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Making room for improvements in races and in life

Posted Feb 20 2011 9:50pm

Castle Island, South Boston, Autumn 2010. Loved the blue tones of the sky and water.

I remember our great plan for picking my brother out of the crowd the first time he ran the Boston Marathon. Just look for his yellow racing flats. They’d stick out because they were so bright, right?  Of course….  How little did we know, it was laughable.  Imagine our faces when we saw the lead pack with Kenyans and Ethiopians come flying through. In yellow racing flats.  And the first numbers of the 1000s and 2000s.  Many in yellow racing flats.  And my brother was right behind them, as he had started in the corral with the 3000s.  (The following year he moved up to the 2000s.)  Yep, the boy has some speed and endurance, that’s for sure.  (Speaking of speed, be sure to read his most recent blog post on Coaching, Training and Motivation . You’ll see what I mean.  Just goes to show how attitude can help you out so much, and hold you back.)

I used to always think that racing flats are only for the elites, or people like my brother. You know them. The Super-Fasties.  As I was running on the treadmill today, I thought that my shoes were feeling a bit heavy (the balls of my feet always hurt at 4 miles, so no matter if the display is covered, I know how far I’ve gone at that point) and that if I were racing, it might be good to have something a little bit lighter than my trainers. So, I’m hoping to get some advice from my brother as to what would be good for me to try.  I wouldn’t be using them for a marathon distance or anything, just 5Ks and 10Ks, so hopefully they wouldn’t help me incur injuries.  Who knows, maybe the lighter shoe will help me break into the 23 and 49 minute ranges this year? All I know is, I’m willing to give them a try. Any advice from any of  you out there for a good racing flat, if you’re usually a Brooks Adrenaline (stability) kind of girl?

My mainecoon, Chloe. Usually she looks pissed in pics because of her colors. In this one, she just looks, well, perplexed. :-)

As to the other places I’m creating room for improvements in my life, well, this weekend I just felt like getting rid of a bunch of stuff.  The totally-dead sneakers I saved to use in the garden? GONE.  The “librarian skirts” my friend Liz (aka the Fashion Nazi) always didn’t want me to wear because she thought I looked like a moving piece of clothing (I thought they made me look thin if I wore a form fitting top with them)?  GONE. The two briefcases I had from when I was a law student and then lawyer (please don’t hate me)?  SOOOO GONE…….. My bar exam scores from Pennsylvania and from the CLE classes from New Jersey?  WILL BE GONE WITH THE SHREDDER AT WORK TOMORROW. And, some of my grandmother’s things with which I never had a connection, but always felt like I needed to hold onto them, because throwing them out=throwing her out?

That last part was definitely hard.  But, I realized, I’ve still got my memories of her, and no one can ever take those away. No one can ever take away that feeling of a special connection I always felt with her, and they can’t take away any dreams I occasionally have of her.  And, come to think of it, I still have the clothes she wore on that Easter Sunday which was the last day I saw her before her major stroke and heart attack. I don’t think anyone has ever known I’ve been holding onto them all this time. But I think it’s time to let them go too. They no longer smell like her, and they’re literally, just clothes.

Quite possibly, the largest flower I've ever seen. Grown across the street from where I work, August 2010.

One other place in my life I realize I need to declutter is all the guilt and self-loathing I’ve put on myself over the past 7 months. It’s not helped anything.

My therapist helped me realize last week that I tend to look for forgiveness from people but at the same time, keep jumping forward to take the blame for everything onto myself. When I start thinking that I’ve completely ruined Ruthie’s dad’s life, I start to make myself feel worse and worse. I need to remember my friend Lis’ advice (she’s always given me good advice since we trained for the marathon, even though I didn’t always agree with or listen to it at the time.)   She said that I did us both a favor last summer, and now he (Ruthie’s dad) can find someone else to be happy with, just like I can. 

Some people, like my mom, may never understand why we’re no longer together, or how some people can drift apart.  Sometimes it just happens.  Things change in a relationship and people may need different things. I’m not trying to sound cavalier at all – believe me, I’ve thought long and hard about it.

Ruthie’s dad has told me he is no longer mad at me, so I’m starting to not be angry with myself either.   Otherwise, I’m not going to move forward, and to stay in place is just not an option.  My running times are not the only thing that’s going to improve this year.

I’m smiling again…

Rocks at Rockport, August 2010.

p.s. I did 9.01 miles on the treadmill earlier today. For what reason, you ask? Yeah, I have no idea other than now my slow but steady pace is in the high 8s or low 9s, and I wanted to see how long it could last.  I read through some old posts and saw how excited I used to get when I could run a whole *4 miles* at 9:30.   If you do put the hard work in, it really can change things, in more ways than one. :-)


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