen, so we were talking about it.  Silas asked why I wasn’t swimming.  I was whining about how cold it would be, and being afraid because the waves were so big, and blah, blah, blah.  I grew up swimming in Lake Michigan, so when did I turn into such a wuss?  Silas kept at it.  I mentioned something about fear of the unknown.  And then he reminded me of the time I swam out to try and retrieve a raft that had blown into the lake.  As we sat in our beach chairs, some woman approached us and said, “Umm, isn’t that your raft out there?”  I looked from her, to the raft, to my brother and simply asked, “You or me?”  I shouldn’t have asked.  I lost.  I swam out, way out; so far that my kids freaked because they couldn’t see me so they sent Uncle Adam out on the boogie board to get me.  I made a valiant effort.  I went about halfway to Chicago (ok, not really) only to give up on the $2 raft that definitely wasn’t worth my life.  So, swimming in Lake Michigan wasn’t really the unknown, but it was still a little scary because now I should know what I’m doing, even though I’m not convinced I do.  The unknown part actually has more to do with what lies ahead in Racine.  But, I’ve faced the unknown enough in the past years that I know I’m brave enough to do it.

When we returned from our walk, I stripped off my t-shirt and shorts, grabbed my goggles and Garmin and set out into the waves.  The temperature was surprisingly perfect.  The waves, on the other hand, were ultra-ridiculous.  I set off toward a buoy. Just as I would start to get into a rhythm, a wave would splash me in the face and send me gasping for air.  I regained my composure, I can do this.  A few more strokes, I’ve got this. Practice sighting, wave in the face, choking on water.  And so it went.  Swim, breathe, swim, gasp, swim, coughing fit.  I managed a whole, whopping…wait for it…quarter of a mile.  That’s all.  3 days at the beach with a half Ironman coming up and that’s all I’ve got.  Weak.  But, in my defense, the yellow flags were up and we saw the rescue team out, so it’s probably better that I made the smart choice and called it quits.

I guess what it comes down to is this…Intentions are good, they give us purpose, they give us something to shoot for.  But, whether it’s sports or life, we need to keep in mind that even with the best intentions, things won’t always work out the way we’ve planned and there could be something else in store.  Sometimes, you have to know when to suck it up and be courageous (sometimes you have to know when to be safe and smart) and sometimes it’s ok to just stop and feel the wind.

As we enter into the final week leading up to Racine, I don’t have any delusions that I’m gonna rock out some outstanding time next Sunday. I’m really just hoping to cross the finish line within the 8.5 hours allowed to make it official, claim my medal and then slap that 70.3 sticker on the back of the Pathfinder.  I’m going to spend the weekend with my friends and attempt something amazing.  My only intentions are to be courageous and to remember to feel the wind.  I think those intentions are realistic, but they’re also pretty grand.

Yep, I still like to write my name in the sand

Yep, I still like to write my name in the sand

Ode to Mayberry

It’s funny that I consider myself a city girl at heart, when I really could not imagine a more perfect setting for my run this morning than Mayberry USA.  It’s the 4th of July, Independence Day, and I’m spending it with my kids in the town that I spent so many of the Christmases and Thanksgivings and 4ths of July of my childhood.

Quincy, IL is nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River, just across from Hannibal, MO, home of Mark Twain.  It’s about halfway between St. Louis and Chicago, so it’s one of those rare places where Cubs and Cardinals fans can set aside their differences, focus on their mutual love of baseball and actually be friends.  This is a town where people decorate their houses for the holiday like it’s their patriotic duty, large flags flying and small flags stuck in the ground lining the sidewalks.

As I set off on my run this morning, I wasn’t really sure how far I would end up going.  I was hoping for 6, but I wasn’t sure if my hip would let me go more than 3 or 4.  It’s still giving me trouble and I’m just hanging on to hope that it will hold out another couple weeks to get me through that half marathon at the end of Racine 70.3.

I left my Grandma’s house and headed west on Payson Road over to 24th street.  I turned north at Niemann’s Horse Farm, which holds a secure spot in my earliest memories of this place. I ran past the entrance to my Aunt and Uncle’s neighborhood and I waved hello to a man driving a tractor down the road.  I ran past homes with freshly painted porches and manicured lawns, well maintained, showing the pride these folks have in the lives that they’ve built here.   I continued north on 24th all the way to Maine St.  That’s right, Maine, with an ‘e’.  As I stood at the corner of 24th and Maine, waiting for the traffic to clear, I nodded hello at a couple cyclists and I smiled at the driver of an old-school Ford as he cruised on by.

