Monthly Archives: June 2013

Speedwork, Smiles and Sweaty Hugs

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Today was a unique experience in my racing career. I went to a race that I was not competing in.  I was there purely to provide a cheering squad.  And I say squad because I dragged my 3 kiddos out to the course with me.  Granted I bribed them with Dunkin Donuts along the way, but the donuts had long since worn off by the time everyone crossed the finish line.

There was a Triathlon that about 25 of my friends competed in about an hour outside of St. Louis this morning.  Although this would have been great prep for the 70.3 I am about to embark upon in 3 short weeks (Oh dear Lord is it really that close? Please be wrong, please be wrong, please be wrong…crap. No, it’s really that close.  Deep breath…)  Anyway, I was saying, today’s event would have been a great practice race for Racine, but since I had my kids this weekend, I didn’t sign up.

On Thursday at Speedwork, a bunch of peeps were talking about it and I considered for approximately half a second that it might not be too late for me to sign up and I could just have my friend Chad’s daughter, Jasmine, watch my kiddos.  But ultimately, I decided I wouldn’t have the time I needed to mentally prepare, in order to have a decent race.  So I bagged the notion of trying to compete, and settled on being at the finish line to cheer everyone in.  As it turned out, THAT was a fantastic idea.

You see, on Thursday, I was having an awful day.  I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and proceeded to stay there for most of the day.  I didn’t actually stay in bed, I just stayed in my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mood. Even coffee didn’t help.  Neither did cleaning.  Lindsey quirk #7 (I think I’m on 7)…usually cleaning the whole house top to bottom can burn off my negative energy.  It didn’t that day.  The reason for my bad mood really isn’t important, but I continued to be Little Miss Crabby Pants. That is, until I got to hang out with some of my running buds at Shalini’s neighborhood pool for a bit. The kids played while we sat, and I vented, and we laughed.  Then I went off to Speedwork at the Marquette High School track and really let loose with the emotions to run it out.  Nothing makes for some really good speed like a little anger.  After running myself to the point of dripping with sweat during a 400m, 800m, 1200m, 1200m, 800m, 400m pyramid workout, I seemed to be a little better.  Having my kiddos out at the track was a blast, too.  And then we all went off to Dewey’s with the whole crew for some pizza.  We ended up with such a huge group that we needed one giant table and a corner booth.  We pretty much closed down the joint.  As I sat there eating pizza, with Silas snuggled on my lap while my other two played with Chad’s kids, Dennis and I were talking about the importance of the running community and sharing that with my kids.  Showing them that working out and being healthy is fun.  Not just because exercise is good for the body, but also celebrating that with good people is good for the heart.

And that’s when it hit me.  I’ve been enjoying showing my kids what it is that I love so much.  And even more, I’ve been enjoying merging my kids with my community.  So I decided I would take the cheering section on a field trip out to Innsbrook to support my friends in their athletic endeavor.

On the way out to the course this morning, we had the windows down and the radio turned up.  It was a beautiful day, sunny skies with some puffy white clouds, a nice breeze and high in the low 70’s.  Perfect race day weather.  I kept saying, “Next year I am totally signing up for this race”.  Which likely means it will either be pouring rain or a heat index of 105.  So, we were cruising along, singing with Christiana Aguilera, and suddenly Ally asks, “Mom, why are so many songs on the radio about dating or being in love?  They are almost all about girls and boys.”  I said, “You’re right, Al.  I guess it’s because people write music about their life experiences.  And so many life experiences involve different relationships.  Some that grow, some that end, some that last forever, there are so many kinds of relationships and they’re always changing.  People sing songs about that because the listeners can relate to them. “

Eventually, we made it to the course, which was interesting, seeing that I am completely navigationally challenged.  I pulled over to ask a police officer for directions and he started to ask if I knew where some landmark was, then stopped mid –sentence and said, “Wait, you’re not from around here, are you?”  Ummm, no.  Once we got parked, we had to hike over to the Finish Line.  All 4 of us, single file, trying to avoid being run over by cars and cyclists.  We walked up to the Finish and no more than 30 seconds later, I saw my friend Katherine cross the line.  About a minute later, she was followed by Nick.  Despite my direction mishaps, we made it just in time.  Shortly after that, we located my friend Dan and we all watched a straight on view of the Finish to see everyone coming in and our cheering section continued to grow as members of our training group finished.  It was a steady stream for the next hour and a half of so many friends.   Fellow and former Fleet Feet-ers, social runners, customers, training pals from swimming, Ladies from the Fit and Fab group…they just kept coming.  It was amazing.  I yelled, I cheered, I high fived and fist bumped.  I got several sweaty hugs.  And I wouldn’t take back a single one of them.

