Running. Day 1, 2017.

bird-focus-look-down

Day 1, 2017.

A morning for reflection, lallygagging, and awe of a poem written by Stanley Kunitz: “still-wet words…scribbled on the blotted page: ‘Light splashed …’

Still-wet words. Light splashed. Wow. 

Sun beams pour in through the window, light splashes but does not lift this load…God, it’s so warm under these covers. How about reading, watching movies, and remaining horizontal?

10am. I need to exercise. Now! Sigh. What a state of mind on Day 1.

Mile 1

How about New Year’s resolutions? How about Not?  You’ve long since given up on Resolutions. You know the loop. Commit. Attempt. Renege in less than 30 days. Then self-flagellate for the remaining 11 months. Who needs it? Really?

Mile 2

I appreciated the punch line of Try a New Year’s Revolution: “I will work toward better days for myself…May Januarys be about self-acceptance, not self-improvement.” LOVE THAT.

Mile 3

“May Januarys be about self-acceptance, not self improvement.” I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think I can “do” self acceptance. OMG. I’m on another doom loop. This could be harder than setting New Year’s Resolutions. [Read more…]

Running. Born Blue to Run.

blue-art-sky

I’m less than mile in, on a planned five-miler. It’s not good. The worm flips the stomach over, and over, and over. Nausea. This will pass, don’t stop, run through it.

It doesn’t pass.

Bile backs up the throat, coats the molars and scurries forward. The gag reflex is triggered. I hunch over, hands clutch the knee caps. OMG. 

I stand upright, soldier-like, arms and hands hang. Eyes shut, tears slide down both cheeks, I make no effort to clear. I need this moment. Just a moment to re-grip. 

I grab the water bottle, gargle, and spew. Most clears, too much does not. A thick stream runs down the zipper line of the coat. Puking, on yourself, nice. 

I re-start. The north wind gusts and makes contact, tear ducts gush water, the track in front is a blur. Whoa. Easy does it. [Read more…]

Running. With Pigeon.

pigeon

Hundreds of pieces of lint bangin’ around upstairs, but none stretch into a fluffy middle or knit to a checkered flag at the end. Flash. Flash. Flash. Blah.  Nothing there. Nobody home. Nobody. Nothing.

When you bathe yourself in Mary Oliver poetry, her essays, her shorts – and when you waterboard your Blog followers with her Art, should there be any wonder of the source of the crippling doubt, the wellspring of inadequacy? Come on DK.

So here we go. In-n-out of her ethereal breezes to my…

Pigeon.

It’s daybreak, yesterday.  We’re on the way to Mianus River park for a trail run.  The gauge reads 27° F, and wind chill is knocking that down. We’re on a cross-street in Stamford, five miles out.  There’s no traffic. I stand at a red light. Anya‘s in the trunk, peeking between the head rests; outside, water vapor from the exhaust pipes spills into the cold and flurries of white smoke cloud the rear window.

My attention is pulled right. There he was.  A Pigeon. He’s sitting on a ledge on a wall of the building lining the street, at my eye level.  He’s looking at me, me at him. [Read more…]

Running. And Free Fallin’.

in-the-snow-ix

Let’s take inventory.

Four Falls.
The heals of both hands scraped raw, instruments used to break each fall.
A right knee bruise. Severity? Somewhere on a continuum between Deep and below the surface. We’ll know for sure in the morning.

We are a self-correcting, self-learning being, right? Otherwise we wouldn’t be standing, breathing, and reading this, Right?

Adam, in his hunt for food for Eve and the kids, after falling face-first the first time, said, hmmmm, that didn’t feel good. That didn’t work out. Let’s not do that again.

24° F. It’s the first snow of the season and I’m prepping.

Underwear. Thermal Underwear. Thermal Socks. Thermal undershirt. Wicking overshirt. Heavy Down coat. Tuke. Gloves. Fanny Pack with bottle of water, smartphone and headphones.

I catch a glimpse of this package in the mirror before stepping into the garage. Holy Sh*t. Sasquatch.

I pull on Ugg Boots, two pound leg weights strapped on each foot. Who runs in snow in Ugg Boots? 

