Wednesday, October 26, 2011

her first....

(after all, what's an aunt for?)

you capture

Monday, October 24, 2011

now what...

I remember this space of time, after every major race I've run, where I slump a little. I've just spent a significant amount of time working toward one day, one event, and now it has passed. And there is this feeling of "Now what?"

What do I do without a goal? What do I do now that I don't have to supermonitor what I'm eating? Now that I don't have to structure every run toward one specific purpose? Now that I don't have to plan weekends around run time(and run recovery time)?

This time has always been a little hard, a little sad, a little lost.

But this time?

Not so much.

I'm not sure I can really say why, either.

I think I went into this knowing that it was the last one. And I felt like I got to end on my terms, not someone else's. And I think knowing that from the beginning really changed the game for me.

It was almost like a last dance. A chance to say good-bye.

And we did, the marathon and me. We had a lovely last dance.

And now? Now what?

I still have two more races lined up in the next month. There's no laurel resting time. And that's nice.

After months of quietly, patiently accepting that life kind of revolved around my training and how my body was reacting to that training, after months of doing very little of what he'd like to do, or going where he'd like to go, and not complaining about it, Hubby gets to make some plans for us for the weekends. And that's nice.

I don't have to completely micromanage my food intake anymore. And that's nice. Dangerous, but nice.

I don't have a giant, all-consuming goal on the horizon. And (for now) that's nice.

Now I can turn some attention to other areas of life that are sorely in need of attention (and not just my clutter-strewn house). And that's nice.

Now I feel a little stronger. A little lighter. A little bit ready for what comes next. Whatever that may be.

And that's nice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

worth a thousand miles

There is this stretch of road that I run most weekends, and every time, I'm kind of bewildered at how lovely it is. And I always think that someday I should bring along the little point-and-shoot and document the journey.

One Saturday morning, I did...

And that is why I'll get up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning to go running.

you capture

Monday, October 17, 2011

on impossible things

It started innocently enough. Just a question posed by Chiropractor.

"So, do you want to try for one more marathon? Just to prove you can still do it?"


Then he laid out the rules. Really there was just one rule - if at any time, he said stop, I had to stop.

And that was that.

I went home from his office, walked in the door, to the computer, and registered for a marathon.

That was May 10.

What followed was the hardest work I have ever done.

Everything about training was long. Run time. Recovery time. Ice time. Brace time. Physical therapy time.

Everything about training was hard. Physically pushing myself past the limits that had been placed there. Mentally working though the doubt and the fear and the nerves.

Everything about training was secret. I've never been one to really talk about my running, but this had an added dimension of secrecy. At any moment, the plug could have been pulled. It seemed silly to tell even my staunchest supporters that I was planning to run a marathon when there was the very real possibility that the very next day I would have to say oh, um, nevermind.

So it was just me (with Hubby's unwavering support), hunkered down, trying to make this happen. Day in and day out. Running, working, hoping.

Until finally, there was just one week to go.

There had been some bumps along the way; a few little setbacks. A few runs that I really though were going to be deal breakers.

But I still hadn't been told No.

Two days before race day, I went to see Chiropractor one last time. There was still every chance he could say no. But he didn't. He said go.

And I finally let myself believe that it was really going to happen.

So I packed my bags, and off I went. I had a marathon to run on October 16.

Race day dawned rainy. And my knees were aching before I even left the hotel.

Hubby drove me to the start, and we joined the masses, finding a quiet corner of the YMCA to rest and stretch and calm nerves. Because I was nervous. And scared. And worried. So much could go wrong if I didn't do everything just right.

With about 30 minutes to race time, I was making my way to the bathroom line(just one more time). As I was working through the crowds of people moving in out of the still falling rain, I noticed one face in the masses. One very familiar face. UB, who has been with me through absolutely every step of my running, had come to see me off. Big hugs and a few tears and a sigh of relief later, I looked over and saw Hubby smiling at us.

With 15 minutes to go, the three of us made our way toward the start. When we had to part ways, UB said to me "Run with your head!"

I found my place on the line, the gun went off, and I started to run. The rain was still falling, as it would for the first few miles. And I could tell right away that my knees were going to have some problems. But I just kept repeating UB's words - run with your head.

And that's what I did. I thought about why I had worked all summer and all fall and about what I really wanted to do with the day. It all came down to one word. Run. It was that simple.

So I ran. I settled in and ran. I ran and did not stop. I waved at UB and Hubby. I thanked volunteers handing out water and Gatorade and orange slices. I thanked strangers along the course who yelled out "good job!" I looked around at just how beautiful the course was, all dressed up for fall, with the sun finally peeking through the clouds. I smiled. And I smiled. And I smiled.

And in a flash, it was over. Twenty-six point two miles. Done.

I never even looked at the clock. Not once during the whole run. I still haven't looked at the official results. I really don't plan to. I accomplished everything I went there to accomplish. And I don't need any numbers to tell me that.

Three years ago, I was told I'd never run another marathon; that it was now impossible for me. But my dad once told me that "impossible" just means that it takes a little longer.

I was so happy to prove my dad right.

Stride on.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

20 good things (a list)

1. Starbucks hot cocoa with pumpkin spice

2. My local Target is once again stocking Archer Farms organic oatmeal. I cannot fully express my joy. The blueberry almond tastes just like a blueberry muffin, fresh out of the oven.

