Plants First, Fish Next

The original intent of this journal was to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the struggling twenty-something, as I searched for love and happiness in the small city-burb of ManchVegas, NH. Now, I'm thirty-something, I've found love in many forms, happiness in even more, and now the struggle is just... well... life. And finding time to do the million and one things I want to do- including writing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Feaster Five - Results

31:18, 10:05 minute miles
9000+ participants
Feaster 5, Andover, MA
Thanksgiving Day, 2009

My alarm went off at 6:25am. And again at 6:31. And again at 6:37, which is when I finally sat up and started putting on my clothes. My Runner mumbled, groaned, and turned over, a kitteh coming into the room to take my recently vacated warm spot. As I sat up my head felt like it was gonna fall off. Normally I don't have hangovers, but between the small amount of water I had the night before and the approximately 3 hours of sleep, I was, as Auntie Mame would say, "indisposed." I was excited for my race, no doubt, but I silently cursed Pocket Sized in that moment for picking the Feaster Five; not only did it start at an early 8:30am but it was 68 miles away. After a few more smooches and a promise to call him with my results, I pulled myself away from My Runner's warm embrace and headed down the interstate.

Pocket and I had spoken the previous night about meeting at her house in Nash and travelling together to Andover. The trip from her house to Andover normally takes about 30 minutes, but with race traffic, parking, getting to the start line, etc., we figured we would leave her house about 7:30. I was running pretty much on time coming from EBF where Runner lives, thanks to the minimal traffic on Thanksgiving morning and my little car being able to get up to 80-85mph. But I left My Runner's house without coffee (he doesn't drink it - can you believe?) or breakfast, so I desperately needed both. It was 7:30 exactly as I got off the exit to Pocket's house, and stopped by the Dunk's in the Shell station which was about the only place I saw open that morning.

While I was inside I got a phone call from Pocket. She was nervous, upset, thinking I had headed straight down to Andover. Since I was less than 3 minutes from her house when I got the message, I decided not to return her call. She seemed a little relieved when I got there, but it was 7:42, we were a little behind schedule, and really needed to get going. I had never done this before, she is sort of naturally cranky at that time of morning (sorry, Pocket, but you are - it's the theatre in you), so we both were agitated as we got into her car and headed to MA.

We pulled off the highway into Andover at 8:05 - good timing. As we're heading down the off ramp we both exclaim as we see cars PARKED ON THE GRASS ON THE OFF RAMP. Seriously. Pocket asks, "Should I just... park here?" and I'm all for it. Her little Saturn takes the granite curb admirably, she centers the car on the curve of the ramp as best she can, and we're ready to head. She's dressed in running tights, with a tech shirt from a recent race and a sport coat from Ann Taylor that looks both comfortable and fashionable. I'm mis-matched in my navy yoga pants, black VT50 shirt earned from crewing (yeah, I mixed black and navy, what of it?), and olive green random long-sleeved shirt from Target. She looks like a runner. I look like a slob. See:

Pocket Sized is the only thing keeping this photo from

I swear I did not mean to have my shirt up so you could see my mis-match-y-ness. I did not intend to hunch over so you had no idea that I'm almost half a foot taller than Pocket. This is pre-race and I admittedly look like hell, though I was feeling pretty good. The ibuprofen, coffee, and third of a bagel helped the hangover, and the nerves were there, but harnessable.

As we headed to the starting line we couldn't help but notice the crowd. We knew it was a big race - the website had said over 8,000 people participated last year, and Sherpa had also mentioned the crowds when I told him what race I was running. But nothing - NOTHING - prepared me for what I saw. A SEA of people. The stats at the top of this post indicate that over 9,000 people ran, plus spectators. o. m. g.

We worked our way up near the pacing block for 10 minute milers - the approximate pace we had been running while training. We were still in the back third of the crowd, though, and unable to get farther up. Once the race officially started, it took us at least 5 minutes to get past the starting line, and even then it was like being on the treadmill as it worked it's way from half a mile an hour to you desired pace. Running with that many other people was like driving in commuter rush hour traffic. We were constantly dodging people who were slower, trying to stay out of the way of faster people, folks would abruptly stop in front of us, or "change lanes" and cut us off.

I was running the 5K, but Pocket was running the 5 mile. Both paths started together, so for a bit we chatted about the craziness of the amount of people and strategized moving around them, commented on the silly things we saw some folks wearing, and coo'ed over babies in cute outfits. The courses ran together for the first mile of the race, which included the first "big" hill up Main St. in Andover. It was long, but we adjusted our strides, kept our arms pumping, and made it through. I was proud of both of us. Huffing a little, I still was in good spirits as we topped the hill, but sad to part ways with Pocket. She had her ipod to keep her company, but I had left mine in my car. It turned out not to be a bad decision for me - I was grateful.

