Run. Dog. Cat. Cat. Me.

Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

It all comes out OK in the end.

I assume that somewhere on the curve someone had a fantastic high school experience, felt secure in themselves, always had great outfits and dates, made straight A’s, drove a sweet car, and never had pimples that looked like and felt like this:

volcano

It wasn’t me or anyone I know, but the truths of the universe are that there has to be someone, somewhere.

Eventually I realized everyone feels more-or-less the same way:  shy, insecure, or unhappy with their looks or shape.  The realization never stopped me from continuing to feel vaguely shy, insecure, and unhappy with my looks and shape.  It did help me realize that most people feel the same, and that they’re thinking more about their insecurities than mine.

Thus I figured things get better with time.  You get over issues, you get to buy the car you want and eventually, maybe, pimples quit growing on the end of your nose the day before the big meeting with the boss or the morning of your wedding.

I was an idiot.

The first time I heard, “you know, at your age…” I was over 30 and pregnant with twins, but none of the warnings and worries happened and the boys turned out fine despite me.

The next time I heard, “you know, at your age…” I was turning forty and it occurred to me that, at his age, if the Dr. said that very many more times I might punch him.

Let me tell you something:  they don’t quit saying it.  In fact, the chances of hearing that increase exponentially and annually.  It becomes an inevitable conversation at each checkup, as certain as the pimple fated for the tip of my nose the day of Prom.  You can try to ignore it, get rid of it, hide it with powder and Clearasil, and/or beg little baby Jesus, who’s sittin’ in his crib watchin the Baby Einstein videos, but you are going to Prom with a big-ass zit and nothing is changing that.  Just as certain, at some point, it will be mentioned that “at your age” it’s time for a colonoscopy.  Images of Depends, Dentucream and Life Alert flash through your mind.

WARNING:  Contents below contain graphic imagery of pain and suffering and incredibly bad puns.  Read at your own risk.

You’re old enough for a Colonoscopy.  A turning point in life, this is where the shit gets real.

A nurse returned my call.  Doctor does procedures on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.  The day before you may consume Jello and Popsicles (no red food dye), Sprite, and chicken broth.  You may have nothing by mouth the day of the procedure.

If you’re smart – and if you’re still reading this, you are not – you quickly realize if you have the procedure Monday afternoon, then from Saturday night to Monday morning you’ll have nothing but Jello, Sprite, Popsicles, and something which boasted to be chicken broth but tasted rather like old shoes must.  OR – you can choose door Number Two and only suffer Monday, wake Tuesday morning and immediately proceed to the procedure.  I chose Number Two.  They will send a packet of information in the mail.  “Packet” smacks of delusions of grandeur.  What you get is a small flat envelope telling you where and when to arrive and a prescription for something called Movi-Prep.

Are.  You.  Shitting me?  MOVI? PREP?

I surreptitiously slid the prescription to the tech, who searched the shelves and announced loudly and proudly, “MOVI-PREP?  YEP, WE HAVE MOVI-PREP” and handed me something the size of a shoe box.  “Holy crap, I have to drink all of that?? “

Home, reading the instructions, no, I don’t have to drink all of it.  I have to drink more of it, as I was instructed to mix it with 32 ounces of water.

At 4pm:  Empty contents of Packet A into container C and fill to 32 ounces.  Drink 8 ounces of preparation every 15 minutes along with 16-24 additional ounces of water.

At 8pm:  Repeat with Packet B

4 pm:  I chugged 8 ounces of Movi-Prep, which immediately almost came out my nose but I swallowed back the gag, gulping salty, sour lemon dish soap with a hint of metal shavings as quickly as possible.  It seems four minutes later the timer dinged.  This time I had an ice water chaser nearby.

4:30 pm:  I finished the 3rd dose.  A flock of chirping, chittering birds starts flying about in my abdomen.

4:45 pm:  Nascar begins warm-up laps.

5:02 pm:  As my running coach once noted, it’s extremely difficult to run clenching your sphincter.  No shit.

5:35 pm:  I wobble to the bedroom.

5:35:30 pm:  I am birthing fireworks.

6:15 pm:  I walk feebly to the bed.

6:15:30 pm:  Is this an exorcism?  What is this?  How the f*ck do I have this much sh*t in my body?  I’m going to die!  Can you sh*t to death??  I imagine it.  Hubs calls 911.  “SHE’S ON THE TOILET!  SHE’S BEEN IN THERE FOR DAYS!  YOU HAVE TO HELP HER!”  But it’s too late.  They don hazmat suits and tell him to wait outside, the house is not safe,  and please be sure all pilot lights are extinguished.

7:42 pm:  NATO has finally brokered a peace treaty with the Movi-Prep.

8:00 pm:  Begin second round.  Surely this will be a piece of cake.  Oh…gawd…cake…ewww…

8:15 pm:  There is a Volkswagen full of clowns in my stomach.

8:17 pm:  I move the Movi-Prep to the bathroom counter.  It’s faster that way.  Hell, that sh*t’s fast any which way.

8:45 pm:  Accompanied by the yowling of cats in heat in my stomach, I gag down part of the last dose.  I finally give up, pouring half of it down the drain.  The drain had a consistent clogging issue.  Had.

Time becomes a haze of exploding volcanoes and dreams of ice baths.   Napalm and stuff that existed before I was born is taking its leave.  At some point in the night I staggered to the bed and slept.

Epilogue:

A.  My friend recently had a 6″ pre-cancerous polyp and 8″ of her intestine removed.  Upon the follow-up visit the Doctor told her, had she waited a year, he would have been discussing her end-of-life options.  Her children are in high school.