I ran west down tree lined Maine, past all the old mansions, toward the heart of downtown and the river.  At some points the brick sidewalk showed the age of the town, you could see how the roots of the huge trees had grown over the years, breaking the bricks and rippling the sidewalk.  It got a little treacherous, but it was well worth it for the nostalgia of the day.  I thought of our trip out to Camp Point last summer to see all the sights of where my dad had lived in his earliest years before the Jacobs clan came to Quincy.  My Uncle Tim drove us out there last year for the Camp Point 4th of July parade (be careful not to blink or you might miss the whole thing).  We went by the cemetery to pay homage to my Grandpa Wayne who fought with the Navy in World War II and my Great-Grandpa Issac who fought with the Army in World War I.  We drove past my Great-Grandma Winnie’s little pink house…or where it used to stand anyway.  We stopped by the park and got root beer floats and elephant ears, at 10am.  Breakfast of champions.

I snapped back to present day when I got to 12th street.  I briefly considered turning right and bailing on my run with a stop at Maid-rite, but instead I went left and headed back in the direction of my Grandma’s house, knowing that my kids were probably chomping at the bit to get over to swim with my cousins.  They adore my cousin Jerrison, who is the youngest of 3 boys my Aunt Jane and Uncle Tim adopted from Haiti a few years ago and is the same age as Ally.  I ran down 12th, past the Governor John Woods mansion on my left, and Mr. Bill’s Bar and Grill to my right.  I ran to South Park, established 1895.  I ran on 12th until it turns into Cherry Lane and leads back to 24th. I ran over the Curved Creek bridge and up the hill by Niemann’s, past the long white fence lined with American flags flapping in the breeze.

At this point I realized I was going to top out just shy of 8 miles for the day. I guess there is something to be said for sentimentality carrying me through and over-riding the pain.  The sun was high and it was warming up, I probably should have brought water (I usually try to practice what I preach with this one).  I started wondering if I should have headed out on the bike before my run this morning since I need more practice with transitions.  I did get in a decent brick workout yesterday, a ride out through the country roads with surprisingly more rolling hills than I would have thought, followed by a short run.  But today, was about getting back to being who I am.  Before I was a triathlete, I was a runner.  Even before that though, I was a Jacobs.  That’s the thing I really love about being here in Quincy.  Even time I come back, I am always reminded of who I am.  And even with all my baggage and goofiness and geekiness, here I am completely 100% comfortable with all of my weirdness.  That’s the thing about the Jacobs family; we’re all about the more the merrier.  We quote lines from the National Lampoon Vacation movies.  We help each other.  We love baseball.  We share stories about the good old days.  We take a lot of pleasure in the over-the-top fireworks display that my Uncle Jerry puts on.  We take naps on Norma’s couch and we cheer on our beloved Cubs without fear of ridicule.  We eat a lot.  We put together jigsaw puzzles and watch reruns of Andy Griffith and Cheers.  We’re not extravagant, we just are who we are.  We’re loyal.  We’re accepting. We’re not perfect, but we love without judgment.  We find comfort in family and traditions, and we know how to celebrate life without holding back.

I used to declare that I’m not sentimental, because I don’t keep a lot of “stuff”, but today proved that might not be entirely accurate.  Maybe I don’t keep the “stuff” but I keep the memories and I remember the traditions, and that’s what really matters.  Being a Jacobs is near and dear to my heart.  I’m proud to be who I am, and I’m proud of where I came from.  And obviously, I’m not completely averse to keeping the “stuff” because my Great-Grandpa Issac that I mentioned earlier…well, his old trunk from when he headed off to the war has found a home in my living room.

Yesterday I got this picture of my niece from my brother, with the caption: It’s like she wakes up every day and says…what is something awesome I can do today?

Brooke Love Jacobs...being awesome

Brooke Love Jacobs…being awesome

My text back to him was: Well, duh.  She’s a Jacobs.  Would you expect anything else?!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a burger and some strawberry pie to eat before we head off to a small town baseball game and fireworks.

Happy 4th everyone!  I hope you are all enjoying your families today, as much as I am enjoying mine. And I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to say a heartfelt thanks to those who have given their lives and fight for the freedoms that we enjoy and celebrate on this day.  Thank you and God Bless America!

