Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | December 20, 2010

It’s Beginning to look a LOT like ….

We awakened to a lovely, big, fresh snowfall.  Perhaps four inches, or so, and I’m happy about it.  Now we only have to keep the warm temps that have been predicted for Christmas away, so we can keep the fresh and delightful and fun snow on the ground where it belongs.  And in the air, sparkling down through the trees.  Hurray for the Winter Solstice!

The Light the Way 5K on Friday was tons of fun.  I enjoyed every minute of it, except the being cold before the start part, but that meant that I wasn’t overheated by the end.  I truly expected to be the last person on the route, coming in long after the person before me, but that ended up not being the case.  It had been a REALLY crummy day at work following a night of very little sleep, so by the time the race started at 6:30, my body was ready to get rid of some stress.  I was able to run most of the route, and that felt just right to my body.  And then, my walking class friends, Stan and Kelleen, Peggy and Candace came over to our house for some hot spiced cider and a lovely visit around the fire.  Perfect!

Now it is not so very early in the day, that I can get the snow blower started up and get the walks and drive cleared before work, so I’m off.  Merry Christmas to all of you, and may your blessings be many, your troubles be few.

Go forward, my friends, go forward.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | December 13, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

So, everyone is WAY too busy to be checking blogs which have hung around too long, and it seems just right that at the same time everyone else is too busy to read, I have become too busy to write more than once a week.  I hope this situation fits with all of you who might possibly still read this ol’ blog once in awhile….  I enjoy having a place to think out loud every so often, so I think I’ll keep the blog going for the near future, in any case.  

My walking buddies successfully pried me out of my winter hiatus this past Saturday, and we met at 8:00 am for a cold, icy hour’s walk.  One of my friends, Carolyn, loaned me her extra set of cleats, so I felt able to keep up the pace.  (It won’t surprise any of you that I am a total wuss when it comes to slippery conditions. )  We were rewarded for our get-up-and-go-edness with a clear blue sky as the sun rose, cold cold cold but beautiful view of the mountains around Missoula in their beautiful white robes, and a grand march across the bridge towards and then through the place where the finish line was at the Missoula Marathon.  I had such fun being out with them again!  

We are, as a group, doing the upcoming 5K race called the “Light the Way”, put on by Runners’ Edge and RunWildMissoula.  It takes place this coming Friday evening, starting at 6:30 pm, which is LONG past the time of day I like to exercise…. but the starting line is literally across the street from our house, and the route goes through the park, with luminarias lighting the paths.  And, each racer gets a headlamp which we have to wear…  so honestly, it will be beautiful, fun, short, and then we can come to our house, have a cup of hot spiced cider (or wine for those who can imbibe) by the fire.  What’s better than that?

And, I have to admit that I was getting worried that I would revert to old tendencies to not exercise.  I do not want to get fat again, and I can easily see myself doing just that.  I still fit into my size 6 jeans, but if I had continued in the route I had begun after the NYC Marathon, I would soon not be able to squeeze them on.  Enough of that.  Back to work, back to good habits, back to the straight and narrow, BEFORE the holidays.  Back in the saddle, again.  Whew.  I feel like I dodged a bullet.

Go forward, my friends.  Go forward.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | December 6, 2010

Giants

Today I will attend the funeral of a man who was a giant in the eyes of many people who love the outdoors.  This man, Bud Moore, lived life in a way that showed he valued the environment and the critters and people that live therein.  One could count one’s self lucky to have heard Bud’s stories, to have seen his smile, to have felt his handshake.  Bud was a mountain man of the old school, an environmentalist devoted to preserving, a man who never forgot a friend and never knew an enemy.  Bud was a life-long role model for my brothers, and I feel lucky to have been included in the circle of Bud’s influence.  I have no doubt that today the man named Bud Moore passes into legend.

