Posts Tagged With: family

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

Mexican Mayhem

Ever since I married into the family I have been a guest at my in-laws Italian Christmas party. Held every year on the Saturday before Christmas, the Italian side of the family gathers for feasting, cookie swapping and hooting over lucky scratch tickets. It’s a thing. It’s their thing. Now it has become my thing. Kisa and I will attempt to host, for the first time in history, The Party.
I am undaunted and unfazed by this turn of events. I’m approaching this party like I planned my wedding: by analyzing how it’s expected to go and doing it all backwards. My first dance was the last dance. My cake was a pie. My champagne toast was many Tuaca shots. I wore boots and a 13 horned hat. I did not throw my bouquet. I almost threw up from fear but ending up laughing outloud.

The Italian Christmas tradition is turning into Mexican Mayhem. We won’t be serving prime rib or swampy vegetables simmered too long. Instead we’ll have a buffet of mix and match fillers: chicken, beef, sofritas, shrimp, salsas, guacamole, rice and beans to fill tacos, burritos, quesadillas. A margarita bar and chili-chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake for dessert. Mustaches, sombreros, and holiday music south of the border style. That will teach ’em to nominate the Kisa and I to cook!

In other news (what else? Running!), here’s the lowdown: 71 miles to go. Covered so far this month:
12/1 = 6.55
12/4 = 9.15
12/6 = 7.00

I’m on track to finish this thing. I’m still not 100% confident and that makes me talk out loud. I ramble on about the numbers constantly. One thing I need to remind me & myself is not to rant too much around the Kisa. He thinks I’m obsessed. No. No, he doesn’t think. He knows I’m crazy. He watches my mouth and checks my eyes for lies. I know he’s looking for happiness; To make sure this is what I want & I’m psychologically sound doing it. Well, you know what ZZ Ward says, “‘Til the casket drops…’til my legs just break…” I’m going to keep going.

So. Having said all that. The agenda for this week: 6 tomorrow & 9 on Sunday. In between, baking Mexican shortbread and spicy sweet chocolate chip cookies to test. Buenas noches.

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

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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Long Time Gone

You know you haven’t written in a while when four, count ’em, FOUR different people wish you good luck on a race you ran last week. I’ve been mum on the running because…well, because life got in the way.

first there was my mom’s heart condition and surgery. She’s fine now, but it was a loud and clear reminder that life is indeed short and could be made shorter by circumstance.
then there was the decision to completely redo my staff hierarchy. Talk about nerve wracking – to think you have someone’s future on a piece of paper and all that’s required to change their everything is one little last signature. Yours.
then there IS the renovation. The complete and utter gut of the library. I’m looking forward to the changes – new furniture, new technology, new security, new offices, that new everything smell. But, right now there is a state inspector with a not so nice look on his face…

I could go on. We are ripping out our pool and doing a complete back yard reno. There are questions concerning a trust fund and no one is really answering. And there’s running.

Oh yeah, the run. The last time I posted I had just run 4.4 with New Guinea. That was 23 days ago. There were a bunch miles after that but the most important ones were the 13.1 I ran in Alton, NH. The redemption run. I told my kisa 2:25:25. He saw me at the end, 2:15:40. Did it rain? A little. Did I walk at any time. Not one bit. More later…

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Back to Baby Got

So. I ran last night. 4.41 miles with New Guinea. Was there back pain? A little. Like a dull ache. I wanted a little yoga to soothe more than the sciatic, but with papa out of town the kids were hungry and needy. I hate to see boys cry.

But as an aside, I’m feeling better than my last meltdown moment. Tomorrow I plan to run another 4 and Sunday should see 10. Just as kisa comes back in I’ll go out. From Vegas to Portland. From conference to cardiac. Maybe I’ll run in 04107. I could use the ocean. Just hope the back stays quiet so I can get back.

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When We are Happy

There is a line from a Barenaked Ladies song, “when we are happy we both get fat…”

First off, what do you think of me for mentioning BNL? Is my age showing like the crooked hem of a slip? Am I outdating myself because I still love Gordon? Ah well. Suffice it to say some things Billy survive. BNL is one such thing.
I have been happy but I haven’t gotten fat. One thing I have been is away.