Mama J and RRG having breakfast in Camp Point, IL 7/4/12

Hot Mess

Last weekend I spent approximately 82 hours in a 15 passenger van with my Ragnar team, Hot Mess.  We drove to Madison on Thursday, where we started a 200 mile race on Friday, ending in Chicago on Saturday evening.  It was crazy.  It was a hot mess.  It was…absolutely fantastic.  So much so, that after taking our time leaving Chicago on Sunday afternoon to drive back down 55 south, we still weren’t ready to part ways.  Half of us went to Uncle Bill’s Pancake House to grab dinner.  We milked the weekend for every moment.  I sat at Uncle Bill’s nursing a lukewarm cup of coffee, with a half-eaten pancake in front of me for over half an hour, telling our waitress that I was “still working on it” just to keep my teammates there a little bit longer.

The basic concept of a relay is Run, Eat, Try to sleep, Laugh your ass off, Repeat.  This was my second relay of the year but a completely different team running a completely different course means a completely different experience.  One is not necessarily better than the other, just different.  As a side note, my two teams have been the Smokin’ Aces and the Hot Mess.  So, when I’m not with the rest of the Aces or the rest of the Mess, what am I left with?  I’m just Smokin’ Hot.  Haha.

Anyway, I was saying, a different experience.  We ran country roads, neighborhoods, trails, city streets, you name it. This team was comprised of almost entirely St. Louis folk, with the exception of Tom, who we picked up in Madison on Friday morning.  It was a nice balance of some friends that I know relatively well and others that I just met on this trip.  We had quite a mix of personalities, which certainly keeps things interesting.  I believe that people come into our lives for a reason and that we can learn something from every person who does so.  I definitely learned some things this past weekend, and I’m not just referring to the education I received on the definition of “glory hole” or how to jimmy-rig a Garmin strap with a safety pin or that there is a right way and a very wrong way to climb up on top of a van.

You’ll find that on a team, there is always someone handing you a beverage at the end of your leg…or I should say, almost always.  We’re still apologizing to Wes for not being out there to cheer him in at 5am. There’s always someone to give you a hug when you need it or to “fluff” you as you get ready to run.  Someone might even read you a bedtime story.   Or offer to spoon you.  And the laughs just keep on comin’.  Especially when you run into Napoleon Dynamite on a bike.

I have come to the conclusion, that no matter how different we are, people are all inherently the same on the inside.  We all share the same basic need that comes down to being accepted.  To know that each of us is enough…just as we are.  Even with our own hot mess going on.  Even with our own individual quirks.  And believe me, any time you put 11 people in a van together, you’re going to discover each other’s quirks. (Hopefully I didn’t drive anyone too crazy with my tendency to recite movie lines incessantly) But you’re also going to discover a lot of good things about each other too.

You learn that people are willing to step up and take one for the team, even when they’re tired or hurting.  Like Gerry running part of Mark’s leg with him in the heat of the day, after he had just finished his own leg. Like people who are willing to stay awake and drive or navigate in the wee hours of darkness.   Like people who are willing to run an extra leg, or maybe two.

Friday afternoon, as we drove along the route, we noticed a distressed runner struggling in the heat.  We quickly pulled over to help her.  Despite the fact that she was stumbling along the road, she refused to give up. The heart wants what it wants and she insisted on finishing.  Also despite the fact that Dan was supposed to run the next leg, he was the first one out of the van to help her.  Wes drove up to the next exchange to find her team.  Kris gave her water and Gatorade, while John tried to get a cell signal to call the Ragnar folks. A few of us basically carried her along the route to where the ambulance was waiting for her because she absolutely refused to stop.  I’m glad to report we saw Angela later the next day.  She had been released from the hospital to rejoin her team, but wasn’t allowed to run anymore of the race.  Apparently, she had not been informed that she wasn’t supposed to exercise in the sun while she was on her new meds.  It was about 80 degrees and sunny when we found her on that country road where there was no shade.  A runner is a runner, and even though we compete against one another, we ultimately know when to put the competition on hold to help one another.

Re-entering reality over the past couple days has been tough.  I’ve been in a funk since I got home late Sunday night, as I know several of my teammates have also been.  We’ve all got a bad case of the post-race blues.  I love racing.  But sadly, racing doesn’t love me back.  It breaks up with me every time.  It waits until I am riding the high and then it says, “Lindsey, it’s over between us.”  And then I find myself feeling empty and alone.  The thing that has been my focus is now gone. It was better than I expected, but now it’s behind me and I can’t go back.  For me, this was a unique experience.  I got to run the final leg into Chicago, the city that I love and will possibly always consider home.  I say it all the time, you can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the girl.  I’ve been back to Chicago several times since moving to St. Louis, but this was the first time that I didn’t see a single person from my life when I lived there.  As I ran that final leg into Montrose Harbor, I listened to Fun sing through my yurbuds, “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground”.  Which is exactly what I was doing.  It’s time to let go of my life in Chicago.  It’s time to let go and focus on the next chapter.  It’s time to just let go…

And you know what they say…if you love something, let it go.  I can’t go back to my life in Chicago because that’s just the way it is, but I know running will come back to me, it always does.  And I will be woo-ed to race again.  See you soon, Racine.

