Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Being a Half Marathon Walker in a Runner's World

Ten years ago, I completed my first half marathon.  There were about 7 or 8 of us from work who completed the 13.1 mile course that year and I was the only walker.  On the following Monday we all wore our Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon t-shirts to work.  Even though t-shirts weren't a normal part of our dress code, we figured that we had earned that one, small bragging right.

Sometime during the day, a coworker came up to me and congratulated me on finishing "the Mini," as we here in the Louisville Metro area call it.  After I thanked her, she followed up with "I didn't know you were a runner," to which I replied, "I'm not.  I'm a walker."

I kid you not, but I visibly witnessed the enthusiasm and admiration drain from her face as she comprehended my words.  She actually had the nerve to then say to me, "I don't think walkers should be allowed to participate in half marathons because they don't run in them."

I was stunned - stunned - and for a few seconds, I had no words.  Then I got mad, mad because how dare she try to negate my accomplishment.  Walk, run, skip, hop, jog, or roll in a wheelchair, anyone who completes a half marathon has the right to feel accomplished.  

I then said something to this effect - "I trained just like a runner for the Mini.  I put in the same distance week in and week out since January.  On Saturday, I crossed the same starting line, crossed the same finish line, and I covered the same distance as any runner - it just took me longer.  There are no rules against walkers participating, so I'm not sure what your issue is."

She then said, "Well, anyone can walk 13 miles..."  I blinked, put a smirk on my face and replied, "Then where's your Mini Marathon t-shirt?" and walked away.  

I'd love to tell you that incident was an isolated occurrence, but it wasn't.  Granted, it was probably the worst as it was the most confrontational, but it wasn't the last.  In the  decade since that first half marathon, I've completed two more and no one has ever been that rude to my face. But, I've seen that visible drop in enthusiasm on so many faces over the years that I've now come to expect it.  Here's a typical scenario:

Person X: "What are you doing this weekend?
Me: "On Saturday, I'm doing the Mini Marathon."
Person X: "Wow! I didn't know you were a runner!"
Me: "I'm not. I'm a walker; I'm walking it."
Person X: "Oh..."

Or the past tense version (once people have discovered that I completed the race):

Person X: "You ran the Mini?"
Me: "No, I walked it."
Person X: "Oh..."

I've learned that short little "Oh..." at the end of the exchange is more than likely masking a thought similar to, "Big deal, I can do that," to which I'm silently responding, "Then why don't you?"

Here's what I don't understand - why would anyone feel so strongly against people who, like myself, walk in half marathons instead of run?  I mean, seriously, who cares?  And for the record, on Saturday during during my third Mini, I passed several joggers who were jogging at a slower pace than I was walking.  But, I digress...  We walkers are not taking anything away from anyone. Everyone who crosses the finish line will get a finisher's medal.  The KDF Mini Marathon and Marathon caps the number of participants at 18,000.  Over the weekend, 1,497 people completed the Marathon and 8,138 finished the Mini Marathon.  That means less that 60% of the slots were filled this year.  Obviously, there's plenty of room for anyone who wants to participate in the race. There's enough room to accommodate the joggers, the elite runners, the walk-joggers, the wheelchair athletes, the bucket-listers, and the walkers.  

There's plenty of room for all of us to be the best marathon and half marathoners we can be. 

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Friday, April 26, 2019

My Happy List - What I Enjoyed in April (Vol. 7)

In keeping with my plan to periodically "check-in" and share some of the things that have brought me enjoyment, (ENJOY is my word of the year, after all), please allow me to share a sampling of the things that I enjoyed in April.

I enjoyed...

April 1...  drinking fruity drinks in the open air lobby of the Luxury Grand Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay, Jamaica with my best friend celebrating our 45th birthdays.  *This, unfortunately, was the only night I was able to enjoy fruity adult beverages while in Jamaica because the next morning I came down with some sort of gastro-intestinal sickness.

April 3...  snorkeling (and feeling well enough to snorkel) in Ocho Rios.

April 6...  watching the sun set on our last day in Jamaica.

April 13...  seeing how Spring had sprung in the two weeks since I had last visited my favorite park.  I loved seeing all the eastern redbuds in bloom.

April 20...  watching The Ten Commandments, my Easter weekend tradition.

