Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Everything is bigger in Texas, even the surprises.

stand at the doorstep and ring the doorbell. My heart is racing and I'm smiling from ear to ear. I've traveled thousands of miles and hours by plane and car waiting for this moment; a secret I've kept for two weeks. It's 9:15 p.m. on Friday in Corpus Christi, Texas and the door opens. The woman who answers studies me for a moment trying to recognize and place me. 

"Oh my gosh, what in the world are you doing here?" My mom says to me in excited disbelief.  "Jim, come here, you have to see who just showed up at our door!"

After hugging my mom, I run around the corner where my dad goes speechless on his phone call when he sees me. My sister's voice on the other end of the phone says, "Christine is there, isn't she," more as a knowing comment rather than a question. My sister was in on the surprise and our plan was flawless. Let the party begin! Literally.

The next two days are a whirlwind of people, celebrations, book readings, book selling and signings. My parents did it!  They published their book "The Blades Carry Me: Inside the Helicopter War in Vietnam." 

Three years of laughter, frustration, tears, aching hearts, and processing of 45 years of repressed memories brought my parents to this moment; surrounded by 100 of their friends who arrived to celebrate their book with them!  Well, make that 101 counting me. Does that make me a groupie?

The events were organized and smooth thanks to many good friends who volunteered to take care of everything from food set up, beverage service, book sales, moderating the reading, and shuttling people to and from their cars by golf cart. 

Over 85 books were sold and signed at their event with more copies sold on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! And they have only received five star reviews!

Their book reading was heartfelt and perfect. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. I was beaming with pride! Their book was amazing and I couldn't put it down until I'd read the whole thing.

In between events, set up, and visiting, I was able to go for a run. Both days I wore shorts and a tank top, LOVE the warm weather! 

The second day Mother Nature tried to help me multitask and surprised me with a rain shower on my run. Running back into the rain and headwind I felt like I was going slow. Celebrating the fact that I didn't melt, I took a rain-drenched selfie when I returned then hit the real shower. 

Later, I glanced at my running splits. Holy speed, Batman! I've never run that fast in my life! My "slow" mile 2 included a quick stop to take a photo of where I'd just run from. Good grief, maybe I should only run in the rain...or rather run to get out of the rain! I'm so excited!

This trip had surprises all around; big ones the size of Texas! If you take the time to read my parents' book, I guarantee you will be surprised by how it keeps you reading and emotionally moves you.  Want to read a true account of our family history? Here's your chance! "The Blades Carry Me: Inside the Helicopter War in Vietnam" by James V. Weatherill and Anne Weatherill.  Find it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

So proud of what my parents have accomplished. It was a wild weekend and I wouldn't have missed for the world. I'd do anything for my family.  Love to you all!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Beginning of a Real Runner

It started with a math equation:  20 degree weather + 20 mile per hour freezing wind gusts = feels like -6 degrees.

Sounds like a perfect day for a run--indoors. 

The steps to solve this equation require affirmative answers to the following:

1.  Do you have enough clothes to keep you warm?
-Yes, thanks to my 11th hour purchase. I'm going to break the rule and race in something I've never warn before. HUGE kudos to Nicole at Fleet Feet in Spokane for her clothing recommendations; you saved me. 

2. Have you done enough training to run 13.1 miles?
-Yes, enough that I won't hurt myself, nor will I run a PR. Recently, my miles have been logged on the treadmill and transitioning back to the road is more difficult. 

3.  Do you have a plan if the freezing air triggers your asthma?
-Yes, I will start running and if I have a minor issue I'll slow down or walk. If that doesn't fix it and my breathing worsens, then I'll go to the nearest med station and not finish the race. My ability to breath is worth more than a medal.

4. Do you have child care covered?
-The "big boys" went fishing and my amazing mother-in-law was watching my youngest. Check, check.

My son camping at Little Goose Dam.

5.  Do you have the perseverance, grit, determination, guts (or stupidity, your choice) to run a half marathon in well below freezing temperatures?
-Yes, and I think I was about to grow a real set of balls. As my friend said, "...it confirmed you are a runner."

Apparently, I had no excuses.  I was going to run a half marathon in the freezing cold. I had to laugh at myself when I was happy the temperature was up to 23 degrees (before wind chill) by the time I arrived at the race. Good grief!

When I arrived, the first thing I saw was the MedStar helicopter and Whitman County ambulance waiting to assist runners if necessary.  I wasn't sure if I should be relieved or concerned. Considering we were in a location without cell service (yes, those places still exist), I opted to feel relieved. Brilliant move by the race director based on potential liability reasons.

Picked up my packet and headed back to the warm pickup to enjoy my heated seats while I waited for the race to start. I was having second thoughts. "I could leave now and no one would miss me." I wasn't meeting anyone at this race. No one would be running with me or waiting for me. But instead of leaving, I joined the crowd of runners and started on my 13 mile journey.

We're off and I tell myself this is only a long, slow training run, not a race. I cover my mouth with my neck warmer and breathe through that to keep the air in my lungs warm. The wind gusts were enough to take my breath away.

Into the headwind I take a slow and steady pace; staying positive and keeping the negative chatter out of my head. It's an out and back race along the Snake River beginning and ending at Wawawai Landing.

At about mile 5, the top runners start passing me on their way back to the finish line. I see my friends Heather and Tammy and send a muffled cheer from under my mock face mask. I know they couldn't hear me, but Tammy saw me wave.

As I run I watch for my friend Andrea. I see her just before my turnaround point. She's about a quarter of a mile ahead of me and walking. Something must be wrong so I picked up the pace and caught up to her.  She was taking it slow because she was feeling dizzy. Relieved to not be suffering in the cold alone anymore, I stayed with her and we walked the rest of the way back. We had a blast, chatting the whole way while wondering if we'll ever get feeling back in our fingers. Andrea, you can be my race buddy anytime!

Tammy was a happy sight to see cheering at the finish line. Thanks for staying and making sure Andrea was okay. 

My final time was 2:53. That is a LONG time to be out in that cold! I did learn the trick to put Duck tape on the top of my tennis shoes to help insulate my feet. I also learned that you don't have to exfoliate your skin, the wind burn will do that for you. My face is silky smooth right now!

Despite waking up the next morning with puffy, weepy eyes, I feel like an accomplished runner. A REAL runner, not just one who writes about her running now and then. With that, my official race season has begun. I can just feel this year will be a good one!

My Bling!