A final note to my Hot Mess teammates:

Thank you to Shalini for having this idea.  And for being persistent enough to follow through, no matter what!  Thank you to Wes for immediately inviting me to be a part of this Hot Mess.

Thank you to Dan, Gerry, John, John Vega, Kris, Mark, Shane and Tom for coming on board and being a part of this experience.  I can’t imagine a single second of the Ragnar Chicago weekend without any of you.

Thank you to all of you for accepting this hot mess, otherwise known as Rambling Runner Girl.  I could not be more proud to be a Hot Mess! Lots of hugs to all of you, and remember…if the van’s not rocking, we’re probably spooning.

PS-I’ve noticed that my big toe on my right foot has been numb since Sunday.  Does anyone know if this is a side effect of roofies?

Hot Mess, Ragnar Madison to Chicago 2013

Hot Mess, Ragnar Madison to Chicago 2013




The Cranberry Conundrum

Disclaimer:  I am a runner.  Runners are gross.  We talk about things like poop.  If you have a weak stomach, I recommend that you not read this particular post.  However, if you feel so inclined to read about my bodily functions, I guarantee you will be rewarded with laughter that may make you fall on the floor.

Stop now or read on. It’s your choice. You’ve been warned.

It’s appropriate that in a couple days I will join my Ragnar team “Hot Mess” for our highly anticipated relay from Madison to Chicago this weekend, because hot mess accurately describes me as I will be portrayed in this post.  On Sunday, I met up with my Hot Mess teammate, Shane, at Forest Park for a 6 mile run.  On Monday, I planned to do a brick for my Half-Ironman training.  I was hoping to ride at least 25 miles and then run as much as I could before I had to get showered and in to work.

When I woke up Monday morning, I was feeling a little iffy, so I slept a bit longer.  And later, while I ate my bagel with peanut butter, I grabbed some cranberry pills to alleviate what I suspected to be a UTI that was causing my discomfort.  I finally managed to get out on the bike and got in my 25 miles.  I was feeling great!  No flats, no wipeouts.  Awesome.

I dropped off my bike at home, did a quick change into my running gear and despite the fact that I know better, I ate my Honey Stinger Cherry-cola flavored Chews during the transition.  I know, I know…we’re always supposed to take nutritionals at the end of the bike so that our bodies have time to adjust to a new activity before we add that stress.  For whatever reason, I thought I was fine.  And I quickly set off on my run.  A mile in, I couldn’t believe I was feeling so good and holding near marathon pace.  And then, on the paved trails of Wildwood, disaster struck.  My stomach started to cramp.  I figured that’s normal with a brick, especially since I made the mistake of the transitional nutritional.  So I forced myself to suck it up and keep going, despite my slightly slowed pace.

I managed to get to the intersection of Manchester and 109, which would give me almost exactly 5 miles as an out and back.  Perfect.  I began the 2.5 miles back to the house…my stomach pain increasing, my pace slowing, my sanity wavering.  I started to question how I would be able to accomplish 70.3 if I couldn’t even manage a 5 mile run after a 25 mile bike ride.  I didn’t even swim first!  GAH!

Fortunately, I had water, I continued to hydrate.  I remember seeing a couple of Wildwood police cars communing in a neighborhood and since I was beginning to get concerned about getting to work on time, I contemplated asking them to drive me home.  I thought to myself, “Oh seriously, Lindsey, you are being dramatic.  Just finish the run.”

I made it to the Mobile station a mile from my house.  I stopped for more water.  More to have a reason to walk for a moment than an actual need for more water, but the ice tasted good.  I briefly considered going to the bathroom at Mobile, but decided I could make it home to the comfort of my own commode.

