Running. With Other’s Service.

IMG_0165

5:09 a.m.

Long sleeved shirt. Lined sweatpants. Tuk.  Tuuuuuuuk. Gloves.

I synch up the straps on my Waist Pack, then inhale, and give it one more pull for extra measure. I exhale, and the straps dig into my belly. (Another reason why you need to run. And note the use ofWaist Pack’.  Men don’t run with Fanny Packs. And yet for some reason my lips form Fannnnnnnny. Not sure where this is going.)

I’m out the door.

41° F. Feels like 34° F. Brisk. Light Northern wind bites.

0.1 miles.  Garbage truck. Spot lights illuminate the back of the truck. Back breaking work. Rest of us sleeping. Drinking coffee. Reading the morning Paper. Meditating. Out for a run. And he’s taking out our trash.

0.6 miles. U.S. #1, aka Post Road. Three signs spaced about 50 feet apart. Food Drive. Darien, CT and people are hungry.  And like a spreading ink blot from a fountain pen, this morning’s run, in early light, turns dark, with a  replay of yesterday’s headlines.  “Covid-19 could detonate a ‘hunger pandemic.’ With millions at Risk.” “Food Banks Are Overrun, as Coronavirus Surges Demand…‘Never Seen Anything Like It’: Cars Line Up for Miles at Food Banks.” And, Kids Are Going Hungry Because of the Coronavirus. Children hungry. [Read more…]

Running. And, a disturbance of the peace.

 

Long run. Sorry. Not long. This little white lie is triggered by 25 years of muscle memory. Feels good to think it was long, and to say it was long. It wasn’t long. They’re not long anymore. They used to be long. Days of running a 10 miler, no water bottle, no music player, no books on tape, mind on lock, feet on auto forward and go —  used to be —  long time ago —  not anymore. Long gone.

I get done with my run. Not long. 3 miles of stop and go. No traffic. A brisk 42° F.  Shelter-in-Place has humans hunkered down.  The Canadian geese are essential personnel.

Long runs have been supplanted with long hot showers. At ~ 3 minutes, guilt washes down from the shower head, water rushes down the drain. A Waste. Guilt passes. I turn up temperature, steam fills the room. Stiff muscles loosen, tired bones ache, body yearns for a late morning nap.

Temperature has climbed to the mid-50’s.  I step outside. Tree Blossoms. Budding trees. Fresh blades of grass. The morning sun warming.

With the squirrel problem solved in 2016 with high tech bird feeders (Miracle-Man-Made), nature is all in its orderly place in the back yard.  Squirrels and chipmunks feed at ground level from the seed spilling from feeder. No acrobatics, no swinging-from-feeder squirrels guzzling $30/bag organic bird feed.

I turn my attention back to my reading.

I’m distracted by birds which flit in and out of the yard. This morning, it’s Finches, canary yellow. 3 or 4 at each feeder at a time.

Down below, and around the yard, Mourning doves. Cardinals, male and female. Brown breasted robins.

Bird song fills the air.  The flutter of wings dart to and from the feeders.  All having breakfast, peacefully co-existing.

I stretch my legs. Body stiffening. Back to reading.

A handful of birds remain at the feeders but the birds at ground level are gone. It’s become quiet. Bird song is gone.

The three feeders front a 3-foot high rock wall which fronts the fence along the lot line.

There’s a fracas below, in what appears to be squirrel vs. squirrel quarrel, each protecting their feeding grounds.

The fracas continues. This time with a squeal. Not squirrel or chipmunk like.

Out of the rock wall, a rat, mid-sized, darts out to feed.

Out of the rock wall, another rat, mid sized, darts out to feed.

Out of the rock wall, a third rat, mid sized darts out to feed.

And then, out of the rock wall, a chubby, likely pregnant rat, 6 inches long excluding tail, darts out to join her family.

Chubby charges at the birds below the feeders clearing the way for her family.

Rat infestation.  Rats, disturbing the peace. Rats, a mere 30 feet from the house, planning to seek shelter next winter in the warmth of our basement.

I close the Kindle app. I was finishing an essay on “The Emotional Benefits of Getting Older” – and it’s punch line: “People at older ages had more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions, and their emotional experiences were more consistent.” But which age group was more emotionally solid and showed better mastery of their urges? “The people who experience the most emotional instability are in their 20s,” he said, a volatility that gradually declines with every decade.”

Once again, DK is off the page and well beyond the tail end of the statistical curve.

Man-child. Old-Man-Child.

F-*king Rats have got to go. Now.

I move the cursor into the Google Search bar, and type R-A-T T-R-A-P-S in Amazon Search Bar.

2 days shipping.

Backyard needs to be restored to order, Now.


Notes: Thank you Susan for video

Saturday Morning: We “Were” Running

WE WERE RUNNING

in memory of Annie Zeke*

We were running up the slope of a hill,
that dog and I, an early winter rain
beginning to fall, wind-driven and sharp,
the clouds so black the edges of the hills
were etched and incandescent. That dog
and I were running, the two of us
apart and yet together, and even now,
in the solitude of a quiet hour—the days
and that dog long gone—I can follow
those far-blown traces of unexpected joy
and find my way back again: heart wild,
lungs filling with the breath of winter,
and that dog beside me running headlong
into the world without end.

