BBGIFlogoColorSmallDid you ever write a list of qualities you wanted in a spouse?  I wrote one—after I separated from my first husband.  Yes, the second husband would be different.  I met someone, a possible candidate.  We had just started training together for our first marathon.  We both worked at Pizza Hut, Inc., in Wichita, Kansas.  My new running friend had just moved to Wichita from Chicago.

* * *

Monday morning I sat at my desk, phone in hand, about to call back a stack of those lovely messages when Art popped into my office and sat down.  “What’s happening Dolores?”

“Oh, you know, work.  What’s going on with you?”  Happy to have the distraction, I put the phone down.

Art leaned forward and looked me right in the eyes.  “You want to date Arne, don’t you?”

My jaw dropped.  “What?”

Art leaned back and crossed his legs.  “I heard about your divorce.  Arne is single and I know you guys are training together.  Did you know that he has a girlfriend in Chicago?”

The words hit me like a ton of bricks.  I sat back in my chair and crossed my arms.  “Art, you’re a gossip!  We’re just training together.  My divorce isn’t even final yet.”  I hoped he couldn’t see my real reaction.

Art stood up.  “Oh, I keep my ears open.  Talk to you later.”  Art swept out of my cube.

I sat for a minute.  Girlfriend in Chicago…  I picked up the phone but, distracted, put it back into the receiver.  What did I feel at that moment?  Disappointment?  I shook it off and picked up the phone for another try at those messages.  Obviously Art talks to Arne enough to know that information.  So why didn’t Arne talk about his girlfriend when we ran on Saturday?

I met Arne the next day after work in the fitness center for our four mile run.  Cyndi and Leo joined us as we took off down Rock Road.  Cyndi ran beside Arne.  “Hi Arne.  Nice to see you join our running group.  I hear you’re training for the Wichita Marathon.”

Arne laughed.  “Yeah, Pat talked me into it.  How hard can it be?”

Leo chimed in.  “We’ll ask you that in about four months when your long runs get over 17 miles!”

Arne and I completed our scheduled run and Cyndi and Leo continued for another couple of miles.  Arne thanked me for the run and went off to the locker room.  I shrugged.  Obviously his intention was just to be running friends.  But, still, no mention of his girlfriend in Chicago.  Weird.

As the training progressed, we ran with the Pizza Hut running group a couple times a week.  Arne had fit in immediately.  We chatted but nothing too heavy.  The training was going well so far and I felt strong.  I knew that soon, our Tuesday and Thursday runs would increase to six miles and our long run would increase to 10 miles.  I needed to mentally prepare for that.

Meanwhile I went on another date.  I met Joe when Sharon and I went dancing.  Joe loved to laugh and had his own spa cleaning business.  I loved his dark hair, sparking eyes and outgoing personality.  We went to a local Mexican Restaurant and enjoyed the spicy tacos and margaritas.

“Oh Dolores, beautiful senorita, you don’t seem like a bean counter.”  Joe twirled me in the parking lot.

“You make me laugh!”  I grabbed his arm to avoid landing face first on the pavement.  We must have been a sight in the parking lot. Maybe too many margaritas?  We had fun, but Joe didn’t fit my list.  At the time, I didn’t appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit or that he made me laugh.  He wasn’t an executive on the way up.  End of story.

Finally, my court date arrived.  My knees were shaking when I met Cal Dunnart in front of the court house.  I opted to wear a pantsuit with a navy jacket and slacks and a white blouse—a Peat, Marwick favorite.  For some reason, I wanted to look conservative in front of the judge.

We walked into the court room and sat down on the front row of several rows of wooden benches.  The courtroom looked nearly empty except for the court bailiff, stenographer, and another man and woman sitting in the back row.

Carl leaned over to me.  “Do you remember how to answer the questions?”

I sighed.  “Yes.”

