Just a quick update to let you all know I haven’t given up my writing. We’re in the process of re-booting our old blog “Reasons to Run” and I plan on contributing. In the meantime I’ve written two articles for the Deseret News that were in print the week before and after the Boston Marathon. I’ll post a link soon and write a quick recap of my incredible Boston experience soon.
Since moving into our new home three months ago, my main objective is to establish routines and traditions to create a little predictability in our lives. It’s not that I don’t love spontaneity, but I find peace and solace in my routines. I’ve had enough surprises- good and bad-this year. Why can’t I have the same breakfast and lunch everyday? Who says more is better?
Friday is friend day in our house. Since the kids get out of school early on Fridays, I let each invite a friend to come over for the afternoon. They get to play and I get to prep food and menus for the week ahead. While Pandora is streaming Jason Mraz through the kitchen, I make homemade salsa and tortillas. I boil eggs for snacks during the week. I chop vegetables and prep fruit. I plan the following week’s menu and write out the grocery list. Since the kids are occupied, I usually find time to make some cookies, too.
About the time the girls are saying goodbye to their friends, I’m gazing lovingly at my fully stocked fridge with satisfaction and a smile.
Not exactly “Girls Gone Wild”, but I love Fridays and so do the kids.
I love training for marathons for the same reason. While most people are nursing a hangover or catching up on sleep, come New Year’s Day I’m printing out my marathon training plan. I plug in my goals and current fitness level and my printer miraculously tells me what I’m going to be doing each morning for the next 16 weeks. No thinking. Just doing.
There are weeks where life happens and plans change, but overall I have direction and focus. It’s not enough to know where I’m going. I have to know how I’ll get there and for me, routine is key.
Time is always short. It takes no effort to find ways to fill every minute of my day, so I’ve learned to prioritize. Fitness is important enough for me that I willingly wake up as early as 4:30 am to get my run in. Every. Single. Day.
It’s hard to wake up at a time I once considered the middle of the night. But I’ve done it enough times to know that I feel fantastic when it’s done, mentally and physically. I feel confident and more capable of handling whatever the day throws at me. It’s become as routine as brushing my teeth and when I miss it, it feels as gross as not brushing my teeth.
When we make something routine, when we put something on the calendar every day and treat that time as sacred time when nothing short of an emergency will get in the way, what we want to achieve becomes so much more doable. When there is no debate, just a resolution to do “it”, “it” will get done, more often than not.
So mock my daily turkey sandwich. Laugh away at the fact that I’m in my PJ’s by 7 pm. But our routine is working and our household is happier for it.
Kim’s getting her groove back.
It’s a new year which means resolutions are made and broken as quickly as a 5-year-old’s birthday pinata.
I’m not one to make resolutions dictated by date and time. I tend to make them when I reach a point of unacceptable frustration with myself. But I have made one decision for the upcoming year. I plan to listen to my body and take recovery more seriously.
The past two months have been a cyclone of activity. We finally moved into our new home only to host Thanksgiving dinner four days later. We stood by family tradition and dismantled much of the hard work we’d done to decorate for Christmas the very next day. Two weeks after that, we packed our bags and left for our first family cruise, a gift from my parents. We returned home two days before Christmas Eve. It was truly the most wonderful time of our year.
In all that time I ran only a handful of days. A strained back slowed me down in the beginning, but in the end my desire to run simply waned. I longed to hole up with my family and just BE. When I did run, it was solely out of desire. The lure of running in the Bahamas was too great to pass up. To pass up a chance to run in a tank top and shorts while my neighbors dug themselves out of naturally made igloos would be a travesty. It’s not every day one gets to run on the deck of a cruise ship, watching the sun rise over the Atlantic and feeling the cool mist of the ocean brush against one’s shoulders.
For the first time in a long time, I backed off my intensity and allowed my focus to get a little fuzzy.
The power of recovery is grossly underestimated. I race hard 5-6 months out of the year. For 3 months prior, I spend much of my run time focused on, well, time. Tempo runs. Speed workouts. Long runs. The body and brain can only take so much.
Taking the last 3 months to restore my body has also restored my soul.
Someone asked me how long I think I can keep this “running thing” up for. I can honestly say that if I continue to practice my annual recovery phase, I can run and race forever. It’s good to push the body. It’s good to challenge myself physically. But recovery can also make me stronger.
Physically, I’m allowing my muscles to repair from all the pounding I’ve inflicted over the past months. More than that, mentally and emotionally I’m allowing myself a break from the stress of racing. I’m doing what I want, rather than what I’m supposed to do.
This coming weekend marks the beginning of my training for the 2014 Boston Marathon. Unlike other years, I’m not dreading it. I’m going to have to a little more base building than in year’s past since I took more time off, but mentally I’m ready to get back in the game.
