Sunday, August 26, 2018

Green Lakes 50K: Colonel Mustard with the vinegar next to the penis

The short version: We were carrying our stuff back to the car after the race and I said excitedly "I pet a dog! It was a white boxer with one blue eye and one brown eye. It was so cute!" Pete, who already knew this, as I had mentioned it several times before, said "That's your takeaway from today - you pet a dog?" "Honey," I replied "The last loop of this race, I ate: a packet of mustard, Mountain Dew with a pickle juice chaser and an Oreo - that's gross. All my cells are broken. The dog was the best part of my race."

The long version: "Fuck!" I exclaimed. I'd meant to mutter it under my breath but the excruciating pain radiating from my calf had made it come out louder than I'd intended. It was mile 23. I'd been trying to stretch my calves, which had been twitchy since my third loop, on a log at the side of the trail. Now the left calf was charlie horsing hardcore. I couldn't move, I couldn't get the muscle cramp to subside. A cascade of thoughts rushed through my brain. What did I do wrong? I took Huma gels early on, then salt tabs, then pickle juice. I drank a lot of water. Maybe my mitochondria have gone on strike, they're just like we have formed a union and we're done with this running for hours bullshit. I'm going to have to call Pete to come get me. Well, back in the day I did "run" the last 8 miles of a road marathon with pretty much every muscle in my body cramping. So I could totally run through this. Maybe I could, but do I want to? I think I'm just not cut out to be an ultrarunner. It shouldn't feel this hard. Maybe I've forgotten how to run. Maybe my body just can't do it anymore. But I want to do it. It's my favorite thing to do. 

And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

Green Lakes 50K is a 4 loop course in the beautiful Green Lakes State Park. I cannot overstate how gorgeous this park is. The trails are well groomed and very runable (well, if your muscles are contracting properly). The loop takes you past the clear blue-greenish waters of Green Lake and Round Lake, then up to the grassy field area called The Serengeti (because it gets super hot when the sun is beating down. I was hoping Toto's Africa would be playing during this part, but sadly that only happened in my head). I signed up for this race because I just really wanted to see the park. And because Valone said he was doing it. Pete was looking at the park map because he was planning to mountain bike up to the far aid station and I pointed to the route and explained "Here's the course: run around a penis, then a ball, then weird Texas."

Course map: Penis, Ball, Weird Texas

We drove to Syracuse on Friday after work and stayed at the Econo Lodge, which I'd picked because it was close to the park and cheap. We'd only be there to sleep basically and I never sleep well before races so I wanted to pay as little as possible for a place to not sleep well. Pete was unhappy with this choice. He is not a fan of the dingy, crime scene-esque motel room. I was just like "It's fine. Probably no one has been murdered here." We were not in fact murdered there. And the front desk lady who checked us in was super friendly and nice.

The 50K and 100K races both started at 6am. The first mile was magical. It was a cool 65 degrees and I felt great, running through the woods watching the sunrise over the lakes. For most of this loop I was chatting with two guys running the 100K (because that's how fast the people at this race are - their 100K pace is my 50K pace). Running and talking to people are my favorite things, so anytime I get to do both is fantastic. The first loop went by fast. Probably too fast for me. When I saw the time on the clock as I passed the timing mats, it was way faster than I was expecting so I told myself I should slow down. Evidently I did not listen to myself, since my second loop ended up being in about the same time as the first. I kept telling myself to run my own race, but then I would get distracted talking to people.

During the second loop I was chatting with two ladies about how it's unfair that women have to worry about running alone in the woods. I said "Why are there so many self defense classes for women but there aren't any 'Don't be a creepy rapist/murderer/kidnapper' classes for men? I mean obviously other than the fact that no one would go to a class with that name." They were moving along faster than me and eventually I dropped back to do my own thing. I'd missed Pete on the first loop because he'd gone up to the Serengeti to see me but I'd gone through too fast. So I texted him that I was on my second loop. When I went though the finish line on loop two, he was waiting for me and showed me where he had set up the tent (while we were out on loop one, Pete and Lisa had set up all our stuff for us. They are the best!)

