Friday, November 25, 2016

2016 Home Run for the Homeless

This post is subtitled "I've Got Issues."

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, Peeps!  I'm thankful for all of you who have followed my misadventures in running and fitness.  Stay tuned for more of my foolishness:

Thanksgiving morning is always the traditional Home Run for the Homeless. This is a 4-mile race that benefits Gennesaret, an organization that helps homeless people get into apartments and homes.  They have one fundraiser a year, and this is it.  For only 20 dollars, you run a cool-looking course that goes partially through West Akron and then through the Glendale Cemetery. Plus, you get gloves.  And muffins.  And donuts. The cemetery is awesome because it is very hilly and has lots of old mausoleums, which reminds me of Pere-Lachaise Cimetiere in Paris (burial place of Jim Morrison, among other legends).

I didn't intend to really race the Home Run.  I have a problem with my Achilles Tendon on my left foot.  It has been pretty painful for a few weeks, and though I can tell it's getting better (the exercises are working), it still hurts in the first 1/2 mile of any run, and I don't want to permanently jack it up.  This is why when my son asked me how long I'd be running, I said, "About 36 minutes."  I figured 9:00/mile would be respectable but easy to maintain, even on the hills. After all, my tempo runs are faster than that, and last year I ran the Home Run in 33:48.  No sweat, I thought.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm thinking about the blueberry muffin that awaits me at the finish.

This is a pretty big race, so the start was packed.  I managed to squeeze into the corral on the street.  I had spent a good half an hour rotating my ankle and stretching it, but I didn't run a warmup, which I absolutely should have done.  No matter, I thought.  I'll take it easy in the first mile; after all, I'm not here to PR.

The first mile was 9:00, and then all hell broke loose.  My chest tightened up, and my arms got incredibly weak. I could feel the weakness/looseness pass down my body to my legs, which got very wobbly.  Then I started to gasp.  These are the same symptoms I've had several times before, twice during races and at least four times on various runs.  I knew what I had to do: switch to walk/run.  I did this for the next two miles, walking 1/4 mile and then running 1/4-1/2 mile, depending on the terrain and how I felt.  I felt awful until I didn't, which was at 3.5 miles, and by then it was too late as the finish line came up at 3.85.

I have lots of theories about why this happens to me once in a while:

1.  I am doing something stupid regarding fuel or warmups (or lack of warmups). I just wish I could figure that out because each time it has happened, it has been under different circumstances.

2.  I am under a lot of stress, and stress can really jack you up.  Now, to be fair, I am VERY high-strung and Type-A.  Stress is my middle name.  These past two years though have been incredibly difficult for me, and these past four months have arguably been the most stressful of my life. Look at the proof:

This is EXACTLY how I looked the day after the elections.  I was trying to get my act together to teach my first period class. Instead I burst into tears and then took a selfie to see the humor in the situation.  Somehow it doesn't look funny, even today.

This is EXACTLY how I looked on Halloween.  I was dressed as Carrie's crazy mom, but I think I was too convincing.

These are the flowers I bought for my grandfather's funeral.  Yes, ANOTHER family member just died.  I'm starting to suspect that I am the problem.

Anyway, these are just small glimpses into my life. I have had a few more personal challenges in the past month, and it has become very difficult to pretend that I have no worries, which is usually my MO.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I try to stay positive.

I'm starting to think that running away from trouble isn't as much of a solution for me as it used to be. 

Back to theories:

3.  This is the one that worries my mom the most: 

My father had two heart attacks, a quadruple bypass, and a heart transplant before he died a year and a half ago.  Most of these problems were due to a heart murmur and an enlarged aortic valve.  His lifestyle (diet, lack of exercise, etc.) exacerbated the problems in a major way.  I think that the stress in my life has possibly triggered an underlying heart problem that I may have inherited from my father.  I don't even know if this is possible, and I've never had a doctor detect a problem with my heart, but I never specifically asked about it either.  I guess it's about time that I did.

Anyway, I intend to follow up on all of this by this spring, when I will have recovered from some minor surgery in December.  

Back to the race: 

The Home Run for the Homeless is really such an excellent race.  I love the course.  I love the muffins.  I love the gloves.  I love the volunteers who gave up their Thanksgiving morning to shiver in the cold. Most of all I love that I was able to do something for someone else and still have fun.  Thank you, Gennesaret.

Sunday is the Tryptophan Run in Hudson, and I intend to be there, and I DON'T intend to collapse that day.  Until then, Run Happy, Peeps!

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