Sunday, August 27, 2017

Midsummer Madness 2017

When we signed up for Medved's Midsummer Madness back in May, I was excited. I love inaugural races and Medved runs are always a good time. But as the race approached, the excitement was quashed by apprehension. After both other races I've run this summer, I've been shot in the heart by arrows of sorrow, so part of me was like oh shit, what bad news am I going to get after this race? But as usual, most of me just really wanted to run. The race didn't start until 2:00pm, but I woke up early and felt like running. So I did. I ran to Cobb's Hill and did a couple of hills and loops around the reservoir until I was grinning from ear to ear, like kids in a candy store who have also just realized they can fly.

I ran home, showered and opened the mail to find the certified Letters of Administration appointing me as the executor of my dad's estate. Oof. Grief is always lurking about under the surface and you don't know when it's going to rise up and leak out of your eyes. This is the last thing I get to do for my dad, to make sure that his affairs are handled in the way he would want. But I still think executor sounds like Skeletor, as if it's some kind of villain in a superhero saga. Death is an unavoidable part of life and sometimes you're hit with harsh reminders of that fact. So I did the only thing you can do in situations like this. I ate a chocolate chip bagel with peanut butter from Balsam, cried in the car on the way to do estate-related errands, felt grateful for the nice men at the bank and the postman we asked if there was a post office box nearby who said we could just give the mail to him, put on my gold shorts (Pete calls them my space shorts) and went to run in the woods.

I wanted to run this race with Pete because I don't know how many years or miles we'll get to have, but I want to spend as much time as possible adventuring together. I knew there would be three loops for a total of 13ish miles. I knew there would be hills and mud. Because Mendon. And Mort and Dan. I did not know (or forgot) that this race started at Stewart Lodge (Pete and I first drove to Hopkins Point, where the spring Medved Madness starts, only to find a wedding reception instead of a race). I did not know but was delighted to find that there would be Scooby Snacks (Scooby Doo cinnamon graham crackers)!

Somehow every race turns out to be exactly what I needed. And this time, what I needed was ridiculousness: My gold space shorts/heart-shaped sunglasses outfit. A whole group of us going the wrong way because someone had removed a bunch of course marking flags and put them in a pile on the ground. A relay runner with a sign on his back saying "Papa Bear" telling us that medved means bear in Russian. Pete hunched over on the trail to get low enough so that I could massage the cramp in his shoulder with my elbow. Running what must have been every single grassy field in the park. The trash can at Stewart Lodge that said "Inedible" in big letters on the side. It was absurd. It was the best.

Life is brutally short. So you do what you can in the time you have. Put on the weird, short, ridiculous shorts.* Run the ups and downs, twists and turns together. Revel in the absurdity and the awesomeness of every day of aliveness you get.

Thanks to Gustavo for the photo

*It's a terrible myth that you have to look or be a certain way to wear something. Wear whatever the fuck you want. It's your body. Adorn it however you'd like. There is no size, shape or age limit on awesomeness.

Lyric of the moment: "Some of us surviving. Some of us just roaming. Some of  us hoping the world will move more slowly. And some of us alive..." ~Judah & The Lion "Suit And Jacket"

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This Is Marriage: Day 716

Pete and I met on a trail in Rochester circa 2013, but the trails of our lives leading up to that point were vastly different and thus we have two fundamentally different worldviews. Pete built his life on a foundation in the military/security so he approaches things from a risk mitigation/protocol/chain of command point of view. Whereas I built my life on a foundation of people - I met people online and lived with them, I met people on trails and lived with them, I met stray dogs and brought them home -so I'm all unlocked doors/tell me everything about you and let's be friends forever/writing my innermost thoughts on the internet. Sometimes we balance each other out. (Like when I forget to lock my car door and someone rifles through the cars in our neighborhood and I'm like eh, nothing was taken, there's nothing of any value in there, and it's sad really because it's an act of desperation or unhappiness. And Pete buys a floodlight/security camera for the garage and gets notifications on his phone whenever anyone crosses the threshold of our driveway). Sometimes it causes conflicts. Like when he doesn't react the way I'm expecting (i.e. how I would react) or I don't react the way he's expecting (i.e. how he would react) and there are misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Disagreements are inevitable. It's how we deal with them that matters. And we are learning how to disagree better. It's not about who's wrong and who's right, in a marriage you're both on same team. It's about telling each other how we feel, trying to understand the other person's viewpoint and working together to resolve the conflict. Because love isn't docile or meek. Sometimes it's confrontational and bold. Sometimes it's pointing out problems and shining light on the dark bits and doing the messy, uncomfortable, important work of changing ourselves.

In the 3 years we've been a couple, we've lost both our dads and gone through Pete's deployment to Afghanistan. That's a lot of life and death and stress and grief. I would not wish those things on anyone, but I think going through them has rather forcefully "encouraged" me to become a stronger, more grateful and more compassionate person. I know what's important to me - people, effort, running, experiences - and I spend my time, energy and money accordingly. (And I have been extremely fortunate to have more than enough of all of these things).

There are moments I look at Pete and I think stupid heart, what'd you do this whole marriage thing for? This is really going to hurt when it ends (Because it's going to end. Even if we make it through everything else, we're going to die at some point). And then I think you are unbelievably lucky to have someone who loves your strengths and weaknesses, who holds your hand on the happy days and the sad days, who climbs mountains with you and indulges your over-enthusiasm for being as ridiculous as possible at all times. So appreciate the everloving crap out of every day you get to be a part of this and be the best damn life partner you can possibly be.

Marriage is worth fighting for, hand in hand.

Me: "A giant lumberjack!!! We need to stop and take a picture!"
Pete: (does not want to stop but stops anyway)
Me: "Do you want a picture with him too?"
Pete: "No, I'm good."
Me: "Is it because he's taller than you?"
Pete: "Yes."
Pete: (Apropos of nothing, but said as if we'd been having a lengthy
debate about it) "Actually I think I will poop at that McDonald's" 

Lyric of the moment: "Love is mystical. Love will break the chains. You might feel invincible. And you might be afraid. Light in darkness will show you the way, give you the power to believe again..." ~Cold War Kids "Love is Mystical"