Things were starting to hurt at this point, but I grabbed some food and water from the aid station, put in my headphones and just got in the "this is painful but it's fine" zone. As I was showering at the Murder Motel the night before the race, I was nervous about running my first ultra in over a year and unintentionally ended up giving myself an internal pep-talk: I just don't want to have a miserable experience tomorrow. Well, that's totally up to you. You don't know what's going to happen, but you get to decide how you feel about it. Maybe I was just trying to distract myself from thinking about what else may have happened in that motel shower. But whatever, it worked. When I got to the Serengeti the third time, Pete was waiting for me on his mountain bike. He rode along side me for a bit and I asked him to please stop videoing me. I wanted to tell him that I was hurting and I didn't want to complain on video. I told him I wasn't made for ultrarunning like other people are and he was just like "You're running an ultra right now. You're doing great!" I asked him if he would meet me at the main aid station and help me refill my hydration pack (why do my hands always stop working correctly after like 20 miles?). I told him about my twitchy calves and he said he would make sure to find me some pickles. Seeing husband man was a big morale boost and I made it back to finish the third loop still moving pretty well. Pete refilled my hydration pack while a super awesome volunteer poured me some pickle juice and I headed out for one.more.loop.

Photos by my favorite husband man

And then I got to mile 23 and the "Fuck!" heard 'round the penis. As I'm thinking my race is over, a runner behind me asked what happened and I told him that my calf has seized up. He pulled a packet of mustard out of his pack and told me to swish it around in my mouth, explaining that the vinegar would trick my brain into unclenching the muscle. At this point I would have eaten whatever magic beans he was handing out, so I did what he said. And it worked. My calf loosened and I could move again. I thanked him and started running cautiously. Colonel Mustard saved me with the vinegar next to the penis lake! I didn't get his name, but I saw him after the race and thanked him again profusely. I jogged along gingerly, not wanting to anger my calf again, and every mile or so I would suck on a bit of mustard and sing "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood in my head. I drank some more pickle juice at the Serengeti aid station. By this point I'd ingested so much vinegar I was practically pickled. My last time through the Serengeti seemed to take It was hot and sunny out at this point, and my pace was basically that of a pickle as well. My calves were still kinda twitchy but I kept pleading with them to hold up for just a 10K, just a 5K, just one more mile, and thankfully they obliged. I kept myself occupied making hilarious (to me) penis jokes. Oh man, it's so hot here. I can't wait until I get to the shady penis. That's what she said. No, no one has ever said that. Finally I left the Serengeti for the last time, made my way past the ball lake and then the penis lake (Which seemed to get longer and longer with each loop. Guess it was a grower.), then around the beach, past the parking lot, and up the paved path to the finish line. I was so tired I kept running even after I crossed the finish line. I just wanted to get to and hug Pete.

I didn't die!

Physically, I felt terrible for much of this race, but mentally I was just so happy to be out there. Every time I hit a rough patch where my cells forgot how to work or whatever, I'd see someone that would lift my spirits: Valone and Shari out on the course, crushing it; Mintz and mini Mintz out cheering and volunteering; another woman in toucan shorts!; a man with a giraffe tattoo on his calf!; a ton of awesome people just out running and hiking and SUP yoga-ing in the park, So! Many! Dogs! I may not be cut out for this endurance running shit, but I'm going to keep doing it for as long as I am alive. Because my whole life has been an ultramarathon. Sometimes excruciatingly painful, always beautiful and awesome and filled with the most amazing people.

I spent about as much time running as I did hanging out at the park afterwards. The finish area was great, right next to the beach. I did a lot of walking around (to the lake to put my legs in the cool water, to pet cute dogs I saw, to get more snacks and beverages, to wash the salt off my skin - I was sooo salty), laying around awkwardly on top of the foam roller, and hanging out with Pete and Lisa. Pete introduced me to Tammy, who had set up camp next to us and was crewing for her husband. She and her husband had done Mind the Ducks and I told her I'd banana-ed there this year and she said excitedly "I have a video of you on my phone!" then showed us a video from MTD of Bob and I dancing in our monkey and banana outfits. Small world! I got to pet a white boxer with one blue eye and one brown eye! And his little dog friend, Solo, who I was told is friendly, but doesn't like it if you turn your back to him and walk away, so you have to walk away facing him. I got to see Shari and Tom and Valone finish - they were all amazing! My race execution was as imperfect as possible, but it was a perfect day. And I lied before. The white boxer was not the best part of the day. The best part was being surrounded by love. The love of running through the woods with friends and strangers who immediately become friends. The love of my favorite husband man, who is game for all my weird adventures. The love that exudes from every pore of Valone and Lisa. Watching Valone finish having given everything he had to this race, and run to hug Lisa then all of us, was better than 1,000 dogs.


