my first 10 miles

subtitled: Me, Myself and I.

sub-subtitled: horoscopes are stupid.

Since my not so hot 8 mile run with Tara (that was 2 weeks ago), I have run twice. The 10K last Monday and then again today. Today was a big deal. My first double-digit run. I did two 5 mile loops near the Bog.

I parked my car and grabbed my iPod, only to discover that the battery was dead. At that point, I realized I forgot to wrap my knee. And I didn’t have my watch. I knew right then it was going to be a looooong 10 miles.

I have no idea where I was during that first loop when everything went south. It was all in my head. I had to run 10 MILES. I’m not ready for that. I’ll never be ready for my half marathon pikermi. And don’t even mention the marathon. What was I thinking? I mean, clearly I wasn’t or I wouldn’t continue to repeat the fact that I am planning on running these races. I wouldn’t have registered. I wouldn’t be spending my money on running gear.

About 1/4 mile before my car, I stopped. I stood on the side of a busy street and spoke to myself out loud.

“You have to work for the things you want. Do you want this or not? You need to figure your shit out, now.”

I got to my car and sat down for a few minutes at least 30 minutes. I really needed to think about what I wanted. It would have been so easy to walk drive away and never come back to this point. By that I mean occasionally running 3-4 miles, and giving up the desire to run longer distances. Was I ready to walk away from my goals? Walk away from this blog and the support I receive? Was I really ready to give up?

As I sat in my car I got a text from Tara saying that she’d received 100% of her fundraising goal for Team in Training. I cried. I cried because the level of support in this community is enough to take my breath away sometimes. I cried because I’m not willing to walk or drive away from my goals. I cried because I’m frustrated. I have a strong dislike of doing my long runs solo. I dislike running solo without my music. I HATE long solo runs with no music. I cried because I HATE battling injuries (even though it’s relatively minor). I cried because I am certifiable member of my generation, as much as I’ve denied it up until this point. (that’s generation “I deserve everything I want because I’m “special” and I want it 5 minutes ago”). I cried because I feel like I’m always tired (can you say anemic?). I cried because I am not a natural runner and I don’t like (and don’t have a good track record with) sticking to things that don’t come easily to me. Yes, I know I’m not alone in that. Knowing that I’m not alone in that feeling doesn’t actually make me feel better. It makes me sad knowing that there are countless people out there giving up on themselves because something is challenging. It makes me want to be one of the ones that doesn’t give up, but it doesn’t make it easier to not give up. I cried because I read my horoscope today and it told me “you can get all the benefit with little effort or expense”. I really don’t like being lied to, even if it’s just by a stupid horoscope (let’s ignore the fact that I actually read it. Embarrassing!) It hit me that I am the only thing standing in my way. Let’s call that part the “Me” and the rest of me is “Myself & I”. Myself and I will be doing some brainstorming tonight about how to kick Me out. Myself and I are tired of how negative Me always is. Myself and I want to go places and see things, but Me is an enormous road block. If we don’t have any better ideas, Myself and I are going to grab some metaphorical dynamite and reduce Me to a pile of rubble.

I got another text while I was in the car. This one from a friend and former classmate that I love very dearly. We were joking about a part of my life that I honestly suck at. I am saying it here, with no pride and in my regular-volume voice, I suck at taking care of my car. I am an irresponsible car owner. One could even go so far as to say terribly irresponsible. The gentle ribbing I received was a balm to my (clearly) fragile psyche. Being able to laugh away the tears is a blessing.

It was a sweet, impeccably timed reminder that I am not perfect (all together now, DUH).

I got out of the car and did my second loop.

life and death

The wedding is over and it went beautifully. I’ll eventually post pictures, but I didn’t take any so it might be a while. Let’s just hope it’s not bad luck to weep while assembling a wedding cake.

My husband called this morning with some terrible news: one of his coworkers and good friends passed away last night. No one knows any details and being that he was young, it is a huge shock to everyone who knows him.

I don’t know how to tell Bubs. He watched my grandmother pass away last October (not literally), but she was quite old and had a stroke when I was only 3 months pregnant, so he only knew her as bedridden. It’s easy to explain death in relation to a long life. Bubs loved Polo so much. Every time he played soccer or basketball he was either on the same team as Polo, or he was Polo. It was the Mexican national team for soccer and the LA Lakers for basketball for the curious.

He was from California but has lived in Seattle for about 10 years now. He only had one brother up here, and they haven’t been close since the brother got married.

I’m really going to miss calling the store and having him answer the phone. I always loved hearing his voice raise an octave when he recognized me.

It was all I could do to keep it together until everyone left. I’ve known Polo for eight years now and all I want to do is circle the wagons with everyone else up here that knew him. There will be some sort of service up here for him. I’m trying to compose a letter to his mother that a friend will help me translate, but it’s hard. Really. Fucking. Hard.

