Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The fungus among us

So we were Trails Roc-ing out after our run tonight, standing around being all sweaty awesome, when a car pulled into the parking lot and the driver asked us if we were "the mushroom meetup group." Apparently there is a group that meets in a park every month to look for mushrooms or do mushrooms or something having to do with mushrooms. Another car of mushroomers pulled into the parking lot, turned around, went the wrong way down the one-way park road, then came back a few minutes later to put up signs about mushrooms. The head mushroom lady was even wearing a shirt with mushrooms on it.

Super ewww. Mushrooms are the bane of my existence. For some reason mushrooms are in a lot of vegetarian dishes, ruining them. I think mushrooms are gross and I don't want them touching my food. And now it's happening. The mushrooms are organizing into groups! I get the creepy shudders just thinking about it.

I don't understand the appeal of foraging for mushrooms in the woods. But I suppose some people don't understand the appeal of running through the woods. To each his/her own. Dear mushroomers, please eat all the mushrooms so there will be no more fungus among us.

Lyric of the moment: "All I wanna do is live in ecstasy. I know what's best for me. I can't help it, it's this hopeless itch. I just wanna feel purple yellow red and blue..." (I imagine this is what being on mushrooms would sound like.)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Felt so good, like anything was possible

Saturday morning I ran 15 miles at Charlotte with the RFP crew. It's my farthest run since all my stupid ankle problems last year. I felt so happy to be back that I almost teared up afterwards. My knees were a tiny bit sore after, but once I took Mozzie for a walk, put on my compression socks and iced my knees briefly, I felt fine. I know that 15 miles isn't 20 or 26.2 and I don't want to jinx anything, but I'm starting to feel like, if I'm smart about it and keep building up very slowly, I could run another marathon someday.

But I don't want to think about that now. If I can keep my long runs in the 10-16 mile range through the end of this year and keep feeling good, I will be ecstatic.

Fingers crossed.
Knock on wood.
Breathe in for luck.

I mean, I will be ecstatic regardless. I'm very lucky and life is good. But I always feel like I'm the happiest, best version of me after a few hours on my feet (followed by a shower and breakfast-y goodness and hugs and puppy cuddles.)


Things that are awesome:

*My talented friend John Muoio and his band The Lonely Ones' new CD.
*Yesterday, Mozzie was standing in the narrow space between the couch and coffee table. Mike called him and instead of going forward and around the table, Mozzie started taking little steps backwards and wagging his stub tail. Mike said "Mozzie are you Moonwalking?" and we both burst out laughing.
*Getting to wear my favorite blue dress, thanks to my cousin's wedding. Dear People I know, please get married and/or have fancy parties so I have occasions to wear my dress-up dresses. And eat cake. And see you all so happy.

Lyric of the moment: "Running down a dream, that never would come to me. Working on a mystery, going wherever it leads. Running down a dream. I felt so good like anything was possible..."

Friday, August 23, 2013

Extraneous miscellaneous

Ninety percent of the time Mozzie is all couch potato and puppy cuddles. I've tried to run with him a few times, but he much prefers poking along sniffing everything. Or sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk. Though when we're not home, he sometimes has these Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde moments I've taken to calling Puppy Rave Time, where he runs around the house chewing everything. Well not everything. Only the expensive things, of course. Like my Birkenstocks. And my Kindle. D'oh. Then I pull a Ricky Ricardo: "Mozzie you got some 'splaining to do!" So now puppy malo is confined to the kitchen with his bed and basket of toys whenever he's home alone. And I'm going to keep trying to run with him and take him on long walks to use up his Puppy Rave Time energy. Or maybe buy him some glow sticks.

As I was watching Burn Notice on Netflix recently ('cause I love me some spy shenanigans), I was thinking about how, whenever one of the main characters gets captured, they never betray their friends, no matter how much their captors try to torture or manipulate them. I know it's fiction, still I find the depths of their loyalty and trust in each other inspiring. Not that I would ever be in a situation anywhere near resembling an episode of Burn Notice, but how many people would I protect to that extent? How many would do the same for me? Something to think about as I strive to become a better robot-person. I would make a terrible spy, but I've got your back.

I'm still debating whether or not to run the Dam Good Trail race on Sunday. I ran the whole course at the preview run two weeks ago and that went ok, but I prefer to do long runs on Saturdays instead of Sundays. Plus, I'm going to a wedding Saturday night and I don't want to worry about having to get up early on Sunday. Mostly though, I don't feel like I'm in good enough shape to race right now. I think I need more time to just run and enjoy it and not psyche myself out about races. Unless there were some sort of costumes involved. I would risk potential race anxiety for any chance at being extra ridiculous.

