"Whenever you think you are giving it all you have, give just a little bit more"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sometimes dreams really do come true!

My dream of running started back in May of 2009. I jumped into my first Bolder Boulder after not training all winter and only a few runs in the Spring. Oh yeah and  the two days before the race were spent with the stomach flu. Not exactly the ideal situation, but probably the most "fun" I have ever had in a race. I crossed the finish line completyly spent, I had no idea how tough the course was or even what a 10k felt like. My time was ok, I ran a 37:55 for 11th place female but man did it hurt! It wasn't so much what had happened in the last 38 minutes that changed me but more what was about to happen in a couple hours.

After I crossed the finish line I found Kevin and the boys so we could get a good seat to watch the Memorial ceremony after the races were over. We both thought our kids would love watching the jets, parachuting men and all of the festivities. As we sat in the stadium we ended up seeing the elite race come through. I remember hearing the crowd cheer these runners on as I watched Tera Moody and Alisha Williams run for team USA into the stadium. With goose bumps on my arms and tears in my eyes I looked at Kevin and said "I want to do that!" At the time I'm sure Kevin thought I was nuts. These women were running considerably faster than I had just run. Not to mention THEY were real runners I was just a mom who ran on the treadmill. The next day I went in to Doug Bell and told him I want to be in that race someday, I want to give running what I can and train. I had no idea at the time how this was about to change my life!

Fast forward to now. This weekend I will be running in the Bolder Boulder International team challenge! I am going to get to finish in that stadium with my family and friends cheering me on. I can't tell you how much this means to me! I know to a lot of people it sounds cheesy and goofy, but it's the whole reason I am who I am today. That one race changed my life!  There have been races in the past 3 years that I have had the honor of being a part of. Many USA championship races and most important the USA Olympic Marathon trials. All of which have been amazing and a dream! But for me Bolder Boulder is the race I feel the most excited and honored to be a part of! It is the place I started, it's always been the thing I have strived to have the honor to be in, not to mention it's a local race! I know it's a little nuts. I mean who would choose to run at 11 in the heat verses at 7 am in the cool weather? Who would prefer to run with 20 or so women instead of a huge field that you can tuck into men to help you out? Chances are you could end up alone. Chances are you could end up at the back for a bit. The thing is is this. Running is full of ups and downs. I have had a year of so many amazing ups. Joining the American Distance Project has turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. No it wasn't easy! I had to disappoint some people and leave what I was comfortable with behind. But it has brought me to the place I stand in today. The last few weeks I have struggled with myself on a physical and mental level but once again God knew how to help me. On Monday I will run my little heart out and give 110%  to finish in the stadium with all my loved ones around! This is the biggest "up" I could have!  I feel like I have really given a lot to running in the last year. Lots of sweat, pain, tears and sacrifice from both me and my loved ones. Plus lots of work from my teammates, my training partner and coach. So in a weird way I feel like yes it is all worth it. It's the little victories in running and life in general that keep us plugging away!

 I have so many people to be thankful to for all the joys and gifts I have been given in life! God has really blessed me with so much more than I ever dreamed of. I have an amazing supportive husband, two beautiful children, a brother who probably thinks I am 100% insane for doing this but still comes along to cheer me on,  family who supports me, amazing training partner and friends, awesome sponsors in the Boulder Running Company, Adidas, and Powerbar, and freaking awesome teammates!!!! I do look back now and find it funny how it worked out. That day I looked at Alisha and Tera and idolized them! That hasn't changed a bit they are two of the most amazing runners, but now I have had the honor of being their teammmates. They have given me advice, encouragment and support. I'll still always look up to them as runners but now I look up to them as women and friends. It's funny how God will put you in the right place to help you make the decision to change your life forever!

