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.

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Heaven…I’m in heaven…

Heaven
I’m in heaven
And my heart beats
So that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find
The happiness I seek…

…coffee, keeping the world safe for thousands of years.  To paraphrase Ben, and I think I have before, “coffee is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  And that He wants everyone in my house to survive mornings, obviously.

Trivia:  Coffee was first consumed in the 9th century, when it was discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia.

Text *Boink*

BeckyB:  ON SALE!  30% off!

Me:  I WANT!

BB:  Really?

Me:  YES!

Trivia:  Coffee was first known in Europe as Arabian Wine.

I can totally see that.  With fewer calories.  And I’ve heard that the caffeine burns a few calories.  Not as many as running, but every little bit counts.

Heaven
I’m in heaven
And the cares
That hung around me
Through the week
Seem to vanish
Like a gamblers
Lucky streak

….like the cup of Donut Shop Macadamia Nut freshly brewed into my mug is quickly vanishing.  *Yum*

The dog is safe, the cat is safe, the Hubs is safe.  I love you all.   I love the world.  I love the idiot squirrels stripping branches off my trees and burying the hickory nuts in MY PLANTERS dammit.

Trivia:  The heavy tea tax imposed on the colonies in 1773, which caused the “Boston Tea Party,” resulted in America switching from tea to coffee. Drinking coffee was an expression of freedom.

I know I like to drink it freely.

Oh
I love to climb a mountain
And to reach the highest peak
But it doesn’t thrill me
Half as much…

…as perusing greenmountaincoffee.com and giving serious consideration to Chocolate Glazed Donut and Cinnamon Roll.  Then I will go for a bike ride with the hubs this afternoon.  And I rode yesterday: 21 miles, 1:18:05.

Trivia:  In the ancient Arab world, coffee became such a staple in family life that one of the causes allowed by law for marital separation was a husband’s refusal to produce coffee for his wife.

This would never happen in my household.  Hubs is an extremely intelligent man.

Oh
I love to go out fishing
In a river, or a creek
But I don’t enjoy it half as much…

…as watching someone else fishing on the lake while I brew another cup and curl up on the patio –

GOODBYE!

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Putting the fun in functional.

There’s so much I need to do and so little time to get it done.

First, and always:  coffee.  Make the coffee, drink the coffee.

Then I have to stretch, use the roller, use the racquet ball, do some exercises.

I’m lying.  I never do that.

Sh*t.  Our Lady Queen of Pain might read this.

YES, I do that every day.

Brush my teeth.  Every day I have to brush my teeth.  Someone needs to invent self-cleaning teeth.

Then I have to check out FB, of course, and post to the MRTC page.  Which I can’t do today because apparently the gods of FB are not allowing administrators to post to FB every Thursday that falls on September 27th.  So, if you’re reading this blog, YES you can get your shirts at every race now through the last 1/2 marathon.

OH, my gosh look at those cute kittens!

Seriously, that’s cute.  They look like mobsters patrolling their area.

Get the newspaper.  This is always an exercise in frustration.  If frustration burned calories I’d weigh 100 pounds.  I force myself to read the editorials and the op-eds.  The dog sees me sit down at the table with the paper and he runs for the door, “let me out, PLEASE!”   Apparently pounding the table and muttering  “are you a freeking IDIOT!? I vote YES you are!” irritates him.  I’m just guessing, but he does seem desperate.

Either that or he disagrees with my politics.  Yet, I continue to feed and house him.  I think he’s a Democan.  But he might be a Republicrat.

This could also explain why hubs leaves the house early every day to “work out” … hmmm …

The cat doesn’t give a sh*t and just wants to eat my shoelaces.  While I’m wearing the shoes.  And trying to walk.  And dammit, there I go.  Tripped up again.

Then she hauls a$$ and hides in the 2″ space under the couch while I cuss.

Look what an anonymous friend gave me:

Why did she think of me when she saw it?

I’ve used her several times already.  And, why do I immediately think she’s female?  This could be a male dammit doll.

Nah.

Every time I slam her head on the desk DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT, afterward I straighten her hair and kiss her.  Sorry, Dammit Doll, you were born into a life of pain and sorrow.

Neither of you two Faithful Followers of my World Famous Blog will believe this, but sometimes I have to work.

WTH that’s about, I do not know.

Ok, I’m back, sorry – had to play some Spider Solitaire.  Damn game.  I’m at like, 32% win rate.  The rule is, you have to play until you win.  Then when you win a game, you seem to think that can happen again, but it doesn’t, it can’t, there’s some quantum mechanics that could explain why but I still can’t figure out why mechanics are quantum, so now you’re stuck in the endless loop of playing until you win a game….and there’s no way to cheat on that damn game.  Yet, I continue to return.  It’s like when you get a piece of popcorn stuck in your tooth and it hurts.  Then you finally get it out, but you keep putting your tongue where it hurt even though that hurts.  And each time you think, this time it won’t hurt.  Because?  You’re an idiot?

