Bolder Boulder 10k recap

Yesterday morning, the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. (I was already awake, lying in the dark wondering if it was almost time to get up) and it was officially race day! We live 45 minutes from Boulder and had to allow time to get to a friend’s where we’d park our car while she drove us to the starting line.  (RTD usually has shuttle buses but due to a shortage of drivers, they cut the service). On the drive to Boulder, the sky had darkened and the wind picked up, so I changed from a short-sleeved to a long-sleeved shirt. Minutes later, the sky cleared and the wind died down. Hooray!

My last Bolder Boulder was in 2016 and I was eager to run. The familiar sound of slamming porta-potty doors made me smile as I warmed up on side streets while Zippy waited in line to drop our bag at the mobile locker. He was still in line ten minutes before our GC wave was set to start, but I was determined to start with my wave so ran ahead to get in place. Volunteers held ropes and signs denoting the G, GA, GB, and GC waves, and I bounced on my toes while listening to Olympic gold medalist Frank Shorter (the official starter) announce participants’ birthdays and other notable information such as the 90-year-old (!) woman in the G wave who was running her 32nd Bolder Boulder.

Just minutes before our start, Zippy joined me, and one minute and 50 seconds after the GB wave took off, it was our turn. BAM! That was the last I saw Zippy because I took off (he’s more of a bicyclist than runner), but we saw the same sights along the way.

  • The trampoline where participants were invited to bounce and flip (a woman did a backflip as I ran past).
  • The belly dancers (two different groups of them).
  • The bands. The solo musicians. The Elvis impersonator.
  • The cheerleaders. The dance-school girls that included a tap dancer and hoop-spinners.
  • The families in lawn chairs shaking cowbells. The kids with super-soakers. The baby in the onesie doing “the worm” on the sidewalk.
  • The brewery handing out free cans of beer. A woman with a huge pan of bacon. The group handing out doughnuts. The woman tossing marshmallows (when Zippy ran past, he instinctively put up a hand and ended up catching the marshmallow which he carried until the next aid station where he downed it along with a cup of water).
  • The slip n slides for which runners lined up for their turn to slide on their stomachs through the water before returning to the race.

The course winds through neighborhoods and while running, I scanned ahead to note whether the next turn was a Right or Left, and moved accordingly so as to cut the corners as close as possible. There was also the constant negotiation of choosing the shortest route around other slower runners and walkers, and despite those efforts, my Garmin reports I ran 6.31 miles rather than the official 6.2 miles. Precious seconds lost along the way! But the hardest part of the race for me was the stench of fabric softener that wafted off runners’ sweaty clothing. Fabric softener is air pollution for the chemically sensitive and several times I thought I’d throw up. Fortunately, I didn’t.

And then I was on the final incline into the CU stadium and the finish line. Here’s a screen grab from the stadium video (I’m on the left in white hat, black shirt, and blue shorts):

The video gives you about 15 seconds of your run into the stadium and Zippy pointed there were several moments of me being grumpy-face as I got boxed in by slower runners, but my overwhelming emotion was happiness. I was almost done running a strong race!

And my smile got bigger when I saw my time . . . 55:05. I’d hoped to run 55:00 or under (and would’ve made it had that little kid not cost me precious time when he grabbed the water cup intended for me at the aid station, forcing me to wait for the volunteer to get me another!) But it turned out my performance landed me in eighth place in the F59 division (of which there were 160 participants) which means I get another medal! Zippy also performed well, walking one minute between four of his miles, and we soon met up past the finish line. We masked up to go inside the field house where we collected our snack bags and a beer for Zippy, and then headed back out into the sunshine to stretch and snack.

It was a good day.

Sunday Confessional: out of hiding

The last several weeks have been especially hard days on the planet and I haven’t had the energy to post anything in a while. But we just experienced a brief thunderstorm that’s made the air clean and fresh, and I’m motivated to poke my head out again.

March 1, 2022

Tomorrow is the Bolder Boulder 10k and it’s supposed to be only 50 degrees at the starting time for our wave. That’s fine by me as I prefer running in cooler temperatures, as long as my hands are warm. So I just mended a pair of super-lightweight gloves that I’ll wear with my shorts and short-sleeved shirt.