I watched my friends crash through their own personal obstacles, conquer their fears, bust down old PR’s.  I saw some take home medals and some were just glad to cross the line still standing and with a smile on their face.

Karen’s finish made a lasting impression because as she stood there talking to us just seconds after finishing, she had tears in her eyes as she said, “I did it”.  Karen, like me, was not a swimmer, but she learned and she got through the open water swim and was so proud of herself that she cried…happy tears of course.  Personally, I almost always cry when I cross the finish line.  Maybe that’s another Lindsey quirk.

Unfortunately, I missed Kris coming across the line because Silas decided he had to go to the port-o-potty and it had to be right that second.  Then he proceeded to check each one and declared, “They’re all flooded!”  To which I replied, “Welcome to my World, Kid. They’re port-o-potties!  Just pick one!”

Tracy made my day when she said she was disappointed to find out I wasn’t competing today.  It’s ok, Tracy and I will have our shot together in Wisconsin in 21 more days.  Tracy also said the best part was that she just felt positive the whole way.  That’s awesome.  I’m gonna need some of that in Racine!

Every few minutes someone else came down the shoot.  AJ and Rickster crossed at the same time.  Roberto, Chad, Steve, Erin.  I didn’t have any idea that Teri and Kristen were going to be there.  Tony, Nikki, Chris.  A couple friends did the sprint distance, so I never saw Jenn on the course, but I ran into Sarah just as I was heading out with the kids.  Sarah placed 3rd today and had a huge 7 minute PR after 5 years off…she did all that with a defibulator.  Incredible.

As the kids and I followed Tony’s little red mini Cooper carrying him, Erin, Nikki and all of their bikes, all of us caravanning back to Erin’s parent’s house for brunch, I heard another song come on the radio and these words struck me…

“We come into this world unknown
But know that we are not alone
They try and knock us down
But change is coming, it’s our time now

Hey… everybody loses it,
Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes
And hey… yeah I know what you’re going through
Don’t let it get the best of you, you’ll make it out alive”

This week begins the final big push to Racine.  I’ve got to get in some good swims and long rides and get my body more used to the feeling of running after getting off the bike. It’s going to be hard, but as we always say, “It’s supposed to be hard.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.”  After today, watching my friends, my community, my peeps, I know that I can do this, because I’m going to have so many of them right there with me when I do.  Life experiences.  Relationships.  Getting knocked down and getting back up again.  Because no matter where you are on your journey, someone else has been there and it’s your community, your cheering section, your friends, that will always get you through.

So proud of these peeps!  Even more proud to call them my friends.

So proud of these peeps! Even more proud to call them my friends.

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Find Your Strong

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Saucony did an advertising campaign recently called Find Your Strong.  If I could have had a theme to the past week, I think that pretty much covers it.

Last week I was feeling pretty discouraged about my training for Racine and just my abilities in general.  After I blogged my pity party the other night, I decided it was time to put on my big girl panties and get to work.  So on Thursday afternoon when I left FLEET FEET, I went off to Lake St. Louis to meet up with Farrell for a little open water swim.  I got to see her new house, which is awesome.  But we spent a little too much time chatting and didn’t end up with a ton of time to swim.   We walked over to the beach and jumped in for a quick 1000 meters (I supposed quick is a relative term).  It wasn’t much, but considering that was the first time I’ve been in that lake since my first and only triathlon last August, it was somewhat monumental.  I swam 500m out and then back again in the open water, freestyle the whole way, practiced sighting and felt great.  I acknowledged how far I’ve come in less than a year and that alone was enough to restore my confidence in my upcoming attempt at 70.3.  After that swim, I got in a short 40 minute bike ride, before getting over to the Marquette High School track to be the guest leader for Thursday night Speedwork.  Cole, who usually leads, had been given concert tickets for his birthday from his girlfriend and had asked me several weeks ago to fill in.  I didn’t get to run too much of the workout with the group, but I got in a couple of slow, rather painful (my hip is still sketchy) laps around the track.  So, all in all, it was a successful day since it involved swim, bike and run.  Sort of.

