Lesson Learned: Choosing a Race

Today I expected to have an update for you from my latest race.  As you well know, things don’t always go as planned.  Unfortunately, my race was postponed.  The reason we were given was the weather, however, the forecast was calling for cloudy and 50 degrees at race time.  This has been another lesson learned.

April is always the busiest month of the year for us.  Why, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because winter is officially over, the weather is finally comfortable, so everyone wants to get out and do things.  Considering that, I only had one Saturday in April that I could run a race.  After scouring the internet, I found two races in the area for that day.  One was a large city-wide race with thousands of registrants, the other a tiny, tiny race with less than 50 registrants.

We went for the smaller race.  The proceeds of this race went to benefit a family whose child was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago.  This was the 2nd annual race.

The Monday before the race we received via email a race packet.  I did appreciate this since not all races publish one.  It was nice to have everything you needed to know in one place.  It gave the time and location for packet pick up, where to park for the race, the race route, etc.  At that point, everything seemed in order.

On Tuesday before the race I received an email that read,

The timing chips will be unavailable this Saturday. We do not have enough runners to justify the cost. Also if you have family or friends that would like to run with us, shirts are not available the day of the race or at pickup. (For you, the shirts will be with your race packets.)

I was disappointed, but I understood.

On Wednesday before the race we received an email that read,

We are also having packet pickup only on Saturday from 7:45-8:45a before the race. No Friday pickup . . .

I understood why they perhaps wouldn’t want to have a packet pick up the day before the race due to the number of registrants, but at this point I was thinking something might be amiss since packet pick up is usually run by volunteers and has no cost involved.  On Thursday I remember telling a friend that it doesn’t look good to promise a bunch of things and then take them away.  It’s much better to not promise them in the first place.  And, I even said, “I’m just waiting for them to cancel the race.”

On Friday at 11:00 am it came,

The race is postponed due to weather. We will update you as soon as we can.

At this point, I was upset because if the race was rescheduled I probably wouldn’t be able to go.  I was also upset because it appeared that the weather was not the problem.

So, I sent this email knowing that there are usually no refunds on races,

Considering the emails I received earlier this week and that the weather forecast for race time tomorrow is 50 degrees and cloudy, I’m having a difficult time believing that the weather is the problem.  If the race is not held tomorrow, I would like a refund.

I didn’t expect a refund.  I didn’t even expect a reply, but it came,

The team that decided to cancel removed me from any control of the race. Please contact  ******@gmail.com about your refund.

Sorry for the confusion. Please understand that we at **** corp no longer have any say about the way ***** *** Dash will use their funds.

At this point, I am expecting nothing.  I am not expecting the race to be rescheduled and I am not expecting a refund.  I suspect that my money has already been spent on something else other than the race and that it is gone.  So be it.

What’s the lesson?  Sponsorship.  This race did not have any corporate sponsorship to speak of.  Even the small races that I’ve done have had local businesses supporting them in some way.  Whether it be financially or by providing some kind of goods or service, they were supported by local businesses and those business names were prominently displayed on the race website, t-shirts, e-mails, etc.  These businesses provide the support and accountability to make sure the show goes on.  Otherwise, it may not.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Colossians 3:12-13</i>

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A Sentence a Day for March 2018.

I cannot take credit for this idea. This is something that I saw somewhere out on the blogosphere. I thought it looked like a fun idea. I thought it would be fun to also include a few pictures from throughout the month. For April, I will concentrate on making each entry a complete sentence and making each sentence more descriptive.

3rd, Saturday.  Ran the Liberty Hospital 5K and completely exhausted myself by walking home.

4th, Sunday.  Church, out to eat, and then a windy but warm trail walk.

5th, Monday.  Was hard to watch, but went to see Tortured for Christ.

6th, Tuesday.  A very windy, gray day to stay inside.

7th, Wednesday.  Ran 4 miles tonight–first time since last fall.

8th, Thursday.  Took a walk to the end of the street and back with my oldest whom I hadn’t seen for a few weeks.

9th, Friday.  The cat escaped from the house today, but we found her lying on the deck railing in the warm sunshine.

10th, Saturday.  Another cloudy, blah day.

11th, Sunday.  Went to see 15:17 to Paris.