B.  This young mother saying good-by to her husband and children.

C.  It’s all over in a few hours.  Do what the doctor says.

D.  My report came back All Clear.

Important Self Test Which Will Reveal All You Need

I often see FB posts revealing someone’s Person Type, their Inner Spirit; shining examples of Hope, Love, or Eternal Peace Hippie Girl.  I am not necessarily against that, as it was once revealed that I am a rainbow farting unicorn.  Other than that one time, though – and this is just my personal opinion, even though I do the little tests – I think these links results are sh*t.

These links are sh*t because they don’t offer the options real people would actually choose if they could.

So I’m going to make a test for you that will actually work.  This test will reveal your true self, your true inner spirit, and the real reason you live and breathe, however well or poorly, on this earth.

Get a paper and pencil because I am not going to have a little button at the end of each question which will tally and do a reveal at the bottom of this post.  That sh*t costs money and I just bought groceries for dinner, so that’s not in the budget.  If you are unable to find a working pencil, a scrap of paper, cannot write the letters A, B, C, D or E, or cannot add, and/or any combination of these, your personal revelation is immediate:  You Rock.  You have a life and are too busy to screw with having usable writing utensils and stupid pads of paper, you have a phone to do all of that.  When the end of society as we know it comes, and we know it will, probably sooner than later –  the Demicans and Republicrats tell us so every night on CNBC/FOX/FML – your life will then suck because your phone will be useless.  Meanwhile, since I do have paper and a pencil nub, I can write notes on scraps of paper begging for rescue and throw them in rivers in all the pop bottles I keep meaning to recycle, but forget.  This will as useless as your phone but slightly more fun.

Today we will determine what type of personality you have.  The options will be Zen, OK Most of the Time, What’s It Matter It Will Never Work Anyway, Don’t Push My Buttons, and DANGER, Will Robinson.

1.  You arrive at work on Monday morning.  There is no coffee in the building.
a.  I’d probably spill it, anyway.
b.  ooooooooooooohhhhhmmmmm
c.  I should be … WTF??  Someone moved my monitor a 1/4 inch, stupid son of a …
d.  OK.  OK then, hey, it could be worse, right?
e.  Seriously?  This is the best question you could come up with?

2.  Your ideal weekend would include:
a.  My local ashram, a church picnic, time petting fluffy bunnies, holding small babies smelling of powder
b.  Coffee first.  Then, I dunno.  More coffee.
c.  I’m going to start edging my yard at 4am Saturday since that a$$ next door was blowing leaves at sunrise on Memorial Day.
d.  I have plans but I bet it’s gonna rain.
e.  Invisibility.

3.  If you could choose to be any fantasy animal, you’d be:
a.  Godzilla, only I’d be flying one of those human f*cker’s planes.  BWAAA HAHAHAHAHA take that you little minions!
b.  A fluffy bunny in a sunny field full of pretty flowers
c.  I went as Winnie the Pooh on Halloween once, but it rained.
d.  Oh, you know, whatever no one else wants to be.  It’ll be fine.
e.  The one that just got turned into a zombie and is chasing whoever wrote this idiot test.

4.  Your Gramma, the Pope, a kitten, and, um, Hitler are in a boat.    Who said what:
a.  “No, not Hitler, that’s so over done and, really, stereotyping.  Must you have a bad guy?”
b.  “Oh, yeah?? Who thinks it’s overdone?  I can use Hitler if I want, dammit.”
c.  “Now, everyone, let’s be nice and cooperate.”
d.  “OH!  I know!  I know!  The boat sinks!”
e.  “Look, I’m not putting up with this sh*t and this test is stupid.”

5.  You decide you need to start meditating.  You’ll be a better person for it, don’t you think?  Your meditation word is:
a.  I think it’s “maybe”
b.  I’ve been meditating for at least a minute and this is bull*&^!
c.  My spirit word is never to be revealed.
d.  I think I have one, it’s around here somewhere, hold tight.
e.  My word is STOOPID.  Why am I still taking this STUPID test??

6.  Go-to reward:
a.  Beer
b.  Ginseng tea
c.  Shooting range
d.  Well, whatever you think would be good
e.  Beer at the shooting range

7.  You’ve been thinking some type of regular exercise would be a good thing.  What do you decide to do?
a.  I have a personal yogini already
b.  Jogging sounds nice, that could work
c.  Shooting range
d.  I’ll probably get injured, maybe I’ll just stay home.
e.  Bludgeoning bloggers.

8.  You are lost, alone on a small island in the middle of the sea.  What book do you wish you had to read?
a.  First Aid
b.  The Bible
c.  How to build a boat
d.  How to swim
e.  How to grow coffee and machetes

9.  Ideal vacation.
a.  Zombieland
b.  Disneyland
c.  Well, I don’t want to fly anywhere.  They always lose my luggage.
d.  Anywhere I can be with my loved ones.
e.  Xanax.  Lots.

10.  You will recommend this extremely accurate and helpful test to how many of your friends?
a.  Are you sh*tting me?
b.  I’m not sure.  I like my friends.
c.  All of them!  We’ll all take it TOGETHER!  It will be so nice!  We’ll Bond in Harmony and Joy!
d.  I think I’ll wait and see how I do, first.
e.  Are you f*$%’ing sh*tting me?

