2013, i hardly knew you.

20140101-150650.jpg

I didn’t do an end of the year blog post.  My running was, in a word, sketchy.  I ran 513 miles and change.  I planned 3 races with a DNS due to no training or illness.  I haven’t had a running year like this since 2008.  The last month of the year, I had planned a half marathon in Las Vegas, because it was on my LA Marathon training schedule.  I then got the dreaded flu that everyone seems to have now.  I spent all my money at ER and Walgreen’s in Vegas, which is good, considering how much worse it could have been.

I ran some good races.  A balloon 5K in Fresno that signaled the end of my time there.  For a little while.  A local 8K with a freshly broken heart.  A half marathon of deathly proportions in Modesto.  And my finest half marathon in San Francisco since coming back from a broken foot.  I was able to coach a new runner to her first, then her second 5K in two days.  I spent hours with her talking about running.  Life. Recovery.  But always running.

I’m still on track, although the road is taking turns that I hadn’t planned on.  I said goodbye to someone I loved madly.  I said hello to a possibility, a maybe.  And then I threw the dice and while waiting for them to land, discovered that I didn’t even know if I wanted to play the game.  My life is full.  I’m happy with my little family, though Chet is getting older, and teenagers are separating, as they must.  They are finding their passions, and I want to keep them 4 years old and dependent at times…and then just like that, I get so excited about watching them plan their futures.  My dream job came to me just as I let go of all control, and I am back on track.

I have friends.  Amazing friends.  I have 10 people that I can call at midnight, that will pick up the phone.  I have one who makes me the best cappuccino on the planet, served with therapy, in a small coffee shop tucked away in the city… on more Sundays than I can count. One who Face Times me from a piece of land in the South. One who will meet me at Starbucks at the drop of a hat, and a friend who sat down and took the time out to send me a marathon plan, just because.  A friend who is hunkering down dealing with whatever she has to, and who knows I will be here when she resurfaces.  We have been friends that long.  We all show up together to figure out the little problems that life throws our way.  These are experiences that I would have missed.

But 2013.  I spent so much of the year grieving, that I sometimes missed the beauty of my life right in front of me.  I forgave my ex husband after watching him comfort our son after a tough championship playoff loss.  In April and May I didn’t even blog. I rejoined and fell in love with my first love, Twitter.  I went to Florida, Nebraska, Nevada.  I went to my mother’s house in LA once a month.

I realize how lame it is to do a goodbye to 2013 post on January 1 of the next year. But this is how it is.

It’s January 1.  I’ve already broken the resolutions I made at 11:59 last night.  And I suppose that’s how it is with me.  Life is a beautiful mess and I love every minute of it.  The chaos, the joy, the heartache and extreme satisfaction.

2013.  I hardly knew you, but I’m over you now.  Time for the now.

Happy New Year.  I mean it this time.

March Madness. Sort of.

Hearts-257

I finished March out with a sad showing at the Modesto Half Marathon.  I was going along just fine, when at mile 4.86 (yes, I was that locked in), I felt an imperceptible pull.  My IT band.  It pulled ever so slowly, right down the side of my right leg.  I thought it was my hip.  I had never had this injury before, so I was shocked, to say the least.  I walked and limped 9 more miles.  And, I’m sort of over it.  This running business.  I love it, I really do.  But, when you work SO hard for SO long, only to get sick or injured, well, it’s wearing on me.

And, my writing.  Of late, it’s been really introspective.  Nothing I want to share, actually.  I’ve reopened a private blog, a place to write down all of the craziness that has typified the last 2 years, and have really had a turn in my life.  My writing doesn’t even really make sense to ME, much less anything I can share.  It’s all dangling participles, and phrases that don’t turn into sentences, thoughts that get started and have no conclusion.  My writing is exactly what it feels like to live inside my brain these days.

I’ve started to date.  And, that’s a really weird thing.  Someone said I should try dating websites, but they are pathetic and creepy, and most women I know want nothing to do with them.  I shudder to think that might be the place to meet a man.  At the same time,  in a way, I’m envious of people who can just put it all out there, and boldly state that they WANT someone.  And about that.  I just can’t do that.  I guess it’s because I don’t.  Want someone.  To meet someone and open all the way back up again.  Not now.  I know that I am enough, and I became a good woman, worthy of so much.  The times I’ve dated in the last few months, I didn’t even want to do anything more than a hug.  Just a gesture of thank you for the evening.  Dating is weird.  Dinner, movies, talking, all of that.  And at the end of the evening, I just want to be back home with my dog, and cuddling with MY life.  My GOOD life.

I’ve missed me.  The me that danced at the Dodgers game this weekend, and laughed out loud with my family, and the girl who still has not gone back to the old ways of shady behavior.  I have missed that little girl who looks at the world with wonder and innocence, even when I know it’s a dark place.  I’m tired, but I still have energy for good people, for people who don’t love with conditions.  And, though in the last 2 years I worked hard to lose my hard shell, along with it, I lost much of myself too, so I’ve come back to center, of sorts.  It’s hard, because I need good women to help me sort through the stuff I need to toss and need to keep.

