Monday, February 23, 2015


The text read:

"He can't graph the systems of equations when one of the equations is in standard form instead of slope intercept form"

There was a time in my life that those words would have made me panic.  Or, probably write back, "This is GBA_GF... I think this text is for someone else."

Instead I wrote, "first have him isolate the y term.  then he can solve for y."

I suddenly pictured me calling my spanish speaking friend for help, and having her write something back in spanish...
so... I called the texter and we math'd it out.

And life was good, and as far as I know she didn't sell her son on ebay, and he didn't call her any names.

Why am I sharing this?

You know that moment when you help your friend's kid with Algebra, and you just want to call your Dad to brag that not only did someone think to call you for math help, you actually KNEW THE ANSWER?

THIS was that moment.

Now, if only I could convince my kids that I'm actually smart.

~savor the run~

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wizards First Rule

Every Runday my alarm goes off before the city is awake. I always lay in bed for about a minute and wonder if I should just sleep in. I can run later. I don't need to go get my ass kicked on a level 10 hill. I don't need to train this hard. I'm not really training for anything. Sleep is an important element of training.

And most Rundays, I tell the inner voice of sense and reason to STFU. I roll out of bed and go. I have run in sleet, rain, and bitterly cold conditions; I ran up hills that made me want to cry. 

But I ran.

On Rundays I run because I want to, no one is making me, except me.

I have nothing to prove, I'm not training for anything. I do this for fun, and because, even though they don't know me, I like running with Those People I Don't Know. 

Except there was a moment this week when I didn't like Those People. Recently, for the first time since joining Those People I Don't Know at Rogue, I had someone try to belittle my efforts.

Silly boy. Don't you know who I am? 
I'm charming...

The man in question reminded me of Draco Malfoy.  Essentially he represented everything that Harry Potter and Q and Coach Black are not. 

He was an arrogant snob. He acted though the fact I have not qualified for Boston made me less of a runner than him. Gosh, what would he have said if I'd admitted my marathon PR is a 4:09? He. might. have. died.

This attractive man sat beside me at a table with his back to me, talking pointedly to everyone except me. The deep frown etched into his face was only lifted when it was replaced by an unnatural smile for a camera. When he could not avoid speaking directly to me, he coated every word with disdain and thinly veiled sarcasm. At some point I realized he was judging me.  

Shortly after that I thought, "and he clearly thinks I'm not bright". How fascinating.

Additionally, he made it clear that as one of the "Dead Ass Last" crew, I was unworthy of his time and attention.

I confess:  There was a nanosecond where his low opinion of me hurt my feelings. I thought, If I was only (better, a BQ, skinnier, taller, nicer, prettier, more charming...) then he would (like me, respect me, acknowledge me, at least be civil to me).

And then I looked into his unhappy dead eyes and thought, I'm enough. His bad behavior shows far more about him and his lack of (grace, manners, happiness) than it does about me and my lack of (nothing)

Isn't the first rule we teach our children in life is to treat others with respect? How did he miss that one growing up?

Because let's get real, if I was any smarter, better, nicer, or more charming, the world would not be able to handle it. As it is, I am intimidating as all hell.

Draco Malfoy may be an exceptionally gifted wizard who runs a blistering fast marathon and all that rot, but he's an unhappy small man who is missing out on the things life has to offer. My innate happiness must irritate the piss out of him. 

I laugh when I get high, and I get high when I run. I smile freely, and I am gracious to those in the Back to Last crew who come back for me when I am Dead Ass Last. I work hard to be better for my own personal satisfaction. I couldn't care less about Draco Malfoy's opinion of me.

I am enough.

~ Respect ~

Sunday, February 15, 2015

WINE and CHOCOLATE and RUN. oh my

The Flowers my Run
got me for V'day

Yesterday I spent the morning with my Valentine. As I said before, my Run and I are in a deeply committed relationship. 

Its "The Year of the 5K", and I have made it a priority to get my speed back in 2015.  So in order to do that, I have to make goals.

The Long Term Goal – beat 23:25 22:59

Saturday’s Goals in no particular order:
Run Sub 8-minute miles.
Try Not To Suck.
Pretty simple, eh?

And beyond these things, anything else was just icing on the cake. And to be clear, there wasn’t cake, but the 5K was at New Kent Winery, so it didn’t matter.  There was WINE and CHOCOLATE and RUN.

Almost all of my favorite things together in one place.  ~pinch me~ 

So let me just start by saying what had’a happen’d wuz the weather was bitterly cold. But I thought it was just on the edge of my “skirt” vs “tights” line.  So I decided to wear a skirt for racing and change after. 

Maybe shoulda rethought that one, but s’ok. I survived. And the feeling slowly returned to my legs after a hot shower that drained the hot water heater...

Dash, Dot and I arrived to the race nice and early, parked, and headed up to the porta potty line, all the way commenting on how beautiful it is out there at New Kent Winery.

