Author Archives: gr4c5

About gr4c5

I write. I read. I cook. I run. That's me, in a nutshell.

Road Map

I like plotting. I like organization. I think what I loved about training for the Vegas mara two years ago was all the scheduling and time management. I had to do it. No questions asked. It was so simple to open a planner and see my whole life carefully mapped out, hour by hour. Like a road map. Point A start here. Point B end there. But. But! But, where’s Waldo these days?
Where am I? These days I miss that structure. Here’s the deal – when the black cloud descends you suddenly have trouble seeing the plan for all the shadows in the way. You go blind to what’s important. Then, you lose sight of what’s necessary. You get to a point where your days are so dark you don’t care about the map. You’re so far in the weeds you can’t find your way anywhere, let alone home. All of 2017 was like that for me. I became obsessed with a dark, undulating ocean because drowning seemed so…what? Peaceful? Freeing? Final? I was actually lulled into thinking the sea was my new road map. My answer to everything.
It’s not.
I’ve been given a new map. But, just like Richard in Tommy Boy, I need to figure out what state I’m in before I take off. It’s a process. Just getting six hours of uninterrupted sleep is like waking up in a foreign country. I don’t know how to speak the language of well rested. Just being pain free for five consecutive days is bionic in nature. I might be able to return to the gym in a week. I am only sure of one thing right now. I have the green light to run. This week. As in tomorrow. Someone threw me a life ring. Now it’s up to me to hang on.
“Your time will come if you wait for it, if you wait for it” (Imagine Dragons – Amsterdam).

Categories: Confessional, life, running | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


I am having a shirt-on-backwards discombobulated kind of week. I haven’t written much here because it was all about the run and since the run wasn’t happening there didn’t seem to be much to say. In truth, I don’t know why I say that. I ran a few races in 2017, including a half mara while injured. I PR’ed St. Pat’s, ran a new 10K and completed a Thanksgiving to New Years streak of running every day. I finished 2017 with over 350 miles and yet, I still have nothing to say. Let’s face it. I can admit it now. 2017 was a bad, bad year.

It started in early March with intense pain everywhere. Doctors and X-rays and physical therapy did nothing for me. I ended up learning to live in pain. Day in and day out. I breathed pain. What I couldn’t do was sleep with in pain. The nights haunted me. By day I became an exhausted walking zombie, surviving each passing day by rote repetition. One foot in front of the other. Not loving life. Not even liking it.

Now it is 2018 and I am three appointments into an intense chiropractic year. After a two-hour evaluation Dr. Fancy Pants sat me down and urged to think of myself as disabled. Dis-what? Truth be known, my hips, back and neck are so damaged I could apply for a handicap placard no questions asked. I’d get one without argument. One look at my scans and I am special olympic material. I’m that messed up. Bottom line – I’ve been trying to run with a severe disability and it will take a year to get me back on track. It will take all the king’s army an entire year to put me back together again. So, for now I work towards fixing this broken barbie doll body. For now, I forget about the run. Doctor’s┬áKing’s orders.

Categories: Confessional, life, running | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Moving On

It has been a month since I heard the news. It’s been a month of doing absolutely nothing. By choice. But, But. but! Isn’t that what they say? The choice to do nothing is still doing something? I chose to ignore.

In truth I ran in purple this weekend with you in mind. Doesn’t that contradict everything I said I feel? Nothing I said I would do? A prince’s power to make me think of you. A Purple Reign. The night before I got the word. You are still a heartbeat; alive and kicking they say. You just don’t have as much to say. Duly noted. I won’t say it either.
But, let me back up and just say “But, I ran.” I know I will sound like someone else when I offer up excuses, but they are all true. I wasn’t feeling well before the Purple Run. I was tempted to turn a ten into a five and call it good. No. I could only tell myself came here to run. Not make my excuses. The temptation was fleeting and gone before I could really chew on it. Instead I threw up.

This was a good run, all things considered. A solid sub ten minute mile the entire way. Through crowds of meandering families strolling with their strollers and dogs I managed to break an hour. Boston in my ear, telling me he’s going to buy me a beer…right after a run to the Dunk. It’s only an app but it had me giggling. I like my Boston.

I have moved on from this. I’m setting my sights on a half. My first since September. I have moved on.

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Amnesia Worth Remembering

Here’s the trouble with self induced amnesia: when you want to remember you are not even sure you can. Maybe you no longer have the permission. The knowing is lost for always.

When I try to remember the you I wanted to forget I am cursed with the insecurity of believing I’m no longer allowed. I am the one who said Done with You, my unfriend. Off with your head I cried! But. But! But, the curse upon hearing my words, instead decided upon your mind.
Every time I think of you the corners of my mind are crowded with uninvited ghosts. The self destruction. The frantic come-now-go behavior. The confusion and the breaking of hearts. I walked away to save my selfish self but in doing so I lost the right to ask you about you. Does that mean I lost the right to care?
I am now reduced to friends of friends texting. The sly begging for slivers of information. The trepidation of being shut out. The potential to be shunned because I’m the one who shut down. Or, was that you? Chronologically, you did it first. You’ll do it last, thanks to the danger that curls around your curls.
Do I deserve to ask? Do I deserve to know? No. I know I can’t know. I stumbled and staggered away because you pushed. Now I miss you without having the right to say the words outloud. I’m so nobody that there is no one who will think to think of me. Maybe Seriously should know is not a decision anyone deems significant enough to decide.

