Saturday, January 3, 2015

The exhausting transformation to retirement

Retirement. Day 3, officially. We've had a month of farewell parties from Australia, through Washington state and ending wit h two parties in North Florida. Emotionally and physically exhausting. Excess food and alcohol may have had an effect, too...? Happily followed buy a houseful of our wonderful children, including a 5 month old grandson and NO dramas! It has been a whirlwind, wonderful and overwhelming. Now that the holidays are over and the children back in their own homes and routines,  we are waiting for it to sink in! No More Work. Hmmm.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I did finish the National Breast Cancer Marathon on February 13, 2011. Couch to the finish line in less than 7 months. Okay, so it took me 6 hours and 41 minutes. I was 62! I hadn't been exercising for months. Basically a couch potato, thirty pounds overweight. In May, Florida is hot and humid, but when my sister-in-law shared her secret, that she was planning to train for a marathon in Jacksonville, it stuck with me. She didn't know that In my unwritten, impossible-things-I’d-like-to-do bucket list, running a marathon was in the top ten. It was behind weighing 120 again and speaking understandable Spanish.
A month later, I was at my highest weight EVER (including my last pregnancy, where I laid in bed and ate for 2 ½ months). While visiting friends in Idaho, the altitude and hills were killing me. My goal to live to 93 wasn’t looking so good, so I took my SIL's advice and joined the Galloway Marathon training program. I started the run-walk program in the end of July 2010.

Do I have special abilities that allowed me to accomplish this?  NO!

Not even close. I didn’t run track in high school. I’m not fast. Or sleek.

So how does an average, over 60, overweight grandmother get through the 26.2 mile run to the finish line?

One step at a time.

It turned out to be the best thing I could have done. I made friends with wonderful, energetic, supportive women and men of all shapes and sizes. And I did it. I walked and ran 26.2 miles. Twice. Once in practice and again a month later in the Breast Cancer Marathon.

Oh- another nice side effect-I raised almost $2000 for the cause!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Marathon: Half Way!

Part of marathon training - a BIG part - is mental training. What do you do in your head for 6 hours? In group training, that is one of the things we figure out along the way.

Galloway pace groups are composed of mostly women. The "Fasties" have more men, but we are at least 10 groups back from them and only see their blurs as they pass us. Twice. In our typical weekly run 8-12 runners, one or two men show up. And they are the nicest men! Charles is my brother-in-law, whom I love. He also has the BEST tenor voice and spontaneously bursts out in song every so often. It's great.

So to keep our minds off of the aches and pains and negative thoughts, we chat among ourselves. In the 0430 darkness we tend to pair off, but the pairings change over the course of the run. I've never done much with groups of women, since I worked in the marina construction industry,composed mostly of men. What a perfect group to get to know. Strong women in ages ranging fro 20's to 60's.

If someone is having a physical problem, there is always a member willing to see them to the end.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Running in the Rain: Halfway

As the sun comes up, we can now see the cows in fields adjacent to the Rail Trail we are on. Our shoes never did get wet and the temperature is in the 50's. Perfect for a long run. We chat and sometimes pull out the ear buds and iPod for some musical inspiration. After months of long runs for endurance training, we are just hitting our stride at 6 miles. Time to ingest some calories and there are many forms available! Jelly Belly Sport Beans, Power Bar Power Gel Shots, GU and Clif Shot Blocks, to name a few. It's difficult to eat on the run, so these quick acting supplements were developed to keep the runner's blood sugar levels up during long periods of strenuous exercise. We schedule our food intake with water breaks to enhance digesting these concentrated concoctions. Run, walk, run. 13 miles to go, but we are close to the halfway turnaround!

Where do runners keep all the snacks, band aids, lip balm, water, car keys and various other supplies they need over the 6 hour training runs? Some shorts and tops have a pocket or two, but there is a whole market full of belts with expanding pouches and Fuel Belts with plastic bottles for water and pockets for everything else. Hydration packs like the Camelback are light weight backpacks the carry varying amounts of water that is ingested through a convenient tube. I prefer the hand held Amphipod Hydraform water bottle holder, which is comfortable for me and easily refilled. Like all of the trappings I've mentioned, you just have to try them out to see what works for you.