The bailiff stood up and announced Judge Reynolds.  The Judge walked into the courtroom, sat down and shuffled through a stack of papers.  He nodded to the bailiff who called my name.  I took a deep breath and walked to the witness box and sat down.  I could feel a whisper of cold air from the fan above me.  Judge Reynolds’ gray hair was slicked back and his dark glasses dominated his face.  He looked like he’d heard way too many cases and didn’t look forward to hearing any more.  Cal stepped up to the witness box and started asking me our rehearsed questions.  I answered as instructed.

“Ms. May, you may step down.”  The Judge’s voice boomed.

I jumped.  “Thank you.”  I stepped out of the witness box, my legs still shaking.

Cal led the way out of the courtroom and I followed him down the wide hallway hearing an echo with each step we took.  We didn’t speak.  I stifled a sob.  When we got to the steps outside of the courthouse, Cal turned to me.  “That’s all there is.  Your divorce is final.  You’ll receive the documents from the court in the mail.  Do you have any questions?”

I blinked and cleared my throat.  “Can I start using my maiden name now?”

Cal held out his hand.  “Yes, Ms. Dolores Lara, you can.  Have a wonderful life.”

We shook hands and Cal turned and hurried away.  I stood there for a minute letting the words soak in.  Ms. Dolores Lara.  Have a wonderful life.

* * *

Book Note: Yes!  I’m pleased to report that the final re-write of the book is proceeding well.  I’m hopeful to turn it over to my editor within a month.  Meanwhile I’ve completed my fourth audio CD, AVOID HIRING MISTAKES—The Seven Biggest Mistakes Hiring Managers Make.  All four of my CD’s will soon be available on my speaker website.   www.doloreslara.com

Training Report:  I am back on track from my back injury after taking a week off from running.  I’m in my second month of training so I can catch up on the schedule.  I ran 37 miles this week and completed a strong long run of 14 miles.  Looking forward to Boston in April!

Think of a time you embarked on a challenging, long-term project–one you knew would take much time and effort.  Why did you do it?  My latest challenging project is training for the Boston Marathon.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited and honored to be included in the upcoming marathon, but I know how much effort it’s going to take and it’s a big, big commitment in time.  But this time is different than the last two times I trained.  As I complete my first month of training for the Boston Marathon in April 2015, I pause to remember just why I decided to run Boston for the third time—to honor the marathon and the victims after the horrific bombings on April 15, 2013.  Two hundred sixty-four people were injured and three people were killed including eight year old Martin William Richard.  I wasn’t there in 2013 but I was there in 2012.  My brother and his wife were spectators in the same general area where one of the bombs went off.   I stood mesmerized in front of the television most of the day feeling shocked and angry.  I shudder thinking about what might have happened to them if the bombings would have happened a year earlier.

The city has adopted a phrase–Boston Strong.  That certainly describes the resilience of the victims.  Following are just three examples of the real strength and courage shown by all who have been affected by this tragedy.

Rebekah Dimartino, of Texas, a spectator and 27-year-old mother, stood 10 feet away from one of the bombs.  When it exploded, it severely injured her leg.  After undergoing 17 surgeries, she opted for amputation as a way to help put the bombing behind her.

Mrs. Corcoran, a 47-year-old hairdresser from Boston, lost both legs as she watched the marathon.  Even now she still feels stabbing pain in toes she lost months ago.  She uses state-of-the-art prostheses which are slowly helping her reclaim her independence, but she’s frustrated at the grueling effort required in learning to use them and can tolerate them only for a few hours a day.  She longs for the days when she was truly independent.  Her husband carries her upstairs to bed each night.

Adrianne Haslet-Davis went to the Boston Marathon with her husband to celebrate his safe return from Afghanistan only to find a war zone in their own neighborhood.  Adrianne, a professional ballroom dancer, severely damaged her left foot and it had to be amputated.  She didn’t give up and with the help of “MIT bionic limb wizard” Hugh Herr, she is dancing once again.  Herr, a double amputee himself, created a special bionic limb foot for a dancer.

Amazing how a split second cowardly act of terrorism can turn lives upside down.  You have to admire the courage and resilience as the victims continue to recover.

And what about the terrorists?  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the brothers suspected of planting the bombs, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges related to the April attacks.  His brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died a few days after the bombings in an altercation with police.  Dzhokhar will face trial in January 2015 and Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty.  Several people have been charged in aiding the brothers in the attack.  Read an account of the terror attack here.

