Mom’s Job When Kid Is Named Captain

November 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Posted in moms, Moms of talented teens, peer pressure, Self Esteem, sports | 2 Comments
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She’s the captain of her ice hockey team at ten!  What an honor and accomplishment.  She called all her relatives as soon as she found out.

What about me, her mom?  How do I react to this?  What is my responsibility?  What do I do about her sisters?  None of them were ever captains in any sport.

Of course there’s a bit of history here.  Jilly was invited to play up for the peewee team, not based on skills but more because the team needed a few more players.  I told the coaches of both teams I would decide which team based soley on what I thought was most important for my child.   I would not, under any circumstances, put my daughter on a team just to make it happen.

Of course Jilly was all swaggery when she got the news. She was oh so cool!  She was going to play up.   But the moment I had her alone in the car the first thing I said was, “I alone will make thie decision based on what is best for you.  I’ll listen to your ideas, but you will not make the decision.  I think at ten you’re too young to figure this all out.”

Since we already have a great relationship based on trust and respect she knew I was going to do what was best for her, not what was seem by others as cool or being above others. Cause what they think just doesn’t matter!

It was clear to me that giving Jilly another year as a squirt would give her more time to get basic skills, she loved working with the coaches of squirts, and she could really use a year as being one of the best.  Even if she didn’t have all her sisters with all their accomplishments, it’s so important to have a time when you are the best.  When the others look up to you. When you can help out and be a leader.

So squirts it was.  Until I heard from Jilly that they, the kids, would be picking captains the next week.  Then my head reeled. I’d been through this too many times.  Captains at ten chosen by teammates has had more negative effect than no captains.  My personal opinion is to have captains for each week.  They lead the warm ups for practices and game, shake hands with the refs, lead the pregame cheer, and lead the hand slap at the end of the game.  It’s a learning experience for each kid.

But to be captain for the season- now that’s a true honor and responsibility.  One not to be given hastily or lightly. One that most nine and ten year olds just don’t have the capacity to truly understand.  If there are going to be captains, the coaches need to be very able to choose based on the true value of the player, with complete open minds.

I talked with the coaches.  Explained my personal concern about kids choosing their captains.  And then dropped the bomb. I told the coaches that I couldn’t let Jilly participate if the captains were chosen by the teammates.  They nodded, said, “Hmmm, hadn’t really thought about that.”  Then I never mentioned captains again to the coaches or Jilly.

This past weekend was the third weekend of games.  I could tell the moment I saw the team come out of the locker room that Jilly had been chosen captain.  She had this look of control and determination on her face. She was in charge and going to make it happen!

I was certain when she and another player went over to the refs and shook hands.  And guess what – me who opposed captains- had a SURGE of pride.  That was my little girl who was captain.  And I truly believe she deserved to be chosen captain.

So what is my responsibility?  Isn’t that what I’m supposed to be writing about?  Well my responsibility is to help Jilly understand the honor and responsibility of being chosen captain.  That being captain is partly about being a great player, but more importantly about being a leader. About the team moral and focus.  It’s about good sportsmanship, paying attention to the coaches, guiding the other kids to do their best. When the game is tough and they are loosing it’s about keeping the spirit up and still trying their hardest.

Being captain doesn’t mean to fake energy or excitement.  It doesn’t mean to suck up to the coaches.  It means to have pride, respect, and leadership.  Being a skilled player helps, but it’s not what a captain is all about.  Even Mia Hamm or Kristine Lilly weren’t the captains of the US soccer team.

Mom Who Teaches Parenting Skills Has Hit Her Wall.

November 28, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Posted in attitudes, teenagers | Leave a comment
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I know I am supposed to be the mom who has it all together.  I am supposed to just love home schooling my kids.  To be able to engage them, organize them and even have them happily and willingly do the dishes, take out the trash, and walk the dog.  Well- here’s a moment of truth.

It didn’t take a marathon for me to hit the wall.  Just the MESS!

Our house is a MESS- almost all the time.  I have so many tricks, gimmicks, and charts to get the dishes done all with little or no success.  Well, many of them work for up to a month, then it’s completely over.  The dishes stack up, the laundry is in heaps, the dog gets out- with me mostly, and it’s really tough to engage two of my kids in their education.

I suppose if I had not had my two older children be so totally involved and excited about academic learning, I would not know or expect anything different from these last two.  But man o man.  They are NOT into learning.  Especially the fourteen year old.  She is my total social butterfly.  And its a good thing she is so good at it, because she won’t be able to do much else as an adult with the lack of academic learning she’s doing!

But now wait a minute!  This is me and I am going to talk back to me right here on this blog!  Cause as much as I am infuriated that they did nothing to help pick up the house, do the dishes, and that 14 year old has the eyes to melt any ice cold maternal stare, and the dog knows how to “hold it” till I get back, I do think they are doing some very important life learning things.

In actuality, I think that being able to interact and communicate with others is by far the most important skill that anyone can ever have.  I mean its terrific to be able to be a world champion, to be the captain of your hockey team at ten years old, to be able to attend an ivy league college, be a doctor, do a real interior design job at fourteen, but if you can’t interact or communicate does any of the other stuff really matter?

