My day

This was an epic day, in that it was full of extraordinary stuff, journeys and purpose.

It started early this morning. Cho Chang woke me up and I got dressed to do the Saturday training run.Today was 10 miles for full marathon and 5 miles for the half people.

It wasn’t fecking cold like last week but still cold. I followed the instructions from Facebook but still missed the turn, like last week. What was supposed to be 5 miles was a little more. I also lost my car in the huge but empty parking lot, like every time.

Then I went to get a croissant and felt bloated after. I had about an hour to kill til the Womens March. NPR had the best headline I saw,” Still Pretty Damn Mad.” There were more non white women, more kids, dogs and some anxious looking men. I was glad to see lots of other old broads out there too. Before the march kicked off they asked for indigenous women and Dreamers to lead, so I headed up front. I found a friend of mine from an Internet group and asked her to come up too but she has back and pain issues so I went ahead while she waited.

The actual march was short, about 3 blocks with cops escorting us. There were speeches after, t-shirts for sale and lots of groups with sign up sheets. We hung out awhile but the crowd started to thin out. I left, said bye to my friend and her husband and went to get an Indian taco.

I changed my mind about the taco and opted for pashofa and grape dumplings. After the croissant I didn’t feel like much like bread. I inhaled the pashofa and dumplings.

Then I finally conked out, took a nap with Cho and took a shower and washed my hair at last. It’s been a good day to be indigenous.

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Sunday thrift store haul 

Some thrift stores have colored tag specials on Sunday. I’ve learned it’s best to go early and look at the end of the racks first. I went in with the intention of finding workout clothes. 

The only time I’ll wear leggings is under other pants.

These will be good on cold days.

All the tops are a smaller size than I usually wear, so I can layer them.

I bought these too, Talbots makes good quality work clothes

I like sparkly stuff. Skirt for warmer weather. Blue tag

Big stain on Talbots pants, took the chance, the price was too good.

I washed them but the stain stayed.

Another thrift failure. Another pair of Talbots pants in a smaller size, I thought I might get into them because spandex and my ego said so. Nope.

Green tags were 5 for a dollar, blue tags half off.

3.50 for everything!

New Year’s 2018

This morning I got up and drove across town to go walk at Lake Hefner. A running club was going to run the dam before it’s closed for construction starting tomorrow,  probably forever or close to it. The Dam Run on the Dam Road in the Dam Cold. And it was cold, 10 degrees this morning. About 20 other insane people showed up, bundled up and did this thing. One TV channel even sent a shivering reporter.

I walked it, making me the last person in.  A turtle stampeding through peanut butter. I can also say I’ve peed outside at two locations now, there were no port-a-potties on the trail.

I bundled up, this is what I wore.

  • Underwear, the regular kind
  • Long sleeve knit top
  • Fitted fleece lined hoodie
  • Insulated jacket
  • Fleece lined leggings
  • Pants with mesh lining
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • Knit cap
  • 2 pairs of gloves, thin pair and fleece pair
  • Running shoes

I also took kleenex, my ID and money, my phone and earbuds. Got to have brunch then come home to watch the Winter Classic and my guy Lundqvist. It was colder here than NY.

Cho slept through the fireworks and guns shot off at midnight.

The full run was 10 miles but I turned back early. My longest walk since summer.

Icy lake water, some places were frozen.

Tiny Bear wishes everyone a Happy New Year and black-eyed peas.

Early morning

There is a running club that gathers at the unnatural hour of 6am on Saturday mornings and runs. There are two groups, one training for a full marathon and those training for the half, because we are only half crazy (old, old joke).

I am not a real dues paying member and I don’t know anybody there. I know I am the slowest one in the half group. I’ve been passed by strollers. It does slam my ego to get passed by runner after runner but I try to remember I’m a walker, one who is slowly transitioning to running. Slowly is my byword.

It’s also my secret identity.  No one at work knows I do this walking torture on early Saturdays. I don’t mention it and I don’t worry I’ll be discovered because no one in my department runs. Few if any of my coworkers run, some work out at gyms but not that many. I also don’t worry about being found out because I don’t know any of the running club people. A few I recognize on sight, mostly as they pass me but I’ve never exchanged names or anything personal with anyone. People are focused on their run, no time to chit chat. I’m cool with that.

No one sees me. I am up at 5am, stumbling around in the dark, putting on my shoes in the car (I keep them there because its the only way I’ll ever walk, it’s easy to make excuses if I ‘accidentally’ leave my shoes at home) and drive to some place I’ve never walked before. This is helped by seeing a bunch of people, most very skinny, very fit and very energetic, already there. So I’m not crazy and I’m not alone. There’s usually some announcements about the route and water stops. The first time I did this I was so slow the halfway water stop was already gone. So I take my own bottle of water, looking like a dork but at least I’m a hydrated dork.

