A rant

I haven’t run in a couple of weeks, so you’ll have to excuse my testiness. After this post, you’ll probably feel a lot more empathy for my man. He has to put up with it all the time.

Yesterday, we here in South Mississippi who use a certain cell carrier were treated to a rare day of silence when someone cut a fiber optic cable which apparently is the cable that runs the world. Now, you may think my rant will be directed at the cell phone company who dared to take away our service for an afternoon. You would be wrong.

As I traveled around doing my afternoon errands, everywhere I went, people were raving and baring their collective teeth that we have no cell service. A lot of these people were working at jobs where I know they have a land line, so any cell phone usage was strictly personal. When I dared to make the comment that all would eventually right itself, I was practically booed out of line. I stood my ground, though. One man informed me that he uses his phone for business. I calmly told him that I do, as well, and that I knew my clients would be understanding of their inability to contact me for a few hours. Everyone seemed to believe we were going to be out of service indefinitely with no way to communicate, and even more dire, no way to post about it on Facebook! I did not observe it myself, but I’m told that the cell phone office was filled to overflowing with irate and loud customers, yelling at the sales people who have no ability whatsoever to fix the problem and were probably just as put out as their customers were.

When did we become so dependent on technology that we can’t survive an afternoon without it? Now, I realize many of us (including my family) have gone to cell service entirely and don’t have a land line at all, which certainly leaves us susceptible in emergencies. But, if I’m not mistaken, I made it all the way to adulthood without the convenience of a cell phone, and I certainly had my share of emergencies. “Back in the day” we used common sense to figure out what to do when we needed something. I fear common sense has left the building. Or, it has shriveled and died from lack of use.

In all fairness, I saw some pretty ingenious use of technology yesterday as folks overcame minor emergencies and business issues. One guy I know was able to access his Facebook page and asked any of his friends who could call his wife to tell her to check her email and messages because he was locked out of his house and was late for a business appointment. The message trickled down the line, and soon she was on her way. Now, that was the way to handle a crisis. Rather than blowing up and screaming in frustration, he calmly assessed and figured out the best way to remedy his dilemma.

I guess my rant can be boiled down to this. There are real emergencies in the world. Real crises. Not just outside our little neighborhood, but right here where we live. People who are in need for basics, like food and rent money. An afternoon without cell service is not a crisis. Inconvenient and frustrating, yes. Not an occasion to ruin someone’s day who is just trying to make a living.
My advice to everyone who lost their minds yesterday is this: Get a land line or learn to appreciate the occasional lapses of silence that cell service will inevitably have.

I don’t often rant in the blogosphere. I do, unfortunately, rant to my family on occasion. Now you know how they feel, and I know you’ll join them in celebrating that Dr.. Rouse just cleared me to run!

Warrior updates

Race results have posted and I thought I would share the updates with you.  I knew it was certainly the slowest 5k+ that I had ever done, and sure enough, it was.  My pace was a little over 21 minutes which was actually a little better than I expected after all the ado.  The girls rocked 17 minute paces and Gary’s time doesn’t count, because he was babysitting me.  I’ll share some of those highlights in a minute.  When we were checking the age group results last night, we saw that in the 80-90 year old women’s age group, an 86 year old rocked a 17 minute pace.  May I just say wow!  And, may I also say, I’m really tired of getting my butt kicked by octogenarians.  I have got to work on that.  

