Saturday, November 7, 2015

GOATZ 50k, Inspirations

Just as some of you might be, I have been inspired by people through words and videos and personal accounts during my training. I tuck them away in my journal or other places to pull out and remember. Before I share my race day, I thought you might like to peek into my mind a bit.

Since the film, Wonderland, was release by the Ginger Runner, Ethan Newberry, I have watched it close to a dozen times. I have no connection to Ethan or Gary Robbins, the runner, but it doesn't matter. I saw a man have a dream and when it came to attempting his dream he was confident even though he really didn't know how the day would go. The photography and story continue to inspire me. (warning- a little profanity)
"You have to go through massive lows when you're running for this long. But don't freak out. Believe that things will come full circle and you''ll get back on that horse again."  Gary Robbins
 If I haven't mentioned it before, I do love the Ginger Runner's stuff. I have all of his music and my family knows the sound of his voice from his live YouTube shows that I can never watch live. My recent favorite episode though is his re-cap of his first 100 mile race at Cascade Crest. I listened to his euphoric re-telling, his friends' perspectives, and honed in on how his wife, who also paced and crewed for him, handled the day. I've watched it twice and I'll probably watch it again. 

I spent a day with Amanda at a Women Run Nebraska retreat. Along with a heaping helping of yoga and other assorted topics, we heard from Shannon Suing, an Olympic marathon trials qualifier. She's a wife and mom along with being a business owner and hardworking athlete. She shared how she makes it all fit in one day which was super helpful as I struggle to find balance in my non-Olympic running.
"Don't let the excuses be bigger than the goal." Shannon Suing 
 There were many days where the going was tough. That's the way training should be. It should prepare not only your body for the goal but the mind as well. I remember dripping with sweat, miles from home and knowing the only way to get back to the car was to get myself there. I stood cooling off in Renee's doorway and proclaimed that today's run wasn't about today but about the end. Another day, I didn't want to do another loop at my beloved forest preserve. I wanted to call it a day. The run was going terrible. Instead of quitting, I did another loop with a double back over certain sections not because I necessarily needed to but my mind needed to practice finishing what it started.
"When you are suffering you make a commitment for the time when you are on the other side." from a movie a part of the Trails In Motion Film Tour 

Even with all of these thoughts, the one thing that stuck with me the most happened in a post-race blues moment from my spring marathon. As I sat at the counter with breakfast rubble scattered across it, I stared at the pile of dishes next to the sink. The pile of dishes were not significant other than that was what my gaze fell upon and also to say that the Lord knew where my heart was struggling. I'd say these kind of blues can mess with you in many ways and one is identity. Yes, I inwardly walk taller and stronger now because of what I've accomplished. But, on the other hand, no one wears their medal (more than a day anyway) and makes such boasts about themselves and still there's dishes to do. There are just real wobbly moments as one works through it all. 
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
This word set me solidly again. It put my training into perspective. It quelled the voices when comparison crept up and attempted to bring me under. It moved me forward during the dark time of my race. 

The weekend before my race was the IMT Des Moines Marathon. After Luke's soccer game, he and I headed down to the race expo to hear from ultra runner Zac Marion. As Luke and I sat listening to him, I looked around the Expo to see what else was there. Just off to the left was a booth and the name hanging from the curtain said Kathrine Switzer. I spent the rest of time of Zac's talk stealing glances to the booth to figure out what going on. I thought Surely it wasn't her and even if so I probably missed her. No, there are people milling about. Gasp! It is her and I can go meet her!! Oh hurry up people asking Zac questions about your quads hurting when you run. Everyone's does at one point or another. It's called running. I mean, Yay you for starting to run. As soon as Zac was finished (and he did a great job) I attempted to make a beeline for Kathrine's booth but Luke had been doing his own looking about and had spied something he wanted to do. I managed to talk him into mine first and we went over to the booth.
You may not know who Kathrine Switzer is. I sort of kind of knew of her name but not much more. However there is much more behind that name. She was the first female to officially run and complete the Boston Marathon in 1967. The all-male Boston Marathon. Up until that point no woman had done so and distance running of any kind was looked down upon. Her historic run wasn't a fluke. In her book, Marathon Woman, she's shows it was purposeful not only for herself but for all women.
When I finally got to meet her, she first gathered us all in like a mother with her children and implored us to tell others to get out and run, get out and move. We knew the kind of empowerment we feel when we go out for a run no matter how big or small, fast or slow it is and women need to be encouraged to be fearless to do the same. Then I met her personally. I shared with her that I listened to her on the Another Mother Runner podcast and truly didn't know that I needed to know her until then. And that I was going to run a 50k trail race the next weekend and be thankful that I could because of her. (She was impressed that I would go that distance and wished me luck.) And that I was so happy to meet her that my eyes were damp. (Fine. I was crying but not bawling crying, just super happy, excited crying.) Then she hugged me, fist-bumped Luke, took a picture with me and hugged me again. Star-struck I was indeed for the rest of the day. Now I have met some slightly famous people before- one highly regarded pianist and winner of a very famous piano competition. I shared a dinner table with him and besides having very little to contribute, I felt as if all my life I had only been playing a battery operated kid's toy in comparison to him when in fact we both played the same 88 keys. There was no ease of conversation, no anything and so we stabbed away at our chicken breasts in awkwardness. This was not the case with Kathrine. She listened to my story. She listened to the woman behind me so nervous for her first big race and hugged her and encouraged her but she isn't a pushover or a softy. She has a serious streak of fierceness in her and knows just the way to communicate being fearless to those around her. 
I would carry fearless to the race the next weekend. 

I can't even think of a brilliant caption, I'm still so in awe that I met her!

Iowan and Olympic marathon trials qualifier hopeful, Susie Dukes and Zac Marion, champion ultra-runner. Both are Altra Footwear sponsored athletes. 



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