April 11, 2014

Mark on my mind

I've been having a ridiculously hard time getting back to the norm after spending a week in California. I'm so tired in the mornings, and it's so hard to get out of bed!

This morning, after I got the kids off to school, I ate breakfast and got ready for my run. I was so sure that I had six miles on the schedule today, but when I double-checked, I saw that I only had five. I haven't had a run in a while where I could see where my pace is right now--yesterday, I forgot my Garmin; during Ragnar, I had a ton of stoplights and I got lost; before that, my sister was in town, and I ran with her at her pace.

Lately, I've been feeling so slow! This morning, my brother told me that he'd like to run sub-9:00 miles tomorrow, and it makes me nervous. It should feel like a cake walk--even my very first 5K was faster than that. But I'm feeling so doubtful right now, and I'm not sure why. I think it's just a combination of being out of my routine, and the weight gain over the past few months, along with all the treadmill running over the winter that's making me doubt my abilities.

Anyway, I was curious to see what my "comfortable" pace was today. I was hoping I'd be running an effortless sub-9:00 pace, but of course it didn't work out that way ;) My first mile was 9:32; second was 9:50; and third was 10:02. I was getting more discouraged by the mile. My fourth was 9:37. After that, I decided to see if I could even get in ONE sub-9:00 mile. I knew if I couldn't run one, then I certainly wouldn't be able to do three tomorrow.

I picked up the pace, and focused on my arms (my little trick for pushing through when it feels tough--I focus on my arms instead of anything else). My pace settled around 8:30, and even though it was definitely tough, I managed to hold on. I finished the fifth mile in 8:27. That definitely gave me some hope that I can keep up with my brothers tomorrow! I don't want to hold Nathan back on his first 5K. I just might be able to pull off an 8:59-ish pace.

This afternoon, I got a package in the mail from Caitlin, who was Runner #4 on my Ragnar SoCal team. She sent me a gift as a thank you for co-captaining the team--a three-month subscription to StrideBox!

It's a box of products geared toward runners. Each month, the box contains different items. In mine today, there was: Quest Peanut Butter Cups, NOW Trail Bar, Huma Chia Seed Gel, Achiva Native Energy Chia Seed Chews, CytoMax Sports Performance Mix, ZipFizz Energy Drink, and a StrideBox Running Belt. So awesome! I thought this was such a thoughtful gift for a runner, and now I have something to look forward to in the mail for the next couple of months. It's smart marketing, too, because now I'll get hooked on all these products and buy more ;)

I've been thinking about Mark a lot lately. His death is really starting to sink in. When I was grocery shopping yesterday, I would see something he'd like, and think, for a brief moment, "Oh, I should get that for Mark!" And then I'd remember.

I let myself think about him for a while today, and it made me so sad. When we celebrated his last birthday, we had no idea it was for the last time. He was diagnosed in November, and he died in March. It all happened so fast!

Something has been bothering me a lot about the last time I saw him. He apologized to my dad for his being sick for so long, and he said that when he gets better, he can go fishing with my dad. I had explained to Mark, when the hospice nurse came to evaluate him, that he wasn't going to get better; but I don't think he understood that. It just makes me feel so sad that he thought the treatments had cured his cancer. It was such a hard thing to explain to him, and I don't think he understood.

I've been trying to think about what his birthday will be like this year. Every Halloween, my dad brings him over to his house for Mark's birthday and to pass out candy. It's actually kind of funny, now--Mark always told us his birthday was on Halloween, and that's when we celebrated. But when he went into the hospital, we noticed that on his hospital bracelet, his birthday was listed as November 1. ;)

I was thinking about doing a Virtual 5K this year on his birthday, and possibly raising some money to donate to his group home. He loved that home and all of the residents and staff there! When I was visiting there, I saw that they could certainly use some donations, so I think it would be a good thing to do in Mark's honor.

