I have yet to miss a running of the Santa Barbara International Veteran’s Marathon and Half. It is our greatest local event and always feels like a big running party. I have always run pretty well including winning the marathon and the half in back to back years. Last year I was delighted when after a particularly long spell of fatigue that almost had me quitting competition, I lined up and popped a 1:21 half marathon.
January to July of this year was a complete high ride for me. I started to see the runner that I always knew I was. After five years of looking for her…that felt fantastic! Starting around August of this year, I have been watching that black fatigue creep back into my life. Workouts are flat. Slow runs are extra slow. Tempo runs find me struggling to hit paces that I used to finish up at in my long runs. The sizzle is MIA. My DNF at San Jose was a rude awakening that my high mileage was getting the best of me. It isn’t easy to be a working mom who runs 100 miles a week.
But if you build it, it will come? Right? That’s the faith I’m holding. With every run feeling like a struggle, I lined up at the SBIVM 2013 Half looking to run marathon pace. No lies to be told, I not so secretly hoped that a little magic would pop in my legs and that I would have a day that allowed me to race. I wore my Oiselle SBRR team uniform and lined up carefully optimistic.
After the fighter jets flew over head and the gun went off, I eased into the first mile at marathon pace and felt out the day. Yep, my Fairy GodRunner totally slept in. I got nothing. Marathon pace it is. I ran an 85% effort and forgot the numbers. That should be marathon pace, but marathon pace it wasn’t.
I finished the half in a 1:25:05. That’s not what I want to see in a marathon. And something must be wrong with me because I just smiled, collected my medal, and shrugged Oh Well.
Has someone stolen my angst? Where is the edge? Oh, it’s over there? Well, I like the view from here. I have had a fantastic year and each opportunity and adventure reminds me why I run….I just love it. I congratulated Jill on her win and also said my congrats to the two out of town girls who took second and third.
In four weeks, I might feel amazing and rocket along the CIM course backed by miles and strength or I might go up there and actually take the beer that is hopefully offered at mile 24. Like so many times in life, you just don’t know what is going to happen and what you worry about happening never really does anyway. Last year I NEVER worried about a hurricane on the starting line. That’s the marathon. And each marathon has taught me something very special. Santa Barbara 2009- Blessed me with a surprisingly strong performance. Grandma’s 2010- Granted me 20 mile per hour head winds in which I still ran well. Eugene 2011- Reminded me to take no starting line for granted as I tripped 5 weeks before the race and did not make it. Houston 2012- Found my true grit as I rocketed off the starting line just two weeks after being benched for three weeks due to injury and yet still ran a sub 2:50 pace all the way to mile 23….then locked up and seized over the finish line. CIM 2012- Rained on my parade. A legit hurricane struck my funny bone and had me pretty much shrugging WTF and then pummeling through 40 mile per hour headwinds.
What will CIM 2013 teach me? It might just be to let go.
I enjoyed jogging back to my car along the course. My cheering of the on coming runners was marked in many comments, “Hey you’re going the wrong way!” Each person who said this would laugh so enthusiastically that I had to play along. It’s a fun game.
By the time I arrived at my car, I was quite pleased with my perspective on the day and past few months. I bent over to stretch and out of a repetitive habit touched my ears. One of my diamond earrings that were given to me the day my daughter was born….. the ones where my husband said, “Let me get this straight. You want to take all our savings and have me buy diamonds for your ears….” AND I said, “Yes Yes! Absolutely! Do that!”…..one of them was missing. I felt a naked ear lobe and of all of life’s stupid material possessions….this made my heart drop.
You never know what you’re gonna get!
I know I just said that…..but I didn’t mean THAT! I did a moderate to high intensity FREAK OUT that turned into spastic dry heaves and crying that led to concrete searching at the starting line which resulted in retrieving my Turkey Trot wanted to throw it away and never see it again Sweatshirt.
I always thought the WORST thing I could lose on a race course was my shit in my shorts WHICH THANK GOD HAS STILL NEVER HAPPENED, but as it turns out it’s a diamond.
The good news is that I now have that awesome road cone orange hoodie with a big dumb turkey on the front sweatshirt to throw away at CIM.
Congrats to SBIVM on their 5th year!
Have you ever worried that a Labrador might be depressed? You are a pet psychologist in Anchorage and treat Seasonal Affective Disorder in Labradors ALL THE TIME! Alright! I was asking everybody else.
One might argue that dogs are endlessly happy because they simply don’t remember…..that you left them alone all day…..that you totally ignored them when they sat next to you…..that you did not remember that they did not chase the cat today….