I vow to be Boston Strong and I train for freedom.  Not only will the Boston Marathon survive and thrive, so will the victims.  Yes, the training will be long and tedious and command much effort.  But the reason I’m training is the push I need to get out there and do it.  The next time you commit to a big challenging project, make sure you believe in your cause.  Maybe it’s to help your family, to improve yourself, or maybe it’s a stand again terrorism.  Whatever it is, commit and go for it.  Boston, here I come!

Let’s break barriers together!

Training Report:  One month into my training, I’m now at 35 miles a week including a long run of 13 miles.  My weekly routine also includes one day each of Bikram Yoga, Boot Camp class and Pilates.  I’m running strong and injury-free.

Book Note: The book is now taking a priority.  I’ve completed my fourth audio CD, AVOID HIRING MISTAKES—The Seven Biggest Hiring Mistakes Hiring Managers Make.  All four of my CD’s will soon be available on my speaker website.   www.doloreslara.com

Life events happen for a reason. I have gained valuable insight and experience over the past year with my speaking and producing the CDs.  My ever changing and challenging love relationship gave me pause—I didn’t know how the book would end.  Now I do.  I’m looking forward to completing the book.

 

Picture 3Yes!  I’m officially training for the great Boston Marathon again.  This will be marathon number 17 and the third time at Boston.  Fitting that I will be running it again at age 60 and, you know what…I’m going for it.  I want to run the best and fastest marathon ever.  Why not?  I heard 60 is the new 40.  But age is just a number anyway.  It’s our paradigm of aging that’s hard to ignore.

Take a look at the Boston time qualifications for instance. Qualifying times get longer as the age groups get older.  The times increase 5 to 10 minutes per age group until age 60 when the time increases 15 minutes.  What’s that about?  I went to the doctor and she ordered tons of additional tests for me because I turned 60.  She even ordered a prescription of vitamin D for me because she was sure I needed it.  So far all of the tests are fine—even at 60.  Nope, I didn’t need the vitamin D.  I already take a number of vitamins and herbs to maintain my health.  They work!

I needed role models so I did some research and found a great article on athletes over 60. For instance,   Pat Gallant-Charette, 63 years old and a full time registered nurse, took up open water swimming 15 years ago.  With no prior experience she is now on her way to becoming the fifth finisher ever (not to mention the oldest) of the Oceans Seven, the most challenging and longest open-water swims in the world.  She has three swims to go and will take on the North Channel, a tough swim between Great Britain and Ireland in 2015.

How about Yuichiro Miura, who became the oldest person to summit the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, in May of 2013 at the age of 80.  That’s 29,035 feet above sea level.  No easy feat for anyone.  Four thousand people have attempted the climb but only 660 have succeeded.  Miura has reached the summit three times in his lifetime—all over the age of 70.

Pretty inspiring, wouldn’t you agree? All I’m hoping for is a measly PR in the marathon at age 60.  After all, my last PR was at age 56.  I made a miraculous leap in running ability in my fifties—certainly not normal.  Running a marathon, as in any endurance sport, is more mental.  The body will perform as you believe it will.  I must admit, I made miraculous mental leaps in my fifties too—and the running is evidence of that.  Anything is possible—even qualifying for Boston at the age of 54 (with a qualifying time for a 40 year old).  That was me!

Let’s break barriers together!

Training Report:  I’m starting a six-month training program at a base of 30 miles including a long run of 11 miles.  My weekly routine also includes one day each of Bikram Yoga, Boot Camp class and Pilates.  I feel strong with no injuries.

Book Note: The book is now taking a priority.  I’m close to completing my fourth audio CD, AVOID HIRING MISTAKES—The Seven Biggest Hiring Mistakes Hiring Managers Make.  All four of my CD’s will soon be available on my speaker website.   www.doloreslara.com

Life events happen for a reason. I have gained valuable insight and experience over the past year with my speaking and producing the CDs.  My ever changing and challenging love relationship gave me pause—I didn’t know how the book would end.  Now I do.  I’m looking forward to completing the book.