No, it doesn’t and neither does the messy house.

Now the that I think about it, yes my house is a mess, without dishes being done regularly, without pickup being the norm, struggling with over stuffed trash bags not getting to the dumpster. And well, not that I like it, but I do think that these are so less important than learning the deep and involved life skill of how to communicate and interact.

Now as far as the academic learning- I think the fourteen year old will have to go without facebook or texting for a week and show me some real applied attention to her education.  It will feel like the end of the world to her.  And I will be dragged along this mud slide with her- remember her eyes- This means I will need to keep my head down, my eyes focused with their ice cold stare and wait that week out!  Good luck to me (I already know if she shows good attention to her school work, no whining and complaining, I will be glad to let her have some time with her FB and texting.  BUT I will need to start each day fresh with no electronic communications till after her schoolwork is done.

Yes, I can do that!  How about you?  Will you be able to do what you really need to do to be sure your kids are going to get to be their own personal best?  Let me know what you do, cause I really can use some help now and then!

Why I Have Trouble Valuing What I Do

November 21, 2010 at 9:39 am | Posted in attitudes, New York Marathon 2010 | 1 Comment
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As a girl I had one absolute irresistible interest.  I loved babies.  This wasn’t overwhelming.  There was nothing I needed to do to love babies.  I just saw them and loved them.  I did become one sought after baby sitter!  Simply because I loved babies.

As I matured, I took this passion to school with me.  I studied about babies, in high school, in college, in my master’s program.  I studied every self-help book I could find.  Now I was the baby expert as well as the lover of babies.  Then I got to be a mom of my own babies, the absolute joy of my life. There was nothing that filled my entire soul more than being a mom.  I carefully had my babies spread out, four years or more between each one, so I could totally relish in each and every baby.

It was obvious to those around me that mothering was not just a thing I did.  Mothering filled every moment of my living and breathing. It filled my awake hours, my sleeping hours, and my other than reality self.  This is that self that is real but not tangible.  It is not connected with time or age.  Maybe it’s the soul or spirit part.  It’s what makes us more than automatons.  Anything that has personality has it.

I was/ am a unique and wonderful mom.  I follow my heart, insist my children live and follow their passions.  There is nothing that gets in the way of my mothering.

Yet, I am not one of those moms who is obnoxious or over bearing.  I don’t get caught up in guilt trips by my kids, by other family members, by friends, or society.  I can be the amazing mom I am simply by being my fullest and most joyful self.  My girls, their friends, and those I work with professionally, know that when I am with them I am one hundred percent with them.  My interest in what they do, think, have, where they holdback, what they excel in, is completely genuine.  There are no barriers, shutters, blinders, or lights only on specific things.

Now here’s the thing that I do that is different from what you hear you are supposed to do.  You hear you are supposed to be fully present to those around you to really get a deep understanding of them.  But that’s totally false.  To really be able to have that deep connection and understanding of those around you, you absolutely have to be completely present with your self.  If you are distracted with whom you are then there is little or no chance you are going to get it about anyone else.

But this post isn’t about you becoming present to others; it’s really about why I have trouble valuing what I do.  And it may be why you have trouble valuing what you do.

So here’s the thing.  I know how good I am at what I do- personally as a mom to my four daughters and one stepdaughter, and professionally with the young female athletes I work with, and my other clients who are becoming their own personal best.  Everything in my life is connected, centered, and joyfully executed around doing what I personally excel in.

So where is the value?  Isn’t there supposed to be hardship, difficulty, real work involved with things that have value?  I mean it’s OK to spend some time doing enjoyable things, but one’s whole life?  Doesn’t that make you (really me) be some how selfish and shallow?

If you know me in any capacity you know this is complete fantasy.  If anything, I am so rock solid and genuine that I scare off people who feel they need and want fluff and scattered energy around them.

So back to value- When I ran the New York Marathon 2010 everyone I know was impressed.  I was impressed.  Does that give running this marathon or any marathon value?  Of course there is hardship, difficulty, and real work involved with being able to run a marathon.  But this in and of itself did not give anyone else or me value from my running.  I got my value from my running because I put my heart and soul into being able and ready to run 26.2 miles at my own personal best.  And others around me soaked up this attitude and energy.  They got value from me because I created the value simply by following my joy.

You see the value does not come from the work or sacrifices.  The people in concentration camps have been made to do terrible work; they have had to sacrifice many amenities.  But no one will ever say that there was value in their work or sacrifices.  People who grudgingly go off to work or school everyday don’t bring value to what they are doing.  People are unaware of their outcomes, good or bad.

One reason marathon runners impress others is that they can only do the marathon by being fully present for months on the task of getting ready.

And this is what gives a marathon and its runners value. It is not only the actual day of running 26.2 miles.  The value comes because we all know there is something much deeper and much more encompassing than the one day of the race.

It’s the focus, the dedication, the absolute determination of overcoming the obstacles.  But it’s way more than that.  It’s the personal joy that is interspersed throughout.  And that is why I have trouble valuing what I do-

Because everything I do has joy in it there must not be value. I don’t work hard, I don’t suffer or sacrifice in any way.  Sure I put in huge amounts of effort in everything I do, I even struggle to get things done.  I have a car we call the Toasted Marshmallow- It’s a white mini van with over 200,000 miles and rust spots.  But these are not work or sacrifices. These are easy choices so my family and I have and do what we want.

