My worst race ever!

July 27, 2010

So, I ran my yearly Sunflower State Games race. Last year I did the cross country run at a course that more resembled an obstacle trail run, and I thought that was a bad run, but this year’s governors cup 10k was horrible.

First, I have to say, I have been training everymorning at 6am, on a heel with plantar fascitis.  That in itself, feels like crap during and after a run, but I figured I just run a 10k that I did pretty okay in, I figured this one would be the same. NOT.  I know now what I didn’t do enough which was acclimate myself to the evening run time.  Because the run was a 7pm, when the sun was still high, and it was humid as heck, with a heat advisory going.  Still, I figured if I did feel tired, I would just run it as a training run.  Yeah so that didn’t happen either

So we head over to Topeka for the 7pm start, I had drank a ton of water and felt I should be okay. I was for about 2 miles.  While I took water at ever stop, I could feel my legs not running as hard and kinda just trotting.  By the time I had reached 3 miles, I was thinking I should have only done the 5k, but it was half over.  My time was way off and then I could feel myself getting cotton mouth needing water. Unfortunately at 4 miles, they only had Gatorade and I took it,  I was thirsty! About a half a mile later, they did have water, but I could feel my whole body just shutting down. I actually walked for about 2 minutes until I could get back into my stride.  5 miles now and all I could think was I have to finish this race, I never not finished a race.  As I turned our last corner to head back to the park where it all started, I realized I had actually been out on the course for an hour! I slowly trotted back in, grateful I could finish and devastated by my time 1:07! Oh well, I figured, at least I finished.

As I cooled off, I realized my body was broke down, when we got home I was extremely cold, tired and nauseous.  I put myself to bed thinking I should have acclimated more to the running at night. So the lesson learned is if the run is at night, run at night time! Hind sight is 20/20, and I learned my lesson!


June 1st and Vay Kay

June 2, 2010

Me and mine had planned our vacation during a small window of time I had from work, so we decided it was time the kids go to Disneyland.  Our son is a fan of the Mickey Mouse club, and our daughter of the princesses. So we went online trying to find the cheapest way to do the hotel and basic “griswolding” the drive from Lawrence, Kansas to Anaheim, California.

We realized that if we drove and hit all the families in New Mexico and Arizona, our hotel stays would be minimal and so we had booked our rooms in March to commit ourselves.  As the time came closer to the 21st of May, we realized one thing, our son was done with school our daughter had 2 more days…ARRGGGHH. And to make it crazier, she also fell and broke her wrist the week before we were going to leave! So, no problem, we take her out of school early, get her cast done, and we be alright.  Things did work out, and we were off Friday May 21st and headed to Liberal, Kansas. We stayed the night which was quite strangely very cool weather.  As we left the next day, again, cool weather as we headed to NM and the wind was horrible.  I think that made our drive longer but we made it to my uncles on the Acoma reservation.  The best part of staying there is the trains that go by every hour, my son loves them.  We headed out the next morning, and made our way to Phoenix, AZ.  Again, a very cool morning, and the wind was horrendous.  The dust being kicked up was high, and as we got to Winslow, AZ, nothing but big red dust clouds and a detour off the interstate as they shut down the road due to the dust storm.  No problem, we go through the mountains and forests, a little bit longer, but we made it to Phoenix, and I heard the radio say 78 degrees?? I was in Phoenix right, I was thinking, yeah, strange, but it was very cool again.  We made it to my sister’s apartment, and she made a great meal. The best part of staying with family is the home cooked meals, totally awesome!  My sister was supposed to go with us, but she couldn’t, so again, we headed out early in the morning to go to our final destination.  This day wasn’t too bad, not too windy, and the roads were ours.  We made it into Anaheim and our hotel by 5pm and took the kids to Huntington Beach.  My son’s first time to see the ocean, and they both loved it.  The only bad thing…lol…the weather! It was so windy and cold, but we put our feet in, stayed for about 15 minutes and headed back to eat dinner and get a good rest in preparation for Disney, which the kids still didn’t know about.

