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 “February, 2014”

I’m sorry I spit on your dog…

…but at least she is nice and furry so it froze to fur, not skin, on this cold morning with a wind chill of 15 degrees.  I can’t feel too bad about that temperature, however, as this afternoon it is 17 degrees with a feel like of 1 in downtown Chicago, where my son is probably questioning what the hell he is doing.  Certainly you can write code in Hawaii or Florida.

I’ve hooked up with a new running group!  I just started last week.  This week’s workout popped up in my inbox:

4 strides
15 min tempo
4 amphitheater hills

This is very sweet and I find it encouraging that anyone thinks I have more than one pace right now, not that I care.  I’m running.  I don’t give one spit how fast or slow at this point.  And – I finally got cold weather bragging rights, all these winter days I’ve sat inside, jealous of others running and posting pics of their eyelashes glistening white with ice.

Sadly, my eyelashes did not freeze this morning.  Although I don’t really want my eyelashes to freeze, I do want the bragging rights and hold hope it could still happen.

The *ahem* “warm up” consisted of plowing up a hill into the biting wind so I hit 90% HR by 1/2 mile.  That’s OK, I’m good, walk a little recovery and start again.  And again, and again, and every day in every way I’m getting better and better.

I ran in the cold and I liked it (I liked iii-it) except I got a bit phlegm-y.  While we stood around deciding which way to go (since the wind was bogarting 90% of any possible direction), I did what any good runner would do and spit a loogie.  It had a nice arc and distance – and impeccable timing, as just then furry black Quianna ran past.

“Did you just spit on the dog?” asked my friend.

“Yeah, I think I did,” I replied, patting around trying to find it and wipe her off, but I couldn’t find it in the dark on the black dog.

I happily finished five miles and headed to the cars with the group.  Lucia walked by with Quianna.  There was my frozen spit shining on her fur, glistening in the rising sun.

“Is that your spit frozen on my dog?” asked Lucia.

I tried to rub it off but it was frozen fast.   “That’s OK, she’ll probably jump in the lake anyway,” Lucia said, and sure enough, she did.  I guess dogs don’t bother getting all worked up over, they just take it as it comes and figure there’s a warm blanket waiting for them.

Since I didn’t get enough of all that, I headed to Killer’s for a workout, where my training buddy and I both had just enough energy to spit and not much else.  It was ugly, but we got it done and then I headed to Lucia’s for a session.

The producers of Biofreeze have asked me to extend their sincere thanks to Killer and Lucia.  I shall now liberally apply a third layer of Biofeeze and limp off to the couch for a much-needed nap.  I leave you with the picture of my friend’s shoes which will probably be much less jolly when they find out that despite her neatly (OCD) lining them up as though waiting for another run they’re all actually going to the donation bucket.  Always be sure your shoes are happy, no matter where they’re going.


It’s a Beautiful Day

It’s a beautiful day, indeed.  This morning I watched the houses across the cove glowing slightly golden in the sunrise as the sky grew bluer, the lake truly smooth as glass although it sounds trite; my soul as smooth and calm as the lake’s surface.

This is the day I’ve struggled toward these past few months, a morning when Brain has decided to quit stomping on the ICK button it’s been stuck on for so long, a day for silent contemplation of the sound of the birds as they flit back and forth, for looking closely at the soft fuzzy buds on the dogwood, for soft, slow, deep, calm breaths.

In the dark night I felt Chunker curled up in the curve of my neck and shoulder, something she did always as a kitten but then stopped.  I don’t know why, perhaps to roam, as she grew into a cat and became more nocturnal.  I reached my hand to her fur, so incredibly soft, the softest cat I’ve ever had.  She stretched her paw to my hand and purred and I drifted calmly to sleep.

It’s easiest, of course, when I can keep it simple but, like most, I seldom do.  Or can.  But I can continue to strive.

Sometimes as I struggled to find a solution to this pain I wondered – more frequently than sometimes, actually – often I worried that I was simply a wimp, that others hurt just as much but don’t show it, they are stronger somehow, they feel pain but don’t succumb as I did.

Perhaps that’s part of my peace this morning.  I’m going to try running ten (very easy, slow) miles with Becky this morning.  I think I can do this.  As I was setting out my bottle, charging my Garmin, and eating my breakfast my mind lingered only on the thought of taking it slow and getting it done, and I realized I had not thought once of how much it would hurt.

It’s a beautiful day
The sun is shining
I feel good
And no-one’s gonna stop me now, oh yeah

It’s a beautiful day
I fell good, I fell right
And no-one, no-one’s gonna stop me now

Sometimes I feel so sad, so sad, so bad
But no-one’s gonna stop me now, no-one
It’s hopeless – so hopeless to even try.