But here is the reality.  Because everything I do has joy in it, everything I do has the most intrinsic full value that exists.  And that’s why it’s hard for me to know it has value.  Value is the corner stone foundation to everything I do.

How Do You Fake Running the New York Marathon 2010?

November 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Posted in New York Marathon 2010 | 6 Comments
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(OK I have finally gotten my NY marathon story written. It’s a four part series. I’m interested in your feed back and comments, as I will be using this in a book I am writing. SOOO I am regifting a prize worth $25 I won from Greg S to be raffled off to everyone who comments on the blog. You can get more raffle chances by commenting on each of the four parts- The start to this series is Nov 12.  You can read just this or scroll down and start there. Happy reading and commenting)

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Race Day!  The New York Marathon.  The day I have hungered for, hidden in my past. Something I didn’t dare do.  An event that I was sure would show that I was a fake when I was younger, now was mine to have and show I am real. That I really can do a marathon and somehow that I really am who and what I believe I am.

Funny, because I inspire so many people, especially young female athletes and their mothers, to be their own personal best.  But I was hidig this secret.  I was hiding that I never let myself live up to my own personal best. Well, I did run in my youth. I did run one hundred miles a week. But I stayed away from competitions.  I had all the right excuses.  And I knew they were all deceptions of the truth.  I was afraid of being amazing!

So back to NY marathon 2010.  Race day at 5:10 am.  Luckily the clocks changed that night, so I felt like it was 6:10, an easy time for me to be up.

When I go to the street I saw another runner.  Of course the stance, but also the tell tale bag.  She had a few other bags.  Anyway, I asked if she were heading off to the public library for transportation as well and would she like to share a cab.  And to our luck at that moment a cab was dropping off someone right across the street.  We hopped in and the adventure began.

As we approached the library about a thousand buses were doubled up on the right side of the road, waiting to take us- me – to the start.  Getting onto the bus was just as simple.  We showed our bags and got any bus that had space.  As soon as it filled up off we went.

My new friend and I sat together, sharing our stories of how we got here.  She was a breast cancer survivor and a sister with active cancer. We had our reasons for sure.

When we got to Staten Island it was dawn.  There were about a million port-a-potties.  I think actually one per racer LOL.  Dunkin Donuts was giving out hats, I got two and my friend got one.

Well this lady was so prepared.  She was terrified of the cold.  She had a tent, a comforter, hand and toe warmers, paper clothes to wear till the start.  And she invited me to join her in her tent.  We laughed about sleeping together and hardly even knowing each other.  She was terrific.

I had my regular breakfast- yogurt, granola, milk, and my vitamins.  I also had one bottle of my lemon ginger Cell-Nique.  This drink was my race day energy drink of choice.  It is completely organic and formulated to replenish and energize from the cell level.  Perfect for me!

Well, we were just hanging out in her tent being rather happy and smug about being out of the wind, when we heard at 9:15 that the 10:20 corrals would be closed in fifteen minutes!  This was a shock.

Just a bit of race start info. There are actually three start times (9:40, 10:20, 10:40) with three start locations (orange, green, blue) for each time.  This means there are only 5000 for each start.  Much more manageable than 45,000.  Also, each racer has a tracking tag attached to their shoes.  With this great device each runner’s time is true of them alone.

My friend’s start was at 10:20. So we hopped out of the tent.  She was planning on leaving everything behind except what she was wearing.  She told me to see if I could take the tent home for my ten year old.  She started to help me with the tent- I sent her off with my best wishes for a great race!

And I was on my own.  I went quickly to the blue start, arriving just five minutes before the UPS trucks taking the bags to the finish were closing up.  I had a lot of changing to do.  I sat in front of the truck. Took off my outer four layers of tops, two layers of pants, socks and shoes, and put on my vibram-five fingers.  I kept my gloves and her comforter.

It really was chilly and I felt sorry for those who had on shorts and tank tops.  I was absolutely perfect. The sun was strong and crystal clear, with temps to be around 50 degrees.  Nothing could be better for me running or NY fans to watch.

I had signed up for the 4:30 team. There were about 12 in our group.  This was put on by Timex.  We had two leaders who would run the marathon paced to be done in four hours thirty minutes.  I joined them outside our corral.  Then one by one 5,000 people passed a few check points to be sure we each had a bib and personal tracker on our shoes.

This took only five minutes!

One more potty stop.  And we moved en mass in one direction.  I thought how lucky we were to be going on this pleasure trip, thinking of all those pour souls who have been lead to their deaths en mass, particularly in the holocaust.

We heard the BOOM.  Our race had started.  I was prepared for the pushing and shoving, getting ready to protect myself from the onslaught of people needing to get going.  But the bantering talk continued, the slow pace to the start remained the same.  Of course, we had individual trackers.  No need to push and shove to the start to get a better time.  Our times were our very own!  When we reached the start I looked up at the clock.  I couldn’t make out what time it really was, so I just went.  I didn’t have anything to worry about- I had pace setters.