~ Peter Everwine, “We Were Running” in A Small Clearing (Aureole Press, 2016)


Notes:

  • Photo: Susan’s Photo of our Zeke* (RIP) taken at Baker Park.
  • Poem: Thank you The Hammock Papers

Running. Not with Lorena.

Thanksgiving Day.

8 a.m.  43° F.

I haven’t run in weeks. Weeks. I don’t wanna run.

The TV in background is running a Netlix preview for The Irishman. Ah, yes. I’ve been waiting for this flick. I pause to watch the trailer.

The momentum is shifting here, I’m wobbly, a topple back onto the couch is so seductive. Rest DK. Take the morning off.

I stand shirtless in front of the mirror. And stare.  Eyes drop to the nipples*, they are firm, no slouching, and in so much better shape than the rest of me.  I apply Body Glide, like an amateur cross-country skier rubbing the wax stick on his skis, or in this case my entire upper torso. God knows, if I get going, chafing could run wild. The rest of me may come apart on this run, but there’s no chance Boobies** are going down.

Mind drifts to a short (but moving) 28-minute documentary I watched the night before: Lorena, Light-Footed Woman. Lorena is a 22-year old indigenous Raramuri woman from the Chihuahua region of Mexico (think mountainous territory, no others within miles.). She’s been a top finisher in ultramarathons (up to 62 miles) and runs in Raramuri dresses and sandals. Sandals! And not made by Tory Burch. A notable scene has her opening up a gift from a running shoe manufacturer, a pair of fluorescent orange, slick all-pro running shoes. She delicately opens the package, looks at the shoes, carefully places them back in the shoe box and says: “I don’t think I’ll use them. The people who do…are always running behind me.” And she bows her head turning away from the camera.  Don’t you just love her!

And so it goes, Lorena the night before, and the indigenous Connecticut Man on Thanksgiving Day.

On goes my sweat-wicking running shirt.

On go my running shorts.

On go my smart-wool socks.

On go my running pants.

On goes my running jacket.

On goes my Apple watch.

On go my running shoes.

On goes my fanny pack.

       In goes my Smartphone in the fanny pack.

       In goes the bottle of water in fanny pack.

On goes the Tuk.   And it’s a Tuk. Not Touque. Not Tuque. Or whatever else the French Canadians want to take credit for. Tuk was founded in Western Canada in the mid to late 60’s in a town called Castlegar. Don’t like it, re-write the story on Wiki. [Read more…]

Running. With Jelly Donuts.

I open my eyes. 5:35 a.m. I close my eyes, and take inventory.

Right groin, an old catcher’s mitt, stiff, cracks in the leather.

Knees, throb.

Three middle toes on right foot, blistered. Raw.

This is about where Tanya Donelly would say: “But you can change your story / And throw a hand up from the mud.”

But that’s not how we roll here. No Tanya. No.

This story (or catalyst) starts Wednesday after dinner.  The 7 pm to 8:30 pm witching hour(s). The Big Cat starts to pace, and circle. I want it. I need it. I crave it.

After taking inventory in the fridge, the cupboards, the pantry, none of the required provisions are available. I jump into the car and head to Palmer’s Market. Talenti Mint Chocolate Chip Gelato. (4 Pints). Nacho Cheese Doritos (Extra Large Bag). Chobani Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt, Pineapple flavored.  Stonewall Kitchen Sour Cherry Jam (to chase the Yogurt). And, then, in the glass case:  Donuts. Strawberry Jelly filled donuts.

The belt pulls the items towards the clerk. “Good evening Sir. Do you have a Palmer’s Card?” A wee bit of junk food with Dinner, Sir? “Sir, I don’t see a 2 pound bag of Domino Premium Pure Cane Granulated Sugar here. Shall I run and get it for you? And, Sir, in Aisle 3, we have hypodermic needles and rubber hose tie-offs. Step behind the counter here with me, and I’ll inject it for you, it will only take a minute.  [Read more…]

but for the chemical rush in the hour after, for the night of dreamless sleep

Exercise was always in extremes — a distance to traverse, an impossibly high number. Every summer spent in the vicinity of a pool, I was to do 100 laps per day. This, too, was referred to in a shorthand — “doing the laps” — that made it sound like normal penance for any vacation. Counting to 100 was a feat, much less swimming there, and my mind went numb with boredom while my family ate watermelon by the pool side. I associated exercise with punishment, with the glossy magazine’s injunction to achieve the perfect body, a waifish small-breasted form that no amount of hotel-room yoga would ever transform mine into.

And yet, when I graduated from college, something shifted. Left to my own devices, I discovered exercise could be as hedonic as any other indulgence. It was a matter of reframing the goal: not to become thin, which was as unlikely as tall or blond, but for the chemical rush in the hour after, for the night of dreamless sleep, for the feeling of my body, a diffuse, frontier-less thing…Exercise was time that was mine, where I owed nothing to anyone, and the next day’s aching muscles could be as secret a pleasure as bruises left by a lover.

