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.