Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Getting Soaked

My husband wanted to try a pair of Hoka One One Bondi B shoes since I so love them and he suffers from knee pain when running. Being a savvy online shopper—and that I can't buy them locally—I found a pair for $79.90 which is about half of what I payed for mine! The site looked legit with hundreds of shoes and I order an additional pair for myself. Who could beat that deal? I did think it was strange that I did not get a confirmation email about the exact order. Only one email came from PayPal with the transaction. After waiting a couple weeks with no delivery or follow-up, I became concerned and emailed the supplier three times and had no reply. I then filed a complaint with PayPal.

They went to the seller and came back with a postal shipping code, so I was hopeful that the shoes were on the way. Yesterday, a package with the code from CHINA arrived. An envelope about 5x6 inches—definitely not shoes. And in it... a sponge! My heart sank with the irony that I just got soaked. A 22 cent sponge as noted worth on the package for MY $159.80.

That's right! This is my Hoka One One steal. I get to pay $159.80 for a sponge.
Can you hear this person's laughter in China?  
Close-up of envelope: The US Value in this envelope is 22 cents.

Of course, I have notified PayPal of the fraud and am waiting for resolution.

As disturbed and angered as I am about this, I came to one mindful resolution. I can not control the dishonesty of others. I cannot let the awful actions of others control my mindset, and I hope when the new pair of Hoka One Ones come for my husband (that I ordered last night from UT), that I don't look at them with disdain and resentment. I hope I can laugh about this one day at least 15980 times.

I could have called the post, Hoka Hoax, but that just isn't fair to my Hokas.

Off to find my Focused Drive and think of those worthy of my thoughts.


I have playing this game for 2 1/2 months with PayPal and following their instructions:
• sending the sponge back to China thru registered mail for an additional $17.87,
• specialty packing of the package for customs—what a pain,
• waiting, waiting waiting, and watching it sit online in China since November 17!

I received a message two days ago saying that they would NOT refund my money because this seller was not proven to have received the package. And further more, I had 72 hours to give proof.. what!!!!

I felt a stabbing in my chest again and betrayed once more by a company seeming to protect a criminal. I sent images of the packing slips, tracking, and of the sponge to PayPal with no reply. I sent an email back asking for investigation of this criminal act. No reply.

This seller removed their website, sent me a sponge and was now not excepting the package to keep the money … or … maybe they left town for fraudulent acts. The flames where coming from my ears by now. I know this whole thing is trivial compared to worldly issues or serious matters of life and death. But this seller stole from me and just taking it is not acceptable.

I knew I needed to get a hold of a real person (which PayPal makes really hard), and to keep control without blowing up...so I ran 6 miles first (after doing the Jillian Michaels 6-pack workout). How's that for therapy? Seriously, I didn't want to lose my temper. I just needed to be heard. I really didn't want to workout AT-ALL and was miserable through most of it. I was that upset. But I came across a thought on that run. To live with relentless faith in all parts of my life means having faith that even when things go wrong and look bad on the outside—things I can not control—that it is going to be okay. The mission in this, is faith in what ever the outcome.

After a long wait on the phone and punching codes, I finally talked to someone with a calm voice, and was promised my money back through PayPal! This person even said she would process the return postage for the sponge to China, which they normally don't cover. What a turn of events.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

GR Marathon PR 4:33

Caught My Breath!

I feel nothing short of amazement as I reflect on how this run went and all the things that went right. 
All the little exercises, foam rolling and taping payed-off!
The time letting go of speed work and focussing on mileage, padding time between long runs, and guarding my taper…worked.
The strength I found in the Train Like a Mother "Own It Plan" two months ago lingered enough for a 6 minute PR.
The temps were in the low 50s with sunshine and fall leaves—it doesn't get any better!
No restroom stops. I repeat: No restroom stops!
I pulled the strength out of me, all alone on a course that I ran last year at 4:56 and vowed to beat down the mistakes I had made before.

Race Report:
I wished my friend a good run on her first half marathon, which she was running in remembrance of her father. She barely trained but needed some positive energy in her life. What ever her journey was going to be, I wanted her to succeed and find perspective. She had been wanting to do this for a year and today was the day.

I prayed like I usually do at the starting line for a good run, what ever that may be and help us find the strength to pull this off. One thing I thought about and repeated on the drive the day before was "If you don't believe, then you have already failed. Then why bother? You must believe. You must believe." Envisioning that finish line is powerful.