They say good music comes from the stuff of heartache (just ask Adele). The same could be said for my blogs. It seems I only write on this side when I have some b!tching or crying to do. Through tears and tirades this is where I come to lay it all down. I’ve always said writing is the best place to work out the demons. I slay them with words and when I’ve exhausted every evil rant I calmly step over the carcasses and move on. When I don’t have anything to rave about, well, there are no demons to slay. No words to wield. The arena is dark and I fall silent.

Here’s my life in a nutshell: I have healed from the groin/quad injury enough that running is back in my life. I’m not running four times a week; sometimes it’s only two, but I’m back and. And! And, (this is important) I haven’t completely lost the mojo. Two weekends ago the Kisa and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went to see Ashley. I was able to put in 7.5 miles at a sub ten minute pace. If you know anything about the way I run you’ll get it. You know I’ve always been happy with a steady 10:26.
I’ve also been visiting the yoga studio a lot. Christene, Rebecca & Matt have become my go-to gurus for working out the hips, quads, calves and lower back. I’d like to say my practice is daily but some days are better than others. Five times a week would be less of a lie.
Lastly, I’ve been meeting up with Nicky and Jordan for strength training. I hobble after sessions with them, but it’s been worth it.

What else to tell you? The drinker has stopped his 3am tirades. The reader is gone, baby, gone. Mountain man had a heart attack from which he should recover. I had a dream about hugging an old friend goodbye and woke to realize she was never a friend in the first place. Is it wrong to care more in dreams than waking life? My mother refuses her stent. My sister refuses it all. So strange. It’s never enough.

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Iron in the Fire

As I creep towards the middle of week two of the Stronger Challenge I am noticing small changes. Some good: Monday’s “Fire” challenge was more fun because I was able to keep up and push myself even harder and Tueday’s “Iron” was a success because I didn’t quit on the pushups this time around. My arms hurt, but in a good way. Some bad: last night’s run was a little wonky. 3.16 miles in 33 minutes. Slow! And my ribs hurt and not in a good way.

Once again, I am slacking on the yoga. The reason? I run out of time. If I’m not joining Nicky on the floor or running on the treadmill I’m spinning in my head. Confessional: I am being tormented by crazy guilt. Without going into too much detail – I have this friend who is a raging alcoholic…and I mean RAGING. We have had a very distant, as really not close, relationship. In the past we never even so much as spoke on the phone, exchanged a Christmas card or knew each other’s birthday. Bordering on acquaintance more than friend, I would say. When she texted the words “help me. can we talk?” a week after Christmas I opened the door and we talked for two hours. I haven’t been able to close that door since. It’s nonstop. The cries for help. Trigger=panic words like Goodbye. I care about nothing. I’m fading fast. On and on it goes. All hours of the night. Last night I shut my phone down for fear that I would never stop responding to the wolf cries. Exactly when does it stop? Does it stop when I turn a cold heart into a frozen solid shut heart? Does it end when she suddenly kills someone on one of her bleary, one-eyed, drives to the liquor store? Or does it end when she finally makes good on her promise to hang from the rafters? Of course not. The question then becomes How far-reaching will be my guilt? Can I will myself to go blind with indifference? Will I really breathe a sigh of relief when it ends, no matter how?
The truth of the matter is thus: The iron is in the fire. It’s burning. It’s only a matter of time before I am branded as the girl who can’t (won’t?) help.

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the People Project

My kisa and I have a pretty common refrain year after year and that is “We Should See (fill-in-the-blank) More Often. It’s more than the polite Let’s Get Together and then never do. We really do want to stay connected to certain people in our lives. On NYE I broached the subject of the People Project, not at all confident Kiss would take to it. Lo and behold, he loved it. Who knew?

What the PP entails:
We brainstormed for 10-15 minutes, listing all the people we miss & want to keep current in our lives. It didn’t matter if they were his family mine, my friends or his, close or far away, already active in our social circles or long absent. None of that mattered. Each name was put on a tag and thrown into a mason jar. Some names were dropped in twice: once as a set (Mike and Beth) and once individually, one for Mike and one for Beth.

Each month our plan is to draw a tag out of the jar and get in touch with that person. No more, no less. No plans to reunite, rekindle, re-anything. Just get in touch. Either via phone call or e/mail. No FB or Instagram or Snap or what have you. If the initial contact leads to plans to get together then we have 60 days to make it happen. No empty promises. We bought a calendar to track how this all shakes out.

