Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

My aunt and uncle live in Metairie Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. They were part of the brave souls who rebuilt their home after the destruction of Katrina. It took guts for anyone to do that! Yet, at 11a.m. this morning they joined hundreds of thousands of people in a mandatory evacuation. My aunt is undergoing chemo and will have to continue treatment wherever they land. For the short term they are landing with my sister in Jackson MS but may continue on to us if things worsen. I am worried,as many are. During Katrina my uncle snuck back into New Orleans with two of his neighbors and traveled by boat at night to see if his home had survived. That's what natural disasters do, they turn you into the pioneers like long ago. I remember going with him to wal-mart to buy masks and batteries and anything needed to travel into such dangerous territory.It felt like sending family into the wild and wooly wilderness. We were so relieved he made it in and out safely! He's a banker, but I believe during that time he channeled his Alcorn County country upbringing into some kind of modern Daniel Boone. He and his wife are two of my heros. I'm talking like they are elderly, but, actually, they are only about 6 or 7 years older than me. They are my contemporaries. They are survivors and, once again, they pull themselves up by their bootstraps and survive another hurricane.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Week 4 of the "RP"

I started Week 4 of the Beginning Running book runner's log. My rest day is Monday which is great due to my teacher Sunday night apprehension(don't know why I call it that, I love my job!). Last Saturday and Sunday just about killed me! I was getting over a virus AND dealing with female issues.I went to the track both days because that seems to cheer me up.I still struggled both days, but I pushed through instead of letting it defeat me. That was a victory for me. I really enjoy running on the track. So I was a little nervous about beginning the "2 minute run/2 minute walk with 2 minute push at end" this morning. I even told myself I could stay on week 3 1:30 run/2:00 walk ratio if I needed to. But here's what happened. This morning was probably the best run/walk I've ever had. The 2 minutes running seemed easier than the 1:30! I have no idea why other than I was rested, I set a reasonable pace from the beginning and tried to relax into it. This is why I am doing it: For that time during the run when something just clicks inside of me and I feel real at home with myself! This is a spiritual experience for me. Anyone who knows me well, knows this activity does not resemble how I usually live! I believe when you do something that you KNOW you are not capable of doing, that that's grace on your life, God's grace..unmerited, unearnable...just a gift to you because He loves you.So I thank God for the grace to run/walk...just for today...that's all we have.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Here's Where I Am Now With My Ambitious Learning To Run Program

This week I have been running one minute/30 seconds and walking 2 minutes 7x with a 2 minute push run at the end.This is cushioned every other day by a thirty minute walk. I also rest one day a week. It is nothing short of a miracle! I just love it. It clarifies the day for me so much! Now that school is back in session, I'm going to add weight training. Here's the plan: I'm turning 50 in December which means I can do the Senior Olympics. I know, sounds weird, doesn't it? But I'm thinking that I can dangle that "carrot" in front of me and maybe, just maybe, try to do a 5K run by next May(when they have our state senior olympics). I have no idea if I can do this. According to my "24 week to running 30 minutes plan" in my "Beginning Running" book, by January I should be up to 30 minutes cold of running,running without a heart attack for 30 minutes. So, I'm thinking by May...SURELY I can get my butt to a senior olympics 5K, right? That is a rhetorical question. PLEASE do not answer it. :) I am not thinking that it will be easy. That's not why I'm thinking of it as a goal. I am thinking that if I get my butt kicked in a 5K, at LEAST it will be with people near my age. I just think it would do me no good to get all mixed up with 20 year old runners at these charity 5K's, unless of course they were sympathetic, encouraging NICE 20 year olds who wouldn't call me "granny". HA! For now I will derive a sense of gratitude that I passed some walkers three or four times around the track this morning. I did not feel superior. I felt grateful that this exercise grace has fallen upon me just when I needed it.
One more thing, the running is the's the part that is so foreign to me that it fills me with optimism that I can do other things I thought impossible to do. Have no idea what that would be right now, but I'll keep this place posted!
Anyone else running? or run/walking like me? What's your time?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

So far, this blog has been all about the "summer me", the "I'm not working but I'm still gettin' a paycheck me", the " I have three looooong monthes stretching out before me me". Amazing how much I accomplished and how little I accomplished in those three monthes. Now, the rubber meets the road. Am I a true blogger or just a "fair weather friend" blogger? Only time will tell.
Thanks to one of my "new favorite people", Maggie Reads, I've been "Susie Reads" th is summer. Thanks to a looming 50th birthday, I've been "Susie walks then tries to run". Those are two things I desperately want to take with me into the fall.I've loved reading the book reviews, learning the lingo (I, too, have a long "TBR" list now that I know what that means.), visiting blogs from all over the world. This is thanks to Maggie who I view as kind of a local celebrity at the school. She won this GREAT award last week and I just stood up, cheered and tried to whistle. That girl has some charisma and an extra dose of talent! Proud to know her.
So, this may be my last entry until next May and the next Southern Reading Challenge.....but I sure hope not! Anybody else shocked that school is back in session? Anybody else wondering if they can keep up the "good stuff" from a summer break?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I Finally Know Why Old Men Like To Drive Slow Pickups With The Windows Rolled Down

I've started a new thing. It's yet to be determined if it's simply a knee jerk reaction to approaching fifty. In May I began walking again(as exercise, not because I've been crippled or anything). It has evolved into an attempt to turn that effort into running. I've even bought a great book on beginning running(which I will review here later). Right now, this week, the ratio is run 1 minute/walk 2 10x. There is a wonderful afterglow when you leave the track. You want to extend the experience. Yesterday I took "cool down" to a new level.
Climbing into my gas guzzling SUV I set out on a "country man" drive down some of my favorite rural roads. First, I rolled down all the windows,turned off the radio and slowed it down to 30mph. What a beautiful world exists just five minutes from where I live. Guineas,chickens,doves,geese and the cheerful song of many birds greeted me. Mist remained from a foggy morning that straight edged beams of sunlight constantly fought to get through. Millions of rainbow prisms clung to blades of grass covered with morning dew. Some old cottages were situated close enough to the road that I imagined I smelled what they'd cooked for breakfast that morning. The country is no respector of neighborhood covenants. Rusty trailers,shabby shacks share the same rural route as opulent mansions with manicured entrances.
The most curious thing I saw was a dead white chicken lying neatly on a bed of grass. At first, I thought it was sleeping. I wonder how it died. It didn't look injured or anything. A dozen churches of just as many flavors stand in a one mile radius. Older ladies and gentlemen worked in their gardens and sunflower plots or plodded barefoot down soft dirt driveways to the mailbox. A teenage boy walks down the side of the road. Why isn't he in school?
I don't think I've ever lived in the country but there is a gnawing desire in me to own a plot of land out there. Maybe I'll just take a country drive and sit on my land. Maybe a porch swing will be hung from a strong branch and a stone fireplace built from rocks on the land will warm us as we listen and watch for no particular reason.
I like the thought of starting the second half of life like that. Tell me, what was your fifty like? I'm interested to hear.