Anyways, tomorrow is going to be a very busy day! I'm getting up way too early to drive up to Dearborn for the Martian race. I want to see Stephanie start the marathon, and then I'll run the 5K with my brothers at 8:00. Then, I'm going to try and go to a couple of spots on the course to cheer for Stephanie.

I definitely want to see her finish, which will be at around noon. I'll go home, pick up the kids, and take them to the Holidome for the night. My brother had some points on his credit card and wasn't able to use the night specified, so he booked the room for us. We took the kids there once before, and they loved it, so they're really excited to go back. I'm not sure what the internet situation will be, so I may or may not post tomorrow night.

Hopefully I'll see some of you at the Martian tomorrow!


  1. I love the idea of a Virtual 5k for Mark! The fundraising idea is super as well. It would probably mean more then the world to all of the residents!

  2. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. I wasn't sure if you knew or not.

    I have a friend who lost her mother to lung cancer Nov. 1st 2011. Just a few days before her mother passed she posted "Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss

  3. I thought about Mark yesterday as I did a random act of kindness when I was running in the town of Chelsea. It's a really small town west of Ann Arbor. A trash dumpster in front of a house had blown over and trash had blown across the road which is a grassy area and there is a railroad track just beyond that. The trash was scattered all over the grass. I hate to see trash blowing around and I know that the people probably weren't home and had no idea that their trash was scattered around. I stopped my Garmin and uprighted the dumpster and picked up the trash from the grassy area and put it back in the dumpster. It only took me a couple of minutes at most.
    I would be happy to participate in a virtual 5K to help the group home.

  4. A virtual 5K for Mark is a wonderful idea! It would be a really great way to remember him and to help the home. I think he'd be happy if he knew he were being memorialized in that way.

  5. Sorry you are feeling out of sorts. Don't be too hard on yourself: you've had the Ragnar to prepare for and think about, so it's only natural that your grief would have taken a back seat. These things go in waves...

    Maybe it's not such a bad thing that Mark didn't understand. He was sick, but loved, and being loved is what matters.

    I think your idea of a virtual 5k to honour him is a great one!

    Good luck with the run tomorrow, and be kind to yourself.

    Catherine in England

  6. Welcome back home!
    The virtual 5K would be a wonderful way to honor Mark!

  7. Good luck today!!
    I think the 5k idea is fantastic.
    Hope you have a great weekend!

  8. Katie

    Be gentle with yourself... you've had a lot of your plate.

    I LOVE the virtual 5K idea !!! I will run for Mark.... anytime, anywhere : )

  9. Oh how I loathe getting back into a groove after vacation, or falling off the band wagon, or whatever! Jumping back in with a race is great though, that race pace will give you a little boost! And I would totally do a 5k to benefit Mark's group home!

  10. I think it is funny you think these are a bit slow paces. :)

    keep up the good pace!

  11. Now that things are getting back to a more normal routine at home, I can only imagine the void you feel without Mark!

  12. Sus ChesmarApril 13, 2014

    Love the idea of having a virtual 5k in Mark's memory :)

  13. Take it easy on yourself! You know your body better than anyone therefore you know you can do whatever you set your mind to. Your pace will get better because you want it! I try to tell myself things that I would say to others. Just think. Would you say positive things to others? Of course! So treat yourself the same way! And as for Mark? What a GREAT idea! I would def participate with a run and a donation.

  14. I LOVE your idea to do some fund raising for Mark's group home! Will keep an eye out for any info you post on that!

  15. Your story about Mark's birthday made me smile. For years (for as long as my dad remembered) we celebrated my Grandma's birthday on July 3rd and we much later found out it was actually the 2nd. We asked her about it and she just waved it off. She knew the correct date, but let us keep believing the wrong date because she knew how much we "all liked celebrating it on the 3rd". :) I still have the wrong date on my calendar to remember her by.

  16. I love the 5k idea and donations for the group home! Keep us posted!

  17. I think a Virtual 5K for Mark would be awesome!! I would definitely be in!! --Mishka


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