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 “healthy-living”

Don’t stop believing

Don’t stop believing

Yesterday as I drove in the dark along the nearly deserted six-lane road, hitting all green lights like catching the brass ring on a merry-go-round, Journey started playing on the radio.  Green lights and one of my favorite songs, the day started well.

I did stop believing once for a bit of time, between my back, my broken foot, and an overdose of steroids, which makes running again all the sweeter for having known the pain.

Runners tend to see running as a metaphor for life:  struggle, pain, failure; achievement, success, fulfillment, and for good reason.  So often running, like life, is a dichotomy of both success and failure, achievement and loss, pain and joy.  We live so much of life in our minds.  “I can’t.”  “They won’t.”  “If only…”

When we run, we can be.  When I run I can look up at the sky, hear birds calling, breathe deeply, hear the soft sounds of my feet on the pavement.  The problem is, my leg hurts.  I run, I look around, I hurt.  Now, I know what causes the pain, and I know I’m not likely to break anything or do permanent damage as long as I continue doing what I’m supposed to do.  In this case, I want the joy more than I don’t want the pain.

One of the most healing moments of my life was the night of my brother’s funeral.  Everyone had left, just family members sitting around the kitchen table, wondering what to say or do, when someone started telling a story on Bret.  Soon we were crying laughing at memories of my brother who was so incredibly rich in love and personality.  Crying, and laughing.  Joy and pain.  At that moment I knew – I believed – that someday that gaping hole that went straight through me, right through the middle of me, catching on every breath, would fade.  The pain would lessen over time, and it was OK to grieve and still feel joy.

I am a person who focuses on negative.  I don’t know if I am depressive because I’m negative, or if I’m negative because I’m depressive, but I’ve finally decided that doesn’t matter.  What matters is what I believe.  What is the truth in this day?  It’s grey, cold, cloudy.  Can I fill it with warmth and light?  Do I dwell on “I wanted to…”  “Now I can’t…”?  What purpose does this day hold?

I’m re-reading Jack Daniels, who says every run should have a purpose (such as intensity or distance).  He, however, was coaching world-class college kids.  I’m not comparable to either world-class or college-aged, and I’ve decided some of my runs will have the purpose of just for the hell of it.  Because I can.  Because I can wake up, and my legs mostly work, and it’s not 3 feet of snow and I just can.

Yesterday I changed my routine and joined some friends I haven’t run with for a while to get a few miles before the sun came up.  We ran down the street and out the Greenline, just goin’ anywhere.  We ran and talked and joked, in the dark, picking out the clearly marked “snake crossing” in the dim beam of my head lamp, elated that no snakes appeared to be anxious to cross in the dark under our feet.  Too soon it was time to turn around, get back to the cars, and go do grown-up things, so we reluctantly headed back.  When the run was done my watch noted that I’d gone 3.72 miles.

I have a dangle.  This means that, if I do not run off the remaining .28, my numbers will be odd.  When I download my data, my numbers will not end evenly, there will be a .72 mile dangle.

Then some other day I will have to run an extra .28 to even the dangle, which means I will have a second dangle.

I had 7 on the training plan.

Now I have to math. 7 – 3.72 = um, 3.72 +.28 = 4 and I have five to do, so that’s 1.28, except, wait, I actually have 7 to do, and 7 – 5 = 2, so I have 2.28 to do.

Somehow that doesn’t seem right.  I think I did something wrong there.

I drove home with 3.72 miles on my watch, worrying stupidly the entire time about finishing the goal.  Hitting the mark.  I got out of the car to go run my 1.28 or 2.37 or whatever I had left and stopped, standing still in the carport.  A flock of birds circled and swooped in the early morning sun, rising and falling as they chittered, swirling upward and off into the beautiful pink sunrise, going anywhere.  I thought about that word, purpose.  What purpose do these birds have, really?  To exist.  They exist.  They move and breathe and live and give birth and die.

I turned and walked into the house.  The run was good, the company was awesome, the sunrise was beautiful, radiating pink across the sky as we walked back to our cars, sweaty from the run and starting to chill a bit.  A better purpose was served than meeting any numbers I’ve self-imposed.

If you are struggling with life or with running – don’t stop believing.  Don’t give up.  Go ahead and give yourself a break if you need, take some time off, reconsider the purpose in your life.  As much as you can – and we all know this is very hard to do, but as much as you are able – look for some joy in this day.  Make one goal, feel purposeful and believe in yourself, and believe in time.  Believe in healing and growth and purpose.

Advertisements

Important Self Test Which Will Reveal All You Need

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESULTS.  Give yourself the allotted points for each answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

danger_will_robinson_button

This IS my Happy Face.

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

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

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

rainy

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

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

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

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

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

thankyou

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

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

IMG_0660

 That’s not me ^^

This is me:

MIM tri v.2

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

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

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

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

WTH??

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

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

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

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

Titanic

Fill in the metaphor: ___________________________________________________

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

shit happens

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

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

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

bernard

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

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

Fourth:

horseshoe handgrenade

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

neck_ribbon_image

Um…thanks?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s the end of the story.

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

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

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

old bike

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

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

“Hi, my name is Terri, and I bike…”

 

Well, that sucked. YAY!!!

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

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

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

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

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

Du Maurier

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End.

I’m sorry I spit on your dog…

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

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

W/U
4 strides
15 min tempo
4 amphitheater hills
C/D

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

shoes

It’s a Beautiful Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mindfulness

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

Perhaps not as much as we think.

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

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

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

“Open your eyes.  Did you feel that?”

“Yes, I’m still not balanced.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

bluchickenninja.com

graphic designer, bibliophile, spoonie

Running On Healthy

Living Life Healthy, Fit, and Happy

One Dreamy Mess

Fit, healthy, & traveling the world.

runswimbikediversify

Just. Take. Another. Step.

The Fit Mom Diary

Family, Fitness, Food, & FUN

Be Happy, Be Kind & Be Loving

A great WordPress.com site

Pages and Stories

Reflections on Writing, Traveling, and Food

Grow up proper

A raw view on life

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

Seize the day!

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.

Hemingway Run

From Couch Potato To Runner Bean!

Bike/Ped Memphis

Nicholas Oyler - Bikeway & Pedestrian Program Manager

Midwest Sweet Tea

A movement towards balance and self-discovery.

pipe down piper

I'm tired and I'm hungry.

Sarah Corell

Multimedia from every corner of the world.

Jack Flacco

THE OFFICIAL SITE

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

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!!!

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

The Happsters

Spread Positive Vibes. Give Love. Be Happy.

findingexpression

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

kirstenmcaleeserunning

A great WordPress.com site

Hollis Plample

draws comics

Julia's Place

Musings of a retired but not retiring woman

borscht and babushkas

mostly adventures from peace corps ukraine

The Better Man Project ™

a journey into the depths

jadaadele

Just another WordPress.com site

The Fit Wanderer.

forever wandering

Jello Legs

My love hate struggle with running

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

theinnerwildkat

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

run eat life

live life healthy and happy