Every time someone asks me why I run, my response is the same. “I run because I can.”
I don’t mean to be flippant, but that just about sums it up. I believe our bodies are gifts. What better way to show gratitude for a gift than to use it in a way that is healthy and benefits others. For the second year in a row, I am running for a cause greater than medals, personal records and self-serving glory. I am running for those that can’t. I am running with the Huntsman Hometown Heroes.
I was introduced to this group a few years ago when Coach Elfi and her husband Rick began attending my cycle classes. Through them I met numerous Heroes. Some had battled cancer, some had lost loved ones to the disease. All were heroes in the truest sense in that they never let this monster stop them from living life to its fullest. Every Hero I met inspired me to be better- to appreciate my blessings both great and small. To see the world with better perspective.
Last year I lost my Aunt Susan to cancer. My dear friend Shelly lost her mother to cancer. I have friends doing battle with cancer today.
When I’m out on a run, enjoying the sound of the trees, the rhythm of my feet on pavement, the smell of wood stoves burning, the crunch of leaves fallen from the trees or the soft brushes of snow on my cheeks, I am grateful. No matter how hard a run is, I am running. I am grateful. No matter how slow I move, I am running. I am grateful. No matter how short my route, I am running. I am grateful.
While my body is in working order, I will take great care. I will not waste a moment when I can run, bike or swim. Life is not lived in front of a television or computer screen. It is lived outside… moving.
God did not bless me with the intelligence to cure cancer. But he did bless me with health and two working legs. So I will run for those who can’t. I am running the Ogden Marathon this year again for my Aunt Susan and Shelly’s mom Gail. If you can help, please donate at http://www.ogden.kintera.org/kimcowart
Twas the night before the race, when all through the house
No one was sleeping, not even my spouse.
My race clothes were laid out on the chair with care,
In hopes that the temperatures provided cool racing air.
The alarm clock was set, and an extra just in case
While I reviewed my splits and figured out my pace.
With my tummy full of pasta and snuggled in my bed
I closed my eyes, visions of PR’s dancing in my head.
When suddenly I was there, at the crowded starting line
Surrounded by runners whose shoes looked fancier than mine.
When what to my wandering eyes should appear
But Bart Yasso and friends, laughing at me. Oh, dear.
Lively and quick, the crowd appeared
Much quicker than me. I’d be trampled, I feared.
My stomach in knots, my palms getting sweaty
The start gun went off, but I didn’t feel ready.
The masses surged forward with a spring in their step
But I stumbled forward. I just had no pep.
Mile 1. Mile 2. They passed in a blur.
Suddenly the pasta within me began to stir.
I searched high and low for Honey Bucket relief
Before my stomach could give me more grief.
A brief pit stop and I was back on the course
Charging ahead like a Thoroughbred horse.
I passed by each aid station with volunteers so nice
Grabbing water and fuel and, if lucky, some ice.
They gave me high-fives. “Looking great,” they said.
I wondered if they were lying or just sick in the head.
Mile 12. Mile 13. I’m halfway there.
My stomach was calm. My legs felt fair.
I started to dream. I started to believe.
Maybe it’s possible, that PR to achieve.
The crowd had thinned out, but one runner remained.
He’d been with me from the start, but his pace started to wane.
He grunted, he spit, he shook out his hands.
With a grimace, he quit. But I had other plans.
Mile 17, 18. “You’re almost there!”
If I’d had the strength I would have thrown a chair.
I’m not almost there. I have eight miles to go.
The fatigue in my face was starting to show.
I took a deep breath and ate another chew.
This distance is too much. I think I’m through.
I’ll never run again. I’ll find another hobby.
Knitting or swimming or maybe karate.
Mile 22, 23. Only 5K to go.
I’m too close to quit. I can do this, I know.
My family is waiting and I want to go home
With my head held high and a medal to show.
Mile 24, 25. My victory lap!
One more mile and I can take a nap.
One step at a time, I’ll get there soon.
When I cross the finish line, I’ll feel over-the-moon.
Then suddenly what to my bleary eyes did appear?
The finish line and my sweet family, so dear.
Off in the distance, it seemed a mirage.
Just a few more steps and I’ll get my massage.
The crowds cheered me in as I sprinted ahead.
I’d made it! I did it! I wasn’t dead!
My feet crossed the mat with my hands to the sky.
I am a runner! I am! My joy amplified.
With my medal around my neck, chocolate milk I sought.
This feeling I feel simply can’t be bought.
I did something hard. I did something tough.
I did my best and it was more than enough.
As we walked to the car and headed home to shower
I felt grateful and happy that my legs had the power.
I waved to my friends as we drove out of sight.
Happy race day to all, and to all a good night.