Thursday morning was tough though.  As I dropped my kiddos off at their camp, I said goodbye to them until I see them again on Tuesday.  5 days straight without my babies.  Ally and I got each of the boys settled in their rooms and then we began the trek up the stairs.  She started walking slower, I could tell it was coming.  As we got in sight of her group, she threw her arms around me and started sobbing.  “I don’t want to be away from you for 5 days, Mom.  It’s too long.  I miss you so much!” she cried.  I hugged her and pulled her to the bench along the wall of the hallway.  I held her for a few minutes and reassured her that she’d have a great time at the water park with her cousins, the time would fly and we’d be back together before she knew it.  I asked if there was anything I could do to help make it easier and we agreed on a 7pm phone call Friday night.  Ultimately, I wrestled free of my baby girl’s grip and headed back down the stairs.  As soon as my back was to her, my own tears began to fall.  You see, sometimes we put on a brave face and we stay strong only because we have to, in order to help someone else feel strong.

When the kids are with their dad, I usually fill the time pretty well.  Thursday was packed with activities.  Friday I worked most of the day, then went down to Forest Park, did a couple loops on my bike, and just as I was transitioning to run, Diana showed up.  We did one loop around the park before heading back to the rooftop of her apartment building for some sunset wine and sushi.  During which, I made a call to my Ally-girl, as promised.

Saturday morning, I was up at the crack of dawn to head out to Newtown to meet up with Kris for a swim/bike.  I got in two whole laps for a whopping total of a MILE of open water swimming, no stopping, all freestyle!  Holy Schnikes I’m making progress!  We followed that up with about 15 miles on the bike before Kris and I both had to hit the road.  I grabbed coffee and food on my way to work, where I jumped in the shower. I am so grateful for this particular amenity of my job, though probably not as grateful as my co-workers, considering that as I stood in Starbucks wondering why it smelled like a fishy lake, I ultimately realized it was my own stench.  Gross.  Anyway, I fit some folks for running shoes on Saturday afternoon and then did a quick change into a little black dress to head out to dinner with a group of friends, during which I had to respond to several  “I miss you” texts from Ally.

On Saturday evening I came to the realization that I have officially become “That Triathlete Girl” who has her bike locked to the bike rack and a bike pump, helmet, cycling shoes, wetsuit, towel, swim cap, goggles, running gear and evening out clothes all in the back of my car at any given time.  Always prepared to squeeze in one form of recreation or another whenever I can.  But I digress…

This morning I was planning to cycle.  Well, it didn’t happen, for a myriad of reasons.  I had some other stuff to tend to before going off to work, which involved sending an email I didn’t really want to send but I knew it needed to happen.  After work, I was hoping to get in a long run in the rain which probably would have been good for my head and my heart, which are very obviously not on the same page these days.  The heart wants what it wants, even though the head sometimes knows better.  Or maybe the head just thinks it knows better.  I’m still not really sure.  At any rate, the lightening  extravaganza that was on display about the time I rolled up to Creve Coeur Lake, quickly put an end to the idea of my rain run.  So, I went with Plan B instead, I picked up Thai food and went to hang out with Farrell.  I needed some Linds time.

So, what’s the moral here?  Well, sometimes we have to do things we don’t particularly want to do in an effort to be strong for ourselves or someone else.  Sometimes we have to find our strong.  Sometimes it doesn’t look the way we thought it would.  Sometimes we find confidence in that.  Sometimes it means we have to let go of something.  And sometimes, it just plain breaks our hearts.  But when it comes down to it, as this weekend comes to a close, I’m proud of me for finding my strong when I needed to.  Sometimes being strong means facing a fear, sometimes it means pushing ourselves through it and sometimes it means making ourselves vulnerable.  I believe it was Nelson Mandela who said something to the effect of, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave (person) is not (one) who does not feel afraid, but (one) who conquers that fear.”  I think he was saying, Be Brave…Go find your strong.

Yesterday morning as I drove out to Newtown, the sun was shining, but I had my wipers going because it was also raining at the same time.  I thought, This is so odd.  And then in my rear-view mirror, I saw a rainbow.  But isn’t that just so representative of life…it can be sunny and raining all at the same time.  And sometimes you have to look behind you, in order to see the rainbow.

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear...

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear…

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Burn Out

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Burn out.  It happens.  I can’t remember it ever happening to me in the few weeks leading up to a race, but this time it did.  Racine is 32 days away.  And I just don’t feel like training.  I just want to sleep.  For like a week.

