Evolution of Running and How It Affects Who We Are

It’s no secret, that when I began my running career in 2010/2011, I ran for finisher medal.  I would not run a race unless I knew I would receive a medal.  I wanted that feeling of self-accomplishment and that medal gave me that satisfaction.

Shortly after I began racing, I won AG and Overall awards.  The competitive nature of my youth had kicked in and I found myself competing against myself for each and every race.  Half way through that year, we lost Ladybug and running in her honor became my trademark to this day.

By the end of 2011, I was hammering out a bunch of PR’s in all distances and I had evolved from running races only with medals to any races. I ran some races with ribbons and races with absolutely nothing.  I quickly learned I could use races as gauges for my focus races.  Score!

You see, I also learned early on, that I have horrible training.  I swear I could not run a 30 minute 50k during training if my life depended on it.  Yet, I will streak by that time on any given race day.  Thus the reason I am so surprised when I finish with the times, that I do.

In my second year of racing, I had a heart to want to travel and be around more runner friends. The state of CA, because my monthly home.  At least once a month, I was on the road for the next big race.

 

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By Mid-2013, I was so done with traveling, I wanted to stay home.  I had seen enough and knew what races I wanted to repeat.  I had cultivated some incredible friendships and also sides of the running community I wish I never did.  The more you are exposed to a community, you will often see the dark side.  The running community is not immune to the thralls of life.  There are cheaters, gossips, thieves and very mean-spirited people.  Because we share the same sport, does not make us immune to human nature.  I also saw the best of humanity, total strangers helping total strangers.  The spirit of human ambition and goal setting.  It was that same year, I had my first serious runner’s injury (fractured leg).

In 2014, I no longer cared about the medals or even the awards.  After being injured and unable to run for the last part of 2013, I was grateful to be back on my legs and in the Start Corrals.  I set new PR’s that I had been chasing since 2012, I ran with more determination, freedom and peace.  I ran in memory of my best friend who died suddenly, weeks before Christmas.  I ran to celebrate the unity of my new found family.

So, where am I in 2015? Good question.  I have different running values.  I still and always will treasure all my medals, but that is not why I run.  My tastes have evolved.  I am a 53 year old Masters Runner, who is enjoying the process of being the best I can be.  I am grateful for my history, my stories and experiences since 2010, but I know that person and athlete no longer exists.  I have evolved.

The athlete I was in 2010 was not the ‘wrong’ type of athlete, that was exactly who I needed to be, at that time.  Next year, I will be a different athlete and I love the prospect of who we can become.

Running is like writing a book, chapter after chapter.  One day, I will write the ending of my current book and work on the sequel.

I look forward to seeing where the next evolution will take me!

Run Fab,

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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Day 2, Part 2 – Runner’s World Kid’s Races

Onto the Kid’s Races!  The night was so special, I felt it needed it’s own blog post.

Recap of the last two posts:

 

Day 1 – Arrival Day and Rodale/Runner’s World HQ Tour

Day 2, Part 1 – Run, Yoga & Food

 

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After a full day with my blog-mates with a energetic shake-out run, food, yoga and more food, Katie (Runs for Cookies) and I hung around the race location to watch the kiddos to officially kick-off the weekend festival.

 

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My hair had a mind of it’s own during this trip and where was I looking?  Can we just call this trip a bad hair and bad camera time for Charlene? 

The first race was the iddy biddies for a quarter mile.  Bart Yasso led the way on the lead bike.

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The excitement was in the air and the crowd went crazy.  RW allows the parents to run with their children, which is a good thing. For those children running solo, they were directed into a Finish Line area where the parents could pick them up.  A wonderful safety feature is a parent cannot pick up a child without a matching tag, similar to gear check.

Next up were the 7-8 years old, they ran a half mile.  Again, Bart on the lead bike

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Next up were the oldest kids – 9-10 years old, I believe. They were to run a mile. Well!  The lead runner, a boy almost ran past Bart Yasso and clocked in a 5 minute mile.  Geez, kid!  (Somehow I missed a picture, sorry)

The Runner’s World festival had officially begun!  I am glad Katie recommended to stay, it was a great way to start the race weekend.

Afterwards, we set out to find some dinner.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do (since I am GF) but we found a local pizza place, Sotto.  Katie loved her pizza and I had a caprese salad.

Back to the hotel room to prepare for the first day of racing and seeing my brother!  I couldn’t wait to share this experience with him!