100% beautiful. And 100% cold. Freakishly cold. Way colder than I like. Way way colder than my lungs tolerate.  Back to that in a minute...

We checked our bags, ran about a mile warm up with a few strides thrown in, and since the race was scheduled to start at 9, I lined up on the start line at about 8:55.

An echo floated on the wind, "If you toe the line, you have to race."
 ~ Coach HP ~

And there I waited in the freezing cold. Standing still. Did I mention the cold? No? Ok. It was chilly.

That wasn’t a big deal though.  'Cos it was only for 5 minutes. Except that 15 minutes later I realized it was going to be a problem. 'Cos we were still waiting and my body was locking up. My lips could barely move. I was bouncing in place trying to keep warm but nothing was working.

My lungs questioned our sanity. I told them to STFU, my Run and I were on a date, Lungs would have to sit tight.

The race started at closer to 9:15, so I’d been standing still for 20 minutes in freezing temps with a wind chill of well below freezing. Wearing a skirt, ‘cos I’m legitimately stupid a Galactic Badass.

It was only a 5K though, and I knew it would be over soon.  

As usual, I didn’t wear a watch. Why bother? My race day strategy for the 5K distance is “Run on the edge of death, and when you want to die, push yourself just a little harder”.

I don’t know what my pace was at any given point, but at mile 1ish (the course was unmarked) I was running side by side with the 2nd place female. At the turn into the golf course I dropped her and set my sights on the 1st place female and she dropped me like one of Those People I Don’t Know on a Tuesday Morning.

I couldn’t catch her, so I entertained myself by chasing down the next available Male I spotted. I repeated my mantra in my head, "How bad do you want it?" as my body started to fatigue.

I finished on the uphill without looking too deeply at the clock.  I walked a few hundred yards past the smattering of volunteers with shaking legs while fighting to draw air in through my quickly narrowing wind pipe.

After I grabbed my checked bag and threw on all the clothing I’d brought, I headed back to the finish line just in time to see Dot then Dash cross the line. I grinned at Dash, “I hope you don’t mind if we hang out for a while... cos I’d like to stay for the awards ceremony...”.  I sounded like Hell; OH yeah, and at the wine tasting after the race, we ran into my Jr High boyfriend.  As in, the boy I "went out with" in 1990ish.

True. Freaking. Story.  

What are the odds? Well, apparently, when I'm involved, the odds are good that the world will continue grow smaller and smaller.

Back to the running. My personal best is still a minute out of range, but I’m making progress.

24:31 earned me Female Open Second Place.
7:53 avg. pace
I did not suck.

I failed at my goal of winning.

This is what failure looks like, if you want to know.

Failure looks like taking :45 seconds off my 5K time in two months.

Failure looks like an open bottle of wine at 10 a.m., a few beautiful roses, and many smiles. Failure can further be defined by the copious amounts of laughter and badassery that was exchanged across the span of a white tablecloth.  And by the frozen “My Banana is Hard” jokes. And by the hours that passed in the company of new friends as we grew increasingly breathless with laughter from the hilarity that ensued.

No one could have predicted that a 5K in New Kent would result in Jesus on a Log stories, the discovery of a really charming vineyard, and a deeper appreciation of why it’s important for women to surround themselves with a good support system.

our new friends - seriously, these
women define Galactic BadA**ery
without even trying.
I ended my day by having two pretty severe asthma flare-ups. I leaned on my support system for one, and relied on my own knowledge for the other. It will likely change my run strategy this week, but I’m hopeful that this was an acute event, not the beginning of anything else. 

This will be a “recovery”/”baby myself” week, but I'll be out there chasing the Back To Last crew as soon as my lungs allow.

Finally -
To the Race Director of the Vinterra Race for the Chocolate there's only a few things I would change about your race. The Race Tent needed heaters inside or a Fire Pit outside. There was no place to wait before the race that was warm.  The race should have started on time, or the runners should have been advised that it was 15 minutes behind schedule.  The course was great, exactly as advertised. I will definitely run this one next year.

The Year of The 5K : The Updated Stat Sheet.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Another 28 Days

It’s been a little more than a month since I first showed up to run and found myself running Dead A** Last behind The People I don’t know.

In these weeks I have come to realize that I still love running. Even when I hate it. 

And there are moments I hate it.  Mostly when I'm tasting iron on my breath or unsure about the route.

Despite the "hate", I look forward to it every week.  The cold and dark are miserable, yet I love to run with the rogue group that stampedes through the city every week.

I wasn't Dead Ass Last today.  Mmm Hmm. BOOM.
Yeah. I said it. I was 3rd or 4th from last!  Pretty sure that on a day like today that means I was kick ass.

But I struggle with bragging, because, I know that a good run today doesn’t necessarily mean a good run tomorrow, or the next day, and you never really know when your run is going to turn around and kick you in the face.