Finally, Tuesday morning, and it was a great day, no clouds, and we headed to Disneyland, tickets in hand, trying to figure out where do we park.  LOL, when we found the $14 parking lot and shuttle, we made it to our destination.  My kids were excited and ready to see everything.  We managed to get on a lot of rides within 20-25 minutes. The only long ride wait was for the submarine ride, but it was about 6pm, when that was going on, maybe that had to do with it.  We decided early that we would try to do as much as we could the whole day because we simply could not afford another day at the park.  But, as crazy as it is, our kids wanted to leave to go back to the beach! Our day was winding down, as the sun was starting to set, and I was thinking we still hadn’t seen Mickey! We can’t go to Disneyland and not see Mickey! We went to the last area of the park “Toon Town”  and there was Mickey and Minnie’s house.  A sign said to go the barn and you can meet Mickey, it was almost 8:30pm, so we went in, and sure enough, he was there, and just about to leave.  Finally both kids met him, got a picture, and we accomplished our goal.  It was dark, and one last ride we went on, then we headed back to the front entrance.  I couldn’t believe we spent almost 12 hours at Disneyland and the kids were still going.  I think we walked over 3 miles, but it was fun, and I know an experience our kids won’t forget. The only disappointment was when we went to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, I didn’t see Captain Jack!!! I remember this article I had read about how the males who play Captain Jack say they get hit on all the time, and I just wanted to see what the hub bub was all about!

The next day, we went back to Huntington Beach where we saw dolphins in the water and the weather was much better.  Unfortunately, we didn’t put on sunblock and all received sunburns!  Yeah we all were red! When we back to the hotel, I was thinking, now we have to head back tomorrow.  But it has been fun!

We headed back Thursday, and made it Phoenix, where we spent three days with family and friends.  My kids spent time with grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We enjoyed southwestern cuisine and got our fill of  In and Out burger.  When we left for NM, we made sure we got our red and green chili, and my acoma tamales! I spent time with my uncle, my famous grandma Rachel, my aunts and cousins that time would allow, as we had to get back to Lawrence.

Our little road trip managed to see a few flare ups between me and my hubby, but nothing we couldn’t get over in a couple of hours of driving…LOL. We went through hours of listening to George Strait’s album collection, NPR, and tons of magazines we picked up along the way.  I always think if you can get through a road trip with the ones you love in close confinement for 7-10 hours at a time, then you can make it through anything.  I know our kids enjoyed it, but at this time, they are in the own little world in their own rooms, while me and husband, well we are sitting in the front room, together typing on our laptops. Have a great week!

American Indian College graduates

May 5, 2010

An interesting thread was started about what American Indian College graduates contribute to their communities.  I guess from experience the poster had only seen examples of natives who left the reservation, got their education and returned to a big pay raise only to care about their money and not their people.  I for one had to object.  I stated that my goal in life was to make our people more visible in this country, our problems more visible, and our identities seen as “real” people.  I don’t care about how much money I make as long as I can support my family, I like to teach, and I really enjoy the friendships I make with our students at Haskell Indian Nations University.  These students will be our next leaders, and it is such a joy to be able to see them reach that maturity during the educational time we have in college.  I don’t get paid a lot of money, but even if I did, I don’t think the my life would change, because my devotion would be to my family, my students, and all our tribal people.  I know what some people might say, YEAH RIGHT RHONDA….well, I guess I can have this blog thrown in my face if I ever become a nut! For now, I love being an American Indian College graduate, and I do contribute what I can.  I love this time of year, Graduation at Haskell.  It is even more special, because I have some students who I have known since their first semester at Haskell, and they are graduating.  I feel so proud of them! So I want to say Congratulations to the graduates of Haskell Indian Nations University, you guys rock: Chris Marshall, Dandre Dora, Michael Dunaway, Jenn Arthur, and Miciana Hutcherson! Onward Haskell!

