May 5, 2018. New Dots Emerging – Le Tri / To Sort. Learning To RUN Like No One Is Looking. Struggling With Old PRs.

Is that not the perfect picture?

Bonjour mes amies.  Comment allez vous!  Moi, ça va très bien.  Il fait chaud aujourd’hui ici et je cours finalement dans au soleil. J’aime le soleil.

Je aussi aime dire les mots en français commes –  tous les jours et finalement.

Le temps passe trop vite! L’annee derniere en France:

paris
Is that not the perfect picture?
charente maritime

Ile d’Oleron – Charente Maritime.  Deep tides mesmerize.

Emergent –

I see the new dots brightly flashing on the horizon. Each one enthusiastically waving “pick me, pick me.”

See previous post for more on these dots.

Mais, lequel choisir? Je ne sais pas!

Pour moi, pour la première fois, je suis arrêté et je sens les roses.

And it feels amazing!  I’ve never paused like this and once this pause ceases I most likely won’t pause again for another 10 years.

Est-ce que beaucoup de stress? Un peu. Parce que je n’ai jamais arrêté comme ça avant.

Donc, j’écris. L’écriture m’aide à faire le tri dans ma tête.

It’s actually quite euphoric, this pausing, once you let go and just be.  I’m excited for the future and what is yet to be.  Today, I live each day fully, slowly and with intention.

Forming new mental muscles, routines and habits.

Le Tri –

As I often do when I read, write, study French I once again stumble amongst the words.  This  time it’s the French word le tri that holds my gaze.  Le Tri, means to sort and I am suddenly reminded of my younger days as a army medic and the word triage.  I google triage and le tri and am once again lost in time – lost in reading – lost in discovery.

I use the word lost here in a positive way.  J’aime lire, mais – it is a time sucker.

Then I realize I am triaging my life right now. Sorting out what I want to keep and what I no longer need.

Determining what is most important – most vital.

Unconventional methods of learning French (writing) serve me best.  A planned vacation to Quebec this summer (super, super excited) should provide some much needed conversational / verbal practice.

And then it will be time for me to un-pause – peut être

Still holding out for that chance encounter and cool opportunity to travel and work abroad.  

Until then, to the emerging dots I say, “I see you and I am sorting through you, be patient.”  Smelling the roses, realigning  priorities, and triaging.

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Returning to my beloved running is also serving me well.  After a long winter, I am finally feeling half way decent about running.

I’m a solid month behind in training, but am running with a new sense of peace.

Still struggling with my speed after a few years of long distance running and now finding myself forgoing events because I don’t want others to see this slow down.

C’est la vie! C’est la vie! C’est vrai! C’est ce que c’est et c’est fantastique – cette vie!

The first half-marathon of the season (for me) is in two weeks.  I so want to be able to keep the pace under 9 minutes per mile.  I’m afraid of this pace for 13.1 miles – so starting today, it’s all visualization “I can run 13.1 miles at a 9 minute per mile pace!”

Oui je peux! Avec du café!

Gauging my strength at the moment I would say that I am too slow for an age group award 5K, not quite strong enough for a half marathon distance under 2 hours, but feeling 10K ready (where you can better balance the speed with the distance).  There is a 10K near by tomorrow, but I really need to run 12 to 13 miles so my body and my mind remembers what this particular distance feels like.

I’m also not ready for others to see me run.  I’m learning to run like no one is looking – with peace in my breath and joy in my heart.

I’m learning…I have not yet learned this.

Does anyone else struggle with keeping up with old PRs (Personal Records)? 

Au revoir pour maintenant mes amies.

Suz.

 

Mars 29, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Attendre / To wait. And waiting for God’s next move.

663E320B-FFC4-4FD3-8E3E-D14FCBAB116FBonjour mes amies – des fleurs pour vous.  Les fleurs sont un signe du printemps.

Nous attendons le printemps.  Nous attendons l’ete.  Nous attendons l’automne.  Nous attendons l’hiver.  Nous attendons et nous attendons et nous attendons.  

Nous sommes simples.  Nous sommes minuscules.  Nos esprits sont petits

Arreter!  Vous perdez votre temps.

Waiting on God’s next move –

We are all so simple, all so small – if only we could comprehend Your magnitude.

Attendre / To wait –

The French verb that means to wait for or to await.

It is one of those false friends as it does not mean to attend – but looks like it should.  And is derived from the Latin (vulgar versus the classical) word Attendō.

