The Story of the Marathon Part 2

So, I guess I’m still at the 10K mark right? You’ll have to forgive the delay. Blame it on rodeo. Seriously. We are in the State Finals right now. Serious business. Here’s the map so you can get my drift.

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The 10K sign was welcomed, and I found myself in rhythm with the road. I was watching my running watch pretty close, and I was happy with my pace. I relaxed into the run, and I began to observe first the surroundings and the atmosphere. It was a nice view as we ran out of the downtown area and into the city. It was humid and the coolness was dissipating.

At this point I started to notice the other runners around me. There was a younger lady a little in front of me who was keeping a nice pace. There was a purple haired gal to the left of me. I saw the packages of nutrition gels on the ground in front of me. I noticed the middle aged guy who was keeping my pace with me. I smiled. We were all in this together.

Suddenly there were signs and workers pointing to the signs of the course separation between the half-marathoners and the wholes. “We are the Champions” began playing in my ear buds from my carefully crafted race list. I waved to the halves and turned right with the wholes. I felt a little pride that I was moving on from that race distance to this new goal. I felt strong as I pulled out an energy gel to take in. I was glad for the advice my new friends in the Runner’s Club had given me about nutrition. I didn’t want to become depleted of electrolytes, and gels and water seem to work well for me.

When I reached the half marathon distance, I remembered my very first Half-Marathon Race a few years ago and how accomplished I had felt when I ran the Tyler Rose Half Marathon in memory of my mom. I thought about the year I ran the half marathon in Dallas and how sick I was that day and how my ankle was badly bruised and taped up. I had a good time that day even though I had to use my inhaler to get through.

Half way there rang through my mind, and I was excited and energized by how my muscles were performing. Then I reached the 14 mile mark, and I remembered my 14 mile training run. I had started in the park and run 7 miles with the runner’s club, grateful for the conversation with new friends. The last 7 I had looped around the park and our downtown in the cold wet, and I was slow and sluggish and feeling like I didn’t fit in marathon training. And yet, somehow I had continued to train through the sluggish, through sickness, through rain and ice, through kids’ schedules, and on and on.

I heard my name, “C’mon Katie! Let’s go Katie! You’re doing great!” a crowd member cheered to me. I looked down and saw my name on my bib. I looked back up grinning like a fool and found tears coming to my eyes. Wow. Encouragement. Never underestimate the power. Or the power of the moment you need it and don’t even know.

And then I was beside them. I had seen her earlier, the runner with the jogging stroller. But, I hadn’t looked on or really seen her. And all of a sudden, we were running together. She kept one hand on the stroller and reached down to adjust the sunshade on the man in the stroller. He looked like he had maybe cerebral palsy or something similar. At this point we are at the 15 mile marker, and I marveled at her strength. He looked tired too, and he pushed his neck over to look at me. His eyes met mine, and he smiled big. It was the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and the most encouragement I’ve ever received. Tears fell down my cheeks and it took me a moment to feel them. I was overwhelmed by gratefulness. I was still running, and I said thank you to the lady pushing my new friend. She gave me a thumbs up and said, “We are all going to cross that finish line, right?” I nodded.

I flashed back at my attempt 15 years ago to run a mile with a jogging stroller with a baby in it. How weak I was. How easily I gave up. How lazy I was.

I wondered but I knew in my heart how she was doing it. Determination, commitment, discipline, love. It’s all you need.


To be continued….

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The Story of the Marathon

Five months, I had trained, I thought as I sat in the green portapotty doing my pre-race thing, appreciating the cleanliness. I had done everything right the day before….ran a mile to loosen up, ate carb-heavy, didn’t stay on my feet, and early to bed.  I had reveled in picking up my marathon packet and number. Then my sister-in-law and I carefully applied our tattoos.  I had slept horrible. My running watch so nicely described that I had only 1 hour of deep sleep. Thanks, Garmin. How does it know anyway? That’s what I’d like to know.

I finished my business, and moved out into what was a sizeable crowd in the what I thought was respectable “C” Corral. My sister-in-law had moved on to the “A” Corral where the serious runners are.