While I had the sewing box out and the needle threaded, I also mended the sleeve on my Bolder Boulder shirt from 2016 (the last time I ran the race). Now I can wear that shirt again without worrying the sleeve would completely unravel . . . and it only took months for me to take action!

The last time I posted, we were expecting rain and/or a heavy snowfall. We ended up getting rain and then about two feet of snow which was welcome moisture, but also anxiety-producing because of the leafed-out trees. Zippy and I went out four times during the storm to knock snow off branches (note: it’s surreal to smell lilac blooms during a snowstorm). I also tossed balls and a broom in the upper part of our red maple where we couldn’t reach with our poles, but my aim was mostly pitiful.

May 21, 2022

Also, the balls and broom all got stuck. Fortunately, the tree released them back to my custody.

Unfortunately, when prying snow-laden shrub branches with the broom I snapped off the extra handle we’d taped onto it for longer reach. But overall, it was a better outcome than expected in our yard and we only lost two branches. It is heartbreaking, though, to drive around the city and see the many limbs on the ground. Poor trees.

I’ll stop here and wish everyone a good weekend. Be safe and be well. đź’š

Intuitive heads-up

This morning I followed my routine of tapping into my intuition and writing the received message(s) in my journal. Sometimes I ask a specific question about a writing project, such as help with a title or guidance on which new idea I should pursue next, while other mornings I ask for “the exact right message for right now.” This morning’s question was the open-ended “right message” request. The response?

Running on trails
be careful where you put your feet

Well, that surprised me because (1) it seemed weirdly specific and (2) the response felt ominous. My brain instantly went into panic mode: I’m going to fall! Again! [Note: I have scars from various falls over the years and am currently preparing to run the Bolder Boulder 10k on Memorial Day for the first time in years, and when I ran it in 2008, I fell on the trails a week before the race.] My first thought was DON’T RUN ON THE TRAILS! But then I quieted my brain and listened for my intuitive voice which said it would be good for me to run on the trails rather than the boring old streets.

So, I got ready and ran up the street to the trailhead. When I got on the trail, I talked to myself: The intuitive nudge wasn’t an omen, just a reminder to remain mindful. I tried to relax my body as I repeated my trail mantra: Feet on the ground, feet on the ground.

Photo by Grégory Costa of someone younger & blonder than me!

I ran up the first hill and along the ravine, following the trail to the bottom and then back up the other side where the trail is even more narrow as it hugs the top of the ravine. Feet on the ground, feet on the ground. And then, I screamed and jumped sideways toward the upper slope because there on the trail was . . . A RATTLESNAKE.

A big, fat snake that appeared to have recently consumed a large meal. As I carefully moved a bit closer to verify it was a rattlesnake, it lazily flicked its tongue while the rattle on the tip of its tail remained silent. That snake was not at all bothered by my presence and I halfway expected it to let out a satisfied belch. When it didn’t, I wished it a good day and thanked my intuition for the heads-up.

My entire body relaxed after that interaction, and I ran loose and fast with the knowledge I wasn’t about to trip and fall. New wildflower blooms caught my eye as magpies, meadowlarks, towhees, and a lone mourning dove serenaded me throughout. It was a glorious run that I would’ve missed had I allowed my panicked brain to override my intuition. Happy Monday to me!

I Am Not My Brain (and Other Insights)

Three weeks ago today I wrote about going on my first run in a long, long time.
Today I am writing about not being able to run. Again.

When I received the go-ahead from my PT dude to ease back into running, I ran a total of four times. The first two runs were completely pain-free. During the third and fourth runs, my left Achilles tendon was sore. Not excruciatingly sore, but it did hurt. I backed off, but I should’ve backed off sooner.

Shoulda-woulda-coulda.

I’m now on forced rest and cannot even take walks because that’s enough to fire up
the ol’ tendon. Joy in the land. Last week during my PT appointment I was so discouraged
by what felt like a never-ending cycle of injury jumping from one body part to another, that I smacked my kind PT dude in frustration.

