Thursday, October 5, 2017

Southern Magnolia Bike Ride

The day was finally here...... BIKE RIDE! A couple of us had decided a few months back to do the Southern Magnolia bike ride.  Not sure why I kept calling it the Mississippi Magnolia.. ha  Anyway, ride day was bright at early.  We elected to drive on ride morning to the coast which meant getting up at 3:30 am for me and leaving the house my 4:15 am to meet my group in town to leave at 4:30 am.   You got to love biking riding or running to get up early on the weekend.  

Originally Frank & Krista had signed up for the 40 miler and Me, Melodye, & Sonya signed up for the Metric century (62 miles).  However, Frank started having some back issues recently which forced him to back down to the 25 miler.  When this happened I kind of took Krista under my wing.  She wanted me to do one last long ride with her to prepare her for the ride.  Well, I convinced her to do 50 miles instead of 40 that day.  I needed 50 and I knew she could do it.  We had a little issue on like mile 40 where she had a flat.  I was so sad.  We (Mel was with us on the ride) didn't have enough stuff to fix her flat so we ended up leaving her to go get car to pick her up.  However an angel showed up and fixed her tire so she was able to complete the 50 mile training ride.  I knew then I had to talk her into the metric century.  There was no need in her backing down to the 25 with Frank and no need in her doing the 40 alone.  She was ready and I knew she could do the 62 with us.   

I tried to give gentle hints to her... well... maybe not so gentle.. ha  However, she was questioning herself and her abilities.  I kept telling her positive thoughts only!  I even reminded her of the 4 pillars of strength (Physical, Emotional, Mental & Spiritual) from the moving Chasing Mavericks.  Oh how I love that movie!!

Frosty from Chasing Mavericks

I wasn't absolutely for sure she was going to do the metric until ride morning.  All week she had kind of been going back and forth between the 40 and the metric.  I was thrilled when she even told the registration table she was moving to the metric group.  

We asked a guy in the parking lot to take our picture before we started.  Boy it was MUGGY! It was already like 78 degrees and 100% humidity!  People standing around were all talking that had done the ride several years that this year was the hottest by far.  One day even said that 2 years ago they all had on leg and arm warmers it was so cold.  

Sonya, Krista, Frank, me, & Mel

I don't know how many bikers exactly did the ride, but I heard one person say that 500 had signed up.  It was very crowded when we started!  I couldn't even clip in my pedals because it was stop/start for a good little piece before you could actually ride.  I could tell Krista was nervous.  Heck even I get nervous when it's crowded especially with clip in shoes!  

We were finally off and able to ride without total congestion.  The first 20 miles were TOUGH.  However, due to some great downhills after the long climb, we averaged 15.9 mph.  I kept watching Krista with awe.  She was really doing great!  However, we had not seen a rest stop!  Usually on long bike rides they have them like every 15 miles.  Krista has not learned to drink and ride yet so I knew we needed to pull over and let her drink.  I sure didn't want her to get dehydrated on us.  So I told her at the top of the next hill we would stop.  No need in stopping at the bottom.  Trust me you needed that momentum you gained going down to help you go back up. :>)  So we stopped and we were at mile 18.  Another biker came by and told us that the rest stop was 2 miles ahead.  So yep... the first rest stop was 20 miles into our 62!  So we drank quickly and decided we would stop and stretch in 2 miles.  

I was glad to see the porta john at the rest stop. :>)  We all got off our bikes and grabbed some goodies and Krista filled her water bottle.  There was a big group riding together that had stopped.  We overhead them talking about which way they were going next.  There were 2 roads ... you had to go down each of them and turn around and come back to the same rest stop.  The ride map had you going down the road on the right first, but they said they were doing the road on the left first because it was the harder road and they wanted to get it over with first.  Most of them were from that area and I had started noticing that the place look familiar.  We decided to take their advice and do the road on the left first.  It was 5 miles out and 5 miles back.  and YES it was hard! Not as must downhill as we had in the first 20 miles.  It seemed to be just a steady incline.  I recognized the rode about half way.  It was one of the roads that I had trained on with the Wiggins group to get ready for the ironman race last year.  I went there several times because the elevation was very similar to Augusta.  Melodye and I talked several times during this stretch of the ride.  We both felt like Krista was going to kill us when it was over. hee hee   But we were both also so impressed with Krista.  She was leading our pack most of the time.  We drafted off of her many times. :>)  She hasn't learned to draft yet and Mel loves to draft so we took advantage of Krista being in the front.   Thanks Krista for the strong pull! :> )   I'll say again.. the ride was TOUGH. Check out our elevation map:

Notice that good downhill... this is probably where we averaged that 30 mph! That might not seem fast to you, but on a road bike with skinny wheels coming down a hill that is fast and boy it's FUN.  There were many rolling hills.  Constant up and down.  In the beginning I told Krista to not focus on the up but remind herself that after climbing we would get a downhill where we could rest. :>)

The next road was 10 miles out and 10 miles back.  We took a nice little break at the next stop.  Mel even did her usual laying on the ground to stretch her back. 

