A blog about my journey of training to run a 1/2 marathon with Team In Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and beyond.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sooooo Many Good Vibes

Sometimes, for very brief moments, I wonder, "Why in the world did I put myself and my story out there?" I've made my journey so public and sometimes it is embarassing to know that so many people out there hear, read, or see me struggle. I have a bad running day and everybody knows. I get cranky because of a lupus flare up and everybody knows. I have gastrointestinal issues on a run and everybody knows. While most people have been nothing but supportive, I do get the occasional parade poopoo'er. It's then that I begin to think, "Maybe I should stop being so open about my journey". But then I have days like today. Today, I have been blessed with a mulitude of encouragement and positive reenforcement. Multiple individuals have told me that my story has inspired them. I have inspired someone! Me! I had a friend tell me that I was the reason that she began running and that she continues to run. She asked me to continue to challenge/motivate her. And she LOVES this blog! ; )
I had another friend call me and leave a voice mail saying that she wanted to ask me some running questions. She has decided to start living a healthier lifestyle, wanted some advice, and she thought of me. : )
But the best was an email I received from a friend's husband. He began by saying, "I just wanted to thank you for a gift that you don't even know you gave me". Okay, you have my attention. He preceded to tell me that I have helped him fall in love with running all over again. The struggles and trials that I have documented in this blog have lead him to believe that if I can do it, he can do it. Or as he so eloquently put it: "You made me realize that with your family obligations, and most of all your lupus, you still run and love it. I thought to myself, "she has lupus; all you have is a case of fatassness. You can do it!".  I want you to realize, though, that I like that you give me too much credit. I may have inspired you, it is YOU that gets out and gets it done everyday. It's not all because of me. It's  all because of you! And I know that my wonderful friend, your wife, is super proud of you. : ) But Thank you, R! Your email made my day and reminded me of why I started putting my story out there in the first place. To encourage others to try to live healthier, happier lives. I just never really thought it would work. I honestly thought it would never make a difference. I'm glad that I was wrong. : )

Peace, Love, and New Running Buddies!

Monday, October 15, 2012

OMG! I'm so excited!

Below is my very first guest blog on the runhers website. I was so excited and so honored when runhers asked to write some pieces for them. So of course I immediately developed a severe case of writer's block. : / But persistance and preseverance won out, and I finished up this little gem. So enjoy! If you're looking for a running group, please go and check one out. If you would like to check out runhers, you can go to www.runhers.com. We'd love to have you on one of our runs.

editor’s note: Our guest blogger from Moore, Oklahoma, is Cyndi Bates. She is one fabulous woman, who’s not afraid to ‘tell it like it is’. We are so happy to have her here guest blogging and sharing her personal experiences! You can find her blog at http://www.cyndi-fatgirlrunning.blogspot.com
By: Cyndi Bates

I may not look like the type of person who belongs to a running club. I may not even look like someone who runs enough to even consider belonging to a running club. Guess what? I am! I know that most people are intimidated by the idea of a running group. I wanted to join one looooong before I actually did. I visited a few of the groups around the city, but never felt like I connected with any of them. I am not ultra-fit or uber-competitive. As a matter of fact, I was usually the slowest person there. Ok, I was always the slowest person there. No one ever said that I didn’t belong there. Everyone was friendly and encouraging, but I always felt a little awkward and out of place. I imagine that many of you may feel the same way when contemplating a running group. You think, “I’m not very fast. What if I’m the slowest one there?” You fear being the last person to finish. You worry, “What if everyone there looks like a fitness model and they look at me like, ‘What are YOU doing here?’”.

So why with that kind of fear did I keep looking for a group?! Well, let me tell you why. I began my training in a group setting and found that it really worked for me. I was joined by people on the same journey as myself, surrounded by encouraging and supportive faces, and had access to people with way more experience than myself who were happy to answer even the silliest of my questions. I have tried to train on my own. It just didn’t get the job done. It was just too easy for me to talk myself out of runs or to get off track in my training. Once you are off track, it is really hard to get back, especially when you have no one to motivate you. So I kept looking and finally found what I was looking for with my current running group, runHers.

I’m here to tell you that none of that stuff that I was (and you are) afraid of matters. Within the group, there are so many different levels of ability. There are fast runners, slow runners, medium runners, and backward runners. Backward runners? Yes, backward runners. My friend and fellow member, Amanda, has a much faster pace than me. I can keep up with her for a time and then she leaves me in the dust. If we are in the middle of a conversation, she will run backwards to a) slow herself down and b) face me while we finish our convo. So please don’t be intimidated by the other runners. If you are a new runner, just remember that everyone had to start somewhere. The only difference between you and them is that they started sooner. Many still remember what it was like and are more than happy to help and encourage someone just beginning their journey. We are all there to build camaraderie and encourage each other. So what if some are faster than you. There’s probably someone slower than you too. We are all women in my group. Who understands women better than other women?! We all juggle different things in life, work, kids, spouses and home. We know the time and effort you put in your day and still try to find time to exercise and be healthy. We understand what it’s like to watch your husband say the word “run” and lose three pounds, while you run three miles and gain four pounds. We get it! Why?! Because we do it too.