I started that last long mile.  I ran, or perhaps shuffled is a better word, past the neighborhood clubhouse where the pool was starting to fill up with moms and kids and the Lake Chesterfield retirees.  Stop?  Yes. No.  What to do?  I can make it.  I just want to be home.  I walked.  I tried to run.  I hunched over in fetal position.  I thought about crawling.  Any runner who has ever experienced the desperation of seeking a bathroom, a port-o-potty, a bush, anything, knows exactly how much I wanted to cry right there on the sidewalk.  I usually run up the hill to my street, rather than taking the path by the lake to my back door, but this time I just needed the shortest possible route.  I could see my house.  Almost there.  Almost. Almost…

Big Sigh.

So close.  And yet, so far away.  I will not go into all the details of how it went down, but sadly, it went down.  Oh, yes, it happened.  Every runner’s worst fear.

I managed to get myself showered and I got to work right at the stroke of 4.  I was shoving any food I could find in my face.  I was starving.  I had a Gu Brew Recovery drink.  I wanted to lay down and die, but since it was only me and Katrina closing the store, I pulled it together for the massive rush of Chesterfieldians that all conspired to descend upon FLEET FEET in the last hours of the day.  It was the Lindsey and Katrina show as we jogged through the store supplying customers with all they needed for their running endeavors, while providing entertainment at the same time, as the line grew increasingly longer.  I’m pretty sure we did about half the store’s business in that last hour of the day.  We were spectacular.

I came home and crashed.  I stopped at Dierberg’s on the way for some dinner.  Then I spent the rest of the night on my couch, drinking Gatorade and watching Desiree decide who stays and who goes.

And now you get the punch line to the story.  This evening, as I was cleaning up the dinner dishes, I saw the cranberry pills sitting on the counter and popped a few more out of the package.  As I looked for my water bottle to take them, I glanced at the pink pills in my palm.  Wait a second…something isn’t right.  I grabbed the package.  Flipped it over.  And saw the words…Women’s Laxative.

OMG.  No way did I actually do that.  Before a 25 mile bike ride and a 5 mile run, I took not one, not two but THREE laxatives.  I don’t even know why I had those in my house, because let’s face it, I’m a runner who drinks a lot of coffee, I NEVER need them.

After my disbelief wore off at the sheer misery I had caused myself, I found myself experiencing jubilance in the realization that I might actually be able to make it through 70.3 without dying. I started laughing at myself.  I started laughing so hard that if I wasn’t completely dehydrated, I would probably have cried actual tears.  The laughter made up for the severe pain I was in only 24 hours ago.  Laughter has a way of doing that.

And after all, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what can ya do?

Can you tell the difference?  I guarantee I will never confuse these ever again!

Can you tell the difference? I guarantee I will never confuse these ever again!


Finding a Rhythm

Is it just me or does it sometimes feel like it takes a while to fall into a rhythm?

On Saturday, I put on my wetsuit for the first time since purchasing it in January, and I attempted my first open water swim of the season.  Coincidentally, it was also my first swim ever in a wetsuit.  I’ve been certified for Scuba for several years, but that doesn’t really count as “swimming” in a wetsuit.  This was a new experience.  The wetsuit is tight and restrictive and makes it somewhat more difficult to breathe and move one’s arms.  In addition to the fact that the water is murky and there are no lane lines to follow so swimming straight becomes another challenge.  The goal is to work on “sighting” the big orange buoy that you’re headed toward.  However, on the way to the first buoy on Saturday, my goal was to not drown.  With the buoyancy of my Quintana Roo Ultrafull that might have been nearly impossible, but if anyone is capable of giving it a good shot, it’s me.  My first couple hundred meters were ug-ly, but eventually I started to remember things like keeping my head down, breathe when I need to, slow down and relax which ultimately helped me find a rhythm…sort of.  I managed to get through almost 2 full loops of the .62 mile course.  Not too shabby for my first time out there.  However, now I’m even more terrified of the fact that I have less than 2 months until I have to do that in Lake Michigan.  Yikes.

After the swim, I ditched my wetsuit when I found a bunch of my tri-peeps and we hopped on the bikes for a nice flat ride in Newtown.  Tracy and I got to catch up on all sorts of topics while we rode, until we saw lightening and we quickly decided it was time to bail.  No wipe outs for me in our 20ish miles…success!  We got a little wet as we tried to race the rain, and we got stuck waiting for a train to pass.  Again, rhythm still somewhat eluded me, but at least we managed a solid brick workout before a fun night of breaking in the party deck at my house.

