Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Change of pace a breeze

I did something I normally wouldn’t do, but that was the whole point.

A couple issues ago in Salt magazine, I wrote about how important down time is. I put my money where my mouth was while I was on vacation.

One of the best trips I’ve had in years, Gary and I traveled to Myrtle Beach with his daughter, her husband and the two granddaughters in June.

Instead of filling the time shopping endlessly, or making sure I took in all the sights and sounds the beach had to offer, I took in one sight and one sound, and they were both the same — the ocean.

I spend so much of my life being hurried — check emails, assign stories, make more coffee; the only hurrying I managed on vacation was to immediately find my flip flops so I could go sit on the balcony as soon as I got up in the morning.

In a protest to the fast-paced lifestyle gods, I threw caution to the wind, literally, as we kept our bedroom balcony door open — wide open — while we slept every night. There was no screen to keep out the bugs, and no adjusting the volume of the waves.

As a person who loathes the sight of bugs (though finding one crawling on your arm is certainly worse), I was so unconcerned with whether any would find their way into our room at night. The pleasure of the rolling ocean and its accompanying wind superseded any of my fears. (I only killed one the whole week.)

Most of the day was spent sitting, either on the balcony, down at the beach, or back on the balcony again in the evening and at night. Conversation with people I love replaced mindless staring at my computer and iPhone.

I watched TV for less than three hours during the entire vacation, choosing to stare endlessly out into the beautiful ocean.

The great news about being such a busy person is that I have come to appreciate all the other end of the spectrum has to offer. There’s plenty on the other side if we choose to look for it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This content will be published in the next issue of Salt magazine, hitting home delivery subscribers for some of our southern Ohio newspapers July 16. Just couldn't wait to share.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I did a Half Ironman

With only five minutes to spare, I made the cutoff for Ironman Muncie 70.3 on Saturday, my first HIM.

The swim was the easiest of any tri I've done, the bike was the most miserable I have been in life in a while and the run was pretty decent.

I'll have a full race report later, but just wanted to share the good news.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New running shoes

I finally got a new pair of running shoes last Sunday. Not only do they fit great, they're also quite adorable.

I'm still adjusting to their character, hoping that we will make a long-lasting fit. So far so good, though.

Happy running!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'll have the truck, please

The sound of our shoes crunching over the ice and snow in the parking lot could be heard as someone I was walking in to a meeting with the other night remarked, "I didn't know you drove a truck."

"Oh, yeah," I said, smiling, pausing to look back over my shoulder at my truck, her top covered with snow, frost consuming her windows in winter's first storm. She looked terrific.

"After all," I continued, "I am from West Virginia. Girls dream about their first truck as much as they do their wedding day over there."

Though we chuckled, my comment wasn't far from the truth.

When our friend, Robin, got her brand new 1993 Toyota truck our senior year in high school, my best friend, Holly, and I both wished that we could trade in our run-down Chevy Caprice or Toyota Tercel hatchback for a truck like hers. She had struck gold.

Though it took me 17 years, I finally got my truck three years ago through a deal that almost didn't even happen.

My husband and I were at the dealership, ready to put some money down on a Chevy Malibu, a sensible selection; but before we made a commitment, I looked up and said, "Any chance you've got any trucks around this price range?"

The rep said, "Well, there is one, but I don't think you'll like it."

This guy was the coolest cat of a car salesman either of us had met. He wasn't being condescending, but given that I was wearing a suit and high heels, he simply said it as a matter of what he had surmised to be a fact.

"How could I not like a truck?" I thought to myself as I perked up to hear what he had to say next.

"It's what they call a work truck. It doesn't have any carpet on the floors, and ..." he continued to mention a couple other things, but he had me at "no carpet on the floors."

Herman's Hermits' song, "I'm Into Something Good," began playing in my head. I imagined, like the scenes with Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley as they were falling in love in the film "The Naked Gun," the adventures this truck and I could have; adventures such as 2 a.m. drives to triathlons, mud-covered training days at Caesar Creek Lake and summer days with the windows rolled down as the high-riding power of her engine purred us across southern Ohio.

No carpet was just what I needed. This was going to be great.

"Let's go look," Gary said.

We walked to the back and there it stood - all by itself. It was a huge truck, a 2009 Chevy Silverado that only had seven miles on it. It was March 2010 and the truck had been sitting on the lot for one year.

I think I know why.

It is a very weird truck with an odd blend of modern and 1980s features. It has Sirius XM Radio, an adapter for an MP3 player and came with OnStar. However, it does not have power doors or windows or keyless entry. The inside light doesn't even come on when you open the door.

It also did not have 4-wheel drive, mandatory for every truck a West Virginian will drive. The Silverado also had an automatic transmission. I prefer driving a stick.

It is rare for a vehicle to be sold in Ohio with a manual transmission, and, not wanting to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I decided I could do without 4-wheel drive.

The deal was set and I was now the owner of my first truck.

After nearly three years, our relationship has been everything I had imagined in those first few moments - and then some.

