Monthly Archives: May 2011

1 + 2 + 3 = 26.2

How to become a runner in three easy steps:

  1. Get inspired.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Join a community.

 Mark inspired me to trade my gym cross-trainers for a pair of running shoes. I’m now on my fourth pair.

Mary mentored me to keep going and shoot for bigger challenges. I was happy to stop at 13.1, until she made me set a goal of the 26.2 mile-marker. Never has bigger been better!

The Ravena Runners welcomed me into a community. A true running friend will come out on a muggy Sunday morning, reworking their own running schedule to help you achieve a 20-mile training goal. And a true running friend might not sign up for the race, but they’ll wait along the way to grab your discarded shirt or re-fill your water.

 Pay it forward.


I Got The Music In Me

It’s funny how ‘the right song’ comes on at a time when you need it most.

I recently set out on a six-mile course which I knew would have two big hills more than half way thru. With a good three miles behind me, I looked ahead at the first one and thought “Whoa, Newport all over again.” But the night before I’d downloaded a few new tunes, and so when ‘Lose Yourself’ popped up randomly, I had just what I needed in my head to make my legs do the work. A year ago, I probably would have walked the hill, sure that it would be too hard. Instead, I let the song be my guide while my stronger legs [courtesy of eight months of personal training!] pushed me up over the top. And the good thing about running up hills is that you come down the other easier side.

In the summer of 2007, my emotions swung wildly between continuing hope and positivity to growing fear and negativity. Me being me, I struggled to push the latter away, although there were times alone with myself that I came close to losing it. I recall one time driving alone in the car, and ‘Move Along’ by All American Rejects popped up:

“When all you got to keep is strong…Move along, move along like I know you do… And even when your hope is gone…Move along, move along just to make it through.”

If that song wasn’t me then, I don’t know what was. Through the ensuing weeks as Mark got sicker, I would always find a way to stay strong and dig deep like a hill challenge, pushing on for him.

Starting my training for his first 5k the next winter, I was working out one Friday night on the gym treadmill, trying to build up endurance before hitting the open road. After some [boring] time on the treadmill, as I was convincing myself to pack it in [because it’s boring!], I looked across the cardio deck floor towards the row of TVs. One of the Gilda’s Club promotional spots was running, so I wondered whose face I would be seeing. And it was Mark’s 60-seconds of fame thru cancer.

At that moment, The Violent Femmes’ ‘Prove My Love’ came up on my ipod: “What do I have to do to prove my love to you? I’d do anything, I’d do it all , I’d do it all for you , I’d climb a mountain, I’d cross the ocean, I’d do it all to prove my love to you.” Rather than quit, I pounded that treadmill, spooked just a little from that ‘Instant Karma’ moment.

Three years later, I still love running with a good song pounding in my head. Much of my song mix is simply good workout tuneage, while some of it connects me to people and places. Sometimes I smile, sometimes I cry…it’s all good.

Bitter With Baggage, The Sequel

  • I like pina coladas and taking walks in the rain.
  • I feel like busting up a Starbucks.
  • I heart dating not so much.

 It’s not that I need a man, but I do like letting one hang around me if he’s the appropriate mix of cerebral and silly, fit and fun, with a quirky counter-culture vibe. [Did I just describe myself as my ideal date?]

I likes me some mens, but that doesn’t mean that interviewing potential Hipster Doofus candidates is necessarily an enjoyable hobby. But like the lottery you have to be in it to win it, so I trudge on thru this middle-aged dating war-zone because who wouldn’t like to retire after hitting a jackpot, both literally and figuratively?

Sports talk and man-cave behavior aside, the best thing in life is two people who get each other.

In simple terms, it’s sitting around reading the paper together on a leisurely Sunday morning, switching sections. It’s knowing your partner’s likes and interests, so you can call attention to an interesting or intriguing article from the section you currently possess. It’s also making The List of things you should explore together, like a cool new restaurant or movie or upcoming music show or travel spot.

I am an optimistic person who sees the glass half-full most of the time, but the ultimate way I felt happiest is missing from the Great Equation That Is Life. I have a ton of women friends I’ve collected from all decades of my life and regularly engage in female bonding rituals. Our half of the species is very nurturing of one another, after all. But don’t include me in the Man-Haters Club if you think all middle-aged women have had it up to here with “Men…hmm-ph.”

 My next dating headline is going to be ‘Classic Model, Runs Great, 0 to 85 Guaranteed.’ My luck I’ll be inundated with literal readers looking for a Saturday night date to the stock car races. I may be lonely, but I am not that hard up.