RESULTS.  Give yourself the allotted points for each answer:

Question 1:
a = 3
b = 1
c = 4
d = 2
e = 5

Question 2:
a = 1
b = 2
c = 4
d = 3
e = 10

Question 3:
a = 4
b = 1
c = 3
d = 2
e = 15

Question 4:
a = 1
b = 4
c = 3
d = 2
e = 20

Question 5:
a = 3
b = 4
c = 1
d = 2
e = 25

Question 6:
a = 2
b = 1
c = 4
d = 3
e = 30

Question 7:
a = 1
b = 2
c = 4
d = 3
e = 35

Question 8:
a = 3
b = 1
c = 4
d = 2
e = 40

Question 9:
a = 4
b = 2
c = 3
d = 1
e = 45

Question 10:
a = 4
b = 2
c = 1
d = 3
e = 100

If you scored:
1-10 Points:  It doesn’t matter because you’re up in the clouds meditating.  This test and all it represents is a false reality.  You are:  ZEN
11-20 Points:  Ah, it’s fine.  Whatever, things usually work out, I’m fine with that.  You are:  OK Most of the Time.
21-30 Points:  Seriously, you knew this wasn’t going to work, didn’t you?  You almost quit halfway through. You are: What’s it Matter?  It Will Never Work Anyway
31-40 Points:  You have a lot of buttons.  Do you know that?  You do.  And people push them.  All the Damn Time.  You are:  Don’t Push My Buttons!!!
41-1,000 Points:  YOU WIN! YOU WIN!  YOU ARE AWESOME!!  You see through the falsities of humanity, the treacle, the drudgery, the aimless wandering of the soul.
YOU ARE DANGER WILL ROBINSON

Here’s your prize, which you can obtain at this link for $3.73 plus S&H.  Buy yourself a coffee cup too, I don’t care.  I don’t give a SH*T because I don’t like your attitude.

danger_will_robinson_button

This IS my Happy Face.

Here follows a riveting, step-by-step recap of last weekend’s rain-athlon.  You’ll laugh.  You’ll cry.  You’ll be forever changed.  You’ll never get this four minutes back.

After taking most of Thursday to get my head back on, I did well Friday.   It finally came down to the fact that I couldn’t face being a wimp.  It came down to ego.  Facing the triathlon was the lesser of two evils.  I needed the bragging rights, I couldn’t sit home pouting while everyone else put on their big pants and did the race.  Plus – did I mention? – they have free beer.

Once I figured that out and got moving I felt better.  I got organized, printed a triathlon check list and realized I’d done well getting everything arranged and packed.  The alarm went off at 4am, the car was loaded and we were set to go.  Weather.com never changed its mind; this is what our drive to Tunica looked like:

rainy

 That’s rain, not a crappy picture.  Although it is also a crappy picture.  Hey – it was 5am and I was only on my third coffee.

I stalled on the Happy Face a bit when we arrived, getting out of the car in 52 degrees of windy rain.  We set up my transition in the rain and mud and went into the hotel to stay as warm and dry as we could until the start.  The lobby was full of people in varying stages of concern, irritation, or resignation, making me not the only one with the Idonwannas.  One of my friends walked out and went home.  I felt slightly envious.

Sitting on the lobby floor I wrestled with the now sentient and obviously reluctant wetsuit which, as I pulled at the rubberized neoprene, continuously snapped back into its original shape like a new rubber band, clinging to my calves as I pulled and stretched with increasing effort.  I finally got the reluctant thing – I’m pretty sure it wasn’t any happier than the rest of us –  about halfway up my thighs.  Standing, I jumped in place and tugged on the suit, because jumping up and down helps?  At one point I got my arms into the arm holes but couldn’t stand straight because the crotch was still halfway up my thighs.  Normally this type of thing would be a bit embarrassing, bent in half, in public, captive to a large stretchy garment of rubber, but everyone else was doing the same dance.

The best part?  When I finally got it on, found a stranger to zip me and was able to stand straight?  I had to go to the bathroom.  And it wasn’t optional.

Thank you, nice lady in the bathroom, whom I’ve never met before, because with my hair smashed inside the rubber swimming condom and my body squished flatter than a pancake you looked for a moment as though someone was not in the correct restroom, and yet you didn’t scream.

thankyou

Waiting for the start, standing in barefoot in the wet, muddy grass in a sleeveless wetsuit and 52-degree rain made the jump into 68-degree water feel nice.  Even nicer, I felt no fear of the swim.  I wasn’t much faster than last year, in fact it seemed to take much longer – because this time I knew where I was going? – but I made it.  I ran through the squishy muddy grass to my transition site.   The wetsuit that didn’t want me is now my best friend, “please, I love you, don’t leave me” and I plopped in the mud, finally jerking it off my feet, pulling socks on over the mud – who cared at this point – and crammed on my bike shoes.

Running through the grassy muddy transition I worried about all the stuff that could get crammed in my cleats and if I’d be able to clip in, but the Gods of Rainy Triathlons provided a handy-dandy shoe washing station:

IMG_0660

 That’s not me ^^

This is me:

MIM tri v.2

This IS my Happy Face ^^
(DISCLAIMER – I am not a member of the Very Awesome Thunder Tri Team, but Kat C. loaned me this jacket to stay warm on the bike.  See?  Awesome people.)

The bike was great!  I was hitting 20 – 21 mph!  It was so easy!  No strain, quads kicking in and not complaining, calves are silent – maybe it’s a miracle?  I’ve had a miraculous cycling miracle with my 2014 training plan of four bike rides?  This is AWESOME!  I’m golden!  I’m like … in a shitton of trouble, turning left halfway through the bike into a straight-on headwind blowing misty rain in my face.  I dropped from 20mph to 10 in about 13 seconds.  A woman in my age group passed me and disappeared into the distance.  Dammit.

If you’ve never done a run following a bike ride, even a really slow bike ride, it’s weird.  Cycling cadence is much higher than a run cadence; your legs get used to going round and round faster than usual, so when you head out on the run it feels like you’re still slogging through the mud of transition, yet you’re gasping for air, doing a 100-count-per-minute cadence.  It seems to take most of the first mile to get the message to my legs that they can relax now.  I managed to pass the lady who’d passed me on the bike and came into the chute knowing I’d left everything on the course, finishing 6 minutes slower than last year, all of it lost on the bike.

Saturday afternoon sitting around the pool with everyone I found myself thinking, “I could still register for tomorrow’s Olympic distance”, and I considered it for a moment, before realizing I was completely untrained for it.  I knew, given my sincere desire not to injure this year, that  it was a bad idea.  But if I were trained up enough…

WTH??

