Saturday, May 21, 2011

A bigger goal. A better goal

I know, I know.  3 weeks!  It's been a long time since I posted my Boston race report - it's 5 weeks since Boston on Monday (I'm still counting, still picking up my pedal, still have my victorious finisher's photo on my desk.  Privately, I'm still basking).  But in these weeks I've been doing the following:
  • being ill for a while longer after my last blog post - my hacking cough follows me to this day.
  • yo-yoing mentally from being thrilled at my Boston race to panicking about my future.  What's next?  What's my new focus?  Faster?  Better?  Longer?  Further?  
  • just some general existential angst, yadda yadda yadda.  
  • a university reunion.  I was nervous about going but it was wonderful.  Empowering.  It's been a long time - nearly 20 years - and there have ups and downs for everyone, but we're still here and we're all excited about the future.  40 is truly something to look forward to. 
  • a half-marathon.  Yes - the usual White Peak half-marathon which I ran with Drusy, Nigel, Steve, Gary, Simon and first-time half-marathoner and friend Brad.  Given that Brad ran a 2:04 on almost no training Gary has uninvited him from future races.  I ran a 2:03 - a slight meh time  when I've run a 1:45 here before but I've run 12 miles in total since Boston and spent way too much time listening to Gary's gruesome real-life CSI stories along the way. 
Goal-wise, there is stuff on the horizon.  My first tri at the end of July.  I made the decision to stop going to my swimming classes, as we never get much swimming in or concentrate on any drills and strokes and am instead relying on books and YouTube.  Yeah, well, whatever.  I have a relay race in August in Oregon - a little bucket trip that I squidged into the family budget and timeline.  7 days during which I run the Cascade Lakes relay with my lovely friends Jen and Zach and a whole bunch of other yet-to-be-met friends, and get to catch up with sweet Emily and maybe even Amanda and drink some beer and some coffee and buy some books - I am VERY excited.  

But you know how you can just hang around and whine and just not feel altogether right?  Maybe not.  Well that's what I was doing.  Feeling sorry for myself.  And then someone really went ahead and tried to make me unhappy.  And I got really hurt and really sad.  And then really angry.  And then I decided - enough.  Enough of me.  Sometimes when you're feeling at your lowest you have to go out there and help someone else. 

A few years ago I asked a very wonderful friend of mine, Martha, what her dream was (I think I was sober, just in that kind of mood).  And she told me, after a moment's thought, "an end to diabetes".  Martha has suffered from Type 1 Diabetes for over 33 years and is one of the most admirable, least self-obsessed and self-pitying people I know.  She has got on with her life, despite its challenges, has moved around the world, has an impressive career and a lovely family.  She gives very generously of her time to lots of charities.  And following on from my question, she asked me last year to go on a bikeride with her from London to Paris to raise funds for JDRF (the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) to help them to find a cure for diabetes.  I said "yes" immediately (again, I was sober).  And people - the moment for our trip is nearly here.  I have focused the first four months of this year on myself - Boston, Boston, Boston.  That was good.  I focused May on myself.  Hmm.  Maybe not so good.  June is for Martha, and for others who live with the daily challenge that Type 1 Diabetes presents.  Just very recently, a blogging AND running buddy of mine, Maddy, found out that her son, Stone, had type 1 Diabetes.  I know it is hard to see your child facing up to a challenge you haven't had to face yourself, and I can only imagine how Maddy is feeling.  But her family is a strong and loving one, and I've met Stone, and he is a strong and loving character.  This is a challenge he can meet.  But I would like to support people like Martha and Stone and to let them know that we are behind them and will do all we can to bring an end to diabetes.

If you are able to donate anything - anything at all - please would you consider making a donation to this charity?  You can do so from the UK or Europe here and from the US or Canada here. 

And finally, you may ask - how am I going to do this?  71 hilly miles on day one, an overnight ferry crossing followed by a 91 mile ride on day 2, followed by a 72 mile ride on the final day into Paris.  Wings and prayers, people, wings and prayers.  I've gone from no biking to almost all biking in the past 3 weeks - I've now gone up to 50 milers which are going fine so I'm hoping to hit a 60 and a 40 on consecutive days this week.  I'm onto my 3rd bikeseat so far (the first, very expensive female-specific one is on ebay - it was NOT specific for this female).  2 pairs of padded shorts, chamois cream and the promise of a beer in the evening and a bottle of champagne in Paris is all I hope it will take.. 

I will be back here soon.  If I'm not out biking manically, trying to pack 6 months training into the next 2 weeks...

7 comments:

Jill said...

Hey girl...

I am sad you will be in the US again and not near Colorado :(. Grrrr.

I hope you got my email and I hope it wasn't I who upset you (good lord, what did I say????). But I admire you ability to have a little time with yourself and your emotions and then let it go and be free.

I'm excited about your 3 day bike ride, how thrilling to end in Paris...like Lance finising the Tour, so will Petra. Enjoy that champagne, I can't think of anyone who deserves it more!!!

xoxo

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

wow, this is amazing! I agree, pity parties are worthless. What you are doing is impacting so many people, in a positive way!

Fran said...

I'm so touched you are going to do this with Martha. You will do fine on the bike ride because you know why you are doing this!

It's good to hear from you and even better that you are feeling good again.

I had to laugh that Brad can't "play" with you anymore because of his awesome time on the half :)

Alisa said...

Wow, that sounds like an amazing event for an amazing cause---you're going to do great! I think finding a comfortable seat is totally KEY for long distances.

I hope I get to meet you when you're out here in August. J and Z live only about a mile from me so it's likely =).

Pity parties are sometimes necessary to show us how silly we are being and to show us what our next goal, dream, etc will be.

Aka Alice said...

I too am envious of your bike trip. I find biking (once you get the right bike seat) to be much easier on the body than running. Three days of cycling will be a breeze (even with the hills).

I think it's OK to have a pity party for a day or so, so long as one snaps out of it eventually and it sounds like you have...so no worries!

Yay on the champagne in Paris!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Wow, Petra. You don't stay down for long before you get back up and take life by the balls! Good grief, this is awesome. Love it! Love you! So cool.

I SOOO hope I get to see you when you are here. And I'm so wishing I was going to be doing this Cascade relay thing with you!

Hope this cough of yours is gone!

Susan said...

You, my friend, really do LIVE life!