For this issue on People of Peace, I focused on two of the areas I love – running and education and submitted queries on two extraordinary people who have changed the world with their efforts towards peace and human dignity.
Malala Yousafzai: Youngest Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
Malala Yousafzai has been a forthright advocate of a girl’s right to education in her native Pakistan since she started her blog when she was 11 years old. She spoke out with her father about the necessity of education, while under tremendous threat to her life. At 15, she was shot by the Taliban – a shot heard around the world. After a lengthy recovery she continues her efforts and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Tegla Loroupe — Olympian, Groundbreaking Marathoner & Peace Builder
Tegla has been underestimated her whole life. Her petite stature belies the power within. From a poor village in Kenya, she fought her way to become a leading runner, marathon, Olympian and record breaker. She did not turn her back on her country, but returned to use her stature and recognition to help others and her country for peace. She established Peace marathons and sought ways to bring peace to areas suffering from the effects of violence.
I’ve been scaling away from full marathons and just doing a bunch of Half’s. So the first Half for 2017 is March 26, 2017 at the Livermore Wine County Marathon – running and wine – works for me.
Then onto the Armed Forces Half Marathon in May at the Todos Santos Naval Weapons Station in Concord (Got our red, white and blue outfit ready to go with patriotic lighted tiara).
And onto the Healdsburg Wine Country Half with an orange and black themed running outfit and tutu.
It’s all about having fun and the outfit now — less on getting any Olympic time!
My thoughts of speed enhancement are that – merely thoughts. I haven’t done a lot, okay any, speed or tempo training. But I am trying to maintain a schedule to stick with doing a bunch of HALF’s. Finished Berkeley Half 11/22, the Hot Chocolate 15K (that after-run food knocked out any possible health benefit of the run) Oakland Half is 3/20 and the Eugene, Oregon Half is 5/1. But why, oh why, doesn’t it get easier? I will try be okay with the fact I am just doing something regularly. Why are runners never happy with what they do?
I never thought it would happen. Really, I never thought about age. I keep trying new things. But I never thought I would get slower in running. It’s hard to accept.
So when I entered the China Camp Trail Half Marathon, for some reason my young mind thought, just train and surely you can’t be the slowest. Well, when you don’t train sufficiently, like only once before on this hill/mountain/thigh and calf-busting trail, what do you expect?
Well, I expected I would do well. That’s emotion fooling brain, fooling body. The Half was brutal and a killer. I told all the aid stations to LEAVE. I had a cell phone. I was slow. But they didn’t. My goals changed from “run” the whole thing, to NOT TRIP and kill yourself, to just finish alive.
The irony is that I finished first in my (female) age group – but I was the only runner. And I finished second to last. Not last. As I watched the 20 and 30 something gazelles blast by me, I could wish and dream — and realize I was really never them anyway and I sort of hated them (okay envied). But I was the only ONE in my age group, so that has to stand for something.
Power on. Keep perspective.
Re-assessing goals is something that I sometimes have a hard time doing. I’m pretty achievement-oriented. But when illness and injury set my 2 running buddies and me behind, we made the big decision – let’s just run for fun! Let’s stop along the way, see the characters, and enjoy Disneyland! And that’s what we did. Then we all went for pancakes at the Story Tellers Cafe. We did give some post-race consternation to our finish times–but we were just so happy to 1) be able to run 2) enjoy the route 3) finish 4) eat an amazing breakfast 5) have healthy walking feet to spend time in Disneyland!
Reassessing goals need to happen — and its the same for writing. Or you will never be happy with what you do — and will miss out on the sites and sounds of the journey.
I’m used to running (and writing) setbacks. 2014 seemed to have its share of them. First, plantar fasciitis, right at the beginning of the 2014 year, for the Tinkerbell Half. But I powered through it, then was out for 3 months, wearing a sleep boot. But all is good. Then I had basil cell carcinoma on my left calf (who has it on their calf?) and that knocked me out for another 2 months. Three inch scar. Honestly. But got back on the running road, training for Star Wars for 1/18/15 in Disneyland. But a pirateous (is that a word? If not, it should be) post holiday respiratory cold is threatening withdrawal from Star Wars. But all is good. My son in law is ready to dawn his Star Wars garb and make the run!
Always keep the big picture in mind: The goal – recover, and keep on running (and writing!!!)
P.S. My costume was going to be a take-off on Star Wars character, Ahsoka. Ah Well.
This is so true. How hard I have tried to change up my running training — like my writing. I did the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in January in costume and trained with friends. That helped attitude. Then got plantar fasciitis and did exercises and wore a sleep boot. That got me healthy. Then gave up alcohol and sugar for Lent. That helped diet. Did the Napa-Silverado Trail Half Marathon in April and put together a custom playlist, that I never played as I was mesmerized by the monotony of vineyards. And now I will do the Diva Half Marathon with a pink tutu, and an adjusted pacing. What hasn’t happened is real change, like speed training, weight training, or tempo runs.
Real change is hard. Thank goodness there is still time for one more run, one more article to write, one more book to rewrite.
Everyone hits roadblocks in their work and their writing. Sometimes coming up against one roadblock after another, and sometimes big slam-backs, just make you weary. You need something to clear your brain and give yourself a break. For me, it’s running. And especially running along rivers, high desert paths (without super hi heat.) and trails that give me God’s spectacular vistas like the Cascade Mountains or the Golden Gate, or the Austrian Alps. It’s on these runs that I can put my roadblocks behind me. I am faced with the big beautiful picture and the magnitude of what is so much bigger than my roadblocks. I breathe in some amazing mountain air, count my blessings, and am grateful to put one running foot in front of another. My roadblocks sure didn’t go away. But my brain and body got one amazing break. That, in itself, is roadblock-busting.
Now that I am back from rehabbing, both on my manuscripts and on my lower back for running, I see they both take the same trajectory. For each, I have a support group of 3 people. Three people in my critique group, and three people for early morning runs along the marsh and bay. Both groups are an endless source of advice, comments, support, direction, shoulders, tough love, and more. All of us have had significant injuries. All of us are back, changed, revised and recognizing that the old way of doing things can go on no longer. I am truly grateful for these two wonderful groups of people. They keep me moving, writing and ever improving. They provide the fuel that keeps me revising and running, always to get the best result.
I run and write. I realized that getting a runner injury is like getting a critique slam down on your manuscript. Both are big setbacks. And both require mental strength and the need to call in the support team to lift up your body and brain. I’ve been fortunate to run marathons and half marathons for the past 7 years with hardly an injury. Then one morning in March, I could not bend over. What? This was just like when I poured my all into a manuscript that I thought was good, and an agent did a real carving on the whole thing that made me stop in my tracks. What would I do without running and writing?
Once I scraped myself off the floor in both instances, I realized that like any athlete, it’s how you come back that counts. So I guess I’m saying if you’re a writer, you are a writing athlete too. And in both situations, you self reflect, diagnose the problems, get expert help, change form and process, and work hard to get back on track. For my back condition, it was the doctor, the PT, tons of targeted exercises, friends who shared their experiences with similar conditions, my family’s support, slow, patient work and a positive attitude. I had to remain optimistic because I knew that I could not jump steps to get better or suffer a relapse. The same for my manuscript – I had to step back, take a hard look, be realistic, do exercises to change my writing form and approach, get my critique group’s help and counsel (both emotional and for craft), my family’s support, slow, patient work and a positive attitude.
So in my mind, runners and writers are both athletes who work to excel to their best abilities. The continuous effort to improve and overcome obstacles makes all the difference in amazing journeys.