Speaking of mechanics that are quantum, I posted this yesterday and tagged my daughter, since we’re both math inept past multiplication:

Photo

So T1 almost immediately posts, “Shrodinger’s Cat, right?”

WTH??????

Why, yes, Mr. Google reveals, that is, indeed, Shrodinger’s equation.  Now it’s no longer funny because I didn’t know that and I thought not knowing that was funny because NO ONE would know it.  But, no.  The Misters Smart A$$es read the damn books in high school.

I’m not burning off enough energy every day.

Can you tell?

I should ride my bike, but I have to make myself do it.  I have to ride nearly twice as long to burn the energy I use running and frankly, it’s boring.  I guess it’s like when you start running and it’s not as much fun as other people make it look.  They all look like they’re glowing and model for Vogue while you’re slogging along, red-faced and sweating like a pig at a ham eating contest.

No, it’s really not.  When I started running I liked it.  I wanted to do it.  Not that I don’t like biking, I do like it OK.  It’s like broccoli.  I like broccoli.  I just don’t want to eat it every day.  Running is like chocolate.

I really miss my chocolate.

‘Round and ’round and ’round she goes…

One of my teammates was walking across the grass toward me, making a “WTH??” gesture.

I was lying in the grass, part of me under the bike, part of me on top of the bike.  I’d unclipped my right foot but when I tried to unclip my left foot the cramp started, my leg folded like a cheap camp chair, and down I went.

I stared at the lovely blue sky while I yelled.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARG!!!”  “CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMP!!!!!”

The lady in the camp next to us calmly continued packing.  She’s seen this before.

Both calves and my entire abdomen were cramping so tightly that, two days later, I am still sore.

A can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles appeared, floating above my face in the pretty blue sky.

“You need some salt,” he intoned.

How do I always end up in these situations?  I think I have “Here, Hold My Beer, Watch This” Syndrome.

Lisa, my friend and a certifiable lunatic, sent out an email a couple of months ago.  I should have kept it as proof that she’s insane.  We could have had her locked up and this would all have been nothing but a bad dream.

But, no.  “Hey!” she emailed, “this looks like fun!  Who wants to join?”

“Fun” as described by Lisa, is a 24 hour bike ride.

Are you nucking futs??

I’m frequently Little Debbie Downer.  I thought I should reply with something a bit more positive than my usual disdain for crazy things and people (especially since Hubs was on the email list too, I need to look like a Team Player, right?), so I said something like “well, yeah, maybe.”

Here’s a clue:  if you say “well, yeah, maybe”, crazy people read that as Y-E-S.

Next thing I know I’m on the email string, oh, wow, how fun, we have a site, here’s the schedule, everyone’s taking 2-hour intervals, rah-rah-sis-boom-bah and I’m sucked into the vortex.

Well, I’m getting a bit cocky here, I’ve been riding the bike, I’m clipping in, I’m hot Shizzoozle, I can do this.  It started to sound like fun.  It was fun.  We had a campsite on the bluff overlooking the Mighty (low) Mississippi River.  We hauled our gear down, had a beer and watched the sunset.  We ate a catered pasta dinner (all you can eat, I’m with ya, babe!)

Sunset on the Mississippi River

Hubs and I headed home, he had the 4am-6am shift and I had the noon-2pm shift and we needed to take care of Cat and Dog.

It was a beautiful day which dawned nice and cool.  Hubs had loaded Matilda in the truck for me so Babs, Matilda and I headed downtown.  “Bill” had the 8-10am slot, “John” the 10-noon slot.  Bill and I watched the river go by and visited.  We cheered John on.  I had some lunch and got ready to pick up my two hours when John came in.

The ride benefits St. Jude and if you’ve never done a charity event for St. Jude you are missing out.  They do a great job; they get the details right, and they do it with their hearts.  They are doing this for the kids and it takes it to a new level.  I’m riding a bike, but it’s not just for me, it’s for those kids.  In two hours I can get off that bike and take a break.  Those kids don’t get to take a break after a couple of hours, and their family doesn’t either.  St. Jude volunteers are doing it all for the kids, but they treated the bikers like royalty.  Every meal provided.  Music and live bands.  Pizza and Movie at 10pm.  “Portajohns” that were in a trailer!  With a sink with running water!  Snacks and beverages 24/7.  Every volunteer smiled constantly and did everything they could to accommodate everyone.

The ride is a closed course, Riverside Drive is closed and the bikers have a continuous 2.8 mile loop they can ride in safety.  The crisply cool morning gave way to a hot, dry (for Memphis) and completely sunny day.  I set out.  I knew I needed to stay hydrated.  Lisa and John met me on the course with water and Powerade about 30 minutes in.

Two hours later I pulled off and “A” headed out.  I knew I’d sweat a lot when I saw the salt crystals on my bike shorts.  I tried to get as many fluids and salty junk in as I could.  We had 11 on our team, so the last two hours didn’t have a designated rider.  “A” agreed to ride until 4:30, I’d pick up 4:30-5 and John would close it out.