Yesterday I had another appointment, and I started with an apology. I then explained that while my tendon was still giving me trouble, I had a better attitude.

What happened? YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN happened.

You Are Not Your Brain cover image

YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN is a book that’s helped me recognize the false messages my brain sends me, messages I’ve internalized over the years until they were hard-wired in my circuitry. The book is helping me rewire my brain so I’m not held hostage by that nasty voice. Basically, YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN is a highly readable how-to on neuroplasticity. (Say it with me, people: neuroplasticity!)

Testimonial: Monday afternoon I lifted weights (an activity I’m easing back into) and as I stood in front of the full-length mirror that helps me maintain good form while lifting, I felt a wave of all sorts of yucky thoughts and feelings around the fact that I’m weak and now must lift much lighter weights and have put on some pounds and don’t look so hot in my workout togs. The thought of starting over to get back to my strong and fit self felt like too much; I felt ugly and weak and worthless and overwhelmed by the entire situation.

And then I reined myself in and talked to my brain. I followed the steps and began the process of rewiring my brain by lifting weights while maintaining eye contact in the mirror. I didn’t look anywhere but in my eyes, because that’s where my true self was evident. Not in my waist or thighs or arms. My eyes. I smiled into my blue peepers and lifted those weights, knowing that by taking action I was drowning out that voice and making it harder for it to reappear. It will come back, it always does, but each time I take positive action while that voice yammers at me, the voice loses power over me.

Tracy taped tendonIn the meanwhile, I’m rocking the RockTape and trying to focus on how far I’ve come. I won’t be running the Bolder Boulder next month and am still royally frustrated with my limitations, but I’m trying hard not to take those personally.

One step at a time.

 

 

My Bold Men

           

As I type this,
Zippy, Wildebeest, and Zebu
are running the Bolder Boulder 10k.

They should be heading into their third mile right now.
The third mile’s the hardest on this course.
Uphill and lots of turns.

Go, men, go!
Lean into the hill and lift those knees!
You’re doing great!
        

Friday Five: The Wildebeest Edition

            

       
Wildebeest didn’t have school yesterday so we spent time together.

1)  I drove him to Boulder so he could run two miles on a treadmill to get a qualifying time
for the BolderBoulder on Memorial Day.

2)  While in Boulder, we took our recyclables to the recycling center
where Wildebeest impressed me with his knowledge of paper board vs cardboard.

3)  As we drove back on Highway 93 (which is a beautiful drive along the foothills), we watched
a courageous (foolhardy?) bird repeatedly harass a much larger hawk.

4)  We talked about many things, including the fact that because a person’s sexuality encompasses
much more than a sex life, it’s reasonable to discuss Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s sexuality.

5)  Last, we went to the DMV so Wildebeest could get his learner’s permit, and watched as a woman
backed a long, white pickup truck into a sign post right before a crying teen girl ran over and got in
the passenger’s seat (after flunking her own driving test?)

The time was filled with lots of driving and waiting, plus a scraped knuckle at the recycling center,
but it was still a very nice afternoon.

Wishing everyone scintillating conversations and teen bonding experiences this weekend!
                

Monday, Monday

             

Just got back from my PT appointment
at which I received strict instructions to not run for a week.
It’s now official: I will not be running the BolderBoulder on Memorial Day.


                                                                                                                     © 2010 Zippy

(Lebowski wasn’t planning on running this year so I have no idea why he looks so grumpy).
                      

My left leg is longer than my right. Hooray!

              

Ever since the summer of 2008 I’ve suffered off-and-on tightness and pain
in my left ITband/hip/buttock.
It came on after training for the Bolder Boulder, and after research,
I decided it was due to training so many miles in the streets
where I’d run facing traffic which meant my left side was always leaning into the gutter.

At Zippy’s suggestion, last week I finally called my running shoe store
to ask for a Physical Therapist recommendation.
Well, I just got home from my appointment with
Stuart Wilson at Chamption Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy,
and guess what I found out?