This was a rare weekend that my brother happened to be back in Michigan visiting my mom.  Since I had to work until 5 on Sunday, it’s a 6 hour drive each way and I had to be back to reclaim custody of my kiddos early this morning, I wasn’t sure how to swing the possibility of getting up there to see him.  But, as I thought about all the times in our lives that our parents had driven 1, 2, 10, even 16 hours to watch either of us participate in our various sporting events for a couple hours, only to turn around and drive all the way home, it suddenly became a no-brainer.  Seriously, one time when I was in college, my parents drove through the night from Michigan to Atlanta, slept a couple hours in their van, watched my team row on Lake Lanier and then turned around and drove straight home to get my dad back for a meeting.  I heard my dad’s voice echo in my head saying, “It was crazy but I’m glad we did it.”

And thus, on Sunday, upon leaving work, I embarked on the 350 mile drive to Exit 1 off of highway 94 in the mitten.  I grabbed a quick coffee and ham sandwich at Starbucks so I would only have to make a short pit stop while filling up the Pathfinder.  I passed the miles belting out the lyrics to my all-time favorite stage show, Les Miserables.  At exactly midnight, I pulled into a South Cove guest parking spot.  As soon as my brother heard the buzzer at my mom’s condo, he knew it was me.

Monday was Memorial Day.  And while I very much appreciate the service of those who have fought for and given their lives for our country, I was also spending the day reflecting on my own memories.  Mom started pulling out various boxes for AJ and I to go through.  Old school papers, a journal my dad had given me when I graduated from High School, AJ’s old sports gear, my old softball uniform and my prom dresses.  It goes on and on…

Eventually, I made my way out into the blustery Michigan weather for a run.  What better way to celebrate Memorial Day than a run down memory lane?  As soon as I started I thought of James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams saying, “The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces”.  I thought it was a hazy mist, but it was more than that, it was my memories thick in the air.  A little over 30 years ago, Al and Kris Jacobs stumbled onto a little beach town known as New Buffalo and the adjoining town of Union Pier nestled down the road.  They spent nearly every summer there with their children.  Eventually, they bought a place right on the harbor.

When I hit start on my Garmin, I overlooked the grassy knoll where my dad had walked me down a makeshift aisle to give me away at my wedding, which is the same grassy knoll my kids love to fish and kayak from.  I ran up the hill, over the bridge to the beach, where as a child I dug countless holes in the sand with my brother and where I spent endless hours drifting in the waves with my sister, singing Madonna songs, while we all laughed at my dad falling asleep under the umbrella listening to the static of the AM radio trying to catch a Cubs score.  As I ran up Marquette road, I passed the start line of the Bison Stampede 5K, the last race I ever ran with my dad.  I continued on Marquette, what we had dubbed “the lake road” so many years ago, past Camp Sokol, Sturgeon Beach and Apple Lane.  Where Marquette ends into Lakeside, I made a left.  I hadn’t really planned to go any farther, but I felt pulled to keep going.  I ran along the road that I had walked with my dad as a little girl to get donuts at Ramberg’s Bakery for breakfast.  Eventually, I came to a sign that read Gintara’s.  I stood at the entrance of the resort, staring down the driveway.  I remembered playing tennis on the courts there with my sister.  I could see the main house where we went to check in so many consecutive summers.  I knew it was there, even though I couldn’t see the “Boathouse” down the staircase that we had packed our family of 5 into for sticky summer nights, sleeping on blow up rafts, playing Scrabble and never quite being free from sand in our toes. I could see the big cottage that we had rented a handful of times with groups of neighbors and friends, the Lundbergs, the Coltons, the Simms, the Gardners, the Cirannas and my high school girlfriends.  It was just over 4 miles from my mom’s condo to Gintara’s.  I stood there for a moment, taking in the smell of Honeysuckle, before turning and heading back the way I had just come.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve run that stretch, whether for a nice easy run or in training for a marathon or anything in between.

It’s still amazing to me that every time I run that road, there is a new house going up; but there are still so many familiar homes that have been a part of every journey along that stretch, now just a little more weathered than they were years ago.  Always changing, and always staying the same.  By the last couple miles, I was cruising, flying along the blacktop like I had found my rhythm.  And then, in the distance, I saw two people running toward me.  The taller, goofy one started leaping through the air throwing his arms out in front of himself.  I gradually slowed my pace and fell in line with my brother and sister in law.  We wound between the houses, down a long staircase and onto the beach, where our pace ultimately slowed to a walk as we scanned the sand for beach glass.  It was a perfect way to finish that run.