As we parted ways I was able to take in my surroundings a little better. There were so, no SO... no SOOOOO many people. It was incredibly crowded. I spent a lot of my time passing or dodging or just people watching. All ages were running - two girls who couldn't have been more than 9 running as comfortable as-could-be well into the second mile, chatting away so much like me and Pocket that I had a glimpse into their future. An older man passed me, grunting with every breath he took. He sounded like he was being tortured. Moms and Dads encouraging their kids, or alternatively asking them if they needed to walk (that burned me - don't underestimate them! They'll walk when they need to!). Folks running alone with their music in their ears, other folks with friends.

The race pretty much took over the town of Andover. Entire roads were closed. People were spectating all along the race course, which was great. I didn't hear a lot of cheering, which made me a little sad, but knowing that people were watching kept me from walking. When I did hear cheering, I made sure to make eye contact, and if I could, thank them. I remember what it was like cheering - kinda boring and repetitive - but now that I was on the other end I appreciated it sooo much.

The 5 mile course re-joined the 5K course a couple of times, though the race coordinators tried to keep them in separate lanes. It seemed like they assumed the 5 milers were the "more serious" racers and would be running at a faster pace than the 5K'ers. Which, for the most part, was true, but I must say I weaved into the 5 miler lane to pass many, many people running the 5K. I always checked behind me - I wouldn't want to impede anyone trying to get a good time, but the 5K lane had so many people running (or walking) so slowly that it was hard to get through.

There was a clock at the 2 mile mark - the time was 25 minutes when I passed it. I was a little bummed... I had been running 10 minute miles in training, and while I expected to be a little slower because of the hills and the dodging, I didn't expect to add 2.5 minutes to my mile! It was then I realized that the clock had started with the start gun, not when *I* crossed the start line. I had no watch, no ipod, no way of keeping my own time or of knowing how far I'd come or how much I had left. All I had was running.

It was then that I really started to enjoy running. I had nothing to track my time or distance, so I had nothing to think about but my body running. And honestly I can say that this was the first time I truly enjoyed it. I felt great. I relaxed into my body, which fell into its pace. I looked at the houses and woods and roads around me. I let my breathing happen as needed. I felt the ground beneath my feet, the air around me, and the sky above me. I was surrounded by people but my experience was singular.

This feeling stayed with me for the rest of the race. It was interrupted only twice - once when two 5milers passed me shortly after the 2 mile mark, one saying, "Home stretch, buddy," which I figured then and now know to be COMPLETELY untrue (how dare he trick my brain into thinking it might be time for naps!), and again when the same girl passed me twice only to stop abruptly and walk right in front of me. Both times.

We were approaching Main St. again, so I knew we were actually on the final stretch now. We were headed up hill, but it was a pretty gradual grade, and I so had to pee and was so excited to cross the finish that I barely noticed. A theatre colleague who also ran the race commented on the "final hill" on my facebook page, and honestly I had to think long and hard to figure out what he was talking about. I never noticed it was hard - I was too busy being excited. It wasn't easy, but it certainly wasn't hard, and here I was, finishing my first 5K. 3.1 miles, on the ground, mostly by myself, running the whole way, no walking, no whining, no crying, no pouting, just running. And kinda liking it.

I crossed the finish line at 36:20. I was pretty happy with that time, then remembered that it took use time to cross the finish and was excited - maybe I even did this in under 30 minutes!! But whatever - TIME TO PEE screamed my body. Waiting in line for the port-a-johns, I felt a tap on the shoulder and heard a "Hey!!"

It was D! She had mentioned weeks ago that she might run the Feaster, but we never re-connected. Here she was! We hugged, discussed the race, congratulated each other. D is A Runner, in the way that I want to be. She's done marathons, she runs, but she's not some crazy chick who runs 8 million miles a week and only eats whole grains and protein shakes. She's lovely and fun and I hope to run with her soon. It was great to see her there! We wished each other a happy Thanksgiving, she went to get her pie and I went to pee.

After gathering my pie and complementary post-race snacks and water, I went back to the finish line to wait for Pocket. I knew she averaged a 10-minute mile, but I had a feeling that she was going to run faster than that today. Even though she hadn't had time to do much running this week, I just knew that the competitive spirit of the race would infuse her and make her pick up her pace. I was right - she came across the finish line at 52:01 - less than 15 minutes after me even though she had run 2 miles further. Hugging, pie, snacks, etc., we headed back to the car.