 All 4 of us at the rest stop... we were about mile 40 here I believe.. 22 more to go

Krista and Mel taking a break 

Not sure if Mel was offering me her Oreo cookie or just enjoying being off her bike. :>)  

Krista stretching.... at this point she said she had about as much FUN as she wanted.. hee hee..... I had sent this pic to our group before the ride for a good laugh:

We soon took off to try to get in those last miles.  I was glad that for most of the day it was overcast.  If the sun had been beaming the entire time, it would have been unbearable hot.  

We had said we were not going to stop again and just ride to the finish.  However, when we came to the last rest stop we were 12 miles out from the finish, Krista asked to stop to drink.  I keep forgetting that not everyone drinks while they are riding.  So we stopped one last time.  My neck and shoulders were killing me.  I was so ready to get the last 12 miles over.  I need to go get properly fitted for my bike.  I got fitted over 2 years ago when I first started riding by a friend who knows a lot about bikes, but I've never been fitted at a bike store.  I know over time with riding your position of your seat and handle bars can change.  They can drop from the simple pressure of your riding and not to mention the road conditions.. bumpy roads....  It's good to always make sure you are properly fitted.  That is on my to-do-list very soon!

I never saw the camera person on the road coming in to the finish.  I'm glad Robbie saw these pictures on fb and tagged us.

Krista leading us in.... She had been our lead person for probably 70% of the ride so I told her she had to take us in to the finish.  Notice Mel is giving the turn signal.  She's very good at giving all the biking signals which I tend to forget.

I think Mel is glad we are finishing..... HUH? :>)

Frank captured several pictures of us at the finish line:
I'm trying to get a selfie of me and Mel...

Love these girls!

 So proud of them!

Me and my spin teacher... MEL...she often kicks my butt in spin class, but I can honestly say I owe her so much!  She's really been a positive impact in my biking and running thanks to her class!  If you ever get a chance, join us for a spin class.  You'll LOVE it!

Robbie, who did the 25 miler was also still there.  I was glad to see her at the finish.  I'm so proud of  her too.  She just started riding recently and she's improving more and more each day.  Maybe one day she'll do a long distance ride with us.

All 4 of us that completed the Metric Century (62 Miles).  As soon as the ride ended and I got off my bike my shoulders and neck quit hurting.  I felt great.  You can tell by how silly I'm being in the picture.. hee hee

We received an email the night before the ride that the medals they ordered did not come in.  They said they would mail them to us later.  I did however get my finisher jacket and cycle jersey.  I just love this jersey!

 Zip up jacket

Front of Jersey
Back of Jersey... pockets for food, etc.

Mel and I both asked each other if we wanted to do another 38 miles to get to the 100 miles and we both said NO.  LOL  Neither of us were feeling 100 miles ...... especially not on those hills.  ha  However, I think if we had signed up for 100 and been focused on 100 miles, we could have done it.  Our "mental" state plays a huge role in what we accomplish.  For months I had been telling myself it was just 62 miles and not 100.  I was only focused on finishing 62 miles.  I'm a firm believe that our minds have to be focused on what we plan to accomplish. :>)  Positive thoughts as I had told Krista all week before the ride.

Here's our speed chart:
 I'm just so proud of Krista... we were right in between 15-16 mph average most of the ride... that's awesome for a first timer!!!! I knew she could do it!

Our overall ride time.  I'm very happy with the time.  I haven't trained much on speed in a long time.  And doing this time with Krista, a first timer, was amazing! I love riding in groups.  Makes the time go by faster. :>)  Not to mention these 3 ladies are amazing women.  My only thing I regret about the bike ride was the fact that Frank was not with us.  I hate he's having some issues lately which has limited his biking and running.  However, because of the kind of friend that he is to us, he offered to drive us to the ride.  He waited until we finished and drove us home. :>)  I don't know what we'd do without him always taking care of us! Thank you Frank!

Well... until next time.  I've got a sprint TRI coming up in 2 weeks, Duathlon end of October and then a half marathon in Vegas in November.  What's on your schedule?


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Jones Co Heart Walk & South Central 5K

Seeing as how I haven't been really "running" lately, I had decided to do the Heart Walk for my dad.  He has multiple heart problems.  The company I work for typically tries to get together a team for our local heart walk.  I kept waiting for an email with info and never received one so I went ahead online and signed up and made a donation.  Then about 2 days before the event someone told me that the South Central (our local hospital) 5K was combined with the Heart Walk and that the ball was kind of dropped at my office with getting the a team together.  I guess South Central & Jones Co Heart Walk people were combining the two events to try to have a larger group of people.  I didn't know if any of my friends were doing the 5K until I got there the morning of the walk/run.  They were all asking me if I was going to do the 5K.  Well, you know me and my brain......  I got to thinking I should try and run at least 1 mile straight and see how I felt.  I've only been doing intervals.   I knew being around my running friends would encourage me.  So I quickly signed up for the 5K.  