I got back from Ragnar last week and managed to shuffle my way through the week of post-race blues.  I kept telling myself at least I have Racine 70.3 to look forward to in just over a month.  But for this week, I have absolutely zero to show for my training.  My hip has been bugging me since the relay last weekend, so I pretty much took running out of the equation for the last 10 days, with the exception of a mile and a half that I ran last Thursday with Ethan who was dragging me along the entire way, telling me to hurry up.  I think it took me nearly 14 minutes to go 1.25 miles…painfully slow.  Literally. I hurt.

I did manage to work in some laps in the pool, several miles on the bike and some strength training.  Sunday morning I rode almost 30 miles, partially in a downpour, before heading in to work.  But since then…nothing.  I have done absolutely zip.  On Monday, I had to refocus my priorities to tend to things like retirement funds and taxes and life insurance and broken air conditioner units.  All things I had been pretty much avoiding for about a month.  Except the AC, that kinda snuck up on me, and I knew I needed to deal with it before the real St. Louis summer arrives.  Basically, anything regarding finances is pretty much like someone speaking Japanese to me, so rather than try to understand it, I just smile and nod and go on my merry way.  Then I ride off into the sunset thinking that if I just ignore it, I won’t ever have to deal with it again.  Well, yesterday, it was time to stop avoiding things and confront them head on.  So I did.  But it pretty much sucked up my whole day and after a while I decided my Monday brick workout was out the window.  And I was, oddly, ok with that.

Eventually I made my way to work.  And afterwards, we had our standing Monday night girls outing…me, Linds and Katrina.  Occasionally, one of us doesn’t make it (which usually involves one of those two having plans with a boy) but last night we all ditched our plans and joined up for some 54th St Therapy.  Katrina sidelined packing and prep for this weekend, Linds bailed on the new guy from “match” and I happily saved my Chinese take-out and viewing of the Bachelorette for another night.

Anyway, I had considered going to swimming this morning, but when I was asked to take custody of the kids a little earlier than normal, of course I couldn’t refuse.  So, my swim workout again fell by the wayside.  And again I wasn’t terribly disappointed.  Relieved is probably more accurate.

I tell people all the time that eventually something will come up to throw a wrench in their training.  I had a customer the other day who insisted he wouldn’t miss a training run leading up to the Chicago Marathon in Oct.  I told him that chances were good that he would get sick or something would come up at some point to make him skip a run or even two, but he should remember it isn’t the end of the world.  Just pick up where you left off and keep on going.  He insisted he wouldn’t slip, not even once.  Ok, dude, we’ll just see about that.

So, why is it that after missing two of my crucial workout days, I am considering throwing in the towel?  This isn’t like me.  I don’t always practice what I preach (ie-Get on the foam roller everyday!…uh, yeah, I do that…usually…sometimes…not really) but honestly, I’ve never been one to be worried after skipping a workout or two.  However, tonight as I sat on my booty at the pool with the kids, eating a dinner consisting primarily of brownies and Swedish fish, I found myself considering the possibility that I have taken on one too many races and I am no longer finding this fun.  Picking the hardest race I’ve ever attempted, which takes place during my kids summer vacation, in the year that I am learning how to be a single parent, might possibly have been the dumbest thing I have ever done.   Finding time to train for this thing is STRESSING ME OUT!

So, what are my options…consider the possibility that I should step out of this race and save 70.3 for another season in my life.  OR…remind myself that I’m human, I’m not Superwoman, and it’s ok if I go and attempt this race and just do the best I can without placing a bunch of expectations on myself.  It might take me a really, really, really long time to finish this thing…and that’s ok.  I might get a toe cramp on the swim or a flat tire during the bike or any other number of setbacks on the course.  I might have to walk the entire half-marathon, which would typically be my strength.  I might, God forbid, not even finish.  And all of those things are O-K.  I’m still going to try.  Even though my training hasn’t been what I wanted it to be.  And even though this week, I’ve been in the dark place, and haven’t particularly felt like training.  I’m still going to keep putting one arm in front of the other, one pedal in front of the other and one red Mizuno running shoe in front of the other, just to make the effort.  Because that, my friends, is life.  It’s hard, and sometimes we have to do things that we don’t find especially enjoyable or we aren’t very good at and sometimes we just feel burned out, but ultimately, we know that we have to at least try.

I don’t think anyone would think any less of me if I decided this wasn’t the time or place for me to attempt this.  And quite frankly, I don’t really give a crap if they did think less of me.  I don’t need to prove anything to anyone other than myself.  This is between me, myself and I.  Nobody else.  At the end of the day, I am accountable only to the person that I see when I look in the mirror.  And I know that I’m not the kind of person to back down from something just because I may not do it as well as I do some other things.