And it reminded me, sometimes, finding your rhythm doesn’t mean going along at exactly the same pace all the time.  Sometimes it means going fast when you feel like you can, other times it means slowing down because you need to catch your breath.  It’s about knowing when and how you need to change it. Life can go zooming by if we let it, if we get too focused on being in a rhythm.

When I had to stop at the first buoy of my inaugural wetsuit swim to regain my composure, Annie swam by and checked on me.  If I’d had rhythm, I would have missed that.  When the train stopped us on our bike ride, Tracy and I dismounted and laughed about the comfort of bike seats (or lack thereof).  If I’d kept my pace to finish out a solid 8 miler on Lake Michigan, I would have missed that walk on the beach with AJ and Simy.  Life is about so much more than getting in a groove and coasting along.  It’s about appreciating all the little things that force us to change up our pace.

Driving 350 miles for a mile walk on the beach, a burger at Redamak’s and hugs from my family…well, as my dad would say, “It was crazy, but I’m glad I did it.”

Now that’s my kind of rhythm.

RRG and Tracy at the end of Saturday's ride

RRG and Tracy at the end of Saturday’s ride


Me and Steve and Steve’s Mom

Last weekend I spent 3 days basking in the glorious beauty of Vancouver, British Columbia with Steve and his mom, Dee.  It’s really too bad that Steve and I can’t get married because I can’t imagine a more perfect mother-in-law than Dee.  But given the circumstances, Steve will continue to be the main man in my life as my training buddy, my movie partner, and the Will to my Grace; and at least I get to be an honorary member of the Carrell family.  I really wouldn’t have it any other way.  We went to Capilano to cross the giant suspension bridge and play among the treetops of the rain forest.  We sat outside on the patio to have dinner at Water St. Café, overlooking the old Steam clock in Gastown.  We went up to the observation deck of the sightseeing tower and made a friend named Carl from Toronto.  We took the water taxi across the harbor to Granville Island for a tour of the market, some gelato and enjoyed the view while listening to live music.  We ate a variety of cuisines, including Japanese, Italian, Thai and Freshii burritos.  We briefly considered trying the Japadog street vendor, but ultimately decided better of it. We talked about taking a seaplane to Saskatchewan. (Or I did anyway, just because that’s fun to say.  Go on, say it.  It’s fun, right?)  We had absolutely perfect weather for our travels.  Not once did I have to pull out the umbrella I had tucked into my suitcase.

Oh, and I happened to run a marathon while we were there.  Every marathon has a story.  Vancouver 2013 was certainly no exception.

Frequently in life, you have to take the image that you’ve conjured up in your mind of how things are “supposed to be” and chuck it right out the window.  Once you do that, you are finally free to enjoy life.  I didn’t get married thinking, “Wow, maybe one day I’ll end up a divorced, single mom.  Won’t that be great?!”  Likewise, I didn’t go out to Vancouver last Friday thinking I wouldn’t BQ, PR, cross the finish line, whatever.  I had specific ideas of how that race was supposed to go.  But sometimes we have to come to the realization that Plan A isn’t working out.  So we skip to Plan B.  And eventually we end up on Plan Q.  But when we accept that maybe that was the best plan all along, things tend to go a little smoother.

Steve got to see me at the beginning of the Vancouver marathon, as he generously volunteered to escort me to the start to act as cheerleader, photographer, gear gatherer and just general brains of the operation since mine was preoccupied.  Steve can now tell you a little known fact about Lindsey…the only time I actually stop talking is when I’m nervous.  Sunday morning, I was nervous.  I was scared of the unknown.  I didn’t know if the race would go the way I wanted it too.  I was prepared for it to be hard, and I knew it was going to hurt, but I didn’t know how much.   But sometimes we just have to take that leap of faith down the path in front of us, and adapt to the twists, turns, hills and hurts as we go along, rather than having an expectation of how it “should” be.

The Vancouver marathon course was ultimately not the place for me to accomplish all the running goals that I’ve set for myself.  I didn’t hit the numbers I wanted to.  That was, without question, the hardest full marathon course I have ever encountered.  My St. Louis friends will understand what I mean when I say that Vancouver was like Baja on steroids.  And I did it on a record hot day in Canada.  I believe the high spiked to 80+ degrees on Sunday, which was especially weird since our flight out of Minneapolis was delayed on Friday due to de-icing during a blizzard.  I’ve come to the conclusion that Canada hates me.  At least as far as marathon weather is concerned.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, Quebec + Hurricane Irene = cancelled race; Vancouver + Heat wave = time killer.  It seems I can’t catch a break.  But as I’ve already come to learn with running, you can’t do anything about the weather, you just have to suck it up.  And remember to be smart.  Which is exactly what I did.

