Thursday, November 28, 2013

Things Other People's Kids Do are NOT CUTE on the internet, but I'm boring you anyways

"Mom?", said my 7 year old in a very serious tone.

"Yes B'nut?"

"When is Black Friday?"

"The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday."

"So, let me get this straight.... Black Friday is a holiday that is right after Thanksgiving?  Like, it's a holiday," and she held up two palms side by side and stared at them with furrowed brows, "right next to a holiday?  Two holidays in a row?"

"Black Friday is not really a holiday for anyone except Store Owners who don't have to work at their store."


On an unrelated note, if you are going to shop on Non-Holiday Black Friday, Please consider shopping local.  There is something deeply satisfying about exchanging money in a small business where it will actually go directly to the person who's dream it was to run a retail shop in your town.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

To hug or not to hug; no question at all.

To Hug, or Not to Hug.  That is a question for people all the time.  And for others, no question at all.

Before I start, let me preface this by explaining that I am a well-known anti-hugger. 

I couldn’t stand to be touched for years.  I thought that my touch phobia was brought on by motherhood and the constant clinging that I associate with being the parent of a small person or three.

I am certain that there are mothers who will agree.  It’s a bit disconcerting when you lose your body to a Klingon.  When you finally start to have control again, the appeal of being touched has diminished.  Certainly, if there’s a defining moment in adulthood, it’s when you mutter to yourself, “If I could have one wish it would be to get to go take a shower, alone, and maybe even pee without company once this week.... just once.”

I took some pride in my anti-hugging campaign, and it became sort of a thing.  People would threaten to hug me and I would grimace, cringe, or duck out and avoid the contact all together.

To top it off, runners are touchy people.  They seem to enjoy nothing more than hot sweaty gross hugging.  After a run.  On the street.  At Marathon Training Team.  During the run.  In Starbucks.  Runners are weird, and huggy.

 It wasn’t that I didn’t like the person who was hell bent on engulfing me in their hug, it was that a hug did not sound like a safe or even reasonable option. 

And all this seemed fairly innocent until my husband and I divorced.  Without going into gritty and unnecessary details, I’ll try to explain that my ex and I had a tumultuous relationship.  There were times when it was full of passion, but for the most part, it was full of angst.  We were, ironically, laughing about it this week when we were exchanging the children.  Never a day went by when we didn’t have some kind of heated exchange of one kind or another.

During the divorce process I went to see a therapist.  Anyone who is strong enough to process a separation without a therapist is truly stronger than I can imagine being, or they have friends far more tolerant than I ever expected of my friends.  I relied on my Therapist, and found hours of sense and reason in her small warm office.  One day, during one of these appointments, I was telling her a story about something that happened in my life and she said, “Well, that explains the PTSD symptoms you’ve been exhibiting for the past 6 months.”


“Yes.  You know, the anxiety at loud noises, the ‘waking’ dreams you are having that are actually repressed memories, the physical symptoms of illness when you are exposed to a stressor, and the touch phobia you describe in exquisite detail... there’s more than that, but it’s PTSD.”

As though having it explained to me unlocked a door, I was suddenly flooded with repressed memories.  I broke out in hives, threw up in class, freaked out when my former upstairs neighbors fought, and in general, had a little break down.

My therapist was thrilled.
Yeah, right?
But my symptoms got better.  And better.

Until I accidentally hugged someone one day.  It was so odd.  But its how I knew I was better.

Within a few months of being released from therapy, I was on hugging terms with all kinds of folks.  People who’d been trying to hug me for years, my children, my Good Dr, my friends like Catalyst J, MCM Mama, and others...

I hugged a waitress I didn’t know recently.  I hugged my massage therapist after a particularly violent deep tissue massage.

And I am coming to grips with it... I am a hugger now.

I am GBA GF, and I’m a hugger.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

About Time

In my travels I have raced quite a few races, and I’ve run a few as well.  

Each has distinct characteristics and the differences are as palatable as being a Runner versus a Jogger.  

Runners are serious. 
Joggers are jogging... 

One of my deepest fears is that I’ll be on a badass tempo run cranking out a 7:14 average one foggy morning, I’ll get run over by a car, and the newspaper will read: 

“Henrico Jogger Struck Friday Morning”.