Get yer head outta yer …

It took considerable effort and most of the day – and a sunny day at that, which would normally help more than it did – but I think I have finally successfully completed the most recently needed headeroidectomy.

This time last year, a couple days before the Memphis in May Sprint Tri, I was also a bitch, but it was born of fear.  Heart-pounding, jump-out-of-the-car-and-run-to-the-portajohn fear.  I wish I were a better person, a person who could panic with grace and good humor, but so far in my life that has never happened.  At least for now I’m stuck being a jerk.  Hopefully I’m shortening the jerk duration but I have no proof.

I’ll tell you the difference a year makes.  I have no reason to believe that you will believe what I’m about to say because I sure didn’t, and I’m the one who heard the words come out of my own mouth, although I could have been channeling some long dead Egyptian god of the Nile, in which case it would have been my own mouth I guess, but not my own words, right?  Anyway, you can imagine my shock when one day my mouth said out loud, “I’d like to get a swim in the lake.”

I turned around reallyquick to be sure Jeff Dunham was not standing behind me playing a practical joke but, no, it was just me and Murphy, and Murph was busy chasing a squirrel and barking.  He’s good and all, but I’m pretty sure he cannot be a ventriloquist and bark at the same time.  Apparently it was my mouth which said that.

Obviously it was surprising.  It was not what I expected my mouth to say, but there you go, it did, and when I thought about it I realized that my mouth was right.  Brain also thought it would be nice to swim in the lake.

So, we did.  Becky and John and Jay came over and we jumped in the cold lake water squealing like girls even though two of us were boys and we swam around until the cold water made us get a little vertigo.  Then we climbed out of the lake, had a beer or two and ate pizza.  It was quite a nice afternoon and I was pleased.

I’ve ridden my bike in circles clipping/unclipping, I think I know how to shift.  I may not really love riding the bike but the panic is mostly gone.  The swim was actually fun, especially the beer part afterward, which was my favorite.  And, of course, all that’s left after that is the run.

My training is not where I wish it were, it’s harder to run slower than I was running last year, which means it’s near impossible to run faster, and faster would still be slower than it used to be.  This makes my ego hurt, and it probably hurt your brain reading that sentence but I swear it makes sense.  So I know that I’m not going to kill the triathlon this weekend.  I’m just going to swim without panic, ride my bike with a normal workout heart rate and finish up with a run.

Then – and this is where the genius comes in – you are going to be soooo impressed – all afternoon Saturday I will sit around the pool in the sunshine with my friends and  free beer.

I repeat – all I have to do is go for a little swim, tool around on my bike, and then run, and I get all the free, warm, soft sunshine I want!  And if I get too warm in the free sunshine, I can get in the pool!  Then I can get in the sun!  Then the pool!

Hallelujah

Okay, plot development.  This is the sad part of the movie where the heroine is deathly ill and the hero is gone off to war or something, I don’t know.  Wherever heroes go.

Current forecast for Tunica this Saturday:  feel like temp of 50, 60%-70% chance of rain.  Mostly cloudy and mid 60’s for the afternoon.  I felt very frustrated, which is quite 3 year-old-of me, albeit an improvement over being very 2-year-old-ish.  Crank crank pout and stomp feet.  DON’T LIKE.  Make it go away.

Of course it’s not going anywhere, unlike our flake of a hero.

So this is what’s going to happen.  I’m going to get wet in the water, then I may get wet on the bike, which I’ll be riding in already wet attire, and then I’ll run in wet attire which wouldn’t get any drier regardless, it will get wetter with rain, or with sweat, or with both.  I’m going to think of the participants who are doing both the Saturday and the Sunday race, with a 40% chance of thunderstorms Sunday morning also.  I’m going to think of Becky’s bike breaking last Saturday, and I’m going to think about all the people who wish they had the luxury of running, biking and/or swimming but they don’t, and I may do it soaking wet and cold.  Who knows?

Then, as long as I don’t fall off the bike or on my face, I’ll be done.  If I do it without complaining and with grace and charm I will be a heroine, at least in my own eyes.

And – the beer will still be free.

Sh*t happens. Later we can get over it.

Well good morning you two, and how are you doing this fine day?

The sun is shining, reflecting off the lake, but I find this confusing as the sky is overcast.  Apparently somewhere on the other side of the house the sun is poking through just a bit, even though I cannot see it.  Another metaphor for life.  And this morning I am thinking especially of my dear friend Becky who has diligently put in all the miles training for her 2nd half-Ironman, which is being held this morning in the Gulf Coast.  Well, two-thirds of the race are being held anyway; the swim has been cancelled.

I saw her face when they announced it and my heart fell for her.  Later the crank fell off her bike.  All of that, the hours and hours of training, struggling through hard workouts, planning, worrying, dreaming.  Done, gone.

Titanic

Fill in the metaphor: ___________________________________________________

I know she’s devastated.  I combined some $%&* and some tears when she told me.  You know how it is, for a minute you think, really?  You’re kidding, right?  But, no, she’s done, it’s over for today.  We all know how this feels.  You’ve worked so hard, you’ve followed your plan, you do everything the boss says, or the trainer says, you follow the rules and all of a sudden you run into a wall.  You break your foot, or your bike fails, or your boss reviews your input and says no.  Boston gets bombed out.  NYC gets stormed out.

shit happens

Personally, when stuff like that happens to me and I get this type of input:  “life goes on” “make lemonade” – it just makes me mad.  I believe we need a little space to be upset.  It DOES suck.  It does hurt, it’s incredibly disappointing.  Oh well, la-la-la, get over it, look over here, a rainbow!  Oh yeah?  Guess where your rainbow can go.  I’ll be fine in a bit, just back off.

