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 tag “biking”

Breathing underwater.

My new BRDr.FF, Dr. L, slammed my falling off butt with another steroid shot Thursday in the SI joint.  She said give it a bit and take it out for a shake down run, she wants to see what happens.  Since it continued to hurt and actually felt worse after the injection I waited.  Friday as the day progressed I was surprised to find that sitting wasn’t hurting near as much, and I decided to try a run this morning.

I felt like I was in high school again and after waiting nervously for weeks, the boy I secretly liked had just asked me to prom.  I carefully charged up my Garmin, located the HR monitor, got my inserts back in my running shoes.  I opened the drawer I’d just recently and reluctantly tucked my running stuff into, thinking I wouldn’t be seeing them again for a while, and happily dug out shorts and shirt.

It certainly did not hurt a bit that it’s a gorgeous fall day, brilliant blue sky, green, gold, russet leaves drifting in a breeze, birds chirping, cheeping, and flitting through the trees.

Spring, 2011 we moved into this house.  I had not been running consistently due in part to the plantar fasciitis but mostly due to the incredible busy-ness of renovating a house, keeping up a house we were trying to sell, and then moving.  Stir in a few emergency trips to my parents…it was a crazy time.

My usual route leaves my house and across the busy street at the end of our block.  There’s a lovely upscale neighborhood about 1/2 mile away with a lazy winding road running through it.  The developers wisely kept all the old growth; houses sit back from the road and 30′-40′ trees line the narrow road, natural undergrowth left in place.  It’s like running through the country although I can vaguely hear the semi’s on I-40 a 1/2 mile away.  I like the sound of trucks on a freeway, the thought of where they’ve been and where they’re going, zooming along in their little contained worlds.

Last spring when I started back running I ran this road consistently, reveling in the beauty of these beautiful trees leafing out, the birds serenading each other and wooing, daffodils and crocus popping up through a layer of leaves.  Today I ran that same route, watching the swirling helicopter seeds float past me, squirrels rushing to the trees for more hickory nuts.  It’s not uncommon to see deer here, usually does with their young ones in the spring, with their tweens and teens later on.  I didn’t see any today but last time I ran I saw three young buck, antlers just fuzzy bumps, young enough they could still be friends.  They stood back, but didn’t run.

I have friends who are former runners (committed runners, people who did well under 3 hour marathon PR’s in their younger days) now walking stiffly with worn hips and knees (and – not from running, but genes).  They ride like crazy now, and we’ve discussed before my opinion of that as a substitute for running.  At this time, and I’m trying to keep an open mind, biking as a substitute for running is like getting a turkey sandwich with an apple for dessert while sitting next to someone with a steak and sweet potato fries and a huge hot fudge sundae for dessert.  It’s a moot point, I can’t bike anyway, it makes my toes go numb from the pressure on my back as I lean over the bars.

If I rode like this it would be OK:

Gotta find me one of these.  Since I frequently match her cranky attitude, however, I might find myself cackling as I biked.

As I grow older there are many things I want to begin cutting out of my life, but activity is not one of them.  I do not want to be that person who cannot carry two bags of grocery to a car.  I will do all I can not to lose that.

I want to get rid of the worrying, catastrophizing (my counselor made that word up, it’s a great word) OMG this is the worst that could happen, that is horrid, what if, how can we, who will…impatience – that car is in my way, when is the paper getting delivered, my K-cups pouring forth nectar within 30 seconds.  I want to slow down.  I want to look around.  I want to feel this day and live it, not wait it out, which I have done too many times.

When I run I am using the body I was given.  I am making muscles what they were formed to be.  I have life flowing through me and I am alive to the world.  I feel that in some way I am doing honor to the honor I was given:  life.

I love the act of running.  Looking down watching my feet blur on the street.  Hearing my breathing.  Street level, looking at the world go by on my own power; open to the world on this little private journey, burning some endorphins.  I’m alive in that moment, for just a moment existing in that present.  Yes, of course, most of the run still has a running conversation of when, how, next, then – but the hum is quieter and running further in the background.

