Monthly Archives: September 2011

Finish and Have Fun

One week from Sunday, I will run my second 26.2 race. It’s amazing what a difference a year can make in the performance of a late-in-life athlete who never once thought of distance running as a goal, much less a passion.

My legs are stronger as is my knowledge of running basics and marathon training. My will is even stronger, as I planned for this race with much more thought beyond last year’s goal of “just getting there.” In fact, I want to beat my time by 30 minutes!

Mark was very goal-oriented about life, but with respect to running he usually advised people to have fun…and finish. I can’t wait to do both.

This is the start of a difficult month in the life of a middle-aged cancer widow. With my mind-like-a-steel-trap memory for specific dates, there are misty October memories that lurk to derail my concentration.

But I will finish. And I will laugh a few moments along the way, chat with other runners and react to the well-wishers who come out in support of crazy runner people.

It bears repeating: It’s gonna be awesome, baby!


Can You Read Me Now?

According to recent reports, technology has pushed cursive writing off the agenda of school systems across the country. I’m going on record as stating, “Not while there’s fucking breath left in my body!”

Penmanship was one of the things I loved best about grade school in the 1960’s, practicing basic drills before learning how to make upper and lower case letters on special ‘Palmer Method’ paper. This was the Cursive Writing of its day, back before microwaves, TV remotes and cell phones. During its heyday, it was thought that using the method in schools would increase discipline and character, perhaps even reform delinquents. Nothing worse than a criminal with an illegible signature, I always say.

Now it seems neither handwriting method is taught, and schools don’t much care whether you can actually read the content of a hand-written paper. Most likely, very little schoolwork is hand-written, so as long as you can scrawl an X on the appropriate line you’re good to go. As one who has always found being edified beyond Jethro Bodine’s gazintas important, I find this most distressing, if not downright dejecting. Moreoever, I’m now worried that all students being raised without the Palmer Method or Cursive will either be running this country with an X signature or over-populating the country’s prisons.

I would like to see good old-fashioned Penmanship moved to the forefront of political agendas now that the 2012 campaign is moving along. To hell with jobs, national debt and crime! A legible slant to the right [intentional pun] and getting straight A’s in handwriting all thru grade school is a deterrent to crime and preserver of Truth, Justice and the American Way!

Mrs. Lewis would be so proud of me.

Dreamin’ Is Free…

As someone who loves history, I’m all about the historical significance of most dates. If anything at all, it helps me rock trivia-based competitions because I know the date the Germans invaded Poland, kicking off WWII.

But 9/11 recreates especially disturbing historical significance as it typifies the emotional hailstorm that was my September-October of 2007. I went to bed the night of 9/11/07 after watching MSNBC’s re-broadcast of its 9/11/01 live coverage. I’d seen it before, but watched the disturbing footage again anyway. Big mistake.

During the night I dreamt of downtown Albany consumed in a conflagration that I could see from the home where I grew up. I remember thinking in the dream that everything was okay because I knew where my kids were and also because my sister’s car and Mark’s car were in front of the house. I seemed to sense that my loved ones were safe, even as fire raged on across the river and the tallest buildings swayed while people fell out of the windows.

I woke from that dream in a crazed chill of emotion: why did I dream the destruction of buildings where so many people I knew worked? Why was my stomach sick all day from a stupid little dream? It troubled me enough to recount it at my next counseling session as if I was purposely dreaming death and destruction all around me, as if I had that kind of control over events. Fortunately, we pay these people to tell us the obvious: I was searching for safety from the growing menace of my reality that Mark’s cancer was fighting back harder than anything we had to fight it.

Since we found out his illness was somewhat terminal on 9/13/07 – what I mean by somewhat is that we never truly lost our hope ­– I suppose the dream had a certain sense of foreshadowing of things to come. It’s a good thing I really don’t take stock in these things or else I might be wondering why I recently dreamt of a compromising situation with Hulk Hogan.

Behind Every Runner Is A Story

Truer words were never written.

I am a late-in-life athlete who proclaimed to be a girly-girl, hiding behind a ‘no athletic competition’ pose.

Then my future was re-written in the form of cancer. Then I ran 3 miles lots of times. Then I met someone who made me think outside the next box of Nike running shoes. Then I went a little crazy.

I’m not sure what I used to do to keep busy, but never in my wildest dreams did I think 3-4 hours of running on a Saturday morning would be completely normal.

On some level, I will always miss what my life was ‘supposed to be.’ And on another level, I will always be a girly-girl who doesn’t ‘do ’sports. And yet the new normal is uniquely cool.

That’s my running story and I’m sticking to it.