It was a muggy morning! Everyone was sweating before we started and the event didn't start till 8:30 am which made it worse.  We were finally off and I was running.  I was pumped to be actually running.  I looked down at my watch and I was averaging a 8:30 pace.  I knew I was not going to maintain that for long so I enjoyed the moment.  Soon my watch beeped 1 mile and I was so excited to have ran the 1st mile.  So I decided to try to keep running and see what happen.  One of my friends managed to get beside me on mile two and he wanted to talk.  He loves to talk!  I finally told him I was going to walk a minute and he could go on.  I can't talk and try to run a decent pace especially when I've been mostly jog/walking... ha   He begged me to go on with him.  I told him I was not where I use to be in my running so he better get on.  Thankfully he went on because I needed to conserve my air to run and not talk. Hee Hee 
I did end up walking off and on before I finished.  It was a tough course.  Several rolling hills and boy it was HOT.  I was so happy to cross that finish line.  I had Kathy Byrd in my eye sight the first mile.  Seeing her encouraged me to push to run that 1st mile.  Then I didn't see her until I finished.  She was standing at the finish line cheering in the finishers.  Nestor captured our picture at the finish line.  It's so good seeing her back out running strong.  She had broke her foot last year and then took a break to remodel her house.  

Nestor also captured me running in towards the finish line... Thanks Nestor!

I never even thought about me maybe placing in awards.  I knew my time was better than I expected it to be, but not close to what I've ran a 5K in before so I was thrilled when they called me out as "Female Masters" winner. :>)  It turned out that most of us placed!  Byron captured a picture of the 3 Sanderson employees that placed: Serina, Kathy & Me

Notice the photo bomber in the back..... Mr. D (Serina's Dad) :>)  and we never noticed our numbers until this picture.  I should have got in the middle and we would have been lined up. 

Here's a group shot of several of us...... Many from Team Run4TheKids...

# 293 in the front is Elizabeth....  Sunshine has been helping her train for the St. Jude half coming up in December.  It will be her first.  I'm excited she's on our team.  I went to school with her dad.  

And of course we had to end the day with a funny picture .. even got a couple swamp donkeys in the picture:
You can barely see me in the back behind Nestor.... I love my running friends.  They are all Cray Cray.

My morning turned out much better than I had expected.  I had no idea I could run a full mile.  It's been awhile since the old bursitis!  This 5K gives me that ray of light at the end of a long tunnel that I am getting better.  It takes time to come back.... so just never quit ...... that's what I tell myself over and over. :>)  

Happy Running! D

Monday, September 11, 2017

Medal Monday - Brett Robinson TRI-It-On Sprint

SLEEP is definitely what I wanted Saturday after I got home from the TRI.  Three hour drive after working all day... barely sleeping thinking about race .. and a three hour back home after racing... talk about TIRED. 

I registered for this race months ago when they offered earlier registration at a cheaper price and BEFORE I knew I was going to have so much trouble with my hip Bursitis!  I registered for the longer distance (Olympic).  However, the closer it got to race day I began wondering if I should back down to the Tri-It-On distance which is a shorter sprint distance.   I was swimming the Olympic distance in the pool and recently biked 40 miles, so I figured I was ready in those 2 areas, but my running is mostly walking right now.  And after about 5 miles jog/walking, my hip starts hurting so I was unsure if I could really put all 3 sports together and finish.  I kept telling myself that it's okay to fail.  Failure means you actually tried.  But in this case I knew my training was not up to where it should be for me to be attempting an Olympic distance and that really sucked!  

Last year I had also registered for the race and at the last minute, I decided to bike one last 50 miles with my two friends that were doing Augusta half ironman with me.  Well, I ended that 50 mile bike ride with a visit to the ER to get my calf sewn up.  

I thought Augusta was out of the question.  I was so upset.  I wished I had went on to the Brett Robinson race.  However, I was able to complete Augusta with no problems.  Praise Jesus :<>)

So this year I was determined to make the race if at all possible.  Heck it isn't cheap to register for the race and they won't let someone pick up your shirt if you don't make the race.  All week I debated on what I was going to do.  I had not only my training to think about, but we also had a storm named IRMA that I was worried may cause the water to be very wavy in Gulf Shores.  My husband even said he didn't think they'd be having the race.  I watched the weather all week.   I even watched live webcams showing the water.  On Friday it still looked calm, so I decided to go on after work.  I quickly made me a room reservation and hit the road at 5:45 pm.  I had several friends that were doing the race so I knew once I got there that I would not be alone.  The whole drive I debated on switching distances.  I prayed and even tried to tell God what distance I should do.  Knowing that doesn't work! LOL  I think we all tend to do that at some point and time.  I tried to reason through every thought as to why I should just go ahead and stick with the longer distance.  By the time I reached the hotel, I was wore out just from thinking.  When I finally got everything unloaded and laid down in the bed around 10 pm, that's when I really prayed.  I prayed for God to help me to stop thinking and just leave it in his hands.  I told him I was not going to worry about it any more and when I woke up, I would know what to do.  