In the forest near here is a tree so massive and so old that it is known as “The Grandfather Tree.”  This ponderosa was alive before Columbus arrived on this continent which was already home to many people, home to some grand civilizations.  This tree lived through fires and became stronger because of them.  This tree bent with windstorms while more rigid trees crashed to the earth.  This tree existed through drought, through temperatures of near 100 degrees below zero and well over 100 degrees above.  This tree has been struck by lightning, scourged by beetles and has suffered the indignity of being used as a fence post by humans too ignorant to know better.  This Grandfather tree has felt the hugs of many school children as they stuff noses into the deep crevices of bark to snuff the marvelous fragrance akin to butterscotch.  Children and adults alike have stood at the base of this massive tree and gazed upward through branches as big as telephone poles, gazing up through the needles far, far above to the blue sky beyond.  This Grandfather tree won’t live forever, no matter how much we want it to.  

Giants die.  We can only be glad to have known them and feel grateful to be a part of the forest which the giant seeded.  We learn to take the heat of fires, to bend with the wind and to withstand the extremes.  We take in water and are grateful for our roots.  We breathe the pure air and are grateful for our protective bark.  We reach towards the blue beyond and are grateful for the giants from whom we received our heritage.

Go forward, my friends.  Go forward.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | November 29, 2010

Beginning the Winter’s Rest

Anyone who has a television and access to the weather thereon will know that Montana has begun her long winter’s nap.  Winter came on, in all her roaring glory, soon after Jim and I arrived back home.  The temperatures plummeted to well below zero, and the wind blew away all the cobwebs, all the dust, all the left-over scents of too much humanity and left me with a clean and clear soul, ready for advent.  

Note that I spelled that word with a lower case “a.”  Though I work at a church, amongst simply wonderful people of the Christian faith, and while I love the Christmas season, I tend to view the coming holy season as a time that has been holy for a lot longer than only the past two thousand years or so.  Humans have, for a very long time, spent the time now approaching in our current calendar in retrospect, in soul-searching, in mind- and body-preparation.  We hunker ourselves down, draw ourselves in, and yes, perhaps we kneel in complete adoration of the marvel that is life.  

In much of the world, certainly the part I live in, dark comes early, now.  We have long and lovely dark afternoons which slip simply into long and restful night.  Candles and fireplaces flicker. Outside the sky deepens with a velvet feel that is not there in a summer sky.  Humans come home to their hearth; animals hunker down in their burrows; the trees, grand and tall against the velvet sky, have already drawn their sap into the heartwood.  Yes, now is the time of advent.  

I see myself, and all of nature, gathering in for a rest, but it is not a rest of non-doing. It is a rest of preparation; a rest of garnering energy; a rest of …, well, a rest of advent.

My dictionary’s first definition of the word “advent” has it this way: “arrival or coming into being.”  Yes.  That is what this time of year is all about.   This time of year I view myself and nature as a newly fertilized embryo, protected from the outside world by a warm and comforting silence.  The embryo needs the protection and the silence, but there is a lot going on in that mantle of protection.   

We don’t often think of this, but the root of the word “advent” and the root of the word “adventure”  is the very same.  The first definition of “adventure” in my dictionary says “an undertaking involving risk, unforeseeable danger  or unexpected excitement.”  Hmmm.  We rest ourselves now so that our bodies and minds and souls are ready for the coming adventures of the new year.  We grow ourselves now, warm and resting in the blanket of silence and calm, allowing our beings to gather the marvelous and awe-inspiring strength that will take us into the new year with grace.  

Hunker down, there, my friends, by your fires.  Don’t waste your energy running hither and yon trying to follow the crazy commercialization of the season that has been foisted upon us.  Go back farther in time and in unwritten memory, to the fires of our ancestors.  Rest.  Nourish your souls.  Cherish the embryos that are forming. This is your advent.  Allow yourselves the time to gather strength for the unexpected excitement that is sure to come.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | November 19, 2010

We are back in “God’s Country”!

Hurray!  We are home!  It has been a lovely trip, full to the brim with people and talk and excitement and hugs and tears and love.  But now we are home in our cozy little house, and both of us look forward to spending the day in complete, pure silence.  No stereo.  No tv.  Just silence.