I work.  With amazing people.  With a wonderful boss, who I knew years ago.  Who remembered how good I was at this particular work.  Who called me the day of that same familiar loss, when I prayed for God to untangle me, and who gave me a ray of sunshine that I’ve been missing for a year.  And now, I’m getting back into the swing of things…of being the worker and professional that I used to be.

So, running.  I have a half on tap in a few months.  I may try to work up a training plan.  But unless things change, I will look to a new way to love my body…and I do love my body.  The gym, yoga, bike riding.  Whatever.  Whatever it takes.  I’m sorry that I have nothing new to report.  No inspiration.  Except to say that March?  The madness is over, and just like that…tomorrow is a new day full of hope for my Dodgers and my children and my home and my life.

I’m so blessed, I can’t even really explain or understand it.

~Cheers~

Mellow Half Mary Training

da-mo-86

On Wednesday I will turn 54.

In that time, I’ve run 5 marathons.

8 half marathons, and others…around 36 races.

only 10 of those before I turned 50.

When I was training for my first marathon, as the story goes,

I didn’t know I was 50.  Or that it was considered old.

and yet I trained.  On the overpasses, on the dark streets.

I didn’t know I could survive a hellish divorce in a quiet little town.

Or that I could single-handedly save my house…

This house with it’s broken dishwasher that’s suddenly started working,

the screen doors that Chet has ripped off the tracks,

the ripped gazebo, that still functions, sort of, as a place to put pool tools.

The pickets and arbor, long since their prime

and fences held up with 2 by 4s.

I was never sure that I could be enough as a single mom,

to raise two now-teenagers, and love it.  Really love it.

I was sure that as they got older they would want to live somewhere else.

With him.

And I was prepared for that, but they do not want that.  They want

here.

And because I have no man skills to share, my harley guy has stepped in,

and is, with the boys, building a basketball hoop for the street, and has offered to help teach

the oldest to drive, and the both of them how to play real poker.

Things I couldn’t do.  Didn’t want to.

Because every boy should learn to drive a stick shift, and bet like a man.

So, what I learned is this.

You never get anything you want, unless you ask.

And.  I asked.

And just when I would get some new resolve, I would get smashed back down, and then up.

Again.

I’m in week 5 of a Mellow Half Marathon Training, which is the title of this post,

but makes no sense at all, unless you see the big picture of my life right now.

Running 3 days a week, building muscle on the others.

It’s incredibly relaxing, and even as I get up into 6 milers, which I used to carve off with panache,

I sometimes struggle.  But, I keep running.

And 54?  I’m sure it’s going to be the best year of all.

I will attempt marathon number 6 in the Fall, but for right now,

I will prove that I can again toe the line and reclaim the love I have.

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.–Randy Pausch

an imperceptible shift

I’ve been busy.  Really busy.  Like, how did I ever hold down a job?

And cook breakfast, lunch and dinner to hungry teen people?

How did I do all the things I love before?  And work?

A few weeks ago, I thought I would lose my mind.  I couldn’t sit around my house

one. more. day.

I Facebooked.  Yes, but Facebook is more about cute posters and quotes

instead of real, clean status updates.

I Pinterest.

I rejoined Twitter.

I got a Tumblr. 

I downloaded Path.

I Instagram picture of my children.  But mostly, my dog.

Chet in the morning, Chet at the breakfast table, Chet at 3:11, when he waits for the bus.

I would venture to say that my ADHD has really paid off in terms of keeping me busy.

I don’t know what’s happening, but I feel a shift.

One boy is getting ready to look at colleges.

The other boy is making me proud by emotionally becoming present.  Really present.

He is the truth holder in our family.  You can’t get much by him.

We continue to forge on in this new path we’ve been carving out amid the ruins.

And, it’s good, really good.

But.  Something is shifting.  I want to run, yet running makes my foot sing.

I’m in “wait”.

For a job, or retirement, or foreclosure, or changing towns.

And. until the shift is complete, I am in neutral.

Which is sort of a cool place to be.

There Are No Rules.

I saw this picture this morning at my gym, and I started laughing.  Typical sign…that people ignore.

I’ve started a new lifting routine, along with 60 minutes cardio on the off days, and CORE everyday.  And I remember when I starting weights for the first time, as a new Mom of my last son, and I had to follow the plan.  Every day.  If it said I was to rest on Sunday, I rested.  I never veered from the program, but it sort of made me crazy.  Because, what if I didn’t want to run on Tuesday, but wanted to rest?  I would berate myself, and slide back into the same cycle of binging, beating up on myself, then sheepishly starting again.  The following Monday.

Maybe it’s being a parent, or just getting older, but all that has changed.

When I have a question for God, I shake the 8 Ball.  I swear, I do…and, I act accordingly.  I’ve held this house together when everyone else said I should move, and you’re going to lose it, and oh-my-god-what-will-you-do?  I raised 2 teenagers in this town of 8% divorce rate, and have told the truth to anyone who asked.  I fall in love on day 3, or I take a year and a half.  I tell the truth on every single damned interview, because I simply will not go back to lying, or playing the game just so that you will approve of me.  I Facebook too much, or not at all.  I’m clearly obsessed with music playlists, and sometimes sing in the gym, even though I know that’s not very cool.