Well, the next morning I was still unsure.  Boy sometimes God just doesn't answer us immediately, does he?  I went on to check my bike in and pick up my race number early since I had not done that the night before.  When I walked in to pick up my number I just had a gut feeling about switching.  So I asked the lady what I needed to do to switch and she said she would have to give me a new number and I'd be at the end of the sprint peeps to start the swim.  YUK.   I'm not a fast swimmer to begin with, but when she told me I'd be last, it was like a balloon going out of air.  I felt so deflated.  However, I reminded myself that for me this was just practice and I was not going to be racing hard so it didn't matter if I was at the end to start.  It just meant It would be a wait to actually tart.  LOL  The race started at 7 am and I didn't hit the water till 7:30 am.  I was freezing!!! It turned out to be a cold morning.  They even announced before the race that the water temp had dropped and you could wear a wet suit if you wanted to.  Boy I wish I had mine just to keep me warm while standing around.  Even guys with big old muscles were shivering.  

I was number 347..... I think we had like 352 total sprint racers so I wasn't actually the last one...but dang close to it. ha  I'm not sure how many were in the longer distance, but I was number 844 before I switched.  It's typically a nice size race.  Many love the race.  It's a fun one.  Most years though it's fairly hot! and I've seen the waves be huge before.  

On Friday the water looked calm.  And people that had been there on Friday were talking while we were waiting to start about how much the water had changed over night.  There was a huge north wind and the waves were picking up.  That's the only thing I hate about an ocean swim... you just never know about the water!  

It was finally my turn to jump in.  It felt like I was on a roll coaster! I tried to time the waves so when I was on the top of one I would look up to try to find the buoys.  It was a struggle.  I think I basically floated most of the race.  There wasn't much true swimming because I spent most of the time looking for the them dang buoys so I could make the right turn and not go out further for the longer distance... which my friend Marsha told me she accidentally did.  I'd much rather a river swim any day. LOL   When I finally got to where I was coming back into the shore and I could touch my feet to the bottom, I stood up and looked at my watch.  I was at 8 minutes.  Not as fast as I would have liked to be, but I was happy...... UNTIL.... a monster wave took me down.  I should have looked back, but was too busy looking at my watch.  It was heck getting up.  The waves kept crashing in on me.  I could barely walk.  I was thinking to myself that I bet whoever was on the shore was getting a good laugh at this old lady trying to get out of the water.  My swim time ended up being 9:45 by the time I got out and crossed the mat and my watch said 389 yards instead of the 300 yards.  I guess I swam a tad off course looking for buoys.  Whew! SLOW!  I saw where some people swam the distance in 5 minutes! That's fast.. to me! :>)  I was just happy to be out of them waves. 

Now on to the bike.  It was an out and back course.  It felt so easy.  I was flying.  I looked down and I was averaging 20 mph.  I could barely believe it.  Then I started noticing the people coming back on the route.  They were all going so slow.  When I got to the turn around the lady was waving saying slow down.... the wind is bad.  I didn't realize what she was talking about exactly until I started my turn.  It was like I hit a brick wall! I could barely manage a 14 mph pace.  Now I knew exactly why it was so easy going out and why the people looked like they were going so slow coming back!!! A strong head wind!  Probably the strongest wind I've ever biked against.  I'm shocked I ended up with a 16.9 pace overall.  It was tough coming back!  

That's the TRUTH!

Once I put my bike up in transition, I only had the run segment left.  YIPPIE .... and it was only 2 miles.  I did my 1:1 intervals until I made the turn at the 1 mile mark.  I decided to try to push myself and run most of the last mile.  It was tough... but you know what they say....

I saw Amie and her dad going in when I was starting my run.  I was so happy to see them before the race.  I think it's amazing that they do races together!  Reminds me of my other friend, Serina.  We had a nice visit.  It was great seeing them.  I've missed seeing several old friends lately! I miss the old days. :>)

Got a picture...... (Stole from  Amie's page... aren't they the cutest ever!)

I finished and Jennifer was standing with Amanda and some of the other "swamp donkeys", that's what they call their group, at the finish line and wanted to get a picture.  So we grab a picture real quick and Jenn texted it to me. 

Amanda, Jennifer & Me
I didn't get a picture of Amie & her dad after the race.  My phone was in the transition area and they were not letting people in just yet.  By the time I got in to get my bag, I think they had left.  I never saw them again. I loaded my bike and then went to grab food.  I talked to Jennifer and them for a short while and then they all left to go to the beach.  I think they were all staying all weekend.  I had a drive home! YUK  I was getting ready to walk to my car and decided I would walk over to the booth where you could get a printout of your results.  Everyone else had done that earlier, but I didn't thinking..why bother.. ha  I don't know why I decided to as I was leaving, but it was something tugging at me to go get them.  Good thing I did because they were announcing the age group 50-54 and called my name!  I did a double take.  If the lady hadn't stumbled trying to say my name it might not of caught my attention.  I got 3rd place.  Boy I was shocked!  Everyone had left so I didn't get a picture of me getting my award.  I did however ask a guy in the parking lot to take my picture before I left.   Thank you random stranger! :>) 

Here are pictures from the Brett Robinson Facebook page... I'm on #3 getting my award. :>) 

They also captured me walking around after the race looks like... :>)

I'm still shocked I placed.  Maybe the fast people didn't show up for the race due to the storm.  Or maybe it was God giving me a little bit of hope to not give up.  For the past couple of months dealing with this bursitis, I've started to get down.  I'm wondering when I'll ever run without pain.  I know deep down I have to keep the faith that God will allow all things to work out for his good... not my own. :>)  Right now I'm just happy he allowed me a little bit of happiness on Saturday with placing in a TRI....even if it was a shorter distance sprint.  I give him all the glory!  Without him I'd be no where! I am thanking him for my many blessings!  