Since I am still kind of brain-dead, and since my sweet husband, who didn’t sleep well last night just got out of bed, I am going to just paste in the intro of my future book, as promised.  And that will be that, for today.  I’m home, well and happy, and cannot thank each of you enough for the lovely loving support you have given me.  Bless you!

From Couch Potato to Distance Athlete in Three Easy Lessons While Saving the World With the Help Of Superman

Confessions of a Self-Help Book Junkie

Introduction

First of all, I have to say that there is only one thing in my main title that is actually true, and, oddly enough it is the last bit.  Whatever I have done in the last year HAS in fact, been done with the help of Superman.  I have imagined him flying low and slow, right there at my left hip, ready to give me a boost or a ride or a pep talk, and that help has gotten me through some very rough times.  

The other bits all have a basis in truth… for instance, I CAN be a couch potato, given half a chance.  I love nothing better than to curl up with a good book and a cat, while the rain pours down outside, and read the entire day away.  But, though I am lazier than I’d like to be, I try not to allow myself to do that to any great extent.  Life is meant to be LIVED, not read about (ooops, bad thing for a writer to say on the first page) and so I have always eventually put the book away and gotten back to living.

I also, have had at least a taste of being a distance athlete.  I have completed my second marathon.  That I did both of these marathons in one year, and that year was my 54th year on this planet, speaks in my favor.  But I do not actually see myself continuing on in the marathon club.  Half marathons?  Maybe.  And I certainly expect to keep my fitness level up, as I’ve said before, life is meant to be LIVED, and fitness adds to the enjoyment thereof.

Three easy lessons?  Oh, heck, that one isn’t true at all.  I just threw that in because that’s what ALL the good self-help books imply to get you to buy the dang book.  The lessons I learned on my way weren’t very easy ones, for the most part, and there were WAY more than three of them.  But the lessons and the learning of them are what this book is about, and if there were only three, the book would be too short to bother writing.

But Superman?  Oh, yes.  That part is very real.  And that leads me to the beginning of my story.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | November 13, 2010

Goals and Other Dreams

Good morning.  It is 4:00 am here, and I am awake. Got to get on my sister-in-law’s computer when the chance avails itself.  Her husband is getting ready to go to work, so I know that I’m not the only one stirring in the house.  Jim and I are staying at his folks’ house on Long Island, and this has been a wonderful week of reconnecting family ties.  We visit and laugh until we cry.  They all stay up late, laughing and talking, while this ol’ country girl hits the hay at her usual time, but I love laying in bed listening to the buzz of voices above my head.  The one bad thing about living in Montana is that it is so far from the New York Dredgers.  Our house and home and parrot are being well-taken care of, far away, by our house-sitter, while we play and rest with family, here.  I simply love these people.  There are no bigger hearts in the world than those of my husband’s family.

Thank you so very much for all the comments here and posts on facebook, and thank you for your patience in my delay of getting photos here.  You’ll all have to wait even longer, I fear, as I want to wait until I get back to my own computer before I download any.  It is quite invasive, I feel, to use someone else’s computer for these things, and so it will wait.  Yes, my sweet sister Maggie has lovely photos which have been “borrowed” by me and the Reeve Foundation, with out Maggie getting her due, so you can see pics of the Missoula Marathon if you care to.  Just imagine taller buildings, more trees at the finish line, and all in all darker, since the time of day was so much later, and you’ll come close to what it looked like coming across the finish line in Central Park.  Add in a FEW more people, too, I guess.

So, the goal of a lifetime has been met and finished.  Now what?  I want to keep on walking, that is for sure.  I think, though, that I am done with the running.  I want my knees to last the rest of my life, and running is hard on old joints.  But fitness and being all in all a smaller person, yes, I like that part very much.   I like being able to touch my hip bone, a thing that someone who has never been heavy wouldn’t understand.  I like seeing a long, lean line of femur going down from hip bone to knee.  I like wearing a size 6 pair of jeans.  So, exercise has to remain a constant now.  I also enjoy the camaraderie of sports events, and so fully intend to continue to find walker-friendly races.  Shorter ones, though, for the most part.  Will there be another marathon in my future?  Ask me that in another few months, after I forget the pain of this one.