On the Varrazano Bridge, at last I was being my dream.  I dared to look around me.  To see the river, to see the city, to see the runners.  Each and every one of us were living testimony that we can be our dreams.

For some the incline and wind were tough.  For me they were a gentle and invigorating start.  It was fun to be on the team.  When there was a crowd the leader with the balloons simply said, “ Make way, team 4:30 coming through.”  We snaked our way along.

But something happened and it was GREAT!  I realized that this pace was too slow for me.  I knew that if I tried to be this slow I would be more tired in the end than if I went just a bit faster.  This pace was 10:17.

So I went off on my own.  Really daring myself to be completely independent.  Relying on no one but myself.  Just what I do when training, but never in public!  And I assured myself if I got too tired I could always hook back up with the 4:30 team.

I had told my family that I wanted them at four spots along the run, 8, 16, 20, 24.  They took a great deal of time looking at subway maps and the race route.  They figured it out, and were close to my desires, 7, 12, 16, 23.  My friend Annie was going to meet me at mile 18.  The race was covered!

Anyway I forgot, when I got off the Varrazono Bridge there was cheering and cowbells, high fives, and so much positive energy I was blown away.  I ran on the right side because that is where my family said they would be.  What fun, to be going along and having all the people cheering me on.  The looks on their faces were inspiration enough to last a lifetime.  They were so excited to see us running.  They looked directly into my eyes.  They where genuinely impressed by what I, and all the other runners, were doing.

I found another pace setter for myself, a young man in his late twenties, about 6’5” with a bright orange T-shirt on. I took two steps for everyone of his.  Anyway, he was going at the pace I wanted and he was sure easy to see.

My family was right there at mile seven, with the bag of food and drink I wanted.  They were so excited and happy.  Jeanee jumped into the race with the bag.  I just wanted the Cell-Nique.  It was perfectly satisfying!  I had lemon ginger.  I was able to avoid all the other drink stations.  I was able to spread the word because the bottle was glass I had to hand it off to a spectator.

Then we went into Queens.  The crowd was different.  The bands here were slightly more mellow.  I loved Broolkyn’s dynamic energy and now I loved Queens’ more gently soothing energy.  Actually just what I needed.  Mile 8 to 14 were a breeze.  My pace was energizing rather than exhausting or depleting.  My Vibrims were doing just what I wanted.  I was fleeting along, easily able to dodge and maneuver around people. And as soon as anything felt a little off I knew, so I could adjust instantly rather than waiting till I cramped or something.  Once again I loved seeing my family where planned.  Pictures this time, but no stopping for me.  Another Cell-Nique. And ready for the second half of the race.

This race began with the Queensboro Bridge.  For me it was rejuvenating.  The uphill climb of two miles was effortless.  The quiet patter of the feet reminded me of the leaves rustling in the wind in my New Hampshire mountains.  I began to pass people in earnest.  Yes I did feel for them, but I was my own goal today.  And going up this hill was a piece of cake for me.  Then came the down.  And it actually was steep.  It’s hard for lots of runners to know how to go up, but way harder to go down.  But I am really good at down!

At the bottom we made a sharp left turn, to the cheering and yahooing of the entrance to Manhatten.  Another boro and another personality.  This group was barricaded off.  Not sure why. But it was less fun, less personal.

At mile 16 my family was not there.  I think I saw my step-daughter, but she did not see me. I was sure at our last spot they had told me they would meet me some other place. I ran on the left side of the road here, to be sure to get my drink!  And their love.  Both of which were so important for my stamina.

This was the hardest part of the whole journey.  The road was hard cement with cracks in it. I was super glad to have my vibrims on here and my rocks and roots training.  The vibrims allowed me to mold more easily to the uneven surface, so no straining or sprained ankles.

Her I was chugging along.  Not huffing or anything, just reserving my energy for the last two parts of the race.  At mile 17 out of nowhere was Annie!  With a sign to boot!  A quick hug, a quick good luck and I told her I was doing great!  Thanked her for supporting me and that I was running for her.  It wasn’t that I was running to impress her.  It was that I was running because she had ultimate faith in me that I could run my own personal best.  And that I was not a fake. I was, for real, amazing!

I stayed to that left, knowing my family would be somewhere before the Bronx.  I was just a bit tired.  Nothing like any of my training runs where I thought I’d just collapse, or slowing down to a slower than walking pace.  As I said, just a bit tired.  And then they were there.  This time with just the Cell-Nique ready for me.  Energy blast, and to last.

Off to the Bronx with vim and viggar.

And what a Bronx!  As we crossed the bridge, again great for me with the incline, there was a man yelling with as strong a Bronx accent as possible, “ You’ve reached the Bronx.  Only 6.2 to go.”  After him was a rapper, one from my lesson!  He had a stage a few blocks long, lots of vocals and instrumentals with him.  His words and beat were infectious.  We all bounced along to his rhythm and inspiration.

Back to Manhatten and the last of the race.  This was where I had decided to pick it up.  I began to run in earnest.  I had to really do my rocks and roots to dodge the people.  So many walking, jogging, limping, struggling and here I was going like a deer.

One person commented, “ Look at her go and look at that face of concentration.”