French / attendre.  Italian / attendere.  Spanish / attender.  All derived from the same vulgar Latin word.

Always fascinated with languages and more so word origins, it’s difficult for me to read.

When I read (especially in French), I frequently stop on a word – examine it’s structure and think about its possible origin.  Happening upon words and losing myself in their thoughts.

According to the website wordsense.eu, the alternative (vulgar) Latin form of attendo is adtendo and its origin and history derive from ad + tendo (meaning to stretch and extend).

As stated on the website, the word was used in relation to the stretching of a bow, when taking aim at a target.

I can see this bow in my mind, wait for it…wait for it…  I think as the string is pulled back and the arrow released…  Attendo…Attendo… as the arrow flies through the air…bull’s-eye!

Many times I’ve heard the word of the week (attendre) used in France.  Mostly when someone is aggravated or they need someone to stop doing something quickly.  Oh and always while entering a Rond Point.

Here’s a ramble for you –

To focus on living in the present – we must wait.  And while we wait – we must live.  And while we live – we must not focus on the wait.  Round and round we go in this circle.

Recently, I remarked to my sister how I’ve stopped planning and am just waiting for God’s next move.  I then continued by saying how even though I was waiting for God’s next move, I was silently waiting for his move to include sunshine and exciting cool people who speak French.

As I spoke the above, I was immediately struck by how ignorant I am.  I say I trust God, but I silently wish.  This is so bizarre.  Is my simple and small human brain trying to manipulate God?  Then I hear Him, and He reminds me that He is so much bigger than I can comprehend.  And that I’m okay and it’s okay if I wish (or better yet pray).  Because as He explains, He’s got it.  He’s got it all.  He’s that BIG.  And I should seriously relax.

As I continue to let go of my worries, I find a calm that I welcome.  A freeing sense of peace.  And at the same time an excitement at what He has in store next for me.

And yes, I still hope it includes sunshine and exciting cool people who speak French.

Suz learns French while she runs –

This week’s running went… I simply ran.

I ran after not running for 2 weeks.  I was able to hold a 9 minute pace for 3 miles.  But can I do this for 13.1 miles?

My goal is to run each half marathon under 2 hours.  The last half marathon I ran – I pushed that limit and ran a 1:58.  Cutting it close.

And now, I have less than 2 months to get in shape as I attempt to stay under two hours.

This is the my personal benchmark.  And it’s what I strive for, but as I age, should I cut myself some slack?  I may need to come May.  But I will try to stay under 2 hours.

I have 2 major events planned for May and after a long winter, I have a lot of catching up to do.

As I run, my thoughts are only on my breath – no French is spoken as I gasped for air.  My face is red, the others asked me if I am okay.  “I’m okay, I’ve just not been running like I should,”  I respond.  I’ve been waiting for the rain to stop and the sun to shine.

When the sun finally shows its face – the green will be so green and the blue will be so blue.

No more waiting.  Juste be – OH AND RUN so you can meet your personal goal.

Attendre – 

Nous attendons le printemps. Nous attendons l’ete. Nous attendons l’automne. Nous attendons l’hiver. Nous attendons et nous attendons et nous attendons.

Nous sommes simples. Nous sommes minuscules. Nos esprits sont petits

Arreter! Vous perdez votre temps. 

Suz

 

Janvier 20, 2018. Dans ma tête, je suis! Mais, dans le miroir… In my head, I am! But, in the mirror… AND a good example from across the pond.

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Dans Ma tête 

Dans ma tête:  I’m BRISK, I’m active, I’m fast, and energetic.  I’m young, I’m limber, I’m awake.

Dans ma tête – I’m all these things.

In the mirror:  I’m slow, I’m idle, I’m listless, and tired.  I’m old, I’m stiff, I’m always falling asleep.

In the mirror – I’m all these things.

Je Suis Qui ?

Je suis moi! 

Je suis BRISK et actif, et rapide. 

Je suis aussi – fatigué… PARFOIS.  

Je suis qui?  Je suis moi.

C’est moi!

Mais, Je ne suis pas une vieille dame

Je suis jeune! Je suis jeune! JE CRIE!  Dans ma tête je suis jeune.

Pourquoi pas je dis.  Pourquoi pas!

Parce que tout est dans la tête – n’est-ce pas!

Mais, bien sûr! 

Supplémentaire – Elle est une bonne exemple (She is a good example)

When I think of how I want to be when I get old (older).  I think of her.