One of my favorite moments in the race occurred on the slanted rope wall.  Gary scaled it first, with the agility of a mountain goat, then he turned at the top to see if I needed help.  I scaled the wall pretty quickly, but I soon discovered that was the easy part.  The knots in the rope end about a foot shy of the top and there really isn’t a place to put your hand to give yourself a boost over the top.  Plus, you’re a little reluctant to let go of the rope long enough to grab the top, cause it’s a long drop back to the ground.   Gary grabbed both my wrists and held on tight while I tried to figure out how to propel myself to the top.  As I scrambled for purchase, Gary held fast, at one point pretty much holding up my entire body weight by my wrists. He finally said, “You’re going to have to do something.”  Yeah, he has a knack for stating the obvious.  Finally, I heard a shout from below telling me to use the knot.  I put my foot on the knot and gained enough momentum to push myself over.  Gary scampered down, and I methodically climbed down after him.  
The race itself is fun. Muddy and slippery.  After the fire pole incident, I was limping pretty badly, but was grimly determined to finish.  I was gingerly picking my way through a mud bog, and this really cool young man said, “Here, take my arm to balance.”  I did and was able to get through the last bog with his help.  I loved that.  He didn’t know me at all, but he saw I was limping and he slowed down his race to help me with mine.  How cool is that?  Chivalry isn’t dead, after all.  Gary was there to pull me through most everything, but he’s pretty heavily invested in me.  This young stranger’s name was Hank, and I told him I hope his wife knows he’s a keeper.  He assured me she did.  Don’t give up hope, girls!  There are really good guys out there.  You may have to look in a mud hole to find one. though.  
The not so great result of the race is the ankle injury.  It is still very swollen and bruised.  I can walk without limping today, but I decided to go see my bone and joint guy just to make sure nothing was broken.  He’s almost on retainer anyway.  The good news is that nothing is broken.  The bad news is that it’s a fairly serious sprain.  He wants me to stay off it for 10 days, then he’ll look at it again.  I think I’ll be running again in two weeks.  I’m kind of counting on it, so send healing thoughts my way.  By the way, explaining how I got the injury to my doctor was kind of fun.  His only comment was that it had been a long time since he had seen a fire pole injury.  I would bet good money that the last time he saw one, it wasn’t on a 50 year old woman.  He’s awesome though.  He’s been my ortho guy for many years, and the thing I like the most about him is that he knows the importance of getting his patients back to their sports.  He would NEVER tell me not to run again, and I have heard that from doctors before.  
Can’t say enough how fun this race was.  Yes, it’s hard, but it’s a good kind of hard.  There were a lot of glitches with the organization of it that I would like to see fixed, but the race itself was pretty well organized.  I probably won’t be doing another one this year, but will absolutely do another one, maybe next spring.  But, I’m kind of hoping they don’t have a fire pole.   And, that 86 year old woman better watch her back.  She’ll be 87 by then.  Maybe there’s hope for me yet.  
If you need a little inspiration, click on the link below to see what a true warrior looks like.  I didn’t get to see or meet this guy (would have really liked to), but he puts my humble efforts to shame.  

Getting our Warrior on

I think that normal families get together with their grown children a little differently than we do.  They probably go to Disneyworld, ride Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain, take a safari through Animal Kingdom and walk in Downtown Disney.  Or, they go to the beach, rent beach chairs, dig their toes in the sand and read a good book.  Get in the water a little, maybe pick up a game of beach volleyball.

Well, normal doesn’t really apply to us.  When we get together with our grown girls, we usually strap on scuba gear and jump off a perfectly good boat to see what lurks below.  Or, we go whitewater rafting, kayaking, or hiking through tropical rain forests.  And, I don’t think any of us would have it any other way.  Well, the girls and I might enjoy digging our toes in the sand a little and reading a good book, but we usually get a dose of that sometime during the year.

This weekend, we drove to Houston, Texas, where our oldest daughter lives and the four of us participated in a Warrior Dash in nearby Splendora.  May I add, this was Gary’s idea.  If you’re not familiar with a Warrior Dash, it’s a race with obstacles sprinkled throughout.  It’s only a little more than a 5k, but, as their website proudly proclaims, it’s the most hellish 3.2 miles you’ll ever run.  True that.

I was a little nervous going in, not for the run, but some of the obstacles looked a little out of my league.  Scaling walls with ropes, crawling through barbed wire, net bridges, and mud, mud, and more mud. I’m an old broad, for pete’s sake.  But,  I have to say for the most part, the obstacles were a pleasant surprise.  Lots of mud and water, lots of slipping down, but the first wall climb went okay.  I’ll admit I wimped on the vertical wall, I was having trouble with my sugar & I was a little afraid I would get to the top and pass out, so I went around.  I think that’s the only one I missed, though.  The girls were lightening fast, but my man stayed to babysit me, so he and I were not so fast.  I did okay until I got to the fireman’s pole, went down a little faster than I thought and landed wrong & twisted my ankle pretty badly.  I limped the rest of the way, but fortunately, all the obstacles after that were mud or swimming under barbed wire, so I was able to finish with my dignity more or less intact.  And, let’s remember, this isn’t the first race that I’ve limped across the finish line.

Things to remember if you plan to run a Warrior Dash:
1) Make sure your tetanus shot is current.
2) Make sure your shoes are tied on tightly.  You’ll probably lose them at some point anyway, but at least they’ll stay on most of the time.
3) Don’t get cocky.  I don’t care if your playhouse did have a fireman’s pole in it when you were growing up and you slid down it a million times, things are a little different 40 years later.
4) If you’re trying to set a record, get a grip.  It’s a fun run.

If I do another one (and the chances are good), I’ll need a volunteer to babysit/run with me, so Gary can actually race.  I’m thinking Hollye McInnis, Debi Cox, or Debbie Flynt are good candidates.  Get ready, girls.

I have to say, this was more fun than I thought it would be.  That said, I’m icing my ankle and hoping for the best.  But, I think this is a great race to do to awaken your inner child.  You remember her, don’t you?  The one who ran like her feet had wings, jumped into mud puddles, slid down geronimo poles, and leaped over buildings in a single bound.  Oh, wait, that last one was a super hero, I think.  Anyway, very fun way to spend the afternoon with your family.  Sign up for one soon.  You won’t regret it.  