Here's a picture of the medal and the cute cup I got as my award. 

Have a bless day!
Love, D

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Grief is difficult to watch

Some people tell me I tell too much or post too much on social media. Maybe I do. I feel deeply. Some even say I'm so sensitive. And YES, I am. When I feel that I've hurt someone, I will worry myself sick thinking about it and wondering what I can do to fix it.   Or if I know someone struggling,  I will worry myself sick about that.  All this with Gary's mom has me very emotional.  We are traveling home and I'm typing away on my iPad because we are both too emotional to talk. 

Isn't it funny... we do everything to prevent growing old. We forget it's a privilege to grow old. Some don't get that chance. We try to erase wrinkles. Dye our hair. We do all kinds of things to try to look younger and yet age still takes over.  

I have many friends my age that have already lost their parents. Most due to cancer.  Gary has been very fortunate to see his parents live a long time. His dad died at 87 just a couple of months before turning 88.  He fought cancer twice that we know of.  They were very private about health issues.  We knew about his lung cancer because he had lung surgery to remove one lung.  Then a couple of years ago, one of the grandsons wife, who is a pharmacist, saw some medicine at the house and knew it was for prostrate cancer and told us. Even with both of those cancers he still managed to live a good long life that many only dream to live in their 80s still living in their own home, driving, cutting their own grass, and still waiting on the love of their life hand and foot.  He was very lucky.  

This weekend we had to travel to PA under different circumstances. It was for Gary's dad funeral service.   Gary had recently spent a month by his dads beside before he passed.  Most days it was just Gary with his dad. His mom said she just couldn't do it.  After he passed, Gary stayed a week and then came home to get me and go back for service after the little league World Series. Yep, it just so happen right when the series was about to start so there were no hotel rooms. The series is huge! It's on TV and people from all over the country come to PA.  So the service would be 3 weeks later.  

When Gary left his mother she was doing pretty good.  It was 180 degrees turnaround when we went back. We arrived on Thursday the day before the service and found her in bed. She had not been dressed in days, nor eaten.  We were in total shock.  I remember when we walked in the house, we couldn't find her so Gary went to the bedroom and she was just laying there crying.  She was so small.  She had lost lots of weight and had no strength to get out of bed. Gary helped her to the chair in the living room.   We both sat with her with nothing but worry on our mind.  I've always heard grief can be so ugly.  I was young when my mother's mother died. But I do remember it was hard for her. However, I had a new born and my life was busy with 2 small kids, so I missed being right in the middle of the grief.  I can say now that I've seen grief up close and it's so heart breaking.   I felt so emotionally drained this weekend. 

As we sat there Thursday, Ellie, Gary's mom, would start crying and when Gary would ask what was wrong all she said was, "why did he leave me?"   I could barely hold back the tears.    You know they say sometimes the child has to become the parent. Well that's exactly what I saw with Gary and his mom.  He reminded her that Jim didn't just leave her.   He died. They had 69 years together.  That really didn't ease her pain, because it was written all over her face, but she stopped crying for about an hour and then it was the same scene all over again.  We played this scene over and over all weekend with her.  Some were worst than others and on our last two days there, it turned from, "why did he leave me?" To "Gary I don't want you to go home,  I'm so lonely."  Talk about being on an emotional roll coaster watching these painful scenes and not being able to do a dang thing! 

We left there that Thursday night not knowing whether she was going to the service or not. Gary told her to be up the next morning because we were coming to pick her up.  Surprisingly she was up when we arrived. But as soon as we said it's time to go, she told us no.  "NO" was her favorite word all day on Friday.   We finally got her up and almost to the door and she just started sitting down so I grabbed a dinning chair and put behind her before she fell.  She told us she wasn't going.  Gary told her that he wasn't forcing her to go and he wasn't waiting on her because we were already running late, so she better decide right that moment if she was going or not.  We stood there in silence a couple of minutes and then she said she had to. It was a struggle to get her down the steps and in the car.  She had no strength. There is no way she would walk on her own.  We both had to hold on to her to help her walk. 

