Archive for the ‘There and back again’ Category

Small victories (and silly little goofs).

June 10, 2021

I’ve been hitting the gym pretty regularly. It works out for me since my dad’s house is old and you can hear everyone walk everywhere, nevermind trying to work out. And that’s before you try to even find the space to work out. Or a time when we’re all awake at the same time.

I’m proud of the commitment I’ve made. I’m moving steadily (if a little slowly) towards a healthier me on the outside, as well as emotionally.

Down one pants size, two more to go!

That’s right – I’m killin’ it! …We’ll just pretend I didn’t walk a full block past the car when I tried to go home today. Heh. If that isn’t the Katie-est move I could have made in light of all my “glory”!

For as much as she’s stumbled, she’s runnin’…

November 6, 2018

 

I’ve sat and thought about what I need to do to get back to Solid Gold Katie. Vintage 2008 Kate. And my therapist, god love her, asked me not that long ago, Well, what did you do back then that you could maybe start doing now?

I hate when she has a point.

You see, the first thing that came to mind was running. I used to run. And, yeah, maybe I could stand to work out more than I could running – running never took the pounds off for me; I think I run too damn slow for that to be effective – but running makes my heart sing. So maybe I should run.

I started running again a bit ago. I’m up to 9 minutes a week, not all at a stretch because I’ve been gone a minute, but it’s enough to make my sore all over. The good kinda sore, though. Or…at least, today it it’s the good kinda sore. Ask me again in a week. And two weeks. And three.

You know what else? Only I decide to start running again the very week when Daylight Saving ends and we’re plunged into darkness, when I get home at 6 friggin’ 30 and it’s like DEFCON Midnight outside! My 14yo told me to suck it up and go outside and run – either in pitch black darkness when the zombie cows and monsters will eat me, or else in the pre-dawn hours when molesters and rapists skip up and down the trails. Silly girl. She was quick to turn me down when I asked to come along as a bufferer! Make of that what you will.

But the point is, yes, I’ve been running. And yes, it does help me feel like Vintage Katie is in there somewhere. I mean, just look at these pictures from Sunday:

Just look at that Great Blue Heron! He was a sign. I thought of biking up at Assumption College one of the few times my dad showed an interest in us, and took us biking and bird watching. I thought of the series by Cynthia Voigt, when the main character of A Solitary Blue went through his own soul-searching. It was peaceful. Lovely. Circuitous.

And I don’t know if you can see in the top pic – but that black blob? Well, that would be a cow. It seems I’ve inherited my sister’s…shall we say, mistrust…of certain bovine-type creatures. Which is why this happened:

Yeah, that would be carrying a big-ass stick. Just in case I had to beat off the cow, you see. He looked pretty interested for awhile! (I mean, who wouldn’t, really.) He walked towards me at a good-ish clip. But I didn’t want to give up my loop of pavement! …I supposed that’s how you know the runnin’ bug has bitten ya again, right? I asked, What would Mrs. Monopoli do? Okay, you’re right, she probably wouldn’t say, Beat off the cow with a stick!! HA! I can hear her yelling! I mean, actually hear her! I don’t know what she’d do, really. Surely it wouldn’t be to walk away and then run somewhere else. Sigh. Gosh darn it. I hate having consciences.

Conscience or not, I guess I’ll try this running thing for awhile. I hope I keep getting great stories and good pictures out of it.

I hope I can keep amusing you.

I hope I can keep finding myself.

Jumping back into the water – all of me, all at once.

April 22, 2018

Hello. It’s me. I’ve been wondering if after all this time you want to hear me. But I want to write. I need to write again. I need to feel like me and it’s time to add this piece back into the mix.

So how do I do it? I spent the past week thinking about it, casually, and then I contemplated it more often and seriously this weekend. How do I write out loud, on my blog? How do I return? Dipping my toes back into the water doesn’t seem like a good idea: it always feels colder and draws out the uncomfortable part. Just jump back in, Katie. The water will feel warm and you’ll get your breath back in just a minute or two.