However, no matter how much it hurts, the thrill of finishing such a big goal is completely worth the pain and the effort.  I easily see how people get addicted to this.  I’ve read books about people who run 100 marathons in 100 consecutive days, of people who run marathons in each state, and even of one crazy guy who runs a marathon, a real marathon race every single day, and has for more than a year.  The logistics of travel boggle the mind, let alone the wear and tear on the guy’s body.  No danger of me going THAT route, I’ll tell you.

I have another goal in mind, though.  It had to wait until the many hours of training had “run” their course.  But, as I did last February when I threw my hat over the fence to start training for my first marathon, I guess I’ll just go ahead and make it public, so that you all will help keep me honest in my next venture.  As I’ve said before, “Yikes, do I really want the world to know?”  Ummm, no, because if I tell the world, it will be embarrassing to drop out.  So, here it goes, I’ll tell the world so that I hopefully won’t drop out  (remember, I wasn’t sure I was finishing the NYC Marathon, even after mile 25….)  I want to write a book.  I’ve wanted to do it for a very long time, and I think it is a worthy goal.  I even have a working title…

“FROM COUCH POTATO TO DISTANCE ATHLETE, IN THREE EASY LESSONS, WHILE SAVING THE WORLD WITH THE HELP OF SUPERMAN – Confessions of a Self-help Book Addict”

For my introduction, see my next installment.

Go Forward, my friends, Go Forward.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | November 10, 2010

Completely humbled

Today is Wednesday, and I am starting to come out of my marathon fog.  My body feels good, if still a little sore, and I am completely humbled by the overwhelming support and love that has been showered upon me.  If you have been keeping track of my fund-raising totals, you will see that a new friend introduced to me by my dear B at Team Reeve, Matt Lexow donated a huge amount which put me over my goal. Thank you again, Matt!  You will always be in my heart.

All of the sweet comments on my blog have been so uplifting, as well.  Thank you. You all have carried me here, and I couldn’t have done it without you.  Thank you!

I wish I could show you, step by step what it was like on Sunday, running and walking through the neighborhoods of New York.  It was truly the experience of a lifetime, one I will never forget.  There never WAS a time, not until the very last 200 yards, when I was completely sure I was going to finish.  The only only only thing that kept me going, through the head wind, through the pain, through the exhaustion, was this great huge magnet waiting for me at the end… that is, knowing that Jim was there to meet me, knowing that he would be there to hold me as long as I needed, knowing that he would be crying with joy as I cried with relief, that THAT is what brought me to the finish line.  When I can get a photo posted here of me crossing that line, colors flying, you will see a smile on my face, and it was well earned.

Until I can get my own photos uploaded  (actually, and I know you know me well enough to not be surprised at this, I have to finish the roll and get them developed, as, NO, I didn’t carry a digital camera, rather a single use camera…. I know you aren’t surprised) I will have a page of photos here for you.  Until then, check out my facebook page.  I’ll repost a photo of my new friend Jennifer and me, wearing our new medals.  Hurray!  We did it!

And, by the way, my official time was 6:13:16,  better than Missoula, if not as good as I had hoped.  You know what?  I am proud of every dang minute of that time.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | November 8, 2010

“I’ll make a brand new start of it, in old New York!”

I did it!  I finished my second marathon, with my Christopher Reeve Foundation-colored ribbons flying!  I ran most of the way, through the very heart of it all, right here in old New York!  I walked over the bridges, taking time to take photos, and ran through the neighborhoods, where all of New York seemed to be out cheering for us.  It was a marvelous experience.

I don’t actually know my finishing time… but I am pretty sure I did better than at the Missoula Marathon.  In any case, I finished the same day I started, and that was my goal.  I cried as the volunteer put the medal around my neck.  And she hugged me. 

I met Jim just down the block at La Palestra, a fitness center that Team Reeve organized for us so we could get Physical Therapist attention, professional stretching and an ice bath.  And then we walked back to our hotel, so I think it’s safe to say that I put in around 30 miles yesterday.  Thanks to the ice bath and massage, I’m not too sore today, but I am very glad that I don’t have to do a whole heck of a lot.