HERE HE COMES! Oh he’s coming home! He’s home! He pet me! He has a stick! Throw it! Throw it! Throw it! He didn’t throw it. Oh well. HERE HE COMES!
Dogs don’t need much more than love, food and exercise to be happy. Humans are almost like dogs except that we remember shit.
Albert Schweitzer said “Happiness? That’s nothing more than health and a poor memory.” Today! Carpe Diem! La La La! Even Nietzsche taught, “Blessed are the forgetful for they get the better even of their blunders.”
Hmmmmm now wait a minute. Those forgetful blissful bastards are tail wagging happy, but what of the mindful ones who can’t seem to un-wonder the blunder? It makes you mad. Just YOU.
When Felisha asked Smokey for a joint, Smokey did the right thing and told her, “You need to borrow a job with your broke ass.” Felisha got furious and told Smokey threateningly, “I’ll remember that Smokey.” And Smokey spoke back in what should be scripture chiseled above a library right next to Ye Shall Seek the Truth and the Truth Shall Set Ye Free…… Smokey says, “Write it down, take a picture, I don’t give a Fuck!”
“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong. Sometimes it’s letting go-” Unknown. If you don’t give a Fuck, well, you sure have learned to let go. But I’m not convinced that’s really a good thing. Sometimes Zen and Om just pisses me off all to Hell. Here in California we certainly don’t have to “Make Hay while the Sun Shines” because the sun is ALWAYS shining so sit back Dude and let it go, but out there in the real world big bitch ass Winter is coming and you absolutely do have to give a Fuck if your corn isn’t growing. In other words Felisha, Smokey was right on both accounts: You do need to care and You don’t need to hold a grudge.
Recently I ran around Lake Los Carneros and had to pop into the Port O Pot. Spray painted on the wall were the words, “WE DON’T FORGIVE AND WE DON’T FORGET.” Well, that’s a shitty thing to say so it was marked in good premise. However, they are words that I struggle with daily- To Forgive and To Forget.
The hardest thing for me is to forgive when someone else forgets the things they have done. In their absence of admission, my blood boils and I cannot let go. Do I do this very thing to others? Most likely, but I don’t remember. Ah-ha! So like Felisha….I go off and Write it Down! I take a Picture! But……it’s my burden alone because only I can’t let go.
Here I struggle again. History repeats itself….unless….we don’t forget! Right? We have Veteran’s Day, Remembrance Day, Memorial Day, Holocaust Memorial Museums, Memorials to Victims of Russian Gulags….BIRTHDAYS! Today we remember that you were born! I have read about people who suffer head injuries and forget their past….they apparently live in bliss.
I have never been able to forget things. Memories from my childhood vividly swirl through my mind and linger with a tangible taste….like salt. And sometimes sugar. With all the bad, I also remember the good- the intense laughter, the permanent smell of chlorine, the magic of holidays, the smell of my middle school grass track, the look on my father’s face….
If you want to keep your highs, it is very tricky business to request that you just FORGET because you have lots of lows. The trick must be in learning to not give so much of a Fuck about the lows. Somewhere in there must be the secret to happiness.
For the past few years, I have been wearing two silver bands around my right ring finger that say STRENGTH, IMAGINE, BELIEVE, ACHIEVE. I took them off and placed them in a box. I replaced them with a single band around my middle finger Yes, the MIDDLE finger, that says BE HAPPY.
So far this hasn’t helped me to give less of a Fuck, but I do enjoy that in order for me to best read the ring I have to flick myself off. Perhaps it will come….
Having children age six and seven makes for a particular magical Halloween. Their enthusiasm alone is enough to induce a full spine sugar rush. There is also a glimpse into what type of human being you are raising….come….trick or treat time. I spent the evening biting my lower lip with my Vampire incisors gleefully watching my offspring roam the neighborhood.
My daughter maintained her sweetness. The little vampire roused herself up in red lipstick and flowery headbands to politely sing “Trick or Tweat” to any door that might open. She returned with a heavy load of 115 pieces of assorted candies.
My son was cruelly held back from a full attack by his family.
“Wait for us!”
He would quickly disappear up a driveway to knock on doors, declare his “Trick or Treat,” and then…..negociate exactly how many pieces of candy he should be given based on 1. The fact that he wears braces and cannot eat all the other candies and requires chocolate 2. The size of the candy bowl ["Looks like you might have some leftovers and you wouldn't want that would you? My mom throws OUT left over candy!"] 3. How many kids were standing at the door with him ["Looks like it's just ME and my sister, but she doesn't like tootsie rolls and I can't have those because of my braces so can we each have two Snickers?"] 4. How late in the evening it was getting ["It's late. Not that many more kids probably coming this way. You sure do have a lot of candy.]
