•May 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

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“Hey McFly….” Watch out for the Tide!

•May 18, 2010 • 10 Comments

I am standing beneath Crimson Chrysalis belaying my climbing buddy on the first of 9 pitches.  He manuevers himself sixty feet above me while I flex my fingers around the rope and slowly feed him more as he inches upward.  The Nevada heat radiates off the rock and I shift my stance to create a bit of air movement.  I feel a tickle on my foot and glance down to investigate my Tevas.  Perhaps it is the bubblegum colored nail polish that has attracted the bee that crawls all over my toes.  I gently wiggle them hoping this bee will flee.  Allergic to bees, I glance at a back pack containing my epi-pen that lies far from reach.  Even if I could obtain it, I would not be able to release the rope ensuring my friend’s protection in order to grab and administer the shot.

I watch the little bee.  He crawls under my arch and scoots around between my foot and the insoles of my sandal.  I exhale long and slow focusing on my friend.  Instead of panic, I become a serene statue calmly intent on the task at hand.  When it becomes my turn to climb, I exhibit the best climb of my life.  Gracefully, I approach my friend who is impressed at my performance.  I credit the bee for bringing me Zen.

There has been a subtle festering “issue” in my right shin and foot for more than six weeks now.  After Saturday’s run, I noticed a silver dollar sized bruise over the trouble spot.  This morning at track, I felt a new pain seeping into the back of my lower leg digging down deep.  T2 accompanied me on my first 2400 meters.  Easily, we perfectly hit the numbers.  My mind bounced between focusing on running with Tim(2) and evaluating the weather in my leg.  Next, I ran a solo mile nailing the numbers again: 5:31.  Three laps into my second 2400 meters, my right shoe laces came completely untied.  Although I faithfully double knot, the little Houdini’s wiggled themselves free- wha-la!

My mind found itself at the bottom of Crimson Chrysalis.  Perhaps there is little Zen to be extracted from disobedient shoe strings, but I did remind myself to focus.  I was one second slow per lap and Rusty released me from a final 800 meters.  I never like being cut short even if I need it.  “That’s enough Drea,” Rusty instructed.  I watched T1 run his 800 meters and then I jumped in on his final 100 meter stretch to enjoy pretending to whip his butt for once.  Everything was good fun until I began my cool down.  The leg had words of pain to share with me.  I argued with it, pleaded with it, tried to ignore, and eventually stopped to stretch it and walk to my car.

Marathoning is like building castles out of sand.  I can build the best damn castle that I have ever created.  It can be a gorgeous replica of Hayward Field with Prefontaine gargoyles guarding the south tower housing Kara as Rupenzel, but if the tide comes in early, all I am left with is a big pile of wet coulda-woulda-shoulda sand.  Running is not just one foot in front of the other.  Do I run to live or live to run?

I realize my goals are my dreams and that I am obsessed.  A shocking truth considering that I do not have an addictive personality [cue card the laughter and applause].  I am more of a fighter than a lover and my favorite person to pick on is myself.  In Texas, I laid upon the floor with ice on my legs fretting my performances to one of my sisters.  “You have to believe in yourself,” she exclaimed.

“Oh! I do.  Trust me, I am my biggest fan,” I retaliated.  She laughed through confirming words like some good southern Baptist, “That’s the truth!”  I was not insulted.  I do not run for anyone, but myself.  I am therefor my biggest fan and my biggest critic.

Anxiety sets in at the notion of an injury that I cannot control.  The tide creeps toward my castle.  That little bee scurries over my feet and sneaks into my soul.  Please do not sting me bee.  Please waves stay out to sea.

I put in my scheduled elliptical time and found myself Tyson-ing out aggression.  I did not care who stared or wondered what the hell I was doing.  If the elliptical was a broom stick, I would have flown off on it.  At the conclusion of my eliptitherapy, a baggie t-shirt housing a man approached me.  “I have never seen anyone go so crazy on a machine before!”  He met my eyes with wonder.

“Maybe I’m just crazy,” I replied and then laughed that sort of she-is-on-the-edge cackle while my eyes wide with abandonment sought his out.  I cleaned off my machine as he decisively looked me over.  As I left, I noticed him re-clean the equipment.

I guess he did not want to catch crazy.

If It Ain’t Broke….

•May 17, 2010 • 2 Comments

What Will We Wear?


Salsa, chicken tacos, Long horns, ten gallon hats, steel toes, tattoos, big hair, big bikes, big trucks, big gulps, big um…sky, snow cones, chocolate covered bacon, rain showers, afternoon heat, and partying streets, Austin Texas takes a lot of pride in highlighting the “ya’ll” in everything from The Cats’ Mean Eye to Waterloo Records. 

I definitely didn’t come to Mess With Texas.  I am one of five girls and we all collected together in the lone star state to celebrate my littlest sister’s engagement. 

Sticking to my training, I tried to cautiously limit flaming hot salsa down the gullet Friday night.  I didn’t want to put fire on the back porch during a tempo run.  I drank my tall glass of water and declined the frozen swirly margaritas.  I hit Town Lake early Saturday morning just as rain showers ceased.  I have run this lake hundreds of times over the five years that I lived in Austin, but I guess I never knew exactly how far it was.  It never mattered to me before if something was 3.67 miles or 4.23.  I just called that “Four.” 

After looping my warm up past Stevie Ray, cedar trees, and yes the same guy I used to see everyday wearing the same hoodie up over his head with now just a tad more salt in his beard, I stood ready to get started on a 9 mile tempo.  More people jogged the lake now and YES Austin has fast runners!  A whole bunch of them zipped toward me, around me, through me like stangs on a plain.  Feet with flames and bodies that billboarded their miles, I got a few smiles and nods, but no “howdy’s.”  Surprisingly, not even from the man running in a black cowboy hat.  Oh come on!  Necessary? 