Celebratory photos with our pie:

I definitely had some post-race euphoria. Called My Runner, as I said I would. It was nice to hear him say he was proud of me. But it was great to say that I had achieved my goals - I finished, and I had run the whole thing. I was happy with my time, even though I didn't know it exactly. And I had fun. I couldn't believe it, but I actually had fun. I had been looking at another 5K in NH - a trail run in Hollis, but didn't want to commit until I had actually run the first race I signed up for. Now I knew I was kinda hooked, and convinced Pocket to sign up with me (though it's in December and she won't run if it's too cold... anyone want to contribute advice about cold-weather running gear?)
So..... that's the VERY long story about my kinda short run. But it will always be my first race, and I will always be happy about it. I had a great experience with Pocket, and I learned a lot about myself. I've done a lot of things I never thought I could do, but I've rarely done things I never thought I *would* do... and even more rarely have I decided that I was previously WRONG in my thinking. There's probably some message about how this has made me a stronger person, blah blah blah, and maybe it has, but...

Wow... maybe it has...

Thanks, Pocket, for helping me along this journey.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feaster Five - the Prequel

Last night was the very first time I've run 3.5 miles.

This is important because tomorrow is the first time I'll be in a 5K (3.1 mile) race.

I'm nervous and excited. And nervous. And excited. And we get pie, so that's fun. :-)

The hardest part of training recently has been getting my brain wrapped around the concept of running for more than 20 minutes. Actually, that's been the hardest part of training overall (other than recovering from the flu). My legs can do it, my lungs can do it, my brain is already in the other room stretching and thinking about a snack.

Last night I set a time goal rather than a distance goal and worked on some mental games. I figured I was running about three songs per mile. That really helped me visualize how long I'd be running for. I also used mental pictures to keep me interested in the run, since running on the treadmill is BO-RING! Images from watching others run, hikes I've been on, some of my out door practice runs, running behind My Oh-So-Hot Runner were some of the best.

It was not easy, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The mental games really helped. This morning I was a little sore, but I didn't stretch for as long as I usually do since I stepped off the treadmill at 9:45pm (see previous post about over-commitments...) All in all, I'm happy with where my body is and hopeful that I'll have a fun time with Pocket Size at the race tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

Hi, my name is Leeapeea, and I'm an over-commiter.

It started when I was in Junior High. I think I always had a penchant for it, but I was about 13 years old when I joined afterschool clubs for the first time. I found friends there - friends that wanted to do things with me. Fun things. Like hang out in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot, or watch TV, or see a movie. I'd never had friends before, and I relished the attention.

The trend of having friends that wanted to do things continued through high school, college, and beyond. When I was a kid in NJ I never had friends. At times I had *a* friend, but never *friends.* I love my friends. I love that they love me. When I have nothing to do, the lonely little 7-year-old inside me taunts that no one likes me.

I have a wide array of interests - theatre (as an actor, director, and designer, and audience member), hockey, running, GOOD television, movies... I also like doing things. I like feeling accomplishment, learning something new, being told a story, feeling, living.... And I find that an experience shared is enhanced.

All of these things lead to over-commitment. These last few weeks have been full of it. I've double booked a few days, scheduling back-to-back events. I haven't been able to spend time with Fred or do laundry or dishes in a timely manner.

I realize that this is all a result of the choices I made. And I still want to keep ALL of these commitments! I just want them to be a little more spread out. Or maybe I need to invent a "pause" button... like in Fermata, only less dirty.

... ok, maybe a little dirty....


As I've been thinking about this the last few days, mostly in my car going from one place to another, I've come up with a plan. I will save one weekend day and one week day. I will leave them "blocked off" to other plans. I can use them for last minute things, or to do laundry, or to read a book in the tub. I will cancel plans if I have to - something I absolutely hate to do. But for my mental sanity I may need it. I will FORCIBLY slow myself down.

... yeah, I don't believe me either, but it's worth a shot. :-)

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Off the Wagon

Thursday I rescheduled my run to Friday so I could buy shoes. Friday became socially packed, with two things to do right after work, plus meetings all day. Despite that, I attempted to run during my "lunch" break. I ran for a little more than three quarters of a mile on the treadmill and my feet were hurting too much. Saturday I had trapeze class and a date with Seacoast Writer while she was sequestered inland for a few hours. Sunday hockey practice was at a reasonable 11am, but still got there late, then headed up to My Runner's house for laundry, projects involving PVC piping, smoked pork, and snuggles.