Still, it’s a weird feeling – being gone so long from my blog, and then just being here, in one fell swoop. Or jump, I should say. I wonder if anyone will notice, or if I’m just shouting into void, voicing words that won’t even be heard. But that thought, even though it echoes back frequently, doesn’t hold much weight. I write for myself. I always have. It’s why I shrug my shoulders when what I’ve written causes trouble (because heaven knows I’ve tripped backwards into trouble so often it’s like an old friend), because what I write is me trying to figure out what I feel, what I’m going through, how I should act and react. It’s how I process so much of what I go through in my life.

Okay, this is getting maudlin and more than a little cheesy. Just jump in, Kate!

So what’s going on in my life? What the incredible, impossible-to-ignore urge to write? Let me tell you a little bit of it. It’s all way too much to write about in one go. So for starters…

I’ve all-of-a-sudden gotten a giant promotion at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. It came at exactly the right moment when I thought I would implode from burnout and…okay, I’m going to stop there because we don’t talk about things at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. Talking about work is not what you do in public, in writing. Suffice it to say that I’m incredibly happy to be noticed and rewarded. I’m overwhelmingly challenged to think and improvise all day, every day. And so I’m exhausted and barely able to move at the end of some days. But it feels like the best unexpected blessing right now. So I’m just going with it and trusting in my angels that they know what I need.

Then there’s the girls. Gracie is turning 14 on Thursday. Four. Teen. That is, if she makes it! We’ve hit a bit of a rough patch, the girls and I. Bee-girl is turning 12 in a few months and she’s full of hormones about to explode. Every time she asks to talk to me, she starts with an epic eye roll and “No, I didn’t start my period.” Because she’s been so acting like it lately that I maybe possibly might ask that question a lot. Oof. But we’re surviving. A little bit ago I thought we might not. Show me a parent of two teenagery girls who didn’t think that once or twice! But something I didn’t expect and no one told me – when your girls hit this age, this hard-to-parent, oh-my-goodness, pass-the-wine, oh-no-you-didn’t! kind of age, your love for them grows even fiercer, like you might explode with love and protection instincts, and you just want to smother them with mama love and talk their ears off, and show them every card game you know, because you want to spend time with them, but it has to be sly and sneaky, or else they’ll disappear into their rooms. It’s a tricky time, but we’re managing. I’m managing. By the skin of my teeth some days, but we’ll be okay.

My reading life has come back, and I am rejoicing! It’s what keeps me going when things get dark, and I am so grateful for it! I’ve already topped 125 books for the year and some of the books I’ve read have been shout-from-the-rooftops! kind of wonderful! Exit West, by Moshin Hamid; The Chalk Man, by CJ Tudor (Oh, I can’t wait to tell you all about it in my Thursday book reviews!); Allegedly, by Tiffany Jackson; The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur; Love, Hate, and Other Filters, by Samira Ahmed. And speaking of Samiras, I’ve finally watched Orange Is the New Black after four or five attempts, and Samira Wiley, my god you guys! I need more of her in my life! For reals. And surely that show counts as literature, yes?

Other creative outlets are afoot. Bee-girl and I have started an Etsy shop, and as soon as I get a few items in there, I’ll set you guys up with a link and beg you to take a peek. Bee has slime, slime, and more slime. Finally, a place to ship everything she creates! And ohhhhhhh does that girl create a lot of slime! She’s a connoisseur of all things slime-related. Isn’t it normal to have industrial-size containers of Borax on your counters? And shaving cream. And food coloring? I’m blaming Uncle Kene for introducing my mad scientists with the wonders of Borax. As for me, I’m selling needle point creations of literary quotes and political jokes. I have baby blankets. And so. many. Christmas ornaments! Corrie and I spent an entire weekend making Christmas crafts, but we might need to wait a few months before our Christmas Shop hits the markets. Let’s just say we’ll be ready!

And running! I’ve started running again, using the Couch to 5k method. I’m on Week 3  and about to embark on Week 4 – 12 minutes of walking and 18 minutes of walking. I’m doing great! I’m so proud of myself. I told you I was crawling back into myself, and running is definitely a part of me. I started running because a dear friend PHYSICALLY MADE ME, and I will always be beholden to her, to use an Anne-ism. Running is something to strive for. It gives me goals and an outlet to pour myself into! When I get a bit better, there’s a running club I want to join. Maybe there will be cute, sarcastic, bookish types who flounder near the back of the pack, like me. Who knows?! But I can’t wait to find out! Goals are good. They’re fantastic! And I’m reaching for them.