UND retires American Indian Mascot

April 15, 2010

When I heard that the hammer had come down, and the North Dakota Board of Higher Education was telling the University of North Dakota administration to start a transition to a new mascot, I was elated beyond belief. Not wanting it to be a joke, I looked up the story on the news websites, and breathed a sigh of RELIEF, ” IT FINALLY FREAKING HAPPENED, OH MY GOSH!!!”

When I organized a rally when Kansas City played Washington back in 2005, we had received support from the BRIDGES group that was established at UND. BRIDGES was a group against the “Fighting Sioux” mascot.  I could not imagine what they had gone through, not only to be just students at a college, but have to put up with the stereotypes inflicted on them daily seeing the imagery everywhere.

I contemplated once going to UND and then I thought about the daily trash talk going on, and just plain distraction of being at a school where stealing identities was not important.  Stealing the identity of a Native American and have it blatantly trashed by other schools they played.  I didn’t want to add the stress of that plus just being a grad student, so I decided it was not for me.

I don’t want to count all my chickens just yet either, I am sure something will come up so that the devout UND alumni will try and stop this order.  But for now, this is a humongous victory and it should be celebrated! Congrats BRIDGES and all Natives who don’t want to be a mascot for anyone’s pleasure!

Been busy

April 1, 2010

My students had their 6th annual Stories ‘N Motion American Indian Film festival this past weekend with guest Russell Means. I was really amazed at the turnout for our event. We really try to emphasize the point it is to get more people to see American Indian films while getting to meet a famous star.  The only bad thing was I had to leave the same weekend for a workshop in Chicago.  I was so stressed worrying about my students, but in the end I didn’t have to worry as they had everything down pat! They even finished their movie they made (with me as an extra) and got a standing O! I still have to see the movie as I have been getting many comments on my performance…LOL.  Anyways, as soon as we start sending it out to other film festivals, I will let you know when the next screening is.  Oh yeah, in addition to missing the film festival, I missed my daughters birthday, yes, it was bad, but she forgave me.  I made it up to her though the day after, and hopefully she won’t be too scarred by mom’s over-scheduled life.  Oh yeah, the funny thing is, I am still sick, hacking up a lung, and just hoping it will go away again.  We shall see.  April is coming, and its almost the end of the semester. I can’t wait for Summer! Running in the sun, getting a nice shade of brown, and just enjoying life.  Everyone have a great day!

It sucks being sick

February 3, 2010

I have been sick since last Thursday, and I gave in and went to IHS (or for those non indians reading  that stands for “Indian Health Services”) on Friday so I can get some cheap medication and make sure I didn’t have H1N1 or a strep. My throat was extremely sore, and I didn’t know if it was from the gagging from phlegm or strep, so always good to find out. Anyways, I was cleared for strep and told just a very bad virus and as long as I wasn’t ralphing, I thought I would be okay. WRONG, besides the fact I was given like 5 medications, including cough syrup with codeine, nothing helped. It only got worse, and I was done for the count Saturday, Sunday, I lost my voice.  It’s funny too, when you lose your voice people question if that’s really you on the phone…haha. The first call I received, I debated answering the phone, because, I knew they wouldn’t be able to understand me, and like an idiot, I did answer and they couldn’t hear me! Oh well, texting came in real handy! I was still on schedule as well to do the radio show, but I had guest hosts while I worked as the board operator.  Lets just say, it went as well as could be expected….LOL.  Monday came and I thought I could go to work and be okay, which I did, but I think I did more than I should have, and spent too much time outside, when it was snowing, so today, I felt like crap.  I only had class for 40 minutes, and dismissed. I think my voice was starting to go, and besides, my coughing fits have just really gotten out of control. Coughing so bad, you see those little white lights around your eyes…anyone ever see that? Sucks…so I went home early.  I managed to squeeze in a nap before I had to get the kids.  I stayed in after we came home and have been resting, drinking tea, eating soup, and really craving a hamburger.  I am hoping tomorrow I will start to feel better, as I have not been able to work out since last Thursday. A non-running Rhonda is not a happy camper, here I thought I could run a 5k this weekend….scratch that! I was on such a roll too, my workouts were getting great, and runs were getting longer, and then the illness.  Someone told me, I need to to always take care of myself first, and rest, and you know, maybe I shouldn’t have done some of the stuff on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, but, it’s the person in me wants to make sure all my kids (Haskell students included) are taken care of.  Yeah I know, rest…so I will sign off for now, the cough syrup is starting to kick in.