The only real rules I have are that on Fridays, I wash and change the sheets and towels.  I always answer the phone when it’s my Mother, because someday I will ache for her voice in my ear, and she won’t be there.  My kids’ rooms have to be presentable enough to keep the doors opened.  Caps go on toothpaste, and French Roast coffee is the only thing we have in the coffee pot.

But.  Other than that?  In lessons of love and running and prayer and life?

There are simply.  No Rules.

off topic: nothing happened.

When I was a little girl, my Dad bought me a ring at Disneyland.  I promptly put the blue stone on my finger as we prepared for the next ride.  We got up in the Teacups.  The ones that traverse the sky, go by the Matterhorn, etc.  I don’t even think they’re there anymore.  And I remember taking off the ring, stretching my arm over the cups and daring myself to drop that ring.  Right there over Disneyland.  With the threat of losing the ring forever, I risked all just for the thrill of wondering if I would drop it or not.  Seriously, that’s all you need to know about me right there.  It’s been my Operating System since I was 8 years old.  Living on the edge, daring myself of the possibility of great excitement, followed by great sorrow or joy.  But the excitement always comes first for me.

Today I was in Kristin’s office.  Because every good therapist should have their own therapist.  (Side note:  Never trust a therapist who hasn’t walked into the valley of darkness to deal with their own shit).  We got to the end of the session…a good, enlightening time.  And I started to tell her the Disneyland story.  And just as I held my purple plastic ring over her carpet, it rolled, slow motion like, out of my hands and onto the floor.  We looked at each other in shock.  Because I have never actually DROPPED anything over Disneyland.  Haven’t drank.  Lived right up to the edge, but have never, well, gone OVER.

And there are several instances and examples of this in my life.  I won’t bore you with those right now.  Suffice it to say, the edge is where I like it.  In most cases.

It’s not drama.  It’s life.  In fact, I don’t trust people who complain about people with drama.  Because I grew up in a house in which I heard that the only feelings really allowed were the good ones.  And, as a young girl, I didn’t have good feelings all the time.  If I tried to express them, the response I got from the people around me was akin to something like:  Wow, get a grip.  Wow, you’re overreacting.  Wow.  Settle down.  This is not my parents’ fault.  I had a built in receptor with a missing link.  Thus, the drinking which most of you know about by now.

So, when someone says “I can’t stand drama!”, well, I just don’t trust them.  Get over yourself.  Drama is life.  Everyone likes a good story, so man up and stop complaining.  Or alternatively, stay in the box you’ve built around yourself.  Just know that when I’m looking for someone to help me back from the edge, I’ll be asking someone who can stand the tide.  You like “drama”.  (pssst…whining about it IS drama)…You do, or you wouldn’t be complaining about it.  I have to have my feelings.  All of them.  I have a story from earlier last month, but I’m refraining.

Kristen and I stared at each other.  Then we started laughing and crawling around on the floor.  This particular ring had some summertime sentimental value, but I had no particular feelings of loss.  We spent 10 minutes moving furniture, emptying purses, looking in the potted plants.  No purple plastic ring.  It was, simply gone.

And.  I sat there.  And nothing happened.  Nothing happened to me because I dropped the ring.  No catastrophe.  It was okay.  In that moment, and the few after, we started talking about how symbolic it was to lose the ring in just this fashion. In my therapist’s office.  And I didn’t collapse.

See?  Because that little girl over Disneyland?  She already felt bad enough about herself.  If she dropped the ring, there would be proof that the girl was a freak.  Damaged.  Up until that moment, she just didn’t know.

But today.  I did.  And, I do.

Nothing happened.  The ring is gone…and along with it…my fear.  The Edge?  For me, It’s for living.  And that’s all you need to know.

9-11. revisited.

This is a day that I do not relish.  It’s a bitter day for me, one that I cannot memorialize any better than in a very personal way.  Last year I wrote

Instead I Ran 4 Miles. , where I ran a mile for each plane that had a plane full of people, diving at our country.

In 2009 & 2010, I couldn’t blog.  I was struck by the enormity of my own situation in such a manner that I was immobilized for many months.

In 2008, I made Patriot’s Chili, sort of a play on words…something about football, and something about Patriot’s Day.

My first bloggy post about 9-11, was the first year I had the blog, in 2007.

Today, I woke up with just a sickening feeling.  I couldn’t shake it.  Because so much has changed since that day.  What I remember:

  • Standing in front of my TV.  Watching the towers.
  • Taking my child to preschool, only to find that it was closed.
  • Spending all day with Jennifer at Starbucks.  Because everything was closed.
  • Church services all over the city.  Holding hands.  Praying.
  • FDNY shirts.

But what I cannot shake…the feeling that everything we believe in changed that day.  We will never be the same.  And, maybe that’s supposed to be.  Life happens, and worlds spin out of control in a matter of moments.  Words spoken can’t be taken back, accidents can’t be undone, and planes can’t unfly into our hearts.

Until I can make personal sense of 9-11, I will continue to be simply bereft on this day.

God Bless America.