Sunday, August 29, 2010

53 Races In 53 Years. Correr Es Vivir. Running Is Living.

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Eleven
08/23/10 - 08/29/10 - Week Total: 8.5 miles (don't pay attention to this number) There are reasons behind it!!! I did a lot of X-training though!!!

Back in the 80's I met a good friend, Elena, that happened to be a runner. She was those that got up daily at zero dark to go for a run with a group of other nuts like her. Because I had a limitation (a.k.a. asthma) I was incapable of doing so, and thought that anybody that did, had to be challenging their respiratory system to the point of being nuts. Elena also ran several New York Marathons. What is that? 42.195 Km? Who wants to run a marathon anyway? 

17 years later, 1997, another good friend, Mary Yuliet (also a nut daily runner) invited me to go for a run. We were in a beach city, Puerto La Cruz, where our girls were in a gymnastics summer camp. I declined her invitation because of my asthma. She insisted. Indeed, after one minute I was without air and wheezing. I told her to continue while I would turn around to go back home. She said: Are you sure? I replied. Yes, you go. 

For some reason that to this day I can't explain, I decided to continue. I saw her fading while I was jogging using my inhaler every second. I kept going. Curiously, after 1.2 miles/2K my asthma was gone. I was surprised, turned around and jogged for that same distance back home without asthma. After 41 years of my life with that illness I got a revelation, my asthma subsided while running. 

That very same day when the kids and coach came back from their training, I told my daughter's coach that I wanted to go for a run that night and try again. We ran 8 miles/13K. I could not believe it. First of all, I always thought that due to asthma I was some sort of disabled person for sports (with the exception of swimming). Second, I covered a pretty decent distance just the second time I hit the road. At that period of my life I used to hike 3-4 times a week in a very steep mountain and lifted weights also 3-4 times a week. So I have to recognize that being in excellent shape was definitely a factor. After that successful day in my life, I was able to run almost every day while the girls where in their camp. 

When the training camp was over and we went back to Caracas, I asked Julio, a runner and sports coach from my kids school, to help me with a running plan. If I was able to run as I did that summer with whatever pair of shoes, I definitely could be a decent runner. He gave me three advices. One, every week run intervals, very short, and very fast. Two, work hard on your abs. Three, run free the rest of the days, whatever distance you can cover. 

I was hooked. 

One day Julio encouraged me to sign up for a race. A 12K. The race was sponsored by a hospital in Caracas "Clinica El Avila". I was very excited 

I didn't know at the time there was a difference between running and racing. Because of that, I just went and ran. I had a conversational pace, said hi and smiled to every body along the course, and finished in 1:07 for a 9:00 minute/mile pace. I didn't know if that was good or bad. Julio told me it was good "especially when you were running like a Queen on a float, waving to the public".

There is no memorabilia of this race. My kids couldn't go with me because I was not gonna leave them alone at the start without somebody looking after them. There were no bib numbers, pictures or race flyers, but everything is recorded in my brain. That's how my racing story started. Then it continued slowly throughout the years and after moving to the US in 1999 it took me a while to adapt to the cold weather that today I love so much.

As I say in my Lizzie Lee is Racing blog: I am a road race fanatic. I race every weekend I can. I race any distance up to a marathon. I race, I race, and I race. If that's an illness then I am terribly sick!

Today I am 53 yo and I have completed 53 races. I dedicated my 53rd race to a Venezuelan man, Pedro Penzini Fleury, who during 30 years made his passion of running contagious. His motto, paper column and published book were titled "Correr Es Vivir" - "Running Is Living". He passed away last Friday 08/27/10, and I ran my 53rd in his memory.

Yes indeed Pedro and thanks. 53 races in 53 years. Correr Es Vivir. Running Is Living.  

Correr Es Vivir. Running Is Living. I ran my 53rd race in memory of Pedro Penzini Fleury who passed yesterday 8/27 in Caracas, VE. He wrote for more than 30 years a paper column titled "Correr Es Vivir" - "Running is Living", when not too many people were involved in road running.... His first column was published on Mar 12/79 and his last on Dec 13, 2009. He also wrote a book titled: Correr Es Vivir.... Thanks Pedro for all the advices.
Run-A-Muk 10K, Mukilteo, WA - Aug 28, 2010 1:03:30 - 10:14 min/mile
Run-A-Muk 10K, Mukilteo, WA - Aug 28, 2010
I met Donna last year in the Run-A-Muk 5K when I won our division and she got second.
Today she won the 5K division....and I didn't win the 10K!!!


Petraruns said...

Love this recap, love reading your running history. It's enormously inspiring and sets your running up. 53 races! You're rock hard girl!

Susan said...

You are SUCH an inspiration, LL! You have overcome one thing after another. Wow.