Notice the almost complete lack of running in there? Yeah, I did too. I bet my body does too.

The plan is to get 2.5 in today on the treadmill at lunch. I hate running at lunch - the locker room at the gym is 8,000 degrees, so I'm never NOT sweaty (dear gyms - AC in the locker rooms is a good thing), plus I've eaten either right before or will be eating after so I'm never really in a good place food-wise. But tonight I'm going to see Minni-McL's Improv show in Boston right after work, soo....

I've always had a difficult time balancing my social engagements and my commitments. Apparently my training commitment is no different. Maybe I'll just have to get used to lunch time running.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

New Shoes!

Buying shoes is nothing new for me. It is my chocolate, my massage, my glass of wine (well, when I don't actually have a glass of wine). New shoes are my ever loving delight, and having just the right shoes to complete the outfit (or just the right outfit to complement the shoe) makes my day.

Last night I went to a store I've never been to before. It's in downtown ManchVegas, stocked with a ton of shoes and very helpful salespeople. The gentleman that serviced me was nice, knowledgeable, and brought me a total of 8 different pairs of shoes before I found the right ones. They're perfect:

Yeah.... I got running shoes. Real, true, actually good for my feet running shoes.

It was such a bizarre experience for me to be a tried and true shoe shopper and yet have NO IDEA what I was looking for in a pair of shoes. I went specifically to Runner's Alley for a bit of assistance. First they watch you jog a little, asses your stride and foot etc., then throw a bunch of shoes at you and ask you what feels good. Apparently, different shoes are made to "correct" different issues in your stride.

I ended up with the Brooks Adrenaline pictured above. The reviews all seem to say the cushioning wears out after about 130 miles, but at $89.00 they were actually pretty economical as far as running shoes go. My other options were all above $100; I'd rather start cheap and find out I don't like these than start expensive and find out I don't like THOSE either.

One thing I don't really like about them - they're white. I hate bright white sneakers. They look waaay too new at first, and then they look like crap. But I didn't buy them for looks (really, I didn't. They had these totally cute Saucany's that were also nice but were $130 and I didn't get them. See?). I bought them for function. I'll be testing them today when I "lunch" at the gym for my 2.5miles. Hopefully they're keepers.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Body Con

One side effect of all this running and hockey playing and trapezing (next class is Saturday, wOOt!!) is that I've lost about 15 lbs and 2 or 3 sizes. Which, well, good, I guess. But I can't say it ever really mattered.

I'm of the body acceptance camp. You have your body, and there's a limited amount of things you can do to control how it looks. Western society holds up unrealistic images of beauty for women (and even some for men, but obviously it's more prevalent for women). I spent most of my life hating the way I looked - my nose, my feet, my hands, my "Buddah Belly" (thanks for that quaint nick-name, family). I never believed it when someone told me I looked nice or good or even cute. NEVER. That's a lot of stress on a girl! I went through the phases - deciding not to give a crap and eat whatever I wanted, which just made me fatter, then deciding to give a crap and work out like a mo fo and got skinnier, but none of it made me HAPPIER. Not until I decided to accept my shape, no matter what it was.

I also don't believe that fat people are inherently lazy. It's the most socially acceptable form of prejudice to dislike or mock people who are heavy. Hell, I've been guilty of it (though mostly I mock what people are WEARING, not their size - taste is ALWAYS mockable). Now that I'm getting more and more into sports and running, etc, the media that I'm looking at denounces fat. Well, fuck you. Some people enjoy life in different ways. Also, go to any race, even the VT50 - there were people there that I would NEVER expect to be runners based on their size. But they ran - muddy trails in back woods for more miles than most people walk in a month. Are they lazy? No.

So, yes, I work out. I run. I play sports. But it's not to be "skinny." Part of the freedom of body acceptance is accepting that your choices have consequences. I made a choice that I would make myself happy, no matter what that meant at a given time. Sometimes it makes me happy to play hockey for 2 hours, so I do. The consequence of that choice can mean sore muscles and bruising over 60% of my body as well as serious caloric burn. Sometimes it makes me happy to eat nachos and drink margaritas, (ok, most of the time it makes me happy to eat nachos and drink margaritas) and the consequence of this choice is a fully belly but also experiences with friends and loved ones that deepen my relationship with them.