Confessional: I tapped a friend on the shoulder and whispered Should I know? behind your back. I think I only want permission to stay gone without guilt. If granted I shall sink back into the primordial unknowing and pretend I never heard. This girl can go back to faking amnesia with a callous air of disregard.
“…wishing she had never spoken your name; had never known your name.”

Categories: Confessional, life | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

I Took Time Out

Where do I begin? Where did I leave off? So much to say there’s too much to say. Let’s try nutshells, shall we?

Running: January saw 24.25 miles. I’m okay with that number because I was insane at the end of 2016, running practically every single freaking day. January was my rest month. February was a little better: 40.6 miles, thanks to the St. Pat’s nemesis I always blather about. March kicked off with 13.7 miles in the first week. I have skipped a few runs to…wait for it…to weight lift with a certified bodybuilder trainer. I figure if I’m going to punch someone I need to be strong enough to knock them out! Just kidding. I called truce with the nemesis, by the way. I have yet to walk a single step…and, and. And! I find myself with a new PR: 1 hr 4 seconds. The cool thing is, I didn’t “race” this run. I spent the first four miles cruising, just looking for my friend. Once I found him and decided he wasn’t staying with me, I took off. It kills me that I spent only two miles of the run trying to race!
Next up: a NEW 10k for April. This one is a head scratcher. The race director emailed the runners and asked us to decide on the course: did we want to run laps (um. no) or go long. I voted long. Of course.

Books: I read 10 books in January, 9 in February & I’ve finished 7 already this month. That’s what I get for reading Truman Capote, Adimchinma Ibe, David Halberstam, Barbara Gowdy, Marianne Leone, and Laura Esquivel’s incredibly short books.

Music: I have already heard Trey Anastasio. On the horizon I have plans to see Natalie Merchant (of course), The Dead (of course), Phish (of course) and Sean Rowe (of course) before the summer is over.
Truth be told, the summer hasn’t even begun so who knows who will be added to the list.

Travel: Maine, California, Alaska, New York. Not necessarily in that order. More on that later.

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January Just Left

I consistently misspell January. Judging by the mistake I know I’ll be misspelling February for the next 28 days, too. It’s a question of typing too fast. My fingers can’t keep up with what my brain has finished saying.

It’s been three weeks and a few days since my last confessional. I think I left you on a treadmill in Rockland, Maine. What to tell you now? Where am I now? January just left the building. I ran a total of 24.85 miles for the entire month. Yes, that point eighty five does matter. I’ll tell you why. Because, with a week off from the run, I have been able to return to my steady pace of 10:24 -> 10:03. That’s huge. By the end of 2016 I was warming up (read: limping along) at a 12 minute mile pace and barely getting above that for the duration of the rest of the run. True, by the end of December I was running more miles in one week than I had in the entire month of January, but speed was pretty pathetic at the end. I like where I’m at now. Seriously

In other news, I have returned to a pretty consistent yoga routine and get this…I promised four people (six if you include myself and moi) I would join a real, honest to goodness (gulp) gym if I got a raise. And. I got a raise. So there’s that. To be fair, I haven’t joined yet. I’m waiting for a few mini turbulences to pass. More on that another time.

Lastly, Question – what do you get when you cross a librarian with a runner with less mileage on her schedule and more time on her hands? Answer – a woman with more books finished. I was able to cross ten titles off the challenge list.

I’m short on time so I can’t tell you the latest with New Guinea or about the jet stream I’m about to enter…Until next time.

Categories: Confessional, running | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rockland Running

Remember me? I was the one who said she would take a break from running. I was the one who said she would concentrate on pulling tight muscles out of their angry knots. That lasted exactly a week.

For seven days straight I dutifully put in an hour of yoga. For seven days I obediently ignored the treadmill’s silent stare while I gently teased out the troubled spots. I had gotten so tight I couldn’t reach the floor with fingertips. I had gotten so bound up I couldn’t look over my shoulders. I needed the time away from the tread. Until Rockland.

Okay, okay. Technically, Thomaston. Do you care? The Kisa and I went to Maine for a belated holiday celebration with my family. Staying in a hotel means the pool for him and a different treadmill for me. How could I say no? How could I break with tradition?

Sunday morning found me & myself staring at the hotel’s only traitor tread’s display screen, ready to fly. With borrowed earbuds (why do I always forget my own?) I found my girl power playlist (I’m in love with Sia now). With my family in the other room eating an illegal breakfast, I climbed aboard another Guinea. With my heart in my throat, I started running 22 seconds faster than my normal warmup. I wanted to see if my speed was lost for good or if the time away did me some good. The latter. True, I only ran for 25 minutes but almost cleared three miles. And, and, and! It wasn’t torture to grocery shop afterwards. Walking down the aisles, looking for Bixby chocolate for Ruby Tuesday, I felt as if the short run just minutes before never even happened. A month ago I would have been hobbling. Progress.