Death and Dying

January 21, 2010

Do not stand
at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds
that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the
morning’s hush
I am the soft uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star that
shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there.
I did not die.

— Anonymous

This is one of my favorite poems found in “Death and Dying” E.Kubler-Ross. I read this when I was 19 years old, and read her book on Death and Dying. The funny thing is, I don’t think I have ever been afraid of dying.  When I was younger, the first death to impact me was that of my grandmother. I had a very close relationship with her, and when we got the call she had passed, I already knew. It was like I was on the phone when my uncle said she was gone, but I was in another room, and I laid on a couch crying, because I knew, she was gone.  When we returned to the reservation for the funeral, it felt so strange for me, to see her there, but she wasn’t, she was all around us, she was standing in the room, listening to people, comforting them as they cried. I cried, because in some strange way, I always thought she could live until I was older, and she didn’t, and I was left alone without her.  I was mad.

When we returned back to Phoenix, the emotions I went through had tired me completely. I remember going to sleep in my room, and something woke me up.  I looked around, and I could smell my grandmother, but I thought it was only my blanket I had taken from her house.  I fell back asleep and another sound woke me up.  Looking at the end of my bed, she was there, telling me not to be mad at her, and she would always be with me, and then she was gone.

I know she is with me, through thick and thin, through wrong decisions and happy occasions like the birth of my daughter and my son. I could feel her there and she still makes her presence known. I just wanted to say, I miss her physical presence, and I honor her always.

5 Years Ago

January 12, 2010

I was thinking about my son’s birthday tomorrow, and remembering what I was doing 5 years ago.  I was 224 lbs (5’8″), give or take a couple of pounds…haha! I had walked many miles surprisingly as well, trying to get my contractions into gear and have my second child on New Year’s 2005.  So much, that New Year’s eve I went to play frisbee golf with friends, probably logging almost 3 miles and not even a hiccup from the belly.  The days past and so Jan. 10, 2005 I decided to take a walk in the dark and see if anything stirred.  I didn’t get 100 yards from the house when I slipped on some black ice and injured my groin area.  If you ever done that ( lets just say I did the splits) there is no greater pain than a groin injury! LOL, anyways, I limped back, big belly an all, and then the contractions started. But, unfortunately they didn’t progress into anything other than small contractions, and I was sent back home.  Then on January 12th it was early morning and my contractions were getting intense and I knew it was time to go. The funny thing is, I told my husband this, and he proceeded to make me this humongous breakfast, and I was thinking, man, that is a lot of food, I should eat something cuz I won’t be eating for a while! So in the midst of my pains, I scarfed eggs, potatoes, bacon and toast. LOL!

