Sunday, September 30, 2012

Attempting to run a marathon

I don't know if I'm ready to talk about this yet.  It's easy to say that I came close and I did more than a lot of other people and I tried hard and gave it my best but the fact remains, I didn't finish.  I trained hard and I ran a lot of miles and I tried to make sure I was prepared but still, I didn't finish. 

I remember watching my mom iron my dad's shirts once and asking her if it was annoying to have to iron all those shirts for him and she said, "only if I think about it".  Which made me smile.  But I get it. 

If I don't really think about what I didn't accomplish, then it's not a big deal that I didn't finish.  I can feel good about the accomplishments I had along the way.  I ran 20 miles on a training run and felt great!  I ran 22 miles on the day of the marathon! 

But when I really examine my feelings about the marathon, the one thing that stands out the most is that I didn't finish. 

The course was beautiful, the weather was mild and cloudy.  I was trying to drink water and stay hyrdrated and I had lot of GU (energy gel) packets.  But somewhere around mile 14, I started to not feel great.  My stomach was kind of rolling and when I tried to have some GU, it didn't go down very easy.  I tried to drink more water but still kept stopping to walk.  I'd get a burst of energy and run for a few minutes and then walk again.  I kept thinking it was mental and I just needed to push through.  I tried GU again with the same results.  Ick.  Then, about halfway through mile 21, I started feeling a tingly sensation in my arms and legs and knew that wasn't good.  I told the girls to go on without me and they asked if I wanted them to flag down a car and I said yes.

There was an ambulance ahead so we went there and they asked if I needed to go to a hospital or if I wanted a ride back to the finish and I said a ride back would be fine.  My friends went on ahead (after repeated assurances that I would be fine and they should go- they did not want to leave me behind).  I waited for a car with the EMT's and they checked my pulse, which was on the slow side.  I sat down on a cooler and then the car came.  I went to stand up and apparently, I went really white and almost passed out.  At that time, the EMT's decided to give me a ride in the ambulance and I was just glad someone else was calling the shots because I didn't like how I was feeling and just wanted to feel better. 

They took me to the medic tent and after a few attempts, finally got an iv started.  I laid there and listened to the people around me and wondered how my friends were doing.  A little bit later, I heard someone say that yes, Angie Hall was in the tent, but no, they could not come in.  And I smiled and couldn't wait to get out to find them.  The iv was almost done and I was feeling pretty good (just freezing!) so they unhooked me and helped me sit up and then stand.  I walked out and saw my friends and got hugs and heard about their finish and got some food (I was so hungry!) and shivered because I was still freezing and walked back to the car.  I was so happy for them and so happy that I was feeling better and so happy it was all over. 

We went back and showered (and I was so happy to have a warm shower) and then got some more food (so happy to be eating again!) and we had fun hanging around.  I wasn't too sore and joked about running another one soon while I was still in shape because I wanted to cross that finish line.  I wasn't too upset about not finishing but didn't really think about it.  I figured I was just handling things really well. 

After we got home, I started to see people who knew I was planning to run a marathon.  And all of a sudden, my story sounded really lame.  "I felt okay and ran 2/3 of it and then started feeling bad and went back in an ambulance.  I don't really know what happened.  But I'll try again!"  I just wanted to hide for awhile.  Because instead of being someone who ran a marathon, I was someone who tried but didn't succeed. 

I had high hopes of trying again in June but it was really hot that weekend.  Since I'm fairly sure that dehydration was the culprit for my first failed attempt, I didn't think it'd be good to add heat when I tried again.  So I decided to run the one in our hometown that was supposed to be on a nice, flat course.  How cool would that be?  Support from friends and family, running in the fall, training on the actual course - sounded perfect. 

Then I found out the course wasn't flat.  At all.  And I was having trouble staying motivated for the training runs.  And I got really nervous about trying again and failing.  So now I am setting it aside for another time, maybe next year.  And I'm wondering if I didn't handle it as well as I thought.  I'm thinking there might be some issues going on subconsicously with me and running.  I need to make it something that is for me, not for anyone else.  It's great to run with friends but it needs to be something I will do even if no one is out there with me.  If I can't do that, maybe I don't want it bad enough. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Promises, promises

I know, I've let you down.  You don't have to say it.  I can tell by the look in your eyes.  I said last time I would write more about my marathon experience and I talked about how we had an offer on our house and had to move but didn't know where we were moving and then what do I do?  I leave you hanging all summer.  And now, it's September and I'm finally back and you know what?  I'm not going to talk about either of those.  Not just yet. 

We started back to school last Monday.  For us, that meant getting up around a regular time (except for Brendan - that boy learned to sleep this summer!  So I had to wake him up at 9:30 - rough life, I know), eating breakfast, and doing some math and grammar before playing.  No big deal.  I bought some new curriculum this year and was excited about starting out.  Mostly.  It was nice this summer not having to think about it but I did feel ready for a routine and a plan to our day. 

This was how our day started:  I did spelling and grammar with Tori and the new books were great.  Rachel and Owen came down about 5 times in 20 minutes asking if I was done yet and if I could do school with them.  Brendan finally came down and I got him going on grammar and vocabulary.  I started math with Tori and a few minutes later, Brendan was ready for math.  I went over his math lesson and then went back to Tori, who needed more help.  I went up to work with Rachel and Owen and they decided that learning to read was boring and practicing writing letters and numbers was even more boring.  But they didn't want to color or play with playdough - they wanted to do real school!  I have no idea what they were expecting exactly, but clearly I was not delivering!  At this point, Tori comes up with her math and is very frustrated and still not done.  And I am thinking, "Why do I do this?  How many more years of this do I have?" 

It has been a struggle this year for me.  For the very first time (I swear, this is true), I have felt envious of my friends posting about their kids going back to school.  I imagine the quiet house (I'd have all 4 of them gone!).  I imagine the work I could get done and the breaks I could take and the sense of accomplishment I'd have at the end of the day.  And oh, the grass looks so much greener over there. 

Then yesterday,we went to our homeschool co-op.  And this year, I have a new position there.  I am working in the accounting office.  At a computer.  On a desk.  Entering things in a computer.  Adding things up.  A cupboard full of office supplies.  I LOVE IT!!!!  I really should have majored in accounting.  It has actually made me think about the idea of getting a regular office job and sending the kids to school.  But yesterday, I talked to the other ladies in the office about how I was feeling.  And they totally understood and said they've been there before.  They both have older kids and some homeschool graduates and they shared some positives they have seen from homeschooling their kids and how they were so glad they stuck it out.  They talked about how they feel now that they are almost done - or at least closer than I am.  And there is some sadness that it's coming to an end for them. 

Today, our day went really well.  Tori's math wasn't even that painful.  We all had a great day together.  Among all the posts and status updates about how people are finding so much time to get things done with their kids gone, I read a post about finding time for projects during the season of homeschooling and it was exactly what I needed to read.  After turning down invitations to run or workout because of needing to be at home teaching my kids, all the kids seemed to really appreciate me being here today.  It just confirmed that this is the right choice for us right now.  And it's all going to go by so fast. 

It was definitely not the smoothest start to a school year.  But the waters are calming down and we're on the right path.  Now to just stay the course.  And I promise - I will not wait 3 months to write again and I *will* talk about the marathon and our new home.  Which I absolutely love.  Not to leave you hanging or anything.