It’s not an ITband issue.
My pain wasn’t triggered by running in the gutter.

My left leg is longer than my right leg,
and the way my body compensates is for my left foot to pronate 8 mm.
Healthy pronation is 2-3 mm.
Again, mine is 8 mm.
No wonder I was in pain!

He taped my left arch to hold it in place and then had me get back on the treadmill.
But then I felt pain in my knees.
So then he removed the tape and put a lift in my right shoe.
Much better!

My homework is to wear the lift all the time,
walk as much as I’d like,
on Thursday go for 2-3 mile run, and, if it feels okay,
to run 2-3 miles on Sunday.
I go back for my follow-up appointment next Monday.

I’m thrilled.
I already feel different/better, and am hoping, hoping, hoping
this means I’ll be back on the trails again.
I might even try to run the Bolder Boulder which is (eek!) three weeks from today.

Hooray!  My left leg is longer than my right!
              

Team Captain

The LJ Goddesses are smiling down on me today, allowing me to finally post these photos in honor of linbinwriter.  You see, Linda is the captain of Team Vinca.  In May of 2007 I posted a plea for good thoughts as I ran the Bolder Boulder 10k and I was humbled by the responses.  Linda let me know she’d be wearing her Team Vinca t-shirt in honor of my race.  I don’t think she knows how important that image was to me as I struggled to finish the race but I thought about it as I huffed and puffed along the course, and it motivated me to keep going.  Fast forward to May 2008 when I needed another round of good thoughts for the race.  Linda promised to wear her Team Vinca shirt again.  And again, that image helped carry me across the finish line. 

So imagine my joy when I opened a package a couple weeks ago and discovered this shirt (look closely for the tiny vinca blossoms drawn around the letters):

But the shirt isn’t just about Team Vinca and my running support network, it’s also a call-out to the Denver Cycle Sluts who raised money for the weekly spaghetti dinner for the homeless.  Go Sluts!

As for Venn Diagrams?  Linda is humoring me because she knows I like them and like saying the words aloud: Venn Diagrams!

But it wasn’t just this great handmade t-shirt in the package.  Linda also wrote the most beautiful, kind note to me regarding running and writing.  And the timing could not have been better.  I was suffering a crisis of confidence (on several fronts) that day but when I read the words penned by a writer friend many miles away, I cried tears of gratitude.

I’m very fortunate to have your support and camaraderie, Linda.  Thanks so much for being my friend and the captain of my team.  

                   

Photo Finish

Huge (and I do mean HUGE) apologies for the size of this pic.  Having technical difficulties posting photos on LJ lately but wanted to share what came in the mail: my BolderBoulder 2008 finish arranged artistically with my bling for placing.

Bolder Boulder Experience

I wanted to update you on the race since your good thoughts were with me as I ran but I was absolutely exhausted all day yesterday. I could’ve dropped in to give you a short version of the events but so many thoughts/epiphanies kept bouncing around my head and I really wanted to do them justice which is what I hope to accomplish today. But in case you have a life to live and don’t want to invest the time in me deconstructing the race, here’s the short version:

  • I didn’t run a great race but I had a great race.
  • My official time was 90 seconds slower than my goal.
  • Despite my slow time, I placed 12th in my age group.
  • I will receive a medal.
  • For the first time running that race (yesterday was my fourth entry), I didn’t experience a moment of “This sucks. Why am I doing this?!”
  • I enjoyed myself throughout the race. Smiled. Laughed.
  • All the good thoughts carried me through.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

           

Okay, here’s ALL the minutiae of Tracy’s fourth running of the Bolder Boulder 10k:
I recovered from last Monday’s fall. I fought off upset stomach issues. I did visualization and mentally prepared for the race. I was confident all the hard work and training would carry me through so that I’d get my PR (personal record). There was no doubt in my mind I’d run my best race ever.