No one knows me, I don’t know them either. My dad knows I get up and leave while its still dark and return sometime after the sun comes up but has no idea where I’m going. Most times I’m not so sure myself. But no one else knows what I do, at least not until now. It is, was, my secret. I’m undercover. I don’t look like the serious runners or anyone else out there.  I’m old and lumpy,  I’m not white ( I’ve seen a few Asian and Black people but so far I’m the only brown one), I wear comfy clothes instead of serious running shorts and tech shirts. And I am slow, I’ve only seen a couple of other walkers but most are faster than me.

Today’s run was on Sunday and I went to Mass on Saturday so I’d be covered. I got up, made to the Catholic high school where the run was scheduled. So even though I missed Mass I was still on familiar ground, so to speak. The marathon runners did 14 miles today, the half marathon runners and I did 7.

There’s something stupendous about seeing the city before it wakes up. It’s like seeing things in a benign way, you are free and safe, there are no cars or people around when the run starts. lt’s almost like being a superhero, in a low-key way. It’s like we’re a bunch of ninjas traveling secretly through the city, no one knows. But as the sun comes us there’s more activity, more people, cars and reminders that we aren’t alone. It is somewhat comforting to see other people, but that spell of secrecy is broken. Yet most of the people walking dogs or riding bikes are friendly. People in cars, that varies.

I like seeing other runners, usually the marathon runners, as they pass me. I even catch up to some of the half marathon people, those who started out fast and passed me may be walking now and that makes my ego feel a little better. It almost makes up for being passed earlier. Even if I’m not as fast as the others it is a reminder than we are still out there, that we made the effort to get up freaking early and that this is worth it.

It will pay off. Eventually.

I also took these pictures along the way. Since I’m by myself and slow as a turtle stampeding through peanut butter my finish time doesn’t matter.

Walk hard

That is a thing. Sometimes walking is hard. I have not done my usual walking, due to life getting in the way. Porkchop was sick and then died. I just couldn’t, I didn’t feel it. Even though my body knew it should and it could, it wanted to stay inside and not move.  Then my dad was in the hospital, he had chest pain. We went to the ER, he was admitted, they ran tests, drew blood and he got to watch cable when they woke him up. He came home when the tests confirmed he had blockages, and only one functioning artery. Surgery was a high-risk low value option and he didn’t want it. While he was in hospital I mostly hung out there with my sisters and we got to enjoy the free Wi-Fi while he dozed. I didn’t walk then either. The temperature was in the 90’s and that didn’t help.

So I managed 2 days in a week and half, and this was an effort. Not just physically but mentally, I was aware of everything around me. It was hot, the sun beating on me with little breeze, and the distance seemed longer. I wondered if I should be there, besides the weather I was aware there were things I could or should be doing. I even felt the geese were judging me. More than usual.

I still miss Porkchop waiting for me at the door when I come home, see that weird empty space where his cat box was, and just miss him. I can hardly eat in my room because I keep waiting for a little gray paw to reach for my food. My dad is all right, relatively speaking. He’s dozing in his recliner with a bag of pork rinds next to him. Following a low salt diet only happens in the hospital and frankly it won’t help much anyway, it just annoys him.

Today I did my walk, I didn’t do the full distance I should have but came close, less than a mile short. I started early, it wasn’t hot yet and there was breeze. I brought a bottle of water and later wished I brought a second. It was good, better than I expected. I thought about last June, when I took off to see how far I could go and nearly gave myself skin failure and heatstroke. I didn’t walk 11 miles like that day but I didn’t have the rapid heartbeat or fatigue either. I’ve also learned to put one earbud in my left ear and the other one down the front of my shirt. I know clipping my phone holder on my left front helps too. These are little things that make a big difference.

The other change is I didn’t berate myself, tell myself that I suck, should be further along or failed. It’s an old pattern and an effort to not listen. I don’t like clichés but the journey, the walk, is the goal not just a number. Not how fast or how far I went.  I am starting to believe in it.

Cows! Police cows, I took this on the way back.

20170722_090310-2

Long walk

For me, anyway. For some people, short little hike, no big deal. I did my morning walk, I walk about 3 days a week and this is my longest walk of the week because I have more time. More time to do and to recover. 

I took a bottle of water, room temperature,  with me and I’m glad I did. It was awkward carrying it and I need to wear pants with pockets. Although it’s only 79 degrees F I am sweating like a politician on the witness stand. I even sweated off my eyebrows. 