There are so many things we no longer do for ourselves.  When my daughter was born I used cloth diapers.  The first few months I didn’t have a dryer and I hung them to dry in the Arizona sun.  I made her food.  The grocery was about a mile away, if I only needed a few things I put her in the stroller and walked to get milk and things.  I washed the dishes.  We had a swamp cooler but no A/C.  On Saturday she’d play in the hose while I’d wash the car and let her play with the bubbles.

Now I order Christmas online, getting most of it done on Black Friday as I sit in my climate controlled office in order to avoid the traffic.  I drive everywhere, the washer and dryer left spinning and the dishwasher chugging away at home as I run my car through the car wash after I buy gas.  I’ve got a sack full of microwavable veggies and pre-formed hamburgers, automatic bowl flush cleaner tabs.  Hubs’ 100% cotton button downs go to the cleaner.  I haven’t ironed in so long that while typing this I had to stop and think where the iron might be.

I’ve recently discovered a poem that has grabbed hold of me, circling in my brain, landing for consideration then lifting up and swirling back into my thoughts as it floats about lighting little dark corners of my day.  I have too often and for too long held my breath and dug my toes into the sand, determined to stand still and maintain a moment, a place or an event. I stand, clinging, to imagined wrongs, to imaged rights, to how I think things should be.

I want to learn to tumble through life embracing it all, living in the coral castle, learning to breathe underwater.  When I run, I feel I am.


Breathing Underwater

I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.

A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.

And then one day,
-and I still don’t know how it happened –
the sea came.
Without warning.

Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew, then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors,
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbors,
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.

Sr. Carol Bieleck, RSCJ
from an unpublished work


(Credit for today’s post title goes to Chunker, who just walked across my keyboard – cool how it fits perfectly.)

Six weeks and 3 days since my last run.

6.5 miles walked this week.  I wasn’t Little Miss Positive this morning when I stated glumly to the hubs that I walked 3-1/2 miles yesterday and cranked that today my butt (my real butt, not my falling off butt) is sore; apparently I’ve lost a lot of conditioning in those 6-3/7th weeks.

The new cat is sitting on the kitchen counter next to me, purring.  Sweet, but more on Mr. No Mo another time.  I do have to state, however, that this cat farts more than any animal I’ve ever met. Every. single. time. he. eats.   And, repeatedly.  If there were a cat farting Olympics he would win gold.  But no one and nothing can possibly fart that often and that smelly without some type of aid, so probably USADA would soon be after him to determine if he were taking farting steroids.  OMG.  Thank you, little baby Jesus in your little wooden crib, for ceiling fans.

The Doc’s office called yesterday, 8 days after the nerve conduction test, to tell me what I already knew (pinched nerve) and to tell me something new:  they want to do a nerve block.

That’s a bit worrisome in view of the thousands of people now waiting to hear if they have meningitis.  Not that I’m trying to be negative, but the positive thinking thing is getting to be a constant effort and since I am, by nature and nurture, a realist (for more on being a realist read here and here), and with the euphoria of having a real diagnosis worn off and the pain not abated, struggling to squash that is, basically, a struggle.  It doesn’t help that (aided by Dr. Google) I’ve come to realize that a pinched nerve is the gift that just keeps giving.

Uh-Oh – news flash – don’t pick Mo up by the tummy.  It squishes out Mo farts.  Just let him walk across the keyboard and then erase the extra typing.  GAH.  Be back in a minute, I’m going outside.

Ok, I’m back.  *WHEW* Do you think I could find mustard gas masks on Ebay?

Friday I stretched as instructed by the PT and began some core work as instructed by the PT.  Then, I did something very radical:  I stood up.  As I stood, Thor, the god of thunder, stabbed me in the back with his bolt of lightning.  I looked at Killer, and Killer looked at me.  “I guess we’re done for today,” she stated, staring at my bulging eyeballs and fried hair, and I hobbled to the car and drove home sitting sideways.  By Sunday morning it had calmed down quite a bit; I was still getting random jolts causing me to jerk erratically as I walked, but the Finish Line Crew expects erratic and random things from me and no longer notices much of what I do, thank you again, Little Baby Jesus.