We were desperately trying to hold onto our 11th place standing.  Pride.  It’s a terrible thing.

So it was – a little after 5pm I finished my last loop and ended up in the grass.  Dehydrated and depleted, yelling in pain, a can of Pringles levitating above my face.

I HAD A BLAST!!!!!!!

We’re doing it again next year!!!

It’s not that hard to create a Monster

All I wanted was a simple little box of safety pins.

Chunk was in heaven.  She jumped into empty boxes and peered at me through the flaps.  She batted ACCO clips off the bed and onto the floor.  She chewed rubber bands and tried to eat some Scotch tape (not good, the cat eating tape).  Murphy came to the doorway, took one look, got the “Oh, Crap, she’s on a mission” look and disappeared until after dinner.  Every male in my household has perfected both the look and the disappearance.  The words hubs dreads more than any are, “Hey…I was thinking about that (door) (deck) (light bulb)…”

Years ago I decided we needed a medicine cabinet in our bathroom.  I found one at Lowe’s for $29.  Simple enough.  You cut a hole as deep as the cabinet, shove the cabinet in the hole, and tighten the brackets.  No plumbing, no electricity, easy.  Except there was a big wire in the wall that apparently had a major role to play in providing power to one half of the house.  Did you know that electricians charge you like, triple time on Saturdays?  What the heck?  No one accidentally severs a little wire in the wall on weekends?  When do you think most people are doing those stupid fix up jobs?  9am on Tuesday??  I don’t think so.  So, the cabinet ended up costing closer to $229.  Then I didn’t like it after it was in.  Every time I opened it something fell out.  Stupid cabinet.

No one around here ever seems happy when I get an idea.  How did I know that the bookshelf was actually an inch larger than the ceiling on the stairway?  Who walks around measuring ceilings?  “Dude, what are you doing this weekend?  Wanna hang by the pool?”  “No, man, I can’t, I wanna measure all my ceilings.”

Why else does Lowe’s carry all that wall patching stuff?  I’m the only one buying it?  I don’t think so.

Those damn boxes of safety pins are smaller than you would think.  And it appears they tend to move around in the dark.  Where I thought the pins were, they weren’t.  Repeatedly.

Several hours later, voilà!  Pretty, huh?  A place for everything, everything in its place, to quote Ben Franklin and Winnie T. Pooh.

Ahhh, oops….talk to you later.

Wakey wakey, use your brake-y.

Just before hubs’ alarm went off this morning Cat’s internal alarm went off.  *sigh*  I carried her downstairs.  A few days ago I was carrying her downstairs and she saw my backlit reflection in the patio door. Apparently my appearance was terrifying and she kicked off in a leap that spanned five stairs, landing with a thud in the den and hauling cat a$$ into the bathroom, her tail the size of a baseball bat.  Now she’s started doing  that as habit.  Or, I’m terrifying every morning.  Perhaps she should allow me to wake naturally, eh?

I’m working on being a better morning person.  I haven’t actually managed a smile yet (that would just be frightening for all involved) but I’ve gotten in some conversation that has consisted of more than hmmmm and ummmm and grrrrr.

This morning I managed an actual, real conversation.  Like, entire sentences strung together in a paragraph of verbal communication.  Really, what is there to talk about at 5am?  We have weather, yes.  It’s hot or cold, it’s wet or dry.  Unless you’re making coffee in a hurricane (which my sis-in-law did do in the past month, I don’t think she enjoyed it) you can’t squeeze much more out of weather.  There’s the obligatory ‘love you, have a good day’ which is nice but it’s rather a platitude.  It would have greater meaning in its absence; that would not be a good thing.

This morning I returned to bed in the (vain) hopes of falling back asleep.  Then I started thinking about Saturday’s race and the policeman getting hit by that truck, as I’d mentioned earlier. He’s OK, but it scared the stew out of all of us.  I think perhaps the MPD should consider issuing Depends in the line of duty.  I was wide awake mentally writing a letter of commendation to his superior.

Finally I gave up and went to make coffee. Hubs was up looking at the paper, getting ready to go swim about 10 million laps before work.  He’d been out of town and hadn’t heard the entire story, plus I’d gotten more information, so I started telling him about Saturday.

Shortly after I’d put out the flames of The Safety Pin Incident I was in the parking lot checking that everything was going well when I heard a commotion in the street.   There was a man in a very large pickup truck, all duded out with extra-large parts as though the driver has issues for which he’s compensating.  He didn’t seem inclined to want to wait for the ladies to cross the street, even though the officer was standing there with his hands up, stopping traffic all around.  The driver pulled forward toward the officer, who indicated loudly that the driver needed to stop, NOW.  Fortunately at this point everyone was standing at the side of the street, frozen; there were no pedestrians in the road.  We were probably all thinking about the same thing:  you have to be some kind of special stupid to encourage a cop to yell at you.