Can't wait to see you all out there on Monday! You better believe I will be out there drinking my coffee cheering you all on to a great race! Than as I run no matter how the race turns out for me I will listen for all of my friends encouraging words and remember just how blessed I am to be in this race!!!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's day

Since my mom died in a car crash nine years ago Mother's day has been painful. This weekend wasn't any different but it came at a perfect time for me to reflect. The day my mom died was the worst day of my life. No matter what people tell you time doesn't ease the pain and it doesn't get easier. Having a lot of extra time on Friday to think I reflected on how it changed my life. Yes I lost my best friend, the one person I had known for 22 years that was there for me no matter what. It seemed like nothing would ever be ok again. Truth is as hard as it is to deal with. There was at least some good that came from it. First and most important my 12 year old brother moved in with me and Kevin. At the time we were in way over our heads. We were newleyweds with a pre teen, but neither one of us had a second thought. Travis was meant to be with us. He was the first of three amazing boys I was given my three gifts from God. I was forced to grow up faster than I had planned but it made me who I am. It made me a fighter. All of you that were lucky enough to know my mom know she was a serious hard headed tough woman. She handed some of that down to me..........ok maybe a lot of the stubborn hard headed stuff comes from her :)

 I could go on and on about my mom but I'll get to the point. Friday as I was thinking back to my DNF just two weeks before and forward to the race about to take place I decided to make a promise to myself. I was worried the 25k was too long for me right now. I had been focusing on speed in the 10k and the trials this was kind of in the opposite direction. I decided to do what my mom would want, go for it. No I wasn't going to run with Janet, but I was going to push 5:30's or whatever the chase pack was at and see what I could do. Was there a chance I could fall apart? Sure. Was there a chance I could pull something out and have a great one? Sure. The thing was my mom would have gone for it. That's just how she lived her life. My mom was amazing! She went for everything and didn't stop until she had it. I needed something to wash the nasty taste out of my mouth from the DNF. So when the gun went off Saturday morning I went for it. I hit mile one in 5:24 I believe. It felt super easy but mile one usually does. There was a bit of a headwind the first half of the race so my only thought was find a pack of guys and just sit on them. This made me surge a bit before mile 1 to catch the guys which in turn made me go ahead of some girls I know better than to run in front of. They always run smart and catch you. I thought they would go with me and when they didn't I was committed no looking back now. The pack of guys said they were going to run 5:30 sounded perfect to me. During mile 2 it felt very easy like I was going to trip over their feet. When we got to mile two at 5:43 I knew why......it was an easy pace. Here is where I thought again. What would mom do? Hmmm.....she wouldn't settle. So I got out of the pack and focused on the two guys ahead of me. I pushed the pace. Before I broke off Allie and Emily had joined our pack. Luckily when I decided to go they came with me. We pushed the next couple miles in 5:30. Felt good but it was still early. Shortly after four Both girls started to pull away. At first I freaked but when I realized I was still hitting 5:30's I relaxed. There was a lot of race left. I'll spare you all the details but during the rest of the race I got myself into 5th, was a couple seconds from 4th and making ground, got passed by a pack of 3 (yes these we're the girls I knew better than to not run with early), and got picked off around 13 by another girl. As the girls passed me I just remembered my promise to myself. Just give it your all who cares if some girls beat you and you fall apart. I kept focused on the positive. I was still running a pretty good pace, I came through the half marathon at my exact half PR, and while I was slowing down I wasn't completely falling apart. When doubts settled in I just had to remember this was not a planned race, all you can do is give all of you. I ended the race in 1:27:47 and 8th place. I crossed the finish line disappointed but washed it awayMADD made myself be happy with it. Eighth place doesn't sound great and sure I could have run a faster time if I had run smart and conservative. I executed the race as I had planned and just pushed myself. On Saturday it didn't work in my favor, but sometimes you have to take a risk. Greatness never comes from playing it safe.

