We did it! Twin Cities Marathon has come and gone. And we conquered that baby. The day was brilliant. Perfect running conditions: cool and clear skies, a touch overcast. The people of Minneapolis were tremendous. I felt carried by the people at times. And my family. Oh, my family.
My husband and brother-in-law had mapped out the course so that every few miles we would get this shot of adrenalin in the form of THEM: slapping hands with all of our excited kids, encouraging smiles, shout outs: “You can do it, Mom!”
Tears would streak my cheeks with emotion, my exhausted legs would feel recharged, my mind centered once again.
Training for a marathon, crossing that starting line, commiting to it, enduring the emotional and physical aspects of the race, and than finally, crossing the finish line. It’s a lot.
Afterwards, you can run on euphophia for days. Especially if you had “your” race. By “your” race I mean, you met your personal goals for time, you didn’t injure yourself, you were actually smiling at the finish and not heaving. You felt accomplished. You personally felt like a winner even though the guy who won was already showered a couple of hours ago.
The winner that day was Jason Hartmann, 28 and he was from Michigan. I am usually impressed with the winners, heck, who can argue such an accomplishment. But, Jason Hartmann stands out to me because I could relate with him that day.
I certainly didn’t break any records or win any medals. But, I did have a great race. This was my third marathon. My first in 12 years. My goal: to break four hours. My accomplishment: 3:53. I feel pretty damn good about that. But, what I feel even better about is how I treated myself during the course of the race. This is where I can relate with Jason Hartmann.
You see, with elite runners they are a level above your traditional water station stops. With elite runners, they extend a stick out with their drink for them to grab as they run in order for them to keep their pace. As Jason Hartmann, who was in the lead went to grab his drink from the stick, the stick broke. His drink plummeted to the ground. What does he do?
Does he keep his lead, leave the drink and risk not having enough hydration/fuel to finish as the winner? Does he stop, go back and get his drink, risk losing his lead, but feel confident he will be hydrated? Tough decisions in a critical moment.
Jason Hartmann went back and grabbed his drink from the ground. And he won.
He won for the same reason I felt I won my personal goal that day. Because he treated himself in a sustainable manner. He respected his limits.
In my early years as a college runner, I would skip the water stations, cramp from under-fueling, injure from overtraining and many times fall short. Oh, sure there were times I would pull out an accomplishment. But, usually my body would pay in someway, shape or form..usually as an injury. And usually I would have to miss a future intended race because of it.
Twin Cities was different. Sure, I had big goals for myself. I desperately wanted to break four hours. And for a runner, whatever goal you may set for yourself, come hell or high-water you want to meet it.
I felt good this cool morning. I was nervous, but very optimistic. We got off to a nice, smooth start.
Two miles in I had to pee. Real bad. Oh, how I didn’t want to stop. It was too early. How could this be happening? I passed the first set of portable potties. I can hold it. Arriving at the second, I told Dawn, “Keep the pace, I’ll catch you.” I stopped. Waited. Waited. There was actually a line. Waited. Okay, I”m in. I’m peeing. Okay. Relief.
I tear out of the bathroom and start running. Did I lose too much time? Did I screw up my pacing?
I don’t catch Dawn until almost mile 4. Relief again. Back into a smooth race. Well, pretty smooth. We had agreed to keep a 9:07 pace until half way. Our intention to keep it under 9 minutes the second half in order to negative split and meet our under four hour time goal. You always want to run your second half faster than your first.
The tricky thing about pacing is dealing with your head. I have been known to say when we are supposed to be pacing 9 minute miles, “But, I don’t feel like I’m running 7 minutes miles!” Adrenalin can play tricks on you. You can feel like your running slower than you actually are at the moment. You can also experience: “Well, gosh I feel SO good, I can hang at this pace for say, another 25 miles.”
I slowed. Sometimes feeling extremely frustrated, but knowing I had to stick to the plan. The plan made during a rational moment, not during an endorphin fueled, crowd cheering moment. All was good.
Than we start hitting the water stations. In the back of my head, my endorphin fueled mind says, “Don’t stop, you’re fine, keep running.”
But, this time will be different. I proceed to stop at every water station, even walking through a few seconds, something I would have never done in the past. I reminded myself to fuel with my energy gels every few miles even when I wasn’t feeling it.
It worked. I felt fantastic pretty much the entire race. Was I exhausted? Yes. Was it unbelievably hard? Yes.
But, I endured. I met my goal. Most importantly I left my body in better shape than its original status previous to training. This to me, is an important aspect of living sustainably.
I came across this definition of sustainability awhile ago. It truly resonates with me.
What does to be sustainable really mean? Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia defines it as this: Sustainability, in a broad sense, is the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources.
Ah, the capacity to endure.
For me, it is all about respect. When we respect ourselves, our limits and our surroundings we become capable of enduring most any situation or environment. When you lose respect, many times it is because we are rushing, have ulterior motives, we want more than circumstances can give at that moment, we are impatient. In the short term, you may feel you are sustainable, that you are winning or even getting your needs met. But, in the end, everyone is short-changed.
So, take a deep breath. Slow down. Set some goals. Take into consideration yourself, others, your surroundings. After you do that, breath again. Smile. Now go and endure with confidence.
You can do it, you know you can.
Banana Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies
To celebrate, I share my latest baking endeavor. The whoopie pie. Whoopie Pies are hot right now. I personally think they’re fantastic. The name alone, puts a smile on my face. WHOOPIE..whoopie, whoopie pie! Not everyone feels the same I have found. Some say it’s such a dumb name, makes them think of bathroom antics or sexual innuendo. I say, “bah humbug” to them! Whoopie Pies are fun, easy to bake up and very tasty.
The Whoopie Pie originated in the New England area, Maine to be specific. Amish families created them as way to use up leftover cake batter. Packed as a treat, children would cry out “Whoopie!” when discovered in their school lunch sacks. Thus, the name Whoopie Pie.
The recipe is here. And yes, it is from latest obsession, King Arthur. I have yet to bake a bad batch from this cookbook! And yes, if you happen to scroll down and notice the calorie count, it is high. My best friend pointed this out in an email: “Oh my gosh, they better be good,” she said. Well, I personally think they are worth every calorie.
And for the record, you should know by now I don’t pay attention to calories, I pay attention to good ingredients.
Now go ahead…go make whoopie!