Friday, November 15, 2013

My dad's big 60!

MAJOR SECRET! IF YOU CAN NOT KEEP A SECRET, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER!  This is an epic secret surprise. Don't ruin it.

A Memory Shower for my Dad (NOT a card shower.  He is not that old yet!)

An open invitation here.  No matter how you know my dad (Darrell Drullinger), whether it be through church, pageants, the theatre, music, college, high school, Chadron, I need your help.  Seriously.  My dad turns 60 on January 13, 2014.  He is probably the best dad in the world and has been an amazing support through everything that everyone in our family has gone through.  In an attempt to do something special for this milestone birthday, I need you...and a stamp.  Can you send me your favorite memory, experience, story, or picture of my dad? Anything will fly.  The only parameter I am asking for is that you mail it.  I really like the idea of being able to physically hand him 60 pieces of his history, life, and the love that surrounds him on his 60th birthday and gve him a big surprise on this special day.  If you have a minute right now, just stop, jot down a story and pop it in the mail.  Send it before the holidays sweep away your life. 

Darrell Drullinger
c/o Brittany McDaniel
1518 W. 3rd
North Platte, NE 69101

Please help me spread this around and send it to other high school and college classmates, church friends, and family members that I may not have contact with.  My dad is amazing.  Please help me give him an amazing birthday.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Painful miles and my breath prayer.

The past month of running has been more or less non-existent.  Which for most people is not a problem...but I am running a marathon in 12 days.  My hip has been to see a chiropractor, a doctor, and now a PT.  My miles have been painful, not just on my hip, but also on my lungs and my body and my spirit.  As always, running seems to be a constant metaphor for life.  And every breath I take can be effected.

The past four months of my life have been short of perfect.  I have logged some painful miles on the pavement, as well as on my spiritual journey and life in general.  Sometimes breathing takes effort.

My breath prayer lives inside me with every gasp.  I inhale with His name and exhale with my supplication.  It changes and shifts depending on where my life is, but no matter what, this prayer continues to be as constant as my heart beat, as steady as the rising and falling of my chest, and as ever faithful as the God that it cries out to.

First it was, "Father God, have mercy on me."

Then, "Father God, please help."

Now, "Father God, You only." 

Every step that I take, every stride during every mile, "Father God, You only."  I am going to start a marathon at 7:30am on October 14th.  I don't know how far I will make it/if I will finish, and if I do, what time frame it will be in or what my body will feel like when I am all done,  but you better believe I will do my best.  God never promised me pain free, easy miles and no rain on my new shoes.  But He did promise to be there every step of the way.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Marathon Training: So much more than just the miles

6 weeks ago I started a journey.  Some 100+ miles later, I am a mere 14 weeks away from running 26.2 miles through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.  On my 14 mile run this morning, my longest I have logged in my entire life, I started thinking about how this training has become so much more than just running and running and running some more.

Marathon training is a balancing act.  I have to balance between work and running.  School and running. My husband and running. Sleep and running.  My faith and running.  So many things in my life demand and deserve attention and I know that they are important, but I am learning that running also deserves my attention.  Sometimes my 4 miles in the morning is the only time I get to be with just me.  I can sift through my thoughts, write endless blogs in my head that never make it to the computer screen, pray, or find an empty space in my head and just rest.  I am juggling the things in my life a bit better than I used to because through training, I have learned that being there for other people and fulfilling my responsibilities are important and I won't shirk those things that I know I need to do, but I won't give up training either.  There are some mornings when I skip a run because I stayed up a little too late playing Mario Kart with my husband, but there are also some nights when I have to say no to people or go a little easy on the soda or the food because I have a big run in the morning.  Its a balancing act.