So, if you see me and say, "Gosh, Leeapeea, you're so thin!" and I give you a weird look and a questionable, "Thanks," let's go ahead and move on to another topic, m'k? Maybe order a plate of nachos and a couple of margs... ;-)

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

5K Training - The Real Challenge

Got hit with Whooping Cough or some other quaint disease this week which effectively put me out of commission. I stayed home from work most of the week, only going in on Wednesday, Veteran's Day, when no one else in the office would be around for me to infect (or to bug me. I was very productive that day). It also barred me from what was supposed to be my 20 minute run on Wednesday. Having a hard time dealing with inactivity on such a tight schedule, I volunteered to play goalie for the boys at Hood Park. It was fun, got a few new bruises and used shoulder and calf muscles I didn't know I had, but standing in the 40*(+/-) weather for an hour, damp through with sweat, after my shift probably did me in. My cough turned into a hack, my body ached from my toes to my scalp, and not moving made me soooo happy.

After recouping all day Thursday and most of the day Friday, I went for my scheduled run on Friday night with My Runner. I had planned on doing Wednesday's "timed" run of 20 minutes, rather than pushing through to Friday's "distance" run of 2.5 miles, since it would be an increase of 0.5 miles and it had been 4 days without running AND being sick. My Runner had different ideas.

We ran a loop in his neighborhood, which is maybe a bit South of EBF, NH. Mostly dirt roads, definitely no sidewalks or street lamps. I was having a tough time. It took a while for my body to loosen up after 3 days of bed rest. Once that happened, I realized how bad my lungs really were still. I hadn't been breathing deeply, except for coughing, since Monday. My esophagus was a little ravaged. The air was chill and dry, not helping me stay comfortable. Still, the 5:30pm traffic zipping down the country lane kept me thinking about things other than my legs and my lungs, namely staying alive.

(ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive.)

((you know you were thinking it.))

(((incedentally, i love that this is the song you're supposed to sing to accurately time out chest compressions when giving cpr. well, this song or "another one bites the dust," depending on how morbid your inner radio is.)))

This was the first run I've done with significant hills. I'm glad for it - it's something I know I'll need to work on, and it was good to get My Runner's advice on how to handle pacing adjustments for the uphills. I was completely winded when we got back to the house, but happy that I ran the whole thing, later confirmed to be 2.4 miles - longer than I've run in one go yet.

It's funny how different things can encourage you to move forward on different days. Sometimes I just need my running partner to talk to me - when Pocket and I went running last weekend, I barely noticed the time as we chatted and caught up about boys and jobs and such. When I ran with her today (another 2.4 mile loop, this time in her neighborhood on pavement), it was all I could do to take a small part in the conversation. I love listening to My Runner tell stories about other runs he's been on, or about something stupid that happened at work. Flirting with him keeps me moving forward too, though that's usually a whole different kind of motivation... When I'm running on my own, only certain songs will do, keeping my body fluid and ready to move, beat driving me on.

The hardest part is how easily I can get broken down. My Runner likes to ask, "how are you feeling?" That question forces me to examine my body in the middle of the run. When I do my mental self-exam and feel my calves aching and my hip flexor getting touchy and my lungs raking air in and my face hot and dry.... Knowing I feel like crap is hard. SAYING I feel like crap makes it real and all of a sudden I want to stop. Running in Pocket's neighborhood I was familiar enough with the terrain to know exactly HOW FAR until we got back to her house, and HOW BAD I wanted to stop running. I didn't, but convincing my mind to keep running was just as hard as convincing my body.

It's mental. I mean, I am recovering AND pushing, so it's physically hard, but I know my body is completely capable of running 2.5 miles. But feeling like I want to, being aware of that carrot dangling in front of my face, finding a way to adjust my pace, cadence, etc., to deal with the little aches and pains, THAT'S the challenge that I'm facing now. These last two runs were hard, physically, yes. But they were HARD. Mentally. I'm not just training my body for this run, I'm training my mind.

Next Training Run: Tuesday, on my own, 25 minutes. Goal: Time & Hills

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Monday, November 09, 2009

On Keeping One's Self

Sometimes I wonder where I've gone.

When it's just me, I do what I want. I know my worth. I know I'm loyal and kind and witty and inapropriate and thoroughly depricating to my friend's enemies. I have my life and I live it with gusto. I spend inordanite amounts of time with friends and family, with time leftover to keep my house clean and my fridge stocked with yummy homemades. I go to the gym, or not, but I can still own a room. I walk through the world knowing, loving, and owning myself.

When I'm with someone, I see myself "through their eyes," and in my twisted stupid girl mind, that means I see the worst of myself. My loyalty, kindness, and willingness to sacrifice my own time and needs for the ones I love makes me needy, clingy, and weak. The ability to have my own life with family and friends makes me distant and unapproachable. Spending time at home alone becomes time for sad girl chores. Going to the gym is a desperate attempt to stay thin and pretty, and rooms suddenly own me. I waft through the world, no longer knowing myself.