Today I am just happy I ran the race the best that Wendy could on that day. After dropping out at Stanford I had a lot of doubts about myself and my running. Maybe I wasn't tough enough mentally to do this whole competitive running thing. What I realized today is I could never give it up. Not for a reason anyone would guess. Yes I love being competitive, finding out how hard I can push myself. Truth is also that I run to show my kids that giving up is NEVER an option. I also run because of my friends I get to,spend time with while we pound out hundreds of miles together. But the one reason I do it that will never let me stop and the reason I started even though I didn't know it at the time? It's the one time I feel close to my mom. No she wasn't a runner. In fact she would probably tell me I am out of my mind for doing it. For whatever reason when I lace up my shoes and hit the roads i am 100% with my mom. I feel at ease running in this beautiful state thinking and talking with her. Bad days I'll run and cry to her, good days I'll run and thank her. Even when I am out running with my friends I am always thinking of her. Ever since I have started running I've just felt her with me always pushing me to give just a little more of myself. When I was very little my older sister was sick. I can remember sitting next to her window while she laid in her crib. Birds would always come up to the window and make her smile. When my sister passed my mom would always tell me the birds out flying and chirping at me were my sisters way of telling me she loved me. I'll never forget that. Anytime I am out running and negative thoughts come in my head it never fails there will be a bird chirping at me. It puts me at ease because I know it's my moms way of telling me she loves me. Knowing my mom it's also her way sometimes of telling me to pull my head out of my butt and get those negative thoughts out.

So while mothers day seems almost impossible to deal with I know I have my mom here to help me every step of the way. I guess my long winded point of the story is that there is always something good that comes from the bad stuff. I lost my mom but in return gained more of my brother. Got even closer to my aunt, uncle and cousins who are now more like my parents and sisters. Plus I became the tougher version of myself. Oh and I got to skip that whole doing a lot of dumb stuff in your 20's that most people now regret :). Stanford was bad but it made me stop and evaluate why I do this. Why it's important to me. Plus I'm sure somewhere down the road I will realize I've learned a lot more from that one awful race. Until next time everyone tell your mom how much you love them and remember running is FUN!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Who would have thought that silly old bear was so smart

"How can you get very far, If you don't know Who you are? How can you do what you ought, If you don't know What you've got? And if you don't know Which to do Of all the things in front of you, Than what you'll have when you are through Is just a mess without a clue Of all the best that can come true If you know What and Which and Who"

 As you all know I have two kids and have read Winnie the Pooh I don't know how many times. What is even more ironic is my whole life my dad has called me Winnie the Pooh.

From my last blog you all know I had one of the hardest weeks ever last week when I had an awesome DNF at Peyton Jordan. After being crushed on Sunday I told myself I could have 24 hours to be sad and that was all. So it was perfect Monday morning when Scott took us down to the bay to run that he was having me do an 18 mile progression. My first thought was great I was so pissed off last night I didn't eat dinner, followed by no sleep followed by coffee and just a few bites of breakfast......this is going to be a sh** show. As most runs go for me when I am upset I ran way too fast in the beginning which was only made worse by the fact that I was at sea level, clipping off all miles under 6:30 and a few close to 6 flat. This was in the first half of my rn which is never a good idea. But all I was doing was thinking, thinking how the night before went so wrong. I didn't go out crazy fast I went to the back of the pack like I planned and was just hanging on. First mile was 5:11 thats close to what I thought it would be, second mile 5:15 but I just couldn't get clicking. I spent the first hour of my 18 trying to figure out how this could happen. How could I hit 6xmile at home at altitude all under 5:19 and this could feel so bad. I knew there was one explanation that was out of my control but even that shouldn't stop me. I finished the run which ended up being very painful and hot at the end. Got in the car and was struggling to talk to anyone without crying. Scott asked me what I wanted to do next how I was feeling and I felt so bad I couldn't really respond. Just the thought of how much I had let myself down sent me into tears. I did the best I could the rest of the day but just wanted to get home to my husband and kids so I could get a big hug cry it out and move on.

The thing about a DNF is it tears you up. As a runner we train ourselves to do the opposite of what I had just done. WE train to stick it out. put our bodies in pain and just push on. This is the whole reason we do workouts. Luckily I have good friends. On Tuesday I didn't even feel like running but Michael shot me a text.."Lunch run?" Ok sure...that night Corey "I'm gonna run at gymnastics." This is pretty much how my whole week played out. Which is good because I would have preferred to just sit on my butt and do nothing. Than I had a workout last week. 12x800......GREAT! Just what I want to do put myself in pain and prove I am out of shape. Than the opposite happened. I ran my fastest 800 meter workout yet. Which should have made me happy right? Nope... it just made me more pissed. If I had had a bad race because I was out of shape THAT would have made sense. Instead I am running 2:29-2:35 at altitude fairly easily. Now I am even more mad!!!!!