My cells refused to work properly for this race. But I had a good outfit, a good attitude and good friends. And most of the time, that's enough. Additional thanks to a terrific RD, lovely volunteers and a gorgeous state park.

Until next time, my friends. May there be so many next times.

Lyric of the moment: "I do it for the joy it brings. Because I'm a joyful girl. Because the world owes me nothing. And we owe each other the world. I do it because it's the least I can do. I do it because I learned it from you. And I do it just because I want to. Because I want to..." ~Ani DiFranco "Joyful Girl" (There are so many answers to the question of why I love running for hours and hours. But mostly, it is this.)

Friday, August 10, 2018

The stories behind the miles

I ran 50 miles this week. It's just a number. It's a lot and it isn't a lot, depending on who you ask. A lot is relative. I will humbly defer to others to tell the stories of long distances and fast paces and amazing runs because they do it far better than I ever could. And the story I want to tell is not that I ran 50 miles this week. It's that it took me over a year to get back here and in that time I did more not running than running.

The last ultramarathon I ran was the inaugural Many on the Genny in June 2017. The next morning I found out that my dad had died suddenly. Then I got plantar fasciitis, was in denial about it for a bit, then finally took some time off to rest and heal. I did yoga and strength training and climbed the Jacobs Ladder. I got a road bike and Pete and I biked around a bunch of lakes. I fell off the bike, cried, declared that I was never riding a bike again, the promptly got back on the bike (since we were still 15 miles from the car at that point). I ran slowly and built my mileage back up very slowly. Most importantly, I lived. I laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed. I grieved and I loved and I let myself be loved. I volunteered and banana-ed and walked on stilts. Of course I missed running when I wasn't running. I missed it deeply. But my life was full of other things - running was just one temporarily missing piece. I knew it would be there for me when my body was ready for it again. And I knew that the better I was at resting, the sooner I would be able to run pain-free. Even when I started running again, I only ran 3 days a week, then 4 days a week, then occasionally 5 days a week max. I did all the other things I wanted to do. I rested at least one day a week, two if I needed it. I was conscious about giving myself an abundance of sleep and nutrients and especially compassion. Experience gives you perspective and this time I knew that my body was right. I needed this time off, to do other things, to feel all my complicated, overwhelming feelings and not run away from them. It sucked, of course. I would never choose injury if given the choice. But this wasn't my first time at the terrible no good very bad rodeo and this time I had promised myself I would do it better.

I read my old posts from when I had tendonitis in 2012 and they were depressing as fuck. But years later I can laugh about it. Because I now know it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. My doctor at the time (who was awesome and reminded me of The Dude) had said "Are you sad because your ankle hurts or does your ankle hurt because you're sad?" And he was right. I was so sad I couldn't run because I needed running as an escape from my life. I needed to be a runner because I was failing at being in a relationship and instead of realizing there was something wrong with the relationship I was in at the time, I kept thinking there was something wrong with me. But I learned. Slowly, painfully I learned. I made friends with cross-training and strength training and trails and myself. I followed my heart to the places and the people that made me feel happy and alive, that accepted me for who I was and didn't make me feel like I had to shrink myself down to fit their version of what I should be. Injury #1 in 2012 led me to the trails, to my tramily and to Pete. Injury #2 in 2017 led me to embrace rest instead of resist it. And that's the story. Not that I happened to run 50 miles this week. But everything that led me to it - the people and the lessons and the person I became along the way. That's where the magic is.

But since you're here, there are stories I want to tell about this week too. It was an especially awesome week in a summer of awesome weeks. Some nights I stayed up way late. Some nights I went to bed at 7:30pm. I hit my highest mileage in over a year and didn't even do a "long run." I wasn't following a training plan, I was just living my life. I got to run four 5ish mile runs between 6:00am on Saturday and 1:00am on Sunday and hang out with my friends all night at Mighty Mosquito relay. I got to run solo miles at Cobb's Hill. I got to run with Eric and Sheila at Letchworth and it felt like all the very best parts of who I used to be and all the things I'm looking forward to all wrapped up into one gorge and rainbow and bug filled run. I got to run our usual Thursday morning breakfast club run (where we meet at 5:00am and run to kill time until the bakery opens at 6:00am).