Marathon training is an education about who you are.  When I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon back in April, I became a different person.  I finally became the strong, confident, radiant young woman that people had been telling me I could be.  I finally believed in myself.  Swimming, biking and jogging around like a mad person for 1:35:46 taught me that I could do anything if I only just did the work.  Running is teaching me that I can do anything if I just do the work and don't give up.  I am one of those people that typically doesn't try many new things because I like being competent and successful at what I am doing.  Training for a 26.2 mile race does not make me feel very competent or successful sometimes.  When it is hot and humid outside and when I'm running on three hours of sleep because I had another panic attack, my runs are awful.  Some days I am bloated or dehydrated or just crabby.  It happens.  I'm sure there are some mornings when I could have walked faster than I was running, but I still kept going.  I have given up on so many things in my life, and I realize that I still have 14 weeks and the actual race that could push me to that breaking point, but I don't think that will happen.  I have developed such a sense of resiliency and the ability to finish a run with a smile and say, "That sucked. Let's try again tomorrow." and move on with my day.  I am continuing to do things that I never even dreamed of.  I ran 14 miles this morning. 14!  Two years ago I couldn't have run for 14 minutes, let alone 14 miles.  Those of you who know me, know that this feat is pretty insane, but guys, I am doing it.  For the first time in my life, EVER, I am comfortable with who I am.  I stepped on the scale yesterday for the first time in about three weeks and I was really nervous about what it would say.  When that number popped up, the only thing I could think about was how, even though I really liked the number that I saw, my weight really didn't matter anymore.  What a bizarre thought to have.  I have been trying to lose weight most of my adult life and now all of the sudden, it doesn't matter?  What a freeing feeling! My body is no where near perfect.  Every time a car drives by, I am pretty sure the passenger is making a snarky comment to the driver about my thunder thighs jiggling in the wind, and I know that my stomach will never look like a fitness model's six-pack abs, but for the first time in my life, I love my body.  Blisters, stretch marks, zits and all.

Marathon training is a listening exercise.  I have to listen to everything around me.  I need to know where cars are so I don't get hit.  I have to listen to the music to help me find my cadence and to free up my head space.  I have to listen to the sound of my feet hitting the ground so I know if my body is out of balance because of something I am mechanically doing wrong or if there is an issue with my socks or shoes or some other external factor.  And most importantly,  I have to listen to my body and know when it it is time for water, a snack, a walk break, or a day off.  I have to know my body well enough to get it moving 5 days a week for a minimum of 35 minutes a day and on Saturdays upwards of 3 hours (and that number will only get longer).  And I have to listen to my heart.  I have to listen when it tells me that I can do this when my legs and hips and head tell me that I can't.  I have to listen when God speaks to it mid run and there is nothing I can do but cry and keep going.  I have to listen to it when it gives me encouragement after someone has given me a funny look or said a hurtful comment after I mention that I am training.  I used to think that I was an excellent listener.  I wasn't, but I sure am now.

Marathon training is not for everyone.  There are lots of things that I think everyone (mostly) can participate in.  5Ks are an amazing example.  I believe everyone should do a 5K at least once in their life.  Just so they can feel what it feels like to wear a race bib and cross a finish line with people cheering for you at the end.  It is wonderful.  But going 3.1 miles is a whole heap different than going 26.2.  I have spent the better part of 6 months praying and thinking and preparing and researching for this.  Do not take up marathon training lightly. Some people's bodies are not meant to run.  Structurally, we are all built a little bit differently.  I was never built for speed.  I will never be the front runner for any race.  But I have learned that I am a creature of endurance, and if I can get past that 2 mile mark, I can go for days.  My body is meant to do this kind of thing.  I just treated it so poorly for years that I never knew.  If marathon training is not for you, that is ok, it is your story.  But then find something that is for you and love every sencond of it.

Marathon training is preparation.  More thought and planning and searching and tinkering went into getting me ready to start training than almost any other project I have undertaken.  I had to buy new shoes, new socks, a race belt, non cotton underwear, bottles upon bottles of sunscreen, and power gels and an obscene number of bananas. I read three different books and looked at more blogs than was probably good for me.  But when I started, I knew I was prepared.  Be a boy scout. Do your homework and know your stuff.  You want this to be a safe and fun and amazing experience.  Don't ruin it by not being ready and getting injured or bringing heat stroke down on yourself because you didn't pack water.