Gave me just another little boost.

Mile twenty-two.  Still feeling great.  Dodging and weaving.  Keeping my speed.  Loving what I was doing.

Mile Twenty-three and out of know where are Jeanee and Jamie.  Jamie jumped into the race, by the way no barricades here.  Chattered away, trying to keep up, and give me love and inspiration.  And she was doing it.  Looking back my only regret is I didn’t grab a Cell-Neique. But at the time I thought I was fine.  Man, I was running when everyone else was walking and jogging.

Mile twenty-four.  Still strong, still in control. And Jamie prattling along just behind me.  She had to duck off to the port-a-potty.  I went on.  No stops for me.

Mile twenty-five.  Just a little touch of a blister on the ball of my right foot behind the big toe.  Slowed me a bit but still going strong!

Mile Twenty-six.  Some walkers were now running.  I had slowed down some, but still I was going at run.

500 yards to go

200 yards to go

100 yards to go.  The emotions of the runners around me was palpitating.

50 yards to go

20 yards to go

10 yerds to go

THE FINISH LINE.

I had done it.  I was totally alive.  I had run every single step of the way.  I knew I had beaten my goal.  I really was amazing!

I looked at that finish line clock as I went through but again couldn’t really register what it meant about my personal time.  I was awarded my medal around my neck.  Given my heat blanket, had it taped on, had my picture taken, got my end of race goody bag with the best apple I had all year.  I know this was so because I could never have eaten a mushy, soft, tasteless apple.

As a tired, relieved, and truly feeling successful crowd we began our walk past the UPS trucks with our pre-race bags.  As we walked along I asked the time.  It was three.  I guessed that meant I had run a 4:15.  When I got to my UPS truck I sat right down and put on my layers of clothing, stretching as I did so.

It took a whole hour to get from the finish line to the streets.  It was a great way to end the race, all together still before we were invaded by reality.

Once out of Central Park I walked toward our meeting place.  But the bags were just too heavy to carry, they were filled with drinks.  I stretched, used a few people’s phones to call my family.  I stayed where I was and stretched.  We connected.  Hugged and laughed.  My girls were SO proud of me!  I drank another Cell-Nique and ate two eggs.

We went to the subway.  The stairs were tough.  And of course we had lots of them.  But I made it.  Jeanee and I went straight to Grand Central.  The others met us in time for the train.

We went straight to my mom’s house.  They are the best thing in the world moms!  She had a big hot tub filling up for me and a wonderful huge dinner for when I got out.

My real results-

4:15:03 How about that- three seconds off my guess! And fifteen whole minutes faster than my goal!

278 out of 1348 females aged 50-54 – again pretty darn good!

4848 out of all females

20060 out of total runners!

My pace was 9:45. Thirty whole seconds per mile faster than I had ever planned.

And guess what?  I did not reach my peak.  Yes, it was my own personal best for me that very day.  But I can and will do better.

It was fantastic to run for me, for my family, and ultimately for the Women’s Sports Foundation with all the girls and women they support and represent.

Dodging People, Puddles, Poops, Cracks, Curbs, and Cars I Get My Bib

November 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Posted in New York Marathon 2010 | 2 Comments
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(OK I have finally gotten my NY marathon story written. It’s a four part series. I’m interested in your feed back and comments, as I will be using this in a book I am writing. SOOO I am regifting a prize worth $25 I won from Greg S to be raffled off to everyone who comments on the blog. You can get more raffle chances by commenting on each of the four parts- to be posted over the next few days. Happy reading and commenting)

So the training is over.  It’s time to actually do the race.  Well sort of.  But before the race I have to get from NH to CT to NYC.  Nothing major, but it takes careful planning and execution.

Thursday before the race my three daughters and I started off.  It was rainy and windy.  We stopped on the way to drop off my ten year old.  She had ice hockey over the weekend and quite frankly, I thought the marathon would be boring for her to watch and frustrating for the others dragging her from place to place to support me.  I’m adding this in because it’s not as easy to find someone to watch your child when theirs head off to school and yours is home schooled.  Just one more complication that had to be ironed out before being free to race.

The ride to CT was horrible driving. But the energy and excitement in the car kept me alert.  My two teenage daughters gave me a rap lesson.  I learned the names of six rappers, how to tell them apart, and why each was famous, important, or if dead or still alive.  This was actually important while I was running- but that comes later of course.

When we arrived in CT we stopped for one minute at my mother’s so she could drive us to the train and take my little dog.  We went to the train, climbed to the platform, bought our tickets, and the train was there!  We literally did not have even one minute to spare.

Arriving in the hustle and bustle of evening rush hour in NY is as much of a contrast to NH as is possible, except when you add rain into the mix.  The contrast was beyond comparison.  We were met by Jeff at the info booth at Grand Central Station and quickly went out to get a cab to the Javits Center for registration to pick up my bib and other pre-race paraphernalia.

I was excited and Jeff was nervous.  Registration closed at seven.  It was about six now. Rain in NY means no taxis.  Ten minutes later we found a gypsy taxi.  We got in.  Gave our destination.  Drove a half block, when the cabby said he’d take us there for sixty dollars!  (Spelled out because of the extraordinary exaggerated price.)  I said,

“Get out girls. No way are we paying $60.”