The driver pulled forward again; the officer, in front of the truck, yelled to stop.  Suddenly the driver slammed the accelerator.  The officer slid off the front of the truck and onto the street.  I stared, horrified – if his feet got twisted up he would have been run over.  It took like two hours, or maybe 20 seconds, for two motorcycle cops to take after the truck.  Seconds or an hour later a cruiser took off behind them.  One of our coaches had the license plate info and they were already radioing everything in by the time I got to the street.  The officer was obviously a bit shaky but completely in charge and control.  While working the radio and relaying information he kept the traffic flowing and continued to direct the women across the street.

After the race our course director returned from collecting cones and reported that Mr. Stupid Sir lived down the street and around the corner near the course.  There were seven cruisers and a flat-bed tow truck in front of his house, taking Sir Stupid and his compensating truck downtown.  Apparently he was completely drunk and had taken off running from his driveway.  Hopefully his visit downtown will give him time to reflect on life and make some new commitments, one of which might be coffee first thing in the morning instead of anything stronger.

It makes me think, Cat needs to be grateful that I don’t drive a truck down the stairs.

You learn something new every day.

“They” say you learn something new every day.

I’ve never learned who the “they” people are.

Today I learned to put the dust bin back in the vacuum cleaner before you start it.

And I learned if you don’t, you’ll probably sneeze.  Maybe a lot.

Yesterday I learned you should put the beans in the coffee pot when making coffee.  Otherwise, when the coffee is done and you’re so happy because you finally get to have a cup of fresh hot coffee which you’ve had to wait for, like, at least ten minutes for it to brew, you will look in your mug, then you will look in the pot.  You will think, What the heck? and you’ll look back at your mug.  Finally it will dawn on your decaffeinated Brain that you have:  Hot water.

It will be extremely sad and you’ll have to wait another 10 minutes for your coffee.  This is also not safe for family members or pets but that’s not news to anyone.

Yesterday one of my BRFF’s whom I shall call, Um, Ursula (which you have to pronounce like this:  ERR-sue-lah whether that’s actually right or not, because that’s how I’m pronouncing it and it’s my blog.  And I still don’t like Brussels Sprouts so don’t hold your breath for recipes, although if I get the Cajun popcorn recipe I’ll pass it along) learned that if you have spicy shrimp boil with corn on the cob followed by a movie and two tubs of Cajun popcorn and then head out early the next morning to run 9 miles you will probably have a Code Cajun or perhaps a Code Jet Exhaust.

Her running buddy learned to stay slightly ahead of Ursula.

I went riding with Ursula’s hubs and learned some new courses.  It was a beautiful morning. We biked through the country roads, trees arching over the roads, pretty country houses set back from the road, lovely cool breeze and a bit of fall starting to scent the air. We hit one spot on Memphis-Arlington Rd that was downhill for at least a mile. I dropped and let Matilda have fun coasting rapidly down. At the bottom I told Mr. Ursula, if he told me we were turning back on this course, I was bagging it and going home! WOW what a stretch, no way I’m strong enough right now to tackle that hill going up!

He told me the first time he took Ursula on the course going uphill he reached the top and could hear her as she ascended.  “You *&%% hill what the &*(+ are you thinking you &^%% ‘ing *&^% idiot”.  I learned that did not surprise me in the least.  Ursula and I can sound quite like the sailor sometimes.  We do it on purpose.  Then we think we’re just ^%$$ing hilarious.

OH – hey – here’s a good thing to learn.  If you’re completely drunk on a Saturday morning about 7:30am and you want to get home, but there’s a bunch of cops in the street directing traffic and letting ladies cross to get to a race start, and you don’t want to stop so you go ahead and hit the gas while aiming for the cop, who fortunately bounces off your bumper and just lands on his butt:  about 1,487 cops are going to find your house, put your car on a flat-bed tow truck, take you both downtown, and I bet you are not getting pancakes for breakfast.

I’m learning it’s still a good thing to move slowly and think carefully while paying close attention to what you are doing when you stop your bike while clipped in.

I learned that I will not actually die immediately if I start to topple over but I might hyperventilate.

Oh – another one you might appreciate:  If you are sweaty and trying to put on your bike shorts it will take you a couple of minutes to get those suckers pulled up, your HR will be 125 and you can burn about 25 calories!  Sweet, eh?  I don’t need to actually ride the bike, I just need to put on damp bike shorts.  You can learn a lot from a Garmin.

Last week I learned if you’re stressing yourself over something and don’t get to run, you just get more stressed.  Brain loves to find an issue and jump on that sucker like it was a blow up trampoline at a 1st grader’s birthday party:  JUMP JUMP JUMP

But best of all, on Sunday I learned that you can blow out energy on a bike ride and get as many endorphins stuck to you as you can running.