I shut off the light at 9:00 pm on Sunday night, alarm set for 4:30 am so Zippy and I could make the 5:30 shuttle bus to Boulder. Zippy, in his annoying fashion, fell asleep immediately. I drifted off about 9:30 only to wake at 11:30 to the sound of his snores. The rest of the night was one of those nightmarish experiences in which you desperately try to fall asleep but cannot and as you become more tired, your mind becomes more panicked. I ended up sleeping another 30 minutes before the alarm went off, for a grand total of two and a half hours of sleep. I seriously considered staying home.

But I went. And I’m so glad I did.

The Bolder Boulder is a massive road race (I think it’s the second largest in the nation). This year just under 49,000 people completed the race (wheelchairs, runners and walkers). You can’t help but get caught up in the excitement when you’re around that many people sharing the same goal. As I warmed up with Zippy I saw one of my coaches and she wished me well, and then another runner from my training group whom I hadn’t seen in a couple months since I’d started training alone called out to me with such enthusiasm that my chest swelled with pure happiness.

Every other year Zippy runs in an earlier wave since he’s a faster runner but this year he was two waves behind me (I got an automatic slot in the CC wave because I was in the Sub 50 training group but he used last year’s BB time in which he ran slow with me for his placement in this year’s DA wave.  Follow that?)  My wave started two minutes and 20 seconds earlier than Zippy’s. I love him dearly but knew I didn’t want to see him during that race; if he caught up with me it would mean I wasn’t running my pace. But if he met his goal and I met mine, we’d be together somewhere near the very end of the race.

I was at the back of my wave when the starting gun went off. I started my watch with the gun just as some guy next to me told his friend he wasn’t starting his watch until we actually crossed over the start line (tags on our shoes keep track of our official race times). I glanced at my watch as we crossed the start line and it said 33 seconds.

At the 1K mark I checked my watch and subtracted 30 seconds. Right on pace for the first mile that I wanted to run in 7:30. At the 1 mile mark, I checked my watch and subtracted 30 seconds from the total time. Right on pace. Why wasn’t I reading my mile splits? Because even though I’d thoroughly prepared for that race – handkerchief with peppermint oil in my pocket, DIG DEEP and 1-2-3-4 (tempo reminder) written on the back of my hand, all nineteen course turns and each downhill and uphill memorized, etc. – I’d forgotten to set my watch so that the mile splits would be in bold display while the total time would show in tiny, faint numbers at the top of the display. My splits were in tiny, faint numbers that were hard to see when I glanced. So instead of making an effort to read them, I got into the habit of looking at my total time and then subtracting 30 seconds.

I was running a great race. I felt good. I smiled and shouted thanks to the older man who shook a cowbell and cheered us on. I slapped the outstretched hand of Jake Blues singing “Soul Man” alongside the course. I grinned at the belly dancers and clapped along with the big-wigged band members performing The Cars’ “Best Friend’s Girl.” I felt a bond with all the men, women, and children running alongside me. I got tears in my eyes thinking how grateful I was to be out there running the best race I’d ever run after training so hard. I repeated 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 in my mind to keep on pace. At each mile mark, I checked my watch and subtracted 30 seconds. When one of the running group coaches came up beside me on the downhill headed into the fifth mile, he said I was looking good. I told him I felt great and was having so much fun. We chatted a bit more and then he pulled away. I realized then I shouldn’t have talked since it took away my lung capacity but he called back to me and said to keep my eye on him, that he’d pull me through. Instead, he kept getting farther ahead but still I kept on running. Digging deep.

The final mile is uphill with a steep incline into the stadium. I was pretty tired but not demoralized. I knew I was almost there and even though I was a bit off pace, I was still running a strong race. Just as I headed into the stadium, Zippy was next to me. He said, “Dig deep!” then ran ahead. For a moment I felt deflated because I’d wanted to run so fast he wouldn’t catch me at all but I kept going and as I ran into the stadium, I grinned up at the cameras mounted on the bridge over the track. I ran hard for the finish line and stopped my watch.  I stared at my time.