The girls looked at me in confusion.  While Jeff said,

“I know where we’re going.  I work uptown. I’ll pay you 15.”

“Get out girls.”

“No way, I’ll do it for $30, see I’m taking an illegal left turn to get you there.”

Click went the door locks.

“I will pay $15 and no more.  That is double a normal fare.”

The doors were locked, the traffic stopped. We were stuck.  Now it was 6:30.  I really wanted to spend Friday relaxing in CT with my mother.  Not coming back into the city.

The doors unlocked, the girls immediately opened the door.  We tumbled out.  For a couple of minutes I kept asking Jeff how to get to the Javits Center.  He was nervous.  Now I was anxious to get going.  I told him I was going to run there.  He said I couldn’t run there.  I replied, “I’m going to run 26.2 miles in three days.  I think I can run this now.”  He told me, ten blocks straight. Turn left and three blocks on your right.

I took off.  Not a sprint, but a good clip.  This was truly my last training, to see if I could run in NYC.  It was psychologically necessary.  My training of rocks and roots had paid off.  Dodging people, puddles, poops, cracks, curbs, and cars was exactly the same as when I ran trails only on rocks and roots.  I was smiling from ear to ear.  I had passed my own fear once again.  NYC was easy to run.

When I made my left turn I saw runners.  I could tell by the walk, the stance, and they all had the same bag.  It was like coming to my Mecca.  I could tell I was where I was supposed to be, not just for registration, but for being and breathing.  It happens to me a lot.  And each time I take a moment to really feel the energy.

The registration was a piece of cake; with each stop a little more excitement and satisfaction of being there.  I was meant to run, and run for girls and women.  I was extremely proud!

When I got my bib I almost cried.  But who ever heard of a grown woman crying because of getting her bib.  I walked across the lobby to the T-shirt stop.  Now guess what- I saw others crying- men and women. We were all there with this huge emotional experience and we couldn’t hold it back.  I don’t know their stories, but they were significant for sure.

Last stop- pictures by the map.  We were all taking each other’s pictures.  We were a happy excited family at a picnic.

And that’s when my family arrived.  We wondered around, talked with sponsors around the booths, exchanged emails and headed back to CT, eating Indian on the train.

Friday was a perfect day of hanging around.  I went to the beach with my mother and dog. Had a gentle 3 mile run, and really didn’t do much else.

Saturday was a full day.  In the morning I packed for the race itself.  I know when I ran all the time packing was simply no different than brushing my teeth.  But not this packing.  I met the drink sponsor, Cell-Nique, and then we headed off to the train, of course just getting there in time to make the train.

The girls and I went to meet my great friend, Annie Kirvan.  We had sushi and talk.  Then off to the Trump International Hotel on Central Park West.  As we got to the park we saw the barricades being set up.  We saw the finish line.  We saw the crowds.  Yes I was really going to run the very next day and come through that finish line with my own personal best running.  There was nothing in my way now.  And most importantly I was not in my way.  I was my own energy and force.

Pictures with the Women’s Sports Foundation team.  Kathrine Switzer, our team leader, talked to us as if we were all the best of friends.  The girls loved the event and were invited into a few of the pictures.   We got one of Kathrine and the girls.  The one who made it all happen for girls to be true athletes and the girls who live their lives as true athletes.

Off to Amy’s, my stepdaughter’s, apartment in the Manhattan.  Dinner was vegan and lasagna.  The perfect combination for me.  But we had an emergency.  Amy’s dog had gotten in to my suitcase and chewed a hole in the plastic bag given to each racer to hold their belongings from the start to bring to the finish.  Luckily duct tape holds everything together!

I pinned my bib on my shirt.  I laid my clothes out in firefighter style. Brushed my teeth and went to bed.  I slept soundly.  Only waking a few times.  And at 4:45 the alarm got me up.  I dressed. Remembered everything and left the apartment.

Chair Lift Attack Brought Me to the New York Marathon 2010

November 12, 2010 at 10:01 am | Posted in attitudes, New York Marathon 2010, Self Esteem, sports | 10 Comments
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(OK I have finally gotten my NY marathon story written. It’s a four part series. I’m interested in your feed back and comments, as I will be using this in a book I am writing. SOOO I am regifting a prize worth $25 I won from Greg S to be raffled off to everyone who comments on the blog. You can get more raffle chances by commenting on each of the four parts- to be posted over the next few days. Happy reading and commenting)

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My story actually began four years ago when I was in Chile with my family for a ski training vacation.  As I was standing alone preparing to get on a quad chair lift, a young man thought he’d join me.  (He thought I was my 22-year-old daughter- quite the compliment at 47!)

Unfortunately, the chair was coming a bit faster than he thought.  It was going to clip him so he gave it shove away from him.  The chair was attached to a bull wheel so as it went around the centrifugal force made the chair go up eight feet in the air. Then the chair crashed into me.  By the way, the chair weighed 1000 pounds!

I was obviously knocked into with tremendous force.  I was unconscious at first. When I came to my 14-year old daughter was there, a relief until I realized my feet and legs did not move!  But after about ten minutes the toes were back in action!  Let me tell you those were some of the LONGEST minutes in my life.