My hand moved down my taped leg as I stretched slowly wondering what this day would be like. The crowd was gathering, and the portojohn lines were crazy long. The announcer was blaring and the gun went off. I squinted through my corral barriers trying to see my sister in law as they let out the “A” group. There were so many people running this race. The crowd pressed in on all sides as friends chatted about their goals. I was glad I was alone. I caught the eye of the stranger next to me. We both smiled nervously and then we both took a deep breath. I chuckled. Let’s go already, I breathed.

And then finally, it was our turn. We all started walking out of the corral toward the starting line, and then as one big mob, the jog started, and then the announcer was talking to us and I was across the starting line. Here we go!


Almost immediately, the bruise on my left quadricep began to throb with each pound of my foot. I had fallen in my last training…tripped by some dumb wire at the park. It was so ridiculous and frustrating, but I had that damn injury iced as much as it could be and now taped up like a champ. I talked to the leg…settle in, come on, you’ve got this, get over it, just give me 5 hours…you get it.

My heart was pounding. This is going to be a long adventure, I said to myself, breathe and go! So, I did. By the 2nd mile, I couldn’t feel the pain anymore in the leg, and I was going at a pretty good pace. Mile 3, 4 and 5 went by pretty quick, and then–there–the big sign said 10K. I finally felt my breathing smooth out and I ran past the sign feeling consistent and steady.

To be continued….

The Year of the Story

The Story of the Blog

You want to know why I started this whole blog thing? I really just needed a place to write creatively. Without a template. Without word counts. Without anyone directing my writing. And it worked.

I wrote. And I read other people’s blogs. And I was sincere. And I began to tell you my story. And I worked on it. It was fun. It wasn’t easy. I tried advertising on it. I tried lots of ways to tag and categorize and link. It grew. and lots of people read it. My best years for the blog traffic were 2012 and 2013.

And then I acquired a book contract. And I went back to school. And I started working more. And my family became busier and older and busier. And my capacity to blog decreased. And the years went on. My book was published in 2015, and I was so very grateful for my time here that helped that project to be a success.

This will be my 8th year to blog here. My many other responsibilities and ventures get me thinking of shutting it down, but I haven’t been able to close the book on it. So, here we are again. You, me, the internet. My thoughts and abilities and words and ideas connecting somehow to you out there.

One of the connections I make with you is that you know from my stories that parenting can be very fun and that I’m a real person with struggles and heartache. Also, my faith is real, but I’m not interested in shouting about anything. I’ve never taken a political stance on here, but I’m not saying I never will. It’s been important to me to keep the connection open and not distract with shock or awe or anger. Another thing you need to know about me is that I write from inward, and it’s been right lately to keep things close.

The story of the blog goes on in 2017. For, I’m going to do a little exploring with my writing in some different ways. You get to be part of this experiment. Little by little we’ll see if we can make this thing work as part of the ongoing forward path of my life now. Be prepared for more intensity. Or less. Know that I may tell some other folk’s stories. Maybe I’ll tell yours.

I’ll do my best to keep things concise and interesting. And you do your best to read it. I don’t just want to tell you stories though. I want to connect in a way to assist, to inspire, to show the possibility of greatness that is in all of us.

In two weeks, I will be running a marathon instead of writing at this very moment and it will be hard. But, I have trained and built slowly up to this point. I have discovered my body can be stretched and pained and pushed to perform but not without rest, planning, and fuel. Writing is the same, and I am ready to move towards greatness…so are you.

Morning Run


The morning run can be fun if you start with views like this…16 miles logged today! Marathon training is awesome. At the end of today’s run, I just starting stretching and crying. It took me a minute to realize that I was crying. I guess it was a mental release. My feet were hurting but not enough to cry. It was kind of amazing. Wish me luck. 

Sign Post

I know I haven’t been around for awhile. I’m in serious contemplation mode about the blog and where do I go from here. But for now, I have a little sign post for you carefully crafted from our Grand Canyon trip. 

Driving with rocks.

This is at the top of the South Kaibab which is the trail we went down to the bottom of the canyon. Be prepared. 

On the South Kaibab.

Carlsbad has lots of rules. 

This is good advice. Pretty much for everyone. Everyday. 

This is in a Phantom Ranch bathroom at the very bottom of the Grand Canyon. 

This at the top of Bright Angel trail when we had almost finished our Canyon hike. 

I’m so thankful for sign posts aren’t you?

She would…

 

She would have been proud of us…for growth, change, accomplishments, pain…while she also worried if we were okay.