12th, Monday.  Went with DH to his dentist appointment and then ate lunch at the Little General Store.

13th, Tuesday.  Cinderella is happy that she got her cleats and shingards for soccer.

14th, Wednesday.  Supporting  a friend through a difficult time.

15th, Thursday.  A perfect day weatherwise, so we took the princess to the park.

16th, Friday.  A day to stay home and do some house cleaning.

17th, Saturday.  Cinderella had her first soccer game, and they won!

18th, Sunday.  Sundays are often the busiest day of the week!

19th, Monday.  Today was a hard day, so I stayed home instead of running with my friends.

20th, Tuesday.  A cloudy, cold day to start Couch to 5K.

21st, Wednesday.  Cinderella was extremely disappointed that soccer practice was cancelled tonight.

22nd, Thursday.  It’s finally starting to feel like spring!

23rd, Friday.  It was an eventful day starting with a field trip, the library, and then the hospital!

24th, Saturday.  Liam Alistair enters the world at 2:14 am.

25th, Sunday.  Got to visit Liam this afternoon, but Nurse Ratched won’t even let me hold him.

26th, Monday.  I spent the afternoon and night at the hospital with Liam.

27th, Tuesday.  Liam came home this afternoon.

28th, Wednesday.  Ran in the rain tonight with Cinderella.

29th, Thursday.  It was a cold run tonight, but at least it was dry.

30th, Friday.  Finally, sunshine!

31st, Saturday.  Preparing for Easter Sunday.

Water, Weight, and Couch to 5K

Yeah!  Spring is officially here.  For me, the unofficial start of Spring is the beginning of daylight savings time; but now it’s official.  It’s been a cold, gray winter and so far a cool, gray spring.  I’m ready for some sunshine!  I’m ready for warm weather, green grass, and open windows.

My local community center has decided to do a spring Couch to 5K program.  This is an abbreviated version where we’ll be meeting twice a week for eight weeks.  This means we’ll have one day a week where we’ll need to do the program on our own.  You’d think that I’d eventually graduate from this program, but I haven’t yet.  I don’t know why on rough days it’s easy to text your friends and tell them that you’re not going to make it for your scheduled run, but if I’m signed up for a program like Couch to 5K, there’s nothing that will keep me from showing up.

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For now I’m still planning on keeping up with my other runs as well as the Couch to 5K.  We’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.  Four nights a week is a lot to commit to and may not be very realistic once the distances increase with the Couch to 5K program.

We’ve all heard the debate about whether or not to weigh every day.  I’ve weighed myself every day (or at least most days) for quite some time.  I’ve continued to do it because I’ve read over and over that people that weigh every day lose more weight.  Since the scales haven’t been moving in the direction I would like I decided to take a break from weighing myself every day.  When I stepped back on the scale for the first time in several days, I did not like what I saw.  It was ugly.  So, I’ve gone back to weighing every day.  It certainly seems to help keep me on track.

As I wrote in a previous post, I unintentionally took some time off from juicing.  In February I tried Jason Vale’s Super Blend Me! program for 10 days.  It was ok, but for me it definitely is not a substitute for juicing.  For a few weeks, I made some juice and had a juice a day.  I’ve decided for at least the rest of this month to go back to the 5:2 plan.  Five days of eating and two days of juicing.  The 5:2 plan keeps me feeling my best.

During the summer and warmer months, I naturally get thirsty and drinking plenty of water is not a problem.  In the winter and cooler months it is difficult for me to drink the proper amount of water.  I came up with the simple solution of setting alarms on my Fitbit to remind me to drink water.  My Fitbit is always on my wrist and vibrates for each alarm.  The alarms are virtually impossible to ignore yet won’t bother other people.  My first alarm goes off at 8:00 am, and the following alarms are set to go off every two hours until 10:00 pm.  At every alarm, I drink a 16 ounce glass of water.

If I drink a glass of water at every alarm, it comes to 128 ounces or 1 gallon of water a day.  However, there are times that I’m not home or in the car driving and know it’s not going to be a good time to be drinking a lot of water that’s going to cause me to go looking for a restroom.  So, I’ve set more alarms than necessary so that I will drink water at most of them and be properly hydrated.  This has been working great, and I know I’m drinking a lot more water than I would otherwise.

