Saturday, October 16, 2010

Double Time: Road to San Antonio

My father was a military man..well, boy.  He lied about being 18 so he could run away from his drunk father and join the Coast Guard.   He craved order, fair discipline, and rituals like unloading the dishwasher the moment it finished its cycle.

My mother was...well, the opposite.  She was an untamed, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants, wild-child who would rebel just for the sake of rebelling.

Clearly, it didn't end well.  But before their impromptu marriage fell apart, they managed to raise a daughter who sees no point in making the bed every morning, but who tries to do it because that's what you're supposed to do.

Which is exactly why, when I could not find a running group that fit my schedule, I made my own.  You see, I need the discipline of a group.  I find comfort in knowing that every Friday at 9am I must be ready to help my group tackle the next incremental step on our training schedule - a schedule that I devised.   I need the ritual of dropping my 5 year old off at Kindergarten, and zooming down to our meeting spot 20 minutes before the others arrive in order to sap the last bit of baby's on the stairs.  I love working on group communication e-mails that offer weekly tips and remind me to practice what I preach.   I crave the high that comes from looking down at my watch and reading that we've already done twice the miles than I realized because they melted away in conversation.

Otherwise, there's an awfully strong chance I would say To Hell With It and get stuck at 6 miles.   Without others counting on me, I don't push myself as hard as I should; my log book doesn't have as many miles in it (if I'm writing in it at all).  Of course, I WANT to run farther and faster, but I can't help but getting distracted by the rest of my life, including that ridiculous voice that says Go on, check Facebook one more time, maybe something fantastic popped up.  Or Oh, run tomorrow, today let's drag the kids around a new part of town on a whim despite their protests.

So, for 8 weeks now, 10-15 of us have been on the Road to San Antonio.  We're training for the November 14th Rock & Roll Half Marathon that tours the art district, several missions and of course, the Alamo.  We started at 5 miles and have worked our way up to 10 so far.  Each week, our gang varies slightly according to their schedules, but we have a strong 6 person core group on which the others depend.   They all expect me and the baby to be there, ready to talk their ears off (or as I like to think of it, distract them through the miles).  And they all apologize profusely if they've missed a run, promising to make it up the next day.

I guess we get along so well because we're have a common bond.  We all make our beds...unless, of course, no one is looking.

crumbs of Crumbs

     I've left too many blank pages in my diary. Years have gone by and I've barely written a thing, except to-do lists (of which I only do some). I think of things to document often, though. Every night, really, while I'm cradling baby Graham in the pitch-black, nursing him to sleep. My mind is at its most active then – but he is so sensitive, I don't dare try to write or type. It's as if he knows that he must guarantee his own attention with absurd demands, otherwise, he'd get jipped: the 2nd Child's Self-Preservation Strategy.

      Again, it's a case of my child teaching me how to mother: Turn off the lights, silence the room, and just hold him, hold him, hold him. Savor his warmth, and infrequent hiccups, and his sweet moaning songs when his mouth is full. Just stroke that thick strawberry-blond head-of-hair and permit him to dig his fingernails into my belly button. Sit on the simple, floored mattress, propped up by pillows (where did we get so many extra pillows?), waiting for him to give in - fall asleep - too woozy to wonder if he is missing something.

     It is during those long zen moments, in which I must remain silent and still - or risk having to start all over - that my mind comes up with all the things I wish I had documented.  Because, lord knows, that my mind is a sieve, and barely the large chunks keep from falling through. I've forgotten more in this life than I should have. It's a shame, really, because it's been such a good life. And I'd like my boys to know a little about me before I disintegrate. So, tonight, I chose not to sit in front of the television like I normally do: half watching while carelessly surfing the web. I'm naming a place where I can write a little more. And hopefully, I will. It's on my to-do list.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A break up note

Dear 6 Mile Run,

I'm over you.  I know we've been together every week for the last few months, but I moved on a 7 mile run: something I haven't done in over a year and a half.  I'll be working my way up to half-marathon distance soon, because I have a group now, and they'll help me get there just like they helped me leave you behind.

I'll see you again, but just for fun, nothing serious.  You can't keep me down forever.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What doesn't bend, breaks.

They say, your children teach you how to be a parent; that you can try to force them into your preconceived ideas on what your family should be like, but ultimately, what doesn't bend, breaks.