This is my fault. I certainly hope this is not how anyone I'm with perceives me. I blame my "stupid girl." You know, the one that sits inside your brain and calculates how much thinner that girl is than you, or tells you not to even bother going to the gym since no one will love you no matter how skinny you are. This is not new. This is baggage at its ugliest.

Of course all of this was prompted by a discussion with My Runner. Poor guy is sorta the receptical for this portion of baggage. Not that he didn't bring any luggage to the flight, but I certainly packed my own suitcase of issues.

Also, when I say, "discussion," I mean "gchat." Because we're both on it all day long at work. Gchat is like nuclear power - awesome and either really great or really horrible depending on how you use it. "With great power must come great responsibility." Thanks, Uncle Ben. You were so right. Anyways, we were talking about scaring each other off, (see, folks? baggage on both sides), and I mention that I'm worried I'll scare him off my asking for too much of his time. To which he replies that he thinks we spend a lot of time together. Warning signals are flashing in my brain - do NOT go on. But stupid girl brain takes over. Oh sure, we do spend a lot of time together. But that doesn't mean I don't *want* more. ::sigh:: good job, stupid girl brain. I'm pretty sure my next line was something about liking cheese and ooh shiny distraction, but it was too late.

We actually DO spend a good amount of time together. 2-3 days a week. That's really a lot. I don't spend that amount of time with anyone else. Sometimes Face or Pocket or Smarty (well, not now that she's in another state), but that's pretty much it. And recently I certainly haven't been spending that much time with the girls. I've given priority to My Runner. Why?

Well, certainly I like spending time with him. He's cute and funny and charming. He's depreciating to his and his friends enemies. He's beautiful to watch when he's running or playing sports, and he can own a room. We're often actually *doing* things, rather than sitting around watching tv or movies. But I think there's also that part of me... that twisted girl mind... that tells me to be I *need* to be present with him to make sure he hasn't run away. That makes me see the innocent questions I ask/statements I make as mind-fucks, and then makes me backpedal and explain to the point that those innocent questions appear to actually be mind-fucks.

I dont' want to be needy. Or clingy. I want to be me. I want to feel the way I feel when I walk into a room and decide whether I'll own it or share it. I want to be ok - REALLY OK, not just, "well, ok," with doing other things. I don't want to need his approval or attention to find my self worth. I don't want to be constantly thinking of him when I'm with my family or friends and he's not.

This is a conscious decision I have to make. I know I make it when I'm single: I will love me. When I'm with someone that I want to spend more than a small amount of time with, it's like all my energy goes to them. I need to keep some for me. Maybe more than some. For one thing, it's only healthy. All the doctors and psychological authorities and Cosmo say so. Ok, but for serious, if any of my girlfriends were acting the way I am and saying the things I am, I would tell her that she's got to spend more time and love on her. For two things, if HE started acting the way I am acting, I'd be like, who the hell are you? And for third thing, he was attracted to me when I was that girl who owned the room. The one who did lots of things with lots of people and who was loyal and kind and witty and inapropriate and thoroughly depricating to my friend's enemies. Not sad bastard girl who wastes away in her tower when her prince isn't there.

God I don't like that girl. I don't want to be that girl. Friends, how can you stand that girl? Well, before you even answer that question, thanks for standing that girl. I promise, I'm trying to make it better. There's a balance, and I'll find it. Because I can be loyal and kind and witty and inapropriate and thoroughly depricating to my friend's enemies AND in a relationship.

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We interrupt your blog post....

.... because this is beautiful:

The heel! The lace! The balance of form! I am almost as happy to look at these as I would be to wear them.

... almost...

.... Now back to your regularly scheduled postings.....

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Friday, November 06, 2009

This is NOT a running blog.... I promise....

...but I do have to say that last night I actually really registered for the Feaster Five. This is it. I'm really doing it now.

oh god... i'm really doing this.....

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

5K Training - Pavement

Lastnight was my 15 minute run. (Well, ok, I've run longer on a treadmill, but that's like running in a hamster wheel.) I have yet to figure out how far I went - I suspect it will be close to 1.5 miles. (ed.- it was 1.6 miles, actually) I ran from my office in a Millyard that has been converted to office and storefront space, so there is always a lot of light and there are a lot of people around at that time. Now that it's mostly dark when I get out of work at 4:30, I'm a little nervous to run by myself in Manch, especially in my neighborhood. I used the tricks I learned from living in NYC - stay where it's light and there's a lot of foot traffic.

