Friday, September 28, 2012

Always An Adventure

The "Finding Amy...Again" journey has taken me on quite a few different "exercise adventures" over the past few years.  

It started at Clay Fitness + Nutrition, where, from day one three years ago, I was taken far beyond what I believed my body was capable of. This adventure, of course, continues to this day and my body is still challenged to exceed my expectations with every class I take!  

I've done several 5Ks over the past few years. My favorite was the Hilton Head Run For the Heritage that the Spicy Chicken & I did in 2011. Not only was it completely flat (my kind of race!) it was the first race we'd done together since the 1999 Denver Governor's Cup 10K. It was, consequently, also the last race we did together. Hmmm...

I also had a great time doing the Featheridge/Clay 5K Run to Rebuild with Moe in spring of 2011. Okay, maybe "great time" is a slight exaggeration, as this was her first true race and she may have cried once or twice along the way. But we did it, and even have the pictures to prove it!

Training for the Charlottesville Ten Miler this spring was probably the toughest adventure I've taken so far. Running distances does not come naturally to me. Hard as I tried, I never reached that "I love this!" moment so many runners speak of. I did, however, occasionally get to "I like this", which I deemed as success, considering I started from "I f'ing hate this!"Shin splints (which I later found were stress fractures) attempted to sideline me along the way, but with Callie's help I made it to the Finish Line. There are rumors that I uttered something like "I can't wait to do this again next year", but thankfully there's no actual proof!

This leads us to my latest adventure - the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.  Unlike other events, the 3-Day is truly not a race - it's a journey - a 60 mile journey! You wouldn't think you'd have to train for just walking, but you do (think blisters). Even then 20 miles doesn't seem like that big of a deal. That is until you realize that you're doing it all over again the next day AND the day after that...60 miles is a heck of a journey, and I cannot wait to take it!

My adventures have gone from a jog around the block, to 5k, to 10 miles, to 60 miles. What will your next adventure be?  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blogging Is Harder Than It Seems

Hmmm...what excuse do I use now about not having been blogging lately???  Work? Illness? Natural disaster?

When I started this blog I thought it would be easy to keep up.  After all, I am writing amazing blog posts in my head all the time. How hard could it be to get them from my head to paper, to the computer, edited, and published?  

Turns out, really hard.

While not always "amazing" (that was sarcasm) I am truly always writing blog posts in my head.  I don't remember a day in the last 10 or so years when I haven't thought "that would make a great story!" at least five times and continued to write it all out in my head. This odd, OCD-like behavior is actually the reason I started blogging.  "Now I can actually get those story ideas out of my head. This is the perfect outlet for me - hooray!"  Of course, when I made this glorious revelation I didn't think about the time it would actually take to get my crazy thought process in to something others might understand, let alone the whole sitting down and doing it thing.  

Still, I thought I could do it because, thanks to another OCD-like behavior of mine. I am an incredibly fast typer.  How have I mastered such a skill you may wonder?  Simple,  I am always - and I mean ALWAYS typing. Or at least my fingers are. If you've ever held hands with me this would come as no surprise to you, but those of you who are not my children, my husband or one of a handful of lucky suitors from my youth, are probably wondering what the hell I'm talking about.

It's simple.  When I was in 7th grade we were required to take "Keyboarding" (yep, I'm old enough to remember electric typewriters!). The teacher - Mr. Solem -  sat us in alphabetical order by last name which placed me the back of the room with Reed Walhof - the perfect spot for slacking off in what I deemed to be an unimportant class (recall that at this point in my life I was going to be scientist, so I didn't need 'silly' skills like typing!).  It didn't take long for Mr. Solem to realize that Reed and I weren't taking his class quite as seriously as he did. One day he proclaimed that everyone in the class would get detention if I didn't type to perfection on our next test.  I've never stopped practicing since.

So, if I'm always thinking of stories and always typing, why am I not posting more consistently? I have no freaking idea! 

I read some really amazing blogs and find myself wondering how these women do it. While my life is busy it certainly isn't busier than theirs - some of them have like a hundred kids, after all. So do they sit at their computers all day long and write? (That sitting still thing doesn't work for me!). Do they have keyboards attached to every chair in their house?  (That would totally ruin the feng shui!). Do they write in their cars, on the treadmill, in the shower? (That's the only time I get peace and quiet!). Do they ever sleep? (Oh God, please don't tell me I have to give up sleep!).

What it comes down to is this - I'm not them, I'm me. This journey to "Find Amy" isn't just about eating better and exercising more, it's about figuring out how to balance the things I need to do with the things I want to do.  Thus, "Finding Amy" continues to be an every day struggle.  I wish I could get all of the stories, anecdotes and insanity out of my head and down on paper on a daily basis, but I'm me and, quite frankly, it just ain't going to happen. 

So my solution is to keep typing away, knowing that sometimes my fingers will actually reach the keyboard. And when they do, I hope you will be there to read it.   

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

4 Miles

In the grand scheme of things 4 miles isn't that far.  Years ago I wore a pedometer to see how much (or how little) I was moving on a daily basis and there were definitely days I walked way more than 4 miles.

But when those miles are walked/run/jogged by 3500 women in hopes of finding a cure for breast cancer they mean a hell of a lot.

I participated in the Charlottesville Women's Four Miler this weekend in honor and remembrance of my friend Chrissy, whom I've written about several times here.  This race is held every year (this was the 20th!) in Charlottesville on Labor Day Weekend to benefit the  UVA Cancer Center Breast Care Program. It's an amazing race for so many reasons.  First, to see 3500 women plus thousands of others supporting them lined up along Garth Road on the grounds of Foxfield is awe inspiring.  The fact that the proceeds stay locally and support cutting edge breast cancer research, patient education, support services, and community outreach is pretty great too.  And the "Motivational Mile"  - a display of names honoring those affect by cancer along the last mile of the course reminding each of participant of why we're there.  There were not one, not two, but three posters honoring Chrissy's memory on the Motivational Mile this year - a testament to how much she is loved and missed.

This was the first year that I have been able to participate in the Four Miler as we usually travel Labor Day Weekend.  My friends, on the other hand, have all done it together for the past several years.  This is year was the first without Chrissy, who ran it last year in 49 minutes with feet covered in blisters from the chemotherapy she was receiving at the time.  Talk about inspirational.

We chose to wear yellow shirts with pink writing this year in honor of Chrissy's fight not only against breast cancer, but the evil cancer that metastasized into the rest of her body after initially beating breast cancer. Breast cancer stole Chrissy from us; liver cancer killed her.  

We did this race not just in memory of Chrissy but in memory of all the people who have lost their lives, lost loved ones or are fighting against cancer right now.  I am certain that cancer has affected every single one of us in some way. In addition to Chrissy and also I lost a great friend to skin cancer prior to his 30th birthday - my dad is a colon cancer survivor - Kirsten lost her best friend to breast cancer - Anne lost her mom - Holly lost her dad to cancer and has a mom who is a breast cancer survivor (yay, Monica!) - Cara lost her dad to lung cancer two weeks ago - Erin's mom is a breast cancer survivor (yay, Alice!) - Carrie's dad is undergoing radiation for cancer as I write this.... I'm sure you have a story, too.  

As I've been training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day I've read some pretty staggering statistics about breast cancer.  At times it feels almost overwhelming, like we'll never be able to find an end to it.  But then I watch a video from a survivor or read a survivor story or look in to the eyes of Chrissy's kids...and I know it will happen.  It has to.