And this morning, alone in the dark at Corbett's Glen, I was trying to reassure myself that the glowing eyes illuminated by my headlamp were from something cute and probably uninterested in attacking me. Or at least from something smaller than me. Then my face hit every single spider web in the whole damn park (ewwww. and also, sorry my spider dudes for wrecking your dark web). Something reminded me of my dad and I teared up for a moment. This is the feeling that I could never name. It feels like sadness and heartbreak and gratitude and aliveness. And in that moment I realized that heartbreak is not your heart failing and crumbling into pieces, it's your heart bursting open, expanding so that more love can get in and be given out. It's everything there is. Then I felt a weird knot in my right glute and I was like is that what a piriformis is? Like a butt knot? (Trying to remember the names of body parts is like being introduced to 10 people simultaneously at a party. I will immediately forget all your names and then have to make up nicknames for you in my head until you friend request me on Facebook. Sorry, I am terrible). At that moment, I saw two large rocks up ahead and then this happened:

Me: I could massage my glute on that rock! Is that weird?
Also Me: Yes. So weird. But also kind of ingenious.
(Sits on rock and rocks back and forth using the rock like a natural foam roller. Not like I actually know how to use a foam roller. I mostly just lay on it until it gets all wrapped up in my clothes and I give up).
Still Me: Good thing it's 5:30am and no one else is here to see you looking like a spiderweb covered, rock grinding weirdo in the woods!
(Laughs hysterically at own self. Oddly, glute feels better, from the rock or the laughter? We may never know. Runs home to tell everyone on the internet about it).

And it's only Friday. There is so much more adventuring to do this weekend. So many new stories to be made. I'm so excited I can hardly wait.

Photo by Eric Eagan

Photo by Sheila Eagan

Photo by a table at the Village Bakery

Lyric of the moment: "I see your soul shine through to your eyes, when you're here. The moment you stop looking, wherever you go, you'll be in the right place. You'll never know the difference it makes, when you let go, and give up the chase. I'll come find you one of these days..." ~Vance Joy "One Of These Days"

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Mighty Mosquito 99: The Return of Team Toucan

It's 3:00am on Sunday and Brooke and I are sneaking into my house to take showers, while trying not to wake up Pete. The first time I met Brooke, I asked her if she wanted to be on our Mighty Mosquito team (I am bad at small talk, what can I say?). Fast forward three Mighty Mosquito Relays later and she's showering at my house at 3:00am. So be careful what you say yes to, my friends. One minute you're like why is this person I just met asking me to run a 99 mile relay? And the next, you're a lifelong member of Team Toucan and the phrase Gold Bond Bonfire makes perfect sense to you. 

This year, the Blue Foundation took over Mighty Mosquito from TrailsRoc. The format was the same: 3 different 5ish mile loops in Mendon Ponds Park that total 99 miles, with a relay and a solo option (for the super-humans out there). The start/finish area was at Stewart Lodge and everyone had set up their tent in the fields around the lodge. Team Toucan this year was comprised of Captain Todd, Bob, Steven, Brooke, Stacey, me and our volunteers extraordinaire Alison, Cassie and Boden.

The relay start wasn't until noon, but I woke up early on Saturday, restless and a little stiff. I ran a few easy shakeout miles around my neighborhood around 6:00am, then ate breakfast, packed up my car and met the team at Mendon around 11:00am. We scored a sweet shady spot under a big tree and set up tents, chairs, Steven's kiddie pool full of ice, and a most excellent snack buffet. Team Toucan's order of runners was: Me, Brooke, Stacey, Steven, Bob, then Todd. I like going first in relays because that was always my position in track relays and it feels the most comfortable to me. I think you're supposed to put one of your fastest runners first, which I am not, but I did the best I could with the day I had (which is all any of us can do). I can only describe the loops from my own perspective of them, but Brooke, Stacey, Steven, Bob and Todd are all super strong runners and they crushed their miles like the badasses they are. 