Preparing for battle
The Warrior Richards clan
Warrior Kait
Warrior Misty
The clan after the battle
Warrior princesses

Another after the battle shot

The muddy warriors

Stone Bruises

It’s been a long, dark winter.  Or, at least it seemed so to me.  Not particularly cold, thank heaven, just dark and endless.  I’ve never been a huge fan of January and February, but this year I’m more thankful than usual that they’re done.

We all go through seasons of life that range from mountaintop highs to deep valley lows.  This winter certainly hasn’t been a deep valley for me, but it has been dark and gloomy.   It reminded me that we all have events in our lives that leave stone bruises on our hearts.  You remember stone bruises.  You used to get them when you walked barefoot as a kid.  You stepped on a rock or stone and it hurt in the moment, but really didn’t leave a mark.  Then, later, you moved your foot or stepped on that certain spot, and there it was, the pain you thought was gone.  

I woke one morning this week to the sight of dogwoods blooming outside my bedroom window, and I can’t express how thankful that made me.  I love spring.  It is, hands down, my favorite time of year.  I sneeze my way through it, but what a small price to pay for spring!  Spring is a reminder of the faithfulness of God.  How, every year,  no matter how cold or dark the winter was, He’ll bring spring to us again.  We just have to soldier through those months of cold and darkness and trust Him.  He’s ever faithful.  This week has been a much needed reminder of that.

Life is tough.  Sometimes, too tough.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the fragility of life and how whimsical tragedy is.  Darkness touches us all.  Many that I love are going through very dark seasons, death of a loved one, divorce, loneliness, financial crises, serious illness, chronic pain, watching beloved parents decline.   It makes my dark path seem bright in comparison.

So, I pray.  I search for reminders that God is faithful, and when you’re looking for them, you’re sure to find them. Gary & I went for a hike today at Black Creek.  He has taken on my training (I’m sure you’ll hear more about that in upcoming weeks) and today was a five mile easy hike.  Here are some signs of God’s faithfulness that we saw on the trail.

If you are going through a dark time in your life, start looking for signs of His faithfulness.  I promise, they are all around you.  We’ll always have those stone bruises on our hearts, but there are wonderful, life affirming ways to ease them.  Look for them.  Reach out and take them.  
3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

                                                                             Psalm 23: 3-5

Seaside Half Marathon

What a beautiful day for a foot race!!  So glad mine was at the beach.  This is what it looked like as my sister & I headed to Seaside.

Mel (my sister) and I came down to her house in Destin on Friday and spent a wonderfully lazy day shopping, eating, and reading while it rained yesterday.  We got up bright and early and headed over to Seaside, Florida for a 7 am race start. On the drive over, Mel read Hebrews 12:1 to me several times.  I really have to commit that one to memory.  I drew on it throughout all 13.1 miles.  Spent some time around mile 5 praying for all my friends who were racing today, some here, others in New Orleans.  Hope they all had excellent, record setting runs!!

The race started okay, the first 4 miles were spent adjusting some mild wardrobe malfunctions, but I was pretty much on my target and felt great.  At mile 4(ish), I got a wonderful surprise – my man was here!!  He didn’t tell me he was coming, so I was deliriously happy to see him.  I handed off my Ipod (which will not get to race again – it annoys me during a race), my gloves and my arm warmers.  I don’t know if you can see the huge smile on my face, but Gary took this when I first saw him.  All today’s blog pics (including the sunrise beach) are courtesy of my man.

Still felt really strong until Mile 9, when my right hamstring started giving me grief and I got a stitch in my right side.  I stretched some during the 1 minute walk breaks and was able to stay on course.

That’s me in the black/purple skirt.  
Stayed on pace until mile 11 when the nausea hit, then serious GI distress set in.  Not to be deterred, I slowed my pace and walked a bit.  I put my left hand on my tummy & lifted the right one to God and asked Him to take the tummy issues away until the race end.  Man, He’s faithful.  Nausea subsided, tummy settled some, had a slight side stitch, but I maintained a walking pace for most of mile 11, then picked up the run at mile 12.   Mostly ran to the end, with just a few 10 second walk breaks, but mile 11 did me in as far as time went.  Finished 2 minutes over my goal pace, but I’m putting this one in the win column.  After 2 weeks with a tummy virus, not training for as long as I needed to, then hamstring issues, I’ll take it.  Hopefully, by my next half, I’ll be properly trained and all injury issues will be distant memories.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?  It’s not until the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so I think that will give me plenty of time.  
Loved this beautiful race, it was well run, clean, lots of volunteer help.  Not much crowd support, but there were some great signs along the route.  One of my favorites:
That’s my man’s shadow, he liked the sign, too.  Unfortunately, it was pretty true for me today.  
Will certainly try to do this race next year.  They have GREAT swag:
At the finish line with my new Vera Bradley purse!

Next up: Warrior Dash in Spendora, Texas in two weeks.  The whole family is running.  Are we ready, girls?  You know Dad is going to kick butt!