A darned good thing I didn’t try to race!

2 08 2008


My buddy Rosalie drove to the End of Summer race. I was decked out in Burnsy’swild surf shorts from Brazil … Endless Summer Shorts … because it felt like an endless summer! What the heck!

We got there and Doug – a personal trainer and ultra marathonerneeded help getting the grill lifted. My strength is fine – just the nerves to the top of my appendages feels like needles are being bounced off of them. It felt good to be able to help sort things out. I really do like volunteering for the RMRR.

The Rocky Mountain Road Runners club has really been good to me. Somehow they’ve found it in their hearts to accept my nutty personality and always wanting to pitch in and help (NO I AM NOT JOINING THE BOARD GUYS!!!) Next year is the 50th anniversary of the club and it’s really quite special that there are members that have been around for a lot of it. Every August there’s a pot-luck/grill and every August for the last couple of years, I lend my body to whatever is needed to get done and kind of keep away from eating.

After getting rousted for not racing – explaining in minor graphic detail just a few of the more interesting sticks – I found out that the Idaho Springs 1/2 Marathon next Saturday. I’ve really done nothing … I’ll be on very well rested legs, but they’re getting fat and flabby like the rest of me. I can’t take 2 WNS (will not start) local races in a matter of 2 weeks. That just isn’t going to happen. I looked at David, who seemed pretty elated at my complete shock, and said “Well – you boys are going to be waiting for me a really  long time!” He said “Yeah – we already knew that!” I’m riding up with Q, Scott and David … and they are all extremely fast runners. I need to re-think the ride thing as my car is still down and I will be renting a car to get just to the pick up site.

It was hot. I looked at everyone and just felt the rushing river of water flowing down my middle back. This is going to be ugly … and it was. I watched each of my friends start off and pass us at the finish line. I literally said a little prayer hoping they would just pull back enough so they would be OK … in other words, not be an idiot like I tend to be.

The ending chutes were very long – part of the reason for this was because when people start coming in, they are packed together. We need the distance to get their tags off. I really don’t like spiking, but am pretty good at getting tags off of sweaty bodies. I know a lot of folks by site, so they will just let me get the tag and give them some encouragement. Whether they hear it or not is anyone’sguess … makes me feel good to zap them with a little good energy even when they think they’ve done a lousy run or walk. I also have my quiet little voice to yell them down to the end of the chute. 

I got a chance to watch a couple of friends I love to watch run glide by on the bike path behind us. They were a little slower than usual, but still poetry in motion. All I could think was “Please don’t kill yourself … Come on down here safely!” I really need to re-up my first aid. I also knew that they were going to be pretty spent at the end and I would feel guilty trying to keep them moving along to the end.

The first couple of folks that came in were so spent that I knew it was going to be a chore when the mass came through. Stuff the guilt and get them in the chute … in the little splashes of people, I ran forward, grabbed the tag and got rid of the runner so they could get some water. As I brought the tag back to the spiker, I wondered if I would be picking up friends. I was ready for it. That’s how much some of these folks mean to me. They’ve picked me up when my knee popped or came in really spent. Time to return the favor. 

The girl who was spiking behind me was brand new. The first spindle was pretty good. I tend to count off the tags as I hand them back … not sure why I do it … maybe I’ve watched The Count of Sesame Street fame one time too many. We were chute two … so she needed to find the number four spindle right as the pack was being split. Um … there was a problem. She couldn’t find the spindle and was freaking out a bit. Ok- no problem. One of the other experienced gals was helping her look for it as I kept pulling tags and keeping them in order, doing my silly little counting thing. Stuff happens … you just roll with it … she figured it out and I gave her a stack to keep in order and kept another stack going. I just wanted my friends to get through the line and over to the water as fast as possible.

Yeah – it was a good thing I didn’t race …

A couple of friends said they were so spent that they literally kept moving to my voice … I think they were just being sweet. However, I hope they knew I’d catch them and keep care if they needed it. I’d handed off my water filled with Clif Replenish twice and was ready to do it again.