Once at the church, she told me I had to sit beside her. I told her that should be Gary or his brothers place. She told me No.  she said they wouldn't sit, and she wanted me too.  As I sat there and watched many of her old friends come up and speak to her, I thought of so many things.  Most were telling her they were praying for her and one sweet little old lady kept telling her that she had even through the same thing and that she would make it thru this difficult time. Ellie just said No.  Ever time we asked her if she needed something she said No. And then after the service she said she wanted to go home. We asked her if she wanted to stay for the church lunch and again she said No.  So Gary and his two sons took her home.  She only wanted to be left alone.  I had hoped all of us with the great grand kids could spend the afternoon with her.  But she kept telling Gary..No.  So we left her alone as she wished.  I told Gary maybe we should just go sit with her anyway and he said no.  He said I've got to respect her wishes today.  So I didn't push it.  Maybe I should have, but she's not my mother.  I didn't want to overstep.  I felt my job is to love Gary and respect his wishes.  I knew he was very upset inside and trying to hide it from his kids.  Every time we were alone, he would tell me how shocked he was to see his mom in her condition.  She was always the strong one. He figured God took is dad first for that reason.   However, in the back of my mind I was remembering that in all 12 years of me coming to PA, Jim waited on Ellie hand and foot. He treated her like a queen.  I couldn't imagine how she was feeling. 

Michelle, the neighbor, friend, adopted sister Gary never had, and nurse was going by to check on Ellie with her daughter Katie who Jim and Ellie babysit when she was growing up after the service.  Katie was in town from Boston. They are not blood, but they are family.  Michelle grew up next door to Jim and Ellie. She's a tad older than me so she came along after Gary had left to go to college in the south. They took her in.  She says it was because she was a child with 4 siblings and she didn't get much attention at home. Ha.  Jim and Ellie always took her out for her birthday.  And then when Michelle got married and had 2 kids, Jim and Ellie also adopted them as grandkids.  We heard many stories on Katie and Kevin each time we visited.  I was glad they were going to check in on Ellie.  Michelle said she'd let us know how Ellie was and for us to go enjoy the rest of the afternoon with the grandkids.  First time for Gary to have all his grandkids in PA.  We had a wonderful afternoon sitting out at pier 87, which is a cute little restaurant nestled down by the creek in the mountains.  It was very relaxing and took our mind off the dire situation for just a little bit.  I knew in the back of Gary's mind he was thinking about what and how we were going to handle his mom.   

Michelle called Gary as we were heading back to the hotels. She told him that her and Katie had given Ellie a stern talking to. They noticed she had not been taking her medicine.  She's on blood pressure medicine and the doctor had given her something for depression.   Katie is also a pharmacist so she fixed two weeks of meds up in daily pill containers and told Ellie she had to take her medicine every day and that Michelle was going to be coming back to check daily.  Gary was so happy to hear this news.   

The next day the plan was for everyone to visit Ellie before the grand kids left for Washington.  However, before I even got dressed, Gary got a call from his mom saying she needed him.  She was on the floor and couldn't get up.  Gary rushed to check on her.  He called me and said for me to let him know when I was dressed and he'd come get me then, but not till then because he was staying with her.  He also told his kids she was not up to seeing anyone.  So they left and went on to Washington.   This broke my heart as I'm sure it did theirs.  Drews girls have never been to Jim and Ellie's house.  When Gary picked me up, I started giving him my opinion that I thought they should have seen her.  He told me he didn't want them to remember her the way she was now.   I didn't push it.  I just tried to respect his wishes and love.   Lord knows I loved his dad and love his mom.  They welcomed me with open arms the first time I meet them. They were genuine. They were kind. They were special.  

We had a rough morning with her.  Then It was like a light switched and she began to perk up. Maybe because Gary had been talking to her pretty sternly about how she had to eat.  She was so skinny and frail.  I would have never dreamed she would be that bad.  Gary had to help her up to bathroom.  I sat there and wondered what the heck she did while we were not there.  She had no strength.  I managed to clean the refrigerator out.  She didn't like me doing anything.  Kept telling me No.  Jim did most all the house work. After his lung cancer he was unable to work, she continued to work and he was at home taking care of the house.  He'd have her supper ready when she got home. Like I said, he waited on her for years.   And he did it with joy.  She often offered to clean the kitchen when we were there and he'd refuse to let her.  Oh and he waited on me to when I was there.  He truly was a rare gem!! 

We finally got her to eat a half of a sandwich.  And then out of the blue she asked where all the grandkids were at.  My heart broke again.  I whispered to Gary that they should have came by.  He then told me it was all his fault.  After seeing her on her floor he didn't think she would improve and didn't want them to see her in that state.  He felt bad he had not told them to give her a little bit and then come by. We told her they went on to Washington to sight see.  She said that was probably best because she was a mess.  That just opened another door for Gary to talk to her.  So many of her friends told us at the funeral that she wouldn't let them in to visit her.  They Said she even hung up on them when they called to talk to her.  She has lots of friends there, but she is stuck in her grief and wanted to stay there.  You could tell she had no desire to eat or get dressed.  Which for her is RARE!  I had never seen her without makeup, hair piece, and dressed in dress clothes until this weekend.  She'd often pick and me and Gary about our casual t shirts and shorts when we came to visit.  She was always dressed like she was going to work. 

Later that night we finally talked her into letting us get her some food from a local restaurant.  I still wasn't sure she would eat it, but we got it. Surprisingly she ate a small bowl of lasagna and even smiled.  I kept thinking this may be a turning point. I was praying it would be.  However, when we got ready to go to our hotel, she began to cry. She was confused thinking we were going home to Mississippi right then.  Gary reassured her we would be back the next day and she better be dressed. Lol.  He was really turning into the parent! 