I’m blogging about this because my first instinct is to go hit the bottle hard. I’m a firm believer that physical pain is easier to tolerate than emotional. Physical pain always ends. Say you happen to drop a pair of loppers on your calf while you are hypothetically attacking the IVY BEAST that is trying to take over your front yard so that the guests of a hypothetical wedding can get to your back yard without needing to have a search and rescue team on standby. You might look at your calf and think, “well that sucker is gonna leave a mark.” Also, you might or might not say a lot of grown up words out loud, possibly a little too loud. You might also thank your lucky stars that the loppers were closed and didn’t cut your leg off. You then get to spend the next four days watching the bruise emerge and grow before it begins its chameleon-like process of healing. The day of the hypothetical wedding, your bruise might be sort of a mauve-ish color, with tiny plum circles at what must be your hair follicles. Quite the attractive hypothetical bruise you’ve got there! You will then look forward to it getting to that phase where it resembles an extremely ripe banana, which your husband would hypothetically point out that if you ate bananas, you wouldn’t get bruises like this in the first place. Then you would explain (again) that potatoes are a better source of potassium and they taste better and are more versatile. But the best thing about potatoes? They are not bananas. Hypothetically speaking, anyway.

Emotional pain has that way of hurting at a physical level at first and then slowly fading away, only to metaphorically punch you in the throat when you least expect it.

So you find yourself sitting at the computer, typing away, not really sure if you are making any sense to anyone wishing there was something you could do to make it all just go away. Wishing that your Bubs wasn’t having an overnight so you could crawl in his bed with him and snuggle him like a baby. Wishing that you didn’t have to attend a funeral for one of your husband’s friends at least once a year, even more so when the person was also a friend of yours. Wishing you didn’t have to compose that type of letter to anyone’s mother, ever. Wishing, wishing, wishing.

So what can you do? You go to bed early so that you can get up and run in the morning. No HRM, no music. Just your feet hitting the street and the sounds of the Believers gathering while the rest of the world slumbers. The soothing sounds of the rest of the world marching forth unheeded, despite what you are experiencing. Because death is inevitably linked with life and if you are lucky enough to go in your sleep, you might not be so lucky as to have all the years you might have wanted.

a few of my favorite things

Played out, I know. Don’t really care.

It’s about time I got around to this. It’s a top thirteen list. I’ll probably do a few lists since we have such a long exercise-free stretch before we can get back to our regularly scheduled blog. You know, a whopping 3 days. I need to feel connected to running, even if sitting on my butt in front of a computer blogging about unrelated things is as close as I can get now.

In no particular order:

1. Greek yogurt

As much as I wish I could recommend this brand, it just doesn’t stack up stats-wise. Which is too bad really, because it’s extra delicious and it’s a local company. I really like Fage, Oikos and Chobani. I can’t speak to any of their flavors since I only get the plain stuff. My go-to breakfast is yogurt with fruit mixed in, but only if I do the mixing. I like actual fruit pieces and not fruit syrup. Yeah, I’m a food snob. Okay, not really. But I am picky about some silly things. I like to be in charge of weird things like the amount of sugar and salt (and fat) in my food. Crazy, huh?

2. Geeky Tattoos

Not just the website. I am a dork (clearly the first definition and not the second) and have some geeky interests. I also have a few tattoos (with many more planned) so the idea of a union between the two creates a happy place for me. I gravitate towards the 80s/early 90s cartoon/comics, the real sciences, literary themes… I don’t get the video game ones (unless it was played on Super Nintendo) or the Star Trek ones. I will boldly declare something that apparently no one else can/will these days:  I DO NOT LOVE STAR TREK! Oh, and the computer programming ones fly right on over my little head. I really like knuckle tattoos, although I will never get any. I think THUG WIFE is funny, but this one is my absolute favorite knuckle tattoo I’ve ever seen, and it’s up there on my personal list of best tattoos ever.

3.  It’s so very, very true. There is something so appealing to me about them. I’ve read most everything of Dostoevsky’s works, but I have a harder time with Tolstoy. I chalk it up to the former being essentially a psychologist and the later being a Christian activist. In fact, I love Dostoevsky so much that Sweet Little Monster is named after him (and one of my other favorite authors, Dr. Seuss). I really like Solzhenitsyn – both for his writing and  his fascinating life story. My current favorite series (the 4 part trilogy, remember?) is written by a man born in the Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which was USSR territory back then. (Side note: PBS showed a mini documentary showing this man composing a piece of music as a peace-offering for that movie.) But it isn’t just the authors I like. Hubs teases me by saying that the Russians are my spirit people. He’s probably right. The only place I’d be willing to live where it snowed frequently is Russia (St. Petersburg and not Moscow if you were wondering), which drives Hubs batty because he wants to live in Alaska.