I placed the mantras in front of my mind so I could recall them thru the run:
Don't You Surrender

I hung tight to the Oprah Pace Team and felt a little stressed that I was running faster than I had trained and the fact that I had lost speed work from injury. Shutting that out of my mind, I tried to focus on relaxing, comfort and breathing easily like I did in the Spring when Evie and I ran the Bayshore Marathon and had a 17 minute PR. This is what a race day PR is all about. It is finding comfort in the uncomfortable. I was right with the pace team thru mile 15 where they got a little lead on me as they jolted off at under 10mm! We were behind and this was them catching up!

I shifted my mind on keeping them close and getting to the 20 mile marker—just 5 more to 20, get to 20. I gave myself rewards throughout the entire course—at each 5 mile marker with GU and the PicklePop at mile 13 and 23. I also snagged the pickle juice they offered twice—YES! I was a little ahead of pace by mile 20, but had no idea. I was living on sparks of kiddy hand slaps by now. (Okay, should have started that earlier.)

I was not in pain at all and that is amazing all by its self. High five to God and my running guardian angel. The PF and ITBS issues I had feared were silent for the most part—only a whisper of a lower leg ache. I felt fatigued by mile 22 and finally lost the Oprah Pace Team in my sight. That was where I slowed a bit, but never walking. This is where "Don't You Surrender" plays well. I kept pace with some other 4:29 goal runners that had fallen back around me, and nobody was truly surrendering today. We had passed many after mile18 that had run out too fast and were out of gas and hurting.

I don't think I have ever been so happy to cross that line! I shook Don Kern's (GR Race Director) hand, hugged him and thanked him by name after I crossed. He is there to do just that, right at the finish line! GR Marathon is a detailed planned course and event, as well as being a Boston Qualifyer course (not that I will ever do that!). It is a smooth run through downtown Grand Rapids, MI, out to a wide paved trail in the woods, by a lake and over bridges in fall color galore. Lots of parking, food and great volunteers. I love this race!

This year My Team Triumph had 11 teams assisting those who otherwise could not race cross the finish line. It is a beautiful thing to see these angels pushing their captains. These angels are amazing and the sight of them moves me.

Thank you Oprah Pacers! Although I didn't beat Oprah's 4:29, I did pull out a 4:33 which is a 6 minute PR for me and had an amazing experience of inner faith.

Before Race: Me and my friend Rachelle, who ran her first Half Marathon in memory of her father.
Note: All my GU is safety-pinned on for easy tear and consuming without throwing tabs all over mother nature. The PicklePops are looped in my SpiBelt. I cannot pin those without leaking:)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Run or Die!

Channeling Oprah!
That's right! It is mental armor time and let's get this mission nailed down. The Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon has celebrity pace groups and it has been a goal all summer to finish in the "Team Oprah" pace group—4:29:20 finish time / 10:16 pace. That will be 10 minutes off my last PR in the Spring. Training for this goal has not gone as planned with PF and ITBS issues having me ditch my "Own It" plan from Train Like A Mother, and just getting the miles in without the tough runs for speed in the last month. A real shame as I was really feeling a surge on the plan and believing that more growth was possible. P. Diddy will be a far distant bouncing sign in this marathon. I will be picking back up the "Own It" plan after recovering in the next couple months and rebuilding some weaknesses—like fudge, cookies and cakes oh my!

I am still on the fence, but I have a hard time backing off of goals. So I may play it by ear and hang with "Team Oprah" for as long as I can without causing injury or making myself completely miserable. Yeah right…I am going to make myself miserable because that's how I roll and this is a marathon people.

Beyond the access to personal trainers and professional insight, Oprah has brass knuckles to fight the demons of self doubt and excel. I better get mine if I want to hang. I found the perfect shirt for such a mission. Run or Die! by www.inknburn.com, which actually means something true to my heart. When I run, I am truly living and taking my journey. My life is measured between the moments I am engaged with my husband, children and close friends, and those moments when I am free and on the run—sometimes both worlds come together. My heart races equally from the run and from seeing my son kick his first goal ever—which was last week! This is living. The way I see it, Live or Die—or Run and Die, I am just not choosing to die.

Find your Focused Drive and stay in the journey.