Running. No More. (For now)

“Running is practice for not quitting.”

A line from Robert Andrew Powell’s Memoir titled ”Running Away.”

Unclear why the line stuck after I read it in Beth’s post titled Custodians of the Peace of Mind. But stuck it has. Who’s my Custodian?

Running is practice for not quitting.

It’s been a month. Every day. Every.Single.Day. 

Out the door at ~5 am. Backpack over left shoulder, camera in right hand. Both hands occupied, smartphone tucked away, and inaccessible.

I walk.

5 mile loop.  1.5 hours. 50-70 photos. Every morning.

Followed by a photo upload to the P.C.

Then a slow page turn of the pics.

And a deletion of the misfires.

Then a creation of a Google Photo Album, “June 6 2020 Cove Island Park Walk

Then I connect the Day’s album to the Google Nest Hub Max via my smartphone, which rotates each photo in a slide show on a 10 sec delay.

And, we have a new performance each day.

I’ve moved the Hub Max next to my PC, and there it sits with me, from 7am to 7pm, my entire work day.

Photo’s on the slide show, click, click, click, click. And for that second, I’m swept back to that moment when I took the shot.

During conference calls. During Zoom meetings. During email replies. During text exchanges. Those pictures, that I took, that I made, that captured some beauty in my eye, causing me to stop, and pause, and see…and then snap. They draw me gently away from Work, to the Moment.

Louise’s blog post this morning lands softly. “We call home through everything I do. Everything I create. Everything I am.”

Running is practice for not quitting. I believed this in my bones.

But I’ve quit.

And I like it.


Photo: 6:07 a.m. this foggy morning. 67° F. Wind: 5 mph. Cloud Cover: 68%.  Long Island Sound from Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.

Running. With Other’s Service.

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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…]

T.G.I.F.: Running. With Mother Goose (3).

4:48 a.m. 8 hours of sleep. Rested.

I jump out of bed.  Dress. Gear up.

It’s 5:04 a.m., and I’m out the door. Running. With Mother Goose. (Again.) 9th consecutive day pulled outside by The Call of the Wild.

44° F, feels like 42° F.  No wind. No traffic. Dark. Full moon beams from up above.  Jenny Offill: “The moonlight through the windshield. No one talks.

Same route.  Down the hill. Around the corner. Down the street to U.S. 1.

There, up ahead, silhouetted under the street lamp, is the Masked Woman. 5:09 a.m. Can’t be her. No chance. She hustles across the street. I glare at her.  You better make way for me Lady.  She says nothing, but sweeps both hands up to cover her face. It’s going to be a good day.

I run.

Down U.S. 1. I work my way around the construction, crossing the bridge, the highway and into The Cove.

The same pair of geese stand at the entrance, that’s them in the photo above.

I pause for a moment to snap the shot, and keep moving, pulled forward towards the main performance.

The same acceleration of heartbeat.

The same anticipation.

[Read more…]

Running. With Mother Goose (2).

5:15 a.m.

In bed.

Both knees ache. Hips sore to the bone. I pass my right foot over my left toe, blister forming. I slide it further, abrasions on the tips of my little toes.  Raw.

This would be the 8th consecutive day of running. My body screams No. But that’s not going to happen. She’s responsible. I must see if she’s there.

I check my watch.  43° F, feels like 39°. I bundle up.

5:35 a.m. and I’m out the door. Running. With Mother Goose. (Again.)

My pace is too quick. I’m winded at 0.5 miles, and she’s at 1.7. My God, you’re a child. So anxious to see Her. 

I slow my pace and cross U.S. 1 into The Cove.

I see two of them at the turn, and stop to take a picture. That one above. Pink sky in the morning, sailor’s…

I shake the disappointment off.  Her nest was further up. Maybe that’s not them.

I run, eyes looking ahead for her nesting along the guard rail. Christmas Eve at 8 years old.

[Read more…]

Running. With Mother Goose.

6:10 a.m. 42° F. Nippy for May.

It’s been 6 days in a row, running that is.  Why? More on this another day, this surge of something.

There she is. Mother Goose. Same spot. Each morning, every morning. Sitting between the highway, the guard rail, and the retaining wall. Sick. She has to be sick. Does she sit here all day? 

She triggered a mini waterfall of the yesterday’s events.

3 p.m. conference call. Delicate personnel situation. I’m quiet, he explains. “Listen, I’m not vindictive, that’s not who I am. There was nothing malicious in….”  He’s a midwesterner, solemn, humble, truthful.  We wrap up the conversation. I thank the small group for providing me the background.  I close: “I know vindictive, and you ain’t vindictive. I see vindictive each morning in the mirror.” They laugh. I know, they know.

6:10 a.m. Yesterday’s morning run. 0.6 miles in. A lady walker, on the other side of the road, 100 feet ahead. Face mask on. She’s pointing her finger at me, scolding.

I turn off the music. You talking to me? I can hear her now.

“You need to wear a mask. You’re putting my life, and other lives in danger. 17% chance of virus being spread by runners without masks. You. Go Home and Put on a Mask.”

“Excuse me?” [Read more…]

Running. With Incongruity.

Friday. Early afternoon. A crack between conference calls.

I run.

I’m up a whopping seven pounds since being sheltered in place. There are no barriers to entry, to the Fridge, to the pantry, to the potato chips. Or the counter tops, which on alternative days are lined with Susan’s Chocolate chip cookies, Zucchini loaves and Banana Bread.

I flip her an article: “Forget the Sourdough. Everybody’s Baking Banana Bread” and highlight the punch line:

Nervous about venturing into markets, many people are making do with ingredients at hand, including the moldering bananas. In the past month, banana bread beat out pancakes, brownies and pizza dough as the No. 1 searched-for recipe in the U.S. and world-wide, according to Google. The humble loaves are taking a star turn on Instagram and Twitter…. “The isolation stages of grief,” another said, are “denial, anger, banana bread.”

But I feel little of this. No grief. No denial. Little isolation. OK, maybe anger, ever-present, on slow boil.

And yet again, I’m out of step with the Pack, feeling none of the isolation, feeling none of the mid-winter-like cabin fever others are swamped in. [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

Saturday Morning: O snail / but slowly, slowly

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Notes:

  • Photos of Mt Fuji by Eric Kanigan (Son) in Fujiyoshida, Japan yesterday. Eric’s sites can be found on Instagram and on the web @ kaniganphotography.com.  (And I wish I were running right there this morning.)
  • Saturday Morning Post inspired by Eric’s Photos and Japanese Poet and Buddhist Priest Kobayashi Issa who penned: “Climb Mount Fuji / O snail / but slowly, slowly

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…]

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