So, yeah, this week I committed the cardinal sin of training when I bailed on a couple workouts just because.  That doesn’t mean I’ve lost my discipline, it just means that I’m a busy single mom who had some extra challenges come up. But I won’t run away with my tail between my legs.  I’ll stand and fight. I’ll get back on the horse and ride again.  And I’ll probably fall off a time or two, or ten.  And I’ll probably encounter some more things that I don’t know how to do (I still need Roberto to teach me how to change a flat tire).  And I’ll probably ask everyone I know for advice.  And I’ll probably piss and moan about how I’m just not as good at some of this as so many other people I know.  But it is what it is.  And at least I’m gonna keep giving it a shot.  Starting tomorrow.  Or maybe the day after.

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Father’s Day

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This blog is typically a forum for me to share my athletic adventures (feats of strength, anyone?), so this post might be somewhat unconventional.  But it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want!

On this eve of Father’s Day 2013, I am missing my dad, just as I have every Father’s Day for the past 11 years.  Therefore, I’m going to use this opportunity to pay tribute to the man who loved me, raised me, gave root to my passion for running and then showed me my wings and taught me to fly.

When I graduated from High School, my dad gave me a journal.  In the first few pages, he shared his memories of watching me grow up.  Memories of things he had watched me do and things we had done together.  He told me over and over how proud he was of me and my ability to work hard despite my circumstances.  He wrote…”I’m proud when I hear that you are recognized for your smile and the spirit it brings others.  Your high school days have been a reflection of life.  There have been really good times and some not so good times but through it all you have continued to smile.”

Life continues to have it’s challenges, but just like my dad said, through it all I keep on smiling.

My dad’s journal entry concluded with him writing…”You have a gift with words and poetry that I have never had.  I’m proud of you.  Success is ahead of you.  Love, Dad”

Some things don’t go the way we plan, and some things never change. When I got married in July of 2000, I was so blessed to have my dad by my side walking me down the aisle.  The night before, at the rehersal dinner, I read a poem I had written for him.  There was not a dry eye in the room.  I read it again at his funeral on December 5, 2001.  Again, there was not a dry eye in the room.  As I sit here alone, typing these words, I assure you, there is once more not a dry eye in the room.

So, in honor of this Father’s Day, I’m going to share a slightly modified version of the poem that I wrote for my dad and had the privilege of reading to him almost 13 years ago.  Here it is…

Father of the Bride

You’ve been my hero, my shining knight
You taught me pride and wrong from right.

You walked me to North Hi-Mount when I was just passed your knees.
You dropped off your “Pup” at Chuck E. Cheese.

On a little blue bike, you taught me to ride slow,
Even though I yelled, “Daddy, don’t let go!”

We ran 5k races side by side,
You always let me win in the very last stride.

Breakfasts at 7, MANY wake-up calls,
Credit cards, phone bills, trips to the mall.

Whether driving a pick-up or a little black ‘Vette,
Checking the oil I will never forget!

Broken hearts, softball tears,
Cross country races, football cheers.

Rowing smiles, choir voices,
Some good grades, some bad choices.

Referee and chauffeur you have been,
My teacher, my coach, my father, my friend.

You saw it all, you wiped the tears,
You mended my heart, you calmed my fears.

You taught me tradition and what family means,
You gave me faith in myself because you always believed.

I hope I’m the daughter you thought I would be,
I’m everything that I am because you loved me.

So as you give me away, with your love and a kiss,
If nothing else, please remember this…

Where ever I go in this great big world,
I will always be my dad’s girl!

This Father’s Day, if you are a father, I honor you.  If you are spending the day with your father, I envy you.  Make the most of every moment you’re given!

And to my dad: Dad, You were right.  High School was a reflection of life…some good times and some not so good times. But you taught me how to get through it, how to lean on my family, and how to keep smiling no matter what! I have been so blessed to be your girl. If I can prove to be even a fraction of the person that you were on this earth, then I know I am on the right track.  Thank you for loving me through it all, Dad.  I love you and miss you every day.  Til we meet again…Love, Lindsey

The first man I ever loved

The first man I ever loved

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Hot Mess

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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

 

 

 

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The Cranberry Conundrum

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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!