Besides sweating a lot, I feel accomplished. It takes effort, just making myself get up and drive to the river was hard today. I knew I was going to do 6 miles and that I haven’t walked that far in almost a year. I managed 5 miles but one more was intimidating and a little frightening. I told myself I could do this, I could go slow, I could rest if I needed, it’s okay. 

I did stop once, to go pee between a couple of fir trees. Got pee on my leg, poked by a tree branch and hoped nobody saw me, especially the truck passing on the bridge on my left.  

As I turned around and started back I said “you’re more than halfway there.” I repeated it and checked off the streets and bridges as I passed them on my way back. Once I made it to my car and changed my shoes I began thinking about the other stuff I need to do today. After I conquered this, and I feel conquer is the right word, I feel like I can do anything now, today. 

 Yeah, I need to pluck those brows.

Post race

Last Sunday morning I was downtown, in the dark and cold with 19,000 other people. I signed up for the Memorial Marathon, the 5K weenie race. I want to say it was because I believe in supporting the museum and as a remembrance to those who died April 19,1995. I admit it was more about a tech shirt and keeping up a pattern of doing this race every year. The other stuff yeah, the main reasons why there are nearly 20,000 people out there every year and why they keep coming back.

I went downtown Friday after work and picked up my packet. I decided last minute to go ahead and do this thing so my name wasn’t in the self check-in computers. I got my packet from a kindly volunteer, an older woman who assured me I was okay to go. She handed me a clear plastic bag with my bib in it and I mentioned I was just doing the 5K not the half or full marathon, the real races. She replied that every person, no matter which race they were doing, GOT THE PLASTIC BAG. The same bag. This is a big deal, because 2 years ago when I went to pick up my 5K packet I was told that only the half and full marathon people were deemed worthy of a bag. 5K people were not. I had a little feeling of shame that grew and multiplied when I learned this. I did not run or walk much that year, I was slow, old and knew I was good to do the 5K but not to ask more of my body. I had done the half, that was in 2012 but that nearly wiped me out because I ran more than I should have but still, I knew my lumpy little body was capable of doing more.

I had a good excuse for not running or walking. The previous June my husband passed away and most of the usual things I did I stopped doing. Although I enjoyed getting outside and solitude most of the time this year was not the same. It felt like a burden and the endorphins just weren’t kicking in. But I still managed to do the freaking 5K, in part because I knew he would have expected me to do it. So I did, I took my sad little loser 5K shirt and did the race in 2015.

I didn’t do the race in 2016. I couldn’t afford the $60 entry fee and somehow it didn’t feel like something I wanted to do. I was tired and didn’t want to hear about remembering the dead and being positive, about being better or stronger for the experience.  It seemed personal and intrusive in a way the previous year hadn’t. So I slept in and went to Mass instead.

This year I thought about it and tried to decide if I would or not do the race. My mind said to train for the half again, the sticker on my car needed a replacement. My body said forget that, do the 5K, it’s enough and besides you got other stuff to think about. The other stuff being my son’s wedding in Vietnam. My body won this round, as it usually does and I was not ready for the half. So I debated the merits of doing the race and the merits of sitting it out. My pride won out, as it often does, and I signed up online. i told myself to prepare to pick up my loser shirt and bring a bag.

So when this woman handed me the bag I felt grateful and humbled. Grateful that I had a bag to swing around like the big kids doing the real races. Humbled because it’s just a 3 mile race but it is important enough to provide every person with their own gear bag. I stammered something about picking up my packet 2 years before and how I was, wow, surprised and thank you.

The next step was getting my shirt. There was an expo, booths selling running shoes, clothes, protein gels, display racks for your medals, any and every thing that could be imagined for sale. I walked about five minutes before I got distracted and nearly forgot where I was going. But I found my way out of the maze and found several people in line for their shirts and took my place in line. When I got closer I saw only blue shirts. I told the man behind the counter I was just doing the 5K, that I didn’t get a half or full race shirt. He just asked what size I wanted. All the shirts were for the race: 5K, half, relay or full. I was stunned again. I babbled that last year there were different colors for the 5k, half and full. All blue and I told him I’d take a large. There were finisher shirts after the race, for the half and full but we were all in the same shirt starting out. Different bibs but the same shirt.

The race was not bad, almost anti-climactic for me. The real effort was getting up at 4am and driving in rush hour traffic trying to find a parking place in a downtown perpetually under construction.  I finished, not my best time, but I felt good after. Getting free food and finding a short line at the port-a-potties helped too.




That’s a soccer ball on the right, it floated around before the 5K started.