I was the first runner and I headed out on the pink loop at 12:00pm under a bright, hot sun (89 degrees and super high humidity). The first loop was basically the Mendon 10K loop in reverse, so some long gradual uphills and some steepish downhills. I started off running the hills but my breathing was heavy due to the heat and humidity and I hit an early low point where I thought why do I do this, why do I run? That thought happens at least once in every race, but usually it's much later on. Then my brain was all, this is fun, you're doing this for fun, also let's not get heatstroke today! So I started walking the hills to keep my heart rate down. It's not like we were trying to win anything, but I still wanted to get my team off to a decent start. I'm usually better at uphills, but in the heat that wasn't happening. So I tried to go faster on flats and downhills to make up time. Racing down Kitty Litter hill was slightly terrifying but I turned off the fear part of my brain and just let my legs do their thing. I think this is the first race ever where I haven't been passed by any dudes on a downhill. Also, all my bones and blood stayed on the inside so that made me happy. One day I will actually learn how to run downhill well. I finished the first loop in an hour, then Brooke and Stacey crushed their pink loops. We were sitting around our tent camp eating and chatting when we got a text from Steven: "Did I get lost? Think I am on orange." Which was hilarious because it's so Steven (and we love Steven). Instead of going left up the hill and across the road following the pink flags, he had gone straight and done the orange (third) loop instead. When he finished, he told the race directors he had gone the wrong way and they were very chill about it. They said the first and third loops were similar distance and elevation so it was fine. Bob and Todd were super fast on their pink loops and then it was my turn again.

I headed out on the blue loop around 6:00pm in just a sports bra and toucan shorts. I don't typically run without a shirt, but Brooke and Stacey had taken off their shirts for their loops, plus a bunch of guys were running shirtless. It was far too hot and too much of a waste of time to care what I looked like. Thankfully, it was a little cooler and a lot flatter and I felt good so I pushed the pace a little. I had a side stitch for pretty much the entirety of this loop, and the whole rest of the day, which was super annoying, but my legs felt good so I didn't let it slow me down. I was cruising for the first 3.5 miles, then the course went off trail into a bushwacking section that was too long for my tastes. I slowed down during this part since I didn't want to fall and impale myself on any sticks. Finally I heard some volunteers cheering and they told me to watch out for the yellow shirt on the ground, which was covering up a sketchy fence. It was too late, as I had already tripped on the fence, but at least I didn't fall. After crossing the road, another volunteer told me to run across the bridge, then make a U-turn and run through the pond. "Does everyone have to do this or do I just look super sweaty?" I asked. She laughed and said everyone had to do it. I could have done without that part too, since my shoes were then wet for the rest of the night. But I was lucky to do this loop in the light. Some people had to do it in the dark and that would have been much harder. Poor Bob ended up running extra miles on this loop because there was no volunteer there when he ran over the bridge, so he and several other runners kept going straight instead of making the turn into the water. Lots of people ended up getting lost on the course throughout the day and night, but surprisingly I was not one of them. I have a terrible sense of direction. I never know where I am. But my knowledge of my weaknesses almost becomes a strength in races because I'm hyper-vigilant about following flags. Also, I'm not fast so I have more time to make sure I'm on the right path and to notice if I haven't seen a flag in a while. There were a few times I started to get anxious that maybe I was off course, but just then I would see a flag and be reassured I was on the right track. I think the course was well-marked, but it can be hard to follow even a well-marked course in the dark or when your brain is all foggy and tired from doing more running than sleeping.

Around midnight, I headed out on the orange loop. I was nervous about falling or getting lost in the dark, but once I got out there I was fine. Except for the side stitch that had been plaguing me all day and had now become like an entire abdomen stitch. Not cool, but what can you do except keep going? This loop seemed to go by faster than the others. Or maybe I was just dreaming about taking a shower afterward. A couple times up and down Cardiac Hill (which I actually don't mind because it's pretty much inevitable at this point - I've been climbing this hill since high school cross country), over to Devil's Bathtub and then back to Stewart Lodge. When Brooke finished her last loop, we went to my house to shower quick, then headed back to Mendon. I had made a little sleep cubby in my hatchback and managed to get about an hour and a half of sleep before the daylight and my aching knees woke me up (I am too tall to sleep in my tiny car apparently. My knees were not happy about being curled up in the fetal position and not having room to stretch out.) While Todd was running his last loop, we took down our tent camp and started packing up, then headed to the finish to cheer him in. And to see the first female solo finisher in the history of MM99! Amazing!

While the running is fun and Mendon trails are beautiful, the best part of this race is the hanging out in between loops. It's like a giant, sweaty slumber party. Unless you're with Steven and he gives you Gold Bond powder and calls it an 'army shower.' In which case it's a slightly less sweaty slumber party. I got in about 20 miles of running but I did a lot more hanging out, eating, laughing and peeing. Normally, I'm in bed by 9:00pm but partying it up with my tramily was well worth the lost sleep. I'm going to need another weekend to recover from my weekend, but I would totally do this race again in the future. Good friends, good trails, good times in toucan shorts. It is such a luxury to live this life. 