Even as young as 3 1/2, my 5 year-old boy has had an extraordinary ability to focus on building Lego worlds. Left alone in his room with a 500 piece set, he can assemble the entire thing without a lick of help. This awesomely peaceful time recharges all of us. However, despite his love of long, solitary hours of building, he needs to know I'm still keeping an eye on him....otherwise he launches into brutal, piece-by-piece tutorials that painstakingly teach me how he built his vehicles. When he's caught me ignoring him for too long, he shows no mercy and milks my mommy-guilt like a newborn. Glance away for a millisecond? He starts over.

As a baby/toddler, he could only fall asleep on the move; and the louder the environment, the better. We could (and were motivated) to tote him to parties, to the theater, to restaurants and The Nap Master would sleep....until, of course, we were at home, at night.

This boy has taught me how to be the parent I am. Feel a "class" is about to start? I now know to bathe him in my undivided attention while changing the topic. Won't admit to being tired? There's "a quick errand" in the car we need to run. Doesn't get hurt despite how bad the spill seems? Sure you can climb on the outside of the tube-slide.

How different would life be if my kids had been born in reverse order?

My 5 month old baby refuses to sleep in the car and in a stroller, nor will he doze off if there is any noise or light. Yikes! BUT...he sleeps through the night*. He won't let me nurse him to sleep in front of the TV or con him into a nap by circling the block a few times. Nope. He forces me to take him to my room, and lay him down in dark silence. Then, he'll see me in the morning. Had he been my first child, I would have probably had our family on a strict schedule from the beginning. Then my other one would have been born into an organized household and adapted to it, because that's just how he is. We'd all be well-rested, perky, with bluebirds landing upon our shoulders as our four-part harmonies clear the clouds from the skies.

Then, of course, I never would have learned to love running.

I wouldn't have so desperately strapped him into a stroller and hit the road in attempt to get him to sleep. Had I not already experience the joy that comes after the first 6 sucky weeks of getting back into shape, I wouldn't have gotten my butt out the door a second time because this baby HATES the stroller. My parenting arsenal wouldn't have included "attitude adjustment" runs - the kind that inspired my boy to say (when he was old enough to form his own thoughts):"Mommy, you're nicer after you run." I wouldn't have met my best friend Kelly during marathon training, or seen the sun rise from the Biscayne Bridge, or eaten at Amy's Ice Cream 3 days in a row without guilt. I wouldn't have found that cool stream my boy and I skim rocks in. I wouldn't have traded in wine for my new favorite drug: runner's high. (Okay, maybe "supplemented" would have been more appropriate).

How different would it have been? Well, my first-born inadvertently made me a runner, and being a runner makes me a better mom to my kids. So, I guess all those sleepless nights were worth it. It's not like I could sing well enough to harmonize with the family anyway.

*If you don't count all these sick days recently!

Friday, March 5, 2010

101 in 1001: August 8, 2007 - April 29, 2010

946 days ago, I posted my 101 in 1001. That's, 101 things I'd like to do in 1001 days. Or, 2 years, 8 months, and 27 days. An eternity, right? Turns out, everyone was right: Time seems to move faster as you get older. Or better yet, "The days are long, but the years are short.*"

That leaves just 55 days until my deadline. Last time I checked had approx 43 out of 1001 101 done. Let's see what I've done since then. I've added a few frivolous things, but honestly, I'm most satisfied with "completing" number 4: Have a 2nd child. And although it makes some of the others impossible....totally worth it.

So, to read this, understand that the first phrase is what I need to do, and then if comments are in red, I'm done; if comments are in blue, it's a work in progress.
Now...brown is impossible.