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Every moment of this experience, was wonderful, so far.  I am so grateful for this opportunity that Runner’s World has given me.  I look forward to sharing the next few days with you in upcoming blog posts.

*Disclaimer:   I was an invited guest blogger to the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival in Bethlehem, PA.  The views, reviews and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the organizers nor sponsors or any other company/individual affiliated with the event.

 


Sharing the Great News | My Adult Adoption Story

I have been waiting awhile to share this good news with all my FAB-O friends.  Now, is the time!

My blog followers know about #RunningMama and #RunningBro. Although we were not biologically or legally bonded, we are family. #RunningMama is my kids grandmother and #RunningBro was…well, my Bro and uncle to my children.

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I met Kirk and Laura in 2012. Over time, our bond became more than traveling to races. Evidence was the day of Mama’s tragic accident that caused her to break her neck. Bro and I were faced with the possibility of making end of life decisions for her. It’s not something I wanted Bro to make alone, and I didn’t want Mama to be alone. My love for them both had grown so much, I couldn’t imagine my life without either one. During Mama’s initial recovery, Bro and I partnered together to ensure what she needed. One of us would take her to the grocery store, while another one of us would take her to her medical appointments. It happened, naturally. Together with Bro, my family and I worked together to ensure Mama was healing & safe.

One day, Mama began joking with me that she wanted to “legally adopt me”. We laughed about it and I remember the moment I knew she was serious. My initial reaction was “huh? Okay, this is weird. Why would you want to do that?” 

Even though I had separated myself from my biological family many, many years ago – I never considered, nor thought about being a part of an Adult Adoption nor was I seeking to be a part of a family, legally.  I had my husband, kids and our closest friends. I wanted nothing else.

While sitting on her couch, I listened to her desires to have me as her legal daughter. While driving home, I cried. I felt such an overwhelming sense of love and respect from her. I was not sure what I did to make her love and trust me so much, but I was overwhelmed.

After I arrived home, I told my husband about Mama’s offer. He was stunned, yet happy as I was. I laid in bed all night, wondering and praying. By the morning, I knew I needed to call her to give her an answer.  I accepted her offer to adopt me. This was the right thing to do and we began the legal process to petition the court for an adult adoption.

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Not long ago – Mama, myself, Kirk, my husband, my children appeared in the Clark County Family Courthouse to legally finalize my adult adoption. We are legally bonded, as if she was my biological mother and Kirk is my biological brother. It was such an emotional moment, words cannot possibly describe how I felt that day.

Here is the picture from the courthouse with our presiding Judge.

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Picture of myself, Mama and Kirk. Mama is holding a picture of her late husband, who is now my legal father.  We are also holding our Court Sealed documents, making it official.

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Here is a picture of Kirk and I as we had a celebratory training run, later on that day (did you expect anything different?  haha)

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We are a legal family.   We are still friends and becoming better friends every day. She stops by my work to bring me cupcakes, I come to her house to have girl time. My relationship with Kirk is growing, too. Being a biological only child, I am not sure how to share my life with a sibling, but he is very patient and understands my fears. It is a great joy, to see my kids respond to their grandma, even our dogs love her and Kirk. While the adoption was for me and Mama, it has affected so many.

  • My children have a grandmother
  • Mama has additional grandchildren
  • My husband has a brother-in-law
  • Kirk has a brother-in-law
  • For me, I have my Mama and Half Brother (we share the same legal mother, Laura)

Thank you Mama and Bro for accepting my thorns, my personality and quirks. I believe this adoption is our destiny. We took a few detours along the way, but we finally found each other. I couldn’t be happier and more at peace. Those who have known me for decades, can see the difference you (both) have made in my life.

To those who have been my family for so many years. Cathy, Kristi, Brian, Sheri, Julia, John, Karen & The Erekson Family. You are and always will be family to me, because we chose to be that way. I love you, all.

Lastly & most importantly, I would like to thank my husband and my kids. I couldn’t of imagined sharing that day without you! Words cannot never, ever describe the depth of my love for the 3 of you.

Running has many stories. We have heard of marriage proposals, weddings and even births during running. Now, here is an adoption story. It all began with a race and a chance meeting with Bro and I.

And who says running doesn’t change lives. It changed ours, forever.

This is my Adult Adoption Story

This is our family story.

We Believe Dreams Do Come True.