As we drove back to the hotel, I told Gary my concerns.  I honestly didn't see how Ellie was going to remain there alone. She couldn't do anything herself.  Unless someone went to grocery store for her, took her to bathroom, washed her clothes, took care of the house and yard, there was no way she could do it.  He said he realized that, but wanted to give her another day.  He said she's stressed.  She doesn't want to leave her house.  I think she wants to grieve in her own home.  I told him I understood all that, but we dont live close and who was going to do all this for her.  

Thank goodness for Michelle!! Although I told Gary you can't just depend on Michelle to do it forever.  That wouldn't be right. 

The next day she seemed a tad better. She was up when we got there, but wanted Gary to help her to the bathroom.  Again, my mind is wondering how the heck she's going to make it when we leave.  We sat around the rest of the day.  Gary kept trying to make her laugh and he succeeded a few times.   She then asked for a McDonald hamburger.  We were shocked, but I jumped in the vehicle fast as I could to go get it.  I also stopped at Rite Aid and bought her a cane.  Earlier that day Gary had went in his dads room and got the walker that they had purchased for Jim.  She totally did not like it at all.  She immediately started crying and kept saying no, no, no.  We asked her why and she said it just brought back so many memories of Jim those last 6 weeks.  So we put it up.  I wasn't sure she'd except the cane, but I got it and when I got back I left the cane in the vehicle and took her the burger.  She gobbled it down which made us very happy.  I told Gary he could give her the cane and see how she accepted it. Ha.  To my surprise she didn't turn her head from the cane, but asked Gary to help her try to use it.  Oh now my heart was starting to feel a tad better.  Just to see her actually ask made me smile.  I forgot to mention that she fell several days before we arrived. She had a badly bruised knee but refused to go to doctor.  So besides being week from not eating she had a very sore knee. 

Michelle stopped by later that evening to check on Ellie because she knew we would be leaving the next day and she wanted to see if we'd made any progress in getting Ellie to eat and out of bed.  She was happy to see her in her chair, but also still concerned.  She told me in private when she left that she was very worried.  I told her I was too.  

The day we left headed to Mississippi, Ellie cried and told both of us she didn't want us to go home.  She kept telling me the days were too long and she was so lonely without Jim.  All I could do was hug her.  Gary tried to be strong, but I could see the worry and sadness written all over his face.  As we finally got out in the car to leave, the country song about my old man was on.  I think it's by Zac Brown.  We both rode in complete silence with tears rolling down our face.  I couldn't even look over at Gary.  I don't think I've been that sad in a long time. I felt so empty inside and helpless.  I didn't know what to do for Gary or his mom.  Our journey home was very quiet.  When we got home I asked Gary if he was going to call his mom and he said no that he would in the morning. He just couldn't take no more of her crying.  I'm not sure either of us slept that night. 

I took off work today and glad I did.  My hip is hurting so bad from traveling and sitting.  Gary came home at lunch and I asked him if he got his mom.  He started crying. He said she didn't answer so he got the neighbor to go check. Ellie was in bed. She finally called Gary back and he said they both cried and he told her he didn't want to lose her too.  She promised she was going to try. So again here we are miles alway hoping she will find the strength to do so.  She's lost the love of her life.  But I know my God is a faithful and I'm praying he'll put someone in her path there in PA to help her through this difficult time. We are very worried because you hear stories of how one spouse dies and the other one grieves themselves to death.  Ellie is basically in great health. She could live another 20 years her doctor says, but she's got to want too.  Oh dear Lord, give her the want too please.  

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rest, Recover and Regenerate

There is a saying.......

Well, that's exactly what I need to do.  I've said many times over the past years to others and to MYSELF how important rest days are to recover.  Did I always practice those rest days? NO .... I practiced them about 40% I'd say.  What I mean by that is after a big race I might take off 1-2 days, but never more than 4-5 days.  So now I'm having to start from scratch and it's HARD.  Sometimes writing things down help me focus so maybe this post will help me get back on track.

What is rest, recover & regenerate to an athlete?  Yep, let's talk about the 3 Rs.  I've talked about rest in some of my past blogs.  This past week someone told me that my blog really helped them which made me very happy.  I'm no expert and most of what I say is just my opinion or thoughts I gather from stuff I read. 

How much should a runner (athlete) rest?  Well, I believe that all depends on the individual.  Some say you should incorporate at least 1-2 rest days every week.  I was very busy last May through April this year basically.  I started last May with an 18 week training plan getting ready for Ironman 70.3 Augusta.  If you've trained for a TRI, you know what I'm talking about when I say it's hard to fit in all 3 activities (swim, bike, run) into a week training plan and have 1-2 rest days.  Monday was what I called my "rest" day.  But it wasn't actually a down day because I did a light swim on Mondays.  I was so concerned about the swim for the Ironman that I made myself swim 3X a week.  The only way I found time to do that and also get in my bike and run miles was by doing a light swim on Monday.  Maybe this hurt me, maybe it didn't.  Only God knows the true answer.  