So yes, I’ve been up to a few things. Just a few, because these past few months have been sort of dark and depressy. I’ve been missing for a reason. But I’m glad to be back. The water is warm, jumping in took a courageous moment of fuck-it proportions. But my water-wings are nearby if I need them.

But mostly I just need to write.

 

So I do it anyway.

January 14, 2015

A lot of you asked where my running resolution was when I listed my non-resolution resolutions. Truth is, a running resolution didn’t even occur to me. It should have – the half-marathon is only six weeks away. (Six weeks! Six weeks is not a long time!) But my kidneys haven’t been very accommodating lately, so there hasn’t been much running this winter. At all. Like, you guys, a running resolution didn’t even occur to me, even though I knew I needed to get back out there.

I finally got clearance to run (as tolerated…so, until I get another kidney stone) and my panic over the half-marathon forced me out the door last Sunday. I felt great. Running felt great. I got in 3 1/2 miles, the first two straight, no problem. I was a bit wheezy, the air was a bit cold, but my kidneys were fine. But I still wasn’t sure even starting at 3 1/2 miles would get me where I needed to be in just six weeks, not when I have barely been running this season.

Truth be told, if I didn’t have friend flying down for the event, I probably would have scratched it by now. I’d still run – running has become a part of me, and my emotional health is so much better when I find the time, not to mention I can sleep the entire night on my stomach without my back hurting on the nights when I run – but it’d be nice not to have this panicky deadline looming over my head.

But I’ve worked it out. The nice thing about being so far off the mark is that you kinda just say “screw it”. I might not make the 13.1 miles by March 1. I might not be able to do it. There. BOOM, as Bee would say. Out loud: I might not. But I’ll keep aiming for it anyway. See where I end up. Because it’s about the process. The proverbial frickin’ journey. It’s about aiming for something, believing you’re going to miss, and shooting for it anyway. I might not make it by March, but maybe that means I’ll be ready for the next half-marathon registration that pops up. Maybe it means I’m shape enough to join that running club. And maybe there will be cute, single guys at the running club. But hott guys aren’t the reason, either.

I run because I want to. Because it’s me. It gives me focus and bragging rights and a dedicated time to listen to music and daydream. Sometimes my daydreams are about finding a bench and sitting down and catching my goddang breath, but hey – dream big, sunshine. And if I’m out there improving myself and running and doing all I can, then I can yell at my football guys to run faster, do better, with a clear conscience. (Yes, everything boils down to football in my life right now.)

So, yes, to answer your questions, I am out there running. Finally. There’s a goal in mind…but it’s sort of a floating goal. I only got in two miles last night, and they weren’t even close to all the way together. But seeing as I could barely hobble down the hallway after my epic start on Sunday, I get points just for knowing that what I needed was a shake-out run to loosen up again. In the literal freezing cold. I’m feeling much better this morning than I have since my first run. I think Thursdays will be better. Maybe not a fast two miles and then another mile and a half tacked on… But then again, maybe I will.

And even if I don’t, if I can’t, I’m going to run anyway.

Running right round.

September 9, 2014

It’s going to be 98° this afternoon. And that’s without the annoying “feels like” temperature. Ninety-eight frickin’ degrees. Know what I’m supposed to do today? Run. I’m supposed to run in all the sunshine. All that heat. All that hydration.

I started training again for that silly little half marathon at the beginning of September, right after my sister left, right when I said I was going to. After a four-week break, it felt great to hit the open sidewalk, letting the the concrete flow dribble past me. I knew it was going to be tough, getting back into the swing of things, and I knew that it would be difficult because it’s summer here in Tejas until the middle of always. (Or November. Meh.) So I wasn’t surprised when the heat whacked me upside the head.

I did surprisingly well, though. Every time I’ve taken an extended break, I can do about a mile the first week back. Whether I’ve been gone for a year or a few weeks, a mile is just what my muscles seem to remember. It’s what they can kick out on a moment’s notice. With a bit more elastic definition of “running” and what exactly I would track on my timekeeper (i.e., by letting myself have a few walking breaks), I was able to stretch out that first run to a mile and a half. Not bad. The next run I got up to two miles. The next time, I stayed at two miles, but I was able to gut it out and run the entire distance – no walking breaks necessary. By this weekend, I was able to kick it up to 2.5 miles, run nearly in one go, with only a short water break at mile 2.25.