When I was bantering with Harry Potter about my successful runs of late, I was humble by his praise and in an attempt to be modest, I reminded him, “Well, it’s all relative to who shows up on any given week.

You know what I like about Harry Potter as a coach? 
He doesn't let me do that whole "My efforts aren't really worthy..." nonsense that I get sucked into.  

He makes me realize that the reason I wasn’t dead ass last was a good reason.  

He pointed out that I'm getting faster.

28 days of consistently chasing Those People through the streets are paying off.
I am getting faster.

I’m looking forward to my 5K this week so I can see where I am in the hunt for a 5K PR.  I’m combing through the race calendar for March.  And April.

Even though it’s hard and lonely to run with the People I Don’t Know, I will keep showing up to run in the dark with Them.  I will strive to stay in the moment, and work as hard as I can, especially when I’m passed by Harry Potter and Those People.

And because I’m me... I will savor the run.  Even when it’s hard.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

To The Pain

Pain heals.
Chicks dig scars.
Glory lasts forever.
Shane Falco – The Replacements

Don’t you love when you’re having a totally meaningless conversation with someone you barely know, and suddenly you think, “Ah HA!  That’s why I...”?

My friend, the Galactically Badass Rower – so he claims, and I’m willing to entertain him on his claim – pointed out that if 98% of Runners Are Weird, 99% of Rowers Are Masochists. 

To which I said, WHOA there buddy, don’t try to out PAIN a marathoner.  Runners are masochists too.  Only we like to do it for hours.  (That’s what she said)

Wait, are we really bantering about who likes pain more? Runners or Rowers?  I bet Cyclists would want to weigh in.  And Triathletes.

The bottom line is, for those of us who are amateurs, enduring fitness-induced pain on a daily basis makes all of us masochists on some level. We aren’t getting paid to hurt. We are choosing the hurt in exchange for personal glory. (and abs, or assets, or...)

I suspect that 99% of people would try to argue that No one really likes pain. 

I mean, no one does...  Do they?

Me especially.  I mean, I am 82% sure that hate pain as much as the next person.  Except that 94% of the time I label myself as a runner, and approximately 99% of the Rogue miles FECKING HURT.

So, probably I can’t say that I’m “anti-pain”....  I can’t be, or I’d take up crochet or knitting or shuffle board like normal women my age.

Drills.  Speed Work.  Hell Repeats.  Handstands.  PT exercises.  All of these things hurt on some level.  But I do these things despite the pain, or because of it.   Lately when I run, I frequently push myself into the red zone.  I want to see how far I can push myself so I can “see if we can make it hurt, without hurting ourselves”...  Even the stairs at work are just another pain in my ass, and that is just another source of pain that I can’t seem to stay away from.

And so even though my new obsession with pain the 5K PR started as someone else’s idea, I have fully embraced it.  It’s starting to grow into a curiosity about the 10K. Way back in my mind the Half and Full Marathons are getting jealous.

Every time I have another epic training run I wonder if there’s a way to get there from here.

And no matter where I go from here as far as race distance - no matter if I run with The People I Don't Know at Rogue or run solo on the streets near my house - I'm going to have to run through the pain to get where I'm going.

~savor the run~

Sunday, February 8, 2015

For Good Measure

I have swagger.

I do. I have for a while now. 

Recently, as I was looking at an ancient photo of 8 year old me, I saw myself in her eyes and thought, “I’ve finally grown into the woman that girl was meant to be.” She was brimming with swagger.

I don’t want to get into the details about where my swagger went, but for most of my adult life my swagger has been muted. It was there though, stuck to me, like a piece of lint on a wool coat.

Too small to use, too insignificant to get rid of, it sat there unnoticed until I took up running.

That’s when I started feeding it.

And little by little it grew into something worthwhile. I nurtured my swagger, I listened to it as it started talking back to the negative inner voice that haunts so many of us. Eventually my swagger started forming opinions on many things; it weighed in on my life choices.

It kicked the negative inner voice in the face a couple of times for good measure.

This week I realized that my swagger was my vulnerability.
This week I realized that my swagger is my vulnerability.

I embraced it, accepted it, and nurtured it, and because of that, I was able to achieve more. My swagger is the sword I used to beat back shame.

It is shame that told me I was a failure; it is shame that told me I should be afraid. 

Every day that I go out to run with Those People I Don't Know, I fail. I fail to keep up.  I fail to run as fast as they run. In short, I am a failure.

If keeping up is the measure of success, then I am a failure.

But what if LIFE is the measure of success?

In failing, I am living. In my failure I find laughter, I find strength, and I find the courage to go out and fail again.

I would rather epically fail trying to improve myself, than to sit on the sidelines waving a flag of mediocrity and watch as life passes. Certainly if I quit running with Those People I Don't Know, I won't fail anymore, but at least as a failure, I am in the mix.

My swagger's opinion is that the only way to succeed is to fail at something, and still show up tomorrow to run again.

~ savor the run ~