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

1. Start my own blog and learn the "code."
2. Sell a cake I make I don't think I can count my son's school bakesale - Sold Cookies in Dec 07, Sold an actual cake March 08; Got a REAL job as a Baker :)
3. Do a comedic spit take 8/27/07 at Wine Tasting Party - damn that's fun to do
4. Have a 2nd child- HOORAH!!!!!! OCT 18, 2010!!!!
5. Speak Spanish well enough that someone thinks it's my first language
6. Make the inside of my car look new again 8/6/07, but I'm sure it will quickly undo itself
7. Visit a college friend saw lots of them at Ben's wedding in July 08
8. Run a half marathon in 2:11:00 -2:15, so close! 11/16/08 = 2:12 DAMN IT!
9. Grow something in my yard and eat it Tomatoes, green beans, bell peppers!! 2009
10. Make Dad happy and become a member of DAR done enough for my tastes
11. Find a doctor I'm comfortable enough that I'll actually see him/her when I'm sick
12. Preserve Dad's journal
13. Fix the dining room chairs and re-cover them - or just move and leave them behind
14. Write and print a children's book
15. Raft a class IV rapid again
16. Write 30 days in a row.
17. Host a dinner party where I actually cook everything
18. Finish an entire pack of Whitening strips (nursing baby now)
19. Go back to place I met my husband totally worth it
20. Visit (out of state) Mom 3 times per year. Oct 07, May 08, Oct 08 - well, I've seen her 2x per year. Not TOO bad.
21. Take husband on picnic, with food he'd actually like
22. Do a 5K in less than 9 minutes per mile Tax Run 08 in 27:30 WHILE PUSHING 45 lb KID IN STROLLER ON A WINDY DAY!!!!!! HOORAH!
23. Get wedding album professionally printed
24. Finish a book that has nothing to do with parenting "C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race" by Geoff Williams (and I will never complain about a training run again)
25. Create slideshow/movie for Brother's weddingmay 08
26. Spend time alone with each of my 3 sister-in-lawsOct, Thanksgiving, x-mas -that's enough
27. Complete Stand up For Kids training and volunteer at least 5 times with youth.moved - must replace this with something
28. Go 7 days without dessert. Made it 3 days....damn hard for a baker to do; On day 4, thanks to the Master Cleanse (June 11); ">I think it's impossible! Hoorah for Morning Sickness! 21 days, no problem! ;) March 09
29. See a live taping of John Stewart's Daily Show - I wish....someday
30. Take Mom on Vacation I'm counting her getting coming to visit at baby's birth
31. Take Mom to bury her mother's ashes. can't get mom to leave her house
32. Teach son to throw a pot on a a potter's wheel Started Nov 07, 2 1/2 is a bit too young
33. Do to a dermatologist to check out "freckles"
34. Write my will. We're mostly done
35. Take the family camping where there aren't alligators or crocodiles Took boy to my old camp in VA and slept in a cabin...that's as close as I can get for now
36. Learn the difference between wine grapes
37. Teach husband how to put the car seat in his car Totally and Utterly a losing battle
38. Make a hat
39. Get a bikini wax (yikes!) 5/12/08 not as bad as I feared
40. Figure out our health insurance (real) costs been trying, but it seems to keep changing
41. Sell something on Ebay June 1, 08!
42. Visit Eugene, Oregon with family In July 08- boy even got to go to the Country Fair and roam with real-live hippies :)
43. Throw a party for Mom
44. Beat husband at a game of Scrabble
45. Finish the NY Sunday Crossword without help 8/5/07All but a few spaces, that's as good as it's ever going to get!
46. Clean the blue room 9/15/07
47. Organize a midnight 10 miler while it wasn't 10 miles, I organized a 5 mile Hash Run and hope to continue it bi-monthly - 10 miles would be too unrealistic to gather enough folks for an informal race...and too long to be drinking beer at
48. Edit home videos 3/4 done
49. Edit vacation video for dad
50. Carve "casa d" sign
51. Finish before that 64 year old woman in the sprint Triathlon, the one whose killed me twiceKey Biscayne Sprint Triathlon #3 August 26th, 2007....As I'm getting out of the water, I see her on the beach already, but I catch up. I leave on my bike and get close to the bridge, she blows me away, I start to lose hope. On the last mile of the run, I see her ahead...I muster every last speck of energy and pass her, coming in 3 minutes ahead. I shaved 3 minutes off my last races time. I (barely) beat the woman over twice my age, oh what a proud moment. I later find out she had a really bad day, 6 minutes slower than her usual. It took the gods slowing her down for me to beat her. I'll take it.
52 Make at least one homemade gift for those on my x-mas list between baking and ceramics, I've got this covered 2007
53. Make Mom's house suitable to bring family to stay everytime I go, it gets a little better
54. Host cooking party
55. Host charitable cooking session, preparing meals for others
56. Host wine tasting party 8/27/07