It helped that runs 3 and 4 (the 2 and 2.5 miler) happened earlier in the morning. My muscles are fresher, I have more energy, and a better frame of mind if I run in the morning instead of after work. The temps are much cooler, too. 77 and mostly cloudy instead of 100 and crispy-fried sunshine? Yes, please! No wonder I could run farther and for longer chunks without rest. What a difference to the stresses I was putting my body through!

I was so happy with where I was at on Sunday that I dared to make a plan. An out loud plan. (Those are dangerous.) I would try to maintain my 2.5 this week, kick it up to 3 miles next week, and then maintain for the rest of September while I worked on making that 3 miles better and stronger. Once October hit, I’d start training for the half-marathon for real. No more pre-training as I built back my mileage.

Which is why I’m unsurprised that today is going to be 98 frickin’ degrees. That always happens when I use out-loud words with my plans. But it’s okay. I’ll do the best I can tonight. Then I’ll wallow in the cold front that’s coming through and flat-out delight in the high of 77 degrees on Friday. That’s right, baby – 77 degrees! I’ll be flying along!

There will be many tweaks to the plans along the way. There will be bigger setbacks than upticks in the temperatures. But we’ll work around ’em. It’s what silly little half-marathoners do.

Don’t worry – it’s still a jungle out there.

July 15, 2014

I was sad to learn several weeks ago that my favorite tree in my running park had fallen down. Not all of it, but a goodish half had rotted through and then finally tumbled during one of our wild and crazy start-of-summer storms. I was a bit heartsick – that tree always cheered me up when I was running. It was something to focus on, something to offer shade, something solid to hate when it refused to get a lil closer.

That, and it scared the crap out of me.

It used to look exactly like the tree from The Jungle Book, you know, with the vultures sitting and waiting for Sher Khan to kill Mowgli…or were they offering Mowgli tips on how to kill the tiger? Hmm… in any case, all it took was one afternoon when it was cloudy and overcast and a whole mess of vultures were sitting in my tree for me to dart my eyes towards the tall grass, waiting to see if Sher Khan was going to come chase me. I was convinced that he would do it, could do it. He was there, waiting.

No more. Now that my tree is broken, so is the spell. I feel a bit safer from my man-eating (cartoon) tiger. A bit.

D2148557-B6CC-4648-B55B-A85A4C43D94CExcept apparently we’re not out of the woods yet. Sher Khan might have cleared out to look for other fields identical to his movie scenes, but Kaa, the evil snake who often tried to hypnotize Mowgli and eat him, well he’s still around.

Run2You need to believe he’s brown, two feet instead of eight or ten, and…well…a copperhead instead of whatever large, green jungle snake Kaa was, but STILL! Not a fun friend to have lurking in the grass! Corrie found him while she was out walking her dog and once I figured out what kind of snake he was, I told her BAD IDEA LUCILLE, stop looking! Turn and run!

And if Kaa and Sher Khan weren’t enough, now we have fairytales mixing realms, because good god if I didn’t see Aragog’s children running amok while I was out for a run Sunday morning.

Run3He was almost the size of my hand, and much bigger than the two I killed in my house when Rhi was here. Apparently I am much more afraid of them out in the while – possibly because I’m the one who has broken the treaty and ventured into their domain? Or possibly because it was the size of a small car. Either way. I turned the corner, it was there, and I slammed on the brakes and screamed something that rhymed with “truck!” in a high, girly, scaredy-cat scream. It was unfortunate. Then I had to back up, get a running start, and long-jump over that sucker because they have excellent vision and scuttle lightning fast! I didn’t want him scampering up my leg or anything.

And so this is why I am going to need to bring some sort of gun with me when I go running from now on. Crazy people I can handle. Silly cartoon predators that may or may not actually exist I can (mostly) handle. But actual, real, live predators who are lurking, waiting to eat me from the ankles up?

NO, THANK YOU.

The Mystery of the Missing Hat.