Boston 2012 Race NumberToday’s the big day, the start of the Boston Marathon sign-ups.  I signed up first thing this morning.  Now I’m completely committed.  I mean I was before, but now after paying the $175 entry fee, I’ve got skin in the game, so to speak.

I made the decision to run Boston again after the devastating bombings at the 2012 Boston Marathon.  I wanted to support the marathon one more time.  Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is still awaiting trial on 30 federal charges. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.  He and his older brother, Tamerlan, are suspected of detonating two homemade bombs near the finish line of the 2013 marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police several days after the bombings.  Check out my blog entry last March for more information on the bombings. http://www.breakingbarriersblog.com/category/boston-marathon/

Since I’ve made the commitment to run, I’ve decided to go for it.  I want to break a barrier…weather permitting.  The last time I ran Boston in 2011 the temperatures soared to 90 degrees on some parts of the course.  Well…I ran a PW that time.  That’s a personal worst—running the course, or should I say limping it, in over 5 ½ hours.  Check out my story at http://www.breakingbarriersblog.com/2012/04/.  I had intended that to be my last Boston Marathon, but who can end on such a low?  Then when the bombings occurred, I didn’t vacillate any further.  I made the commitment to run two more marathons—one to qualify and then Boston 2015.  Well, I qualified last December at the California International Marathon.  Since I broke four hours and my qualifying time (for a woman at age 60) is 4:25, I got to sign up on the first day of registration.  So I’m set to go.

As luck would have it, I had a birthday.  Yeah, I know, they pretty much come around every year.  This one was a big one for me, my 60th.  Yes, I made it to a new running group.  Yea…  But, when it comes down to it, age really is just a number.  I thought about running my last Boston for fun and just taking my time.  But something inside is telling me to go for it.  Do the best I can and see what I can do.  After all, I’m in great shape and feeling good.   The first time I ran Boston, in 2009, I ran a personal record at the age of 54.  Wouldn’t it be great to do it again at age 60—at the Boston Marathon?  We’ll see.

The point is to live life to the fullest—no matter what age you happen to be.  Sure, training is hard work.  But anything worth having is worth working for.  Wouldn’t you agree?  I may not succeed but at least I tried.  I’m in the game and I’m loving life.  Let’s break barriers together!

Book Note:  Yes, I’m going to finish that book!  I’m in my final rewrite.  Meanwhile, I’ve been busy.  I’ve now recorded and produced three audio CDs, HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Gets Interviews ,  THE NINE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Getting The Job, and THE EIGHT KEYS TO GETTING A JOB IN ANY MARKET—Learn A Recruiter’s Secrets To Marketing Yourself.  In October I will record and produce my fourth audio CD, AVOID HIRING MISTAKES—The Seven Biggest Hiring Mistakes Hiring Managers Make.    The CD’s and MP3 downloads will soon be available on my (soon to be live) website.  www.doloreslara.com.

California Int'l Marathon Finish, December 2015

California Int’l Marathon Finish, December 2015

It’s hard to be excited about this particular birthday.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to be celebrating one considering the alternative.  But there’s something about birthday number 60.  I am working hard at not believing I am old.  But you know what?  I’M NOT!  I refuse to buy into that paradigm.

Last year about this time I turned 59—funny how that works.  I posted a blog entry Age Is Just a Number—Isn’t It?  In that entry I expounded about my fear of turning 60 because, for some reason, I see people age…like almost overnight when they turn 60.  Just look the Boston Marathon qualification times, for example.  Every five years, the qualifying times increase 5 to 10 minutes from age 18 to 59.  But then at 60—whoa!  The time increases by 15 minutes and continue to increase by at least 15 minutes through age 80 and over.  So my qualifying time for Boston 2015 is 4 hours, 25 minutes.  Since I ran the California International Marathon (CIM) last December in 3:59:50, I will be able to register on the first day of registration.  So I guess that’s a good thing.  But really, 15 minutes???