January = my sister-in-law and her husband. Perfect. We have a gift for the kid (yes, it’s a Christmas gift. Stop judging!). Instead of dropping by their house we will make plans to actually go out to dinner, just the four five of us…as soon as they are back from Florida.

It sounds pathetic that we would need to make a game out of being social but we are both hardcore homebodies. As soon as we get home we are barnacled in for the night. Once our asses are there it’s hard to uproot us from the comfort of our couch! Not to mention the fact we have played the “love to see you” card way too many times.

On a personal note, over the Christmas break I joined a stranger holiday card exchange. I sent ten cards to ten strangers and in return ten different strangers wrote to me. I sent cards to places as far away as Brazil and as close by as Pennsylvania. In return, I heard back from the Netherlands and Massachusetts, California and Canada, Arizona, Georgia, Ohio. Some of the people I initially wrote first have written me back. Of course I wrote back again. How could I not? It’s like I’m 13 all over again with all new pen pals. I sent stickers. Someone made me an origami book mark. Someone else drew me a picture of a wolf. It’s like little gifts! Very fun to be a part of.

Categories: Confessional, life, People Project | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rear View Mirror

A look back at 2015:

  • January – a return to a favorite and very romantic B&B tucked away in northern Vermont & a return to the run (36.1 miles)
  • February – took part in a very difficult intervention & ran 72.4 miles.
  • March – lost an aunt, PR’ed St. Pats (it rained), revisited Jersey, & ran 75.5 miles
  • April – certified active shooter trained, made the decision to end Just ‘Cause & ran 79.7 miles
  • May – visited Toronto for the first time, ran a half mara, & walked my final time for Just ‘Cause (it rained)
  • June – ran a 6k in honor of fallen firefighters & made the decision to train for a full mara (ran 23.1)
  • July – visited Chicago for the first time & ran a 5k for the homeless (July total 37.9 miles)
  • August – visited Glens Falls, NY for the first time, experienced Magnaball Madness & ran 70.2 miles
  • September – made the decision to write a cookbook, ran a 5k for an AIDs foundation, made a new running friend & ran 95.4 miles
  • October – Peaks & Monhegan, lost a high school friend, ran 92.4 miles
  • November – visited Vegas, ran a mara for my cousin (it rained) & lost a friend.
  • December – got crazy sick, lost a friend, slowly returned to the run (ran ? miles – 7.3 so far).

For the year:

  1. Read 118 books
  2. Lost 4 loved ones
  3. Ran 625.5* miles (only 5 charity races) *not counting Dec
  4. Saw 17 concerts
  5. Reviewed 11 books for LibraryThing

Looking back on all this, there is heartache hidden among the numbers. There were eudemonic moments in there for sure, but every run’s initial intent was to work out a worry. A lot on my mind in 2015!

Looking ahead. I want:

  • For the run:
    • To run St. Pat’s faster (it’s become a tradition to PR this #$% race!)
    • To redeem myself for Alton Bay
    • To rerun Worcester 6 even better
    • To run WMAF for the third time
  • For the books:
    • Read & review 120 books for the year
    • Start writing the cookbook
  • For family:
    • Spend more time!
    • Find the balance between irenic and antagonistic
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Finish the blanket I have been knitting for the past 11 years
    • Conquer the challenging arm balance poses I abhor.

The end.

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

the Dying Art

I’ve been thinking about death quite a bit lately. It might have something to do with losing a beautiful friend in September. It might have something to do with running a marathon in order to properly grieve the death of my bestest cousin. It definitely has something to do with the death of a library patron/friend a few weeks ago, the death of the guy we bought our house from (only 43 years old!) and the demise of twins, empathy and sympathy.

But. But! But, there is one thing I refuse to let die: the art of writing a good letter. People have asked me about the Christmas cards to Strangers project. More info about that can be found on LibraryThing but I guess you need to be a member… I’m excited to send out cards for a few strangers. It’s the least I can do in this age of caring less.

Letting things die is an interesting concept. In stressing out about compromises and keeping things copacetic I lost my connection to the concept of letting go. If you let something wither, technically you didn’t kill it, correct? Neglect doesn’t equal murder unless one side of the equation is truly hopeless and helpless. Am I right?

Last night I jumped on the tread for exactly eleven minutes. Why 11? I wanted to see how far I could go with my eyes screwed shut. I wanted to run blind, even if it meant half a mile. When I turned off the sight and ran by sense of balance I got as far as 1.04. Well, at least that’s not dead.

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

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