June 13, 2014

You might not know this about me (although if you know how much I loathe change, you might have deduced it), but I am a creature of habit. I like routines. I like my comfort zone. I like knowing how things are gonna go, and that I’ll have what I need when things do in fact go that way.

So it stands to reason that when I get ready for my runs, I prepare in the same order every time and grab the very same items to take with me. I drink some water, change into my running gear, put on my headphones, put my lucky hat on over my headphones, apply chapstick, put on my socks and sneakers, carefully fold my tissue, grab a bottle of water, plug my headphones into my phone, open Runkeeper, and head out the door. (If Fenway’s running with me, insert “Put Fenway’s harness on” at the beginning of that process and “Put Fenway on her leash” right before walking out the door. Easy peasy.)

It’s a good system. A great system. It works for me – as long as there aren’t any distractions. When there are distractions, I’m bound to forget things. I’ll forget my hat and end up cursing at my flyaway hair and fussing with keeping my headphones in my ears. Or I’ll forget my water and feel like my run is as tortuous as crossing a very large and very dry desert. What can I say – it’s tough being me.

My running habits are very important to me. Which is why when my favorite running hat – my lucky hat – went missing two weeks ago, I was a complete wreck. I had just declared for the Half and I was sure losing my hat was a bad omen. How in the world was I going to prepare for (never mind actually run) the Half if I didn’t have my hat?! And how in the world could I lose it?

That was a pretty good question. My habits when I get in from a run aren’t as rigorous as the ones before I leave, but they’re pretty rote. I walk in the door, say a prayer that I made it back to the air conditioning, hang up the extra house key, pee, hang up my hat, put away my headphones and then sit down and chug some water while petting Fenway (if she wasn’t with me). When I’ve caught my breath (I like to sprint the last stretch before home), I get in the shower. Ta da! Routine is awesome. If I vary at all, I might sit on the couch under the fan instead of at the table, or I might yank off my hat and headphones and set them on the island while I catch my breath. Either way, things don’t go very far. So where exactly could my hat have wandered off to?

I checked the kitchen, the table, my bedroom, and my closet. I made sure it hadn’t fallen into the dirty clothes. I checked my route through the house in case it had jumped off my head. It wasn’t outside. I asked Gracie to look with me, sure that my eyes were just sliding over it. I sorted through my stack of ballcaps (four of  them hang, stacked, on the corner of my dresser mirror), but my lucky hat couldn’t be found. I was bumfuzzled.

And heartbroken.

My lucky hat. My BoSox hat. My hat that I’ve worn to every race I’ve run. My goddamn lucky hat.

I started wearing my red Patriots hat out on runs, but it wasn’t the same. One, the bright red just looked wrong. Okay, yes, I look fabulous in anything, but really I just wanted to set the deep navy of my Sox cap. Two, the Patriots hat works on a slidey band thing at the back to tighten it and I couldn’t find the right tension to keep the hat snug while running through windy corner. It was either a bit too loose and it felt like it was the teensiest bit wobbly or else it was so tight that my headphones squeaked when I moved. My BoSox hat has the plastic snap bad in the back. It was always the perfect fit.

I ran with my substandard hat (poor, little Katie) for nearly two weeks, sighing every time I looked at it. My heart fairly weeping every time I put it on. I didn’t like this new routine. At all. The universe must have sensed this because it hit me, out of the blue: the girls had word their BoSox caps to Field Day not that long before mine went missing. I had told one of them a couple times to put away their hat. Because it was sitting on the island. The island where I sometimes put my hat after my run.

I swear the skies opened up and the angels did sing. IN REAL LIFE. If, while rushing around, I had confused my hat for the girls’ hats, that would explain how my hat when missing! The only problem is that the girls’ room was in a state best described as Federal Disaster Area. It had gotten bad enough that even I had been thinking about making them clean it soon. But I was trying to hold out for the end of school. You know how those last few weeks of the school year goes: just make it through. I couldn’t wait any longer. My hat was buried somewhere in there. So I made the girls clean. I offered up a reward for The Finder Of The Hat. And what do you know? An hour into it, MY HAT CAME BACK TO ME! I would have kissed it, but ew, have you seen that thing?! It’s magical, but magic is pretty grimy.

And so concluded the mystery of the missing hat. May it never happen again, the end.

Hat

Declare It Day.