I don't own a watch, so I created a playlist on my ipod that was 18 minutes long (extra time for warm up and cool down walk) to time my run. It worked pretty well. And, while it wasn't *easy*, the run wasn't hard either. The problem with being by the riverfront at the Millyard is that there's no hills - just a few slight inclines.

I hope to be able to drive the course in Andover before long so I can see what the terrain is like and be sure I'm preparing correctly for it.

Next training run: Saturday, with Pocket Size. Goal: 1.5 miles

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

5K Training - Setting the Schedule

Yesterday and today I worked on actually plotting a training schedule to get ready for the 5K. Apparently, 5 weeks is what is reccomended. Whoops.

Pocket Sized and I compared dates and came up with a few days to run together before the race. That was a start. I let My Runner do some legwork and he found the following resources which I leaned on:

There's a TON of resources for training for a 5K. Couch-to-5K programs are everywhere, and they're all basically the same. They include a lot of run, then walk, then run. And most of them take 5 weeks or more. But I've got 3.

So I took the table from the middle link and adapted it. I'm running just about every other day, sometimes with an extra day. Here's the plan:
11/2 - 1.25mi (yeah, that was yesterday - ran before hockey. Hockey running doesn't count towards this plan.)
11/4 - run 15 min
11/7 - run 1.5mi
11/9 - run 20 min
11/11 - run 20 min
11/13 - run 2.0 mi
11/15 - run 25min
11/17 - run 25 min
11/19 - run 2.5mi
11/22 - run 30 min
11/24 - run 3mi
11/26 - run 5K race

I really like the combination of timed runs vs. mileage runs. I've been so focused on distance lately that running for a time will be a good mental change. I hope to maintain about a 10- or 11-minute mile pace, though 10 would be ideal.

Looking at this schedule, having days off is frustrating, but I know I need them to let my body rest. I'd like another week - maybe another couple of 3 mile runs before I do the 5K. But as it is I'm increasing my distance a little on the fast side. I'm going to have to really commit to doing warm up/cool down and stretching to make sure I don't injure myself. I'm also still playing hockey and I've got my next trapeze class near the end of this training.

I'm pretty confident I can do this. Whelp... I'm doing the race. I'll finish it. One way or another. Hopefully on my feet. :-)

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Monday, November 02, 2009

My Mostly Crappy Weekend with Dad - a Diatribe

I recently went to visit my Dad in PA. We see each other 2, maybe 3 times a year. I was looking forward to this visit: we had planned it in the summer so I knew I could get time off, and he was hosting a race event for his running club. Friday morning I packed my bags and Fred, ran the car through the carwash (someone was stabbed in my neighborhood and used my car as a blood recepticle. The police said he was a bad guy anyways, apologized, helped me take the crime tape off my car, and let me through the blockades. Ah, Manch.)

From the start my Dad was distracted by race details. I know what it's like to organize a big event, so I was there and ready to help. Having never worked on a race like this (crewing is for one person, working on the race is for all of them) I was a little nervous, but the other volunteers were nice and helpful. Registrations got screwed up, then I screwed things up more during our work around, then the computer system they were using to track runners got screwed up, the people taking the tags didn't do it right, and on and on. It wasn't *that* bad, but for the 4th or 5th time of doing this event, it was more issues than it should have been. Dad was running around trying to fix everything. After the race he was pretty disappointed.

Still, we had lunch at Stoudt's with some of the other volunteers. We reviewed some of the things that went wrong to learn from it, and had a pretty good time after that. I was glad the race was done so I could just hang with my Dad. Oh, except LoLo's daughter and grandson were stopping by this evening. Oh, ok. I mean, *I'm* visiting you, so it's a little weird, but she was a pretty cool girl and her son was cute and well-behaved, so it didn't turn out too badly.

Before she came over my Dad dropped an emotional bomb: "I'm toying with the idea of not coming to Christmas this year. It's starting to feel like an obligation." What? The ONE time of year that we have standing plans, and it feels too much like an obligation? I'm sure my indignation read plainly on my face because he started backpedaling and "explaining" etc. "It's not an obligation to visit you, just the family Christmas stuff." Ok, I know my Dad, and I get that. But still... "I still want to see you this winter, when else do you have time?" Um, I don't. I have time at Christmas because that's when you're there so I block it off all year. It's not easy for me to take time off of work when it's not school vacation. "I'll look at my calendar and send you a few dates, you can let me know." Yeah. Sure. Wow was I feeling shitty.