With that understanding comes that sense of camaraderie that I mentioned before and … tada, friendship. I have made some truly wonderful friends in my group. Some women I talk to on a daily basis, some I only see at runs. But we all have a sense of connection that we wouldn’t have otherwise. These women are there for me when I have a bad run day and cheer for me when I am shooting for a pace or mileage that I have never done before. They also hold me accountable for my runs. They know when I miss a run or when I don’t push myself as hard as I could. They may not even say anything, but knowing that they know is often enough to get me up and moving. Yet, you can’t always meet your goals. It happens to the best of us. My teammates are there for the bad times too.

Whether it’s a good run day or a bad run day, my running group makes my runs more fun. Some of my longer miles have only been possible because of the company that I had on them. Running groups aren’t for everyone, but don’t discard the idea of one because you are intimidated. They sure have made things easier for me, and we all know that running should be easy. ; )

Saturday, October 6, 2012

You'll Have to Excuse me...

I have been a little bit busy as of late. A couple of races.... LOTS and LOTS of training. I have averaged 17.8 miles a week for the last 5 weeks. I have ran at least one that represented each season, summer heat, spring rainshowers, fall perfection, and winter cold. We kicked off Wednesday group runs in addition to Saturday morning group runs. I have been in a competition of high miles with my friend, A. I have ran in the Hot Mamas 5K. I even got to mark something of my running bucket list: Run a race in a tutu. The tutu ended up around my armpits, but I did it. The Hot Mamas was actually kind of fun. Not the greatest route. I personally don't care for the park that they held it in, but at least they had hot fireman handing out water.

I even got the opportunity to hang out with good friend, contact with an old friend, AND meet a new one.  So it's always a good time with friends around.
My running buddy/partner in crime, A, has even had me planking. Yes, planking. Not lets climb on weird objects and lay flat planking, but I scream out obscenities while "exercising" planking.
And today... well, today I faced perhaps what is my biggest irrational fear. Zombies! (I said it was an irrational fear, but that doesn't make it any less real. : / )I ran the Dirty 30 Zombie Edition.
The closest that I ever wanted to get to a zombie.

Trying to psyche myself up

I always have fun at the Dirty 30, but today was hard on several different levels. It was dead of winter cold today with a crazy, wild wind out of the north. The minute you hit the water you were chilled to the bone. The very first obstacle was a giant mud pit, so of course I fell in. As I'm drudging across it, I find a Cyndi-size hole right in the middle. I sank up to my chest and if it hadn't been for my friend, J, I would probably still be there...and frozen solid. As I came off of the mud hill, I came across my first zombie. I had to take a minute because I almost freaked. The look on J's face let me know that the look on my face said, "I'm about to bolt" and not in a good way. I took a deep breathe, told myself that they are people in makeup, and started moving again. I got swarmed and lost a flag almost immediately. I skipped the wall because I fall off of it on a good day and today, I couldn't even feel my fingers. I was soooooooo cold. Losing my second flag was kind of a blur. There was yelling, a few expletives, sprinting, dodging, and a flipping of the bird in there somewhere. My last flag went to a jerk that was hiding in the bushes. He jumped out and almost got drop kicked in the nads. We weren't allowed to touch or harm the zombies, but when you jump out at people from a hiding place, I believe that you are doing so at your own risk. He caught the tail end of my flag and ripped it off. : /
After that most zombies, left me alone. There were a few tools who took their job too seriously and still chased me even though I had no flags to take and had a terrified look on my face the whole time.
There was one zombie, who was very nice and was trying to be helpful, but really didn't help me any. He saw that I was flagless and terrified and he gave me a little pep talk. You know, "you're doing great. Keep going. Good job". and then he said, "I'll run with you a little bit". While he waved off some other zombies, his being RIGHT THERE pratically touching shoulders with me was not helping. I just kept my eyes forward, said thank you, and keep going. The one really awesome thing abou the race was the giant slip-n-slide. I approached it like you would slide into a base and took off like a shot. I almost took a poor girl out and had to a roll to my left to keep from running her over. I pray that they have that next summer Dirty 30. By the end of the race, I couldn't feel my hands or my legs, so I kind of just stumbled through the finish line, much like a zombie. There were my friends to cheer me on, J, and A, and A.
I wouldn't say that I have conquered my fear, but I now know that I can see a zombie and NOT curl up into a fetal position and cry. So that's a plus. I did have a fun day, but it probably had more to do with the company than the activity. J & A are awesome! Now I'm going to drink some hot tea and cuddle under a blanket with a few other little monsters.
Peace, Love, and Zombies!