3. peanut butter and jelly

4. The fourth book in the Tiger's Curse series comes out on November 1. I. can. not. wait. I think I like them more than Twilight. Yes, I said it. And I so want Ren to be my hot cursed Indian tiger prince boyfriend. Or Kishan. Either one. I'm not picky.

5. My new art.

6. Sometimes when you are running, Rod Stewart's Do Ya Think I'm Sexy shuffles in. And you start to laugh so hard that you have to stop running for a second because you can't breathe from the laughing. But then when you start running again, there's a little extra swagger in there. Probably from the utter cheeseyness of the song. (Seriously. If you click the link, have crackers handy for all the cheese. It's awesome.)

7. Chocolate. In any form. At any time.

8. The movie Labyrinth. I am forever in love with The Goblin King. You know, David Bowie. Yes, I heart him. I always dreamed it was me in the big, poofy dress dancing with him. Sigh.

9. Four dollars in the Halloween section

10. Coffee Friend came home for a visit, and we got to sit for hours drinking warm beverages and talking/venting/catching up/laughing. Just like we used to.

11. Just in time for fall, I finally perfected my recipe for peanut butter pumpkin pie cookies. With chocolate chips, for extra yummy-ness.

12. I was very skeptical of the salted caramel hot cocoa, but I gave it a try anyway. Turns out I am actually addicted to the salted caramel hot cocoa. Who knew?

13. It's a picture frame. Can you even stand it?

14. Hubby does approximately 90% of the dishes in our house. Not even kidding.

15. I've discovered that hibiscus tea is the most flavorful tea on earth.

16. Sometimes you don't have to set the alarm clock and can just wake up whenever your body decides that it's rested enough. At least, I've heard this is true.

17. Not $4.00, or in the Halloween section. But still very necessary. After all, it does rain here.

18. Just when you think that you can not take one more second of work, the weekend comes.

19. ventisoyunsweetenedgreentealatte

20. Oh yes, I had to. No one can resist Schweddy Balls.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Our small town was all done up in red, white, and blue today to welcome home a hero.

I stood in front of my house to watch the procession pass by. The streets were lined with people, holding flags, wearing patriotic colors.

And when the hearse finally drove by, you could have heard a pin drop.

I stood along side family, crying, grateful to be holding my two year old niece, to hear her whisper "it's like a parade."

And it was. But it wasn't.

Everyone came out to honor a young man, just 20 years old, who was stationed in Afghanistan, who was an Army medic, who was rushing in to try and save two fellow servicemen, when some tool of war exploded, and all three were killed.

This morning a family went to an airport to receive the remains of their son, their brother, their loved one. Can you even imagine their pain and their pride?

This morning I stood in front of my house to honor a boy who was my student 10 years ago, who couldn't believe that I liked The Ramones too, who had a smile for everyone, who listened as I explained that there had been an attack in New York City.

This morning everyone stopped. Everyone wondered why.

No one had an answer.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

surfing. kind of.

I’ve been having a hard time expressing myself lately. Everything just takes so. much. effort.

I’m just so tired. All the time. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. Tired.

I’ve dealt with depression, real depression, before, and I know this isn’t it. But it’s something. It’s tangible. It’s there. It’s here. Sadness? Discontent? Restlessness? Something.

Some of the reasons are obvious to me. But I know there have to be others, hidden away, that I can’t quite identify. Or maybe I can identify them, but I just can’t quite name them? Does that even make sense?

I’m not good company right now. To anyone. So I’ve been kind of locked away in this sort of self-imposed hermit state, sticking my head out of my hole only when I have to. Or for the occasional Starbucks run.

I’ve not attended a few functions recently. Functions I probably should have attended. But I just couldn’t do it. Just the thought of it made me sink to the floor in exhaustion. Having to get fixed up, and go sit with people, and make small talk, and smile, and make up an answer to the question “How are you doing?” Just the thought was more than I could handle. I actually thought of my absence as a community service. I didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s good time.

Recently Hubby and I planned to go to the orchard. We’d actually had it planned for a few weeks. But when the day came, life wasn’t going smoothly, and the morning took longer than it should have, and we were leaving later than we’d hoped… And as it got later and later, I started to get more and more frustrated, and Hubby said “If you’re not going to enjoy yourself, we might as well not go.” The reply that came out of my mouth before I could even think about what I was saying was “When was the last time I actually enjoyed myself?”

“That’s a good question,” was Hubby’s reply.

It’s a question I’m still pondering.

Because I really do want to enjoy myself. I want to be happy. Consistently happy. And I’m not. I have moments. And I can fake it, if I have to, for short periods of time. But I’m not really happy. Not right now.

I don’t feel like it’s impossible; like I’ll never be happy again.

It just seems really hard right now.

So I’m just kind of taking the fleeting moments that do come, and hunkering down between those moments.

Riding the waves, but hoping for the tide to turn.

(I've written this post before, haven't I? Sigh...)

(I'll be more upbeat next time. Really.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

because it seemed like a fall-ish thing to do....

..... we went to the orchard.

We were right. It was a fall-ish thing to do.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

no regrets...

So, I decide to do things.

And I just kind of plan for them and prepare for them. And I act like I'm going to do them. And I keep telling myself I'm going to do them.

And, really, in my head, I figure I can decide later if I'm really going to do them or not.

And now it's time to decide.

And it turns out my plans are going to be much harder to accomplish than I anticipated.

But I think I'm going to forge ahead anyway.

Because I think that difficulty and frustration are temporary.

But regret? That's forever.