When I posted a link to my blog entry last year in LinkedIn, I was thrilled to get some wonderful responses that validated my belief that age really is just a number.  Morris Roberts commented that he didn’t even start running until he was over 50 and had 5 marathons under his belt, including Boston, a dozen half marathons and many 10K’s.  Morris maintains that “old” is a feeling that he intends to not feel for a long time.

Another runner, Mike Haedrich, ran CIM at age 52 and had his second fastest marathon to date.  He continues to enjoy being competitive and intends to stay that way for a long time.

Then there was David Salvas, who at age 60, ran a marathon a month for a year to celebrate.  Now that’s a testament to not turning old at 60.  But he didn’t stop there.  At age 62 he ran the length of his state (221 miles).  In 2013 David became the only runner, young or old, to run both the length and width of his state when he ran the width of 116 miles.  Then, two weeks later, he completed a ½ IronMan and finished first in his age group.  David had, at that time, completed 85 marathons and believes he is not defined by his age, but by what he contributes to his community.

Another comment by Richard Jares further validated that turning 60 is not getting old.  At age 66, Richard continues to compete and ran 15 marathons that year placing 5th or higher (with several firsts) in his age group.  You can bet he beat a bunch of runners younger than him.

But there was another contributor to the conversation that chastised us—the ones who believe age is just a number.  There’s got to be one in every crowd, right?  Gregory Smith, 70 years old, tried hard to convince us that the grim reaper is chasing us and that he will catch us.  Then Gregory went on to give us examples of elite athletes who experienced declining performance as they aged.  Yes, of course, anyone can find examples of that.  That’s the paradigm that we can choose to believe or not.  Did Gregory not read the amazing accomplishments of Morris, Mike, David, and Richard?  Isn’t it funny that Gregory had no accomplishments to talk about, just “advice” to bring us down to his level of “old”.

As I see it, we have a choice.  We can look forward to life as Gregory does that the grim reaper is chasing us and will catch us.  Uhggggg.  Or we can align with Morris, Mike, David, and Richard who are out there experiencing life.  It doesn’t have to be running.  It can be anything that you feel passionate about and gets you out of your comfort zone.  As I look forward to my 60’s, I know I will achieve many great things and continue to break barriers well into my 60’s, 70’s and beyond.  I am alive and vibrant and young at heart.  Thank you, Morris, Mike, David, and Richard, for your strength and determination.  I look forward to Boston 2015 and hope to run a personal record at age 60.  Why not?  Anything is possible.  Let’s break barriers together!

Book Note:  Yes, I’m going to finish that book!  I’m in my final rewrite.  Meanwhile, I recorded and produced two audio CDs, HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Gets Interviews and THE NINE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Getting The Job.  In August I will record and produce my third audio CD, THE NINE KEYS TO GETTING A JOB IN ANY MARKET—Learn A Recruiter’s Secrets To Marketing Yourself.  The CD’s and MP3 downloads will soon be available on my (soon to be live) website.  www.doloreslara.com.

Run In The Parks 7-04-14Rick Herr finished the 10K on July 4th in 35:32.  My son, 24 years old, so aptly stated, “Hey Mom, an old guy won the race.”  To me, 47 isn’t so old, but I have to admit, I was a little surprised.  Nathan Valarde, 19 years old, took second place in 37:09.  On the women’s side, 18 year old Kylie Nishisaka won in 39:11 with 39 year-old Missy Goode taking second in 41:18—more typically what is expected.

JJ and I decided to start our July 4th holiday bright and early by running the YMCA Run In The Parks 10K in Laguna Niguel, California.  This is a great course in the regional park traversing through the trees and trails and around a beautiful lake.  For me, this race was a little more significant that just running for fun.  This was the last race I ran in my current age group of 55 – 59.  On July 31st, I enter a new age group—60 – 64.  Uhgggggg.  Well, that’s my first reaction, but I’ll have more to say on that subject in my next blog post.