Sweet!   I’m a very lucky person.  I can’t indulge my first love right now, but biking came along at just the right time and the joy of being a Newbie is filling the gap nicely.

I’ve been running, off and on, for 30 years.  I’ve never experienced a ‘runner’s high’ or endorphin rush – unless I was mistaking it for something else, like the incredible euphoria I felt when my first ever 20 miler was done.  I don’t think that was a runner’s high because mostly I just managed to drive home and collapse.  I know for certain the ice bath following that 20 miler had nothing to do with any type of physical or emotional high, and I can also assure you that sitting in the bathtub clutching a hot mug of coffee while wearing a sweatshirt is fairly ineffectual while sitting in cold water surrounded by a couple bags of little icebergs from the 7/11.

I’ve tripped lightly and sometimes heavily through the past thirty years, running and then not running, then getting back to it.  For the past 10 years I’ve been steady except for the Plantar Fasciitis detour.  Some days I don’t want to run, but once I get out there I’m glad I did.  Other times I’m ready for a run but it’s not so great.  I knew I cherished running but I hadn’t realize how much I’d come to rely on the friendships, the social aspect of the run, the runs by myself as I ironed things out in my mind, loosened up my shoulders, let the troubles slip off – until once again the chance to do so was eluding me.  I was certain there is no other activity that could fill the gap not running leaves, and I was once again sad and rather angry to be out of it again.  Friends kept encouraging me to bike, I knew I should, I knew it would help, but I knew it wouldn’t be the same.  I don’t mean this in an elitist way but I’ve always felt kind of sorry for my running friends who had to turn to biking when injured.  Sure, it probably kept them in shape but, still – it wouldn’t, couldn’t be the same as a run.

Sunday morning I got home, tired, sweaty, stinky, ready for a shower and the egg & veggie tortilla wrap I’d spent about the last 1/2 hour of the ride thinking about.  Fresh out of the shower, clean and happy, I sat down with my tortilla wrap and the newspaper.  I noticed my legs kinda humming a bit, that feeling when you’ve worked out hard and the muscles seem to hum?  I checked in with Brain.  He was pretty mellow, sitting back, legs crossed, just checking things out.  Do you remember Wooly Willy?

You would take the little red magnet and move it underneath the cardboard, smoothing all the iron filings in the same direction, lining them up in designs and directions.  That’s what running does for me.  It’s the magnet that smooths things out, lines things up, gets Brain all organized and orderly, everything in there aiming in the same direction.  And that’s what I learned Sunday:  it’s not a loss, it’s a gain.  I haven’t lost running, I’ve added biking.

How many times in life have I thought not getting something, not doing something was a loss, and it’s turned out to be for the better?  And yet I continue to have to re-learn that.

What with that “M.D” after my name and all…

To resume our saga, last Sunday we left our intrepid heroine toeing the 10K start line, having beaten all the alarm clocks in the house into submission.

Actually she wasn’t toeing it at all.  She was deep in the bowels (so to speak) of the pack, surrounded by 994 other crazy nutjob runners.

No, actually she was only deep in the bowels about 894 other crazy nutjob runners while another 100 or so ambled up to the start line TEN MINUTES LATE. Meh??  I’ll get them all alarm clocks with magic buttons that slither from side to side.  I’m up at the witching hour, who slept in?  I’m taking names, I’ll be calling you all Sunday after next.  Listen for that phone to ring, 3:59am, ring ring ring 4:00am, ring ring ring, I got your back.  You two loyal followers can help me with the calls.

This morning was the Women Run/Walk graduation 5K and I was up at 3:45 (after waking several times during the night to worry I’ve forgotten something) (which I did.  No big, just only all the safety pins for all the bibs…I told the ladies, run holding the bib up in front of you.  There were skeptics.  Fortunately we found a box of pins from a race last November in the bottom of Johncharles’ car under several items of race wear, a blanket, some dog hair and 12-15 empty Burger King bags.)

But – I was up.  Quickest way to get on my list?  Be late for a race without good cause.  There was a train wreck or you won the lottery and stopped at the bank to get cash to share with me, I’m completely understanding.  But you just didn’t plan to wake up in time to actually drive a car, park it, and find a start line?  Next week we’re starting the race on time and you’ll need to jump out of the way and then go cross the start mat once we’ve all passed you.  DODGE BALL!  RUN!  Bwaaahahahaha 10K FOOTBALL!  We’ve got the ball and you’re in the way of the goal!  OOOPS!  Tackle 10K!

It’s probably not very obvious that I haven’t run since last Sunday.  I biked Wednesday.  I thought about biking this afternoon but for some reason I’m tired.  It’s weird.  It’s like I was up half the night or something.