Because of strength and flexibility due to a life of eating healthy foods and being physically active, and especially from doing two hours of yoga each day with my eldest daughter, my spinal cord was not severed, my hip was not crushed.  I was only severely bruised in my muscle and bone.  And of course those heal easily.

Except that one-week after the accident my bruised muscles did not heal.  They atrophied.  They actually disintegrated and disappeared.  I had a dent in my hip about three inches diameter and one inch deep.

None-the-less, I still thought I would heal just fine doing nothing in particular to help the healing process.

I was completely wrong. After a year the ITB band had slid forward about an inch, towards the front of my hip.  This force torqued my body causing displacement in my bones and muscles from my toes to my neck.  I ended up with a pinched nerve in my neck.  Through two years of physical therapy and chiropractic I was able to retrain my body to its natural position.  No surgery- Lots of time and effort.

My therapist knew that I had been a runner in my youth, running a staggering 100 miles a week, and as I had more and more children (4 total) I had given up my running.  And she knew that I really yearned to get back into running.  Being able to run a marathon would mean that I was truly healed.

During these two years of recovery I had been thinking I wanted to do something for the Women’s Sports Foundation.  The foundation epitomizes and represents so much of what I stand for: Equality for women; and athletics as a major source of health, both physically and mentally.  But I just couldn’t figure out just what to do.

In May (2010) my physical therapist said, “I think you are ready to do anything you want.  You’ll have to stretch everyday, possibly for the rest of your life, but I think you can do anything you want. Maybe even run a marathon.”  The very next day I received an invitation to run the New York Marathon for the Women’s Sports Foundation.

This was the perfect match!

So in June I began my 1000-mile journey on foot.  I started huffing and puffing a measly three miles.  I worked up to six but I was VERY slow!  My daughters could ride their bikes up the mountain road I trained on faster than I could run.  But their support being there and saying, “You can do it Mommy.  You are almost at the top.”  was pure music to my ears.

I used every single motivating idea and inspiring quote I gave to my daughters and clients.  And low and behold they really did work!  I was able to get myself going.

I ran, first just trying to get the distance in.  After I had accomplished some long runs, 18-20 miles, I added speed and technique.  I did workouts with core, Pilates, Zumba, arm strength, specific leg strength and flexibility, and yoga.

All the while I had to be sure I was eating the right foods to replenish and build strength.  Luckily I minored in nutrition at college.

I also needed to keep myself mentally going forward.  Some runs were horrible, some were very inconvenient.  Many were fantastic.  If I did not have the mental stamina I would have quit.

It’s not an easy task to train from scratch, to engage and solicit funds, to educate others about the Women’s Sports Foundation and to do everything else that needed to be done in my regular life of being an education and life management coordinator and coach for young female athletes, being a mother of four active daughters (two of whom are pro- and semi-pro freestyle skiers, homeschooling the three that live at home, and all the other things that come along with being CEO and CFO of a home.

I found that joining some online communities really helped. One was specifically set up for runners.  We post our runs and workouts, notes about running, support and motivate each other.  The other is facebok.   With these two and my local friends I had all the connections and support I needed.

So training and living went on.  Summer heat and humidity, new running shoes, and an unexpected two trips made me wonder if I really could get myself trained and ready for the marathon.

But you know I did!  I spent the last two weeks of Sept and all of Oct getting my final training done.  I had some long runs- all in the New Hampshire Mountains that I live in. One stands out in particular.

It was a nice sunny day. I was going for a ten-mile run.  I ran up the mountain road from my home and down to old dirt, logging road going up into the mountains.  This became a grass path, which turned into a muddy trail.  I reached the pass and started down the other side.

It was a stream that I had to jump from stone to stone with plenty of cold splashes along the way.  I was heading to a road about two miles from the pass, planning to hitch hike back to my town from there.  But all of a sudden there was a marsh in front of me.

I had to turn back!  And the weather had changed from sunny and warm to cold and damp and windy.  It was awful!  So I hopped and splashed my way back trying my hardest to not think anything.  I got to the logging road.  Some hikers were catching up to me.  So I forced my feet to pick up, move a bit faster.  I was back to running again, even though I hadn’t realized I’d stopped running.   All the while my twelve-pound dog was happily bouncing along.  When we got back to the road I put her leash on.  And bless her little soul, she tried to pull me home. She is not a regular leash pulling dog.

I was now two miles from home- and I was feeling dejected, exhausted, and ready to go home and cry!  The cry was going to be the best thing about this run. At least I would be able to get it all out of me.

Then my daughters drove the car up to me.  They were coming up the other side of the road.  They made a u-turn offering me food and water.  I just wanted a sweatshirt. The dog got in the car, not tired, just happy to be with happy people.  And the girls drove off toward home.

But they couldn’t leave me like that, even for the last mile left to get home.  They turned around again, made another u-turn by me and drove close to me blaring out the windows “We Are the Champions Of the World.”  Something happened.

I really can’t say what.  All I know is it was sort of like when the Grinch changed.  My heart warmed up.  I remembered who I was running for, My girls, All my extended family girls, and ALL the girls and women that the Women’s Sports Foundation represents.

