I was in Michigan last week to help mom celebrate her 87th birthday. Did you know that it takes less than two hours to reach the west shore of Lake Michigan if you travel via jet plane from Denver? And to think it took me 47 days by foot... It was interesting looking down at the heartland from the plane, seeing the crisscross of country roads and fields...and wishing I were down there feeling the breeze against my face, hearing the birds, smelling the grasses ...instead of being stuffed in a metal tube hurtling through the sky. On the other hand, I was able to fit in a visit with my mom during my short 6-day window of free time.
My mom is a remarkable woman.
She spent most of 2005-2006 as the full-time caregiver for my dad as his health failed. During that time she learned all the ins and outs of being chief house manager while pretty much putting all of her own stuff on hold.
After dad died last December, mom kept plugging along, taking care of the various issues that arise with becoming the sole caretaker of house and home. And she continued to put her own stuff on hold as her daughter launched her grand run from Colorado to Michigan. With the run complete, mom's body spoke up and said it was time for her to give it some attention. Consequently mom found herself dealing with a number of health issues.
By the time I arrived on the scene last week, mom had pretty much dug in and told her body that she'd had enough of being sick and housebound and that she was turning that ship right around. She was back on her feet, driving hither and thither, getting her thrice weekly physical therapy, going out with "the girls" and generally kicking her heels up ... or at least putting one foot in front of the other as she marches on through life.
And I thought I got all my bullheadedness from my dad. Ha!
Paula & Mom at The Run's finish 8/1/2007
Upon my return from Michigan, it was time to tackle the Denver Marathon. I had run Denver last year. This spring, when they offered a "buddy" deal, Joe buddied up with me, signing up for the half while I signed up for the full, thinking that it would be great fun to jump into a marathon after running 1400 miles across the country. What great shape I'd be in! Such endurance! So light on my feet! Ha (once again)!
It turns out I'm really in no mood to race and my body seems to be in no mood to run fast. Figuring that anything quicker than 11 mpm pace for 26.2 miles would be unrealistic and not wanting to be out there for who-knows-how-long, I dropped to the half marathon. Wise decision. Race day dawned cold (30s), rainy, and, oh boy, a bit of a breeze too! Worse weather than I had seen on my entire run to Michigan by far (at least for the cold and wet ends of the spectrum). I had hoped that, although the looming marathon didn't provide the inspiration to train for speed that I had thought it would, perhaps the actual running of the marathon would inspire me to greater heights afterwards. That didn't really work so well either as I mostly just got inspired to jump into a hot shower after I got home then don my warmest clothes, crawl under some blankets and be a couch potato all afternoon.
I must confess to being rather frustrated with my turtle-like speed these days. However, I do find it encouraging to discover, while running, that I am still intrigued with veering off course, meandering about, exploring new routes, and enjoying all the sensations that come with putting one foot in front of the other while traversing this magnificent planet...no matter what speed.