Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day, Memorial Walk

Yesterday I got a chance to get out with the ...wear blue: run to remember group on their Memorial Day run.

I hadn't thought much about doing it this year, since I'm not running, but Ilham got in touch and encouraged me to walk with her good friend Gina since Gina was planning to walk it. Of course!

It was an amazing start to Memorial Day. We had 200-300 participants, I'm guessing -- families, veterans, runners and walkers of all shapes and sizes. All running (or walking) to honor a fallen service member. After a ceremony where those names were read, we were off around Lake Mercer and Burke Lake.

Just a sampling of the crowd that I could fit into my pic.
Gina, Jenn and I had a really good time at the back of the pack. They are terrific ladies! The Potomac River Running Co. donated cowbells, which we rang at every runner we saw on the out-and-back course. And we got some photos.

Melanie A., Gina, Ilham, and me

I can't believe I almost missed it. Even more importantly, I would have also missed the opportunity to honor Specialist Sarina Butcher, of Checotah, Oklahoma, killed in action on November 1, 2011. She was 19 and had plans to go to nursing school after her tour of duty.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday Word: Freedom

Where do you get your freedom?

It's Wednesday Word with DebRuns.com, and this week everyone is writing about freedom. You can check out some great posts on the subject by clicking here:

Deb Runs


With a topic like freedom you can take it all over the place. I'm keeping it personal and fitness-y by thinking about freedom as the silver lining of not being able to run: I've been free to do things like swim three days a week, do more yoga, and ride my bike (an adventure all unto itself). Without a training schedule to stick to, your week opens up.

But the problem I have with that is that freedom should be more than a consolation prize. Because I really did like the freedom of bounding through the neighborhood in my colorful shoes and the freedom of popping out my front door for an instant workout.

So I'm thinking about freedom as a choice. I am still free to run, after all. And, according to a doctor, a nurse, some x-rays, and a physical therapist, I am therefore free to have really, really painful knees, and preferably run in a brace, and possibly have some nasty knee procedures in the near future.

Or I'm free to choose something else. Free to choose, but still responsible for the outcome of your choice. That feels better to me. And what also feels better are my knees, hips, and feet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday Word: Who Encouraged Whom?

The Marine Corps Historic Half was this weekend and I was all over it like I have been for the past couple of years. This year, though, I got to spend it with a terrific lady, a bag of candy, and a cooler of cold water.

Today's Wednesday Word with DebRuns.com is ENCOURAGE, and it's an apt word because my friend Zarif and I spent early Sunday morning encouraging a bunch of runners. And I encourage you to check out the link below if you want to see some other bloggers' takes on encouragement.

Deb Runs


Our vantage point was a good one. The race course is in a lollipop shape so we got to see the runners barreling out, just past their Mile 1, looking all fresh and ready to conquer. Then, an hour or so later, the speediest runners come back, closing in on their Mile 12, looking less fresh. Oh, and our spot is near the top of a terrible, horrible hill that the runners have to climb before they finish.

My favorite thing about last year's race was seeing two angels, Zarif and Handan, standing near the top of the hill with cold water and cool washcloths. I was pretty excited to be doing that this year.

Zarif picked me up at about 4:30 in the morning, which got us into Fredericksburg in time to get primo parking at the Walmart close to the start. We bought ice for her rolling cooler, mini candy bars for the runners, and a McDonald's coffee for me and we trudged to our spot on the hill.

We weren't there long before the runners came by. We yelled "Good morning!" and a general "Woo-woo!" at them (and someone gave me a clapper so I shook that thing so hard my arm was sore the next day) and cheered them on until the runners of the Semper 5-miler started their trek up the hill. Yell, yell, yell, we cheered for them, too.

And then the half marathoners started appearing. The first bunch were going hard, too hard to stop for more than a fist bump (speedy Nicole and Dan W., and lightning-fast Jay). But the pack soon followed and I have never seen a bunch of people happier to see little candy bars. We hollered at everyone ("LOOK! You can see the top!"), high-fived a whole lot of people, and my favorite was when one woman stopped and solemnly shook my hand. We marveled at the Team RWB coaches who continuously ran down the hill so they could accompany runners on their trip up. We hugged our friends and Zarif took a ton of wonderful pictures.

That's me on the right with the clapper! And the thundering herd, and the shadow of Zarif the photographer.

I didn't get do nearly as good a job taking pictures, so I'm sharing one of Zarif here:

Neither of us looked this polished on Sunday morning.

And I am adding a link to her work website because you should read her bio. This is one amazing lady!

Then we skedaddled home and I was able to take a nap so as to be able to stay up for Game of Thrones that evening. Wow, Daenerys!

The thing is, though we went to cheer on the runners out there, I feel like I totally got the better end of the deal. It was INSPIRING seeing all those folks, of all shapes and sizes, push up that hill. It was a thrill to see people I know doing it. And it was a great time getting to know someone better by standing next to her in a shared mission. I left the race feeling happier even than the times I'd run it.

And not only was I walking a lot better than some of the runners afterwards, but I scored a few mini candy bars.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Keep Telling Your Story!