The human mind fascinates me.  Who’s in charge?
Do my thoughts control me?
Do I control my thoughts?
Do I generate those thoughts?
Or are my thoughts knee-jerk reaction to external or internal experience?
Are we truly centered in our life, our bodies, our thoughts, our perceived world?

Perhaps not as much as we think.

I was shaken yesterday to realize I do not even perceive the true center of my physical body.  I’m currently near the end of a series of Rolfing sessions, a fascinating journey in which Lucia is attempting to reverse decades of weaknesses and compensation.  It was not a surprise to learn she was an art major in college as she re-sculpts my body, an artist in the physical world, an artist of healing and health.

At the end of yesterday’s session I stood as she visibly measured my form and alignment.  “Put your feet together and close your eyes.”

I did, feeling my body waver side-to-side slightly, trying to find balance.  I assumed it was the ongoing issue of the left-side weakness.

“Open your eyes.  Did you feel that?”

“Yes, I’m still not balanced.”

“Your mind perceives the center of your body to be slightly to the right of center.”

My frame is bent and I’m pulling to the right, which explains the excessive wear on the right front tire.  Only it’s not the frame that’s bent, it’s the engine.

As I sit struggling to put this into words that make sense I gaze out the window.  My desk and monitor are centered on the desk directly in front of the center frame of the window.  I have just realized that every time I look out the window, I look out the right window.  So, ruminating, hoping for words to fall into the proper slot, I shift my gaze to the left window and am immediately physically uncomfortable.  Even as I watch trees swaying slightly, birds flitting, I want to look away to the right although there is nothing any different on that side of the yard.

It’s entirely possible the right side of my body has been compensating for the past 25 years for that ankle injury.  Lucia thinks it’s likely, and it makes sense to me.  Six month pregnant with twins, my body was trying to figure so much stuff out every day that I’m sure it was taking the easiest route.  A year later when I resumed running my left foot and ankle did hurt when I ran; certainly my body could have shifted a bit of the weight and effort to the un-injured right side and this could have become a 25-year habit.

We have other 25-year habits, do we not?  A lifetime since high school still slightly stung by the rejection of the popular kid, the other guy getting starting quarterback, overweight or acne-faced, shy?  Decades of remembering a stinging review by the boss?  And ZING that sucker flies through your brain he said – I didn’t – they should have – and you are right back there as real as this moment.

I went to a Centering Prayer retreat once.  All I brought home was a huge sense of frustration.  I’ve thought about that.  I would describe myself as deeply spiritual  although I no longer go to church for far too many reasons than I care to explore here.  I’m still climbing those steep cliff sides with a hit-or-miss trail to follow, clinging to the mountain trying to work forward, upward, and I have not come to many places to rest and look back, yet.

You have to wait.  You can’t bring those restful places to yourself, you must sit in your spiritual waiting room staring at the same irritating picture of your dorky school kid self, the out-dated magazines of memories; sitting, waiting for an appointment that you do have but the date and time are in a foreign language.  The world is full of waiting rooms if we will take advantage of them and open our eyes to the scene:  a lonely run, time in silence or meditation, the carpool line, anywhere.  You must move forward through each day and try to practice mindfulness, try to center in the moment and not the moment of last night or lunch with your friend today.

Am I being the best I can be in this moment?  Can I let go of everything else?

I say this.  I say to do this.  And I do it.  About once a month for 13 seconds.

Again we return to running.  This is why running is so important to me.  When I run alone I am out of all the other locations of living.  I’m out of my house/office, I’m out of my car, the grocery, I’m out.  Just me and feet and moving.  I try to look at the trees, at the pavement, at the sky, to suck in life.  I am frequently desperate to do this, to get outside of this horrid brain that creates a life that is not real, that drives me despite myself, creating Grand-Canyon-deep habits, and all the while I think I’m in charge.

This popped up in my life a few weeks ago and I’ve held onto it, considering it.  At this point in time, for me, this is the best explanation of God that I have found.  Please see the entire post for the full concept.

“What may be a little more difficult to distinguish is that the energy that forms the cells of your body, and the energy that causes that body to be alive, and the energy that is sparking around inside your head attempting to make the distinction, are all the same.  Nothing exists in the universe, either in reality or in our perceptions of it, other than energy.  If you were to take all this energy and try to imagine it in its entirety, the result would be God… By thinking that “god” is primarily concerned with ourselves, we establish in our minds a convenient level of importance that in reality does nothing more than skew our perceptions of everything else.  Does this mean we are not important? Does this mean we are not creations of God (from an evolutionary standpoint)?  No it does not.  It means that the magnitude of what our dogmatic religions have been trying to tell us is much more profound than we ever imagined: God is not the Creator of all things, GOD IS ALL THINGS.”

Ice Ice Baby

My South Dakota relatives are probably incredulous watching winter news from the south.  My cousin noted on December 23, 2013:  “Good morning from probably the coldest place in the USA. We were a balmy -22 degrees this morning with wind chill of -40 degrees. Aberdeen, SD.”

Here’s a pic of his drive to work last month:

Warner, January 2014Those War of the Worlds aliens are hovering pretty close.

Having grown up in Phoenix I’m spoiled.  It rains about 7 times a year.  Some of those days it rains 3 inches in an hour.  Another hour or two and the water is all gone, sun shining.  During that one hour several vehicles will disappear in intersections filled with five feet of water, but you only have to deal with it for an hour or two.  And odds are good that you won’t be one of the few cars swallowed.  Then, back to sunshine and birdies and puffy clouds floating around.

Silhouette woman run under blue sky with cloudsThis photo, purported to be real (but really, who can you trust?  Me, or Them?), can be viewed here, which is a site about running in Arizona.
You know, in case you get to live there.

Meanwhile most of the US is being repeatedly pounded by Snowmaggedon and Icemaggedon.  There is not a loaf of bread to be found in a five-county area and I don’t care because I know where the beer is, nice and frosty cold.  It took my friends hours to get to work today, here in Memfo, because we are suffering under a catastrophic ice storm.  I repeat:  Catastrophic.  Ice.  Storm.


This is why we cannot have nice toys.  I actually slipped on that ice.  Yes, I did.  I slipped on 1/32″ of ice.

Thus, ice as the South experiences it:


TotalTrafficMem (which would be more properly named TotalTrafficMayhem) has tweeted at least 60 incidents of Bumper Cars this morning.  Many probably looked like this (below, 64 & Davies).  We don’t have the equipment, Memphis has a couple of salt trucks which manage to cover major intersections and the loop.  We also don’t have experience driving in weather, and the precipitation was so light you simply cannot see it.


I’m renting a car that looks eerily like the little blue Bumper Car up there, and while I’ve got ShuBootAh on reserve in the back of my closet I have no desire to ever enlist her services again, so I’m staying in for the day.  I’m not driving or running anywhere, and I’m going to spend some time trying to memorize this weather to pull out next July.


OMG I’m Marty McFly.

It cannot be easy being a guy, especially if you are not only a guy but also a husband.  How many un-husbanded guys get looked at with daggers shooting the unspoken words you left the soda bottle out on the counter and have now contributed to the eventual destruction of the world?  Very few, I posit, and those few need to find a roommate that is less picky.  Husbands are stuck, sorry.  Once the poor things cross from guyness into husbandness they begin living on the very edge and their parachute has a hole.

The saddest part is they end up in the quicksand despite the very best of intentions.  It’s not that they sit at their desk at work and think, “hmm, what can I say to the wife today to send her directly into cuckoo land?”  More likely they stare at their desks in desperation, “Please, please Little Baby Jesus who was smart enough not to get married, please help me not eat my foot today.”

The other bottomless pit is emotions.  Not theirs, of course.  Ours.  Even women don’t truly know how or why it’s possible to morph from laughter to sobs in nanoseconds, we just know it happens and at that moment it makes perfect sense.  Do not try to indicate otherwise.

And, of course, Hubs had no idea how emotional I felt this morning about Babs and her troubles.  Heck, I didn’t even know how emotional I felt until I found myself tearing up when Sam “The Car Whisperer” called me.  I knew immediately it was bad.  We’d limped into Cordova this morning in the far right lane just in case we needed to rest on the shoulder for a bit, me gently pushing and letting off the accelerator as her transmission struggled to find a gear it liked.  Like all women she’d prefer not to discuss her age and weight but the facts are she’s twelve years old and is carrying the weight of 159,462 miles.




“It’s bad, isn’t it?”

We’ve been taking our cars to Sam for over 20 years.  He helped raise my kids, at least as far as cars are concerned.  My daughter’s car died one day.  Her brother and I met her in the parking lot, took the battery to Batteries R Us where it was confirmed DOA, bought a new battery and returned to her car.  It was a pretty old car and the little + and – etchings were missing on the battery, um, things.  The things you stick onto the battery.  So we guessed.


Did you know that you can short out the entire electrical system of a car in less than one second?

Ring, Ring, “Sam?”


“We need a tow.”

A short time later Sam arrived and quickly understood, despite my prevarication, that I had indeed hooked plus to minus and minus to plus and instructed Jennifer to try starting the car.   He turned to us and wagged his finger slowly, “Next time you need help you call ME.  DO NOT call your mother.  Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” we nodded in unison.