First fall.
A flat surface, I’m caught by surprise. An ice patch. The legs fly out. I fall heavily on left side, air gushes out of the belly, which is still jiggling. I roll on my back.  Where’s my smartphone? Right pocket please. Right.

Second fall.
A steep incline. Uggs are crampon-less. Right leg slides out. Left leg follows, and a tumble down a short embankment.  I’m covered in a mixture of snow, leaves and dirt. Camouflage. Military drills. No, more like Carl Spackler the greenskeeper on Caddyshack: “They’re like the Viet-Cong…Varmint-Cong. So you have to fall back on superior firepower and superior intelligence. And that’s all she wrote.” [Read more…]

Running. With 0.5 Wolfpack.

mianus-river-park-nov-2016

Kids: “Dad, People just don’t do that. It’s weird.”
Dad: “Listen, I’m not People.”
Kids: Eyes roll. Whispering to each other, don’t we know that.

My text message is sent to the neighbors the night before.
“…Will Anya be free to come out to play in the morning?”
Text message comes zipping back.
“…Of course. We’ll leave the door unlocked, and the leash by the door.”

This has become a weekend routine.

She now knows what’s coming when the leash is by the door. She hears the car pull up, its daybreak. I walk up to the door, there’s a soft “woof” – she’s been waiting. I can hear the pitter patter of her paws on the wood floor. I open the door and she bounds out, ready to join her new BFF.

When you lose your dog, when the wounds are still fresh, and you haven’t / can’t replace your dog, what do you do?  You borrow the neighbor’s Dog, of course. It’s not weird, it’s a bloody necessity. 0.5 Wolfpack is better than no Wolfpack at all. [Read more…]

Running. With Lessons for Rachel.

rachel-steps

She started it.

With the taunts. The insults: “Jelly Belly.” “Man Boobs.” “Sad.”

This being Daddy’s Girl.

Daddy’s Creation. I built THAT.

She’s 2x younger. Or better stated, Dad’s 2x older.

And, then, she threw out the bait.

Dad: “Let’s compare daily step counts. Download this App.  Maybe we can get that (pointing to the belly) in better shape.”

So, it has become a Father-Daughter ritual.

Each night, before bedtime, we check our step counts via a text share.

Week 1 was a partial week and a ramp up week – – and her gloating.

Week 2 is the first full week and both sides are in full stride.

She shares her report tonight.  Her steps are shown above – along with her step count each day for the last 7 days.

My response: “Not bad Honey.  🙂

I then reciprocate and send her my daily report. (Below) [Read more…]

Running. With Hoka.

cloud-float-tree-branch

You don’t wanna hurt yourself, hurt yourself…No no no no…

That’s Fink playing “Looking too Closely“. (Always too closely.)  I’m running on the Mianus River Park trail and the lyrics trigger moments two Saturday’s back.

I grab the shoe off the shelf and wait for help. She’s serving another customer but sees me lurking. She offers up a warm smile and lip syncs: One Minute. She’s 5 feet flat, silver hair, middle aged and a wisp. Or that’s what memory seems to draw. “Kim”, I think.

My expectations for national retailers couldn’t be lower. Less than zero. Salespeople uninformed, unhelpful. Inventory stocks, a slow intravenous drip via IV – on life support.  Size unavailable. Width unavailable. Color unavailable. Brand unavailable. 15% higher priced. Because of me and Amazon Prime,  and my need for it now, right NOW, they fall. Sports Authority. Blockbuster Video. Circuit City. Brookstone. Waldenbooks. Barnes & Noble. Borders. Gone.

Yet, this retail store is Alien in today’s landscape. It starts at the entrance. From the cool feel of the aluminum door handle on the wood grain door to the greeting you receive as you enter – a retail sanctuary. Can I help you? And they actually help… [Read more…]

Running. With Beats.

landscape-sunset-sunrise

It’s all incomprehensible, really, including my pitiful attempt to explain it, akin to Brickell’s grasping of a single drop of rain in a thunderstorm.

