Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thank you

I mean, nobody has a smile or laugh like her. I miss it. Last year I powered through the're so're handling this so well...your mom is proud...she is with you.
Sometimes those sentiments are comforting. Sometimes they make me feel like a fraud.
Really? Is waking up & wanting to pawn your children off to just about anyone so you can have an epic break down in peace handling this so well?
I know it's normal, I know grief comes & goes...ebbs & flows blah blah blah.
But, sometimes, she's really truly the only one I want to commiserate with. Banter with. Listen to.
This is what I conjure in my head when I get stuck in the grim details of watching my mom die.
I mean, that was just one day that ended her life time of many, many days like this:
While I sometimes fall into the tenuous, messy loop of that ugly day back in June 2014, I have countless...countless...memories & images that I can tap into.
Countless people who have been touched by her kindness, her generous spirit, her goofy wit, her blunt wisdom.
Thank god for her.

And that, I think, is my Thanksgiving sentiment that I want to share with you;
There's a tricky side of the holidays that leaves some (many?) of us heavy with loss and longing.
Most of us have something funny or outrageous or meaningful or touching to look back on, so I guess...
Sit with the tricky part; settle into it.
Just don't sink all the way down.
Be present, enjoy your loved ones, nourish your friendships, strengthen the ties that may have frayed over the year...let that pick you up and hold you up. 
Let them.
Happy Thanksgiving...

Monday, November 23, 2015


Yesterday I ran my second half-marathon.
Beat my time by 8 minutes.
How did that happen?
The course was harder, there were tons more people, and I started out feeling nervous & unsure.

So, why? How? Eight minutes is pretty significant (considering my first half was just three weeks prior).
I'll tell you what happened.
I ran with two girls/teammates/friends (I think after you complete an event like that, literally alongside somebody, you move up from teammate to friend level...right?).
They pushed me every step of the way (or, I suppose pulled, as I was mainly the caboose of our little gang). 
I didn't look at my garmin once; I've run shorter distances with these particular two women & without much thought, I gave myself over to the process.
I trusted the process; the pace, as it were.
The last half mile was left leg cramped badly.
If it weren't for my compatriots, I'm fairly certain I would've walked/limped to the finish line.
I ran.
What a day.
I hadn't planned on doing another half any time soon, but a bib became available & next thing you know...
Lining up again.
(You know how it goes)

Today I am sore and tired.
Maybe a tad impatient with my kids.
Recovery is vastly different at age 40 than a decade ago when I first delved into athletic pursuits.
I need to work on that part. I can't very well keep this up if the trade off is being a tired bitch to my family the next day.
What else?
A little more about the group I've been running with. 
They're part of a team/foundation/greater good; they (we) raise money and awareness for cancer, focusing mainly on our local communities. Supporting families affected by cancer, supporting fighters & cancer warriors.
It's one of the most hospitable & welcoming teams I've ever had the privilege to be a part of.

You know me & the whole group thing by now.
It's painful.
I'm awkward & shy.
Slow to warm up.
It takes me a while to not be the quiet one.
Even when I "fit in", even when I'm genuinely included, I still feel kinda like the oddball.
The thing I'm beginning to realize is that most of us feel that way in group situations; we're all goofy and weird and have our quirks.
When there's a greater good, a solid cause, and such a welcoming support system in place, it's hard to feel like an outcast.
And there's a lot to be said for solidarity.

I woke up at 3:30am yesterday to drive to a sketchy empty lot & get into a car full of (basically) strangers. 
Several of whom I've never seen in daylight (we always run before the sun comes up).
I gratefully accepted a baggie filled with three coffee cookies baked in a kitchen I've never seen (I'm weirdly weary about eating baked goods from strangers).
{Says the family *brownie* baker}
The cookies, by the way, were amazing.

These little things are actually pretty sizable hurdles for me.
In fact, it might be harder for me to hand over control of my Sunday to a bunch of people I've only just begun to get acquainted with over the past month than run the race itself.
Yeah, that part is definitely harder than the physical feat.
Running is the easy part.
I'm getting better at the other stuff.
So much better.
Now I can focus on conveying it better in words here.
Maybe more often.
Or not.
Maybe I'll just keep running & awkwardly blog about it again & again.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Run a half-marathon...yes.
I really don't have the words to describe the experience eloquently.
I mean, it was a 13 (point one) mile run.
Me, my sneaks, a carefully crafted play list, and swarms of runners. Like more runners than I've ever seen in one place.
The first few miles were positively gleeful...whooooo hooooo I'm doin this I'm crushin it woot woot look at me go...
Looping around city hall, I was seriously beaming.
I don't typically beam.
By the time I hit Boat House Row, I started faking it a little...this IS awesome. I AM smiling. My Legs ARE comfortable.
Passing the ten mile mark, I began to feel the mental strain a little (ten miles had been my longest run up til the half marathon, and only once several weeks prior).
I wondered if Bill was at the finish line (or near it) and started to pick up my pace ever. so. slightly.
The garmin tells the tale; while I surely had some sloooooow miles, I never walked and never felt any pain or brutal exhaustion.
I took it mile by mile and smiled when I needed to push myself a little.
I channeled all my mentors, my friends, my parents, my brother, my husband...
10 seconds...just ten seconds, give it your all...(which would give way to ten more and ten more after that, and so on)...
when I crossed the finish line (uphill finish, not a fan after running thirteen miles), I funneled through the chute with the hoards of runners.
A little beleaguered, a little dumbfounded, a little dazed, a little (naturally) high.
Finally, I spotted my husband and everything else kinda froze & blurred around him.
I found my way into his arms and fell in love with him like a million times more as he hugged me tight (shut up, this is the mushy part...I am terribly romantic).
Honestly, the run/race was pretty great...but, that moment made the whole experience complete. Finding Bill amid all the chaos, feeling kinda shattered, was it.
I wasn't expecting to feel that way, but there it was.

Will I do another half again?
Is it going to be my thing?
Do I want to try a marathon?
Not really. No.
What about riding?
It will always be there. Not planning on parting with any of my bikes.

I can do that.
Now I know.