Do you have difficulty drinking enough water on a daily basis?  What is your trick to keeping properly hydrated?

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14.

Spring Update

Right now we have a brief lull in activities, so I’m trying to lay low and take it easy.  Spring is always a busy time, with April being the busiest month of the year, so I know it’s not going to last long.  And this year we have a grandbaby coming in April as well.  In a few weeks, it will be time to shift into overdrive!

I already have an event planned for every weekend in April.  They keep stacking up, so there are some Saturdays that I have three places I need to be.  Ain’t gonna happen!

Last week I ran four miles for the first time since I sprained my ankle.  It was slower than all get out, but that’s ok.  My doctor says it should be healed and he thinks the pain I’m feeling is just from it being stiff and not as elastic as it used to be, so I’m trying to move more and keep it loosened up.

I am definitely loving daylight savings time.  It is so nice to have more daylight in the evening and to be able to get outside.  It certainly is taking some adjustment, though.  Everytime I look at my watch, it’s an hour or two later than I think.  It seems like it’s making the time fly away.

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I unintentionally took a break from juicing for several months.  I just got out of the habit of making it.  I was starting to feel the effects of not having juice in my diet, so I have gotten back to making juice again.  I was expecting it not to taste good to me after not having it for so long.  Actually, it was delicious, and I felt like I had been missing something special.  Lesson learned.

It seems like it has been a longer, harder winter than what we’ve had in the past.  It got cold earlier in the fall than what we’re used to.  I remember going to the sports store looking for winter running accessories in October and the sales clerk telling me that it had gotten cold earlier than usual so they weren’t going to have winter items in for a few weeks yet.  We didn’t have a lot of snow this year, but we had a lot of small snow falls or even sleet and ice.  Our weather wasn’t necessarily harsh or severe, it just made it more difficult to get out.  As you know, once you start slacking off, it’s easy to continue.

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Now that we are in daylight savings time and it’s a bit warmer, I feel like spring is just around the corner.  Time to break free!

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36

Hospital Half and 5K

March’s race was the Hospital Half and 5K.  This is not just a race, it’s an event!  I also ran the inaugural race last year.  This year, it was even bigger and better with more runners and more vendors.  This race benefits the LiveWell grant program, providing health and wellness grants to area non-profits.

This race starts and ends about two miles from my house at my local community center.  This winter, I have continued to meet there about once a week to run with a couple of friends.  I say “about” because the plan was always to meet there, but often the weather didn’t cooperate, so we’d end up not meeting or going to the cave to run.  Since we were not able to meet there nearly as often this year, I did not feel nearly as prepared for this race as I did last year.

Parking was at a premium, and runners were encouraged to park off-site and take shuttle buses, but I was able to hitch a ride with my daughter.

We were fortunate enough to have perfect running weather.  It was about 43 degrees and sunny outside.  There was a slight breeze from the south, which meant it would be at my back at the end of the race and up that big, ugly hill.

At 8:00 they started with the national anthem and then lined the half marathon runners up.  I went out to cheer those runners on as they left the chute.

The 5K started at 8:30.  We lined up and were off to a rocky start as there really were too many runners to go out the chute all at once.  At the start of the race I ended up on the other side of the road with oncoming traffic.

This year, I ran about halfway up that ugly hill and walked the rest.  I didn’t have a great finishing time, but I finished and my time was better than my last race two weeks ago, so I’m happy with that.

After the race, I visited some of the vendors with a couple of friends.  It was almost like going to your wholesale club on sample day except that these were much larger samples.  We had the regular fruit and snacks offered after most races along with chocolate, strawberry, and root beer flavored milk from a local dairy; pulled pork sandwiches from the rotary club; pizza; smoothies; and fresh draws served up from our local brewery.

After spending some time browsing around with friends, I decided to walk home.  I was tired, so the walk was a little further than I would have liked.  However, I did see some signs of spring!

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;  Genesis 1:14

Sweetheart Run 5K

February’s race was the Sweetheart Run 5K.  I ran this race last year with my daughter and a few friends and had a great time.  There is also a runners’ expo after the race, so it’s a good time to get discounts on future races, running gear, etc.