How could I quit?  So what if I had a crummy run.  I had an obligation to myself and literally thousands of other girls and women to run!  If I quit what would I be saying to my own girls?

So I really picked up my feet and ran.  I focused deep inside.  I cut all the stings that were holding me back.  I looked at that road and nowhere else.  We were approaching our street.  I was on the right side of the road. The girls next to me. The road to the left.  The car began to turn slowly.  I kept going.  I waved my hand for them to come.  On we went.

Twenty yards further was a road to the right that looped around for a short circle back to my home road.  This was hard.  I looked at that road directly in front of me.  I made my feet keep going.  I picked them up, and ran straight on.   The girls put on other songs of inspiration.

Another twenty yards and I made a right turn.  This was back up the mountain road.  My pace picked up.  I was hauling up that road.  The music was blaring.  I got to the top, made the loop, and began the flight down.

And down I went.  My feet barely hit the ground.  I was here with my girls and I was twenty again running.  I was thrilled and amazed.  A sharp left turn to the flats.  Right turn to go down again.  Then up a short steep hill.  Back on the flats.  And a left up the steep hill to home.

I did it.  I ran those last six miles, in under 40 minutes. That was a pace of six-minute miles after a horrible run.  The total run was 26.5 miles.

I also knew I had changed forever.  I was now able to do my own impossible.  I was able to go beyond my own abilities, reach somewhere deep inside to gather strength and energy I’d only dreamed of.  I could do this because I wanted to show my girls and all girls and women that they could do it too.  We can all pass our impossible.  We can all run those last six miles.

And funny thing, after this run my soliciting became easier. My daughters began to make calls, to post about my running, to email their friends and acquaintances, to think there was more to it than just “Mommy running.”

That training run was the Sunday just three weeks before the New York Marathon, the day after going to an all day Bar Mitzvah with hours of dancing.

Monday I was tired, but I knew I needed to stay strong.  I went to my Zumba class anyway.  I kept right on with my training.  I really ramped up my core and arm strength. I stretched and did as much yoga as I could find time for.

These activities were not only for my physical strength, they added mental power too.

But I knew I had to slow down before the race.  And thankfully Halloween was right there, one week before the race.  My ten year old still wanted me to be with her for lots of festivities the whole weekend.  And she had two ice hockey games and one soccer game.  No time for my training.  But I did know now that if I really wanted to get in a work out I could.

That’s the prelude story of my New York Marathon 2010 race.  It was a race in and of itself.  It was a 1000-mile journey on my feet.  The beginning of the journey.  The next 26.2 are the end and the beginning.

No more trying! Its time to DO.

November 5, 2010 at 9:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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It’s been a long journey- Over seven hundred miles on my feet running; Countless hours of stretching, strengthening, yoga, Zumba, Pilates; Even more unaccountable hours of mental preparation.

And now its down to one more gentle run today, some core, lots of stretching and of course lots of hydration and eating just the right foods! And Sunday I run the New York Marathon.

I have learned and grown so much from this journey. When I ran in my youth I just loved it. There were so few demands on my time. Oh yes, I went to school and worked and lived off campus. I was busy for sure. But if I skipped a meal, didn’t pay a bill, ate junk, stayed up late partying or studying, it only affected me.

Now of course not paying bills isn’t even an option. I can’t skip meals because my kids get the hungry horrors if I do. My life is very connected with the well being of my family.

But beyond all this, I learned once again to follow my heart, my passion, my purpose. And to do it all with integrity.

Since my freak accident, four years ago, I have been trying to do things, trying to get a business up and running, trying to be involved with issues of personal importance, trying to live the life I dreamed of.

Only thing was I was trying. And that is NOT doing. I really struggled along with this. Except in one place and that was being a mother.

Now I LOVE being a mother, but my kids are older, we all need less of my mothering. SO not only was I struggling at trying to do something I was also doing less.

I was really frustrated and stifled. I sent out intentions to have something come into my life that would rejuvenate me AND let me bring a positive energy to others. All my life I have been passionate about the inequalities that girls and women accept and place on themselves, especially about their physical abilities.

And the very day after my physical therapist cleared me to do anything, “Maybe even run a marathon” I was asked if I wanted to run the NYC marathon for the Women’s Sports Foundation. Its nto an easy task to train from scratch, to engage and solicite funds, to educate others about the Women’s Sports Foundation and to do everything else that needed to be done.

But I’ve been doing it. And Sunday I get to run with 45,000 other amazing individuals as we tour the city of New York. Celebrating our successes.

Thanks to each and everyone of you for your support and encouragement! I could not have done this alone!

Although the marathon marks the end of this particular journey, my work for the Women’s Sports Foundation has really just begun.

No need to worry I won’t be hounding you for your dollars. I will continue “Talking with Top Female Athletes” and I will be doing events- Zumba, school and team sports programs, individual fitness and empowering coaching, and who knows what else

So what have I learned? To enjoy my life for what it is. Not to TRY and make it be something. I will continue my lifestyle as I want, support all those who I can, and always DO. No more trying- that just bogs you down. Holds you still and gets you stuck.

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