I *like* tradition. In a big family with separated parents, tradition helps you enjoy the holiday and not feel stressed or emotionally blackmailed. It's like, we agreed upon this arrangement, now we can just enjoy it. This year both my parents decided to fuck with my tradition, and it's felt like an attack. (Mom's story is mostly resolved, but that's another entry). I was not totally involved for the rest of the evening, which I felt a little bad about, but my Dad ended up wasted and falling asleep on the couch, so in the end I was hanging out with LoLo and her daughter.

We had planned on going on a hike the next day. It was sunny and warm and a perfect fall day. I decided to put the Emotional Bomb away for now - we only had one day left - and just enjoy my time with Dad. We had a good morning, and a great hike. We went to this lookout and saw bald eagles and red-tailed hawks. We did a little exploring around historic areas by the river. All in all, the kind of day I like to have with my Dad.

On our way home we go to his other favorite bar. We're among the first ones there - it's just 4pm. I order a beer, he gets a gimlet. And another. We get food and the bartender from Stoudt's comes in after his shift. Dad knows both bartenders *really* well. I decide to indulge and get a martini. Dad wouldn't let me drive us home anyways - he's pretty touchy about that. I'm starting to have a shitty time. Dad's not really talking to me, gimlets are being poured for him without even needing to ask. I'm not really talking to him. We head home, I'm pretty drunk, he might be too for all I know. Sound like a pattern? Sound like the apple doesn't fall far? Yeah....

We're sitting around talking. He asks me about My Runner - we've talked about him several times, but this time Dad asks with that same look my mom gets: "I'm worried you started this relationship so soon after the Boy." I give him the same response I give my mom and everyone else: we worried about that too. Now, it's our own relationship. The Boy and I were done a long time before we broke up.

This is when Dad kinda sorta accuses me of cheating. "It's almost like you had him waiting in the wings." I blink. Seriously? I didn't even know My Runner when the Boy and I broke up. He backs down on that argument and we start talking about the Boy - relationship autopsy stuff. "Well, I always thought he was cheating on you." Again, with the blinking. What? "Well, his behavior, always going to his 'sister's' house, you know." No, this would be the first time I would consider that.... "Plus he accused you of cheating when you broke up. Transference." Hmm, let's think about where the transference might be coming from in this scenario.... Still, why didn't you say something? "Well, I didn't want to stick my nose in your business." YOU'RE MY FUCKING FATHER, THAT'S YOUR JOB!! Especially if you think I'm in a bad relationship! You thought the Boy had a drinking problem, you didn't mention that until things were almost over either. Don't you care that I spent 4 years with an a-hole and you never said anything? It might not have changed the outcome, but then again, it might have. And at least I would have known you cared enough to try.

This is about when I stop remembering things. I went to the car to charge my phone and called Face. Basically ranted this entire post to her. I'm sure she was loving and commiserating and very comforting. I don't really remember, but I know her and that's what she would have done. I called My Runner - luckily he didn't answer since I have NO idea what I would have said. I woke up at 2am on the couch, thoughts of all the crap Dad had said swirling around my brain. A shower, water, and some Advil and I was back asleep and SO ready to leave town in the morning.

Dad made raspberry pancakes for breakfast. I had already packed everything up and was ready to go. We went over directions. I apologized for passing out - I remember how I felt when he did it and to turn around and do it to him... well, who knows if he even cared. I loaded the car, herded Fred into his cage, and said goodbye to Dad. "Next time maybe you can stay for more than 2 days, huh?" I guess by now I should have expected the emotional blackmail. I just laughed - what else could I do? I was so not interested in thinking about a next time right now. I just wanted to go home.

My relationship with Dad hasn't always been good. I remember him sitting me down after attending a 4th of July parade in NJ when my parents were separating, trying to convince me that I should tell the judge I want to live with him. I was 8. After a short engagement, he eloped with his second wife while I was in high school. The original plans were for a small wedding, and Brother and I were one of 6 invitees. That made me feel so special - only to have it taken away with the news of their elopement... 3/4's of the way down a card. I didn't talk to him for years, if I could help it. Took me almost 4 years to tell him how bad it was. She turned out to be a douche and it was really hard to not say "I told you so" when they were getting divorced, but I didn't because that's not what people do when someone you love is hurting. It took a long time for us to build up to the relationship we had... Had. I don't know who this guy was that I visited, but if he's Dad now, I'm not happy with the place that he's in. He's my Dad, and I still love him, but I really don't like him right now.

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