This race was originally scheduled for the 10th.  Due to a forecast of incoming snow, the race was postponed to the following week.  We didn’t get the snow that was forecasted, but it was very cold on the 10th, so I was glad for the week’s delay.

As always I was watching the weather forecast so I’d know what to expect and could prepare for race day.  It was forecasted to be about 43 degrees and cloudy at the time of the race.  I would need a jacket, earmuffs, and long pants.

When I got up the morning of the race, I again checked the weather.  It was as predicted, so I got ready for the race as planned and had a small breakfast.  I was ready to walk out the door when my oldest daughter came in through the garage, “You know it’s snowing, right?”

I looked outside.  The ground and our vehicles were covered in snow and there were huge snowflakes falling from the sky.  I was not prepared for snow.

Lesson #1:  Always pop your head outdoors to see what the weather is actually doing while you still have time to make adjustments.

We went on our way.  This race was on the other side of town–further away than most of my races.  We drove through the mist and wet roads.  I remember saying, “I’m not prepared to get wet!”

Lesson #2:  Always bring a change of clothes.

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Race time came and it was cool and breezy, but at least there wasn’t anything falling from the sky.  The pavement was wet, so I was expecting to get wet from the knees down.  Then, as we walked up to the start line I got another surprise:  this year’s race would be run in reverse of last year’s race.

With running being very much a mental sport, this threw me off.  I had checked the route, and it had not been updated in the race information.  I started going through the route backwards in my mind.

In the end it was a good race.  The weather held out, and I did not end up soaking wet.  Most of all, I met my goal:  I beat the girl in the pink pants!

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Proverbs 24:17

Battle of the Bean 5K

January’s race and my first race for 2018 was the Battle of the Bean 5K.  The charity for this race was Happy Bottoms which is a diaper bank for local low income families.  Paper products are a great need for low income families as government assistance does not provide them.

Battle of the Bean does seem like an odd name for a race, but the “beans” that are “battling” here are the coffee bean and the cacao bean.  When you register for the race, you choose whether you wish to be on Team Coffee or Team Cocoa.  I never let something as vile as coffee touch me lips, so I went for Team Cocoa.  I rarely drink it due to the sugar and calories involved, but just imagining rich, creamy cocoa with marshmallows on top was enough to put me on the team!

The race itself was sponsored by a local coffee shop.  It was amazing!  Along with the usual coffee shop items, they also had gourmet chocolates and frozen custard made at the shop.  They had samples out for the runners after the race.  The chocolate looked too good to eat, and tasted fabulous.  The custard was the smoothest and creamiest I’ve ever had.

We were fortunate that we had some warmer weather move in a few days prior to the race.  It was foggy and damp, but all of the snow had melted from the roadways.  It was also about 42 degrees, which is perfect running weather.  The first thing I did when we got there was take about 10 steps and step into a pothole full of water.  So, I ran with one very soggy foot.

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As is my custom, I drove the route a few days before the race so I’d know what to expect.  With the cold weather, ice, and snow we’ve had lately, I haven’t been running much.  I knew mile one would be the easiest with a very long descent.  I expected mile two to be the toughest with a long hill to climb.  Mile three was flatter, so I thought it would be a nice break after mile two.

It didn’t take long for me to find out that two miles is about my endurance level right now.  The second mile was my fastest, but I was exhausted afterwards.  The third mile was tougher than I thought it would be, but I still made it with a time that I can live with.

Instead of a finisher’s medal, we got these really nice mugs that commemorate the race.  They are heavy duty and large enough to use for your favorite drink or soup–or maybe even a dessert!  I love that it’s something I’ll use over and over again.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 
I Corinthians 10:31

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(Cocoa not included.)

Friends

Some friends are forever,
and some are not;
some friends are free,
while some are bought.

Some bring joy,
others bring pain;
some will do it,
over and over again.

Can you afford to pay the price?
Lonely days and sleepless nights.

Some friends are forever
and some are not,
but a departed friend
is never forgot.

copyright (C) Lori Camper

Christmas Light 5K 2017

Last Saturday was the Christmas Light 5K. Proceeds for this race go to benefit a local YMCA and their learn to swim program. I ran this race last year, so I knew what to expect. Last year’s race was a PR and is still my best 5K time yet.