Last week I had the great opportunity to attend the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) Annual Convention in Spokane, Washington.  This may surprise you, but there is not an overwhelming plethora of running club secretaries in the Memphis area.  I know, right?  I am a company of one.  So it was a lot of fun to talk shop with other attendees, and I’ve carried home a notebook full of ideas.

This is the fourth convention I’ve attended and I believe the best so far (possibly inching ahead of our hosting in 2012, don’t tell anyone).  I met Bernard Lagat!

bernard

I wasn’t going to ask for a photo – but others did, so I jumped into the fold.
No pride, no regrets.

He spoke at lunch of the sacrifices his family made for one another, the opportunities he was fortunate enough to be given.  A very engaging speaker, he talked openly and honestly about success and failure, accepting and moving forward.  He laughed along with all of the attendees when he described what coming in fourth in the Olympics felt like.  Fifth place, you pretty much know it’s not going to be your day.  Third, *sigh* I made the podium!  Second, *yay* I’m not first but I’m not third!

Fourth:

horseshoe handgrenade

Don Kardong addressed this also when he spoke on Saturday.  This must have been an especially bitter pill when the first place finisher was later stripped of his medal for doping, but just like Mr. Lagat, he was charming, humble, and funny.  He joked that after the doping issue the first place medal was divided into thirds and this was his portion:

neck_ribbon_image

Um…thanks?

That evening Deena Kastor spoke.  She was the 1997 RRCA Roads Scholar recipient, living in Colorado working as a waitress, training, then working all day on her feet, training again at night.  The scholarship allowed her to quit work for a year and focus on her training.  We all know how well that turned out!

All three were humble, grateful people, appreciative of the help they’ve received and the chances they’ve been given.  They are among the best in the world but they would not have been there speaking to us without dedication and hard work.  They fell, they struggled, they stood back up.  They grabbed the opportunities they were given and remain grateful for all of it.

I will never be an elite runner.  I have, however, realized through these speakers that I can continue to strive to be an elite person, even if I do slip a bit, falling back and struggling when the sh*t shows up.

++++++++++++

ADDENDUM:   After the DNF Becky cried a bit, then put on her shoes and ran out to the course to cheer on her friends and teammates.  I’m proud to call her friend and hero.

But, no, back on the horse that may throw me.

Well, I’ve just been sitting around on my flukey bootie doing nothing.

I did do some laundry.  But only because I ran out of running gear.  A person needs priorities.

I even went for another bike ride.  Becky is an insidious person and acted like I would be doing her a favor if I rode with her.  Eventually I decided to give it one last try, since I’m registered for a Tri.  Because I’m stupid.  Maybe I should not admit publicly that I’m stupid, but, really, not admitting it doesn’t change it.  Plus it’s rather hard to hide the fact when I just typed “I’m registered for a Tri” because anyone reading that knows immediately that I am stupid.

The reason I didn’t want to ride my bike any more is that I don’t like the feeling of sheer terror.  Call me stupid (I know…) but I just don’t.  I don’t get happy with the adrenaline rush, heart pounding, head throbbing with blood rushing through my brain by the gallon, my body shaking with the flood of fight-or-die hormones.

One weekend when I was in high school a bunch of us, as we sometimes did, had a picnic in the desert.  This was always a day-long affair, everyone driving out in the boonies, kids jumping out of the cars and running all over, moms setting out food and visiting.  The dads would take us all out to some wash and teach us to shoot cans.  My brother had a dirt bike he’d bought with his newspaper route money and the bigger kids took turns riding it around.

It was my turn and I was about a mile from camp, doing no more than 25mph (it had a governor) when I hit a wash and the bike bogged in the sand, so I punched it – just as I also hit a rock with the front tire and the bike came to an immediate and abrupt stop.  I, however, did not stop, going head first over the handlebars, landing on my chin.  Prior to that moment it was never on my radar that a person can break their jaw, but I knew immediately and instinctively that I had.  I also had blood dripping on my shirt from somewhere on my face.

A few months earlier I’d sprained my ankle which necessitated a visit to the ER for an x-ray to be sure it wasn’t broken.   So far in my life – and I hope no further – I have broken my finger, my wrist, my jaw, my toe and my foot; I’ve learned it’s good to go ahead and check.  While there a young man in another room had a nose that would not quit bleeding and they were packing it full of something (cotton?  I don’t know).  That kid was screaming like they were sawing off his foot.

Thus my concern, walking the mile back to camp with a broken jaw which I could not feel because actually I was in shock, was not my jaw, but the source of blood, because I had no intention of ever letting anyone near my nose.  Fortunately it turned out it was just a big gash in my chin from the impact.

By the time we’d driven back into town and stopped at the house to get insurance info the shock had worn off and let me tell you, a broken jaw:  hurts.  Like a mother.

And they would not give me anything for pain in case of head trauma.  I hung around the ER for a few hours while they tended to other people, finally x-raying me, the tech apologizing profusely as he turned my head this way and that.  Yep, broken, up to a room where I dozed off and on, in pain, until the next morning when they set my jaw.  Still un-medicated, because they also needed me able to communicate while they set the jaw.  Which I’m grateful for, I didn’t want a crooked face but – it hurt.

I spent the next six weeks walking around with my mouth wired shut, talking funny and carrying wire cutters because if I ever got a stomach virus or bad food things could get ugly pretty quickly.

That’s the end of the story.

Until a week or two ago, when I met Max.  Mas is a beautiful dog, probably a golden-lab mix, who appeared to be maybe a year old, 80 pounds or so, and newly, deeply in love with me.  He saw me riding Matilda, minding my own business, my HR about 189 since Brain wouldn’t quit thinking about how it would feel to go face first over the handlebars, and he knew we needed to be Best Friends.  Flush with adoration, deaf to his owner’s fervent pleas, Max raced out of his yard and down the street after me, barking his joy and devotion.  I managed to slow before he reached me, getting one foot unclipped before he jumped on me.  The other foot was still clipped, and while he leaned against me in slavish love and his poor owner continued to yell at the now-deaf-with-adoration dog I managed to unclip just in time, catching myself before I went over.