The realization that this is going to be a recurring issue the rest of my life, according to the PT, is still a bit new and still stings.  I realize it can be controlled, that it will probably only rear its BFOS head occasionally, and I don’t have cancer or heart disease and I’m not under investigation by USADA (yet, but then so far the Mo farts have not escaped the house).  But I’m still kinda bummed about the issue.  Monday I rode my bike.  Unfortunately afterward my first two toes went numb, which made the PT frown.  Hey, the feeling came back after an hour or two.  Cheer down.

OK, then, no biking.  No running, no biking.  I can: walk carefully, do the elliptical or swim (at which her beady little eyes began to gleam).  You both realize that I no longer hate swimming, but I do not, to any degree, like it.

So here we are, Wednesday morning, I’m still Gloomy Gus despite all my mental rah-rahing and positive thinking.  Probably positive thinking needs to drop words such as never, don’t like, don’t wanna and dammit.  Replacement words:  coffee, cat, dog, um…yay…um…ice cream (no, skip that, too many calories, dammit) ah, crap, I just said dammit.

Hopefully the Doc’s office will call today with the info on the nerve block, I’m sure it will be next week before it can be done at this point; apparently it will be 4-6 weeks after that for everything to heal and maybe my Christmas gift will be a run.

In the meantime I’m going to go check out gas masks.  Or move my office outside.  While I’m doing that, I’m going to paste below a very very nice note my friend, um, “Missy” posted on my FB page this morning (to meet “Missy”, visit here, “Missy” loves Zombies.)  I thought you both might enjoy it.  I know it made my day, even if she is a crazy nutjob runner.


Terri – Last Saturday I ran a 10k and when Sunday morning came around I just really didn’t feel like getting out of bed to run The Beast. I volunteered to help before the race so I had to go. It was nice talking with you and being the genuine person you are, it was impossible for you to hide your disappointment and frustration with your injury and not being able to run. (Oh how we crave that daily dose of endorphins to keep our minds and souls at peace.) When the race started and I started running I already had in my mind that it was going to be bad. Too little hormones and too much lactic acid was not a good mix that morning. Close to mile 4 I thought, “I’m done….. not feeling it this morning.” I figured when I pass that parking lot I am going straight to my car. Then there you were at the water station. I remember telling you I want to stop. And you told me I can if I want. But there was something about the look on your face that told me the rest….. “How dare you stop now?” “Wish I could finish it for you?” “WTF is wrong with you?”  Something. I knew I had to finish. I guess I just want to let you know that your passion for running carried me this past Sunday and I am going to let it carry me through New York in a few weeks too. Thank you for sharing your passion, your pain, and your disappointment, because although it is awful for you, I bet there are many more of your friends out there who, like me, you encourage without you even knowing it. Stay strong, heal quickly, and keep encouraging others. Thank you sweet girl…


Heaven…I’m in 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.

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.

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

…as perusing 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.

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 –


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.


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:


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


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.


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!!!

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.

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.

BFOS – The Saga Continues

Last Sunday’s run sucked like a Dyson on steroids. I’d had a great tempo run last Wednesday and had a target pace in mind, which I held for exactly 2 miles and then the Butt fell off the bus. I ran, I walked, I cussed, I hurt, I limped. I’d done two slow miles to warm up before the race, did the 5 Miler and gave up. My butt was trying to fall off and I was about fed up with it. I’d hoped to do twelve last Sunday since I’ve got the Tupelo run this weekend; unless I wanted to run the final 5 hopping on one foot – and I didn’t – I needed to bag it for the day.