Last Saturday I woke and as I usually do, immediately wondered what day it was and what I needed to do.  Ah.  Saturday 🙂 my off day, I don’t have to run.  Sunday I did the 10K.  The first two miles were awesome, my legs felt fresh, I was hitting my pace and better, lungs were open – I was running and it felt like it used to feel.  End of Tunnel!  I see the Light!  And at mile 4 it fell apart.  By mile 5 I was walking all the uphills while my hamstring pinged like a bad harpist with a hangover.  I limped across the finish line and gave up.  I’m just going to have to back off for a while unless I want something a bit more serious to stop me.

Now every morning I wake and think, what day is it?  and I realize no matter what day it is, I’m not running.  Now I want to run.

BeckyB is on the DL list, too – she sprained her ankle at the race Sunday.  It’s a bit better and she met me Wednesday to bike.  She said, “OMG!!!  I’mma gonna kill something!  How did I handle stress before I exercised?!?!”  She has a point.  My head is about to blow and while I can come up with a bucket list of things that are some type of issue, the real issue is … me.

It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better because with the help of Dr. Google and some input from Killer and Our Lady Queen of Pain I’m mostly pretty certain I probably have a hamstring strain.  I could go to the Dr., who, unless he felt the need to get some kind of MRI or something would probably diagnose by symptoms and come to the same conclusion:  Rest, ice, stretch, exercise the supporting muscles, blahblahblahblah.  Hubs most sincerely insisted if I wanted to go see an Ortho I should; he did a few years ago with his hammie and guess what they had him do?  Rest, Ice, Stretch, Exercise the supporting muscles…

Are you a runner?  I bet no one ever has suggested that a good thing to do is rest, ice…

Are you a runner?  I bet you stretch, exercise supporting muscles…

Right?  yeah, right.  All we want to do is RUN! dammit.

So, so far that’s what I’ve been doing:  RICE.  It’s mostly OK unless I move the wrong way.   This morning I ran over to the finish line for something and realized quickly that I needed to stop, now it’s not too happy but at this point I don’t actually give a sh*t what it thinks, I’m tired of it.  Guess what I’m doing?

Sitting on ice.

Shut up. Give me the coffee.

Car properly loaded to work and run the Road Race Series 10K – Shrine of Coffee, PB and Orange Marm sammie, tunes for the extra miles after the race (only one ear bud will be used for safety)

4:01 am.  56 degrees.

Every year, just when I give up hope, it happens.  It’s like Christmas, I finally decide that there really is no Santa and then I wake on Christmas morning.  Thursday:  103 degrees, 10 quadjillion% humidity.  Sunday: 56 degrees.  Still 97% humidity, so I’ll still sweat like an Arkansas hawg, but … it will be a clammy chilly sweat.  And, um, yay for that.

Here’s a surprise:  no matter what time I wake I’m not a morning person (pick your favorite, I couldn’t choose just one).  Back away, stay calm and leave a clear path to the coffee pot is all I ask.  Oh, and also, Shut UP.  I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to smile, I don’t actually want to breathe but that’s automatic, thank God.  Or maybe not.  Many people might be safer if I skipped breathing first thing in the morning.  Wake up, quit breathing, fall over.  Later, wake again.  It might work.

Do.  Not.  Suggest this to hubs.  He may take you up on it.

Hubs is like this: Deepest Darkest Night, alarm RINGRINGRINGRING and just as I think I will have to find a shotgun and scatter the F*ing thing into space he manages to find the button to turn it off.  Mind you, it’s the same button every damn morning, but somehow it seems to scoot to one end of the clock or the other randomly, never to be found two days in a row.

Over the years hubs has learned, and sometimes failed to remember, that I want to sleep.  Like, sleeping sleep.  Not like, “OK I’M GOING TO WORK NOW, BYE, Oh, sorry, DID I WAKE YOU?” sleep.  Because once you’ve attempted a conversation with someone, unless they are in a coma, under anesthesia or deaf then yes, YOU JUST WOKE THEM UP.  (Hubs has a hearing deficit.  I have to type loudly).  (I don’t have a hearing deficit.  I hear you in there, shaving and talking to the cat.)  (The cat is not going to answer you even if you continue to increase the volume of the conversation).  (Also, putting the cat in the shower and shutting the door does not work.  I can hear her mewing nonstop and you can, too, I know, because you keep saying, Just a MINUTE cat and I’ll let you out.  But, you don’t.)

I blame it on the 9+ months I spent without more than 3-4 hours sleep in a row, thank you so not, T1 and T2 although I know it’s not your fault that you didn’t like sleeping on your head all crammed in there together those last few months any more than I would have; altho the bed would have been more comfy for me than the recliner, it wasn’t about me.  And of course you shouldn’t be blamed for being hungry every few hours when you weighed about 6 pounds, altho it would have been nice had you timed your hunger pangs to coincide rather than splitting it up into 90 minute intervals.  This is all in the past however, and all that is left is a lingering and irrational desire not to be awakened.