Now every summer, whenever I can find a pool, I do the laps. The size of the pool may vary, but I always swim until 100. At the ocean, I choose a point as far away as I can — a distant boat, a rocky outgrowth — and swim to it and back. The pleasure is partly in the terror, halfway there, when the beach umbrellas are as small as glitter, that I will never make it back. The pulse of deep water, the blue-black whisper of down down down, the atavistic tremor as my body realizes, as all bodies have always known, how slight it is against an ocean. And then the adrenaline: thighs and waist and biceps concocted into ropes of steel, hands that slip and reach under the surface as softly as under a skirt, feet that pound impossibly far behind, until I am as long as the shoreline. I’m a strong swimmer but not a good one, and I gasp only to the right, eyes stinging with salt, until I can hear the shrieks and lifeguard whistles and ice cream bells, the sounds of the civilization I almost slipped away from. In the water, my body expands, loses itself, weightless. Back on the sand, blood still pulsing with the ocean’s beat, I contract back into shape, my shape, whose boundaries are finally my own.

The Hedonic Rush of Exercise” (NY Times, August 27, 2019)

 


Photo: David Hockney’s “John St. Clair Swimming, April 1972” from “Twenty Photographic Pictures by David Hockney” (1976). CreditCredit© David Hockney. Photo: Richard Schmidt.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Who says Allie Kieffer isn’t thin enough?

Allie Kieffer, one of the best Americans running the New York City Marathon next Sunday, spent a lot of her life feeling as if she didn’t really fit in among the competition. She was good enough to land an athletic scholarship to college and hoped to continue running after graduating. But she wasn’t as thin as the women she raced against. Her coaches suggested she diet. She eventually gave in, and her body broke down…

After a few years, she missed running and started again — but this time was different. There were no goals, no opponents to compare herself with and no times to record. Everything was on her own terms…She began running more miles than ever, she was healthier than ever, and she was happier, too. And then something unexpected happened: She got faster. Much faster.

Last year, Kieffer ran the New York City Marathon and finished, astonishingly, in fifth place. She was the second American woman, and she logged her best time by nearly 15 minutes in one of the world’s most competitive footraces. Barely anyone knew who the unsponsored 30-year-old American with the topknot sprinting past Olympians in the final miles of Central Park was.

Suddenly, Kieffer wasn’t just trying to be one of the hundreds of elite runners in the country. She had become one of the best runners in the world…

In doing so, Kieffer has given us a powerful example of what can happen when we stop trying to force ourselves to meet preconceived notions of how to achieve success — especially unhealthy, untrue ideas — and go after our goals on our own terms. When we focus less on fixing what we consider to be inadequacies and more on reinforcing our strengths, we can realize potential we didn’t even know we had.

“Sometimes, the act of trying takes so much energy that it can prevent you from actually doing the thing you want to do,” Brad Stulberg, the author of Peak Performance, told me. “If it starts to feel like performance shackles, you’re going to want say screw it, to break out of rigid patterns and rip those shackles off. And only then are you able to really achieve what you were trying for the whole time.”

Kieffer’s story also proves that we can achieve far more when we value all women’s bodies less for how they look, and more for what they can do.

Not that being underestimated can’t serve as motivation.

“I’ve always gotten a lot of satisfaction by being the big girl everyone thought they were going to beat,” says Kieffer…

There is a growing movement telling us to embrace the bodies we’ve got — thank you — but it’s hard to drown out the other messages. Whether it’s for a race or a wedding, women are told that they are at their most valuable when their bodies are their most diminished. Resisting the impulse to feed yourself is an accomplishment we praise. You don’t have to buy into these values, but you’ll probably still be judged by them…

By conventional standards, she is doing nearly everything wrong. But she’s beating a lot of the people who are still training the “right” way, so perhaps her path shows there’s room for a more flexible definition of what the right way can be. This is probably true for more than just distance running.

~ Lindsay Crouse, excerpts from Who Says Allie Kieffer Isn’t Thin Enough to Run Marathons? Success that shows we might be able to achieve even more when we break all the rules. (The New York Times, October 27, 2018)


Inspired by:

  • Nobody is smarter than you are. And what if they are? What good is their understanding doing you?” -Terence McKenna, Nobody is Smarter Than You Are
  • I don’t think that you have to get all your inner stuff together and totally integrated before you can actually be what you’ve realized. You’re going to wait forever if you wait for that. Just start being what you know now.” ~ Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

Santa Lollapalooza

glasgow,charity,run,santa Claus

More than 8,000 people take part in Glasgow’s annual Santa Dash, a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run that raises money for charities in Scotland. (Jeff J. Mitchell, Getty Images, wsj.com Dec 10, 2017)

T.G.I.F.: 5:00 PM Bell!

hippo-cute-run-tgif


Notes:

5:00 PM Bell!


Let’s just say Wow.

“Suddenly, I spotted a white ostrich on my left, then this beast jumped on the road from the right and started chasing my friends! The ostrich didn’t have any problem to keep up at 50km/h.”

%d bloggers like this: