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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 tag “BFOS”

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 …

Addendum
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.

IMG_0100

Little Merry Sunshine

Things that did not happen in my house yesterday:

Despite laying everything out in the den and giving clear instructions, the Christmas tree did not fluff and decorate itself.

The clothes did not march downstairs, jump in the washer and then the dryer and return to their original starting positions.

Nor did the dishes do anything similar.

And the bed stubbornly refuses to make itself even thought I’ve repeatedly encouraged it.

The good thing is that everything I do takes half again as long while I lurch slowly up and down stairs, dragging three extra pounds around on my left foot.  This gives me hope that the extra time and weight will keep me fairly fit for the rest of my life since that’s how long it feels I will be in this boot.  I do see Dr. Wonderful 2 this morning so more on that later.  Personally I’m planning on him smacking himself in the forehead and exclaiming OMGOSH IT’S A MIRACLE YOU’VE BEEN HEALED, GO FOR A NICE LONG RUN! and you cannot convince me otherwise even with my foot still swollen and tender.  That’s just residue from the miracle.

Between 7-1/2 hours spent sitting in front my computer this weekend watching online modules so I can take a test to become a Certified Race Director (learning many important things such as runners should be able to see the START banner) whenever I realized I could no longer feel my butt – which (segue) by the way, has not tried to fall off once since I broke my foot.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I lean toward a conspiracy.  But more on that later, I’m still trying to figure it out and they know I’m sticking close, watching them –

Anyway, whenever I realized I could no longer feel my butt, sitting here peering blindly at the computer trying to find the sweet spot in my trifocals, I paused the video and did some laundry or washed dishes or something.  I know, I’m wild and crazy but there is no stopping me.  And I’ve decided that probably the tree could decorate itself but it’s just being helpful by giving me something to do, lurching about fluffing branches and trying in vain to kneel down on this boot to reach the lower branches, burn some calories there, Terri, get that HR up a bit.

So – ShuBootAh is being helpful too, making extra work for me.  OH – and – she is hot and I don’t mean whoa she’s fine.  That sucker holds the heat.  So I’m saving money on utilities also.

I have to say, I’m really pleased with all this positive thinking I have going on.  Most of the time I’m a bit cynical, but this morning I’m practically glowing with positivity.

You know who’s cynical even though they say they aren’t?  Hubs.  Hubs is cynical and you cannot convince me otherwise because I’ve seen his cynical eyeball roll about 1,237,698 times, and I think 1,237,657 of those were caused by me.

The other day he watched silently as I put ShuBootAh back on (I’d taken her off to get a break, putting my foot up for a minute).  I looked at him from the corner of my eye.  

“You thought I would not wear the boot like I should, didn’t you?”

He hesitated.  “I have to say, you are doing much better than I expected.”

Number of days in ShuBootAh: 18

Number of times I’ve thrown her across the room narrowly missing poor Murphy: 1

Number of days since I did so: 13

I’m like little freeking Merry Sunshine over here.

merry sunshine

Just a little flesh wound.

You can make dinner while standing on one foot but I would not recommend you do so while stirring the popping spaghetti sauce, ouch.

But it’s OK, just a little flesh wound.

Seriously, just a little pop of boiling spaghetti sauce on my arm, I’d rate it point-zero-one on a 1-10 scale.  I had a conversation with a friend one time, discussing another friend with terminal cancer whose stated pain level was 9 or 10.  We considered for a while.  How bad can 10 feel?  We all know 11 is one louder, however the pain scale only goes to 10 so it took a while for us to develop a new pain scale:

1 – my head hurts

2 – my head hurts like a little man inside is pounding it with a little hammer

3 – I’d like to get that little man out of my head and kick his a$$

4 – the little man in my head is using a jackhammer

5 – the little man in my head has a friend helping him

6 – the little man in my head and his friend are close to breaking through

7 – the little man in my head and his friend have broken through my skull and are now dancing in my eyeballs in celebration

8 – the little man in my head and his friend who broke through and did the celebration dance are now stabbing my eyeballs

9 – the little man in my head and his friend who broke through, danced and then stabbed my eyeballs just set my hair on fire …

10. … and … now they just tore my arms off.

Lately I have had ample opportunity to answer the question “Please rate your pain on a scale of one to ten.”  It’s a conundrum.  My ten could be your 20.  Or it could be your 3.  Maybe pain scales should note that a 10 means someone just sliced off both your arms but if you consider it just a flesh wound please choose 2. I ponder what number to choose on my current pain level.

I had my first two children sans medication.  It was the thing to do for some reason.  Don’t take an aspirin, just breathe deeply, you can do this.  So, I did.  I was alone in a room, waiting for something to happen, four weeks early with my girl child.  The woman in the room next to me screamed.  OMGOD HELP  HELP ME SOMEONE HELP MAKE IT STOP.  I was fairly sure someone was actually in the room with her who could help and it appeared they were either refusing or she’d made them promise to do nothing no matter how she begged.

Let me out. Let me out of here. Get me the hell out of here. What’s the matter with you people? I was joking! Don’t you know a joke when you hear one? HA-HA-HA-HA. (*@#$$, get me out of here! Open this $%&%# door or I’ll kick your rotten heads in! Mommy!

Hour after hour I was there, alone, with a couple of Home & Garden magazines to peruse which, by the way and to this day, I hate.  As I repeatedly gazed at gardens that would never grace my home I promised myself – if there was one thing in my life I was going to make sure would happen it was this:  I was not going to make a sound whenever girl child decided to appear.  Tear my nails out, I don’t care, I am not going to make noises that can be heard through walls by unsuspecting, lonely and frightened people.

So – I’ve had levels of pain but pain is complicated by duration, exacerbated by sudden stabbings or electricity jolting through muscles and who knows how much pain it really was, it’s different for everyone.  I’m gratefully past all that, again, and want to remain that way.  I will continue to strive to finally, totally defeat the current issue. Which brings me to stirring boiling spaghetti sauce while balancing on one foot.

Dr. W, as you both know, has been fantastic help since the first of the year and will remain forever my hero since my back did not spasm for three months as it did a few years ago – even without Butt Falling Off Syndrome that alone is enough to put him on the top shelf with all the really big trophies.  Yesterday I tried something new –  Structural Integration – and … just … wow.  I hurt this morning, but it’s a good hurt, ach-y in my neck and shoulders and oddly (because I never do so) I find myself stretching as I walk to the Shrine Of Keurig or sit at my desk, rolling my shoulders and head, and it feels good, looser.

I suppose most people who show up bruised and battered at Lucia’s office are pretty dorked up, I know that she didn’t seem to see much of me that wasn’t torqued one direction or the other.  She started from the bottom up and the first thing she asked me was if I’d badly sprained my ankle at some time in my life.  Yes, indeed I did, 6 months pregnant with the twins I fell stepping into the garage, the Goodyear Blimp of motherhood, landing awkwardly.  The ER doctor said I’d have been better off if it had broken and indeed, it hurt for most of a year if I moved wrong.  Side note:  a fat pregnant woman hopping through the house and office on one foot is pathetic and frightens innocent bystanders who fear the hopping could jolt loose a child.  It didn’t.

She rotated my left foot, then my right and suddenly I realized that my left foot seems to be attached very loosely by about 2 worn out rubber bands, flopping slightly as I stride, the right foot landing firmly while the left foot rolls to the outside before deciding to embrace earth.  Who knew?  Apparently just because the brains and I live in this body does not mean anyone is actually taking charge at the helm, and also apparently my left foot has been flopping about for 25 years refusing to carry its load, thank you foot, I’ll remember that at Christmas, coal in the stocking for you.  In the meantime we will be spending a lot of time, you and me, standing on you without the assistance of right foot.  But no longer will we do so in front of a roiling saucepan.

When I see them Dr. W and Lucia give me instructions, which I then carry carefully to Killer, who assists me in planking and squatting and lunging and monster-walking because in addition to no one firmly at the helm I’m also irresponsible and do not self-motivate properly.  Yes, yes, I nod, slavering happily, yessir, Dr. W, yes ma’am Lucia I’ll plank, I will balance on the BOSU ball, yep yep I skip about in their offices like a puppy but already Brain has seen a chicken and run off after it.

So I thank you, Dr. W, and Lucia, and Killer, and all of you in service industries who help people who are hurting, sick, in need.  I only have aches and pains, I do not have terminal cancer but I did watch my father die day-by-day for a year and I know who the caregivers are – givers because they care.  You are all very special people and I thank you all for making this world a better place while I sit at the computer answering emails and hanging around my watercooler named Facebook, posting pictures of cute kittens, unicorns and zombies.  You rock.

Hello, Old Friend

I just checked my Garmin, which is at 32% – so now it’s on the charger for a bit before I head out and I will ruminate while I wait.

It’s cool, damp and breezy, a storm coming in later this afternoon.  It will be a good day to stay in and cook with my mom.  Number One Son is getting married Friday and we are having a gaggle of people here tomorrow night for BBQ.  She and I will spend a dry, warm, cozy afternoon making potato salads, slaw and cookies while it rains outside.  The cats will wander in and out and the dog will hound our every step waiting for something to drop, CHOMP.  Homey.  Nice.

Monday I headed out for wog/slog/jog, whatever it might be called.  I managed four miles and nearly three of it jogging.  I missed doing them Sunday, but otherwise I’ve been getting my planks done every day.  It could be said they are getting easier but that’s rather like saying running hills gets easier.  It doesn’t because as soon as it does you go faster or longer.  In the article I read the author was told by her PT that she should be able to hold several planks “very” easily for 60 seconds.  I’m holding three and my arms are not quivering quite as much.  I guess that does not indicate I’ve reached the “easy” stage, much less the “very”.  But at least they no longer feel quite as much like limp noodles.  That’s good, right?

I run in the neighborhood across the street from me as mine is rather chock-a-block with a busy road you must take in order to get to the other parts of the area, so I run to the end of my street, cross the busier street and run in the lovely, quiet neighborhood there.  I headed out and nothing really hurt, just pinging.  Pinging, once a bad sign, is now a good sign.  We’re moving backward through the aches.  Peeling off the layers.

It was cool and breezy, beautiful.  This fall is not as colorful as some but there is one tree that is a beautiful orange, I don’t know what kind of tree but they stand out, so pretty.  I love my four mile route through the neighborhood which, when developed, wisely did not do any clear-cutting.  Huge oaks, shag-bark hickory, maples, large houses set back from the winding street.

Right now on this route I frequently see a doe with twins that look about half grown.  I’m guessing one is female and one is male because, first, one still has some spots on her hind quarters and the other doesn’t, and secondly because the other one tends to be further from Mom every time I see him, while the lightly spotted one is right by Mom.  “HEY! MOM!  Watch!  Look!  I’m in the other yard!”  It’s not quite on the level of finding out over Christmas dinner, when you sit back and just listen for a while as the four of them laugh and tell stories on each other, that some of your progeny went porta-john tipping one night, but it still seems more a male thing than female.  Rather like the B’ster in his Superman costume showing his “guns”.  I don’t remember my daughter worrying about her “guns”.  I think of this and it makes me laugh every time I see the deer.

It’s no wonder the deer roam, safe.  Cars stop for the deer who wander across to the other side for more of whatever tastes best.  I’ve heard you can give up on growing hostas.  A mile in I see mom and the twins.  They stand, watching me, chewing, as I slog past, talking to them.  “There goes another one of them,” mom says to the kids, “crazynutjob runner, they’re safe.  They’re crazy, but they’re safe.”

Each mile I stop for a moment and stretch my lower back and gauge.  Still hanging in there.  Still holding on.  I reach my turn-around and head back, looking at the beautiful trees, breathing the cool air deeply.  Hello, running, old friend.

Hello, back, running replies.

I’ve missed you.

But it’s not been too long this time, running reassures.

Yes.  I missed you but I knew you were there, waiting patiently.

I’ll be here always, as long as you stay strong.

I’m trying, running, I’m trying.

Will I learn this lesson, finally?  Or will I, type-A first born, headstrong and impatient, fail another test someday?

I hate to say so but I might.  And please God I will again stand up, brush myself off, and move forward again.  And again, and again.

In a hopeless place

Well, Boy and Girl, my two faithful followers whom I’m sure have been completely bereft in the dearth of recent posts on my world-famous blog, I thought I would update you on the two Brains thing.

Apparently in addition to one Brain being able to completely hijack all reasonable or unreasonable plans, intentions, or actions on the part of the other Brain and myself without any advance notice, the Brains can also, apparently, completely disengage and watch from a distance as someone does something ridiculous and in which either Brain may refuse at the last moment to participate, leaving me standing forlorn at a start line or 7-8 miles into a trail.

My proof comes in the form of a happy email announcing gaily the confirmation of my registration for the Sylamore 50K.  That would be the registration I completed this afternoon while sitting here on my Biofreezed falling off butt.

Brain 1 is tee-heeing like a kindergartener, she said BUTT.  Fine, laugh away jerk, where were you when I noted on the application that I am a male who desires a large shirt?  Thanks for noticing when I got the confirmation. 

Thanks also for noticing the shirt error first, so I could email the RD with the size change and then noticing 13 seconds later that I’m now a male so I could email the RD again to request a sex change without having to travel to Sweden.

You can see that I’m trapped in a hopeless place – which, thank you so not once again, dear Brains, now I’ve got Rhiana’s We Found Love stuck in my damn head, is it not bothering the two of you, since you’re the ones IN my HEAD?  Apparently not, as you aren’t shutting the godforsaken earworm off.

Interestingly registration filled up in less than 30 minutes leaving many runners sad.  They are sad they are not going to go run 25K or 50K in rocky hills in Arkansas in February where it might well snow on you while you cross the freezing creek not once, but twice.

You know friends, it’s no wonder your non-running buddies look at you and back away just a bit.  Here I sit, on the DL, having just scrapped plans for two distance races, Biofreezing half my body – and I just paid good money for another race.

Are we crazy?  Stubborn?  Stupid?  Delusional?  No wonder friends and family shake their heads and sigh.  And those are friends and families that are runners!  Sir Hubs hates marathons.  Every time I register for a distance race he just gets The Look and sighs slightly.  Hubs is currently plotting to get into Ironman FLA 2014.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, THERE’S A FREEKING MARATHON AT THE END OF THE IRONMAN.  (I’m yelling now, aren’t I?) AFTER he swims over 2 miles in a flipping ocean and bikes 112 miles and is probably getting just a tad tired and still facing a 26.2 mile run.  How the hell does he get to the conclusion that I’M crazy??

Brain 2 just chimed in that I might want to note that Hubs is not talking about his brains in 3rd person.

I’d like to point out that Hubs has brains that actually work, but I won’t because then I’ll be arguing with my own self and it’s all getting rather confusing.

Hunkering down with Chunker or how I learned I do, indeed, have two Brains

Chunker Munker and I have not had the best of weeks and it’s all my fault.  She is very happy to agree with that and seems pleased to lay the blame squarely at my feet; she isn’t enjoying life to the fullest following a long overdue visit to the vet.  Mo, the little sweetheart, sadly went along with the plan with a minimum of argument as I shoved the unwilling little things into their carrying cases and off we went.  Quiet little Mo evidenced a new side when we got in the car and he became extremely verbal about the situation, even resisting the vet which surprised me.  Chunk acted resigned until we got home.

I opened the carrier and she scrambled out like it was on fire.  I opened Mo’s, he jumped out and headed toward Chunk to share misery.

The little witch turned on him, soundly smacking him in the head repeatedly while yowling and hissing.  I yelled “CHUNKER!” and she turned on me, then poor Murphy crossed her path and she tried to smack him, arching, hissing, yowling.  Dammit, girl.  We gave her wide berth.  She was pissed off all night and half the next day, jumping, hissing, howling every time someone moved.  At first I thought it was because Mo and I smelled like the vet but by the next day and a change of clothing that seemed iffy.

I think she was insulted and embarrassed by the vet and taking it out on us.

I have to say, I would not be happy having my weight control issues discussed openly in front of my mom and an entire office full of staff people.  It has seemed to me lately that she’s getting a bit … fluffier, but I ignored it.

Yeah, no kidding.   She’s gained over 2 pounds since last year.  That’s a 16% weight gain.

Ooops.  My bad.  Apparently feeding on demand is not going to remain an option.  We will not mention whether I feed my own self on demand or not.  Do as I say, not as I do has been a fine motto to live by.

I told the vet my unsuccessful attempts to get her to play and that I’m feeding them both indoor cat weight control food.  He said that it’s possible her metabolism has gone into protect mode and is slowing down.  Interesting thought.  He told me about a new food that somehow increases metabolism and I bought a small bag.  I trust the vet, I’ve known him for 20 years but I still felt a little bit like I’d just bought a vacuum cleaner at my front door.

I mixed the food half/half with their old food and started the new menu Friday evening.  Sunday evening Chunker walked up to me and started batting at my legs, skittering around.  Eh?  what are you doing, little girl?  She jumped around a bit more.  I pulled out a toy.  She started jumping to catch it, chasing it, crouching, attacking.

Well who are you and where is my kitty?  It’s been a couple weeks now, I don’t think she’s lost any weight but she’s like a kitten again, chasing the laser light, running through the house with Mo, playing.

So I’m going to be doing some thinking on this metabolism idea; I know it will slow if enough calories are not consumed regularly.

Our bodies are designed to protect us, I know that.

In fact I got a really great lesson in that just this month.  Yay.  I always like learning new things.

I’m lying.  I do not like learning new things.  I like staying in my own little comfort zone doing the things I like to do.  I want my life wrapped in my squishy soft blankie in my awesome plaid bell bottom fleece pants and Chocolate Glazed Donut in my coffee cup.  I prefer being closed-minded and I want you all to shut up, most particularly the ones inside my head.

But, there you go.  Catch 22.  Which I read when I was in high school.  I was home, sick, cuddled in bed (I did not own awesome plaid fleece bell bottoms at the time or I’d have been wearing them) and as sick as I was, reading that book I started laughing out loud.  My mom came running down the hallway.  “Are you OK!?”  She apparently thought I was choking.

Maj. Major Major Major: Sergeant, from now on, I don’t want anyone to come in and see me while I’m in my office. Is that clear?

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir? What do I say to people who want to come in and see you while you’re gone?

Maj. Major Major Major: Tell them I’m in and ask them to wait.

First Sgt. Towser: For how long?

Maj. Major Major Major: Until I’ve left.

First Sgt. Towser: And then what do I do with them?

Maj. Major Major Major: I don’t care.

First Sgt. Towser: May I send people in to see you after you’ve left?

Maj. Major Major Major: Yes.

First Sgt. Towser: You won’t be here then, will you?

Maj. Major Major Major: No.

First Sgt. Towser: I see, sir. Will that be all?

Maj. Major Major Major: Also, Sergeant, I don’t want you coming in while I’m in my office asking me if there’s anything you can do for me. Is that clear?

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir. When should I come in your office and ask if there’s anything I can do for you?

Maj. Major Major Major: When I’m not there.

First Sgt. Towser: What do I do then?

Maj. Major Major Major: Whatever has to be done.

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir.

There are days right now that I feel a bit like Chunk when she jumped out of the carrier, I really feel like yowling howling and smacking random people crossing my path and I don’t want anyone let into my office until I’m not here.  My back is on strike.  This happened once four years ago and lasted for three months.  I could not reach my feet to put on my shoes, my back in nearly constant spasm.

I went to see Dr. W.  He walked in and I slowly stood.  “What happened??” he asked.

“I’m not sure, but last time this happened it lasted three months,” I said, with a little catch in my voice.  OMGod in Heaven, Little Baby Jesus in the hay with the cows DO NOT let me go through last year again.

“I’m not doing any steroids.” I announced.

“Oh, no – nope, this isn’t lasting three months and we’re not doing any steroids,” he intoned.

He sounded so serious that I actually believed him.

He did a little poking and prodding, a little stretching and showed me a small back extension/crunch I was to do 10 times as often as possible throughout the day, then hooked me up to the machine which is like something from Heaven, electrodes taped to my back shocking the sh*t out of the damn muscles and I hope they are sorry they ever started this.  Damn muscles.  I know I said that twice.  Damn muscles.

When everything was done I stood to leave and bounced down the hallway like I was drunk.  Why am I thinking of Florida?  Anyway, I was walking and my back was not screaming like a girl, damn wussy little back.  Waaa waa waa.

Over the past 2-1/2 weeks the visits have stretched from 2 days apart to a week.  This week I was able to go three miles, jogging 2/10’s of a mile 9 times with a 1/10th mile walk between.  Dr. W said things should return to normal quickly.

Apparently, however, phoning in the core workouts is no longer an option and I am newly committed to the stretches and core work – planks, side planks, glutes, hip flexors because what done did happen, as they say in the south, is I outran my core’s ability to function and when that happened Brain 2, the Idiot, shut the entire system down.  Done, stupid Brain 2 said, and turned on the electricity.  Meanwhile Brain 1 and I are arguing that everything is fine and would you please quit trying to be the boss??

It makes sense though.  Metabolism compromised?  Start protecting.  Muscles being damaged?  Start protecting.  It is incredible to me that our minds actually take care of us when we think we’re the ones in charge.  I’m running along thinking I’m in control of my body while, in fact, the very brain with which I’m thinking everything is copacetic is doing something else against my wishes.

Yossarian: Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. In order to be grounded, I’ve got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I’m not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying.

Dr. ‘Doc’ Daneeka: You got it, that’s Catch-22.

(If you’d like to read more about how fatigue – overdoing it – leads to poor form and results in injury, check this out:  http://thefunctionalgolfer.blogspot.com)

#crazybutjobrunner

(With thanks to my running friend, Jody*, for her unintentional contribution to today’s blog title)
* all names may or may not be changed to protect the innocent.  You’ll both just have to guess which are real and which are fake.

I’ve always been clumsy.  In second grade I fell and skinned the same knee three times in one day.  It took years for that scar to mostly fade.  Running on the playground at school I jumped off the irrigation berm, flying, but failed to nail the landing.  I woke to see the principal hovering over me.  Broken arm.  One time I stepped on my own finger.  (I was trying to fix my shoe).  I flew through the air off the seat of my brother’s dirt bike landing on my chin and broke my jaw, had to walk a mile back to camp in shock.  Broke the same toe twice in five weeks on door jams in the house I’d lived in for twelve years.  One Sunday morning after a church carnival while cleaning up I fell climbing out the back of a semi-truck trailer and broke my finger; looking down I saw it forlornly hanging sideways.

I’m not scared to jump
I’m not scared to fall
If there was nowhere to land
I wouldn’t be scared
At all … all
Because falling’s not the problem
When I’m falling I’m in peace
It’s only when I hit the ground
It causes all the grief
(Florence + The Machine, “Falling”)

I think I’m clumsy because I most often fail to be present to the moment.  I rush and hurry and think ahead or behind, but fail to notice the moment I hold.  And, sadly, I so seldom realize that I constantly do this.  First-born, type-A Yankee (not really a Yankee, born to parents with South Dakota heritage I grew up in Arizona but when you move to Memphis, Tennessee that pretty much counts as Yankee, not that I mind.  It’s mostly true).  Hurry hurry hurry.  At one point in my life I thought I might need to quit running.  I decided to walk for exercise.  It lasted about two days.  I kept thinking, “If I were running, I’d be done by now” – I guess so I could rush to the next thing.

This is also most likely why I lose everything.  Keys, purse, wallet, glasses, shoes, clothing, cups of coffee.  Two days later I find the congealed dregs of coffee in a cup I set on a shelf in the laundry.  Keys can be pretty much anywhere in the house.  Finally found my sunglasses after a month and a half:  on my BRFF, DJ’s*, head.  I thought, “Those are nice looking sunglasses.”   She said, “Hey, like my sunglasses?  Want them?  I found them.”  I said, “Hey, are those my sunglasses?”

“Here – try them on, they’re prescription, I found them in a box of Women Run shirts.”

Nice.  Thanks.  Now I have two pair since I finally gave up and bought new.   Now I can lose two pair.

Maybe after last fall when I spent those steroid-hazed days waking at 2 and 3 a.m. exhausted, my butt falling off or trying to, frustrated and frightened that I might never get to run again, maybe that still sticks in the back of my mind now.

One:  at any given point running, just as anything in life, your brother, your job, your security, your own sense of self, whatever, can be taken away from you.  Now you see it, now you don’t.

Two:  you’d better rush to embrace it, scoop it up and hold it tight, hoard it or try to find more, just in case.  Maybe you can hold onto part of it if you just have enough.  If you have 110%, and you lose something, do you at least get to keep the extra 10%?

Eleven.  Exactly.  It’s one louder.

Of course you don’t.  And, yet … maybe next time…

After Tupelo I started to doubt myself.  I’d had the best training I’ve ever had, I had the best plan I’d ever had thanks to one of my besties, Heather*, and I felt great until mile 21.  Then I felt like road kill the rest of the day.  Barfed in the trash can.  Could hardly eat.  Exhausted, trashed, hurting.  The next morning I woke, lying perfectly still I wondered how much pain I would experience in a moment when I tried to get out of bed.

None.

NONE.  A twinge in the quads on the stairs, that’s it.  I did a three-mile walk/jog shake out that morning and felt great.  I looked down at my legs.  Right, where were you at four hours in yesterday, eh?  Innocence.  No reply.  Legs are not taking the blame.

Last Sunday I did the Road Race Series 10K and nailed that sucker.  This is the race that put the nail in my falling off butt’s coffin last year and this year I nailed it.  Finished just under 58 minutes, not bad for a grandma coming off a POS marathon seven days earlier.  Of course the next four felt like shit but I got 10 done and headed back into taper for the Stank, still planning on the 50K because, dammit, I’d better, what if I never get to do one again?  Better rush to hoard that extra 10%.

By the way, speaking of a 50K trail run, I’ve found the perfect tone-and-lift-your-butt solution:  run a couple dozen miles on tough trails.  This morning my legs feel fine: hamstrings, quads, but my butt is not trying to fall off, it’s trying to leap off and run away, finding another, calmer quieter home.

Some other BRFF’s were also planning to do it, crazy nutjob Heather, crazy nutjob Stacy, crazy nutjob Jessica, crazy nutjob Kelly (insert asterisk to all names here as above, I’m tired of typing them).  Heather, a cougar, had never done longer than a marathon, but she does her marathons so fast I think it counts at least partially.  Stacy has done bunches, plus marathons and a couple 50 milers (I bow) and Jessica is an animal, a cheetah, running, biking, roller blading.  I just met Kelly last week at the 10K and it is obvious she is awesomely strong.  Stacy was just out for a stroll, apparently, and said she would run with me.  Man, it was great.  She set such a great pace for me, and I will be damned if I am not going to hang onto Stacy if she is going to hold back for me.  The first loop felt awesome other than falling – twice – both times hitting the same hip and rolling.  I couldn’t see what I was tripping over because I couldn’t wear my glasses.  It was so beautifully cool that they kept fogging up, useless, so I stuck them on top of my head where the nose pieces immediately got hopelessly tangled.  Useless, tangled in my hair, at least they didn’t fall off my head and break, but I couldn’t see details on the sandy beige ground flying by under my feet.

After the race Heather and Stacy both said that on the final loop they kept looking at familiar parts of the 8-mile loop thinking, thank GOD I don’t have to see that tree again, I don’t have to see that creek again, I don’t have to see that aid station again – I never had that thought because I saw nothing but sandy beige, just look at the trail and Stacy’s feet, don’t fall on your butt again … don’t fall on your butt again …

The second loop was a bit tougher but I was getting into a groove and feeling decent.  Third loop I knew I would be glad when this was over but I knew I could do it, I knew my legs were really tired and my BFOS butt was pinging like an out-of-tune guitar put up to eleven, but even if I had to slow down on the last loop I was pretty sure I could still have a very nice PR.

A few hundred yards from the end of the third loop I fell again.  I was completely astounded, I’m running I’m running I’m.  Not running.  Dammit.  Stacy was looking at me.  “That hurt.  This one hurt.”  I sat there for a minute and tried to stand up.  It took a couple tries.  I lifted my arm to brush my hair back and it wasn’t quite right.  This morning I think I’ve strained the bicep tendon although I landed on my hip (again, same spot, it’s nice and purple now) I also nailed my elbow just right, I guess, to strain my upper arm.  I walked for a minute and I knew.   Now I was limping, favoring my right side which was only going to end up torquing my left side, possibly causing more issues, not to mention probably falling again with tired legs and a lopsided stride.  I told Stacy, “I’m done.  I don’t want to quit, but I think I should.  I just don’t want to take the risk on the last loop of falling again and causing serious damage.”  Stacy agreed and we walked to the finish line.  “I’m DNF,” I told them, and I felt fine about it.  I let go of my 10% and went back to my car where I had some ibuprofen and a beer at noon on a Sunday.  Sitting in my camp chair I cheered the runners passing by while I waited on Stacy, Jessica and Heather.  It was a good day.

The Embracing of the Suck.

(please see Chris McCormack and his article:  http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/05/training/chris-mccormack-embrace-the-suck_76419) – you won’t regret it, just getting through life, it takes a lot of effort.)

Time:  3:30am.  Sound:  the irritating Marimba tone of my iPhone alarm, fortuitously interrupting the man attempting to strangle me in my dreams.  Later I came to believe I should have paid better attention to “his” intentions.

At the time I was too busy trying to be sure I’d set everything out properly and had time to fuel before target departure at 4:15.  Of course not; I got to the car with no hair rubber band and clip, which I totally had to have; after all what is more important in a marathon than good hair? I say hair that is not hanging in your face dripping sweat into your burning eyeballs, but that’s just me so I made a mad dash back to the room to get the damn things which – of course – were hiding in the very bottom of the makeup case.

The lines to the porta-johns were huge and I forgot my sunglasses in the car so I had to find Rick, find the car and find the sunglasses.  It being 4:45am you can see why I didn’t know, at first, if I had the sunglasses on making everything look dark or if it looked dark because it was, in fact, dark.  Dark is ubiquitous.  Pitch dark, o’dark thirty, don’t darken my doorway, so dark I can’t see my hand in front of my face; you can see that until I felt about on my face and head I didn’t notice they were missing.

We were all milling about when suddenly the race director whispered “go” and I heard people moving forward.  I hit the start button on my Garmin but it didn’t start because it had very considerately shut itself off to save energy.  I couldn’t see the face of the Garmin for some reason – finally explained by the sunglasses, so it took a moment to get the Garmin back on, searching desperately for the satellites it had found just 10 minutes before.  Then I had to fix my shoe – while others around me moved forward.  Not an auspicious beginning but, hey, I’ve had worse, that man dropping trou and, um, expelling in front of me and my friend, Lane, which is not her real name, was something I’ll be talking about in the Home when I don’t know my own name; it could have been worse.

I set a decent pace which was going well although I incorrectly remembered the rolling hills as more Rolling than Hilling.  I hit the turn-around and headed back out.  The knee felt twitchy and my hamstring was pinging from all the hills, but I was holding pace.

And then it gradually fell apart.  I got to the biggest climb on the back half and walked, nauseous.  At the top of the hill I sat for a moment and it passed.  I felt better for a mile or so and then, again, nauseous, hamstring pinging into my knee and up into my lower back, unable to catch my breath.  As time went by it all worsened, I’d run for a minute and get chills, spasming, nauseous, my throat tight.  I decided my Butt is going to Fall Off again.

My first child was born in the height of the all-natural, here’s-a-towel-bite-on-it movement, fear running rampant that if you had an aspirin your child would someday visit Luby’s with a gun or something.  I was young, and dumber than I was young, so I went for that.

I was also lucky, labor and delivery start-to-kid was five hours.

She wasn’t actually breathing at the end of the five hours, which wasn’t such an auspicious ending/beginning and had me concerned, but the good medical personnel took care of that in no time and she’s still here to tell the story.  She doesn’t tell the story, however, since she doesn’t remember it.  So don’t ask her.

Today’s race took, start-to-finish, five hours.  At the end I was breathing, but didn’t really care.

I thought about that as I plodded, walked, plodded, walked, counting one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two up to one-thousand-sixty, OK, walk, count, repeat; run, count, repeat; I thought of that day.

At some point in the past the decision to participate in these events was optional and I decided to pursue them.

Then I was very happy.  Euphoric, even.

I’m gonna have a BABY!  I’m gonna do a MARATHON!

In both cases I plotted and planned, training, checklists, to-do lists, target dates written on the calendar.

I consulted experts.  I paid good money.  I bought special clothing, and special food, and special shoes.  I grew full and fluffy with baby or with carbs.

The special day came and there I was, in Labor and Delivery sans medication, contractions strong enough to propel objects into space.  Contraction OUCH.  No contraction, that’s better.  Contraction OUCH.  No contraction, I still like this part better.  Contraction SUNUVABITCH.  Okay, then, this is for real.  I’m not sure I like this.  Can I go home?  Hello?  HELL-O??  No?

(Gentlemen please substitute Kidney Stone for Child.  So I’ve been told, just don’t want you to feel left out.)

What I realized this morning while Embracing the Suck is that in this race I could have quit.  I could have flopped down by the side of the road and one of the cop cars running the route would have picked me up.  I didn’t have that option in Labor and Delivery, but I had it today.

No kidding – I thought about that.  Sitting down.  That’s the part I thought about, just not moving my legs.  If I could just quit having contractions … if I could just quit moving my legs.  This could be so much more fun.

I mean, where’s the glory in finishing a race by walking?  Where’s the bragging rights? “Oh, yeah, walked the last five, threw up in the garbage can back at the hotel, too weak to stand up”?

This was the best training plan I’ve ever had, and I followed it.  I hit my paces; I hit my long runs, tempo, track work.  It should have worked.  But it didn’t – or I didn’t.  Maybe it just wasn’t the day, maybe the electrolytes were off, the carb-loading didn’t work, maybe it was just freeking hot and humid – or maybe I suck.

You can make up a very simple rhyme for sucking.  Oh F— I suck.

This can get stuck in your head.

You can start to believe it.  What the hell was I thinking?  I can’t do this.  I’m an idiot.  I’m never doing this again; obviously this is not something I’m cut out to do.

Meanwhile Brain 2 is in the background:

“WHAT the hell?  How many marathons have you done?”

“Um, seven?”

“OK, so how many did you quit?”

“Um, none?”

“And suddenly you have to quit?”

“Well this SUCKS.  It HURTS.  I’m NAUSEOUS.  My back is spasming.”

“OOoooh.  OK, then.  I understand.  People die from sucking hurting spasms.”

“Well it’s frustrating.  I should be doing so much better!  I did my training!”

“Ah,” said Brain Two, “that makes a difference.  Things must go the way you planned?”

“Well,” I pouted, looking at my feet, “they … should …”

“Ok, then, what you need to quit doing is writing blogs, you dipshit, because you don’t say what you mean.”

I remembered my dream this morning.  I was choking.  But it wasn’t anyone but me doing it; I was choking myself.

What did I really want out of this race?  A PR?  (yes, however unrealistic).  As close to my PR as possible? (yes, and not realistic today).

What did I really want last November and December when I thought it possible running was over for me?

To run a marathon.

“And,” chimed in Brain Two, “what, exactly, are you doing right now?”

“I’m embracing this f–‘ing suck, sir, and I’m doing a marathon, and I’m accepting it as it is, thank you.”

And so I walked that sucking f—er in.  Friends saw me and cheered and I have to tell you, to my chagrin, that I didn’t smile much.  Unexpected movement had a way of shooting from my right shoulder blade to my knee, and I apologize to all who did cheer me on and try to cheer me up – I was afraid to move.  I did not run across the finish line, I walked.  I tried to smile at the photographers but all I really thought about was finding some position that did not involve being upright.

And – I was.  I finished upright.  Last December I would have taken that in a box with a bow and fireworks and marching bands.  Embrace the Suck.

(Again – with many, many thanks to Chris McCormack and his article:  http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/05/training/chris-mccormack-embrace-the-suck_76419)

I can’t brain today

It’s 3:30am and I’m chugging copious amounts of coffee from my beloved Grumpy Cat cup which questions, Do I look like I rise and shine?  which you both know I do not.

This is the coffee cup I should be using:

cant_brain_today_mug

except it should read, I can’t brain today, I have the Brain.

It’s a beautiful morning.  You know, for being 3:30am, dark as a black hole and all that sh*t.  I let Murph T. Dog out and it occurs to me that I would not be interested in running around a dark back yard at 3:30 in the morning because evil lurks in back yards with a large shining utility light which is useless and only lights the leaves of the trees below it, never a ray filtering all the way through to light your path where zombies are roaming, occasionally gently knocking accidentally into one another and bouncing off in opposite directions while waiting to eat my brains.   Apparently the dog is not so concerned with Zombies.  Sometimes I question if he has a brain anyway, especially after he rolls in raccoon shit, so maybe he has a point.

Brains is plural, and they would be welcome to one of my brains.  I don’t need both of them and I seldom use either of them.

Brain 1:  “Sigh.  Comfy Mushy Pillow, I love you.  Sigh.  hmmm…mumble…sigh…sleeeepy…

Brain 2:  “OMG WHAT TIME IS IT?”

Brain 1:  “WHA??  WHA??  Baby Jesus in his CRIB, WHAT?  it’s effing 9:30pm you idiot”

Brain 2:  “oh, my bad, sorry.”

Brain 1:  “Gawd.  Just Shut Up.”

Brain 2:  “I’m just making sure.  What if the alarm doesn’t go off?  What if our leg hurts?  What if she has :poop: in the woods??!”

Brain 1:  “Holy shit.  We’ve talked about this about 10 thousand times.  She brought tissue.  SHUT UP.”

Brain 2:  “FINE.  Just fine.  Don’t yell at me if she runs out of Gatorade and we die.”

zzzzz Mushy Pillow zzzzzz WAIT WHAT TIME IS IT?

Brain 1:  “BLESSED Mary Mother of GOD.  WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?  WE DON’T HAVE EARS.”

Brain 2:  “I just wanted to be sure what time it is.  Maybe we should wake her up a few minutes early.  What if she forgot something?  She should probably check.”

Brain 1:  “Are.  You.  Shitting.  Me?  You already made her check everything 13 times.”

Brain 2:  “Fail to plan, Plan to fail.  I’m just sayin’.”

Brain 1:  “Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee…”

Brain 2:  “zzzzzzz *sucking thumb*”

Brain 2:  “OH MY GOD I FELT A TWITCH I FELT A TWITCH IN OUR BUTT.  OUR BUTT IS GOING TO FALL OFF AGAIN.”

Terrilee:  “I’m gonna kill you both.”

Sigh.  I give up.  I turn off the alarm which has no need to ring since, once again, I’m up before it has a chance.  Alarm is currently undergoing therapy, feeling completely unappreciated in our relationship.

I am hopeful for this run.  Last weekend was the one we always aim for – it was a great day, a little rain storm came through about mile 5, we were running through the country side, rolling hills, trees branching and meeting overhead so it was shady and cooler.  It was a new course to run, I’ve biked it before but you know it looks different on the ground as opposed to speeding past at the back of pack of bikers, wheezing, peddling until you think both legs will spin off in opposite directions, panicked at every little bump and rock that you will go flying over the handlebars and end up on FB like Killer did that time last summer, lying there unconscious while her hubs looked on worriedly, just one broken bone, little surgery on that, 3-4th degree shoulder separation, hey.

Anyway, I’m hopeful for this run.  Last week was awesome – no falling off butt, no pain down the entire back of my leg, no heel pain, no burning metatarsal.  Since both brains are wide awake and may be reading this I could possibly have jinxed myself, especially with OCD Brain #2, which will probably start feeling twitches at .2 miles in.  I had 20 to do last weekend and again this weekend.   Last weekend Brains behaved themselves until mile 18 when they screamed in tandem, “OMG if this were the race we’d have EIGHT MORE MILES WE CAN’T RUN EIGHT MORE MILES TODAY!!”  Took a mile to convince myself I didn’t HAVE to do eight more today, I only had to do 2 more.  Plus I have an awesome running buddy who will pull me through if I need.

Next week we drop back, not sure what we do, then a 22 miler and then the taper.  If my brains are scrambled now just wait until the taper.  I begin to understand why Van Gogh sliced off an ear.  He may have been trying to listen to only one brain.

Good luck with that.

I’m sure it’s the same for you two faithful followers of my world-famous, mind-numbingly fascinating blog in which I constantly whine about butts falling off, snakes, crappy weather, and tigers in bathrooms; probably you, like me, think that everyone around you is somehow doing just a bit better, somehow just one percentage point less nervous, less worried, more happy, more confident.  Probably the boss likes them one little bit better than they like you.  Probably they’ve never walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper hanging out the back of their shorts.

A while back, when Becky and Heather were finally medicated to an acceptable level and allowed back out in public, they would message me.

HEY!  I’m going swimming tomorrow, wanna go?

No.

It’ll be fun!

No.

Come on, you’ll like it once you try it.

No.

The entire time I was saying no I knew I needed to do this.  This was where I had a choice.  Become a smaller person, saying no, tightening my circle just a bit, then a bit more, then a bit more.  I’m sure a lot of people are the same way, but there’s only me living in this head and in this life, only what I interpret.  I assume there are more of me out there, struggling not to get smaller, not to live a more circumscribed life, scared and uncertain how to achieve it, but I only know myself.

Heather and Becky make it look so easy that I figure they’re cool with it all.  They use words like “fun” which makes one think more of things like birthday parties and cake and ice cream.  Or coffee.  Or wine.  Or anything other than swimming with the eventual goal being getting out of the pool and into a fish poop filled lake.  After the snake issue on Tuesday, however, I realized that they have just been doing a better job than I of hiding it.  Becky doesn’t like her wetsuit and neither of them like snakes at all.  The messages are flying.

ARG!  I woke up next to the bed beating the invisible spiders I just dreamed of!!

ARG!  What’s the lake temp??

ARG!  I can’t breathe in that wetsuit!!

LOL, snake code:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Snake
_____________ Dead snake
—___—___— Oops, just ran over a snake.

ARG!  Just because ARG!!!

After realizing this was not the Bataan Death March – which was truly a horror – seriously, I’m not gonna die.  I’m not going to lose my family or job or anything, I’m just going to swim in a freeking lake – which is only 4 feet deep and I’m 5’8″, so standing up is an option.  Then I just have to ride my bike, which I could fall off of, but then I’ve already stepped on my own finger; at some point you have to accept that stuff happens.  And finally I get to do my favorite thing: run.  So I managed to switch off a couple of the Panic Buttons in my brain.

I’m a believer in signs, albeit a rather fair-weather believer.  Obviously when things line up like I prefer it’s got to be a good sign.  If the signs are bad I may or may not give it some consideration.  For instance, the sign that says Speed Limit 55.  Because personally, that’s just stupid and I’m not going to give that any consideration.  I’m sure most people are like me, but there could be some who prefer bad signs and not having anything line up well.  Those people probably also do 55 in the 55mph zone.  Then they probably also get yelled at by me, which will surprise you both, that I would be in my car yelling &^$$# driver (*&^ your mother is a $#@!!!!

I have a chin hair roughly the width and tenacity of a piece of baling wire, which I’ve had since the twins were still in high school, making it about 10 years old.  A quick internet search shows that the anagen phase of growth of a hair follicle is an average 2 to 8 years.  My chin hair, which I should probably just go ahead and name since we’ve grown so close, has obviously surpassed this lifespan.  If it were a person it would be my Grandma Alice, who lived to 103 years, only she was nice and did not resemble a piece of baling wire in any way.

The reason I mention this is that I managed to pluck the damn thing out in one try yesterday morning.  This is an incredible stroke of good luck on my part, having ruined several pair of tweezers over the past 10 years, not to mention accidentally slamming my hand against the mirror repeatedly when the tweezers fail.  That hurts.  Hey, at least I never broke the mirror, right?  Otherwise for sure the damn thing would live another 7 years.  I expect that, having outed my chin hair in this public manner, I will no longer receive anonymous emailed marriage proposals or offers for £1million to be deposited directly into my bank account.   So you see how much good luck that is!

Then Heather saw another dead snake on her bike ride yesterday, making it two days in a row of dead snakes!  That’s a much better sign than live snakes.  And when we were first starting out on the bikes, before we even started, I almost fell over!  So that was good!  The almost part, I mean.   After the ride I got in the car and it was 12:34 which is my lucky number.  And THEN – I got Taco Bell for lunch.  That is a very good sign.  You might think a person can get Taco Bell any day, but you can’t.  If you have no money in the car, you have no Taco Bell in your tummy.  Yes.  Now you understand how tenuous the hold on luck can truly be.

So you see, luck is in the eye of the beholder.  Well, except when it’s actually your real eyeball and it’s the bug that flew in Becky’s on the bike ride at the very same time a rabid ant was in her cycling shoe biting the stew out of her foot, which seemed rather unlucky.  Although it was a lot unluckier for the bug and the ant, both of whom got squashed rapidly.

I’m telling you what, with all this good luck floating around I expect that I may not have to worry about the swim, for all I know I’ll be able to walk on water by Saturday.

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