I will write more, in another post, later.  Just wanted to tell you all that I finished, and I am so very very grateful for your support, your help and your love.  And a special big thank you to Matt Lexow, who donated a very large amount to my fundraising and put me over the top. 

Dr. Kendra Long, you too, thank you so much.  You are all wonderful people, andyour generosity humbles me, and makes me very grateful.

Go forward, my firends, go forward!

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | November 4, 2010

“If I Can Make IT There, I’ll Make IT ANYWHERE…”

Tomorrow we fly out.  Hurray!  I am excited to get this started.  

I had a lovely discussion this morning with our house-sitter, as we were having breakfast.  My friend at the Missoulian, Michael Moore, wrote a simply superb column for his “Booming” section, and it was so very pertinent to me and my stage of life.

The title of his column is “Trying Hard is all there is”  and he speaks of reading a climbing article that said that after age 50, climbers should just try to maintain, that they can’t really improve their physical abilities, and so shouldn’t try.  That sentiment offended him, and so Michael has spent the last year proving it wrong.  He has dubbed this year, “The Year of Trying Hard.”  He has seen his physical fitness, very good to begin with, grow much stronger.  He has taken a big promotion at work.  And all in all, his life is much improved from this experiment.  

As has my own life been improved.  Tomorrow it starts.  Superman and Bob Heinle are going to have to carry me, I know, and I will spend time conversing with both of them, along the way.  But I’ll get there, to the finish line, with their help.  And with YOUR help.  Send me strong thoughts, please.  Be thinking of me.  I will need your thoughts and prayers, and all of the love you can send me.  

Thank you, each of you, so very much for all the support you have shown me this year, for all the donations to my site, and for all the kind words.  You will never know how much it means to me, to have you with me on this journey.  Bless you!  Thank you!  See you at the finish line!

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | November 2, 2010

“I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps…”

Five days from race day!  Yesterday I went through some major panic.  I watched all the YouTube videos I could of the New York City Marathon, and believe me, there are a bunch, so now I have a very good idea of what the start looks like, what the route looks like, and what the crowds look like.  I know I am going to be in pain most of the way, but I can deal with that as long as I remain mobile.  I just need to keep on moving.

And speaking of waking up in the city that never sleeps, here is how race day is going to begin for me.  Following a night of probably not sleeping, I will walk from my hotel to the Team Reeve bus, which leaves Central Park at 6:00 am.  The start of the race is on Staten Island, and I imagine it will take an hour to get there.  Now, you probably know that this year there are 45,000 participants in the NYC marathon, and they all can’t start at once.  There are three waves, or three beginning times.  I am in the last wave, and so I will be lining up to start at 10:40 am.  Wish it was earlier, but you get what you get.  I will definitely be dealing with nerves etc. during the time between when the bus gets to Staten Island, and when I start.  John “the Penguin” Bingham says that you spend this time by immediately getting into the porta-potty line, going to the bathroom, then getting back in the porta-potty line until it is finally time to line up.  I’ll take his word on it.  He hasn’t failed me in his advice yet.

After the gun, I will walk/run but mainly walk the first three miles until the first water station.  I’ll be walking for two reasons… one is that there are so many people in such a tight crowd that running can be problematic.  The second reason is that I know my knee isn’t going to do well, and I want to make sure it has lots of time to warm up, and I want to give it as much a chance as possible to finish strongly.  

I envision the finish line in Central Park.  I envision myself seeing it coming into view, and myself coming closer to it.  I envision myself coming up to and crossing the finish line, with my Team Reeve colors flying.  I can do this.  I CAN DO THIS!   (Oh, please, I can do this, can’t I?)

Just so you know, I am not taking my computer with me, but I will definitely be getting on a computer as soon as I can on Monday or Tuesday to let you all know that I survived, and to let you know my time.  

Our house-sitter is well ensconced already, to take care of house and parrot.  We are leaving everything secure and well watched over.  Nothing to worry about that we can control.  And so, my friends, thank you for your patience as I walk myself through the plan.  I’ll post again before we leave.

Go forward!

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