She would smile big at that new driver’s license, Anna.

Her chin would raise in support for that first golf tournament, Maile.

Her blue eyes would sparkle at how tall you are, Lydia,and she would comment on how straight your teeth are.

Her thin hand would run over your shiny, blonde hair, Claire as she pulled you into her soft hug showing her love for you the youngest.

She would widen her eyes and open her pretty mouth in wonder at how all four of you race in on your horses and ride hard to win. 

She would be glad I’m not as thin as I used to be while she clucked her tongue at the training for the marathon….shaking her head…”too much.”

Her other thin hand would rest on your shoulder Matt and rest there in the joy and the pain of the switch in sails.

She would delight in all the new great-grands born lately.

She would laugh hard at the silly family pictures we take.

She would look around at her large family and sign happily, proudly…and hope all in one breath that we are all really okay.

Rewriting Your History (Down to Studs)

Raise your hand if you look around and find surprise in how your life looks. Not what you expected? Yeah, me too. It can be good.

See, I have fluctuated between knowing living life like Mother Theresa is the right path and simply wanting to enjoy life with new shoes and a dress. This life and place and path has shifted and weaved and moved around it can be hard to be proactive and responsive. The feelings come and we “feel” thrown around by life circumstances. Faith is hard, and life direction can be confusing. So much of our life gets shifted by emotions and feelings and perspectives.

We all have our moments where we stop and look around to try to figure out if we are where we set out to go…or are we just a long way from home. Perspective is powerful.

Our life has changed a lot in the last few months. My husband transitioned out of his position at the church, and he is onto a different adventure. My oldest child is driving a car now. I’m training for a marathon. We have two high schoolers. We are finding our way in peace. Schedules, goals, all has adjusted and we are shifting our perspectives.

The things I knew when I was young, some were true, and some were wrong. -Lumineers, “The Gun Song”

Last weekend, we took the kids to Baton Rouge and we cleaned out a few flood homes together. One house we were in had nothing by the curb, and by the end of our time there everything 4 feet down we had hauled out to that same curb. I stood in the middle of the elderly lady’s bedroom overwhelmed by the stuff ruined…so much gone of her life. But, it was all just stuff. We drove away looking at all the piles of everyone’s things on the curbs. Everyone was the same….everyone down to studs.

My kids worked so hard. I was proud of them. They saw into the experience too. No one complained or fussed about sweating or working hard. Maile looked at me and said, “I don’t have any problems,” during one of our breaks. They aren’t perfect, and the situation we put them in on purpose wasn’t perfect. We talked about what we were doing and why. And then we drove home to our dry house with all the stuff in tact.


And so today, I find myself in the middle of all these memories while I shift through all the things 4 feet and down in my house to ensure that I am taking care of the stuff in my life and letting go of all the stuff that doesn’t need to be there. Reflection, perspectives, change all around me as I sort through high school senior pictures, my baby pictures, my babies’ baby pictures.

Bill and me

I’m not just in this life. Maybe maturity and experience always lead to this place of realizing how much I don’t know. I look around me and I find nothing is what I thought it was; I’m glad, mostly, it causes wonder to continually born within.

It’s my life, and I have a responsibility to lead in it. So do you. We are rewriting our history…maybe you should too. Hear your breath for a minute.

Slow down.

Look.


But don’t just look.

See. Have faith in God. Know that faith is not always what you think it is. Too mystical for you? Knowing what you don’t know may be an area you want to explore.

Get into your life. Are you there? Don’t just make it. We are meant for more than surviving….although there are moments when its all you can do. Everyone is gutted to studs at some point. That’s a tough moment, and no one would ever wish for it. That’s never happened to me physically, like these flood victims.

But, it has happened to me internally, and somehow everything gets clear in that moment…what’s important, what’s worth keeping, why you are just thankful for your people. Survival breathes gratefulness…and that’s good too. We aren’t meant to stay in “just making it mode.”

Do what you need to do to…clean out the wet and moldy. Dry out. Get ready to rebuild. It could be better than it was or what you expected.

Time to do more than survive. If you’re tired, go rest. If you’re sad, be sad. If there are problems, address them. Don’t be afraid to dig deep, to take a risk, to sit down into your funky feelings….resolution, redemption, peace will come. Inhale, exhale. Pray. Live.

Don’t worry about doing it perfect….always simply begin.