I think of how she appreciates the years and looks back on the smiles, the lessons, and the tears – but never the fears.

How she aims to share it with us all and hopes we never fall.

She is always by our side – there’s just a big ole lake – l’Atlantique, it’s so wide.

I want her grace and courage, her strength and drive.

Today, I run because I can

I run to feel the air so deep within my breath – beneath.

Suz

 

 

 

Décembre 1, 2017. Leaving this space to fill another. Dots on a line. And moving forward with new French themes.

IMG_4445.JPGBonjour!  C’est un nouveau mois et je commence un nouveau chapitre de ma vie!

Leaving this space –

My life thus far has been broken up into segments of time I call – dots; little pockets of places and time on a line.

Each dot or space of time on the line is a significant point in my life.  Births, graduations, marriages, deaths, moves, relationships, jobs etc…

The line includes places I’ve lived, worked, visited.  All chronologically recorded.  It’s quite simple – this line.  And just like everyone’s line, there is an end that we can’t see.  But we continue along the line with faith.

Soon I’ll be leaving a dot that I’ve occupied for 10 years.  A space that’s been very good to me, professionally and personally.

And I don’t yet have another dot to occupy.

Like a scene from a science-fiction movie, I can see the space – the dot on the line that I’ve rested at for the last ten years slowly filling itself in.

Gradually, the big fat sharpie of life gently colors in the dot, signifying that one space of time is closing and another should begin.

Another dot waiting to emerge –

I can see in the distance, the new dot forming – it starts with an arc over the line.  It’s an excited little arc of energy, full of potential, adventure and experiences.

It’s up to me if I chose to roll with this arc of what if.  But why now?  This space is good.  I’m content.  It’s simple enough.  So why am I leaving it?  And why do I feel so strongly that I need to move on?

I have no idea.  Do I thrive on change?  Is it time to learn something new, slow down or mix it up?  Is this the time to count my blessings, to smell those roses?

Whatever it is, I’m walking through the door.  I always do.  I’m going to make it a great dot.  I’m going to live like it’s the last dot YET, I hope I have many more.

We never know how long our dots will last.  Some find fullness in many dots, some find it in one big dot.  On the time line in my head, I have several more arcs waiting like the sun on the horizon at sunrise – peeping eagerly and excitedly for their turn.

Trust.

New French themes –

2017 saw me enhancing my French language skills and running a 50 mile ultra marathon.

2018 will see me continuing to enhance my French language skills and contintinuig to run – possibly a 100 K AND drum roll please…I hope to host a French exchange student.

I’ve wanted to do this for years, but never had the time.  This year, I’ll have the time.

We live in a beautiful area of the U.S., close to several larger cities and intersting Amercian attractions.  I’m excited to host a student and share our amazing America.

Suz

 

 

Novembre 13, 2017. J’ai Couru 50 Miles! C’est Fini. I Did It!

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I ran 50 miles in 11 hours and 30 minutes –

C’est fini!  Je suis très heureux.  Mais, je ne peux pas parler français.

Intesting enough, I could not remember much of anything while I was running let alone French.  I actually resorted to singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall, which actually worked quite well.

The first 5 miles I ran with two friends.  Then both of my knees started to hurt.  Thinking that maybe I was not relaxed enough, I decided to run on my own so I could run at a more relaxed natural gait (not adjusting to their rhythms and cadence).

For the next 32 miles I stuck to a 4 minute run, 1 minute walk routine.  I had a lot of knee pain. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was at a 7.

Luckily, I would see my husband (sweetest, most supportive guy ever) about every 10 miles while filling up my water bottle and grabbing pretzels and oranges from the aide stations.  His gentle kisses and encouraging words helped so much.  Oh and popping a few pain relievers – didn’t hurt either.

At mile 37 I knew I could finish but I was in a lot of pain, but still a level 7.  The pain was bad but it was not getting worse.  Each mile I would say “ok, it’s not worsening – keep moving.”

I walked the last 13 miles!  Oddly enough, at that point, I was able to walk faster than I could run.  I walked the last 13 miles at a 15:30 minute per mile pace singing 99, 98, 97, 96 etc…bottles of beer on the wall.

As the sun set I put on my headlamp to light the now dark trail, and focused all my energy into a driven march forward.  I knew I’d finish the race and I couldn’t wait to do so.

So many emotions to explore and so much time alone to do so.  Yet as I marched, all I thought about were those darn bottles of beer on the wall.  All the while asking God over and over to help me finish the run.  Quite the mental contrast.