Marathon training is the mileage.  I know I said in the beginning that it is more than that, and it is, but the mileage is still important.  I still have to drag myself out of bed and pound that pavement. I have do to the work.  So between now and October 14th, I will continue to yank on my black and pink running shoes and smear some sunscreen on my nose so I can get at it again.  Mile after mile, I just search for that happy place and settle in for a good run.  One of the best feelings in the world.

One of my mentors and former teachers commented on this post run picture of me on facebook and said, "Who is this girl?" And do you know what, I don't know who she is, but I like her quite a bit and I hope she is ready to stick around for a long while. I love being happy and healthy and showing everyone that even though they may not be prepared to run a marathon tomorrow, they are still more than ready to get healthy today.

Much love. Britt.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Midwest Living Sucks

 I have lived in Nebraska for 21 of my 26 years.  More specifically, North Platte, Nebraska.  Most days I don't mind it, but lately it has been really difficult.  In the past six months, we have lost three sets of friends to bigger and better cities/jobs.  We have taken on the responsibility of trying to keep a handful of middle school and high school kids Christ centered in an ever unbalanced world.  I started school.  My life was tilted off its axis quite a bit earlier this summer.  I started training for a marathon. We planned (and are about ready to execute) a mission trip. Sam started playing softball with another church in a league here in town.  We have traveled up and down the whole United States playing soccer and visiting and going to weddings and seeing family and running races and helping people. 

But it has not been enough.  Midwest people can never give, do, provide, work, or be enough.  For the most part, it is an excellent idea to want to better yourself and your community, but sometimes, it is exhausting.  The worst questions I get asked on an almost weekly basis include:

-"When are you going to start bringing your nice young couples to church on Sunday?"

....Ummm....we have no friends.  Thank you so much for reminding me, again, that we sit home alone together and watch Family Guy and Downton Abbey because we don't really have any friends under the age of 40 in this town.  I had completely forgotten how lonely we were until you brought it up....again.  But here, let me put on a sandwich board and walk up and down Jeffers asking for "nice young couples" to join us for a morning of worship. 

-"Have you started thinking about babies yet? The church nursery looks pretty bare.  I'm sure your dad would just be over the moon if he had a little redheaded grandbaby to carry around.  I bet you and Sam have the cutest little redheaded babies., etc."

I get it.  You want me to have a baby. But it is my uterus and my business.  What if I am not able to have children?  Did you ever think of that?  (I don't know if my body is able to or not, but it is something that I worry about frequently and you asking about it makes me worry all the more.)  And when was the last time you had to pay for maternity insurance?  If you would like to pay the extra $180ish a month in the hopes that I might get pregnant, be my guest! And how do you know what God's plan is for my life and for Sam's life?  He is moving and changing things in my life right now and I am not really in the place to be bringing a child into the world while going to school and working full time and leading a youth group and teaching Zumba and cleaning house and spending time with the love of my life.

-"So what are you doing with your life now?"

Absolutely nothing. Squat.  and at the same time, everything under the sun.  To some of my "more famous friends", I am sure my life looks mundane and boring compared to the glamorousness that they live on the coast, but I am making a difference where I am doing what I can with what I have when I can at this moment in my life.

-"Can you help with....donate to....lead the...."

Currently I am trying to live my life with only joy, strength, love, compassion, laughter, wisdom and hope. As a culture, the Midwest demands that you work at your job all week and then work all weekend doing the things that you can't get done during the week because you are too busy working.  Sometimes I say no to you.  Not to be mean or snide, but so that I can mold myself to my couch and watch something dumb on the tv with my husband on Saturday afternoon or so that I can actually cook a meal instead of feeding him tatertot casserole...again.  I say no to you because I choose to use my limited cash flow to support causes that are important to me. And I say no to you because I do not believe that I am the kind of strong, intelligent leader that you think I am. 