Max suddenly and miraculously had his hearing restored at the exact same time the owner arrived at the scene, apologizing profusely and thanking me for my patience and understanding.  I nodded that I do understand, I also have a dog who suffers event-induced deafness.  And I couldn’t have said anything cranky because my heart was stuck up in my throat doing about 250.

Shaking and shivering I got on the bike and wobbled back home, where I leaned Matilda against the wall, took off my helmet and threw it at the wall, following that with my bike shoes and gloves, swearing loudly with colorful words that it was over.  Sorry, Matilda, that’s the end of the relationship.  It’s not you, it’s me, I want a divorce, you can have the storage shed in the settlement; there you will slowly wither and die, covered with cobwebs and eventually rust.

old bike

I knew – I knew – that Becky would not let it lie.  She was good.  She didn’t say anything.  Like, what?  I’m stubborn?  She and hubs, I know what they are thinking when they get all quiet and don’t mention the elephant in the room.

But she’s so darn little and cute when she gets stubborn, and I didn’t want to make her sad, so I finally put Matilda in the back of the car and drove to meet up near the end of her ride.  Since my biggest worry on the bike is not riding the bike – it’s the sudden and unexpected stop that keeps me in panic mode – I had the brilliant idea of riding in circles and stopping.  There I was, in the St. Phillip parking lot, riding in circles.  Ride – unclip – stop – repeat, while the ladies walking into the church looked at me like I might need an intervention.

“Hi, my name is Terri, and I bike…”

 

Happy Flookie Bootie

It’s my birthday!  I may as well admit it; I’m typing so I’m still breathing, so odds are I’m gonna have one of those at least once this year.

It really is a beautiful day, 60 degrees this morning when I woke, gorgeous sunrise and nothing I had to do, not even a race I needed to work which hasn’t been the case recently.  Here’s a pic of the beautiful morning:

IMG_0390

This photo was taken with an iPhone by a total amateur.

I have no work I have to do, and I have nothing I’m training for, so I can – call me crazy – go for a run with … wait for it … NO GOAL.

Right.  Breathe in … breathe out … breathe in … breathe out … I know you’re both taken aback, I realize the idea of just going for a run like you were a kid with no responsibilities on a Saturday morning is completely out of character for any real runner and could cost me my card.

But, then, I’m just wild and crazy and there’s no stopping me, as we’ve discussed before so you know what?

Nanner Nanner Boo-Boo.

nanner nanner

That’s What.  This photo was not taken by me with my iPhone.  Thank you, icanhascheezburger.com

Now that  we’ve settled that like three responsible adults, as I said, I decided to go for a run.  Just a run.  That’s it.  Not being a total rebel nor completely insane I did not, however, run nekkid.  Garmin and HR monitor are our friend.  Once I did not wear Garmin and HR monitor and while I was gone Garmin committed GPS suicide.  The next run Garmin refused to charge or find the Mothership.  I cannot bear that type of responsibility.  At this point in my life the goal is shedding responsibility, not taking on more.

Becky batshitcrazy-biker-babe Elkins met me and biked alongside for a few miles.  We ran into (not literally, of course, because that would be rude, right?) April “Honeybadger” Henderson and Donnie “Deacon” Baldock who were at, oh, I don’t know, 87 miles or so.  Becky had to peel off back home so I hung with Donnie and April.

Here in my fascinating narration of the un-run we will stop.  You two go watch the Honeybadger vid linked to April’s name, above.

It’s ok – go on – I can wait.

Eew, that’s so nasty.”

 “Look, it’s eating larvae, that’s disgusting. “

(Just entertaining myself here, go ahead, watch the vid.)

Done?  OK cool.  That’s the end of that part of the story, I wanted you to see the honeybadger vid, the rest was just verbiage to get there.  Otherwise this story would be one word long and probably everyone would be grateful.  To bad, it’s not.

PART TWO

In a vain attempt to distract Donnie and April (running animal beasts), and since we’d about exhausted honeybadger quotes, I thought if they heard a story they would be fascinated and slow down, and also because something reminded me of the story but now I cannot remember what, I told them the story of the day our dog Maxie bit my butt.

Actually he didn’t bite it.  I mean, he did bite it, but it wasn’t really a bite, he was barking.

For some reason I happened to be chasing the twins through the house – for FUN! – they were running in circles laughing and I was chasing behind them laughing and Maxie was running in circles behind me barking.  Unfortunately I had to stop suddenly and Maxie didn’t brake, instead running right into my backside while barking and on the downstroke of the bark he bit my butt.

 It broke the skin and bruised, he had a strong jaw, and I had to go to the doctor to get an antibiotic and get it checked.  It was a bit embarrassing but what can you do?  You have a dog bite on your butt.  It’s not like you can say, oh, look, I think I broke my finger.  They’re pretty much going to have to check things out, if you know what I mean, and they don’t believe you when you say you broke your finger but you actually didn’t.

PART THREE

Two or three weeks later I got a phone call.  The insurance company.  “I understand you were bitten by a dog.”

“Oh, gawd.  Um, yeah…”

“I need to determine if there will be any suits filed in the incident.”

“Right.  No.  It’s OK.”

“Have you made any type of settlement then?”

“Uhhh.  Mmmmm…” so I had to tell another stranger about the dog bark biting my butt, that it happened in my house, to me, and was my fault, so probably I wasn’t suing myself.

“…so you see,” I concluded, “it was just a fluke.”