I tried to speak French dans ma tête. Mais, c’était trop difficile.  I can never remember how to say the number 14 in French.

Oh – quick side note…remember my period that was due on Saturday, the day of the race, It held off till Sunday morning – is that luck or what!  And drum roll please, NO STOMACH ISSUES.

Today, aside from being unable to bend my knees fully, I am fine.  I have a few blisters on the tips of my toes – but otherwise, I feel great.

I will honestly say that my French studies suffered over the last 3 months.  I’m not sure learning French while running works for me.

I want to thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Thank you for the encouragement and support!  I thought about you while I was running – and how I did not want to let you down.  You kept me accountable and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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50.47 miles in 11 hours 30 minutes and 47 seconds.  Average pace of 13:41 minutes per mile.  5167 calories used.

It was quite the adventure.  It was a beautiful day, about 47 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny.  No rain, no wind.  A perfect day, full of happiness and friendship. The trail was amazing, rock walls and fallen leaves, wooden bridges and old train tunnels.

Now, I need to put some energy into French.  Not sure where I’ll go from here – probably the 100 K.  But for the next few weeks – I’ll be working on the knees and dreaming of returning to France late next year.

Life is beautiful.

Merci Beaucoup Mes Amis.

Suz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Septembre 1, 2017. Don’t ask me why. Je ne sais pas pourquoi. It simply interests me. And sitting down to do the work – ensemble (avec du vin).

Bonjour mes amis.  Comment ça va?  Moi, ça va très bien!  Pourquoi?  Pourquoi pas!  Mais, actuellement c’est parce que aujourd’hui est vendredi et demain est samedi.  Aussi, samedi et dimanche, je cours!  J’aime courir!  Et j’ai trois jours sans travail.

Oh my that was exhausting and I hope it’s not too horrible.

Let me know!

I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – don’t ask me why! (From There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. Rose Boone and Alan Mills 1952).

In French this song is known as A vieille femme qui a avalé une mouche. 

I just LOVE French words.  

Hier / Yesterday, I heard this song and immediately asked myself – POURQUOI / WHY?

Why a life long quest to speak French?  Why am I so drawn to a language and one I’m NOT even good at?

And why do I find it necessary to run 50 miles / 80.46 kilometers?

As much as I long to know, I know God will show me in His time.  He always does.

It might not even be that deep – the reason.  It might just be pourquoi pas / why not.  Or, it might be a life changing super cool adventure, which would be so exciting!  Regardless, He reminds me that while I wait, I should enjoy the ride.

“BUT why?”

It simply interests me.

I remember being 12 and dreaming of France.  How I even knew what to dream about, I don’t know.  Yet, I dreamed of  colors and scents and scenes.

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Ironically, I also remember being 12 and running through the woods by myself.  I was afraid of the darker, thicker areas, but never too afraid.  I knew all the trails and I loved being there.

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When I made my way to France for the first time at 20 (wow that was a while ago) it was exactly as I dreamed.

As we drove across France to the Atlantic Ocean, I was oblivious to everything.  I wasn’t even overly excited.  Arriving at the ocean – I felt at home.

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Dont ask me why.  Je ne sais pas pourquoi / I don’t know why.  I have no idea why, no more than I know why I’m training for a 50 mile run!

It simply interests me.

And I trust en Dieu / in God.  God is BIG.  He is HUGE.  He is more than we can comprehend and He is in control – always has been, always will be.

He has the bandwidth to guide each of us individually along our way WHILE still at the same time –  taking care of EVERYTHING.

Sitting down to do the work.  

This week’s 50 mile marathon training schedule has me running 41 miles and 30 of them within two days (not sure how that’s going to pan out).

S’ asseoir ou s’assoir / To sit down.

My handsome half French guy and I have added a sit down night to our weekly schedule.  He may or may not be as thrilled as I am to study…

One night each week we will sit down and go over our French lesson and drink French wine – ensemble! / together!

Learning French while running is Fantastique!  It helps me to tick off the miles.  I normally get two to three audio lessons in during one six mile run.

But to really drive the French learning home, we’ve added a sit down night.  Allowing us planned, uninterupted time together.  In addition, it will allow me the space to practice speaking French out loud not just dans ma tête.

Le Vin / The wine – it’s a bonus!

I love my half French guy, he never fails to support my endeavors.  No matter how big, small, odd, lame, far-fetched or costly, he just goes with my flow.

Merci mon chérie.  Je t’aime! Tu es trop mignon.  

