Tuesday, April 26, 2011

IF: Bicycle

This week's Illustration Friday's topic is Bicycle. 

This was a fun project for me. I had the job to create fabric out of some bicycle illustrations that were given to me.  I added more of my own and placed them into a repeat and this is the result!

When I was a kid, I had a teal sting-ray bike with a banana seat, white wall tires and the requisite basket with flower appliques. (which i later replaced with a steering wheel I ordered from a Montgomery Ward's catalog).

I can vividly remember riding over tree-root-cracked sidewalks over to my best friend's house. A doll with clumps of human hair taped over the bald doll's head and belted around my waist behind me as if she was holding on to my waist; a playing card tucked between the spokes to sound like an engine.

I will never ever forget that one hot summer evening when I was probably 7.  My sister and I and best friend Terry donned on baseball caps over our short pixie haircuts and pretended to be boys.  We pulled off our shirts and raced our bikes around the block feeling dizzy with excitement wearing only our shorts and keds... 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another tough half marathon under my belt

They called this race a gnarly trail run over tough uneven steep terrain. It was strongly recommended that we carry at least 20 ounces of water/fluids with us even though there were 5 aid stations spread throughout the course.

I knew it was going to be a difficult run.
 (They slated it as tougher than last year's course).

I knew going in there was going to be a lot of miles of single track trails through meadows and up forested hills reaching to 1480 feet in elevation for most of the course. But what I couldn't dream up was that I would be able to run the race with very little pain in the quicker pace I had hoped for.

But I did. I really did it!

I finished feeling really happy with the results.
After taking an 11-day stretch off from running in the latter part of March for a much needed vacation and then...after four days of being home, i underwent surgery that would affect another 13 days off of running... (or any form of exercise), so you can imagine panic and fear setting in once I realized I didn't have many days in the last month to fully prepare for this race. 

I became increasingly worried. "How will this affect me!?"  Well. I figured. "NOT GOOD!"


Around the 3 mile mark... we were running on single lane trails. No way anyone could pass on them. You just settle in and run the course. Attempting to pass on the left could result in a serious fall... and it was impossible to pass on the right. So there we were ... running as though in traffic... keeping a five foot cushion between us as we ran, hoping no one stumbles and falls.. because that could leave for a dreadful result.

Once we got to a more clearer terrain, we fell into our comfortable running speed and spaced ourselves more appropriately.

I caught up to Wendy who is a nurse and my sister's friend and now a friend of mine. 
I started singing behind her...

"Who's peeking out
from under a stairway  .....
Calling a name that's lighter than air .....
Who's bending down to give me a rainbow .....
Everyone knows it's Windy .....

I don't think she heard me sing but glanced at me as I tapped her on her shoulder as I passed.. just as the steep climb turned downward... the gravity suddenly turned our run into a downhill race ...  and ... as she raced downward,  her foot stumbled over a rock and she flew. I mean ... FLLLLEEWWW ... through the air and skidded on the grass.

I stopped to ask if she was alright.

"I'm fine! Keep running!"
she said.

And so I did.

Little did we both realize the next words to the song went on to say...

"Who's tripping down the streets of the city
Smiling at everybody she sees
Who's reaching out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it's Windy..."

And she did. She sorely tripped.. but she also got back up and continued to run and finished the race not all that much further than I did...  smiling at everybody she sees ....  She is TRULY that song!
  Notice Wendy's bloody knees from her downhill fall

I felt in a zone.

I kept looking up thinking, "where am I?" I didn't recognize most of the course. It was gorgeous.. running down Buick Meadow was bonus reward for me.

I found my pace and kept passing slower runners on their left. It was a rocky, treacherous fire road that took it's toll this winter with the heavy rains. Deep crests. Large boulders towering up. It was tiresome.... lifting my legs to jump the rugged rocks... that were already tired doing their time earlier on the steeper grades.

The weather was mild, yet felt extra humid to me. I drank most of my water bottle the first 3 miles. I kept stopping at the AID stations that weren't out of water to grab a cup full. I was surprised I went through my water so quickly.

I kept looking back for a glimpse of Angie or Heidi. They were behind me and out of my sight.  It didn't make any sense to me. Maybe it was the break I had and I gave my legs a chance to rest. I thought for sure I would be running behind them...

At one point, a runner asked me, "where do we think we are?"
"I shouted between breaths.. "At the 8th or 9th mile..."
She was surprised and said she felt it was more like 10 miles. 

I hoped she was right.  And thinking back... I believe she was.

Running just before the finish line, a team of 10-15 runners from the Jeff Galloway Group screamed my name, "GO SHAWWWN!" as i started to pace toward the finish. I looked up, waving my hands at them when I saw my brother, my nephew and niece and my cousin from Long Island visiting and Heidi's husband and kids standing next to them.  Clapping and cheering me on. 

I LOVED IT and it pushed me to sprint forward!!!

I ran it in 2:41:58 or was it 2:42:02....

No matter what.. i beat my time last year. And this year....it felt different. This year, I finished without any aches and pains. And that alone felt great!!!!

(Of course tomorrow holds the secrets to how I will really feel...) 

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, April 3, 2011

On the other hand....

No, this is not a trail running injury, but a surgical procedure I had planned on.

However, what I didn't plan on ... is the difficulty i have using my left hand on everything while being right-handed.  It is all backwards.  I called my hot oatmeal breakfast this morning ...  porridge.


I instantly blamed it on my left-handedness and how it is rewiring my brain.

When I was little, I used to practice writing left-handed.  And sometimes when one of the kids in my class happened to glance my way while we were sitting at our desks, I would exchange my pencil with my left hand and continue writing, hoping they would think I was a lefty.

It paid off. 

I have written a few checks with my left hand during these last few days and had to sign my name on hospital forms and I'm quite pleased with the results!

But. I haven't mastered washing my hair yet.

I miss running. I can not run until four days before my half-marathon race and I try not to worry about that.  I do, though. The race is April 17th.

It keeps surfacing to my thoughts. How well will I run? Can I keep the pace? It's a mental game. One that I don't want to play because it's a game where I always lose.