Frankly, Sam and I have no desire to move out of the South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri region.  But there are those days, the days when the string of requests and prying questions seems never ending and the list of good, dear friends within a 30 mile radius is shorter than my softball career.  Those are the days when I wish and dream and hope of a life in a big city where we have a small group of good friends but no one outside of that circle knows my maiden name.  It may sound odd, but I want a life on anonymity and intimacy at the same time.  It is probably unattainable, especially in a community where everyone seems to know you peed before you have even flushed the toilet, but I am trying.  Please, just throw me a bone here. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

The day I became a triathlete

I once read a quote that said "Being an athlete is a state of mind which is not bound by age, performance, or place in the running pack."  This weekend, I proved that to myself. 

This past Christmas I decided that I my weight loss had gotten stuck and I had started to slide.  I needed a goal.  I needed something to work towards.  After watching the Biggest Loser contestants run a marathon, I really started getting serious about doing some sort of a race.  I registered for the James O'Rourke Memorial Trialthlon and started my training exactly 4 months from the date of the race.  Over those 4 months, I learned how to swim (and knock my swim time down by 8 minutes!), I built up speed on the bike, and I added some serious mileage to my running.  But this blog entry isn't about what I did for the 4 months.  This isn't about the anticipation and the blisters and the tears and the ungodly amount of sweet potatoes that I ate.  This is about the day that I became a triathlete.  A play by play breakdown of how I changed from ordinary Brittany McDaniel to Brittany McDaniel, the triathlete.

April 28th, 2012
5:45 a.m. - I woke up, loaded my bike onto my bike rack, grabbed my hard boiled egg, two bananas, and a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, and after checking my bags one more time and adding my two bottles of half frozen water, I kissed my sleepy husband good-bye and headed out the door.

6:10 a.m. - The sun wasn't even quite up yet and I was the 3rd (!!!!) person to rack my bike.  I was beyond estatic.  I got the front end of the first rack, which meant my bike was easy to find and my T2 transition was super fast. I hung my bike by its seat and set my bag beside it and went inside to eat my breakfast.

6:30 a.m. - I went out and set up my transition station.  I double checked the two gels I had taped onto my bike (I would be so glad I did this later on in the race), threw one towel over my bike and set the other on the ground, hung my helmet on my handlebars with my race belt and sunglasses tucked inside, and then set out my shoes with rolled up socks on top of them, my tri shirt, my spare water bottle, extra sunscreen, and my headband and necklace on the towel. 

6:40 a.m. - From this time until 7:30 a.m. was the most painful part for me.  I didn't know anyone else who was racing that day so I felt like an awkward middle schooler hanging around in the gym, so I just found a quiet corner and watched the water drip from the ceiling into the pool. 

7:30 a.m. - I finally changed into my suit and jammers and got marked on both arms and legs.  After a layer of sunscreen, I put my sweats back on and checked my transition station one last time. 

7:55 a.m. - Timing chip clipped on.  I thought that they would be annoying and awkward, but I didn't even realize that I was wearing one, which I was thankful for.

8:00 a.m. - Pre-race meeting.  I think I heard about 10 words that the race director said (Sorry, Brock!) because I was too busy looking around at all the different layers of outfits that people were wearing and how skinny (and not skinny) some of the competitors were.

8:35 a.m. - Race begins.  I was #55, so I knew I wouldn't be seeing the pool for a bit.  I talked with some really awesome friends and got my picture taken with them because Allison had even made a sweet shirt, and after a final application of carmex, I grabbed my swimming gear and headed to the pool. 

8:50 a.m. (From this point on, I had no idea what time it was) - I did a warm up of about 6 short laps in the deep end of the pool and was feeling pretty good.  Not many nerves and I had finally stopped shaking.  I watched a bunch of swimmers do their thing and then they called my number.

