Thursday, March 17, 2011

May The Road Rise To Meet You

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

-Traditional Gaelic Blessing

It's almost time again for a familiar rite of spring...heading down to the Canyonlands Half Marathon and 5-mile run in Moab, Utah this Saturday. This will mark my fourth trip to this race, and third time running the half. Only seven more times, and I get lifetime guaranteed entry-yahoo! I am starting to get into racing mode, prepared to attack the course and fight for a podium spot in my age group. (I have another crazy, unattainable time in the back of my head-just like the one I had for The Other Half. Cue the evil laughter.) The worst of my stint as Captain Infecto last week seems to be behind me, and just in time. Obviously, I'm looking forward to the racing, but just as much, I look forward to time with friends and fellow runners.
I don't get to see these people all the time. Many of us come from different parts of the state and region for the bigger races, and heck, I have a hard time sometimes coordinating and getting on the same page with local runners with everyone busy. It's great every time we can convene, hang out, and get our race on. While we may talk smack just a little, in the end I think we're a very supportive bunch, cheering the PR's and having a lot of empathy when it's just not someone's day on the race course.

Somehow, I always wind up being the "tour director" for this stuff, which is kind of funny because I don't see myself as a natural planner. It doesn't matter, though-I don't mind doing it. It does get a little amusing, though, when I am on the phone for the third time with Miguel's, our favorite pre-race fueling spot in Moab, to tell them that my group is pretty much taking over the back of their narrow restaurant. We're set, though-and I can't wait to sit down for enchiladas, rice, beans, and the all-important house margarita on the rocks. Then, it'll be time to do the traditional outdoor hot tub soak at the Gonzo with Ilana, and our traditional obsessing about race day clothes/gear/weather. Creatures of habit, we are, and it's great to have a partner in crime for the action.

Speaking of tasty adult beverages-I mentioned in the last blog post that I spoke with the writer/coordinator of the Runner's World alcohol study I participated in last summer here at our college's human performance lab. The article is officially set to run in the not-too-distant future, likely appearing in the August or September issue, but going to press some time in June. She'll be getting back in touch with me for an exit interview of sorts, asking what I thought of the study, what I learned, and of course, if I have any good alcohol and running related stories or anecdotes. I'm a little nervous yet excited to read whatever runs. I love the idea that the study was borne out of two running scientists jumping through a ring of fire at the end of a challenging race (the Garfield Grumble, five miles up and over Mt. Garfield..check out the people hiking), having a post-race beer, and essentially saying "think we could prove wrong the people who say you should never ever drink and race?" These are the people in my neighborhood, and they're good neighboors.

In other news this week, it's been a time of good changes and transitions for many around me, first and foremost being this twirling girl below:

Yep, I just took my youngest daughter to do visit the school attended by her three older siblings, and where she will begin kindergarten just five months from now. One might expect me to be bittersweet, and I am a bit, about the youngest heading off to school. This girl is SO ready, though. I wish I could take credit for her enthusiasm to learn, and how readily she makes friends, but I think it's just who she is, coupled with being the youngest of four. I joke that when you come at that position in the birth order, they tell you "Good luck-RUN!"...none of that first-child, undivided one-on-one time with inexperienced parents thing. It makes a parent feel guilty on one hand, but on the other, I see a kid who goes with the flow, hangs well with other human beings, and who can stand up for herself when necessary. It's going to be exciting watching her make the big leap to "big school," and see her branch out, learn, and make friends. It's true, your kids do make you nuts and drive you up a wall sometimes-but this was one of many times I have been reminded to appreciate how lucky I am to get to have this mama gig every day.

Among lots of other good news 'round these parts, I am also thrilled to congratulate friend and fellow blogger Suzanne over at SimonSaysRun on the news that she will be taking a brief hiatus from serious training...and be returning to it in the fall pushing a BOB stroller. We've done a number of races together over the past few years, and have both been closely involved with Girls on the Run (me as a Team Tiara/Solemates fundraiser and mom, Suzanne as GOTR coordinator for her county and coach). When I asked if she wanted to join our 24 Hours of Moab relay team, I was a little surprised that she said no because she'd expressed interest in doing a relay in the past. It then truly made my week to learn why, and that her dream of becoming a mom is really happening now. We'll miss her at the races in the short term, but what an awesome new marathon for her to beginning running.

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