As I’ve mentioned, the alarm clock has a warped sense of humor and takes delight in randomly working or not, so I set my phone alarm.  On Road Race Series mornings I’ve got to get up by 4:15am so I can get ready to run the race myself and also have all the registrations, packets, cash box, lists, etc., organized and loaded in the car.  Cat decided to be a nocturnal living alarm clock, however, and pounced on the pillow at 4:01 am.  There’s very little sense in trying to go back to sleep for 14 minutes so I got up and made coffee.  I thought something was wrong with the lights when I turned them on but then discovered I still had my eyes closed and was not, in fact, making coffee in the dark.  I was hopeful for a moment that I was sleep walking and not really awake, either, but discovered to my sorrow that I was indeed awake after a bit of hot coffee sloshed on me.  ouch.

Clutching a hot Go Cup of coffee, the Shrine of The Only Thing Right With The World At 5:15am safely buckled beside me, I head out in the cool dark morning to the race site.  I like this part, driving in the quiet early morning, hitting the freeway with the semi’s and a few out-of-state drivers apparently on vacation.  I think about where they may be going or have been. I’ve always loved driving in the dark, somehow feeling more connected to the greater world, the stars and the silence.  Well, except Thunderstruck just came up on 103 so now I have that blaring as I sip the nectar of coffee and head to the Farms.

This part I love, too – arriving at the race site in the 5:30am dark.  The finish line crew is already there, some are out on the course setting cones, some are getting the finish line set up.  This crazy bunch of nutjobs are not even all runners any more, due to injuries and issues, yet there they are, laughing, setting things up, playing jokes on one another.  Over the past 5-1/2 years of doing my job we’ve all shared ups and downs, we’ve laughed together, cried together.  They are there long before the race starts and long after the last runner crosses the finish line; they are my second family.

The stars slowly fade as the sun peeks up over the park.  There is mist rising off the ponds and I see the horses from the stable jogging along the fence as they see the runners begin to line up behind the start.  Runners stretch out in front and behind me, a rainbow of multi-hued tech shirts and hats, Garmins beeping as they locate the Mother Ship, feet shuffling.

I see Lane climb the stepladder with the bullhorn.  “GOOOOOOOOOOOD MOOOOOOOOOOORNING RUNNNNNNNNNNNNNERS!” he shouts.  The race is on, the day begins.

September 12, 2010 – the horses raced along the fence as the runners took off.  Photo Credit John Bookas.

Just try something … new

This is how I feel when I try to swim.  Only I don’t float that well.

This morning a friend posted on FB  “Even after all this time I still get butterflies! *6.1* here I come.”  It made me think, being a runner is like falling in love.

The theme right now seems to be Newbies.  As administrator of the MRTC FB site I never know what reaction the posts will get; something I think is very interesting flops, other times I throw something up and it goes like wildfire.  This week I posted a story from from a newbie and a photo I thought someone might like.  I think they struck such a chord with the runners because we all remember being a newbie.  Heading out the door in shoes from Target, wearing a cotton t-shirt and our old PE shorts, not carrying water, trying to figure out how far we’d gone by driving the course and watching the car’s odometer.

Somehow we made it.  We saw a poster at the sports store, which we’d finally discovered for shoes, and timidly registered for a 5K.  Feeling like a flashing blue light at WalMart, standing in the crowd at the start thinking OMG what have I just done?? we managed to get to the finish line.  We met other runners; although we denied we were a *RUNNER* because we didn’t go as fast, or as long, or didn’t understand what a “negative split” was, we managed to learn the talk and start getting hints for shoes, hydration, shin splints.  Runners love running, and they love to talk running.  A newbie, to an older runner, is like Christmas.  OH BOY!  NEW!  SHINING!  MEMORIES!  To share with a newbie is like crack.  Feels so good (so I assume, about the crack, I mean) and the up side is, it’s legal, and it benefits everyone.

The FB posts were awesome, I’ve read them several times. I love the enthusiasm, the joy, the memories.  I love the hesitant questions from the newbies, their excitement, their nervousness.  I love how the runners cheer each other on, the incredible stories of overcoming illnesses, injuries, weigh loss and reclaimed health.  If you can, read the links above.  You’ll smile.

You only get to be a newbie once.  Then you’re a runner.  You may be a runner who is not running right now, you may be a runner who is injured, or a runner not training for anything, but you’re a runner.  It’s like coloring your hair.  You’re a blond or redhead now, and it looks great, but the roots are Runner.

I, however, have discovered the Fountain Of Newbie.  You can be a newbie again. You just have to go back to the scared, hesitant, awkward, worried place.

This is what I feel like on my bike, only I look more worried.  And I wear a helmet.  Which, the first time I wore it, was on backward.  Hey, it gave T1 and T2 a laugh.

This is how I feel when I go really really fast, like 14 mph.  (Kristin Armstrong, Olympic Time Trials Gold Medalist, 18 miles in  37:34.81; if the online converter is correct that is 28.748890860692104 MPH)

It is a bit like falling in love.  Shiny object: boyfriend.  Shiny object:  bicycle.  Scary: first date.  Scary: first ride.  Revealing yourself:  maybe you won’t measure up.  Revealing yourself on the ride: maybe you won’t be able to keep up.  Sticking with it the first time it gets rough:  your first fight.  Sticking with it the first time it gets rough:  clipping in.