At the hospital and by the time everything was in order, I spent the day in contractions and wondering when my baby was gonna come out.  Prior to all this, we had not found out what the sex of the baby was and I was immensely interested to find out! As the day wore on, and my pains were getting out of hand, I was told the epidural I requested was not working and it was too late to get another try, and well, I was gonna feel this delivery. My first thought was “OH MY FREAKIN GAWD, this baby is gonna be almost 10 lbs and I am gonna feel it!” My second thought was “Where is Denny!”  My husband, who was getting our daughter situated with a sitter, made it to the hospital about twenty minutes before I delivered.  The funny thing was our doctor barely made it into his gloves to deliver and baby was born.  Through the pain of delivery and the anxiousness of wanting to know what our baby was, they finally said, “It’s a boy!”.  Relief, still pain, and more relief set in, Hepanna Wakpa Gayton was born at 5:55 pm weighing in at 9lbs 11 ozs.  As they did all the small tests on our baby boy, we were told he is off the charts, 99 percentile, he didn’t cry.  Seeing his little face I was overjoyed at the prospects of our Acoma Lakota baby.  Now five years later, Hepanna is in pre-k, still off the charts, bigger than all his classmates, but such a sensitive little man.  Just the other day his teacher told me, he was asked what our parents do for us.  And he said, “My mommy tells me she loves me”.  I was so touched he shared that with his class.  This past year Hepanna ran a 2 mile fun run, and although I want him to be a runner like Billy…I know it is up to him what he wants to do, I will just give nudges here and there.  Throughout our five years together we have: gone through countless drives to North Dakota and New Mexico, runs with me in his jogger, powwows all over, and of course hospital visits for fevers and falls.  Who knows what the next five years will be like, all I know is I am going to enjoy and learn from every moment of it.

It’s too cold

January 5, 2010

Reporting from Lawrence, Kansas, it has been so cold, and too much snow.  This morning when I took my kids to school it was -1, when I went to the car, I accidently breathed some air in, and what a mistake.  I was hacking up a lung! I choked so bad, it almost felt like inhaling icicles.  I did go to work, and it was nice to see people because the only people I had seen for the past 3 days had been my children.  I love my kids, but they were going nuts inside, fighting, playing, getting all their toys out and not putting them away.  I even was able to do some spring cleaning and throw a bunch of stuff away.  That is how much time I had! The best part of today was actually working out! LOL, I was able to run on a treadmill which I hate, but there was no way I could run outside, too much snow, and risking life from drivers who can’t drive on snow, it is not worth it.  So, I am hoping it warms up soon, I don’t like running inside, but as long as I can do some sort of excercise I don’t mind.  Right now, I do wish I was in Arizona, days and weeks like this, I wish I was back in Phoenix, but only for the winter.

Another Thankstaking

November 30, 2009

Well, it’s that year again, and am I the only American Indian who feels torn on whether to celebrate thankstaking or not? LOL, people may think its dumb, but there are hardcore indians who say it celebrates “genocide” which I can agree with, yes, it was the beginning of the end for many tribes. And then, it’s about giving thanks for many things, not just celebrating that first thanksgiving, I guess…I dunno. I personally don’t really celebrate it too much, its time to be off and relax and I think to hang with the family and have a good meal. Other than that, I don’t know.  I call it thankstaking, which is kind of my joke, but again, I know there are natives out there who do celebrate with the families and might find it offensive.  So what to do, I love turkey, I admit it..hehe…and I did make one, and I did have students come by to eat, if only just to get something to eat. I had one person post on my FB “your one of those turkey eating ndns” lol…again, should I feel bad cuz I like turkey? aargghh…walking in two worlds, its hard sometimes. But I did allude to the fact on my radio show it was funny that for the first time native americans had a parade float in the Macy’s thanksgiving day parade…really the first time? really! And it had real natives on it…I was only put off by the fact that I saw a high school band marching in head dresses….damn, it was gonna be a good parade! Oh yeah, and many peeps diddn’t know Black Friday was also Native American Heritage Day, the official day, but no one really knows, we need to get that national holiday people! So anyways, I had a decent break, I ate some turkey, I didn’t get to go home, but I did make sure time spent with the kids was a ton of fun.  We watched New Moon and my daughter loved the fact she saw so many indians in the movie, that is all she talked about. LOL, Well so much for my weekend, hope everyone is ready for the next holiday, and let me tell ya about that one…next time…LOL!