4. Dogs. I like ’em big. I don’t want anything whose vocalization could be described as ‘yip’ or ‘yap’. Or that constantly makes such sounds. Great Danes are probably my very best favorite. This big boy here happens to be a giant among giants , but he’s my favorite color and still has his natural ears (very important to me). I love mastiffs (think the better looking half of Turner and Hooch). I love bulldogs in the way that only something ugly can be adorable. I love pit bulls, too. They have been in my life since Rottweilers were the ‘evil’ breed. They are some of the sweetest, dumbest, happiest dogs I’ve ever had the chance to love. Of course, a shitty dog owner is going to make for a dog who can’t meet societal expectations. But in reality, it’s highly unlikely that I will ever own a pure-bred dog. The only way I would ever end up with one would be by getting involved in a breed specific rescue. I will always prefer a pound puppy over any specific breed. Unfortunately, I will always be able to find one there.

The only photo of Hubs on the desktop

Sweet Little Monster, back when he was just sweet and little (1 month old). Yep, date stamp is correct.

5. My boys. I adore them both. They both have the ability to drive me over the brink of mental instability and directly into temporary psychosis, but they’re cute so I’ll keep them. They teach me new things about myself and life in general each and every day. Sweet Little Monster does most of the teaching, but Hubs always gives a fresh perspective (even when I don’t want to hear it). Hubs is my rock and my heart. They cheer me up when I’m down, they make me laugh every day and shower me in love, each in their own way. I’m blessed.

6. Colors. Bright, bold, saturated colors. They feel happier than the muted shades. The minimum number of colors a room should be painted are 3. I try to tone it down a bit when it comes to wall colors because I recognize that not all adults want to feel like they are in a Crayola 64 pack. I’m easing my way into concentrating my color pops into shoes and accessories. I don’t have to give up hope and embrace the beige, but it’s time to out-grow the Punky Brewster nickname. Sad, I know. Okay, seriously. I haven’t deserved that nickname for a good 15 years. It just stuck.

7. Peacocks. I’m not that fond of most birds, but crows and peacocks are two that pass my test (the test being a. not a singing bird and b. no member of the species has ever pooped on me). I took this picture at the zoo a few years back (and played with it in Photoshop). We walked around the corner and he had his tail on display to intimidate a squirrel (who would have wet his pants were he wearing any). I sat down on a rock and started snapping pictures. At first, he danced for me. Then he decided that paparazzi time was over and he slowly walked up to me, shaking his tail (loud, by the way). He got close enough that I could have touched him/striking range for his surprisingly large beak before I declared him the victor of our little showdown. It was very hypnotizing and intimidating at the same time. There are two males at the zoo and every time I go, I get amazing photos of one or the other. I used peacock feathers as accents in my wedding (before it became a fad, thankyouverymuch). You can’t see it in the photo up there, but I had a peacock feather brooch pining my sash together.  😉

8. My friends. The old ones, the new ones. As the saying goes: friends are the family that you choose. Right? Something like that, anyway. When my boys have pushed me off the cliff of sanity, my friends are the parachute to stop my free-fall. They give me the gift of being something other than a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, student. They give me the gift of being myself, even if I so rarely see anyone anymore. Soon, mes amis, soon.

9. Crafting. I knit, crochet, sew, quilt, embroider, collage, paint, make cards, paper, cook ‘creatively’ (aka ignore recipes and do what I want). I pickle, can, and bake everything/anything (admittedly, not as often as I would like to). I get a micro sized serotonin rush when I finish crafting something, and another when I give the finish product to the intended recipient.

10. Soccer. I’m not so hot at playing it. I’m sure if I stuck with it my eye-foot coördination would improve, but who knows. I love watching it being played at every level. It’s fast paced, it’s exciting, and you never know when you’ll meet an amazing couple sitting behind you that will turn into fast friends. I like the picture even if it is pink.

11. Arabic. It’s beautiful. I love how it looks. I love the meaning of this phrase. God willing. I have this tattooed down the right side of my ribcage. I smile every time I see it.

12. Live Christmas trees. This picture is old. It was the first year we had a live tree and we killed it. Apparently, they need to live their entire lives outside. Inside for no more than 2-3 days for the big day. Our current tree is 2 1/2 years old and it lives outside. It’s also a native species, which might or might not effect its ability to weather a PNW winter. Hubs grew up with an angel on the tree and I grew up with a star. Sweet Little Monster suggested that we top ours with a snow ball (he was hoping for an ‘ice age’ aka snow storm). Such a diplomatic little guy. 😉

And last but not least, Goodnight my sweets!