Thursday, May 10, 2012


I have been thinking, for a few days, about how to adequately blog about the experience that I had on Sunday.  Since I still have no idea how to do that, you're going to get this.

First, it should be clear by now that I did survive the Borgess Run for the Health of It half marathon.  YAY!  And, for those of you who are wondering, so did the rest of our group (Jeremy, Lisa, Wendy, Petra, and Mario).  It was one of the scariest and most overwhelming things that I have ever done... and I'm so glad that I did it.  Not quite glad enough to sign up for another one in the next few months, but glad nonetheless.

As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, I'm not a "runner."  I am not fast, nor am I really graceful (and much less so, now that I've run the half marathon).  My goals for this event were 1) to finish (in a vertical position, and preferably in under 3 hours) and 2) raise as much money as possible for Heartline Ministries.  I am happy to report that I completed the 13.19 miles (I know!  What the heck?!) in an official time of 2:53:34.  And Gary (the Garmin) has my actual MOVING time at 2:42:08; you see, I did stop my watch when I was in line for or actually in the port-a-pottys.  So my moving time was walking and/or running, versus standing in line.  And for the other goal?  We raised $3,435 for Heartline Ministries!  Yes, it was so worth it!  Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who donated money toward our efforts.  It will be a great blessing to Heartline Ministries and to those who are served by them.  :)

So... the event.  It's a long way to run, and I was slightly intimidated when I got passed by the marathon participants.  They started 20 minutes before we did, and several of them managed to pass me by, over the course of their 26.2 miles -- showoffs.  My family (dressed in bright green, matching 'TEAM BAKKER' tee shirts) were able to find us at a few different places along the route, which was SO great!  It was such an encouragement for me to see them cheering and high-fiving as we went by.  I loved that part!  Petra, one of my actual runner friends, ran with me the whole time.  She was blessed with an abundance of patience, which came in handy for her that day.  I kept telling her to go and do her thing, but she stayed with me and encouraged me through the whole thing.  Not only did she stay with me, but at each mile marker, she did some sort of cheer and dance, to celebrate every accomplishment along the way.  She was great!

My hip started giving me problems shortly after the 5 mile marker.  Unfortunately, it only got worse as I went along.  This prompted me to walk more than I wanted to, but it was okay.  And somehow, after training for almost 300 miles without any blisters on my feet, I managed to get a big blister on one foot during the run.  I figured that it's probably just a little exclamation point from my slightly annoyed body... we. are. done. here!  As I rounded the last corner, for the last tenth of a mile, I could see the finish line.  It was very surreal, and I noticed that my breathing pattern changed (from panting) to not being able to catch my breath (as in hyperventilating) from the excitement of it all.  There were people lined up along both sides, cheering loudly; the clock was ticking above the finish line; it was thrilling.  I honestly wanted to speed up for that last little bit, but I had nothing extra left; I stayed the same speed and ran through the finish as they announced my name over the speaker "Congratulations Laura Bakker -- half marathoner!"  That's when I really lost it -- and went full on into the ugly cry.  Nice ladies around me were patting me on the arm and the shoulder, telling me good job; it was all so unbelievable to me.  I had completed a half marathon.  Seriously.

I looked around for Jeremy, and finally found him in the crowd.  He and Mario had finished in 1:51:54.  Ummm... can you say ROCK STAR???  I am so proud of him!  He was shooting to finish in 2 hours, and clearly blew that out of the water.  Petra finished at the same time that I did and Lisa came through (at blazing speed, I might add... she freaking looked like a Kenyan for the last 30-40 feet of the thing!) at 3:06:12, and Wendy (who ran with Lisa) was right behind her.  All in all, we did well.  We celebrated, we took pictures, we drank chocolate milk, and we went back to the hotel.  I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm still limping.  My hip and knee are feeling better each day, but not quite back to good yet.  But they'll get there.  It was still worth it.

Thank you all again, for supporting me through all of this.  It's been quite an experience.  And a special thank you to my friends and family for contributing over $3,000 toward our total -- you all seriously amaze me!  To God be the glory; great things He hath done!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I guess that I really should slow it down a little...

The hip flexor!  I have finally figured out what to call that hip injury that I've been talking about -- it's a hip flexor strain.  Along the way to this revelation, I was plenty insulted, but I also had an opportunity to laugh so hard that I snorted.
First, the insults:
- this injury is usually caused by tight muscles or poor flexibility (ummm... okay, but I am 41 now; flexibility is a little tougher at this point)
- it's also caused by core weakness (it's all right for me to make fun of my lack of any muscles in my core, but NOT WebMD - thank you very much!)
- and lastly, when the lower abdominal muscles do not stabilize the pelvis, the hip flexor muscles (A-HA! I obviously do have at least ONE muscle in my abdominal area!) will try to compensate for this weakness, and become overworked.
Up to this point, I was getting really annoyed with all of the explanations, because I do a plenty good job of degrading my body WITHOUT the help of online doctors!  That's when I came across this next sentence -- "The most common cause of hip flexor injury is acute trauma. You may experience one specific instance when you felt your hip flexor pull. This may have been when you broke into a sprint, made a cut, or kicked a ball."  Since I can assure you that I've not "made a cut" or kicked a ball for...... ever, it must be all of those sprints that I keep breaking into!  :)  That, for anyone who knows me, is enough to make me injure something else, by laughing so freaking hard!  "Oh yes, excuse my limping; I injured my hip flexor when I broke into a sprint the other day..."  ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.  Anyway, now you know all you could probably ever need to know about a hip flexor injury -- you're welcome.  Oh, and also they don't respond quite as quickly to laser therapy, although I'm hoping that it will respond... and before Sunday would be really nice.

You'll be happy to know that my arms do not appear to have any sort of injury (yet).  Yes, my feet, my knees, my legs and my hips have had more than their fair share lately, but my arms appear to be still intact.  This is exhilarating news to me, as they will most definitely come in handy as I army crawl across the finish line on Sunday, after my lower body gives out.  Now THAT will be a sight to see, folks!

I've been making a big push to get (almost) last-minute donations for Heartline Ministries, since that is the purpose of all of this craziness -- to raise money.  Anyone who is still interested in donating, every little bit will help!  Use the link at the top right side of this page to make a secure, tax-deductible Paypal donation.  Otherwise, if you'd rather send a check, let me know; I can get you the address for that too.

Thanks again, and please keep praying!