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 “Shelby Farms”

Shut up. Give me the coffee.

Car properly loaded to work and run the Road Race Series 10K – Shrine of Coffee, PB and Orange Marm sammie, tunes for the extra miles after the race (only one ear bud will be used for safety)

4:01 am.  56 degrees.

Every year, just when I give up hope, it happens.  It’s like Christmas, I finally decide that there really is no Santa and then I wake on Christmas morning.  Thursday:  103 degrees, 10 quadjillion% humidity.  Sunday: 56 degrees.  Still 97% humidity, so I’ll still sweat like an Arkansas hawg, but … it will be a clammy chilly sweat.  And, um, yay for that.

Here’s a surprise:  no matter what time I wake I’m not a morning person (pick your favorite, I couldn’t choose just one).  Back away, stay calm and leave a clear path to the coffee pot is all I ask.  Oh, and also, Shut UP.  I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to smile, I don’t actually want to breathe but that’s automatic, thank God.  Or maybe not.  Many people might be safer if I skipped breathing first thing in the morning.  Wake up, quit breathing, fall over.  Later, wake again.  It might work.

Do.  Not.  Suggest this to hubs.  He may take you up on it.

Hubs is like this: Deepest Darkest Night, alarm RINGRINGRINGRING and just as I think I will have to find a shotgun and scatter the F*ing thing into space he manages to find the button to turn it off.  Mind you, it’s the same button every damn morning, but somehow it seems to scoot to one end of the clock or the other randomly, never to be found two days in a row.

Over the years hubs has learned, and sometimes failed to remember, that I want to sleep.  Like, sleeping sleep.  Not like, “OK I’M GOING TO WORK NOW, BYE, Oh, sorry, DID I WAKE YOU?” sleep.  Because once you’ve attempted a conversation with someone, unless they are in a coma, under anesthesia or deaf then yes, YOU JUST WOKE THEM UP.  (Hubs has a hearing deficit.  I have to type loudly).  (I don’t have a hearing deficit.  I hear you in there, shaving and talking to the cat.)  (The cat is not going to answer you even if you continue to increase the volume of the conversation).  (Also, putting the cat in the shower and shutting the door does not work.  I can hear her mewing nonstop and you can, too, I know, because you keep saying, Just a MINUTE cat and I’ll let you out.  But, you don’t.)

I blame it on the 9+ months I spent without more than 3-4 hours sleep in a row, thank you so not, T1 and T2 although I know it’s not your fault that you didn’t like sleeping on your head all crammed in there together those last few months any more than I would have; altho the bed would have been more comfy for me than the recliner, it wasn’t about me.  And of course you shouldn’t be blamed for being hungry every few hours when you weighed about 6 pounds, altho it would have been nice had you timed your hunger pangs to coincide rather than splitting it up into 90 minute intervals.  This is all in the past however, and all that is left is a lingering and irrational desire not to be awakened.

As I’ve mentioned, the alarm clock has a warped sense of humor and takes delight in randomly working or not, so I set my phone alarm.  On Road Race Series mornings I’ve got to get up by 4:15am so I can get ready to run the race myself and also have all the registrations, packets, cash box, lists, etc., organized and loaded in the car.  Cat decided to be a nocturnal living alarm clock, however, and pounced on the pillow at 4:01 am.  There’s very little sense in trying to go back to sleep for 14 minutes so I got up and made coffee.  I thought something was wrong with the lights when I turned them on but then discovered I still had my eyes closed and was not, in fact, making coffee in the dark.  I was hopeful for a moment that I was sleep walking and not really awake, either, but discovered to my sorrow that I was indeed awake after a bit of hot coffee sloshed on me.  ouch.

Clutching a hot Go Cup of coffee, the Shrine of The Only Thing Right With The World At 5:15am safely buckled beside me, I head out in the cool dark morning to the race site.  I like this part, driving in the quiet early morning, hitting the freeway with the semi’s and a few out-of-state drivers apparently on vacation.  I think about where they may be going or have been. I’ve always loved driving in the dark, somehow feeling more connected to the greater world, the stars and the silence.  Well, except Thunderstruck just came up on 103 so now I have that blaring as I sip the nectar of coffee and head to the Farms.

This part I love, too – arriving at the race site in the 5:30am dark.  The finish line crew is already there, some are out on the course setting cones, some are getting the finish line set up.  This crazy bunch of nutjobs are not even all runners any more, due to injuries and issues, yet there they are, laughing, setting things up, playing jokes on one another.  Over the past 5-1/2 years of doing my job we’ve all shared ups and downs, we’ve laughed together, cried together.  They are there long before the race starts and long after the last runner crosses the finish line; they are my second family.

The stars slowly fade as the sun peeks up over the park.  There is mist rising off the ponds and I see the horses from the stable jogging along the fence as they see the runners begin to line up behind the start.  Runners stretch out in front and behind me, a rainbow of multi-hued tech shirts and hats, Garmins beeping as they locate the Mother Ship, feet shuffling.

I see Lane climb the stepladder with the bullhorn.  “GOOOOOOOOOOOD MOOOOOOOOOOORNING RUNNNNNNNNNNNNNERS!” he shouts.  The race is on, the day begins.

September 12, 2010 – the horses raced along the fence as the runners took off.  Photo Credit John Bookas.

Bob-bob-bobbin’ along

Got up this morning at OMG o’clock so I could go run 10 miles with the peeps and maybe ride my bike after.