Suffice it to say for now, that JJ and I had a great time at the race with both of us winning third place in our age groups, despite having to stop and tie my shoe in the middle of the race.  I can’t say that has ever happened to me before.  I crossed the finish line in 54:03—pretty much on marathon pace.  At this moment, I can’t imagine running a marathon at that pace, but that’s my goal—and I’m sticking to it.  JJ finished in 46:30 with no training.  Just think what he could do if he trained…  But now I sound like a Mom.

But I digress.  Congratulations to the “old guy” who ran the race and beat the 19 year-old “kid” to come in at first place.  I saw Rick Herr as he looped past me.  I saw the determination on his face.  I’ll watch for him next year, when he’s 48 and I’m well….

I hope you all had a fun and safe holiday.  The summer’s in full swing now.  Let’s break some barriers together!

Book Note:  Yes, I’m going to finish that book!  I’m in my final rewrite.  Meanwhile, I recorded and produced an audio CD, HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Gets Interviews and I’m about to finish my second audio CD THE NINE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Getting The Job.  Both CD’s and MP3 downloads will soon be available on my (soon to be live) website.  www.doloreslara.com.

Ah yes…the theory of gravity from Sir Isaac Newton.  If it weren’t for gravity, running up those God forsaken hills would be so much easier.

I love to run on the trails.  There’s something about being in natural surroundings that’s revitalizing for the soul.  It’s a great way to de-stress and re-connect to what’s really important in life—feeling alive and free.   I’m lucky to live in Southern California with the opportunity to run several great trails within easy driving distance.  One of my favorite trails to run is Bommer Canyon in Irvine.  It’s only a 10 minute drive from my home.  Once I get there, I’m transformed from the city to a spacious, open-space preserve.

Now, back to gravity.  I’ve never really enjoyed running hills.  I know they make you strong, but I started running in Kansas, not in the Flint Hills mind you, in the Wichita area.  There are no hills to speak of.  So my first 10 years of running didn’t include hills.  Then I moved to sunny Southern California.  I must admit, I loved not having to deal with constant weather change and wind chill during my runs.  But what I wasn’t prepared for were the hills.  Well to me, they seemed more like mountains.

Here I am at the start of my trail run.  I look happy.

Bommer Canyon-Me 6-1-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trail starts with a slight elevation.  Beautiful, isn’t it?

Gentle up hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the elevation gets less slight.  It’s still beautiful.

Less slight

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trail is still going up.  Who can see the scenery now?

And up1

 

 

 

 

 

 

And up.

 

Still going up1

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can see the top.

 I can see the top

 

 

 

 

 

There’s the top…finally.

The top

 

 

 

 

 

 

The really nice thing about going up for 3 miles, is that I get to turn around and go back down.  Another nice thing I noticed—I did get stronger on the hills.  Isn’t it funny?  When you force yourself to move out of your comfort zone and push ahead, the task becomes easier over time.  It feels good to not be intimidated anymore.  That’s how to stay young in life.  Keep trying something new.  Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.  Before long, you’ll be soaring up the hills and enjoying the ride back down.

Let’s break barriers together!

Book Update—I’m close!  I’m about to turn the book over to my editor.  Meanwhile I’ve produced my first audio CD HOW TO NEVER BE UNEMPLOYED—Featuring The Ten Keys To Writing A Resume That Get’s Interviews and I’m in the process of producing my second audio CD THE NINE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE INTERVIEWING—Learn The Most Important Secret To Finding A Job.  They will both be available soon on my almost live website www.doloreslara.com.

BBGIFlogoColorSmallDo you remember trying something for the first time?  Sometimes it doesn’t go quite the way you planned.  The scene opens in the final weeks of training for my first marathon.   

As the weeks rolled by, the training became more intense.  Grateful to be running the long runs with a group, I kept motivated to get out there.  Can you imagine running an 18 mile run for the first time?  Talk about intimidation.  If it wasn’t for the group, I wouldn’t have even tried it.  But we had been told, over and over by the trainers, that not only are you training your body to run the distance, but also your brain.  The marathon is more of a mental challenge than a physical one.  You must trust your body to do what it is trained to do.  Our bodies were prepared to run 18 miles.  I just needed to go out and do it.

