Friday, December 3, 2010

Run the Rock!

I know that some of my readers have been graciously keeping up with my progress towards running my first 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles). I started 2010 with one 5k under my belt, but no consistent habit of running more than a mile at a stretch. I have tried to push myself to train as much as possible between the 2 jobs and other commitments I have, and now I'm as ready as I'm gonna be for this race on Sunday, December 5th.

I registered back in July, and since then I've experienced things I had never imagined: the intense pain of shin splints worse than any I could have imagined, the exhilaration of finishing an 11-mile run all by myself, eating 'gu', and so on. Many times I've been a cheerleader at the end of a friend's half-marathon. Only recently have I dared to believe I could be the one cheered!

The Dallas White Rock Marathon (check out the link for more information) is a local, annual event. You can choose from the half or full marathon, participate in a relay, or run shorter "fun runs." I have been a spectator before, and I know many people who've completed this race more than once. Fr. Henry has completed the marathon 17 times, and will run again the full 26.2 miles this coming Sunday (he's 64 years old, by the way!).

The Texas Scottish Rites Hospital for Children is the beneficiary, although participants are not required to raise any money to be able to run.  According to their website, "TSRHC treats Texas children with orthopedic conditions, such as scoliosis, clubfoot, hand disorders, hip disorders and limb length differences, as well as certain related neurological disorders and learning disorders, such as dyslexia." I know a few friends here in Texas who've greatly benefited from the unique services provided by this hospital.

If you're curious about my race, here are a couple things I'd like you to know:

  • Sunday, 11/28/10, I ran 11 miles. This is the longest distance I will complete before attempting the entire 13.1 miles on Sunday, 12/5/10.
  • On Tuesday, 11/30/10, I fell while running a short distance in pretty cold weather. A slab of the sidewalk jutting upwards caught my toe, and I landed on both knees and one hand, sustaining some pretty painful abrasions and bruising. I haven't attempted any cardio since Tuesday -- I've been trying to take it easy, stretch, and heal from my little fall. (Fr. Henry says I'll be ok!) I'll post some pictures below, so here's your warning to look away if you're squeamish:

<-^Hand and one of my knees immediately after the incident. Lots of peroxide, scissors, ibuprofen and neosporin came to the rescue!

<--This is how the knees looked lastnight. The swelling and bruising around the abrasions is pretty evident, I think. It hurt a lot worse than it looks. Not gonna lie. Still, I was able to run 2 more miles after picking myself back up, many thanks to my friend and roomie, Jessica!

Today the pain is a lot lessened! I am so thankful that nothing really terrible happened, and that I'll still be able to run on Sunday! It smarts, but it's SO much better than a fracture or sprain that could've immobilized me in more serious ways.

If you'd like to follow my run live, I'm hoping to use the GPS on my iPhone with the RunKeeper app to keep track of my progress. Here is my profile page: I'll be posting live on Facebook when I begin, but if you're not a FB user I'm hoping you'll still be able to track my progress on my RunKeeper profile page. The race begins at 8:00 am CST on Sunday!

WFAA, the local news channel, will be airing live footage of the White Rock Marathon on Sunday morning, so if you're local you can catch it there. If not, you can try their webpage to see if there is any live streaming.

Why am I doing this to myself?

When I think about running, I think about Heaven. There is no sensation that I long for more than that complete freedom to move and live and breathe completely unfettered and unburdened by anything in life. I certainly don't feel that on days when I run, but I know when I get to Heaven I'll be able to run without ceasing, experiencing depths and heights of complete freedom from all earthly pain and entanglements. I'm doing this to spend a couple of hours close to the heart of God, and remind myself of my greatest Hopes. Perfect for the Advent season, I think!

When I think while I'm running, I think about everything in life that we experience that has ups and downs. We have "high" moments and terribly difficult ones. I think about jobs, gifts and talents, and most of all, relationships. These are the true marathons we're all called to complete. I love pushing myself to run further when I just want to curl up in a little ball in the gutter, because I know I've felt like giving up in certain life-a-thons, too, and I will again in the future. I like reminding myself that the end will be worth the suffering along the road, and that a low passage is soon to be replaced by a more rewarding stretch.

Why am I drawing your attention to what I'm doing?

Because I need your help! If you're the praying kind, I need your prayers. If you're the practical kind, your suggestions are welcome. If you're the kind who likes to send funny jokes or inspiring messages, I need that, too. If you like to cheer from near or far, I desperately need to know that you're cheering, because my desire to gratify your support will keep me going when I want to give up.

If you're struggling, I hope to encourage you. If your life is filled with joy, send a little of those positive vibes my way. If you're training, too, I want to help inspire you. If you've surpassed me in your prowess, I seek your advice!

Here's hoping I'll keep on running, and maybe my next race will bring me to a trail near you!


James said...

Sydney is a cool! Go Syd go!

janwilpeek said...

You are so inspiring! I love the comparison of running to heaven that you've written here. You will do great, and even tho I won't be there to cheer you on, I'll be thinking of you and Fr. Henry on Sunday morning :o)

Monica said...

I'm so proud of you for working your way up to so many miles!! You are an inspiration indeed. I'm really sorry about your fall. :( I don't know why you said it hurts worse than it looks because it looks pretty painful to me!! I will be praying for you and the rest of the runners-that no one gets hurt and for great weather!

p.s. My shins hurt bad if I attempt running (which I haven't in awhile) Maybe I should start out slow? What do you think?


Sydney McFearless said...

Thanks for all the kind words! I will remember them on Sunday morning. :)

Monica, I definitely suggest that you start slow (lots of great beginner running plans are out there online and in books), but the one thing that I have learned on this journey is to stretch, stretch, and then STRETCH!! I stretch now before I run, during my runs, and of course and especially at the end! I would look up online some good running stretches. You can warm up by walking a few minutes before you do your beginning stretches if you want to make sure you don't stretch cold muscles.

When I did get the shin splints, I would have to rub big chunks of ice on the hurting muscles, and massage them myself. Also, anti-inflammatories are helpful. If the pain is persistent, I would recommend backing off for a week and using the elliptical instead to keep your conditioning up.

I'm no expert, but those are the things that I've learned along my journey. :) LOVE YOU TOO!!!!!

Michelle said...

Hey there! I've never read your blog before, but saw your message on FB (i'm not usually on there too often either, so I haven't been keeping up). Anyway, you really are a great writer! I'm SOO sorry about your fall! I can't imagine running a half marathon in that condition. I really hope you can do it, but don't risk any serious injuries by running the whole time if your knees are about to explode ;) btw, Max was getting shin splints too, but just got some really nice inserts (about $60) for his shoes from roadrunner sports ( I don't know if you have that store near you, but they are extremely helpful and have machines that test your arch, etc). They said that his arch is so high that he needed more support, and wouldn't you know the shin splits have stopped! Anyway, don't know if this helps at all.

YOU CAN DO IT!!!! have fun :)

Saundie said...

Your poor hand! That looks awful! I'm so proud of you. How'd it go? We want an update!!! Love you!