 

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Merging Worlds

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It’s been an interesting week here in the RRG household.  It was the first week with the kids off school for summer vacation and we’ve been back and forth from sun to storms enough to make your head spin.  We had a grand total of about 2 hours of pool time.  And seriously, the other day when I took Ethan out on the lake in the kayak it was a perfect blue sky as we departed the shore, but within 15 minutes we were hauling butt back to the house because that previously perfect sky opened up with a total deluge.  By the time we had secured the kayak back in the garage, the sun was out again.  I can’t keep up with the storm fronts that keep passing through.  All things considered though, I’m feeling blessed again today after more tornadoes blew through last night and the only post storm cleanup I had to tend to was the repositioning of some patio furniture.

So, needless to say, it’s been challenging to train for a half Ironman with all of that going on.  At least I got in a round of kayaking with each of the boys.  And some yoga.  And boxing.  Finally by, Thursday I dragged all the kids out to the Marquette HS track for some FLEET FEET speed work.

I’ve mentioned before that as a single mom, I sometimes feel a little bit bi-polar, going from being Lindsey the athlete, to Mom, to Lindsey the employee, etc.  I can’t always keep track of which hat I’m supposed to wear next.  A few weeks back, my friend Dan suggested that I try to merge my worlds.  I’m still trying to figure out how exactly to do that.  Thursday night speed work seemed like a great opportunity to start trying.  The Thursday night summer crowd is a lot of the same people that I have the pleasure of hanging out with when I lead the social run during the non-summer months.  And since everything is centrally located at the track, I don’t have to worry about where my kids are because they can just hang out on the field, or even run around the track with us.

So, on Thursday, we introduced this idea.  Which was needed.  I was desperately in need of a solid workout.  Not that 800 repeats are a particular favorite of mine, but it needed to happen.  I had mentioned to Silas that he could bring his spray bottle and use it to cool off the runners.  And despite the fact that the skies opened up and dumped on us just as we were pulling out of the garage, he brought the spray bottle anyway.  Ally wondered why we were going when it was pouring down rain, but in true Midwestern fashion, the skies had cleared and the sun was out by the time we toed the line for our first 800 meters.  I don’t envy the job of the meteorologists in the greater St. Louis area these days.

I got in about a mile warm up with Nick and Diana.  We caught up from the weekend, discussed Diana’s vegan oatmeal cookies that she had consumed more than the recommended amount of in the hour before running really fast, laughed about dumb things people do when they’ve had too much to drink and we made a point to locate the nearest bathroom.  As runners, this is always necessary to know.  Always.  Especially when you punch it up a notch with speedwork.

The workout was 6 x 800 meters.  We all had our goal pace.  And Cole would reset the clock every 7 minutes.  Run faster and you get more time to rest.  This workout is not particularly fun, so Diana and I debated our pace.  We both agreed on “non-puking pace”.  At the end of the day, I was pretty happy with the fact that I held my pace for each of the 800’s, targeting a 3:30 marathon in the fall.  And I didn’t puke.  Bonus!  Perhaps I didn’t push quite hard enough, but considering how long it’s been since I’ve done an actual, real, true track workout, it was important to just get back to it.  It was fun to see Ethan sitting in the bleachers hanging with the other boys as I caught my breath and rehydrated with my running mates in between sets.   And I loved seeing Silas spraying everyone and smiling as I came around the track each time.  Ally had opted to stay in the car with her phone, to stay dry.  She is 10, going on 17.

After the main workout, Nick and Diana and I ran about another mile to cool down.  Even Silas joined us for a lap or two, in his swimsuit and flip-flops.  I topped out at about 5 miles for the day, so I was glad I had dragged the kids out of the house.  And just when the kids were about to complain about how long we had been there, I asked Ally, “Do you want to go to Dewey’s with everyone?” and a huge grin broke across her face.  She is her mother’s daughter, pizza is a favorite.

As we sat at the table, Serena brought up my blog, wondering what I would have to say about that workout.  I said, this blog would read, “Tonight we ran 800’s.  I was pretty much hating life.  The End”

BUT…since I’m Rambling Runner Girl, we all know I’m a lot more wordy than that.  And even though speed work hurts, I was definitely not hating life as I looked around at my kids to my right and my friends to my left.

It was a different experience having my kiddos at Dewey’s with the speedwork crew.  But it was fun.  It was good.  Lindsey is merging her worlds.  Perhaps this bi-polar single mom thing is manageable without meds.  Perhaps.  As long as I continue to get a steady dose of endorphins.

Look closely and you can see Silas spraying the runners as they go by

Look closely and you can see Silas spraying the runners as they go by

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