Somehow, the great race I’d run suddenly revealed itself as a fantasy. Even subtracting 30 seconds, it was not a good time. Not only hadn’t I broke 50 minutes (by my calculations, I ran it in about 50:06 and eventually discovered the official time was 50:31), I hadn’t come close to running the race in 49:00. Then I looked at my mile splits which I’d recorded on my watch but hadn’t bothered to read during the race, and felt like an idiot. I was clearly off pace on most every mile but hadn’t realized it. Math has never been my strong suit and it’s even harder for me when I’m sleep-deprived and trying to do calculations while running a race.

As we waited in line for our free post-race massages, I started to cry. Not only was my time slow, but the cool weather would make for fast times for all those other 45-year-old women who capitalized on that fact. There was no way I’d get a medal.

Why was I so hung up on medals? In 2004 I ran a strong Bolder Boulder (49:52) and placed 15th in my age group. However, only the top ten finishers in each age group got a medal. The very next year they started giving medals to the top 15 finishers.  I wanted my medal.

Were there other reasons I wanted so desperately to run a good race? For one, I’m not really a competitor in the sense that I get very nervous about races; I don’t enjoy the flutters and anxiety so wanted to make this the last time I had to really care about my time. Also, my knees have let me know they don’t enjoy lots of intensive training. But also caught up in all this is my writing life. I’ve mentioned the deterioration of my confidence and how my race goals were so important for me in that my own hard work and training would allow me to finally create my destiny; even though no editors had jumped on my books I could make myself stronger and kick some butt in a 10k. I wanted to shine in at least one aspect of my life. That felt especially important because just over a month ago, I broke up with my agent. It was the right thing to do but on some levels it felt like my writing journey was moving backward.

So I cried there in line. I silently berated myself for bad math skills and poor planning and all-around obliviousness. But I kept coming back to the fact that I’d had so much fun during the race. That I’d never had an urge to drop out and collapse on someone’s lawn. And after a while, I laughed. “No wonder I felt so good,” I told Zippy. “I wasn’t running very fast.”

Earlier I’d dreaded going home and telling Zebu and Wildebeest about the race. I’d wanted so much to prove my strength and make them proud after they’d suffered through those scary years filled with me in pajamas, heading off for yet another nap. But by the time we got home, I didn’t feel I’d let them or me down.  At first they felt bad for me but I honestly told them it was okay.  I was okay.   And when I explained my lack of sleep, Wildebeest sat up straight and said “Well, then you really kicked that race’s ass.”

Indeed.

So I was already in a peaceful frame of mind when several hours later Zippy came into the bedroom with his laptop. Earlier I’d soaked in epsom salts while consuming a quart of electrolytes and a bottle of beer, and then took a nap. I was barely awake when he showed me the screen display of my race results. Out of 452 45-year-old females, I’d come in 12th place. “Twelfth place!” he shouted. “You got twelfth!”

Just a few more thoughts (you’re kidding, she’s not done yet?!):

  • It turns out I was completely wrong about the 33 seconds and my official time shows only about eight seconds between the gun and when I crossed the starting line.  I was doing fuzzy math right from the start.  Possibly hallucinating.
  • I think I appreciated the medal news even more because I’d come out of my funk and was already proud of myself.
  • When the hubbub died down, I had an epiphany about Zippy’s race and he confirmed that he’d held back on passing me until we were at the stadium because he knew I’d lose confidence and he didn’t want to cost me precious seconds that might put me out of the medal race. I love that Zippy.
  • While writing this opus, a friend from the spaghetti dinner called to congratulate me (the director told him my news). He said, “If I was picking players for my third-grade kickball team, you’d be at the top of my list.” Hearing that was nearly as cool as learning the medal news.
  • I’m so grateful I had the training to focus on while making the decision to part with my agent. I had my period of mourning but then pushed it aside until after the race. I now feel ready to wade back into that breach and (1) get my sub history from former agent and (2) decide where to go from here. My head is clear and my confidence is up, and I will move on.
  • I’ve rediscovered my inner strength and capacity for joy, and am eager to get back to my writing. All that hard training reminded me of what I’m capable of and I have confidence about pushing through a meandering middle. Two weeks ago I went back to Novel #4 and will work on it until the revisions are finished because I’ve got the guts, dammit!