Lyric of the moment: "All the crazy shit I did tonight. Those will be the best memories. I just wanna let it go for the night. That would be the best therapy for me..." ~David Guetta "Memories"

Friday, August 3, 2018


Pete can pick me up easily. He can lift me over his shoulder like it's nothing. Then he'll say "Ok, now you pick me up." And we laugh as I struggle to lift him and I can't. Except today, I did. I lifted him a couple of inches off the ground. I lifted giant, outweighs me by 100lbs, Pete. (Then I ran around dancing and yelling "I am so strong! One day I'll lift you over my head." It's funny because it's not at all true). I know that Pete is strong. But I forget that I am too. Sometimes I get annoyed that I struggle with the same things for so long. I forget that success is just a side effect. The struggle is what makes you strong. All the times I couldn't lift Pete led me to the time I could. Every situation that almost crushed me led me to being strong enough (and let's face it, weird enough) to handle anything.

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor for a physical. My new GP was concerned that my dad had died at a young age and she wanted me to have a full physical with blood work. The whole thing made me anxious. I didn't think anything was wrong with me as I felt fine. But I kept thinking that she thought there was something wrong with me. Plus I hate having blood drawn because the nurses always tell me I have small veins, like it is my fault if they can't get it on the first try and have to jab me repeatedly and painfully. And I just hate going to the doctor because I find it more stressful than helpful (why is Western medicine so awkward and weird and cold? I'm looking at you, creepy obgyn speculum). The lab results came back normal (I feel very grateful to be healthy and I never want to take it for granted). But there's more to health than test results. The nurse remarked that I'd lost weight since the last time I was there and he said "If you were trying to lose weight, congratulations." I made a displeased face and then he said "If you weren't trying to lose weight, congratulations." All I could say was "I don't weigh myself," but the look on my face must have said everything because then he said "Oh, well that's good." There was a time that an interaction like that would have crushed me, that I would have taken all those feelings I didn't know what to do with and turned them against myself. In the past, my brain would have flooded with thoughts like "You fail at everything, you're not good enough." But that day it was all like "What a fucked up thing for a medical professional to say to you. You know your inherent worth is unrelated to your body size. You're not more valuable if you take up less space - physical or otherwise. And you're sure as hell not healthier if you take up less space." I wish I would have said that to the nurse and to the doctor, who says generic, useless-to-me things like eat less meat and more fiber. I don't eat any meat (because I want animals to be my friends. And I don't eat my friends, as a general rule) and I already poop like three times a day. I don't have time for any more shit in my life. I've got things to do. I felt very sad after this appointment because it should have made me feel better (I am healthy, after all), but it just made me all stressed and despair/rage-y. But then I  realized that I spent years struggling with disordered eating and negative body image and as a result of that, I am at a place where I am strong enough to stand up to all the bullshit cultural and advertising noise out there. I could have been another statistic. But I wasn't. And that is not a thing to be embarrassed about, it's a thing to celebrate.

I used to want to be invisible. To be as small, quiet, unassuming, unmemorable as possible. I thought it was a superpower, that it would protect me. From pain, loss, other people's judgment, things I couldn't control. Spoiler alert: it did not. Mostly it just made me profoundly unhappy. And so very tired. Until one day, it prevented me from running. Physically I just could not make my body run another step. It was obvious to many other people long before that, but that was the moment I realized this isn't working. It would take many more years to fully realize the truth, but that day it dawned on me that I did not in fact want to be invisible. Maybe that's what I thought I "should" be, but it wasn't what I wanted to be. What I wanted to be was alive. To fully inhabit my life and fill it with curiosity and adventure and running and people. And to do that I had to take up more space, with my body and my words and my actions. My superpower wasn't invisibility. My superpower is my extreme enthusiasm and gratitude for being alive. 

I have come too far to ever go back. I'm going so hard at this being alive party. I'm going to say what I think and be who I am and give as much love as I can, for as long as I can.

Lyric of the moment: "I told you to be patient. I told you to be fine. I told you to be balanced. I told you to be kind. Now all your love is wasted. Then who the hell was I? Now I'm breaking at the britches. And at the end of all your lines. Who will love you? Who will fight? Who will fall far behind?..." ~Bon Iver "Skinny Love"