April 21...  celebrating Easter with R's family and being able to spend much of the day outside enjoying the fabulous weather.

April 23...  the small Oreo Blizzard I treated myself to for no particular reason at all.  

April 24...  the long, overdue phone conversation with my "brother from another mother," B.  

April 25...  running into a former co-worker and good friend, D, at the KDF Race Expo/Packet Pick-up.  It was good to see her and catch up a little bit.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Memories of Notre Dame - Wordless Wednesday (Vol. 43)

I had the privilege of visiting Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in the summer of 2009 while chaperoning 30-some teenagers on a whirlwind tour of Ireland, Wales, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Although my memories of the visit are somewhat cloudy, I'm very thankful that these pictures exist to document my visit and that I was able to see it in the first place.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: The First Ten Books I Reviewed As a Blogger

When I began blogging nearly four years ago (which absolutely blows my mind, by the way), my blog started out mainly as a book/reading blog.  Over the course of time, however, my writing has branched out and my posts have touched on numerous topics.  But, like I said, that's primarily what I blogged about in my early days as blogger, so much so that the first ten books I ever reviewed as a blogger were all within my first three months!  

I no longer do single entry book reviews like I used to; I now typically review all the books I've read or listened to the previous month during my monthly "Recently Read" post. 

Without further ado, here are the First 10 Books I Reviewed As a Blogger:

1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (reviewed July 3, 2015).

2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (reviewed July 8, 2015)

3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (reviewed July 11, 2015)

4. The River is Dark by Joe Hart (reviewed July 17, 2015)

5. Grey by E. L. James (reviewed July 18, 2015)

6. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (reviewed July 20, 2015)

7. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (reviewed July 28, 2015)

8. My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall (reviewed August 4, 2015)

9. Sweet by Tammara Webber (reviewed August 13, 2015)

10. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (reviewed August 14, 2015)

*Clicking on the book title will take you to my review of that book.

Have you read any of these books?  What were your thoughts on them?  Thanks for stopping by!

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Lessons Learned From Getting Sick While Abroad

Getting sick at any time is a miserable experience, even under the best of circumstances.  Getting sick while on vacation, on the other hand, kicks the miserableness up to a whole new level.  Some might say it sucks.  And, in my case, getting sick while on my quinquennial girls' trip with my best friend earlier this month to celebrate our 45th birthdays totally blew.  Honestly, it blew chunks and I mean that both figuratively and literally. 

Within 12 hours of arriving at our resort in Runaway Bay along Jamaica's north coast, I found myself heaving up the contents of my digestive system.  I should mention that I hate, and I mean HATE, throwing up.  I'm one of those people who will go to great lengths to avoid throwing up, even when I know it will make me feel better.  Well, even had I tried, there would've been no stopping the forceful expulsion that hit me around 4 a.m. the first morning and the same goes for the two additional times I threw up within the next 10 hours.  I'm not sure what I caused my illness - E. coli, salmonella, Norovirus...  All I know is that whatever it was, it was nasty.

I'd love to say that whatever I had passed quickly, that I rebounded and was able to fully enjoy the reminder of my highly anticipated vacation with my best friend, but it didn't.  The worst, in my opinion, was the vomiting, and it was, thankfully, over within 24 hours.  However, I dealt with other issues (rolling waves of nausea, fatigue, lack of appetite, and intermittent diarrhea) the rest of the week.  Although I wasn't completely sidelined, for I learned how to manage and keep my symptoms at bay (i.e. consume only toast, rolls, soup, water, Gatorade, and Pepto), I wasn't my optimal traveling self.  

In life, I try to look at every event, even the most difficult and the most inopportune, as an experience to learn something.  Here are four things I learned from getting sick while abroad.

Know That It Can Happen To Anyone
Anyone who eats is susceptible to coming down with some foodborne illness.  Anyone.  And, having said that, it can strike anywhere at any time.  Yes, there are many things we can do to prevent from getting sick while traveling, but let's be honest, there are many factors that are simply out of our control.  Although the timing of me getting sick sucked, I know in the grand scheme of things that I've been very fortunate.  I've traveled to a lot of places in my lifetime and this is the first time I've ever found myself sick while traveling.  

