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 “Journey”

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.

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Dust in the Wind

Here I am in my second full day of unemployment, surprised to find that nothing I thought I’d immediately accomplish has happened.  The stockings I intend to needlepoint have not even been purchased, the Christmas tree still sparkles, and the vacuum cleaner sits in the hallway on the main floor where it was put to rest after finishing the upstairs over 24 hours ago.

I find (as I’d expected) that I feel slightly aimless in this transition time, unanchored and uninspired.  The past several months have been a time of introspection, looking back on my life and looking forward.  How do I want to live as I move forward?  Who is the person I want to work toward being?  What needs to be done to accomplish this?

Adding to this rumination is the fact that I will be entering a new decade of life next year.  Not only am I not overjoyed by the fact, I’m even less overjoyed than the overjoyed I wouldn’t be anyway, due to the fact that until about a month ago I thought I was a year younger than I am.  This makes my previous argument with myself, i.e. “get your head out of your a$$, you have two years before that happens” completely ineffectual and entirely untrue.

I did, however, run 6-1/2 miles yesterday and seven today.  The 6-1/2 yesterday were the coldest I’ve ever done, 11 degrees with wind that burned my face raw.  I ran a some alone first, then met Becky for four.  While we ran we talked about everything, as runners do.

As today’s morning passed so did the heavy grey clouds, eventually leaving the sky a bright winter-pale blue, the sun glinting on the lake.  I bundled up, at the last minute grabbing my Shuffle – something I rarely do – thinking perhaps I didn’t want silence today.  A mile into the run I turned it on, even more rare, and as I rounded the corner I saw this the same moment “Dust in the Wind” started.

 dust in the wind

I close my eyes
Only for a moment and the moment’s gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes with curiosity

Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

(Aa aa aa)
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Oh, ho, ho

Now don’t hang on
Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy

Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
(All we are is dust in the wind)

Dust in the wind
(Everything is dust in the wind)
Everything is dust in the wind
(In the wind)

(Ooo)
(Ooo)
(Ooo)

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Now don’t hang on
Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy

Seven days ago I was surrounded by the sounds of my adult children, cooking, joking, playing with their son/nephew.  I’m still freshly missing them, and knew I didn’t want solitude today.  I didn’t realize how impacted I would be by the first words and voices I would hear in my silent morning.

I know someone who seems to hate their job, yet they go into their office every weekend.  When they go on vacation they spend half their time on the phone, usually upset, or on the computer, again, usually upset.  Or so it seems to me.  Of course, I’m judging from what I observe, not knowing for certain, which is one of the things I’m trying to quit doing.  You see that’s working well so far.

I didn’t hate my job at all – I had the good fortune of dealing with people who are consuming as a hobby what I helped provide, so they tended to be pretty easy-going for the most part.   Plus, they’re runners.  If they do get upset they go for a run and get over it.  I also had the incredibly good fortune of working for a local non-profit which usually assures you don’t have a salary you cannot live without, so if you are questioning the direction your life is taking the impact is largely minimal.  I would not have the luxury of retiring before 65 if I were contributing most of the income, something I’m deeply aware of.

Now don’t hang on
Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy

Unless I’m struck down suddenly, sooner or later (I’m aiming for later, in case this concerns you) a day will come when I will lie in a bed, at the end of my time, and all the money in the world won’t another minute buy.

As I move forward in the journey of my life do I want to see only the grey?  Or do I want to see as much sun as possible, glinting onto the path, lighting the day and my way?

How do I want to spend these minutes I’m left?  Do I want to remember grievances from years or decades past?  Do I want to continue to allow pathways of negative or harmful thinking (they don’t, they never, I can’t, I don’t…) dig themselves deeper and deeper, creating impassable canals of rutted, rotten thinking in my brain?

Do I want only to take from this world, my life, my family, or do I want to try in some way to add?

What truly has value here, in my life, in each day, in the world wherein I live?

What can I put into this world today instead of wondering what today and the world will give me?

All my dreams
Pass before my eyes with curiosity

What can I do – how can I do it? – to make sure those dreams passing before my eyes for the last time will bring tears of joy and love instead of anguish, regret, and sorrow?

Figuring that out – that’s my real job.

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??

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…”

 

Happy Flookie Bootie

It’s my birthday!  I may as well admit it; I’m typing so I’m still breathing, so odds are I’m gonna have one of those at least once this year.

It really is a beautiful day, 60 degrees this morning when I woke, gorgeous sunrise and nothing I had to do, not even a race I needed to work which hasn’t been the case recently.  Here’s a pic of the beautiful morning:

IMG_0390

This photo was taken with an iPhone by a total amateur.

I have no work I have to do, and I have nothing I’m training for, so I can – call me crazy – go for a run with … wait for it … NO GOAL.

Right.  Breathe in … breathe out … breathe in … breathe out … I know you’re both taken aback, I realize the idea of just going for a run like you were a kid with no responsibilities on a Saturday morning is completely out of character for any real runner and could cost me my card.

But, then, I’m just wild and crazy and there’s no stopping me, as we’ve discussed before so you know what?