Note to self:  Acheter / To buy.  Be sure to buy champagne for the 50 mile run victory celebration.  Cause you’re going to do it!  Pourquoi Pas!

À la prochaine.

Suz

 

 

 

 

August 22, 2017. LOOPS… Is this an 8 hour endurance race or another rond point? It’s a 3.25 mile rond point. Rond points, roundabouts and traffic circles oh my.

IMG_3499Speaking of loops, this past weekend I ran an eight hour endurance race, the Backyard Classic. It was a 3.25 mile trail loop that reminded me of a giant rond point (traffic circle or roundabout).

J’ai une ampoule, une grande ampoule.  I have a blister, a big blister.

The goal of the race was to complete as many loops as you could in eight hours.  I’d consider the trail moderate to hard.  Each 3.25 mile loop consisted of two technical sections, two decent hills and two water crossings. The remainder was a mostly uphill meadow like trail with little shade.  Sounds fun huh?

Nineteen.” “There are nineteen rond points from mom’s house to the super marche, two of which are doubles.”  My husband said sarcastically from the back seat.

It doesn’t sound like a huge number, until you consider how close le super marché / the supermarket actually is à la maison / to the house (4 kilometers or about 2.48 miles).

Over the years, across France, I’ve seen the gradual conversion of four way stops into rond points.  When I see a four way stop in France these days, to me, it appears out of place. The four way stop no longer seems to belong or to even fit into the French landscape.  Traffic is halted at these seemingly archaic stops and you can sense the frustration as drivers are slowed on their commutes in their charming, energy efficient voitures / cars and scooters. But come on already nineteen of them over 2.48 miles.

This year as we vacationed, I paid extra attention to the theme of each major rond point. I noticed how each town tried to represent the flavor of their community to the visitor. Often highlighting historical aspects associated with the area. In the center of the larger roundabouts you might find une ancre, un bateau ou un mémorial de guerre / an anchor, a ship, or a war memorial.  Each one carefully crafted to represent the area and the people.  Some are weird, some are cool, some are relevant, and some are confusing.

Home now in the U.S., I miss the way we whipped around the rond point.  I miss the dance of cars between lanes. I miss the way the cars flowed in and out of the rond point. I miss the rhythmic movement. I miss it all so much that last week, I found myself doing a few loops around the lone traffic circle in my town.

Back to the 3.25 mile trail loop and 8 hour endurance race.

How did I do?  I realized my personal goal of 8 loops (in 6 hours and 21 minutes) for a total of 26 trail miles.  After 16 water crossings, my toes were extrêmement / extremely blistered.

I elected to stop with 1.5 hours to go. Of course now I have remorse as I feel I should have made one more pass through the giant rond point.  I had enough time for another loop.

Did I give up or did I make the right decision?  In the grand scheme of today’s world – does it really matter?  Running is not life or death.  This was a gathering of like minded individuals out to challenge their minds and bodies.  But the things that will drive a person crazy…

As this was not my 2017 focus race, I convinced myself during the 8th lap that it was okay to stop.  My knees held up and I did not hit the famous reputed WALL.  I made the smart decision, and although I wish I had done the 9th loop (just cuz), I know I made the right choice in stopping.  My 50 mile race is in November and I have a long way to go to get there – risking injury was not an option.

Mais, c’était une bonne journée.  Le soleil était brillant!  Et maintenant, j’ai une grande ampoule. Fantastique!

What did I learn:  Foot health is très important / very important (blisters will take you down).  I’ll need to get actual trail shoes, and to find better socks.  I also need to do more long runs on the weekends.

My nutrition plan was sufficient but as much fluid as I took in, I didn’t use the bathroom from 8 a.m. till about 6 p.m.  Probably need to consume more fliuids.

As far as practicing my French: HAH – that didn’t go at all as planned.  I had designated a theme for each loop.  However, on the first loop I tried to count my steps in French and I couldn’t remember the difference between treize / thirteen and trente / thirty.  Brain fog.

During the second loop I tried to run through the basic French greetings dans ma tête, but found myself dazed and confused.

Sadly, loops 3 – 8 contained no French.

Sérieusement / Seriosuly, I think I made the right choice stopping at 8 loops.  I hope I’ll have the mental fortitude needed to push through the 50 miler.

Ne panique pas – Reste forte! / Don’t panic – Stay strong!

Suz

Hand painted medals – each one was different.  Several different artists painted them.  Very unique.

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