June 3, 2014

I’m a little late to the party. Today is not February. In fact, it’s no longer even May. It’s June. June 3, 2014. But so what? It doesn’t have to be February. Screw February – today is my Declare It Day.

Back in February, this little outfit I’ve fallen madly in love with – Fellow Flowers – hosted the real Declare It Day. You chose a goal, declared it, and hundreds of runners in your running community not only held you responsible, but helped you along your path. Your path to awesomeness, because you know what? You were going to achieve your goal. No matter what.

I’m making today my Declare It Day.

You know why? Because I can. Because it’s a made-up holiday and you’re allowed to move it, change it, make it your own. Because there are no rules when it comes to declaring goals – there’s only achieving them, or not. And I’m going to achieve mine. Why? Because I am. Because I am determined. Because I am surrounded by an awesome community of friends and supporters. Because my East Coast Running Cult demands it. Heh. Simply because I will.

I signed up for a half-marathon, you guys.

A half. marathon. Thirteen point one flippin’ miles. Of running. All put together. That’s so not what I’m running right now. I’m doing three miles, three or four times a week. That’s a 5k, not a 20k! I’ve done 5ks before. And I did a 10k once (so I could get the medal at the end; they don’t give out medals at 5ks). But never in my life have a run thirteen miles before.

It was because of the stupid coupon. I mean, I had been thinking about it. Waffling back and forth over whether I would sign up or not. Or maybe I would train for it, but not commit myself. Just show up and run it if I could. But…that seemed like wimping out. And I knew I would chicken out of training during the tough months, the tough miles if I didn’t commit myself. That’s when I saw the coupon in my inbox: $10 off registration if I signed-up by Saturday night. And just like that…I found myself plunking down my money for the race. For the half-freaking-marathon.

I know it sounds like I’m freaking out. And I am, a little. But not because I don’t think I can do it. I bloody well can do anything I set my mind to do. (Yes, even math.) I’m a little nervous because this, this thing I’m about to do, it’s such a big thing. I’ve watched friends sign-up for and conquer the half. I’ve cheered for friends as they kicked the marathon to the curb like it wasn’t no thang. I watched them train and ready themselves, from runners like me into…well, into people who run freaking half- and full- marathons! I can do this. I will do this.

These friends of mine, I know they’ve got my back. My friend Corri, part of my East Coast Running Cult, I know she’s definitely stepping up and supporting me; she was so excited for me and my running journey when she heard the news that she signed up for the same race! So I wouldn’t be running alone. And Julie, my oldest and dearest friend, she moved heaven and earth to clear her schedule for that weekend so she could fly down with Corri to support us and take pictures and make sure we make it to the beer tent and to Irish Nachos (in that order) after we cross the finish line. And all of my friends online who have clapped me on the back, made a fuss, cheered my decision – it all means so much. It makes me confidant. It makes me sure. I am ready for this. I am going to do this.

March 1. Nine months to train. Nine months before I execute. You’ll hear all the details, all the whining, all the accomplishments. I might not look like a runner. I might not train like a runner. I might not even run like a runner. But Imma do it. I am going to run a half-marathon. And I will be phenomenal.

 

Because it’s true.

May 1, 2014

The birthday atmosphere of general awesomeness and festivity is slowing dying down at Casa de Katie. Turning ten was certainly good to Gracie. She was completely surprised when she came home from her dad’s house last week and found Auntie Kim sitting on the floor in her room. In fact, she was so surprised and thrilled that she started crying through her giggles. (Gracie, not Kim, if you can believe that!) The after-effects from her party are fading – left-behind flip flops and shirts are being returned, missed potato chip crumbs have all been found by the dog or the vacuum, and the sole stain from orange soda has been beaten. Gracie’s tremendous haul is slowly being put away: the sleeping bag from grandpa, Frozen from Grandma, the shower-radio she got from her sister, two of the three books already read, and all. the. clothes. she got from mama already picked through and shown off.