The tide rushes in under the bridge. The moon, while aging on its 4.5 billionth birthday, remains stout in its efforts and its consistency. It leans in causing the oceans to swell – high tide here, low tide below me on the other side. The other side that is, China. Digging to China with a plastic shovel, scooping wet dirt on a beach in August, so many years ago in youth, yet the cool gritty sand remains on the fingertips.

A brilliant October sunrise. Mechanical in its efficiency, spectacular in its beauty. None exactly the same, this one never to be seen again.

The wind gusts. Leaves scatter from a large red maple, burning, on fire. Seasons pass orderly one after the other, slower than page turns, but they turn, ever so gently one to the next. [Read more…]

Running. With a Red Butterfly.

red-tailed-hawk-feather

I run. I write. I post. In that order. With few gaps. Typically. But not Saturday. No. No. No. Disbelief. Fatigue on overdrive. Just not real. 

I marinated in it for days.

And then Rilke prods: “ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: ‘must I write?’ Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity.”

So I must.

And I write.

A series of interlocking coincidences which only rose to consciousness after a replay of events played forward from daybreak.

5 a.m.

A short reading. It was Leonard Bernstein, from Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein:

I am frequently visited by a white moth or a white butterfly. Quite amazingly frequently. And I know it’s Felicia. I remember that when she died, her coffin was in our living room in East Hampton … and just a few of us were there—the family and a rabbi and a priest, because she’d been brought up in a convent in Chile. We were playing the Mozart Requiem on the phonograph. Everyone was absolutely silent. And then this white butterfly flew in from God knows where—it just appeared from under the coffin and flew around, alighting on everybody in the room—on each of the children, on the rabbi, on the priest, on her brother-in-law and two of her sisters, on me … and then it was gone … though there was nothing open. And this has also happened to me here, sitting outside in my garden. … White.

The appearance of a white moth. Or white butterfly…White.

7 a.m.

From somewhere, an unbeknownst longing for a punishing trail run. It had been months. I’m in the car. [Read more…]

Running. With Crystal Light.

sugar

Whether you snort white powder, or you shovel crystals down your gullet, the consequences are…

June-ish, 2016.  It was the last leg of the morning commute, on I-287. The heart starts to race, this followed by a pinch, with its roots pushing outward like the tail of a lightning strike.

Doctor’s diagnosis: High Cholesterol. Root cause? Diet, with any 3 or 4 of following occurring on any given day:

  • Yogurt. Fruit on the Bottom. Jacked up with two heaping tablespoons of Smucker’s Strawberry Jam.
  • Fruit.  Sliced bananas. Floating in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. Sliced strawberries, same. Blueberries, melon, raspberries, same.
  • Hotcakes. With Canadian Maple Syrup, and a dollop of Raspberry jam.
  • Drinks. Orange Gatorade. Florida Orange Juice from the carton. Artificially sweetened Lipton’s Green Tea, 2 bottles at a time.  Diet Coke(s). Cranberry Juice, swigged from a 1 gallon jug.  And oh let’s not forget, Welch’s Grape Juice, one could bathe in it.
  • Ice Cream. Pint of creamy Chocolate Haggen Daz in a single sitting.  Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream, topped with chopped nuts, chocolate sauce and several shots of Reddi Wip Cream.
  • Coffee. Spiked with 2.0 (yes, two) packets of Nutrasweet or its brethren.
  • Hot Tea. Golden Bee Honey from a squeeze bottle swirls to and coats the bottom.
  • Snacks. Semi-sweet chocolate chips (in pantry for cooking) by the handful. Entenmann’s glazed donuts. Mini Snicker Bars by the handfuls.
  • Sandwich. PBJ, mostly with J, oozing on all sides of enriched and wholesome white bread.
  • Cereal. Including Raisin Bran, supplemented with a handful of California golden raisins and hopped up with a heaping teaspoon of white sugar crystals sweetening the 2%.

And the pre-bed-time sedative…which warrants its own paragraph, not a mere bullet. Grape Jelly trembles as it waits for the tablespoon to dig deep and scar its surface. Jelly coats the teeth and slides smoothly down the throat. A trace lingers on the lips. The body settles in, calm now, with its fix. Bed time. [Read more…]

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