Nanner Nanner Boo-Boo.

nanner nanner

That’s What.  This photo was not taken by me with my iPhone.  Thank you, icanhascheezburger.com

Now that  we’ve settled that like three responsible adults, as I said, I decided to go for a run.  Just a run.  That’s it.  Not being a total rebel nor completely insane I did not, however, run nekkid.  Garmin and HR monitor are our friend.  Once I did not wear Garmin and HR monitor and while I was gone Garmin committed GPS suicide.  The next run Garmin refused to charge or find the Mothership.  I cannot bear that type of responsibility.  At this point in my life the goal is shedding responsibility, not taking on more.

Becky batshitcrazy-biker-babe Elkins met me and biked alongside for a few miles.  We ran into (not literally, of course, because that would be rude, right?) April “Honeybadger” Henderson and Donnie “Deacon” Baldock who were at, oh, I don’t know, 87 miles or so.  Becky had to peel off back home so I hung with Donnie and April.

Here in my fascinating narration of the un-run we will stop.  You two go watch the Honeybadger vid linked to April’s name, above.

It’s ok – go on – I can wait.

Eew, that’s so nasty.”

 “Look, it’s eating larvae, that’s disgusting. “

(Just entertaining myself here, go ahead, watch the vid.)

Done?  OK cool.  That’s the end of that part of the story, I wanted you to see the honeybadger vid, the rest was just verbiage to get there.  Otherwise this story would be one word long and probably everyone would be grateful.  To bad, it’s not.

PART TWO

In a vain attempt to distract Donnie and April (running animal beasts), and since we’d about exhausted honeybadger quotes, I thought if they heard a story they would be fascinated and slow down, and also because something reminded me of the story but now I cannot remember what, I told them the story of the day our dog Maxie bit my butt.

Actually he didn’t bite it.  I mean, he did bite it, but it wasn’t really a bite, he was barking.

For some reason I happened to be chasing the twins through the house – for FUN! – they were running in circles laughing and I was chasing behind them laughing and Maxie was running in circles behind me barking.  Unfortunately I had to stop suddenly and Maxie didn’t brake, instead running right into my backside while barking and on the downstroke of the bark he bit my butt.

 It broke the skin and bruised, he had a strong jaw, and I had to go to the doctor to get an antibiotic and get it checked.  It was a bit embarrassing but what can you do?  You have a dog bite on your butt.  It’s not like you can say, oh, look, I think I broke my finger.  They’re pretty much going to have to check things out, if you know what I mean, and they don’t believe you when you say you broke your finger but you actually didn’t.

PART THREE

Two or three weeks later I got a phone call.  The insurance company.  “I understand you were bitten by a dog.”

“Oh, gawd.  Um, yeah…”

“I need to determine if there will be any suits filed in the incident.”

“Right.  No.  It’s OK.”

“Have you made any type of settlement then?”

“Uhhh.  Mmmmm…” so I had to tell another stranger about the dog bark biting my butt, that it happened in my house, to me, and was my fault, so probably I wasn’t suing myself.

“…so you see,” I concluded, “it was just a fluke.”

PART FOUR

Immediately Donnie and April composed a birthday song named after me entitled “Fluke Bootie.”  It goes like this:

FLOOOOOK BOOOOOOOOOOTIE

FLUKEY BOOTY Fluke fluke fluke bootAY

FLOOOOOOKIE Flookie Flook BOOTIE

After that you let the band riff for a while.

PART FIVE

The moral here, Boy and Girl, is never tell anyone your dog bit your butt but it was a fluke.

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.

Crossroads

peter gathje

These are the shoes of a homeless man.  These are the shoes he walked in daily.  These are the only shoes he owned.
I own a countless pair of shoes, usually wearing more than one pair of shoes daily.
I run, I come home, I put on other shoes.  If my feet are tired I’ll change shoes.

I’m up since 3am and Brain 1 and Brain 2 refuse to compromise and play well together.  I’m going to visit my mom and I’m sure that’s part of the fireworks in the head, lots of adrenalin and “did I remember…” “Oh, shoot, don’t forget…”

It’s Lent.  As we’ve discussed, I have my issues with organized religion but consider myself deeply spiritual despite the occasional (be honest, frequent) F bombs and Dammits.

This week I had the honor of meeting Dr. Peter Gathje, a man who walks in Christ’s sandals.  He co-administers  or directs (sorry, don’t know the correct title) Manna House of Memphis, which I’ve been following since several summers ago when there was an article in the Commercial Appeal.  It was an extremely hot summer.  The article was about the homeless that Manna House serves and their need for shoes, preferably athletic – when you think about it, giving a homeless man a pair of worn out leather dress shoes is not all that helpful if he’s going to be walking miles around downtown daily – and tech shirts, since it was so hellishly hot.

Since I sometimes hang around with runners, I posted that I would collect shoes at one of the RRS 5 milers.  Runners, being the incredibly awesome people they are, left dozens of shoes by my car which I toted to Manna House, dropped them off and left.  I have continued to gather stuff when I can and have toted more stuff down to Manna House, little tiny drops in a huge bucket.

I’ve mostly come to peace with my issues, but it’s Lent, which I’ve always loved, so the wrestling match in my brains heats up.  God, as he does, won’t let go and has shaken things up – again.  Two “chance” encounters at stores I seldom visit and a box of shoes and t-shirts, these are the conversations God and I have had this week.

I know this is vague and likely rambling but thank you, angels, for being where you were supposed to be when you were.  The tangled ball of yarn continues to unwind and you were His agents.  I’m looking forward to learning where the journey will go.  And if this path goes no further I still thank you, Dr. Gathje, and F, and S, for being there at this crossroad.

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.

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