Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bungee Sledding

In July my husband asked for a River Board for his birthday. River Boarding is done on a lake or river. One end of a bungee cord is tied to a tree on the bank of the river. The other end is hooked to a wooden board. The board looks much like a boogie board that someone might ride ocean waves with (only this board is wood and has a rubber standing pad on the top). The "crazy" boarder holds the board in front of them and allows the current to push them down stream. Once the bungee cord has reached maximum stretch the rider holds the board against their feet and allows the flow of the river and the pull of the bungee cord to pull them to their feet. The rider then rides the board up stream. It took my husband and SUPERSTAR several times, much blood and a trip to insta-care to learn how the river board.

The thing I have/am learning about teenagers is that the more dangerous the activity the more fun they have. So on Thanksgiving Day my kids had a LOT of fun. They used the bungee cord and a sled to go sledding without the hill and hike. In short the bungee cord tied to a fence and then pulled tight with a sled at the end. Let go of the bungee and get the RIDE of your life. I admit it could be safer if there were soft snow but the snow is sufficient to slide on. NOT land on. The trick is to stay on the board until it stops...DO NOT bail or you end up with a plate sized, purple bruise on your buttocks.

Pulling the bungee cord
SWEETHEART and SUGAR on two sleds
SUNSHINE on the sled
SUPERSTAR attempting to stand up
Me bailing
No, I am not going to share the buttocks picture.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

1/2 Marathon

Yep! I ran a 1/2 marathon. Ran is a bit of an overstatement. Truth is I ran (without stopping/ only a potty break) 8 miles, RAN/walked 3 more miles, ran/WALKED the last two. At 1 hr 30min I was nearing mile marker 9. The last 4 miles took me as long as the first 9. Never the less, I DID IT!!!

I can't tell you how many times I was ready to back out, 'cause it's a number too big to count. Last year my sister challenged all of us siblings to run a 1/2 Marathon. I accepted the challenge (sort of). I 'looked' at a training schedule. I 'planned' to start running sometime so that I could work up to the start point of the schedule. When I did start to run a couple of times a week I could barely run to the end of the block. I thought it an amazing accomplishment when I could run 1 mile without feeling like my lungs were gonna fall out. All too soon it was time to start following the training schedule. Needless to say I wasn't quite where I had intended to be. The schedule had workouts 6 days a week, three of which were running. I generally got in 2 runs a week, most of the time, and no other workout. I actually did not run at all for three weeks before the 1/2 marathon. (I was stupid)

My sister was my Jimmy Cricket. She shared her training success and kept me from completely throwing in the towel. She is totally and completely AMAZING!

SWEETHEART had originally planned to run with me but in the training process she joined the cross country track team at her high school. District policy said that she could not participate in any other competition while participating in a school sport. So in keeping within her own integrity she did not run in the 1/2 marathon. BUT, she did send the most incredible letter of encouragement. The night before the race I had what I'd consider to be as close to a panic attack as I'd ever had. I couldn't stop talking, I wasn't making a whole lot of sense and I was freaked out about what was going to occur the next day. I was worried about my socks, where I was gonna put my ipod, lip gloss (important, you'll see why later), the energy cube thingys, etc. My sister was SO good. She took me to the sporting good store the get whatever I'd need to clam my irrational fears. Later that night I read SWEETHEART's letter. I was ready to go after that. In the letter she shared the importance of never giving up. Reminding me that I'd done harder things than this before. She told me to imagine her cheering me on and shared some running advice she'd learned in cross country. Like how to breathe through a side cramp, staying hydrated but no too much, and how to stay motivated. I carried her letter with me the whole time.

The next morning my sister, brother and I drove (in the dark, early, early a.m.) to catch a bus that drove us up the canyon. We waited in the dark, huddled around bon fires to keep warm until the sun came up for the race to start. I lined up about 1/2 way back in the crowd of runners with my sis and bro. That was the only time I saw them throughout the race, with the exception of the last mile when SUGAR and my siter, almost an hour after she'd finished the race, came to run with me. The canyon was BEAUTIFUL, running down hill a blessing, shaded by the canyon walls from a hot sun -joyful. All of these things made the first 10 miles surprisingly bearable. The last two miles where excruciating. Running through neighborhoods, up hills, winding around, unable to get a bearing of where I'd eventually end up and wiped out from the previous exertion made the last two miles as difficult as the previous 11 combined.

During my few training runs I realized quickly that I had to keep my ipod volume up loud enough that I couldn't hear myself breathe. When I'd hear my own labored breathing I'd start to think I was more tired than I actually was. I could run further with the music up loud. Also on my training runs I'd 'dance'. I called it getting jiggy. It was one of the ways I used to stay positive and motivated to keep going. BUT I'd always look around to make sure no one was around when I'd "dance". I never wanted anyone to see me, (how embarrassing). I mentioned this to my sister one time. I told her that during the 1/2 marathon I knew I was gonna have to "dance" to motivate myself but there would be other people around so I didn't know what I was gonna do. She told me to just do whatever I needed to, run MY own race and "dance" when I wanted to. So I did. As we ran down the canyon the runners ran on the right side of the road and there were support vehicle and police motorcycles that patrolled the race in the left lane. I soon became aware that the police officers must have radioed each other, "Watch for the runner in the green shirt. She's getting jiggy." 'Cause after a while I noticed that the officers would crane their necks to watch me and smile whether I was dancing or not.

Several times a large bird flew through the canyon. Each time I imagined the bird was SWEETHEART cheering me on.

In mile #12 I was dying. My hip (I have a bad hip) was killing me. I was walking (dragging myself along) more than running. I was mentally, and physically expended. As I came trotting (as close to running as I could muster) around a corner in one neighborhood I slowed and began walking again. A man who was working in his garden saw me slow. He got up, left his garden, walked to the edge of his yard and began cheering for me. I can't even think about this without getting emotional. He did not know me. I know that hundreds of other runners had been by that very spot and that they have been coming by now for a couple of hours. But, for me he left his work to give me the one thing that gifted me with the will to run again. But, someday when I recognize him in the next life I will hug him. He has created a metaphor for me. I will cheer more and judge less.

I was not fast, I was not adequately prepared but I finished the race. At the onset my sister shared with me something someone else has told her about participating in races like this. The first thing that is important is to SHOW UP. A lot of people never even show up. The second thing is to FIND YOUR PACE. It is your race, run it at YOUR pace. And lastly, LOOK REALLY GOOD THE LAST 50 YARDS. I had my lip gloss and I had a good sprint at the end.

Hence, in life...1. Show up 2. It's YOUR life 3. Endure to the end and 4. Cheer each other on (we all need it!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I love this!

Sunshine and Sweetheart sang this song in church today. It is a wonderful medley of some of my favorite songs. I love to hear young people sing and I especially love to hear my children express themselves through music. As the girls sang I felt my eyes fill with tears. However, it was the voice of my son, sitting next to me who quietly joined his voice with those up front, that pushed the tears to spill out over my cheeks.

Totally Awesome!!!!!