So, I did it.  I finished that first 18 mile run.  But the challenges continued.  Our weekly miles had increased as well and our schedule called for nine miles each on Tuesday and Thursday.  I experienced a new level of fatigue I had never experienced before.  One day I got so tired at work that I went straight home, fell into bed, and didn’t get up until the next morning.

I think I went a little crazy.  But one has to get crazy at that point in the training.  Life became all about running—just running.  I didn’t want to fail.  I couldn’t imagine not finishing the marathon.  So I kept training.

Then the high point of the marathon training arrived three weeks before the marathon—the 20 mile run.  So much for the intimidation of a mere 18 miles…

Saturday arrived and a group of us gathered at the start of the run including Arne, Pat, and me.  At 7am, the morning felt nice and cool.  I ran in place to keep warm since I only wore a tank top and shorts.  Our course would run down Webb road almost to Augusta and then we’d turn around and run back.  I shook my head.  I never imagined I’d be running, on foot, to Augusta.  It seemed like an incredibly long way.  We would be running through stop lights and traffic for about two miles and then it would become rural—stretching ahead for miles. Water stations would be placed along the way.

I couldn’t silence the fear thoughts from my mind or the flutter of butterflies in my stomach as we started the run.  We took off at a brisk pace bantering back and forth.  Yes, I had completed that 18 mile run two weeks ago.  Of course I could do this.  Of course…

As the run progressed, the group spread out, but I stayed with Arne and Pat despite the brisk pace.  When we got to 14 miles I realized I had made a big mistake trying to keep up with them.  I needed to slow down.  I told Arne and Pat to please go on ahead—which they did.  Relieved, I significantly decreased my pace.  Damn, 6 miles to go.

At 17 miles, I stopped at the water station and buckled over as the pain engulfed my legs.  The volunteer asked if I was alright and I forced a smile.  Every step hurt but I couldn’t stop now—only 3 miles to go.

I looked behind me.  I didn’t see anyone else.  Could I be last one?  I didn’t really want to know.  I put my head down, gritted my teeth, and shuffled forward—one foot in front of the other.  Just keep going.

I saw the 19 mile sign and I wanted to jump for joy but instead I tripped and fell right smack on the sidewalk.  First I hit my elbow and then my knee.  Clutching my elbow, I lay there writhing in agony as the tears started streaming down my face.  I closed my eyes and then grabbed my knee hoping to stop the shooting pains.  I heard a car pull over to the side of the road and a man jumped out and ran up to me.  “Are you alright?”

I looked up and waved him away.  “Yes, I’m fine.”  I just wanted him to go away and leave me in my misery.

The man persisted.  “Are you sure?  Do you need a ride?”

“No, I’m fine.”  I’m sure I sounded totally rude but I just needed him to go away.  I looked away from him and he hovered for a minute before walking away.  When the car didn’t drive away, I forced myself to stand up.  Finally the man left.

Nothing felt broken but I didn’t know if I had the energy to move.  The blood dripped down my leg as I tried to take a step and my knee buckled.  Oh God, just let me die.  I fought back the tears.  Then I heard a familiar voice.  “Dolores, do you want a ride?”  Pat’s car had pulled up beside me and Arne had rolled down the window.  “Oh no, you’re bleeding!  Please get into the car.”

Oh the voice of an angel.  “Okay, you talked me into it.”  I limped to the car and fell into the back seat exhausted.  Oh God.  I didn’t finish.  I only had one mile to go and I had quit.

Now I had only three more weeks of training before the marathon.  From this point forward the weekly mileage and the long runs would decrease so our bodies could recover for the 26.2 mile distance.  That 20 mile run represented my last opportunity to prove to myself that I could run the distance—and I couldn’t do it.  I closed my eyes.  What now?  What if I couldn’t finish the marathon?

Note:    I had planned on publishing my book, Breaking Barriers in 2013 but life had other plans.  It will be published soon!  Email me at dolores@breakingbarriersblog.com if you want to be included on the email list.  No, sheer effort is not the key to getting what we want.  It’s much easier than that.  Yes—easier.  

 

 

 

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