The Swim - I was nervous about the swim from the start.  During the practice run on Tuesday, I completely panicked and lost all sense of form and there was no evidence of the training lessons that I had been participating in.  I was in the far lane of Lane 6, which meant I was up against the wall part of the time and the deep end the other part.  I just kept telling myself that I just had to get through 20 lengths and the rest would be easy.  I stopped once to adjust my swim cap, but other than that, I swam the whole time and was happy to hop out of the water. (12:11 was my swim time)

T1 - My first transition was near flawless. My socks and shoes went on without a flaw and I even managed to wrangle my shirt without a struggle.  I was glad a friend loaned me a race belt so I didn't have to deal with safety pins.  Since it was a smaller race and the swim was a rolling start, the rack area was not nearly as congested as I expected it to be which made life a lot easier.  I waved to my audience and headed out. (1:28)

The Bike - I was so glad that I had taped two gel packs to my bike.  I ate a decent breakfast at 6:15ish but then I spaced off eating my second banana because I was so nervous.  I settled into a good gear and once I got up some speed and had strapped my feet in (I rode in just my running shoes and used the straps on my pedals) I downed a gel and felt quite a bit better.  I knew going out that there were two overpasses at the beginning and then a fairly level area with two decent hills before the turn around.  I passed a few people on the way out, but everyone was struggling against the headwind.  At the turn around point, I didn't know what to expect because there have been a few rides where I thought I was in a headwind and then when I turned, was proven wrong, but I lucked out.  I flew through the second half and it was probably my fastest split ever.  On the last half mile, I downed another gel just for good measure, which was really fairly silly as it was a fairly short race, but then I stretched out my calves and hamstrings and discovered that my toes were super cold (from wet socks and shoes and lots of wind) and that did not do me any favors getting off the bike and heading out on the run. (50:09)

T2 - The best part about waking up super early and leaving your kickstand on your bike?  Your T2 is crazy short! I slid my bike into place, wiggled my toes while unclipping my helmet and grabbed my headband and tri necklace on the way.  (0:19)

The Run - Heading out for the run was my "Dude! I'm really going to finish this!" moment.  I didn't want to burn out 100 yards from the end so I took a comfortable pace and focused my efforts on encouraging everyone that I met on the route.  Some were hardened tri-vets who looked at my like I was nuts but there were also people like me who were loving every minute of it. When I rounded that last corner and gave what I had left, the grin that I had been wearing the whole race just took over. I may not have run my fastest time, but I hadn't walked a step! (31:37)

The Finish - Crossing the finish line and seeing the faces of all of the people who had come just to sit and watch my bike and run by for a few seconds over the course of 2 hours, was beyond humbling.  I smiled and danced and laughed myself silly.

The Aftermath - After my husband helped me load up my transition station, I showered and waited around for awards.  I didn't expect anything, but I figured it was the polite thing to do.  In my head I had it figured that I came pretty close to 1:45, which was what I had set as my ultimate fastest time possible goal, and I knew that I had passed one girl on the bike that was in my age division so I knew that I was not last.  While they were announcing the top three finishers in each age division, my swimming coach and all around fantastic mentor came jogging over to me. 

"I've been looking everywhere for you.  I wanted to be the one to show you."

And there was my name.  Beside a "4."  A 4?  I turned my head into her shoulder and finally cried.  With a time of 1:35:46, I placed 4th in my age division and 10th of out the women.  I am a triathlete.  And I can tell you every tear,  drop of sweat, sore muscle, sunburn, dollar, bruise, and dirty dish was worth it. 

I'm doing things I never thought I could do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stop. Just watch a minute.

So, this past week has been a nut house.  I've been leaving my house at 6:00 a.m. and not getting back home until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m.  By the time this week is through, I will have survived a few tornadoes, and lot of rain/hail, planned and executed a Wednesday night supper as a youth group fundraiser, taught 5 zumba classes in four days, spent 7 hours training for the triathlon next week, worked 42 hours, had several intense theological discussions, played board games with some people, and chose not to deal with my stanky workout clothes or dishes that are piling up.  I feel like I have been two steps behind in everything and I've had a severe case of "the stupid" which has affected my job as well as my home life.

