Monday, November 21, 2016

Half Marathon #5

Pre-race- fresh and full of energy. We hope.
On Saturday I ran my 5th half marathon.  Why? I don't know. But here is how it goes in my brain:

  • Run a race of any distance.  Feel triumphant and inspired, so sign up for a race of increased distance, preferably a half marathon.
  • Calculate how long I have to up my mileage. Immediately reconsider whether I want to do this.
  • Contemplate selling my bib and dropping out of the race altogether.
  • Begin training, adding a mile on to my long runs each weekend.  6 miles? Ok. 7 miles? Fine. 11 miles? WHAT WAS I THINKING?
  • Enter depression and negative self-talk. I can't do this, I am too slow, why can't I just feel good? Is that my knee hurting???
  • Week of the race: begin checking weather obsessively. Begin listing possible outs: bad weather, illness, fatigue. Also begin incessant complaining to all friends and family about what a bad idea it is to sign up for a race like this.
  • Night before: try to sleep. 
  • Day of: wake up early, in fear that I won't hear the alarm. I have my morning ritual of coffee and an English muffin with peanut butter, then I go pee about 6 times because I don't want to use a port-a-potty. 
  • Get to the race and still need to use the port-a-potty.
  • Start running. Run for 2+ hours, counting every mile and wondering why I paid money for this.
  • Finally cross the finish line.  There are then two possibilities:
    • I feel a sense of elation at a job well done, which leads to a desire to sign up for my next race, hopefully also a half marathon.
    • I feel disappointed at my performance, and decide I need to sign up for another race and seek retribution. 
  • Sign up for another race and start all over again.
Post-race glow. I am crusted over with salt from my sweat.
That said, I really had a good race.  The weather was unseasonably perfect. I drove in and out of town with two friends/running buddies, even though we didn't end up running together.  I ran 5 miles with my friend Lori before her foot started to hurt (she had a broken toe, she is amazing that she did it anyway!) and then ran by myself until around Mile 11, I noticed a man who looked quite similar to my OB, who had delivered all 3 kids... and so I decided I would say hello, and it was him!  We ran together for a little over half a mile and talked a little- he was encouraging and supportive (probably more than he was when I delivered my kids!) and it gave me the boost I needed to get through the end of the race.  He said I look like I am in great shape- not hard to accomplish when I probably weighed close to 200 lbs the last time he saw me! Then when I crossed the finish line, he was waiting for me to high-five me! It was really exciting. And then I checked my results and found out I had run my fastest half marathon yet!
With my OB- who is in better shape than I am
My friends finished after me and we sat and stretched and enjoyed the sunshine before heading out of town to our families.
Lori didn't like my taking her picture
When I got home, we had brunch with Eric's college friend from Maine and her husband, who had also run the half marathon. We spent a couple of hours out on our patio talking in the sun and relaxing. Now I have the long Thanksgiving weekend to look forward to, with family and lots of food!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Goodbye, Grandma Tenny

My Grandma Tenny- my last living grandparent- passed away Thursday two weeks ago.  I haven't written much about her in my blog because she wasn't a regular presence in my life, or my children's lives. But she gave birth to my dad, and she raised him, and for that I am grateful.

It is hard to write about Tenny.  I try to only say nice things about people in here, and it's hard for me to have many nice things to say.  Tenny showed her love through criticism- or at least that is how I have chosen to understand her criticism of me.  Although I cannot imagine that she didn't love me, it was hard to feel loved by her. My relationship with her, while not complicated, was distant.  She had a hard time showing love or sometimes even being kind.  If you know my dad, you would have a hard time believing that someone so demonstrative and affectionate came from Tenny.

Here are the good things I can say: She was fiercely independent. She was never bound by other people's expectations or rules. In a time where many women married, stayed home, and had children, she got a college degree, married, had children, and worked.  I think she tried to stay home and be a "wife" to my grandpa, but she never felt fulfilled by that. She traveled the world, sometimes for work and sometimes for pleasure. She raised 3 children to be productive members of society, and they went on to marry and have children of their own. She never thought of herself as "old," and up until the end she found ways to get out and keep busy. She liked to shop, and would buy my kids little treats when she could- we have a huge collection of crazy hats that mean I don't have to do any planning or shopping when "crazy hat day" comes at camp.
Charlotte talking to Alexandra. My grandparents' wedding picture is next to them.
Today, on what would have been her 96th birthday, I took Charlotte and Asher to DC for her memorial (originally planned as her birthday party). Asher got a kick out of exploring the cupboards, finding unopened packages of paper plates and napkins, trinkets, and birthday candles.  My cousin Alexandra brought out some of Tenny's costume jewelry, and Charlotte channeled Tenny and beautified. Asher would have loved exploring my grandparents' house the way it was when I was a kid- he loves a good treasure hunt and is always able to find something.
Charlotte channeling her inner Tenny. She later sashayed across the room making the jewelry rattle.
Gray Kitty got in on the action
We reminisced about Tenny- unfortunately it seemed like the most fond memories were held by the people she knew in the final years of her life, who saw her as an eccentric and amusing grandmother-type. For those who knew her longer, relationships weren't nearly so easy.  Unlike when I lost my mom's parents. I haven't experienced sadness or grief.  My only sense of sadness is that we could never be close, that she kept me at such a distance that I can't feel her loss.  She lived a good and full life, always on her terms, and that is what I will focus on now that she has passed.  Happy Birthday, Grandma Tenny.