57. Deal with "the ring" situation, either come clean about it disappearing or find a brilliant replacement i still feel sick
58. Buy a nice piece of art for home violet alligator - no really, it's beautiful
59. Fix the rocking chair 2007
60. Potty train the boy before he turns 3 i think he did all the hard work, though
61. Bring my own bags to the grocery store for at least 15 times in a row, start over if I forget. try to make it a habit day 1: 8/15/07 - going really well Take 2: 8/21/07 September 07
62. Use my bike for transportation any distance under 2 miles, unless weather doesn't permit - until 1001 ends Doing so around 75% of time - times I don't include: the boy throws crazy tantrums getting on bike and "dear god, it's 105 degrees out"
63. Run 600 miles this year (starting 4/22/07 - 4/22/08) 8/15/07 200 miles, 10/10/07 310 miles, 12/16/07 460, 2/4/08 584, February 11th 2008 I reached 601 miles!!!!!!!!! Final Tally for year: 758.25!
64. Oil each of the 5 teak benches/chairs/table we have Jan 08
65. Steam clean the rugs once per year 07 - moved - no longer necessary
66. Liquid fast for 3 days -Day 1 of Juice Fast: 8/22/07 36 hours...seemed like a lifetime - June 8, 08
67. Learn to play a song on the accordion I'm counting Happy Birthday
68. Write and record a song on guitar Husbands birthday song
69. Take son to Orlando we only went to Downtown Disney and it was ENOUGH for a 3 year old
70. Run 3 half marathons 11/25/07 Space Coast Half (2:31), 1/27/08 ING Miami (2:29), Ft. Lauderdale A1A 2/17/08 (2:16)
71. Take a 3 day, kid-free vacation with husband 36 hours is the max so far, with an infant now, that's impossible!
72. Take son to volunteer 3 times per year 12/16/07 Bread Delivery, Feb 08 cake delivery; each Thanksgiving, working in parks, etc - very pleased with this
73. Teach son to brush his teeth twice a day harder than first imagined - at the age of 3
74. Track my every cent for a month (keeping all receipts) Wow- I spend like a diva!
75. Have a decent family photo taken
76. Host a haunted house for Halloween
77. Girls weekend at Beach house again - May be tough with the move
78. Type up my prose - turns out, it kind of sucks. not sure I should follow through
79. STOP buying bottled water (except in hurricane situations- and recycle those)doing great
80. Calculate how much each of the baked goods I make costs - begun, WOW Vanilla is expensive! Judging by prices, I think I'll stay in the cookie/bread business rather than cakes
81. Use only ONE glass per day at home 1 month in a row why is this so hard!?!?!
82. Make a windchime
83. Donate blood made attempt in Nov 07, but denied for having a cold
84. Sign up to be an organ donor - put in will
85. See the sunrise with husband
86. Learn to rollerblade
87. Reconnect with at least one person from each of my phases of life (highschool, college,camp/VA, street artist, ORC) (1/5) Catherine, Tom/Joel, saw J in P-town, Matt S, Mike! - hoorah facebook!
88. Finish tattoo on back you wus.
89. Use my juice machine everyday for 2 weeks
90. Take my son to play in real snow Yea! It snowed in Austin!
91. Send something to Postsecret . -turns out, I can't do it via computer - must actually MAIL something
92. Clean and return borrowed baby supplies to friend for her new baby (before August 28, 2007) 8/26/07 just barely
93. Organize the boy's closet - yikes 9/15/07
94. Sort through baby supplies, would I really use some of that stuff again?2007
95. Read something by DeLillo...finish it even
96. Have a campfire in backyard...even when we have power Jan 08
97. Get the Los Angeles City Limits sign from mom's garage - population 1 million
98. Recognize someone famous BEFORE the husband does12/07 Saw Cody Gifford - Kathy Lee's son, I recognized him in public because I used to work in the community where they live.
99. Redesign Pantry, making baking supplies for accessible and cleaner September 07
100. Learn to play and perform a song with husband falling slowly "Once"
101. Laugh so hard I pee myself. (hum, really?)

*Anyone know to whom that quote can be attributed?

Friday, January 29, 2010

yep - still runnin'

one handed typing but i gotta check in to say, yes, this running mama is back!
body has long been healed from my 2nd boy's birth and i'm up to 6 miles...6 slow miles, but that far none-the-less. i can also whip out a 5k in 32 minutes, which is just 4 minutes longer than it was before i was pregnant (gasp!) but i think that has more to do with newly added hills and pushing a giant stroller.

anyhow - my boy is now 3 1/2 months old and i can see the light at the end of the tunnel. i guess it helps that he sleeps pretty well, or rather, well enough. and i can fit into my "fat" jeans, which feels good after being in the same maternity jeans for an eternity. unfortunately, i'm dropping these pounds at a safe and steady rate of 1 lb per week, rather than what i had fantasized: 40 lbs gone by the 1st month with remarkable toning & flexibility achieved by his 2 month appt.
oh least i can run.

pre-preg weight: 134 lbs
current weight: 147 lbs
goal? 125