Thus I found myself early Labor Day morning enthusiastically donning the riding gear I’d carefully set out the night before.  Newbie, checking:  Shorts, gloves, helmet, water bottles… nervously excited I drove to B’s house and met H and Mr. B for a ride.  I felt so official, pulling on my bike gloves, helmet facing forward, gleaming new white shoes.  We took off.  Well, they took off.  I was facing the wrong direction!  hahahahaha!  I clipped in, too scared to try a tight turn on the neighborhood street, I went the opposite way and met them at the corner.  It was a beautiful morning as we rode through the countryside.  The ravens on the power lines laughed at me, but I knew they were wrong.  Laugh away, I said, laugh away, and I rode on.

Maybe I’ll save swimming for awhile so I can be a newbie again, again.

The get ‘er done run.

Success!  I hung with one of my BRFF’s ever, DJ, who is training for Chicago and doing a 4/1 run/walk program right now.  I knew if I hung with her I would not be tempted to go out too fast and maybe my hamstring would not try to desert me.  I’m pretty sure it’s trying to jump ship; it certainly feels like it’s trying to crawl right out of my skin.  Luckily its attempts so far have been thwarted by Ligaments and Skin.  Thank you, Ligaments and Skin, for hanging tight.  Please don’t let go.

All I wanted was to see the finish line.  I didn’t care time, I just wanted to go 14 miles.  I needed it, mentally.  I needed to blow off energy and I needed an accomplishment in my running.  It took 3 hours to go 14.2 miles between walking the water stops, doing the run/walk and the porta john stops, and I didn’t care one bit.  I can wear the shirt, now.  You can see this is a shirt that should be worn often and handled with care so it can be worn for many years – how cool is this shirt!?  Oh, and we made up a poem:  ON ON! to the Portajohn!  At least I was hydrated.

Last year after Tupelo I wrote this (below).  I know you’ve both read it before but I don’t care.  As I’ve noted, it’s my blog and I can do anything I want.  Or I can not post anything I don’t want to post.  For instance,  I’m never posting Brussel Sprouts recipes, because there is not a recipe in the entire world which can make a Brussels Sprout taste good except a garbage disposal so that would be a waste of typing.

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

Sunday I ran Crazy Jimmy’s Tupelo Half Marathon which is not even a half but is a Half + 1.1 miles.  The race is every Labor Day Sunday, and if you’ve never run in Mississippi the end of August you won’t appreciate the race’s 5am start — but if you have experienced its soul sucking humidity and heat you are happy for even one hour’s reprieve from the sun.

5am in the Mississippi countryside is dark.  No atmospheric reflection of glimmering city lights, no reflected porch lights of houses sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in the neighborhoods, no glow of business signs and lit front windows.  Houses are spread apart, set back; porch lights shine further from the street; street lights are distant from each other.  The race begins quietly, no gun, no siren, no shouts.  Garmins and Timexes beep shedding greenish light. The figures ahead of us start bobbing, their shadows outlined by the small flashlights held by the other runners in front of them.

I run the first 5 miles with an MRTC friend but can’t keep his pace.  I’ve been out a lot the past couple years; a couple injuries, a couple family issues, some happy, some not so much.  It’s great to be racing.  I find that I don’t mind having no one to talk to.  I like it, this bobbing along in the dark as it begins to lighten. I listen to the softness of the footfalls, my raspy breathing, crickets.  A dog whines from someone’s house.  At mile 6 we turn east and I notice the horizon is lightening.  The shapes of country houses take form, still and flat, one-dimensional in the semi-darkness.  Rolling fences appear and I can see the fields now, see the ponds in the fields, and the treerows further back.  The colors change, from the bluish-black of night to dark shades of greens, then browns, and soon the runners around me aren’t just bobbing shapes but bright yellows and reds and blues and greens.

We run along in the day as it wakes.  I see the road now, and I see my feet as they push the distance behind me.  I look at the faces of the people around me, I hear mutters of conversation; over and under and around all that I hear, constantly, the soft shuffle of feet, the measured breathing of everyone around me, and I know that they are celebrating, as I am, the incredible knowledge that we live, that we exist and we are incredibly, gloriously alive in this brand new day which birth we just witnessed.

Runners may be many different things, but one thing we hold in common:  We are celebratory people.

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

Unfortunately, however, this year after the race ended there was a very very sad incident in which my Former BRFF ever, DJ, tried to steal my beer.  B*tch.  You can’t trust blonde German women when a beer shows up, it’s a throw down looking for a place to happen.  Fortunately right after this photo was taken we were directed to the cooler chest containing about 157 more beers and we kissed and made up.  I no longer hope her keg explodes.  Just a small, slow leak would be fine.

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