This race, btw, is my absolute favorite, check it out: The race starts at 5am – pitch dark – from a huge furniture facility and is an out-and-back course through the Mississippi farmland. The half is actually 14.2 miles. The turnaround is 1.1 miles from the start/finish, so the halvers have to run an extra 1.1 to the finish line. They didn’t do medals for the halvers until a few years ago. You could do the half, but no medal. And the medal is awesome, you do want one: a skull with gleaming red enamel eyes. The half medal is even better: it’s a little bigger than a half a skull, with ragged edges as though it were torn in half. The t-shirt is always a long sleeve tie-dye with a skull and crossbones on the front and the race’s motto: “Hurdle the Dead. Trample the Weak.” Last week the RD sent the following announcement, in view of possible bad weather due to Isaac:

Special notice: Tupelo Marathon and 14.2 Miler Contingency plans regarding Hurricane Isaac

After consulting with Tupelo Running club Staff Meteorologist Michelle Rupp and long time, former Race Director Mike Lail I am announcing the contingency plan for this year’s race:

 A. In the event of rain we will get wet
B. In the case of heavy rain we will get really wet
C. In the case of REALLY heavy rain I will wait in the building until you’re all back

I’m concerned about the run tomorrow, I haven’t done more than 10 in a few weeks, and my butt tried to fall off yesterday at 6 miles. I’ve been doing some BFOS research and will report in later; I’m hopeful I’ve found some help but I doubt it’s going to work within 24 hours.

After the pain of Sunday I took Monday off and woke Tuesday with a plan. I was going to run four miles.



I was going to….

RIDE MATILDA!!!!!! This was the day. This was the plan. I was firm in my resolve and when Brain tried to squeak in my ear that maybe we should wait until tomorrow I squished him firmly back into his little dark corner and told him in no uncertain terms to Shut. Up.

I put her in the car and drove to a church about a mile from our house. It’s a great little church, very traditional Episcopalian church, white boxy old-fashioned building with a little steeple on the top, rather like Little House on the Prairie. They are really nice people, allowing a 5k/10k race to be held on their grounds every year, and they don’t mind runners using their parking lot to meet up and head out for a run so I figured they would not mind if I rode my bike in circles in their grass. Plus with it being a church and all, maybe God would be extra close at hand to rescue crazy women learning to ride a bike.

I took a deep breath and saddled up. We can do this. Just stay focused and stay calm. No panicking allowed. One thing I’d noticed when I was practicing clipping the last time is that I tend to stop my bike while still on the seat and then put my feet down. This worked fine when I was 12 and riding my Schwinn Stingray with the banana seat. On a street bike you can’t do that, the seat is too high, you can’t reach the ground. I’d never thought about it, though, when using the regular pedals as my foot was freer to pop off at the last second and land. Voilà – there was the main issue: I was trying to stop first and then unclip.

The ladies coming out of the exercise class at the church looked at me a bit funny as I pedaled in circles, focused: pedalpedalpedal, unclip, brake, slow almost to a stop, put foot down, unclip left foot. I did it! Look, Ma! No Cavities!

Emboldened by my success I decided to take a spin around the parking lot. Two exercise ladies were standing by their cars talking as I wobbled around the corner and almost took them both out – my bad, sorry! I told them I was just learning. They looked a bit alarmed and asked if they were going to have to scrape me off the asphalt, but I wobbled onward, thanking them.

12.5 miles and 51 minutes later I returned to the parking lot, unclipped and glided to a stop. I am a cyclist.

I am a runner, and I am a cyclist. And since I swam 10 laps last week, I’m claiming that, too.

I am not, however, a triathlete. nopenopenopenopenope.

Training wheels

Occasionally Brain and I don’t get along.  I try, I really do, but Brain is just not that easy to work with; it frequently seems to have a mind of its own and is often very uncooperative.  Selfish, even, if I may say.  And I may since it’s my blog, not Brain’s, so I can write anything I want.  Other than the obvious, of course.  I don’t want to start posting manifestos against governments or threatening stupid people who don’t know what a turn signal is, Mrs. Idiot Lady who couldn’t decide to move into the turn lane until the last possible minute, no, I’m fine, really, and thank you Baby Jesus in your little manger full of pokey straw that I have good brakes.  Because threats and that kind of thing could get a person in trouble.

