Monday, April 22, 2013

A Burrito Blog

b4 the burrito 5k

during the burrito 5k

After the burrito 5k!!!
Well plans can change quickly in the life of an Elite Runner. Long term plans where just one or two small situations can change a whole season. And short term plans where things can change in the span of 2 or 3 days. As I said in my last blog, "Overcoming Boston," there are some things that you just don't see coming or could possibly plan for in life. So on a lighter note to everything that's happened in the last week, signing up last minute for the Moe's burrito 5k dash in Columbia S.C.  seemed like a fun way to keep racing light-hearted, while still keeping in mind the tragedies of Boston.

 I was originally really excited about racing in Raleigh at the Tar Heel 10 miler. I very rarely get to race locally, so to drive a few hours and win a few bucks sounded like a good chance to take. Of course it would have been a tough physical task to run a very hilly 10 mile race this weekend and then head to Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby Festival to run a very hilly half-marathon the next. So when I heard about the Moe's dash and how it offered quadruple the $ for first place, compared to Tar Heel, AND it was only a 5k, I decided to take a chance and try something different; And the venue of the Moe's Burrito 5k dash was DEFINITELY different. The main idea was pretty simple. You run about half the race, eat and finish a burrito, and then finish the race. The first 3 Males and females to cross the finish would get cash prizes and there were age group awards as well. The race was also set up so that You could choose not to eat the burrito but then you would not be eligible for cash prizes ....or bragging rights:)

Anyhow, as silly as it sounds, I was pretty nervous before the race because I knew my burrito eating split would be very slow.  Without getting in to too much detail, I have no bottom molars to chew with except my wisdom teeth in the back of the mouth. I am also missing some top molars, so with all those teeth gone, it's pretty difficult for me to eat things quickly with the exception of soups or smoothies:) And unlike any other race where this would never matter, I knew not having teeth could be a HUGE hindrance for this one!:) But I talked to some close friends about the disadvantage and decided to go ahead and put my burrito eating fears behind me!!

 On race day I did not tell my arch rivals from the Charlotte Running Club, Caitlin Bullock and Laurie Knowles about my disadvantage, because I knew how fast they were running wise, but ALSO knew that at least Caitlin, was known to be a very fast burrito consumer!  And boy was I correct!  After running the first 1.7 miles at about 5:08 pace, and thinking that I had a pretty good lead to start the consumption, before I knew it, I looked to my left and could not believe how close to me Caitlin and Laurie were as far as their burrito dwindling. I kept looking at their burritos thinking man, they are animals....they must have been given a kids size or something?? I was trying so hard to chew and swallow, but again, when you don't have teeth, it's pretty hard to get anything down in a rush. After over 2 and a half minutes of choking, I was ready to go, but both Caitlin and Laurie were right behind me and there I was back to square one. Straining to keep the very small lead I had, the post burrito mile felt like one of the last miles of a marathon!!  I knew the Charlotte duo were behind me and competition is all that can keep you going in a race where all you want to do is stop and throw up! It was a slower pace than I would normally finish a 5k, but I was relieved to finish and run straight for the bushes to..... well, you know(ugggh) I kept going to the bushes or the bathroom for the next 45 minutes to the point where they were giving out awards for first place female and I was no where to be found. They had to come get me in the bathroom after they had already called my name. I was in severe digestive pain to say the least!

Anyway, when all is said and done, it was a really fun morning to go to such a unique event. Warming up with Caitlin and Laurie, the talented band, the people dressed up as burritos, and winning a couple grand....those are some things I just don't get to enjoy EVERY race I go to. I'm sure next week's Half Marathon in Kentucky will not be nearly as exciting!! Thanks Moe's for a great experience!!

P.S.- Oh and as far as my body rebelling against the burrito, I was sure to replenish with a 12 inch from subway and cookies on the side. I had to go home and run an easy 20 miler, so knew I would need something in there!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Overcoming at Boston

Well I was just getting ready to post a blog on "The power of Cross Training while trying to maintain fitness as a runner," but obviously there are way more important things going on right now. So many of us, whether in the running community or not, are heavy in heart.  "Run for your Life", the store that I work at, posted this picture yesterday that hit me to my core. 

I've always had the mindset and faith to KNOW that this life we live is short, fragile and so uncertain.  Just read some of my prior blogs to know that I do not believe that this our eternal home forever and so the time that we do have here is, well.....unknown?  The people who were at Boston yesterday, wether they were spectators, runners, volunteers, coaches, family etc., did not deserve to experience what they experienced. They are not only the "poor souls" that we will see suffering on the TV screen for the next few weeks, they are people in OUR running commuinty. People who we know and love. Or people who we may not know, but have a common bond with, because we are runners. They are friends and fans who are our cheerleaders; Coaches and Race Directors who are our leaders; and Fellow Runners who have the discipline and tenacity to train for, and qualify for one of the most enduring and grueling, yet prestigeous events in the world!

 You don't just wake up one day and say "Hey, I am going to run 26.2 miles today."  Running a marathon requires discipline, sacrifice  and persistence.  After I ran one myself last fall, I can honestly say running a marathon at any speed is no joke. And the people that were doing so yesterday, are more often than not, the kind of people that you teach your children to be like. Hard working, diligent and persistent. Many of them have the kind of character traits that spur others on to be better in running and in life.  They know what it takes to keep putting one foot in front of the other in any situation, and are the type of people with contagious personalities who are what continues to draw me to the sport on a daily basis.
So now what?  This situation differs from the 2012 NYC Marathon, in that it was not a tragedy caused by weather or accident. The idea,... the thought of what happened, is what many would call "PURE EVIL".  In fact, if you really dwell on the thoughts of why someone would do this, the mind can go sour fast, and become so enraged that then you yourself become "overcome" wth evil. 

So what do you do with this evil? How do you respond?  We've all seen evil, and experienced it at some point. I know that the reactions people have right now in the immediate aftermath are going to vary from one extreme to the other.  Justice needs to be served. The people who did this need to pay for their actions, and I believe at some point, they will.  But what do the rest of us do in the meantime?   As in any situation when overcome by anger, we can try to take revenge, manipulate or "get back" at whoever wronged us. We can be mad, enraged, and consumed to the point that we point fingers, blame God, or blame others that had nothing to do with the horrific events. Or even worse, we can have an "I give up" mentality, quit what we do, and continually question the imperfect world we live in.
 I've seen people take those routes before, and it doesn't seem to end with much satisfaction.  I know it's hard, and we all struggle with it at some point,  but I do think that ULTIMATELY, the only way we can truly overcome evil is with good.

Romans 12:19 -21 : "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Whether you believe in the Bible or not....whether you take to heart some of what it says, ...or just a few things, I think this verse sums up what the people in Boston, and in the surrounding communities are already doing. And it is AMAZING and heart warming to see.

The only way we can fight back at the cowards who do these things, is to display a a righteous support that wouldn't even make sense to the people who do these things. The following article is just one small example of the goodness in human kind.

Thank You, Boston and fellow runners for already coming together and "overcoming pure evil with pure good."