Here. It Is Here.

Can anyone explain time? Can anyone explain a year in time? I haven’t written for four months. Not because I’ve been busy. Because I haven’t. I’m still reading. Still hobbling through a few miles and even less races. Everything is same old- same old except it isn’t. Time has changed everything and I don’t know where to start. But. But! But I’m even more afraid of where this will end.

So. Here it was. A year ago I was outside of myself with grief. It was like I crawled out of my common sense and went crazy. Certifiably. I made myself sick with the unknowing; knowing I didn’t have the right to know more. I did everything in my power to not care; to not communicate; to not commit to coming forward. I did everything I could to let go. Except Let. Go. Deep in the back of my clicking mind I clung to what was, wrongly so.

So. Here it is. You and you are back in my life. Two Yous that don’t make a whole lot of sense.
You are the unexpected train wreck I delicately stepped aside for thirty-one years ago. You have continued down your tracks of destruction for years and years and now, after all this time, I stand blindly in the way, willing and wanting you to hit me head on. Why?

And You. You are the avalanche that coldly pushed me aside five years ago. Gentle and without violence you froze me to immobility and then angled me out of the way. You could have buried me beneath your ice but you chose to rumble by, barely letting me breathe. I was left standing and staring, wrecked and wracked in the wake of your leaving. Now, after all this time, I stand blindly in the way, willing and wanting you to say my name. Why?

Did you ever dream so hard that when you woke up you lost your reality ? The dream has you dislocated because it was the real road map in your mind’s eye. Waking is the lie. I dream of You without train whistles and steam. I dream of You without white swirling snow. I dream but I die either way.

I ran a half marathon this weekend after two failed attempts to reach even eight miles. My sea of obsession has dried up. There is not enough water left to drink let alone drown. I now know what happened to You. And to You. Here. All I know is it is here.



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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).

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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.

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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.”

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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.
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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.

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You aren’t going to believe this. I called it. Plantar fasciitis. In a nutshell. Strange because all the things to treat PF I already do. All the things to prevent PF I have been doing. Oh well. Silver lining: Just the fact that I have been given the all clear to run (with ice) is enough for me. Immediately after the verdict I raced home to New Guinea and ran 3.5

Moving forward here is what is on my plate for the rest of 2016: finish the 1000k challenge. I would have been in great shape had I ran at all last week or the week before or even finished the half I so wanted. But, I can’t waste breath bitching about the past. What’s done is done. Nothing left to do but salvage the rest of the challenge. For those of you keeping score, I am currently at 733k. I have 62 days left. Are you doing the math? It’s a little under three miles a day in order to complete the challenge. That sounds like nothing but we all know what happens when I run too many consecutive days so I’ll need to map this one out carefully. My off-the-cuff goal is five miles four times a week. You heard it here.

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What Not Now

I started this blog thinking about all the different things I could say. Thirty words into it I wanted out. My heart just isn’t into the details. I don’t want to write about the work renovation (behind schedule), the home renovation (ahead of schedule), the legal brouhaha (my sister will be named trustee), the family reunion (should I stay or should I go?), the overwhelming need to go home (not until 9/18) or even the Olympics which I am glued to every night (except to say I am proud of USA’s gymnastics team).

So I am left with this to say: ODAAT. Last night was a five minute drill – squats and pushups for five minutes. So, it works like this (so you can play along at home, but only if you want to). One squat, one full extension pushup. Two squats, two pushups, and so on and so forth. Ascending reps for five minutes. Stop after those five minutes and take note of your rep count. I only got to ten. But, it must be said – I’ve always refused to do pushups on my knees but after 55 reps my right elbow started to ache. It’ll be interesting to see what tomorrow’s ascension exercise will bring. Will the elbow stay quiet?
In other ODAAT news, I massaged with the stupid stick and did a Rebecca yoga routine that felt awesome. The end.

Today’s ODAAT – I’m shooting for an 8-miler tonight. I’ll do the same thing as Monday: extra warmup before I start really running, 12 minutes of nose-only breathing (an increase of 1 minute from Monday), and a decent recovery yoga routine afterwards. That’s it. Until tomorrow…Just breathe.

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Where Was I?

Blame it on the heat. Blame it on life. Blame it on the nonexistent rain for all I care. All I know is that this half mara training has derailed in more ways than I can count. To be fair, I haven’t entirely jumped the tracks. It’s not like I have skipped major runs or skimped on the maintenance runs. Nothing like that. Even in this heat I have managed to put in respectable time moving the feet. The truth is this: it’s more like I am lost. I don’t know what week of training this is supposed to be. I haven’t used the training calendar or journal in weeks. I can’t remember the last time I put in an honest hour long yoga or strength training session and, And. And! The diet? We won’t talk about that.

I wanted the September half mara to be special. I’m running for Make-A-Wish after all. On a personal level I wanted to be able to say in all honesty I did everything I could to prepare. Blah, blah, blah. I’m a skipping record. But, it’s true. Each day I literally look at my datebook, make a mental note of the mileage I am supposed to complete and then after a full day of work find a way to get it done. And I do get it done and then some. If I’m with New Guinea I always round up. Last night’s seven miles turned out to be 7.4 because I put in 75 minutes. With the heat I had no idea if I would run an eleven minute mile or what. I wasn’t worried about being exact.

Maybe that’s it. Worry. I skipped a monthly for two months and worried that my precarious health issues have finally lost their balance and tipped over. Still I ran. I continue to run and I guess, in the grand scheme of things, that’s all that matters.
But. But! But, in the interest of a clean slate on Monday I will renew my efforts to have a more complete training schedule. To hold myself accountable, here is August 1 – 7th:

  • Monday – 7 miles/recovery yoga (Rebecca)
  • Tuesday – Core yoga/core with Nicky
  • Wednesday – 8 miles/recovery yoga (Matt)
  • Thursday – Balance yoga/core with Nicky
  • Friday – 2 miles/refresh yoga (Christene)
  • Saturday – 9 miles/recovery yoga (Rebecca)
  • Sunday – Restoration yoga (Matt)

Total miles: 26. Note to self: you are seeing Pearl Jam at Fenway two different nights. That’s no excuse to skip a run or attack the Giffords ice cream man. [Although! Have you tried their blueberry pancake? To die for. All it needs is bacon. Without a doubt.]

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