So this morning I asked, “It’s bad, isn’t it?” and felt myself tearing up.

“She needs a new transmission.”

The images, sounds, and smells of years of the Explorer crammed full of shoes, towels, Gatorade and banana peels as I took stinking runners to and from school, track, cross-country, and cross-country summer camp shot through my mind.  I heard again their laughter and jokes as they forgot I was there, driving Babs, driving everywhere, endlessly, me and Babs and teenagers.  She’s all that’s left here, now, they are off in Chicago and New York and Babs and I only smell the stink of running if it’s me, those busy exhausting endless years of Mom gone in a missed instant.

I called Hubs sadly.  Fortunately he’s a pragmatic man and we will go ahead and have the transplant done, mostly since he figures if we don’t we’ll get no money out of her and she’s going to scrap (oh, ouch, that hurt, Babs sitting alone in a junk yard, slowly being stripped) and if we fix her we have the option of selling her later (OK, but really, I can keep driving her.  Really.)

Apparently Hubs thought he should try to cheer me up and sent a link to the space station sighting this evening (which will go unseen here since the horizon is a solid, impenetrable roof of clouds a million miles into space).

I know you are not a nerd but… he started the email.

What the…?  “I’m not a nerd”?  I AM TOO A NERD.

Dammit.  I’m losing all definition here.  As my life melts into smaller and smaller puddles I realize I’m Marty McFly – with the sad exception of a modified DeLorean, plutonium, 1.21 gigawatts of power, and a flux capacitor.

marty mcfly

Little Merry Sunshine Part 2

There actually is a blog titled  Little Merry Sunshine  and it’s much cheerier than my Merry Sunshine. If you’re in the same mood as I am this morning you need to head over there right now and read it for about fourteen hours.

It’s fine, I’ll wait.  I have coffee.

Ok, are you done?  Do you feel better?

I don’t.  As you both know, my brain is broken.  I keep trying to fix it, I really do, and I won’t give up.  There are simply times it’s harder to keep trying.

The blogger above (I do think she must be a very nice person) was apparently such a happy child she even smiled when she slept.

I, on the other hand, was the (not) sleeping child who, when I could not stand it a moment longer and my bladder was about to burst, stood on the bed, leapt to the doorway, ran to the bathroom, speed peed and dashed back to the bedroom doorway to leap back onto the bed.

I did this so the man who lived under my bed could not grab my leg and pull me under the bed.

It was never clear what would happen after that, life would end or I’d live forever in a black hole, I’m unsure.  All I knew was I would be sucked into a dark and never-ending vortex.

Lately it’s been dark endless days that morph into darker nights as we shiver through the effects of psycho polar vortexes, grey cloudy cold days of endless rain pouring down from dark endless clouds.  The fun of hunkering down, making soup, reading in the comfy chair, knitting while watching TV in the evening has waned to microscopic.

What happens if someone scares you?  Maybe you think you’re alone in the house, knitting endless scarves watching the news and waiting to make dinner, but actually hubs is home from work and you didn’t hear him come in (Early Warning System is asleep on the couch).  He walks into the room to say hi and you jump out of the chair, heart pounding.  What’s the first thing that happens?  Do you feel angry?

I do.  I get pissed because I got scared.

And there you have it.

The whirling vortex of Brain has settled on the OH SHIT button and keeps stomping.  Well sh*t.  When is the last time we ran and it didn’t hurt?  That would be … Brain counts on its fingers … 19 months ago, yeppers.  JeZUS in your little hay filled CRIB, shut UP Brain!

Making the bed, little twinges, ouch, step, ouch, step.  Why is my foot still sore?  Is it another stress reaction?  There is my running gear, laid out three days ago.  Still folded, still on the chair.  Maybe I’ll run later this morning.  I should take my phone in case there is something wrong.  He said it would be easier to break another bone for a while.  I could call Becky if something happened.  Maybe I should go to the Center and run on the treadmill instead.  Maybe I’ll do that.  Later. Like, next Juvember.

I, however, am holding an ace:  I have BRFF’s who pop up on messages telling me to drag my whiny ass over to their house at 8:15 and they don’t want to hear the ‘feel like’ temp, put on some woolies and gloves, get your butt here and we’re going for a run.

YAY! We’re going for  RUN!

ramona quimby

“I am too a Merry Sunshine,” insisted Ramona (and she) got down from the table and ran …

Furthest I’ve run since 11.9.13
A little slow.  Took a couple walk breaks.  Waited on a couple red lights.
Cold and breezy.  After a while I couldn’t feel my quads.
It was perfect.


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