I don’t start officially training for the 10km for another three days. In that time I plan to go back to ignoring the treadmill and scrutinizing the tightness in my quads, hips and lower back. Wish me luck.

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Words to Live By

This is not about running. This is about realizations. There is a saying I tend to parrot from time to time, “if you want it bad enough you will make it happen.” I’ve said it many, many times to Kisa. I’ve said it to myself from time to time. It’s true. The drive to do something is hidden in the desire.

Case in point. The 1000km challenge. I finished it. I. Finished. It. 1001 kilometers to be precise. Despite a bad cough and a burning need to be anywhere else I found myself pounding out the last mile on New Year’s Eve. I’m happy I did it, but not happy about the way it ended. Each run was getting more and more difficult. Yes, I could run nine miles but I needed to start at a pace of 12 minute miles and I was never faster than 10.54 at the end. My quads would burn at the beginning of the run and not the end. I can’t imagine running St. Pat’s right now. But, I finished the challenge because I said I would.

Since I’m not running, here are the things I have taken up to occupy my time. These are my words to live by:

  1. Yoga. Not just the kind for runners
  2. Books. Science fiction (Hyperion)
  3. Movies. See every Academy award winning movie (best picture, documentary and animation). Blogs coming soon.
  4. Strong…as in…wait for it…weight training. A friend of mine is hitting it hard in the gym. I can’t bench press 150 like she can, but let’s see how strong this grace can be.
Categories: life, running | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Final Countdown

Well. Not final. To be fair, I might write again before all this is over. I just realized it’s been a few days since my last confession. So, here it it: 12 days to go. 33 miles to run. 2.75 miles a day if I wanted to run every single day. And I want to. But, I have obligations. For starters, I have a date with a certain New England football team on 12/24 in Foxborough. Could you see it? Excuse me, Mr. Brady, but I need to run around your football field 4+ times. Can you delay the game if I get a quad cramp? Um. No.
So, here is the plan:
12/21 6.5 miles
12/22 2.5 miles
12/23 6 miles
12/25 5? I’ll be at my sister-in-law’s for an all day brunch. Think they’ll miss me for an hour or so?
12/26 3
12/27 5
12/28 3
12/29 2

I am still (still!) telling myself I can’t do this. I am still waiting for the epic fail. My legs have been holding up and. And! And, I registered for St. Pat’s! So, there’s that. The game plan after 2016 is this: rest for a solid two weeks. In that time, develop a new yoga & strength training routine. Gradually add the run back into the mix. Sometime in late January-early February start training for Holyoke’s notorious hills. This year I have Millz by my side (aka speedy because he finished the Safe Passage 5k in 16 minutes. Yikes!). He’s never run longer than 3.1 miles and I don’t know his hill strategy, but I do know he’s fast!

Anyway. That’s that.

Categories: Confessional, Hilltop, Holidays, life, running | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago, I said this:
Not since high school have I run side by side with someone. I have wanted to. I invited someone who was supposedly training for the Leukemia Society’s half marathon and he turned me down. I challenged someone who wants to WALK a 13.1 miler, she chickened out. I’ve strode next to lots of someones at the Gerbil Cage, but side by side on treadmills are nowhere near the real thing of running side by side outside.
Thursday my sister and I ran. She’s trying to lose pregnancy belly fat and I’m trying to lose my fear of everything that strangles my psyche. Despite the fact I barely got any sleep the night before I got up at 5:30am to chase the early morning light around my sister’s island. If there was an emotion that permeated my brain that a.m. it was envy. She runs in the most beautiful place. How do I explain this? She runs on a dirt road that turns paved. She runs in the woods, through a still-sleepy town, along the shore line, past beautiful, sea-weathered cottages. She smells pines, fresh bread baking, island roses and the sharp ocean. She sees gulls and finches, butterflies and curled up cats, tiger lilies and seaweed covered shorelines. She hears fog horns, waves lapping and whispering trees. In the distance a horse calls and a dog answers. Birds sing continuously. She stops for water, plucks blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and even late blooming strawberries before moving on.
We promised no chatting but I couldn’t help commenting on cottages for sale, sleeping dogs on porches and classic lobster boats offshore. A bell buoy clanged in the distance and I could almost picture myself living here. I got so caught up in the fantasy that I forgot I was running.
4.5 miles later my sister announced, “I walk at the bricks” and true to her word she slowed to a walk where the sidewalk ended. As the sweat cooled on my back I marveled at how easy it had been to run on her island. How easy it had been to run with her. In high school she ran cross country. I ran away from physical activity. She has always been Miss Athlete, despite having two kids. I have always been Miss Bookwormslug. I never in a million years thought I would run with her…much less actually keep up.

Knee conversation – not a peep. Must be the huge shoes!

Categories: Confessional, Old Blogs, running | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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