 My way of coping last week with the anger was to go golfing a LOT! Turns out when I am a bad runner I am a pretty darn good golfer. As we are out golfing one night Kevin said maybe there is something to be learned from this. Usually you are so wound up about golfing and make mistakes, but now you are so pissed off about running you are a relaxed golfer and doing really well. HMMMMMM........the next day Scott asks me how I am doing, I explain I am fine taking up golfing to relax me. His response was Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here. Really? Do these two call one another up to gang up on me? After our discussion Scott told me I needed to go get the book "the Tao of Pooh". Sure why not I love to read maybe it will distract me. When I show up at the book store and pull the book out my first thought was SERIOUSLY? Is my head really shoved so far up my bum that I am given a reading assignment about Winnie the Pooh? Clearly I am not as patient as this darn bear. I would have chocked Eeyore a long time ago with his sad pathetic attitude. Than there is piglet really just leave me alone for five minutes. So this reading assignement should be interesting.

Funny enough I only get a few pages in when I come across my first EUREKA moment..... "Well" said Pooh "we keep looking for home and not finding it, so I thought that if we looked for this pit, we'd be sure not to find it, which would be a good thing, because then we might find something that we weren't looking for, which might be just what we were looking for really"

Yes I had something that may have slowed me down at PJ, but I think the bigger thing could have been my head. Immediatly when I found out what heat I got into I thought "I don't belong in this race I need to be in the second heat" "I can't run with these women" I need to hit 32:45 at least to guarantee my spot" "what pace is that, what do I need to hit a lap" Before the race had even gotten on the track I had already defeated myself. I need to be more like that silly old bear. Why did I do so good in the marathon? In my first crack at the 10,0000 on the track? Because I just ran with no expectations I just wanted to see what WENDY could do. Not how I could stack up with the others. I went out to those races thinking of finding my time. Just like Pooh is saying. I can't toe the line searching to prove I belong. I need to toe the line every time knowing I am in great shape. Who cares about pace or place lets just see what WENDY can do and the result will end up being a great time. The mental aspect of a race has always been my down fall. I am not going to sit here and tell you I have come to the relization that I belong with these women. I do feel like having started so late in life and feeling a little like I am out of my league is usually a strong thing for me. It means I go to practice and work that much harder feeling like I have a lot to do to catch up. In that aspect its a great thing BUT when it comes to race time it kills me. Maybe the physical thing slowing me down at PJ was there and when I knew it I just let myself give up. I just let myself say you are right you don't belong in this race. Now it's time to start believing in myself and going out looking for that "pit" instead of my time.

Moving forward I wasn't fully sure what to do. At first I thought I didn't want to try again and be crushed. But talking to my friend Dan helped me figure itout. Maybe I just didn't want to try again because I was too afraid of the pain if I didn't hit my time. In reality that time should not be a problem to hit. I am in the shape to do it. So Scott and I decided this week I will head out to Grand Rapid and run the USA 25k champs. In my head I am a little scared. I mean I ahve been training for a 10k this is more than double that. But Scott has never sent me to a race I am not prepared for so I am going in with an open mind. No time goal no place goal. What I want out of this race is to have fun. I need to have a road race to remember why I love this so much. Track races are a fun place to get a fast time and maybe a lot of people find them really fun because they are great at it. I just don't. I love to run fast but I love the roads. AFter a road race it's a big party with all these people that are just as crazy as you. A fun time to get to know one another and just relax. I am really looking forward to that. If I can come away with a little prize money that would be awesome but mostly I just want to have a good race experienceto erase the thoughts and doubts i my head right now. That being said I havent given up my dream. I want more than anything to be on the start line in Eugene so I will go to Portland the first week of June and give the 10,000 one more shot. Sounds like there will be a lot of wmen with the same goal in mind. Plus I hear Kim Conley will be there pacing us through 4 miles so it should be a good situation.

Until next time I am going to be working on getting the Eeyore out of me

"Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us dont. That's all there is to it"

I'll start telling myself that I can!