Lyric of the moment: "Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful? Will you still love me when I've got nothing but my aching soul? I know you will, I know you will, I know that you will..." (This song has been stuck in my head lately. Which is weird because I don't mourn the loss of youth and beauty. When I was young, I had to wear braces and headgear. So yeah, no great loss that those days are long past. Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I'm hoping robots are like scotch, in that they only get better with time.)

Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I've got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will

Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I've got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will

Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I've got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will

Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will

Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will

Friday, August 16, 2013

The agony of da feet

Sometimes I get annoyed at my parts and I have these tantrums where I'm all like stupid parts, you can't even run 50 miles or fly or do anything cool. And then I go run up Cobb's Hill a bunch of times and think about how, the first time I ever ran it, at a high school cross country meet, I couldn't even make it up one time without walking. And now I can run it as many times as I want. Which, admittedly tops out at about 4 before I'm like enough of this shit, I want a bagel.

Structurally, I am very poorly designed. I found out just how poorly yesterday, when I went for an evaluation at the Foot Performance Center. My feet are too flat. My proximal phalanges and metatarsals are too short. I have this weird bone on top of my foot that's all jacked up. So things aren't aligned correctly and my feet overpronate, which stresses my tendons and knees.

And sometimes, particularly when I'm starting to fatigue, I feel like I'm too fat to be a runner. I get tired of carrying myself around and think why are you so freaking heavy, legs? are you made of metal? And then I think stop being asinine and keep running.

Faced with the mounting evidence that I'm not built for running, I started to get a little disheartened. (I'm not sure what it is I am built for. Kicking myself in the knee while getting out of bed? That happens painfully more often than I'd like.) And then I thought, so what? I've been running for 17 years and if I have my way, I'm going to keep running until I die (a non-running related death, hopefully). I'm not going to let all the things that are wrong with me stop me from doing what I want to do. So take that, biomechanics.

I'd like to think that what I lack in genetic blessings and innate talent, I make up for in stubbornness and sheer force of will. But who knows. If the Foot Performance guy can make me some orthotics that are actually comfortable and that keep my parts aligned so they can get up to being awesome, I'll take 'em. Because I'm practically bursting at the seams from all the adventures I want to have and the life I want to live. And I need all my parts to be working as best they can.

Lyric of the moment: "My body tells me no. But I won't quit. 'Cause I want more, 'cause I want more..."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Circus cats

Of all the things I expected to do in my life, going to a cat circus was not one of them. But when Becky suggested that she, Kelly and I check out the Acro-cats at MuCCC on Sunday, I was definitely curious. I'm way more of a dog person than a cat person, but I do so love anything that holds the promise of being absolutely ridiculous. And as far as ridiculousness goes, it did not disappoint. We watched cats jump through hoops, balance on balls and play cowbell. When they felt like it of course. They are cats after all. There was even a tightrope-walking chicken and a bowling contest between a cat and a groundhog (the cat won). The finale was a couple of original "songs" by the Rock Cats, an all cat (plus one chicken) band. The Rolling Stones they're not, but considering the I do what I want nature of cats, it's impressive how many stunts the show's creator was able to train them to do. All the cats in the show were ones she fostered or rescued. She wouldn't admit how many cats she has in all, but with her sense of humor about the show and her jokes about the perils of dating when you have so many cats, she comes across as more endearing and less crazy cat lady.

Now I totally want to see an all puppy band. Except I might die from the sheer adorableness of that.

Lyric of the moment: "I wish I could be as carefree and wild, but I got cat class and I got cat style..."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Trail and dog days of summer

 Saturday was a day of awesomeness for sure. I went to the preview run for the Dam Good Trail Race (thanks to Chris for the ride) and got to run 14 miles of beautiful trails at Letchworth Park with some cool trail peeps. To date, it's the longest I've ever run on trails. My calf muscles started to cramp up during the last couple miles and my stomach felt a little weird, but it wasn't anything I couldn't run through. Afterwards, Sheila gave me an electrolyte tablet, I stretched and drank water and my chocolate milk (Some people run for beer. I run for chocolate milk). Once I got home, I took a shower, put on my compression socks and hung out all afternoon with my new puppy, Mozzie!

Mozzie is a one year old Bulldog mix we adopted from Verona St. Animal Shelter. He's the sweetest, super chill dog and I loved him right away. He ended up in the shelter because someone had tied him to the bleachers in Genesee Valley Park and abandoned him. Seriously, what kind of asshat does that?

Poor Mozzie had a rough week, what with being left at the park, taken to the shelter and then neutered. He was afraid to go up steps at first but he is getting better.