PART FOUR

Immediately Donnie and April composed a birthday song named after me entitled “Fluke Bootie.”  It goes like this:

FLOOOOOK BOOOOOOOOOOTIE

FLUKEY BOOTY Fluke fluke fluke bootAY

FLOOOOOOKIE Flookie Flook BOOTIE

After that you let the band riff for a while.

PART FIVE

The moral here, Boy and Girl, is never tell anyone your dog bit your butt but it was a fluke.

Well, that sucked. YAY!!!

I did six miles this afternoon and it sucked :-)  I can’t hold a pace under 9:45 without an oxygen mask dropping from the overhead, I’m maxing my HR and my heart looked pretty much like this:

bugs bunnyOnly it wasn’t because I saw a sexy bunny.

This means that, one, I really am back to running because I’m no longer jogging along comfy just for the sake of being on the pavement.  Two, I’m running.  You can’t complain about a run if you can’t run.  Thus I had the very sweet luxury of running along thinking *&^% this SUCKS.  I SUCK.  This run SUCKS, and as I thought it I found myself smiling with the joy of a sucking run.

Again proving runners are #crazynutjobs.  But – we’re happy crazy nut jobs so you gotta love us, right?

This week has sort of sucked.  First, I guess because Jen and I had talked about him, and then I wrote about it, Tuesday night I dreamed of my brother.  I never dreamed of him when he died. I wanted to, I’d have taken any chance to see him even if just in a dream, but it never happened.   This dream was incredibly real.  Nothing special, Bret I were talking, about mom and anything else you’d talk to your brother about if you were in the kitchen one afternoon, and I remember nothing other than that.  Then I woke up, which surprised me because I thought I was awake talking to my brother, and I realized it wasn’t real.  It was SO real, and then it just wasn’t, it didn’t exist, and I started crying.  I couldn’t quit and poor Hubs was lying there patting me on the shoulder.  “Is it Murphy?  Are you upset about Murphy?” but I just kept snorting all over, my pillow wet with tears.  It was, quite frankly, rather stupid.  Here I am, again, with my body doing something I have no control over.  I mean, I tried.  I bit the pillow, I clenched my jaw, I stuffed my face in the pillow – nothing.  Just kept crying, except when I stuffed my face in the pillow because then when I sniffed I kinda choked because of course there was a pillow stuffed into my face.  I guess actually you could say it was successful, in that I did quit crying while I choked.  Anyway, I finally drifted off to sleep still crying and then the next morning I looked like I’d run into a wall.

Du Maurier

When I woke I realized I was going to have to call the Vet about Murph T. Dog because he’d been limping around since Monday afternoon and now he wouldn’t eat or drink, and he kept yelping when he moved wrong.  Mostly he just wouldn’t move at all and I had to lift him into the Explorer and back out of the Explorer and he does weigh about 36 pounds hanging there in my arms, miserable.  Then he pooped on the Vet’s front door step.  “My dog just pooped on your door step,” I announced, carrying the limp bag of dog cement into the office, “do you have some paper towels I can use?”   They were very nice and refused to let me try to pick up poop while holding the aforementioned 36 pounds of useless dog and one of the techs cleaned up my dog’s poop for me.  I’m sure this is not the first time she’s had to do that but I still felt bad.

He has a couple vertebra that have been a problem in the past and sure enough, he hurt it somehow, so they filled him with shots and I carted home two pill bottles about the size of a jelly jar.  He moped around in pain and finally hid under the bed, having eaten one little doggie biscuit and two very large, peanut butter wrapped pills.

Thursday morning he came downstairs almost sort of perky and Chunk was not upset when she saw him so I figured that was a good thing since she gets rather insulted when people don’t feel well, like it’s a bother to her somehow.  “Oh, I’m sorry I’m vomiting out most of my insides, Chunk, I know you find it offensive,” I feel compelled to apologize.  Oddly, despite her complete irritation and disdain for all things sick or injured she is strangely fascinated, roaming about smacking inanimate objects and the offender, yet she refuses to leave their side.   “Smack!  Quit it!,” she seems to be saying and it makes me think she was a neurosurgeon in her past life as my experience with neurosurgeons evidenced about the same level of compassion, not that I’m bitter or angry, just stating facts.

Unfortunately Thursday afternoon he stood up, yelped quite loudly and refused to move, just stood there, head hanging, heart pounding.  Well crap, I thought, maybe he’s ruptured a disc or something.  It was too late to call the vet so I carried him upstairs, he scooted under the bed and never came back out.  In fact he appeared ready to stay under the bed the rest of his life so this morning I had to get the mattress and box springs off the bed and carry him downstairs.  Despite not eating much in the past 48 hours I can attest that he has not lost any weight, and we repeated Wednesday morning only omitting the pooping on the door step, which made me happy.

They knocked him out with a muscle relaxer, Xrayed his back and gave him some different steroids and gave me another big bottle of pills.  Since Murphy was splayed out in a kennel like a freshman at 4am during rush week I left him there and will get him later this afternoon.  The Vet prefers – and we concur – to try to treat this medically.  Surgery is an option but I really hope that is not going to happen.  I expect if you could ask Murphy he’d agree.

So – my week kinda sucked but it’s a luxury to have a sucky week with a tough run and a sick dog because I know a whole bunch of people with way worse things going on, marriages and cancer and death so I think what you should do is ruefully shake your head at this week’s travails and go kiss your loved ones and also kiss your dogs and cats despite the fact you will get hair in your nose and sneeze.

The End.

Lent, Part Two

Well, Boy and Girl, I’m home from the whirlwind tour of Arkansas-oklahoma-texas-newmexico-arizona (reverse and repeat), feeling sleep-deprived and cotton-headed and thoroughly tired of anything Subway can possibly offer, eating our way across the country at Love’s Truck Stop/Subway Exit 27/195/362/35/183/328 ad infinitum. It was a time-warp including little social media as mom has no internet

inconceivable

… and my iPad spent a day in time out when it wouldn’t renew cellular data, leaving me in a social media black hole.