Know Your Options
After I threw up the third and final time, I went to the resort's medical center.  There I spoke with a nurse who helped me decide my course of action based on my symptoms.  In lieu of a having a doctor come to the resort or me going to  a local clinic, I opted to try some over the counter medicine first and see how things went from there.  It was nice knowing what options I had if my condition didn't improve, which they thankfully did.

Always Pack Pepto
I spent nearly $30 on two travel-sized bottles of Pepto Bismol at the resort.  The same amount would have cost me around $10 or less here at home.  I've always been one to pack Imodium when I travel, but not Pepto.  I truly believe that pink liquid was instrumental in helping me manage the second round of symptoms as well as I did.  Lesson learned - always pack Pepto.

Salvage What You Can of Your Trip
I'm very thankful that C and I didn't have an overly active vacation planned.  If we had, I doubt I could've participated in some of the activities and that would've made me feel even worse because at that point my illness would've negatively impacted C's trip, too.  Fortunately, our plans primarily involved lying by the pool, lying by the beach, drinking fruity drinks, and spending uninterrupted time together catching up - all of which I was still able to do (minus the drinking fruity drinks).  In fact, as long as I ate a strict diet of toast, rolls, soup, Gatorade, water, and Pepto, I faired rather well.  I even managed to snorkel, kayak for about 20 minutes, and climb Dunn's River Falls.  Most importantly, C and I got to spend a lot of uninterrupted time together catching up.  Although it wasn't necessarily the trip I imagined, I salvaged what I could.

Although I would've preferred not getting sick while in Jamaica, I did.  Life happens and when it does, all you can do is the best you can under the circumstances.  I do hope to return to Jamaica one day for a proper do-over.

Have you ever been ill while traveling out of the country?  What did the experience teach you?  

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Currently... (Vol. 38)

Enjoying...  Spring Break!  Yee-ha!

Thankful...  for the opportunity to visit my family in WV last week during the first week of my break.  While I was in, we celebrated my grandparents' 68th wedding anniversary!

Still...  walking a lot.  I walked 73 miles in March and if all goes as planned, I will walk around the same distance or more this month.

Ready...  to take a break from longer distance walking after I complete the KDF Mini Marathon on the 27th.

Loving...  these photos I found online of celebrities posing with their younger selves by Ard Gelinck.  I shared some back in February, but found these a week or two ago.

Griping and complaining...  about the fact that we had to pay a boatload of taxes this year.  Grrr....

Reading Listening to...  the audiobook Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Watching...  Breaking Bad (again) and parts of miscellaneous NCAA basketball tournament games that R has been watching.

Playing...  too much Two Dots.  What can I say?  It's addictive. 

Dealing...  with my escape artist dog, Rascal, whom I swear is Houdini reincarnated, because she keeps finding ways to get out of my fenced-in back yard.

Admiring...  Rascal's spunk, spirit, dedication, and stick-with-it-ness.  Seriously, she's 10 years old and she had to use a lot of ingenuity to get out the last time.  Although her shenanigans are a pain in the butt, it's good to see her active.  Throughout most of this winter she refused to leave her kennel in the garage, opting to sleep all day instead of exploring her backyard kingdom.

Wishing...  Ticketmaster and the like would just go ahead and add the taxes and fees into the ticket price up front.  My $50 "cheap seat" ticket to see Phil Collins turned out to be around $70 in the end.  If they would've just gone ahead and priced them as $70, I still would've bought them, but it would've saved me the initial sticker shock and from having to do some quick mental math...

Laughing...  at this:

Agreeing...  with this:

March in a Snapshot:

1) Walking in the snow, a stunning sunrise as viewed from my school,
my pass to watch the state senators do nothing but blow smoke and banter
with each other during a "joke-of-a" legislative session.
2) Chaperoning a "Glow Party" (dance with glow sticks) with a coworker
at school, a crazy windy afternoon, attending Get On Your Feet.
3) A well-earned Oreo Blizzard after a 12 mile walk, my Granny's flowers,
hiking the Endless Wall Trail in the New River Gorge (WV) with my aunt and uncle.

What have you been up to lately?

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PS - I'm currently on a girls getaway with my BFF of 31 years celebrating our 45th birthdays.  If I don't respond promptly to your comments, that's why.  
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