Mozzie, my pup, you live here now and I promise your life is going to be all happy times and lots of love from here on out.

Lyric of the moment: "I could lift you up. I could show you what you wanna see and take you where you wanna be. You could be my luck. Even in a hurricane of frowns, I know that we'll be safe and sound..."

Monday, August 5, 2013

There but for the grace of the dude go I

So much of life is just really freaking random. Why does a bad thing happen to one person and not another, even though both are in the same place at the same time?

Saturday morning I went running at Mendon Ponds Park with the Trails ROC-stars. We ran one loop then regrouped in the parking lot before heading out again. Unfortunately, some jerkfaces happened to be out on in the park that morning too because 2 of the cars had been broken into - windows smashed by rocks, purses and cell phones stolen, dashboards f*cked up. Totally not cool.

I can't understand why anyone would do that or why only 2 of the 10 or so cars were targeted. I'm infinitely thankful that mine wasn't one of them, but I feel so bad for those who were. It was a real downer to what should have been a stellar morning.

It could just as easily have been me. Or anyone. Random bad shit and random good shit happens all the time. For the most part, I think what you put out into the world, be it positive or negative, comes back to you. But sometimes bad things happen to good people and there is no sense in any of it.

Maybe the thieves were desperate people going through hard times. Maybe they were just punk kids getting up to no good. Hopefully they felt remorse and learned a lesson. Sadly, we all did. We learned not to leave any valuables locked in our cars, to be more vigilant and less trusting. Which is sad, because most people are awesome and I want to believe that everyone is.

For me, it's a reminder to be conscious of the energy I'm putting out into the universe, to try and always act with kindness and compassion. I only want to be an agent of awesomeness. I don't ever want to be the cause of any bad stuff happening to anyone.

After 13 miles on challenging trails on a beautiful summer morning, all you should come back to is the ache of awesomeness in your legs and a trunkful of delicious snacks, not broken glass and the aftermath of someone else's stupid decisions. The vast majority of the time, it's all snacks and awesome sauce. It's only the rare occasions where random bad shit goes down. So I guess all you can do is focus on the good and let go of the bad and run on.

Lyric of the moment: "Everybody's like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece, jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash. We don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair. And we'll never be royals. It don't run in our blood, that kind of lux just ain't for us. We crave a different kind of buzz..."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Enough. Or how I made peace with raisins.

How much is enough? As someone who always wants to do more and be more and push her limits, I struggle with this question. There's no right answer. It's more like a feeling. That is also constantly evolving. What hits the sweet spot of enough this year may not be the same as next year. I change my mind. It happens. There are so many places to go and people to meet and things to try. Some days I want to do everything all at once. Some days I want to do as little as possible. Most days I want to eat insane awe-inducing amounts of frozen yogurt.

Maybe how much is enough? isn't the whole question. Maybe I should also be asking what can I let go of ? and how can I be satisfied with less?

Less is more, right? Mostly. I'm happy in a smaller house with less stuff. I'm as happy exploring my hometown as I am trekking across the globe (but I still want to do both). I'm happiest when I'm running free (free of expensive running gear and a packed race schedule and basically any agenda other than running for the love of it). 

But I've also fallen victim to the mistaken conviction that I can do anything I want if I just work hard enough at it. It's motivating, sure. But also unrealistic. I mean, there are some things that are never going to happen no matter what I do.

Not with that attitude you won't!

See, there it goes again.

Sometimes I don't know how much is enough until I cross over the line into too much, dude, way too much. It's that after-Thanksgiving-dinner feeling of over-stuffedness (or to use non made-up words, excessive satiation). 

Truth be told, we may never know how much frozen yogurt is enough. (Never! It's never enough! All of it! Just kidding.) But seriously, I'm incredibly lucky to have everything I need and the vast majority of the things I want. It is more than enough. I know that. And yet, I feel like if I'm lucky enough to have all these good things, I could be doing so much more.

But enough of that nonsense.

The only thing I really know is how much is enough for me to make peace with my nemesis, the raisin. Those raisins are all wrinkly and gross, but I'm willing to give them a chance in the form of Kellogg's Raisin Bran, the box of which promised me the chance to win $50,000 if I entered its secret code online. Well played, Raisins. Well, played. That would definitely be enough.

Lyric of the moment: "Like the legend of the phoenix, all ends with beginnings. What keeps the planet spinning, the force of love beginning...We're up all night 'til the sun. We're up all night to get some. We're up all night for good fun. We're up all night to get lucky... (This is a good song to dance to in the car. I mean, totally when you're not driving. Safety, yo.)