But as all the hoopla died off, there was one more package that arrived in the mail, something that I had forgotten I’d ordered until it showed up on my doorstep.

mom

I splurged on a new running shirt from one of my favorite new companies, Fellow Flowers. Can you read what it says? “Going for a run isn’t Mommy being selfish. It’s Mommy being awesome.” And ain’t that the truth! I thought it was a rather appropriate gift to myself to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my becoming a mom. I may have inadvertently inflicted minor damage, but I haven’t broken or lost my daughter for ten years and counting. That’s pretty awesome of me; I think it deserves more than a tshirt, but then again, this is a pretty kick-ass tshirt. And it stands for so much more than it is. Rather like being a mom.

Milestones and accomplishments and celebrations and mommying and daughtering. It’s all good. We’ll all keep on keepin’ on. And there will be so much more to celebrate along the way. Because why else do it if the point isn’t to enjoy each other and everything that we can? Whether you’re 10, or 35. Be awesome. Acknowledge it. And have fun with it!

Ain’t no thing when you’re a rock star.

April 8, 2014

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but the Ex is out of town on a business trip this weekend. Which means I have the littles all to myself. Mwa ha ha. No, really, it’s good that I get to catch up on some time with them – they were only away for five days, but it felt like so much longer – and it really doesn’t shake up the schedule too much.

Except I don’t get to run.

My running program got a big giant kickstart into high gear last week when Juls and Corrie were here. I had been doing so well in the months leading up to their trip, on pace to hit six miles per run by the time they arrived. Corrie is also a runner, sort of newish to the obsession, and she has her first big race coming up. So we planned on running in the mornings when they were here.

Of course, then I had my sinus infection and my kidneys acted up and my training sort of fell by the wayside for a little bit. I was only up to two miles running, plus some walking at the end of the workouts. Also? A confession – I don’t run so well with other people. My friend Crisanna and I tried it back when she forced me to start running. (Yes, she is to blame and I owe her my next born child or some really good chocolate or something.) We tried running together at the park and realized that we threw off each others’ pace, running way too fast, and couldn’t ever get through a mile before we winded each other. I love her to death, but she was a much faster runner than I ever will be, and that one experience sort of threw me off the idea.

Plus, I like running alone. I like the solitude that I get, quiet time to think my own thoughts, sort through problems, or just think crazy, adreneline-fueled thoughts. Solitary time to think is a very rare quality when you’re a single mom. Hell, it’s rare even if you’re a married mom. Running is my “me” time. Not that I couldn’t give that up for four mornings – I was just worried about how the mechanics were going to work, exactly.

You guys, I never should have worried. Corrie and I? We killed it. We averaged a four-mile workout every morning. Corrie uses interval training and I do my best work when I make myself run my set distance all in one go – usually if I stop, I lose my stamina. And we still worked it out. We paced ourselves well, easily falling into sync. Knowing your running buddy for 20-some-odd years helps, I think – we knew even before the other called time-out that they needed a break. We talked, gossiped, caught up on each others’ lives, we even ran in the kind of comfortable silence only real friends can enjoy. It was just…so easy!

I think part of it was because of magic. Corrie introduced me to this awesome company, Fellow Flowers. It’s a company founded by friend Tori and Mel who believed combining the magic of friendship, loyalty, and running could create wonders. In 2011, Tori asked her “tribe” of girlfriends to run with her in honor of her birthday. There was a half-marathon coming up and all she wanted in the world was to have her friends running with her. Thirteen friends answered the call, which worked out (magically) to one for each mile. To show themselves (and everyone else) that they were together, they hot-glued orange gerber daisies onto barrettes an clips and wore them as they ran. From that one experience grew a company that sells flower clips and tshirts and the like, focusing on running and friendship and inspiration. The original orange flowers stand for friendship and loyalty. Guess what Corrie surprised Julie and I with?

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I thought it was awesome that in addition to the truth of friendship and being fiercely united, orange was also our high school color. Which normally would make me vomit – we were dressed in ORANGE GRADUATION GOWNS, PEOPLE. PUMPKIN ORANGE! – but considering the new symbolism, I kind of loved. Obviously the magic of the orange flower made those morning runs one of the highlights of the trip!

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I can’t wait until I get my running buddy back. I enjoy having my quiet time still, my time to think, but I miss having someone there to hand me water when I’ve forgotten mine again, someone to goad me into running one more lap, or to distract me with a story as we try to make it to the bench, to the tree, to the next bend in the track.

Yep. No doubt about it: We are rock stars.

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