Two months after I brought her home, I clipped the side of my garage as I was turning the corner down our driveway to cover some breaking news story.

"Uh, oh," I muttered. "Please let it just be a scratch. Please let it just be a scratch. I wonder if Gary saw me. Oh, no. Please let it just be a scratch."

Gary came stomping from inside the house and he was hot. I would quickly see why.

I scrambled out of the driver's side door, scurried to the back, stopped fast in my tracks and hesitantly peered over the right-back corner of the vehicle to slowly get a full view of the damage. My jaw dropped to the floor.

It was more than a scratch. It looked like The Incredible Hulk had just pummeled the mid-section of the truck with an angry fist. There was only a little crack in a piece of siding on the garage.

After a couple weeks at the body shop, she looked just as good as new.

Nearly three years later, I find there are some items with which I still need to equip my truck. I desperately need running boards, a good liner for the bed and even some kind of top.

My mom did get me a set of floor mats for Christmas last year from Lands' End.

I do not find it bizarre when country crooners sing about their trucks. There is "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," Mr. Kip Moore, and I get it. I always have.

Who knows how many more years we'll have together, but through thick and thin, summer and winter, the journey ahead will be packed with adventures - because that is how I choose to live my life.

Though I am proud to now call Ohio home, I will always find a way to let out the redneck.

For instance, did I mention the floor mats are monogrammed?

This column originally appeared in the News Journal. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

I always start out in first place

I must admit, I do it for laughs.

When running in a 5K, I will stand in the front of the starting line knowing good and well that I will not be first across the finish line. Ever. For any race.

It just makes me chuckle, especially when I later see a photo of the race start.

I wear all the right clothing, have a waterproof heart rate monitor with GPS and even bring a race belt to these things. I look like a serious runner and, therefore, like I might be fast.

But I'm not. I'm slow. But that secret typically goes undetected for at least one minute into the race until I start getting passed ... then passed again ... and then passed again.

In fact, during a 5K I ran earlier in the year, I was talking to a guy after the race who told me his wife had sized up the other racers (there were only 40) before the gun went off, and she had decided I would be her biggest competition.

Now, that was funny. She ended up beating me by a couple minutes. I wonder when she figured out that I wouldn't be giving her any problems.

So, of course, I got in the front of the line at The Friends of the Wilmington Parks Seventh Annual 5K and 10K Run and 5K Walk to Promote Health and Community Fellowship Thanksgiving morning.

Made up of what appeared to be mostly students from Wilmington College or the high schools, I was the only old person up front.

After the starting gun fired, these kids were already blazing a trail. A minute later, I got into my pace, turned on my playlist and just enjoyed the scenic course.

Race organizers told me Thursday morning before I had to leave to come back to the News Journal office that there were at least 350 participants, but that they were still counting the numbers.

As of Thursday evening, according to the race's Facebook page, there were 469 timed participants. A record-turnout for the race, now in it's seventh year.

The excitement of seeing so many friends, the perfect running weather and a beautiful course all added up to a wonderful morning of racing - and I had a blast.

There was, however, a downside I would soon discover.

I haven't been training as much as usual lately, and, though I finished the race without struggle, I was able to observe a decrease in my stamina.

I typically get passed by others more than I pass them, but I felt like I was choking on more dust than usual.

I needed to put more people behind me ... but the energy just wasn't there.

With just a half a mile to go, Mötley Crüe's "Kickstart My Heart" showed up in my playlist. I paused it, knowing that would be a perfect song to get me going at the very end, and I ran a few minutes in silence.

As I turned the last corner, the finish line was in sight. I unpaused the high-energy music and picked up my pace.

A few seconds later, a man running with a stroller started to catch up with me. He, and the two other people with whom he was running, eventually passed me.

I said to myself, "OK, Lora. You cannot let someone pushing a stroller beat you. Pick up the pace a little and sprint to pass them at the very end."

Though I picked up my pace slightly, there was no sprint left in me. To make matters worse, the song slowed down at that point, going in to its bridge.

Of course it did.

Though I had to watch papa and his little one score a higher ranking than me, I actually was pleasantly surprised when I looked up the race results Friday afternoon.

As an unquestionable middle-of-the-pack runner, I was nearly dead center overall having placed 174 out of 349 in the 5K. I placed 76 out of 192 among the females and 28 out of 70 in my age group.

Given how sluggish I'd felt throughout the race, I thought for sure I was headed more toward the back-of-the-pack standings.

I am a very, very competitive person - at least in the things I know I can do well. Running isn't one of them, so even though I have the occasional small goal in a race, just to make it interesting, I'm able to just go out and have a good time.

Thanksgiving's turkey trot served not only as a reminder of how out of shape I am, but also of how grateful to God I am that my faculties are still intact and that I have the ability to just pick up and run.

I noticed there were a couple photographers snapping pictures at the start, finish and along the course. I look forward to seeing the photos online later and having a good laugh about it. I'm always in first place at the starting line.

This was originally published in the Nov. 24 edition of the Wilmington News Journal.


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