I hope your cat pees on your new couch.  Repeatedly.

The truth is, Brain has  been dead set against this whole biking thing from the beginning.

“You’ll crash.”

“You’ll break your arm and then what?  How will you work?”

“How long does it take to heal if you break your hip and need surgery?”

For the love of all that’s holy, will you SHUT.  UP.

As you both know, I got Matilda back from RB’s last week.  She was so pretty, shining and proud with her new Barrel Guide Adjuster for the Front Derailleur, her cleaned and adjusted chain, her new black and red outfit.  I stood her up at the back of Babs, saddled up and held on (to Babs, not Matilda).  I practiced.  Clip in, clip out.  Clip in, clip out.  Right Foot did ok.  Left Foot needs some remedial help.

I looked down the driveway.  I looked down at Matilda.  Back at the driveway.  Back to Matilda.

“The driveway is pea gravel, you pea-brain,” intoned Brain.  “You know what your knees will look like when you tip over?”

“SHUT UP!” I begged.

“Remember when Traitor #1 broke his elbow off?  You could do that if you fall.”

“OMG!  I … no … I … won’t.”

It did suck when T-1 broke his elbow off, him being in Paris and all that, having surgery and I couldn’t be there.  It does stand out in my mind and it is just the card Brain could decide to pull.

Getting Matilda all fixed up, practicing clipping – that was a good start.  I should stick with that for today, I decided, and I put Matilda in the storage room.

I’m pretty sure she hung her head just a little.  But probably not.  Probably I just imagined it.

Post Navigation

In my own words

Noli timere

The Science of Sport

Scientific comment and analysis of sports and sporting performance

It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

And a 10K and a 200 Mile Bike Ride and an Obstacle Race and Anything Else We Find!

The Paper Kind

Creative living.

Running On Healthy

Living Life Healthy, Fit, and Happy

Ash Rae Eining Yoga

Diving into the wonderful world of Yoga, Peace, & Wellness.


Just. Take. Another. Step.

Be Happy, Be Kind & Be Loving

A great site

Pages and Stories

Reflections on Writing, Traveling, and Food

Morning Story and Dilbert

Inspiring, Encouraging, Healthy / Why waste the best stories of the World, pour a cup of your favorite beverage and let your worries drift away…

Living the Life

Staying spirited (while attending college): happy thoughts on the happiest time of your life

Trek Ontario

Hike | Camp | Canoe | Snowshoe | Geocache | ...

Chocolate Covered Race Medals

Where I race to the chocolate bar

Exchanging Words

Everything about Anything

Wake up and Live!

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.

Marc Hemingway

Trying to keep track of my life (and my life on track)

Midwest Sweet Tea

A movement towards balance and self-discovery.

pipe down piper

I'm tired and I'm hungry.

Looking to God

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

Fatness to Fitness

Practical strategies for making a lifestyle change.

Run5kaday's Blog

Daily distance running adrenaline!

hungry and fit

A young couple focused on great workouts and feasting well -- all on a low budget!

Top 10 of Anything and Everything - The Fun Top Ten Blog

Animals, Gift Ideas, Travel, Books, Recycling Ideas and Many, Many More

Mountains to Mats

The Modern Art of Muay Ski-Jitsu...

Philly Tales and Trails

Running adventures through the City of Brotherly Love

Spread Positive Vibes. Give Love. Be Happy.


awe, humility, hope and a few other things I might notice


A great site

Hollis Plample

draws comics

borscht and babushkas

mostly adventures from peace corps ukraine

The Better Man Project ™

documenting my journey through life


Just another site

The Fit Wanderer.

forever wandering

Jello Legs

My love hate struggle with running

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences


Passions For Books, Writing and Music-however it manifests itself

Sure you can run that far, but why?

The story of my first half-marathon


The work and activities of a writer/bargee


Follow me as I go from beginning trail runner to ultra marathoner! Dreaming of running a 100 miler ...