I looked in the eyes of friends who had taken such good care of me at the end of races and tried to shift some of my energy into them. They had nothing left and it was ‘only a 5k’. I know if I’d been able to get my stuck and slightly swollen feet into even an older pair of race shoes, I would have tried to get under that 12 minute mile barrierthat I seem to have with 5k’s … and would have probably needed to be carried through the chute.

Seeing how spent these amazing runners and walkers were, I knew I’d made the right decision to not race. I was needed precisely where I was. Maybe I felt I was needed … I don’t know.  Maybe. Maybe I just needed to give back after all the patience they’ve had with me and the nonsense of the blood work earlier that day.

I helped clean up the finish line and threw my body and sore hands into lifting as much as possible. I guess I was feeling useless again. I’m going with Jackie to pick-up and drop-off my chip for the Tri-For-A-Cure that I’d dropped out of months ago due to my knee and getting kicked in the face just one time too many. I’d taken on too much, I know, but I still feel like a failure. I blew off the San Diego RNRMarathon due to travel and will be blowing off the San Antonio Half so I can go to Winter Camp with Dave McG … to get my s**t together before Disney. Mom’s telling me to not do the Goofy and maybe not any of the other races I’ve got coming up. I’m going nuts here. I don’t have a training group per se because I train at strange hours … and I still feel too slow and too awkward to train with others. Yeah  –  my damage … This health thing isn’t helping. So – only a handful of hours earlier, I was so weak that keeping my sentences together took a lot of effort … now I still felt weak, but I was going to put some of me in to carrying stuff. I’ve got so few releases right now.

I talked with Michael Blanchard about the race – he wasn’t thrilled with his performance. It was then that I teased a friend of mine to eat something. Perfectly normal response of “Um … you need to eat too …” found me remembering that I did need to eat something. First time in three years I actually ate something at this event. It was nice to sit with some friends and listen to them talk. Several conversations and participating in a few. I did cause the table to jump slightly as I weigh probably more than three of them combined … but all in good fun.

This was the year that I kind of started to feel more accepted – I’m finally doing some of the races and starting to get better. I should be doing a lot better than I am right now — I feel like I’m on some freaky plateau and what is causing it is my years of hating myself and keeping care of everyone but me. It does come home to roost. I’ve been toning up and getting stronger, but I have to remember I am 43 and I have not been kind to myself over my life. Functional anorexia will plague me for the rest of my life. My blind competitive nature and endorphin/adrenaline addiction needs to be channeled. I need to know if I’ve got any hereditary things going on. I’ve had my weight fluctuate wildly over the years and I have eaten pretty poorly.

Maybe Disney and my intestinal tract was the tip of the iceberg of saying “SHEPARD TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!!” My knee was a reminder that I have a weakness that I’ve got to keep care of. I have to remember to keep focused even though my head does not want to. Bad mammograms … I really learned that I’ve made some amazing friends who truly will  stand by me even if they feel as useless as I feel right now. My blood issue – well … since it is so hard to get out, I’d better learn everything there is to know and then correct naturally what isn’t.

I really enjoyed the burger on sourdough bread. I was in my own little zone looking around and listening to the chatter at the table. “I’m not ready for Idaho Springs. I’m kind of afraid.” I said … “You’re going to be fine. Just have fun.” … easy for him to say! “Oh … Mom’s trying to get me to back out of the Goofy.” … another thoughtful bite then “That’s months away, Lis. You’ll be ready for it.” … sigh …

I got up  –  watched really thin people get jumped by the loss of 163 pounds of Lizzy on the end of the bench – and toodled over for a few more slices of sourdough …

It’s a good thing I didn’t race. … and it’s a good thing I can be there for my friends … and even a better thing that I’m feeling safe enough to let them be there for me.

Life is good.




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