Imagine.  Me?  A jogger?

Racing is something that runners get – When I race I am out there to beat (someone).  Usually, in my case, that someone is MYSELF.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not out to kick anyone else’s booty. 

Unless I’m in first place with less than a mile left to run.  In that rare condition, nothing I’ve written applies and I am out to beat EVERYONE.
Or if I am REALLY stressed.  Then I may decide that everyone wearing a red shirt is my prey.
Or if I am PISSED OFF.  Then I will hunt down anyone wearing a red shirt.
Or... redshirt...  it’s not my fault.  Red shirts make it easy, you know?

Running a race is less serious, however. 

That’s a fun event.  I’m certainly out on a racecourse with a bib#, but I might not be out there for me.  Or I might be using the race as a training run.  Or I could be having an off day, or getting over pneumonia, or any number of things that would lead me to just run instead of running at the edge of death.

I love running at the edge of death.  I love pushing my body to the end of my limits and listening to the air whistle as it forces it’s way out of my lungs.  The use of my cadence to dictate when the air is pulled in and expelled is like a drug.  I live for the mantra, “you didn’t run all this way to give up your race now”.

But Saturday I was not going out to run at the edge of anything.  For one thing, I didn’t exactly train.  I ran a bit, and tacked a few longish runs into my life periodically, and I didn’t taper as much as I took an entire week off from running.
Iron J, MCM Mama, GBA GF pre-race in the rain

This year was The Year of N+1.  My bike was my focus.  So Saturday I went out to run The Richmond Half Marathon with no expectation of EPIC.

My friend, Iron J, and her husband The Officer wanted to break 2 hours.  I wondered if I could keep up with them.  So the three of us set out to run a half marathon together in the rain.

Sadly, it became evident that he wasn’t going to be able to hang at the pace.  IronJ and I kept pulling ahead, simply because we were feeling amazing.  We would drop back and check with him, coach him, cheer him on, but to no avail.  It wasn’t going to be his day.

We looked back at some point and he just wasn’t there.

You know, Iron J...?
Yeah... I know... we can maybe still get it.

And so we kicked it into gear and tried to shave 4+ minutes off the second half of the race.  Not gonna lie.  We came damn close.  Damn close.

“GBA, how do you feel?”
“Well, this feels like Race Pace, not Chat Pace”

The joy of the day was NOT in my chip time, garmin time, or race time. 

This was not about time.

The satisfaction of the day was in the start corral with MCM Mama.  It was in the time spent on the course with Iron J & The Officer.  It was in sharing his ridiculous PR (I think about 15 minutes?!) and in the fun of running negative splits with Iron J as we hunted down a pack of (blue?) shirts. 
GBA GF & Iron J
It was realizing that Iron J is back in true form and ready to train again.  It was in seeing The Good Dr, my spectator, on the course, and knowing I am loved.  It was in the raindrops that soaked me at the start line, and the raindrops that soaked me at the finish line.

It was in remembering what it feels like to be a Galactic BadA**.

Could I have run a sub 2?

Oh yeah.

But did I need to run Sub 2 to prove to myself that I could run that fast, and potentially miss out on the chance to run with my friends and share the day?

Oh Hell No.

Saturday was about way more than that.

~savor the run~

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Remember that time...

Remember that time I decided to go ahead and run the Half Marathon I have NOT been training for this fall?


There is no need to chase the PR on this one.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Acting like a Runner

...Strasberg uses the question, "What would motivate me, the actor, to behave in the way 
the character does?"

I have ZERO acting skillz, so that question was always a tough one for me.

As a runner, I have ZERO motivational skillz these days, so I feel a bit like a poser.

Here's the STORY:

I was going to run the Richmond Half Marathon.
The Richmond Half Marathon SOLD OUT.
I have NO BIB.

So there you go.

I have no bib because I was unmotivated to register for the event until a few days after it sold out.

So I started looking around at races that *might* work for me, and what I'm seeing is a 10 miler I ran a few years ago, and part of me would LOVE to run it, but part of me is ~like~ wow, that is $75 I do NOT have.  

So... maybe I will just not race at all.

Do I have to race to be a serious runner?