This race reminded me again how important it is to have a support system. I thank you again for the good wishes that carried me along that course.  Some of you I’ve met in person and others I know only online but I’m grateful for all our friendships.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.

        

Accepting All Good Thoughts

It’s that time of year again when I ask for your good thoughts.  Monday (Memorial Day) is the Bolder Boulder 10k, the race I’ve been training for the past five months.  I’ve set a time goal that I believe will place me in the top fifteen of my age group.  I’ve trained hard and have high hopes.

However………….

This past Monday I was running out on the trails when I tripped on a rock and fell down hard.  I slid on my stomach, arms stretched out before me (like Superman, except not in the air and without a cape).  Torn skin, embedded rocks, and dirt in my mouth.  Jammed muscles.

The good news:

  • for the first fall ever, I didn’t tear up my knees!
  • I was able to rest for several days
  • I had a great massage yesterday

The not-so-good news:

  • Zippy came home early yesterday with flu symptoms
  • I woke up this morning with an upset stomach

My plan is to lay low and keep quiet.  Read and nap.  Think healthy thoughts.

My wave starts at 7:09 a.m. (Rocky Mountain Time) on Monday and I hope to cross the finish line a few minutes before 8:00.  If you can, I’d very much appreciate good thoughts.  Last year as I ran the race I felt the encouragement and support from my friends here in LJ-Land, and I didn’t give up.  It meant so much during that nasty third mile to know I had good vibrations aimed my way; those vibes buoyed me.

It feels a bit tacky being absent the past week and then coming to you for a favor.  But here I am.  Call me Tackyworld. 

I wish all a wonderful holiday weekend filled with sunshine, laughter, and rock-free trails!

                    

Dig Deep!

Just ran my final speed workout before the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day.  I didn’t want to do it.  But I put on my running togs and drove to the Jeffco Stadium track.

It was chilly.  It was windy.  I was not enthusiastic.  But (there’s that but again) I warmed up and stretched and then started the workout.

Five 1000m (1K) intervals (2.5 laps) at faster than 10K race-pace with 3.5 minutes rest in between.  Oy.

It was really hard work but I did it.  Not only that, but my last two intervals were faster than the third.   And that’s because I dug down deep  and pushed myself to the finish.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. 

As I jogged my cool-down, feeling so proud of myself, I started thinking of all my writer friends who work hard at their craft yet have days when they doubt their abilities to finish a project or question whether they’re producing anything worthwhile or even if they should just call it quits on the whole writing thing. 

Well, I’m here to tell you to complete that poem!  Finish those novel revisions!  Send out that query letter!  Start that chapter book or graphic novel or screenplay or essay, and don’t stop until you have a first draft!

It’s all there inside you.  You have the strength and inspiration and guts needed to get the job done.  So dig deep, believe in yourself, and accomplish whatever it is you want to do!

              

Running Past My Fears

I’ve mentioned the running group I joined in order to train for the Bolder Boulder 10k on Memorial Day.  What I haven’t mentioned is that I’m the oldest in my group.  And the slowest.

We’re grouped according to our race day goals and so even though we all hope to run the 6.2 miles in less than 50 minutes, some of us in the Sub 50 group are more sub than others, if you know what I mean.

We do speed workouts on Tuesday evenings and over the past several weeks I began to lose focus of my personal goals because I was too busy comparing myself to the other runners.  Instead of listening to my body, I was watching everyone else.  In my defense, it’s pretty easy to fall into the comparison trap when you’re continually running behind people.

Epiphany!  I realized just thinking about the Tuesday night training was making me anxious and that I could do some of those speed workouts on my own.  For instance, last week I ran the tempo workout (intervals) on my treadmill at home and was pleased with my performance. 

Tonight’s workout is a three-mile time trial in which we’re supposed to go all out.

Ever since I learned about that time trial, I’ve been a nervous wreck.  Each time I thought of it my heart would race and I’d feel awful.  There was absolutely no way in hell I was going to do that run with the group.  Not only that, I also gave myself permission to skip the run if it was going to cause me too much stress. 