This worked brilliantly! He followed it all up with enthusiastic flattering…..
“Happy Halloween to you!”
“I really like your garden!”
“Your jack o lanterns are awesome!”
“Dig in are my favorite words!”
“Did you say three or four pieces, please?”
“Oh, five pieces is totally OK with MY Mom!”
“Yes, we’re back, but we live close to here and we were sure you had more candy.”
I witnessed a man laughing to his wife about some kid negotiating for more chocolate because he has braces. The man was practically wetting himself in laughter. I was practically wetting myself in pride. It was a big pee pee party. Thank goodness Halloween is black.
Removing the gore of the holiday, it is quite a lovely ritual. Children walk about and meet the neighbors requesting a small gift and return it with Happy’s and Thank You’s. If you want the prize you should be polite and yet…..if you want a lot of prizes ever so slightly aggressive and task oriented. I mean 8pm waits for no one….like so many lessons in life…Move It or Lose It.
My son racked up 175 pieces of all chocolate. We decided to drag the loot home the spooky way. Everyone declared they could not possibly be spooked. There was not anything spooky to be seen.
“Can’t you just be a normal mother!?”
The fact that I don’t even really know what that means probably means the answer is NO.
The children tear down the street toward dad and mom is in trouble for scaring them. Sheesh. Tough crowd. The candy makes it home under heavy tow from little arms and legs and is scattered about the floor for counting. Every year thus far, I have had this brilliant system where the candy goes into a community bowl and then….day….by….day….just disappears. Dear Reader, the Secret is that I throw it out! The children NEVER notice! I just throw it away! I’m brilliant!
The other magical trick is the Candy Witch. The children leave out a healthy offering of wrapped sugar shit and the Witch takes it To Throw OUT and leave a cheap plastic toy…..How is that better? Damn good question.
Of the 290 pieces of candy the littles laid out 16 pieces for the Witch.
“Um, I think the Witch is gonna be offended guys.”
“She’s gonna fly the broom back up the chimney.”
Dad made the deal. I sulked. That leaves a lot of candy in the house. BUT no worries….I’ll just slowly throw it out like I always do. Right?
The next day after school, my children spent the afternoon SORTING and COUNTING each piece of candy and placing them into individually marked sandwich bags! It looks like CSI!
16 Snickers…..5 packages of Sugar Daddies….23 Tootsie Rolls…..2 Almond Joys…..12 Kit Kat……
THEY GOT ME!
“Don’t throw it out Mom.”
Everyone really loved this meal, but to be honest it isn’t really even little wanna be cooking blog worthy. It was the kind of meal that you would be really proud of if you were living in a dorm and managed to make people go Mmmmmmm. In other words…..Shhhhhhh, I used a lot of stuff from CANS!
I really wanted to make Pulled Pork. BUT THAT TAKES FOREVER! Instead, I used pork tenderloin, rubbed a packet of taco seasoning all over it and had the grill master flame it to perfection.
YUM! Wanna Be Pulled Pork is good.
To go with it, the lazy chef cooked up a mean pot of refried black beans. There were none left and the kids were licking their spoons. Success that is that easy isn’t really very satisfying. I licked my spoon too. I thought I would make Spanish rice to round out the meal, but clicking on Google to find a spanish rice recipe seemed like too much work.
I think you could call my rice Nish Rice. I used three cups of white rice, 4 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup of water, 1 can of tomatoes dice cut with green chili’s, 1 can of green chili’s, 1/4 cup chopped white onion, a little salt, a little garlic, and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. I boiled it in a pot then let it steam. Everybody ate it up! Go Go Dorm Room!
I thought I would like Banana’s Foster for dessert. Again, searching for an actual recipe seemed ridiculously difficult. I dropped some cinnamon and butter in a frying pan and added two large sliced bananas. I drowned them in Kahlua and then served them over vanilla soy ice cream. I topped it off with hot fudge and whipped cream! I know whipped cream and soy ice cream are from the opposite sides of the track, but in my world this is a love story of Romeo & Juliet….. a little soy and a little dairy that all ends with death by chocolate.
Banana Foster Child was the bomb! Happy Eats!
I love running. It makes me feel alive, superhuman, and very very human all at the same time. And being human, after all is human. Impossible is an emotion. Let’s find some Possible insanely Impossible people…
“I’d say your chances are one in a million”- Mary.
“SO YOU’RE SAYING I GOT A CHANCE!”- Flyod.
I guess you always have a choice on how you come down! People are awesome!