Monday, August 6, 2007

A much better day

Indeed, today was a better day than yesterday.

It started with a call from Dori at 6 a.m. "Sweetie, I'm sorry if I'm waking you, but I have great news. My counts went way up." "No problem," I gurgled. "Tell me more." The long and short, as most of you already know, Dori will be home tomorrow!

The kids and I packed up most of her stuff, loaded our van, came home, field-dayed the house and did tons of laundry (I'm still doing some now at 9:30 p.m.). The red carpet is out at Belmont Park Terrace. Dori will be happy. The plants are still alive, the flowers she planted in May are fine and the house looks snazzy. The driveway has been resurfaced, too. We've had some help from our new cleaning lady, which some of Dori's friends were kind to recommend and fund for a few months. I think that's a perk we'll be keeping.

So what have I learned the last two months? A helluva lot. I know Dori is a rock and a warrior, more than I ever knew before. I know I am a mediocre Mom. I know I have not appreciated Dori in the past nearly as much as I should have. I know I am incomplete without her.

Yes, I have been a good soldier for Dori, but she made it this far, with dignity intact and her spirit stronger than ever, on her own. I feel I have helped some, but this is her own personal journey with cancer. I am a teammate and a soulmate. I have listened better than ever before, and I can still deal with tremendous amounts of stress, just like the Navy and parenting taught me. I have refrained from being judgmental, a common fault of mine. Until recently, I did well shepherding the children. The last week or so have been tougher for me, however. I have not been as patient recently with them. A lot of raw emotion has surfaced for all three of us in recent days. All of that will improve in the coming days.

I really can't wait to see how Dori acclimates to home life the first day or two. I talked with my Navy buddy, Dave Baum, today about a trip we made one time from Germany around the Cape up the Pacific to the Panama Canal. We didn't see land for 56 days, as I recall. This 53-day journey was many, many times more difficult than that mission.

Thanks so much for the nice e-mails and posts regarding my shoddy training run Sunday. They were very encouraging. Today, I went to the Y while my Mom and sister took Will to shop for clothes and Kathryn visited Dori. I had a huge chip on my shoulder and something to prove.

I planned to go hard for 10 miles. I settled in to an 8:41 pace after half a mile, then dropped to some 8:34s for awhile. I felt good, so I dropped down to 8:27s around mile 5 or so. With two miles to go, I went to 8:20. Final time: 1:25:20, or an 8:32 pace. That's my best 10 miler since a 1:16 when I was 26 and 30 pounds lighter. My HR was 164 at the end, above 90% for my age, so I was close to maxing. I think I had another mile in me, and perhaps another 3.1 with another gel. If I had maintained my pace, that's a 1:50:20 half marathon. I feel great right now. What a difference a day makes!

My takeaway is the conditions outside this week are brutal for long distance, so don't sweat Sunday's flop. My plans is to get in some long runs in the heat the next few weeks, and just see how conditions are on race day. My two speed days last week were productive. They were certainly painful. I will definitely keep up the speed work (I will do more Wednesday).

Until we blog again ... Jim

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