But just in case, I had Zippy use this handy tool to map out a three-mile course on the only two (mostly) flat streets in my neighborhood.

This morning I gave myself a talking-to complete with the declaration that all I really needed to do was run three miles and that it would  just be a bonus if I ran them speedy-quick.   No pressures.

Guess what?  I ran three miles!  Speedy-quick!

Three miles in my time.  Who cares how fast all those young things run tonight?  Not me. 
                                            
                               

Confidence

I’ve set a running goal for myself to place in the top fifteen in my age group this Memorial Day in the Bolder Boulder 10k.  I’m dedicated to making that happen; I participated in a winter training group and am now in a 10k spring training program.  I’m following the weekly workouts.  I have a coach available to answer questions and boost my morale when necessary.  I’m confident I’m going to reach my goal.

And now I’m trying to figure out how this whole confidence thing works.  The good thing about running is the results are objective; the clock doesn’t lie.  So when I’m running intervals until my lungs burn I try to remember that the pain is an investment in my 10k performance, and I push on through.  But it’s more difficult pushing myself in the writing life.  Lately as I work on revisions, it’s easy to falter and second-guess.  I know my writing has improved in the ten-plus years since I began my first novel but instead of measuring up against a stop watch, my performance is evaluated by editors.   So far I haven’t placed, much less in the top fifteen.

My hope is that as I continue to train, getting stronger and faster, my runner’s confidence will overflow into my writing life. 

“If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
                            

Random Stuff

I just watched a great blue heron wading in the run-off pond near my house.  That’s what I want to be in my next life.  (Um, a heron, not a run-off pond).

The Bolder Boulder photographers just sent the link for me to check out my race day photos.  Yikes.  The photo of me running in the stadium toward the finish line shows one very tired woman.  Zippy had five photos taken of him and I’m in three of them, running behind him like some oxygen-deprived stalker.

The official race results are now available and I discovered my time was nine seconds faster than I thought.  Woo Hoo!  But even more exciting, out of the 448 44-year-old women in the race, I had the 26th fastest time. (Technically I’m 27th but one of the women is listed as “Steve” which Zippy insists is a mistake.  I pointed out there was a female character named Ralph on “Green Acres” but he insists that fact is not germane to the discussion).  Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by my race position and it took the sting out of getting a much slower time than I’d hoped for.

I’m trying to sort out plot issues for my middle-grade WIP but started feeling overwhelmed by all the possibilities.  I was writing ideas, many of which were “maybe X does this because such-and-such…”, and I started to feel panicked by not having anything to hold onto.  So I started a THINGS I KNOW list.  I’m writing one-liners about story details I know for sure, and it’s helping me figure out what else I know.  Now I don’t feel like I’m drowning! 

Wildebeest had his last day of 7th grade on Wednesday and Zebu finishes 5th grade today.  We’re all quite happy putting this school year behind us.  We plan to celebrate tonight with some dinner and bowling.

This morning I went to the nearby tech school and bought a bunch of perennials from the student greenhouse which means I need to get outside and figure out where to put them in my various flower beds.  I bought two forget-me-not plants because they remind me of Alaska.  Now if only I could get a moose to come hang out in my yard………

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

 

Soliciting Good Thoughts

Because weekends seem to be quiet on LJ and because this weekend will probably be quieter than most, I’m posting now.

On Memorial Day, Zippy Ramone and I will be running the BolderBoulder 10K.  As some of you know, my health crashed in August 2004 just three months after I’d run a very strong BolderBoulder.  I haven’t run it since. 

It’s been a long road to recovery but I’m going to run  the 6.2 miles this Monday. 

I’m nervous.  Running this race feels like my official announcement to the world that I’m better.  Whole.  Tracy, again.

I want to do well.

I’m asking for good thoughts sent my way.  Our race wave takes off at 7:11 a.m. (Mountain Time) on Monday morning.  I hope to finish at about 8:00.

I’d very, very much appreciate your thoughts and support.  And if anyone knows any magic voodoo to banish exercise-induced asthma, please send that along, too! 

Wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!