I quickly became frustrated at my time on my 4 mile loops.  I worked hard to maintain a 6:25-6:30 pace.  6:15’s snaked away from me and jumped in the river.  I thought about how lonely a marathon across the country might get when you are lost in the grind of the late miles and watchers know you only as the number branded on your chest.  I finished my workout frustrated and hurting.  Well, everything might really be bigger in Texas.  What was in my mind a 4 mile loop is actually a 4.23 mile loop!  That makes a big belt buckle of a difference. 

Yeehaw.  Or is that Yippe Kiyah.  I would ask the guy smoking a joint hanging out under the bridge playing Regae music or the ladies walking in burnt orange who are “Fixin’ ta…”, but there was shopping to do myself and lots of food to eat!   




Calling on Austin

•May 14, 2010 • 4 Comments

I am heading to Austin, Texas this weekend.  I asked around for someone to run with, but received an answer that ain’t nobody running my paces in the cool capital town.  Uh-um…say what?

The University of Texas is there!  There must be as many fast feet as fire ants and I know the summer has not yet squelched everyone onto a rubber treadmill band wagon.  Besides, even when it does get too hot, all good runners know you just slam a 32 oz Sonic Cherry Slush pre-run to cool the core temperature to optimal elements before the internal blister boils the pot and you puke cherry snot on a very prominent Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.

Doesn’t this diva hang out there?  I am sure Desiree would gladly hand me my own butt with sweet southern hospitality.  Ah well, guess I run alone Saturday morning.

Hmmm, I wonder if a frozen margarita from Chuy’s does the same internal cooling as a sugary slushie.  Experiment?  Probably not a good idea.

Wednesday Morning Special

•May 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

To allow for greater time to “rest”, Rusty had Tim and I run our track workout on Wednesday this week instead of Tuesday.  Why the quotes on rest?  Monday he had me run ten miles and Tuesday I conquered 18 plus strides and wind.  My body was wondering where the “rest” part fit in while my mind had a sneaky suspicion that Rusty might want to see what happened to me tired.

Wait, I take that back.  The man knows.  Regardless, it is Wednesday morning and there he is leading Tim and I on the fastest warm up my legs have ever covered.  “Well I ran four miles the other day,” Rusty casually relayed, “and it made me sore.”

We continue along the bike path.  Rusty looks like he is skating, just sort of gliding over the concrete.  The work out is a new one for me: 4 x 2K.  The paces laid out are faster than I have run 4 x 1 mile repeats, but they do not register as extreme when I hear them.  My mind tricks me into thinking this will be an easy workout.  My body beats the shit out of my mind.

I lead the first lap, Rusty follows, and Tim is to start behind and catch us somewhere in the lonely land of the fourth lap.  Round 1, I am on pace.  Rusty leads and Tim passes as we cruise the finish line.  Poof.  Three to go.

Round 2, I lead the first lap at an effort that I would like the work load to feel.  Rusty chomps my heels and takes the lead as I am much too slow.  Pump-pump-push, back below pace and click: faster than the first.

Round 3, Goes exactly like round 2 only faster.  Tim passes in lap 4 and Rusty leads him off.  He waits for me at the finish checking my numbers.  Tim watches me pass the line.  “You don’t seem like you are breathing at all,” he remarks, “Is this easy for you?”

“Oh,” I confess, “I have my Rusty fake out dialed in.  I have been working on it for a couple of years.”  Rewind: I head into lap 5 praying for a finish line.  I hit the 200 mark dragging my eyes all the way around the corner.  I round the corner and exhale, inhale, breathe deep, relax the shoulders, shake the hands, and cruise the finish line all the way through looking straight ahead.  My body says, THIS IS EASY.  On the outside!

Did I fool him?  We jog a transition lap.  “You’re on heavy tired legs and it is work.  You have to concentrate to keep on pace, but it’s not impossible,” Rusty tells me.  Do you read Taro cards?  I need to work better on my Rusty fake out.

One of the things that I truly love about being coached by Rusty is that he calls it what it is and I have never seen him get excited for nothing.  If he tells you something good, he means it and he is not afraid to tell me when I suck.  OK, he sugar coats it, but I speak sugarshitz.

The last 2k, Rusty sat stretching on the track while Tim and I went about our business.  Tim started behind me and I flew into the first lap too fast for my pace: 82.  Rusty called the numbers with a little interest.  Lap 2: 82.  Rusty called the numbers with a little more interest.  Lap 3: 82.  Rusty got up and clapped (it was probably three or four short claps, but I swear he had pom-poms and did a jack-knife).  “Go Dre,” he called with an encouraging whisper, “See if you can go with Tim when he tries to pass you.”  Lap 4: Tim edged to my right.  I set my eyes on his blue shirt and got dragged a third of a lap, but could not hang on: 81.  Lap 5: Pumping and pushing: 81.

I slumped around the finish line looking for my water bottle.  “You know you ran that last 800 in 2:42,” Rusty says.

“Are you talking to me or Tim?” I ask.


Oh.  Wait.  You are proud of me!  You said 2:42, but really you said, “Great job today Drea! A plus with gold stars and little snoopy stickers and Rainbow Brite shit.”

My coach rocks!


•May 10, 2010 • 3 Comments

“I can run faster than a car on the highway, throw a toy over the mountains, pick up a dinosaur, and kick through a wall.” – Lachlan age 4

Yippee Kiyah Mother Runner!

•May 10, 2010 • 4 Comments

Happy Mother’s Day!

I am so very blessed to have two beautiful children who have challenged me in a ways I could not imagine and rewarded me in ways I never dreamed of.

Life has never and will never be the same since November 18, 2005.  I became a new person.  I am proud of my children and I thank God for them.

I love you.