This is more than a race, it’s an event! Runners are encouraged to dress up, and there is a costume contest before the race. Winners are chosen by audience participation (cheering). In other words, you’re judged by your fellow runners. You can also get your picture taken with Santa before the race. The race begins at 5:30 pm, which is right about the time it gets dark this time of year. The idea is for you to take a look at the Christmas lights along the route. Many of the homes are actually in a Christmas lighting contest with hefty prizes involved.

I was better prepared for this race than last year. Last year I got caught up in the dressing up, and had too much garb to deal with while I ran. This year I focused on doing well during the race, and that was a help. I wore less garb, so that gave me less to deal with while trying to run. The temperature was about the same as last year, so I knew that I needed layers–two pairs of pants, a long sleeved shirt and a jacket, ear muffs, gloves, and something to cover my face. I also knew that it was very likely that most of this was going to come off during the race and that it needed to go in my pockets and that I needed to be able to zip my pockets up. I did not zip my pockets last year and ended up losing a glove.

I met up with some friends before the race. We were busy gabbing, so when it came time to line up for the race, we ended up towards the back of the pack. Once race time came, the Christmas music stopped long enough for the National Anthem. Then the gun went off. It would be a full minute and nine seconds before we actually crossed the start line.

I am still dealing with my ankle injury, and I’m convinced it will be spring or even summer before it is completely healed. My endurance was also way down after not running for nearly three weeks. I am continuing with the run/walk/run method using a 60 second run/60 second walk. I was hoping to change to a 60 second run/30 second walk for this race, but I knew I was not physically ready for that yet.

The course was the same or nearly the same as last year. It is in a part of the city that is flat as a pancake. Some people like that, some people don’t. At least with the hills, you get to go downhill at some point.

About half way through the race, I started feeling tired and fatigued. My third mile was my slowest, and there were a lot of people that left me behind. I finished right at two minutes slower than last year. I’m ok with that, because I know that’s where I am right now. It’s still far from my slowest time.

Afterwards there was hot chocolate and healthy snacks provided by Natural Grocers. But the best part of all was the time spent with friends.

Up and Over

Life can be overwhelming.  After the Grub Run, I did not run or exercise for three weeks.  On top of that, I caught a terrible cold that is still with me today.   It did not take long before I was feeling like garbage in more ways than one.  Not only did I feel horrible physically, but I could also see that my spirits were down as well.

Knowing that I had a race coming up in a few weeks gave me the motivation to get back on track again.  In fact, I went out for a run the weekend after Thanksgiving for the first time in a while.  I was thinking I had three weeks before my next race but soon realized that I only had two!

To get back on track, I have had to purposefully take the time to get some exercise in.  I’ve found that the best way to do this is to schedule it and put it on the calendar.  So, I’ve committed to run with a group that meets locally on Wednesday nights.  I’ve put out the call for a Monday night run and am running with a friend.  On Saturdays I’m running solo.

I am still nursing my injury which I am convinced will not be fully healed until spring.  Considering that and the fact that my endurance level is way down, I am still using the run/walk/run method.  I was elated to find that using this method I was able to go up and over the Flyover for a 4-mile run!  This is something I hadn’t done since my injury.

Last Saturday was unseasonably warm and sunny.  I decided to go for a run through the park while the trail was dry and clear of debris.  It felt great to be outside.  The animals were enjoying the unseasonably warm and sunny weather as well.  We haven’t had any rain for a while, so all of the leaves are very dry and crunchy.  The squirrels were having a great time playing.  I could hear them running and chasing each other through the crunchy leaves.  At one point I had to slow down and even stop to watch the squirrels play.  Oh, what a life they must have!

At this time in my life it would be very easy to say, “I don’t have time right now,” with the intention of coming back to running later.  However, the benefits of making myself get out there a few times a week are so great that I can’t pass them up.  There have been plenty of times that I didn’t want to go out there, and I spent a lot of time talking myself into going.  However, I’ve never regretted going.  There have been times that I’ve not been pleased with my performance or the way things went, but in the end the feeling of accomplishment was well worth it.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  Matthew 6:25-26