I love/hate Memphis.  It’s a cringing kind of love – “Oh, no.  He did not.”  “Oh, yes.  He did.”  But so heartrendingly sincere in all its misguided steps that you go along, trying to ignore the broken parts and loving what you can.

The Rendezvous.  Memphis in May. Elvis and Graceland. The River.  Paddleboats.  The lit “M” arch of the bridge.  The Peabody and the ducks.  Mid-town.  St. Jude.  The Greenline, the Farms, the Greenway – and so much more.  The politicians, the leadership, the lingering us-vs.-them-vs.-them-vs.-us racial issues that have to be periodically resurrected by some politician, business man or pastor who didn’t get what they wanted, not so much.

Having grown up in Arizona I feel a kinship with the desert that is soul deep.  Hot summer evenings when it’s still in the upper 90’s after the sun has gone down, sitting outside with friends, the air as soft as kitten breath on your skin, looking up at bright twinkling stars you can see though a sky not laden with a haze of humidity.

So when I get up for a run in July in Memphis and check with whom I still have a shaky relationship, but doesn’t seem to quit fit either, and it happily announces that it is currently 75 degrees and NINETY-NINE percent humidity all I can do is shake my head and add another bottle of Gatorade to the pile already in the truck.

By mile 7 I’d sweat so much that my feet were squishing in my shoes while my tired legs constantly tried to remind me that it was SUNDAY, for God’s sake, and should we not be home drinking coffee and looking at the crossword, EH??  Lisa O, my running buddy today, was feeling inexplicably chipper which was an excellent foil to my suffering.  After emailing with some of the group yesterday she’d gotten it into her head that she was doing 12 today and by dammit we were doing twelve.  Even when Bill, the 12 mile instigator, showed up late and left early (having recently broken his hand in a bike accident and still casted and pinned, he gets a bye on this one for sure).  Oh, no.  We are doing 12 miles.

“We’re about a half mile from the car and we’ll be at 11, do you think we should just call it?”

“No, we can pass the car, loop the lake and get that last mile.”

“Oh – look!  There’s the rest of the peeps waiting for us!  Probably we should not make them wait any longer!”

“No, they’re fine.”

“I bet we’ll be at 11.5 at the car, 11.5 is good.”

“Fine, if you want to stop go ahead.”


“But you’ll regret it later….”

ah, dammit.  And when we hit 11.80 and she surged, I was right there too.  Gonna finish this sucker off with a kick!  Then we pulled out the bikes and covered the length of the Greenway, 16.5 miles.  The last 3-4 miles I was the sweeper as Lisa, hubs and Catherine pulled strongly ahead.  I didn’t care.  Running on tired legs, biking on tired legs – day off tomorrow and they can learn to get stronger, it’s all good.

Despite the dead legs, however, it was a great run and I’m definitely glad we got the miles in.  I know we got the miles in because when I got home and stood next to the desk my Garmin started beeping excitedly.  My Garmin downloads automatically to the computer any time it’s nearby.  My Garmin, in fact, is so enthusiastic about downloading to my computer that any time it’s near my computer it downloads, then downloads, then downloads in a continuous loop of data transfer with its beloved, the Garmin ANT agent, until eventually it dies.  It’s a bit like Romeo and Juliet, only – and fortunately – after the Garmin has essentially sacrificed itself for love the computer does not do the same.  I have to be sure to remember not to leave it on my desk because resurrection takes about 5 hours and I don’t really care to realize, at 7am the next run day, that it’s dead and I will have to wait until noon for it to charge if I want to wear my gadget on the run.

Don’t suggest I run nekked.  Don’t wanna.  Can’t make me.  Love my gadget.  Too much joy.  I love to come home from a tough run, get cleaned up, sit at my desk all fresh and clean and dry with a cup of coffee or an icy Diet Dr. P.  I pull out my running journal.  I scroll the training screen on G. and with my favorite pencil I carefully write in the distance, time, pace, HR, who I ran with, splits – anything that seems important to me.  Then I look at my journal.  Sometimes I just flip the pages and watch them turn.  Half the pages’ ears are notched:  half a year of running.  Half a year of weeks and days and memories of friends, runs, good weather and bad, feeling great and hardly breathing, sighting deer or killdees or bluebirds.  All pieces of me, in there.

Today I think I may print a picture and put it in the journal too.  We were near 6 miles when Lisa and I stopped to look at the Wolf River, which is quite low right now due to the overall lack of rain lately, but, while still low, was running fairly strongly today since we did have rain the past couple days.  It was fun to watch the muddy, stirred up mocha-colored soup of river flow by.  Lisa took a pic while I stared myopically at an upended chunk of tree on the opposite shore.  Oddly, part of the chunk looked like a cat’s face, turned to look over its shoulder at us.

“Lisa, look at that,” I pointed, “what is it?”

At that moment it stood, stretched, leapt upon the log behind it and then loped into the trees.

‘IT’S A BOBCAT!” Lisa exclaimed, “We just saw a BOBCAT!  And no one is going to believe us!”

I don’t know why she thought no one would believe us.  I’m deeply hurt.  I think anyone who is the Queen of England should not be questioned.

We excitedly looked at the pic on her cell phone.  With the glare of the hazy clouds it was difficult to know if we would be able to see the bobcat later, but we could tell she got that part of the river in the frame.

Proof!  🙂  We saw a bobcat!

COOL, Huh?





And this one was so tame, I was able to PET IT!

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