See you at 11.5!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Running in the Rain: Part Two

At 5 the rain stops for the moment. We all keep our ponchos on, assuming the worst. Five plus miles to the only toilet and the hydration I started at home is looking for a way out. The night is dark and cool. The clouds hide the stars we saw on our first 4:30 training run of 20 miles. Roosters crow from somewhere out in the darkness. Run, walk, run. Our water angels have already been here (how early did they get up for us?)and left coolers of cold water, electrolyte fluids, cups and trash bags. We joke and head out, some removing ponchos now wetter on the inside than out, which are then stuffed in the back of our stretchy pants. Still no rain, but as the light breaks, we can see the low, heavy, dark clouds above. Passing Mile 5, we know the bathroom isn't far away!

Our set goal is a 16 minute mile pace. We calculate that this 23 miler will take six hours and eight minutes, not including stops for water and bathroom breaks. We travel with our Pace Group aptly named The Sun Risers by previous running warriors. This is the fourth year of the National Breast Cancer Marathon and those who went before have come back to to lead us Newbies and those brave enough to do it again. They cheer us on when we are tired and rein us in when we are prancing along too fast, especially at the start, when we are all enthusiastic and rarin' to get going. Our mentors want us to finish without injury, so we can go the distance in the real race. We LOVE them, of course, because ours are the best!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Breast Cancer Marathon Countdown: 56 Days

Here's the deal:
Get up at 2:45
Put on the coffee.
Check the weather: 54 F & RAIN, ugh.
Remember my "patrons" and friends who faced chemo, hair loss, and worse.
Thank God for my good health. A little rain never hurt anyone.
Clip toenails. Grease up feet and toes.
Swipe at hair, teeth, face. Can't see my eyebrows, but at least I have them.
Get dressed, long or short sleeves??? Long.
Throw in poncho, towel & dry clothes just in case.
Food for the Run: 6 GU gels, Jelly Bellies, water, post-race drink, power bar. Check.
Eat english muffin with p-nut butter & jelly. Slurp of coffee!
GPS watch, heart monitor, Gym Boss timer, waist band snack pouch, water bottle, light & post-run food.
Yikes it's 3:30! Gotta leave!
In car - forgot to bring coffee with me!
Drive 40 minutes to the trail head on the other side of town.
Parking lot is dark- where is everyone? The run starts at 4:30.
Drat! It IS raining. On goes the poncho, 23 miles in wet shoes! REALLY?
Think again about my Breast Cancer Sisters I am supporting. I have it easy.
Ponchos are noisy! Friends offer a cheaper version that is more pliable. Nice.
Someone needs a poncho. Luckily I brought 3 and share.

And that is how it all begins...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

House 4 Sale: Not Foreclosure

After a year of talking about it, we finally put our house on the market. It wasn't a difficult decision: the difficult part is getting everything up to snuff for lookers! You know how piles of things and projects that might need some attention, become invisible after a while? They fall off the "Honey Do" list. We had a lot of blind spots inside and out! So then you have to find a reliable handy man to do the work...That's a challenge! Then there's the process of picking a price range. The realtor brings comps (comparing what other similar homes are selling for, usually based on square footage). You pour over them. I think the price is too high, my husband thinks it's not high enough. So we must be in the right range. Now we have a For Sale on the lawn.

Spruce up the outside, trim the palms, power wash the concrete...plant and pot a few flowers- DONE! Oh - now we have to keep it that way! Dust, straighten, mop. Dishes in the washer. No errant socks drying on the couch. Yikes! But it's not so bad when it is just the two of us, which is why we are trying to downsize into 2 instead of 5 bedrooms.

I run an eBay store and my warehouse/office is packed tightly into one room after moving, moving, moving inventory from one closet to another. I am not disciplined enough to keep an active selling and shipping area neat! The frustrating part is that no one has been to see the house since we listed it, but it's only been three weeks.

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