Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pushing Ronda

Well, here we are.  Just about to the end the stories of my marathon woes in my attempts at qualifying for Boston.  I could write about Columbus, which was nine and a half weeks ago, but I have said all I have to say about that marathon.  I recapped it on Facebook when I was supposed to be registering for BOS.  I've recapped it a thousand times in my mind and verbally to those that have asked (I try not to purge to anyone who doesn't ask... except sometimes Sarah doesn't ask, but gets my venting anyway).  Truth be told, blogging this experience was a godsend during some very tough moments.  When negative thoughts and feelings are allowed out, healing is allowed to take place.  It has happened and now there is no looking back or wishing for what ifs.  I am headed into 2011 with a long list of things I'm hoping to accomplish... BQ being tops, but I'd also love a fabulous year of PRs in all kinds of races.  I'd like to get my kids and husband more involved in the running world and have them enjoy it ("enjoy" being the key word there)  I like to do some coaching and I'd love to motivate more people to get started and to keep at it.  Find their inner (and outer I guess) strength and bring it alive.  It exists in everyone, but we must dig it out, which brings me to the title of this blog.

I suck at lots of things.  I really do.  I procrastinate like the best of them.  I forget birthdays.  I don't call my parents enough and sometimes feel like when I do, it is to babysit (sorry mom, come for lunch and coffee any day).  I can be a crappy friend, sister and neighbor... knowing I "should" reach out more, but often get too caught up in my rather normal life to do so.  I don't mean to be this way.  It certainly is not intentional.  These are things I need to work on more.. and I will.  I get angry way too easily and often regret my quick temper...  again, I am always trying harder to be better.  It's all anyone can do.

But I'm good at a few things too.  And one of the things I believe I am good at is motivating people to run and work hard, although it often takes another person to get ME to work hard and push myself.  Take for example, my friend Ronda.  Ronda is a glass half empty kind of gal.  You will never hear Ronda say she did something well or that she thinks she can do something.  It's usually "There is no way......" from Ronda.  Now that is not saying she is always negative.  She isn't.  She laughs a lot, she's funny, she's a deeply rooted girl who stands firm in what she believes is right and wrong... and she does not deviate from it.  I respect and admire that trait.  Ronda is a "say it like it is" kind of girl without apology.  She has a very big heart and is a genuinely kind person.  Ronda has been running for a couple of years now.  She and our friend, Karen, who happens to be one of Ronda's closest friends, have been running together a couple of times a week for quite some time.  But Ronda's definition of running and mine are a bit different.  Ronda tells me one day that she and Karen ran the outer loop at the park.  Well of course, I'm ecstatic!  She then tells me "Well, we run/walk it."  Well, that's ok too... it still counts.  So weeks later, she tells me they have been running for 8 minutes and recovering or "walking" 12 minutes.  Ok, NOW I'm finding this unacceptable.  Ronda and Karen have been exercising for YEARS and are way more capable of running further than that.  I tell her this needs to change and they need to start increasing their running and decreasing their recovery/walking time.  They don't like this advice, but they take it.  And they are happy.  They sign up and run the Thanksgiving Day race together, both swearing they "could never make it" and of course they do, and they are happy.

Last week Ronda tells me she is going to run the Noel 5k at Lunken (which took place last Saturday).  This is the race that Sarah is having her 5k training group run at the end of their nine week session (side note.. they all made it and they all did an incredibly awesome job).  Many of the participants are mutual friends of ours and so I had decided to go and cheer them on.  Ronda tells me she'd like it if I would "jog" it with her.  She says she has never run 3 whole miles without taking a walk break and that we would be running very slowly.  I have no agenda for this race so I say "sure!"  She continues to tell me that this would be run at a 10 1/2 to 11 minute pace and that we will "just be jogging, Kate."  "Ronda, that's fine.  I'll do whatever.  I'm not even registering so I don't care how I run it."  Now let me just tell you I'm also really crappy at being true to my word when someone asks me to do something like this.  Again, I don't mean to be, but instinct kicks in.

As promised, I go to the race with Ronda.  With us are our friends Kim, Tammy and Jen... all three out to get 5k PRs (all of whom, I might add, won age group awards).  We arrive and notice that a man is shoveling part of the course.  Oh boy, that is going to change things a bit.  We find out that when the course was cleared from our big snow, only part of what was cleared was the right part of the course.  So now some guy was hand shoveling the path in which we were running.

The race begins and we are forced single file onto the path.  I don't have my Garmin since Kim is using it but it feels right around where Ronda wants to be.  Which is fine.  For a little while.  One thing I didn't say is that Ronda likes to talk... a lot.  She talks fast, too.  So she is talking fast and saying she's getting too hot and why did she wear her damn sweat jacket and I begin to get an idea.  I think if Ronda were racing this, she would not be able to keep the words spilling as fast as they were.  So I tell her to pass the people ahead of us.  And we do.  We have now done a mile and I'm certainly good and warmed up and downright as comfortable as I could be.... so I begin to pick it up slightly and tell her to stay with me.  She starts saying she's tired and I say "No, you are ok."  Now we are at the turnaround... the halfway mark.  I finally tell her we are going to work a little bit.  We continue at the same pace and she is still talking, but a little less now.  Finally we have a mile left and I tell her that from this point on, no one passes us and we are only to pass people.  She tells me she has a cramp and I tell her to work it out.  I make her stay right behind me, telling her constantly we are "almost done".  Finally I hear nothing but footsteps right behind me.  Ronda is quiet and I know she is pushing herself.  She stays right behind me every step of the way.  I talk to her continuously and tell her it's ok if she wants to trip me.  I don't care.  I KNEW that she was capable of way more than she credited herself with.  Most of us are.

We finally see orange cones... and the clock.  The clock is reading 29 minutes and she has about a 10th of a mile left.  She is tired and it is icy on this stretch.  So I said "Ronda, you have got to keep running hard to make under 30 minutes... but be careful, it's icy."  I don't know if Ronda gave a shit about her time at that point but hell, I did!  She drives herself to the finish and runs her first official 5k and longest distance continuously in 29:54!  Ronda's avg. pace is a 9:38.  And she is happy!

Congrats, Ronda (and all of my friends who ran a terrific race Saturday).  You are capable of far more than you think you are.

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