And by being smart, I don’t just mean paying attention to pace and not going out to fast…which I kind of did anyway despite my best efforts not to.  I also don’t mean the fact that I paid very close attention to staying hydrated and cooling off however I could.  Special thanks to the two guys in their yards with the garden hoses going and the girl with the spray bottle somewhere between mile 21 and mile 25.  That part of the race is a little hazy.

Being smart partly meant drawing energy from all the other runners in my life.  When a girl with an amazing voice sang the Canadian national anthem, I thought of Marxkors singing her own rendition to honor me in her bathroom at 5:30 in the morning.  As I weaved through the streets of Vancouver, I could hear Ken’s voice telling me, “Run the tangents, Girl”.  Every time I pulled a Gu out of my spybelt I thought of Faith as I read the labels she had printed up for me, that read things like, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”.  When I saw a girl in my same red Riders, I thought of Nicole finishing up her marathon in Cincinnati.  When Nicky Minaj’s Starships came on my ipod, I thought of my Fleet Feet girrrrlz…Liz, Jess, Faith, Katrina.  When I wanted nothing more than to quit running all together and walk it out, I heard Jake saying “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other”.   I also realized when I tried to smile in order to numb the pain, that Jake is totally full of crap.  Which I probably should have known already anyway.  Of course, that thought made me laugh, which at least distracted me from the pain for a second or two.

As a random side note, other highlights of the race included the 80 year old Asian dude with the sign that read, “You’ve got Stamina.  Call me…maybe?”  Awesome.  Seeing Steve and Dee around mile 19, after I crossed the Burrard St. Bridge.  I traded my empty (and disgustingly sweaty) spybelt for a pack of Sports Beans.  (Note to self:  tucking a pack of sports beans into your sports bra for 6 miles is a really bad idea) And at Mile 22 when I hollered at a guy who was wearing a Fleet Feet St. Louis shirt while pointing to the matching logo on my own pink singlet as I passed him.  Did I really see him in Canada?  It was entirely possible that I was hallucinating, but I think he was wearing a visor.

However, this time, being smart mostly had to do with appreciating the opportunity I was given to run in Vancouver and soaking up everything about that experience.  After a very tough climb over Kilometers 10, 11 and 12, with an oddly misplaced water station nestled halfway up, I eventually crested the top of a hill (a really, really big hill) to reveal what was quite possibly the most spectacular scene I have ever been privy to in any marathon.  A breathtaking panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains, the bay below and a solitary flag donning the signature red maple leaf flapping in the breeze among a throng of evergreens.  If there is one moment from that race that will remain permanently etched in my memory, I hope it’s that one.  Because it was at that precisely that moment that I realized something.  Yes, I have goals and I will keep working toward them, Boston not excluded.  But while I may not be the fastest or the best runner in the world, there is one thing I am really good at.  Being Lindsey.  I know that I might slow down when I get tired, but I won’t quit.  I won’t ever give up.  Even when it’s hard, and it hurts, I will keep trudging on into the unknown, putting one foot in front of the other, and get the job done.   And I will appreciate the beauty surrounding me, even through the struggles and the pain.  I don’t want to take anything for granted.  Because all of that is what makes me who I am.

Whether I did it as fast as I wanted to or not, I ran 26.2 miles on Sunday.  That’s nothing to scoff at.  I ran a really hard course on a really hot day, and I did it in less than 4 hours.  That’s faster than any of the 4 times I’ve run the Chicago course, which is completely flat (except for the only hill in the city that they decided to stick in right at the end).  There ain’t no shame in what I accomplished on Sunday.

After I crossed the finish line and had a medal placed around my neck, Steve found me staggering down Thurlow Street.  I sat down right there in the middle of the street, exhausted and spent, after I declared to him, “You are never picking the course again!”  But in seriousness, I told him that even knowing what I know, I would still do it all over again.  It was a beautiful course.  It was a spectacular weekend. One might even say, majestic. I was completely overwhelmed by the love and support of my friends, and equally overwhelmed by the sense of peace in my heart while I was in Vancouver.  Steve was glad to hear this because having never seen me after a marathon, he was a little concerned I would be upset or disappointed in my time.  My response to that was, “You know me, I’m Lindsey.  I’m always going to find a reason to smile.”

That's the Burrard St. Bridge I got to run over

That’s the Burrard St. Bridge I got to run over