I had a great experience over the weekend (which I'll talk about tomorrow because it fits very nicely into DebRuns.com's Wednesday Word). I told someone about it, though, and his response was, "Who's going to play you when they make the movie?"

He was joking, of course, but ZING. And I've been trying to shake off being mad about it.

Then I read this piece on Medium this morning by author Orisirisi called, "Why You Shouldn't Stop Writing," and I had to share the link not only because it's super worth sharing, but because I want to remind myself why it's important to keep sharing your story, maybe just not with someone who poops on your picnic.

Here's the link. Keep writing, everybody. I want to hear it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Things to Figure Out

This week's Wednesday Word, for our linkup with DebRuns.com, is DILEMMA. Want to see how a bunch of fine bloggers are solving dilemmas? Click on the link here:

Deb Runs


I think of a dilemma as a thing to figure out. My thing to figure out right now is how to get through a swim class without a charley horse. I have been taking swim classes for the last two Tuesday evenings, and they've been really fun, but during the last ten minutes of each one, the muscles in my calves just say, nope, and gnarl themselves up in painful twisted shapes. We've had two teachers so far, and they have both suggested that perhaps I'm getting dehydrated, but I also think last night's cramping was muscle exhaustion because I got out of that pool so tired that I actually whimpered in the car on the way home.

Now THAT's a good class!

For other dilemmas, I read a book that has helped me stop worrying about a lot of them. Have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Mari Kondo? That's not it. Sarah Knight wrote a parody of it, though: The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck.

I'm going to use "giving a whoop" instead of Ms. Knight's word choice, because, well, that makes me more comfortable. As for her choice of 4-letter word, she uses it a LOT throughout the book and if that bugs you, this is not the book for you.

And that's too bad, because it really is a good book. It's about finding the fine line between worrying about what people think of you without being a jerk about it, and focusing on the things you should NOT give a whoop about in favor of the things for which you should reserve your whoops -- like your 401K.

I'm not saying it's life-changing, but it did help me get a little bit of focus as to what's important and makes me question whether the things that are dilemmas really aren't. Like this charley horse business. That's something I'm going to solve. (Next week: more stretching and some Nuun in my water.)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Breakfast in Bed

Last night, as our just-home-from-college daughter was putting together her overnight oats, I asked if they were all set to make me breakfast in bed for Mothers' Day.

The girl actually laughed!

And it is kind of ludicrous to ask for it, because I am awake way before the rest of the family (old running habits die hard, plus the darned cats get me up for their breakfast at about 5. And I've been using that time to do all those leg exercises for that knee of mine). And I don't like to sit around in bed.

But it kind of illustrates why I'm going to stay off Facebook for Mothers' Day. I love all the posts wishing happiness to all the mothers, and I've even put some up myself over the years, but this year I don't know I'm thinking of a mom I know (and all the moms) who have lost children, and another mom who threw her sadness over infertility into a passion for her life and her job, moms with kids who have special needs, and stepmoms I know (who are FAR from evil!), and families who go to very extreme measures just for the privilege of having someone to call you Mom.

Happy Mothers' Day is a simple phrase, but it sure isn't one-size-fits-all.

If you're a mom, and you're reading this (THANK YOU!), I hope that your day is full of love and full of doing whatever you want to do! And if you have a mom, I hope that she is a source of love and steadfast support for you. And if the mom thing is complicated for you (and if you have to get your own damn breakfast), I hope you treat yourself with a little extra love and kindness today. I'm thinking of you.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Save it For . . .

It's been super rainy in beautiful Fairfax, Virginia, for well more than a week. So rainy and gloomy that morning radio featured a psychologist talking about ways to avoid getting weather-related depressed.

In the past, I would have staved off rainy day blues with a run. Running in the rain is great because it feels much, much better than it looks like it feels, and there is a big badass quotient to it. "Whoo, look at her go! She's so CRAZY, running in the rain!" There is great appeal to this.

But since I'm no longer running, I had to find out other ways to keep the sun shining this morning. Here's what worked for me.

Lots of coffee.

I sent a picture to Cora to let her know how excited I am that she is finished with her freshman year of college.

I got to work early enough to snag a great parking spot.

Right in front of the building, baby!

Then I got coffee with Jenna, who also gets to work early.

Dark office? Better caffeinate.
Red raincoat.



And best of all, I thought of my friend Mark B., with whom I went to high school and college. In high school, we were lucky enough to be in a group that went to France for a week and while we were in Paris, the weather was very much like it has been here in beautiful Fairfax for the past few days.

Once we got to college, I hadn't seen Mark in some time, and happened to run into him on a similarly dark and rainy day. "Anne!" he exclaimed. "This weather! Isn't it Paris-y?"

Hell yeah it was! And hell yeah it is here in Fairfax. Paris-y and Ireland-y and, I hear, Seattle-y (but I've never been there so don't quote me).

And the bottom line is, it's not just Friday-ey, but straight up Friday. I hope your Friday is a great one, and that there's sunshine where you are.