Today, I was on empty.  I was counting down the hours until I would finally walk into my house and be able to fall into my own bed.  I was cranky and frazzled looking all day and after a bike ride, a zumba class, a full day of work,as well as a supper in a hot kitchen with a the youth group making baked potatoes, the last thing I wanted to do was go teach another Zumba class. But, I had agreed to help out a friend and serve as the program for her women's group and I felt like it was definitely too last minute to back out.  I showed up, did my thing, and afterwards when we were enjoying our fruit and crackers, I saw something that made my world stop.

Sitting at the table on the other side of the room, there was this woman, I don't know her name so will will call her Lily.  Lily  looked to be about 70, was in a wheelchair with well wore moccasins on her feet and long, beautiful fingernails graced the end of  hands that were cramped and disfigured with some sort of illness. She spoke softly and had a gentle smile, but it wasn't just her that caught my attention, there was someone with her.  We'll call him Stan. (because again, I didn't even catch his name).  Stan is maybe in his 30's.  He's seemed a little rough around the edges and looked like he had worked hard all day.  Here he was spending his evening with a group of women to care for Lily.  Bless his heart, he even Zumbaed with us. Now, I don't know if Stan and Lily are related, but watching him get her a  water and a plate of fruit was maybe this most meaningful thing I have seen in a long time.  He served her with a smile and whisper and took care of her by getting a fork for her banana and a straw for her water because she couldn't grip the glass.  Never once did he sigh in exasperation on his 14 trips to and from the kitchen and after she was settled, he sat next to her and quietly ate his fruit, sharing some of what he got with her, if she looked at crosswise at what was on his plate.

This past week has been a whirlwind for me, but this brief moment, these series of intimate and loving interactions between two people who had no idea I was looking, slapped me to a halt.  I have spent the past 48 hours bemoaning the fact that I had so much to do and blah-de-blah-de-blah that I had completely lost the reason for why I am living the way that I do.  I had gotten so caught up in the busy-ness and the frantic-ness that was this week, that I completely forgot about the One that I was doing it all for.

The world is in desperate need of more people like Stan.  People who are willing to serve without a sigh of frustration, people who will love unconditionally no matter what the hardship or struggle in front of them, people who are willing to serve day in and day out without looking around all the time to make sure someone is watching and seeing the good that they are doing.  So, Stan, where ever you are,  here is my one person standing ovation for you.  Here is my thank you note to you, a tired looking man just trying to make an old lady happy. Thank you.  Thank you for making me stop, and for just one moment, watch and think about someone else for five minutes.  My perspective has been rightfully corrected because of you.   Thank you for putting me in my place with nothing but a smile.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Working Fitness Goal List

- Do a pull up
- Do 5 pull ups in a set
- Do 10 pull ups in a set

- Run 5k at a 12:00 pace
- Run 5k at an 11:00 pace
- Run 5k at a 10:00 pace
- Run 5k at a 9:00 pace

- Run a 10k
- Run a half marathon
- Run a full marathon
- Compete in a triathlon and not come in last
-Compete in an Olympic Distance Triathlon and not come in last

- Learn to not suck at swimming
- Swim 500m in less than 20:00
- Swim 500m in less than 15:00
- Swim 500m in less than 14:00
- Swim 500m in less than 13:00
- Swim 500m in less than 12:00
- Swim 500m in less than 11:00

- Lose 10 lbs
- Lose 20 lbs
- Lose 30 lbs
- Lose 40 lbs
- Lose 50 lbs
- Lose 60 lbs
- Reach goal weight
- Maintain goal weight for 6 months
- Maintain goal weight for 1 year
- Maintain goal weight for life.