Supermassive_black_hole

OMGawd NO!  I’m fading…fading…

Wait, hold on – Mo’s eating a contract.

Right, I’m back, thanks.  It’s fine, it was the extraneous pages of the contract, nothing important, and he didn’t swallow.  This is why God invented Scotch tape.  It’s nice the Scots got something named after them, too, even though a roll of sticky tape is probably nowhere near as fun as a day-long holiday celebrated with green beer and lots of food and parades and stuff.  A roll of sticky tape…beer…sticky tape…beer…no wonder they play bagpipes.  It’s payback to the rest of the world.

SO.  It’s LENT.  I mean, it’s been Lent for a while now, a couple weeks or so but who’s counting?  I’ll tell you who:  my dear friend who gave up cussing for Lent is counting for sure and by dammit, I can tell you that.  I think you have to be some special kind of stupid to give up cussing.  Not that I think my dear friend is stupid, much, but at least for myself I’m pretty sure cussing saves lives.  St. Patrick’s day falling inside of Lent also makes me happy that I didn’t give up beer.  This has probably also saved lives.

I gave a lot of thought to things coming into Lent – I’ve always liked the idea of time set aside to refocus, for renewal of some sort.  I spent a couple weeks considering and rejecting possibilities.

The week before Lent I was working out with Killer and Brenda.  I was so proud.  I announced cheerfully that I’d decided to give up bitching for Lent.

I was quite confused when they shouted “NO!” in unison.

Brenda followed up by announcing that if I quit bitching she will quit training with me, and Killer seconded the motion by noting she would fire me.

Although slightly disappointed at the reaction I was secretly very relieved because I’m pretty sure giving up bitching would make my Brains explode despite taking my meds on a regular basis (you think I’m kidding).  I amended it to quit bitching at Hubs and almost immediately after this decision I went out of town for 9 days.  Coincidentally I did very well at not bitching.

We had a great visit with my mom, the B’ster was an absolute blast and the best-behaved 4 year old I’ve ever seen.  He played on the iPad for the entire 48-ish hours we spent driving, other than when we were eating or he was asleep.  Mom had such a wonderful time playing with him and it was a huge blessing to see her doing well and getting along fine, rattling around in that big old house by herself.  Next month will be two years since Dad passed and she’s moving forward.

I could not tell you if I think of my brother 14 times a day or once a month.  I have no clue.  I do know that I think of him a lot at times like this, when I’ve been back to Arizona and childhood memories fill so many places.  I seldom remember him with anything but joy and the peace of happy memories.

I don’t even know how it arose, Jen and I talking about Bret and what it might be like if he were still here.  I expect he’d be married, there would probably be nieces or nephews or both.  Maybe I’d even still live in Arizona, who knows what course my life would have taken.  He’d be there to talk to, he’d have been there through everything with dad and he’d be there now to share the weight of worry about mom.

It does no good to think of it unless remembering him can bring joy, but today I struggle, finding tears on my cheeks as I drove to Kroger and again just now, as I write.  I am OK with that, it will pass.  He was joy.  He was laughter and smiles, he was a friend to everyone.  When they say the good die young, they must have known my brother.  Raised by the same parents, I was a mousey, scared, insecure little girl who thought far too much about far too many things.

Maybe what I need to do for Lent is realize we’re all not so different, after all.  Maybe I need to realize that we’re all here with our own struggles, our own memories, our own joys; sitting in our mental glass cubicles looking at everyone else doing so well and not realizing they struggle too, and we’re doing about as well as everyone else.

Bret 001

Bret William Eske

Crossroads

peter gathje

These are the shoes of a homeless man.  These are the shoes he walked in daily.  These are the only shoes he owned.
I own a countless pair of shoes, usually wearing more than one pair of shoes daily.
I run, I come home, I put on other shoes.  If my feet are tired I’ll change shoes.

I’m up since 3am and Brain 1 and Brain 2 refuse to compromise and play well together.  I’m going to visit my mom and I’m sure that’s part of the fireworks in the head, lots of adrenalin and “did I remember…” “Oh, shoot, don’t forget…”

It’s Lent.  As we’ve discussed, I have my issues with organized religion but consider myself deeply spiritual despite the occasional (be honest, frequent) F bombs and Dammits.

This week I had the honor of meeting Dr. Peter Gathje, a man who walks in Christ’s sandals.  He co-administers  or directs (sorry, don’t know the correct title) Manna House of Memphis, which I’ve been following since several summers ago when there was an article in the Commercial Appeal.  It was an extremely hot summer.  The article was about the homeless that Manna House serves and their need for shoes, preferably athletic – when you think about it, giving a homeless man a pair of worn out leather dress shoes is not all that helpful if he’s going to be walking miles around downtown daily – and tech shirts, since it was so hellishly hot.

Since I sometimes hang around with runners, I posted that I would collect shoes at one of the RRS 5 milers.  Runners, being the incredibly awesome people they are, left dozens of shoes by my car which I toted to Manna House, dropped them off and left.  I have continued to gather stuff when I can and have toted more stuff down to Manna House, little tiny drops in a huge bucket.

I’ve mostly come to peace with my issues, but it’s Lent, which I’ve always loved, so the wrestling match in my brains heats up.  God, as he does, won’t let go and has shaken things up – again.  Two “chance” encounters at stores I seldom visit and a box of shoes and t-shirts, these are the conversations God and I have had this week.

I know this is vague and likely rambling but thank you, angels, for being where you were supposed to be when you were.  The tangled ball of yarn continues to unwind and you were His agents.  I’m looking forward to learning where the journey will go.  And if this path goes no further I still thank you, Dr. Gathje, and F, and S, for being there at this crossroad.

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