Some people have said to me that I shouldn't have done so many races between September -  May.  I did 2 Ironman 70.3 (well one the swim was canceled so it was technically a 69.1), 3 marathons (which including dopey 48.6 challenge), 3 half marathons, 1 10K, 1 12K, 1 20K, 2 sprint TRIs and a couple of 5ks.  It was a very busy 8 months of races for me.... well maybe I should say 12 months which includes the training leading up to the races.  Would I do it again? YES, ABSOLUTELY!! I had a blast at all of the races.  What would I change?  REST DAYS!!!! 

There is also a saying that "you don't lose that much in taking a week or two off in running".   This is what I should have done after each big race.  But I didn't and now I'm paying for it.  I would take like 1-2 days off and then go right back into my training.  Yes, my brain played tricks on me telling me I had to get those training days in no matter what.  I remember after the Ironman and Dopey challenge that I was so sleepy for like a month.  My body needed rest and instead I kept pushing.  I was on a high.  I was accomplishing so much.  I earned the right to be called a marathon maniac, a double agent, an Ironman 70.3, and Dopey.  Kind of funny that "Dopey" is one word... because I was truly Dopey in every sense by not resting properly after each big race.  

Maybe God thought I needed to be knocked down a notch.  Maybe I was getting too big for my britches as some say. :>)  Which I don't think God acts out as a mean God.  He's a loving God, however he never promised us no heartache.  Read the book of Job and boy you'll get a real good sense of heartache.  Job lost everything, but he never turned from God.  I believe we learn from trouble times.  And believe me he's really teaching me how important those rest days are for my body.  

During proper rest your body recovers and your body regenerates.  It allows the athlete to recover, both physically and psychologically.  The body needs time to adapt to the stress associated with exercise, time to replenish muscle glycogen (energy stores) and time for the body tissue to repair.  So I encourage each of you to find those REST days and TAKE THEM.  And don't forget SLEEP.  Sleep is so very important for athletes.  This morning on the way to work the radio was talking about all the kids going back to school and how important it is for parents to get those kids in bed by 8:30 pm.  Kids do well with proper sleep and it also makes for a much happier & healthier mom when kids go to bed early so that the mom too can sleep.  Our body needs sleep so that we can perform our daily task without added stress of no sleep.   I might need to have a talk with my grand pup.  My daughter saying all of a sudden he's getting up 3X a night and with school starting back the teacher needs rest. :>) 

I've been off any type exercise program since the middle of May fighting Bursitis which was caused mainly from NOT RESTING PROPERLY.   At first I quit running &  biking and was only swimming.  The hip continued to hurt so doctor recommended stopping everything.  Finally after weeks of nothing the hip is better and the doctor has said I can start back slowly.  

Well .... let me just say this...... after weeks of sleeping in since I didn't have to be up at 4:30 or 5 am...I can BARELY get up!!! They say you can do something for 30 days and it becomes a new habit.  Well, after 60+ days... this sleeping in became a HABIT.   I use to never set an alarm.  My body was always awake.  And also probably due to my husband being gone going on 5 weeks now there was no noise to wake me.  He usually has TV turned on by 5:30 am watching news and drinking coffee.  It's been so QUIET at the house and my body has become accustom to sleeping in the mornings.  So I had to revert back to setting an alarm, which I haven't done in over 20+ years. ha  But so far that hasn't helped.  I hit that snooze like a crazy woman being taking off meds. :>)

 Hopefully my husband will be back later this week and that will help me get up in the mornings.  It's hard to sleep when he turns on that TV in the bedroom. hee hee

Let's not even talk about how hard the training is going.  It's SLOW.  I'm doing a jog / walk program and getting 4-5 miles feels like I've done 13 afterwards.  Saturday I did an easy 20 mile bike followed by an easy 2 mile jog/walk.  Then on Sunday I did an easy 4 miles mostly walking with my dog to loosen the muscles.  I was toast the rest of the day Sunday.  Almost feel asleep in church!  I could barely hold my eyes open the rest of the day.  Which I do think the grass mowing and weed eating also played a role in my tiredness.  Since my husband has been gone I've had to do it all... yard, house, etc.   I'm so READY for him to be home. :>) 


After the big races, I should have taken 2 weeks or maybe 3 weeks off between each one to recover.  After you're trained, you're ready.  No need to keep pushing your body to the limit.

I've been down before when I had my neck surgery and wasn't allowed to run for 12 weeks, so I know I can get back up.  It's just going to be HARD.

 But as with most things that are hard in life, we learn something and we grew from it.  Maybe it's just that we grew closer to the God.  Or maybe it's that plus something else.  I pray that you know that any time you are going through something hard, God is always there.  Seek him and you'll find peace.  

Yep... One step at a time and I'll be back, but hopefully this time I won't listen to my crazy brain saying I don't need rest. :>)  Don't be like me and not take those REST days!  I'm a work in progress.  Always learning.  

Southern Magnolia Bike Ride

The day was finally here...... BIKE RIDE! A couple of us had decided a few months back to do the Southern Magnolia bike ride.  Not sure w...