Day 176: One of Those Days

I wasn’t having one of my best days, which is odd because the weather was gorgeous and I had my plans all mapped out: breakfast and coffee, relax, take Alex to playwriting, go to the gym, wait a while to pick him up, go to the Impact Store, grab some cheese bagels at Panera, then go home and relax. But somewhere along the line, I hit a snag and emotionally I sank. It sucked because I’d had that problem for most of the week, and it felt like I had to fight my way through every minute. I couldn’t even put my finger on the problem, other than the obvious “I haven’t been on a date, no one asks me out, and maybe I’m just not worthy”.

At one point my mom emailed me so I kinda let loose on how miserable it is being a single mother with challenges and no real hope for better on the horizon. I think my exact words were, “It sucks ass, let me tell you.” It did perk up a little when a friend posted a pic of Bradley Cooper, working on his next film and he gained weight for the role, and at the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, the man could be 300 pounds and I’d still think he’s beautiful.

I felt a little better when I posted this on Facebook

cheer up

…until a friend said, “And it’ll happen when you least expect it!” I saw that from the front seat as I waited for Alex to get out of playwriting, and I fought not to reply, “Lady, that ship has not only sailed but it sank, twice. I’m not holding my breath anymore.”

Instantly I had that “Leave me alone” feeling, which is ridiculous when you consider that I really hate being alone, for reasons already discussed above. I haven’t been on a date in over 18 months, unless you count that one disaster that sent me running for the computer so I could delete my online dating profile from that particular site. Not that he was a bad guy in the grand scheme, I suppose, but holy crap, I couldn’t have taken another 5 minutes with him. Of course, it also makes me wonder if I want to be with anyone. At this point I’m scared I’ve forgotten how to kiss, let alone to just be anywhere with someone else.

ANYWAY…

So I got Alex and his play seems to be coming along for next week’s finale, and we headed for the Impact Store, only to get bogged down in traffic that took 20 minutes to go a mile. I can run faster than that. 🙂 We finally got to the store, but by then I was already in a crappy mood, and then there was no place to park so I had to back all the way out to turn around and go to the rear of the store, and there was nothing there that interested me (which I took to be a good thing; if you don’t want OR need anything, you’re in a good place, right?). Then Alex loaded up one of my shopping bags with videos but he forgot the coupon on the grocery store receipt, so it wound up being $28. Not what I had planned.

We went to the nearest Panera but the parking lot was packed so I walked what felt like a quarter mile just to get there. I was behind a dozen people and I couldn’t see any cheese bagels, so I gave up and walked back out…only to find Alex was checking out all his movies and most of them were on my seat. Traffic was a bear again getting home, and partway there after some muttered epithets about another driver’s lack of driving skills, Alex asked in crystal-clear voice, “Mom, are you you having a bad day?” It didn’t hit me at the time so I just answered that yes, I wasn’t having a very good day, but it was okay because we’d just go to the Panera closer to home.

But then I muddled through the rest of the day and by 8 there was nothing on TV I cared about, so I went outside to knit and enjoy the last of the daylight on a beautiful late spring evening. I also kind of pissed and moaned to myself about how other people are out having fun and here I am, stuck at home, going nowhere. But when the light was gone, I went back in and cleaned up the kitchen and danced a little to some music, and decided to catch up on some TED talks online I’ve been meaning to watch, and I saw a brilliant one on turning the worst experiences in your life into what shapes your identity, and it was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I had to stop it several times to take notes.

Then I saw this music video about autism, and it brought back to me what Alex had asked me. I’m blessed that he can communicate, and not just that he can communicate but he understands emotions. He’s not locked inside himself like some kids. He has a well developed sense of empathy, even if he doesn’t know what to do about it (but isn’t that most men?).

The other day in the middle of my shitty mood, I decided the problem isn’t that I’m not going anywhere; it’s that I’m not doing anything to get myself where I want to be. I posted on Facebook:

TIME TO STOP WISHING FOR WHAT YOU WANT, AND START MAKING THINGS HAPPEN.

That, in essence, was my problem. I wasn’t moving forward, but that was my fault because I wasn’t doing anything to push myself forward. I opened my current work-in-progress and started editing it again, even though I know one of the reasons I’ve been avoiding it is because of the emotions that are going to come to the surface. It’s not easy stuff to write. The funny stuff is easy; I can toss out one-liners or witty banter and it’s no problem, but dig deep for the feelings, and I’ve been balking for months already. I just tell myself, “I need to get back to that,” but I don’t, and I’m tired of it. I’m not doing anything to fix the problem; I’m just daydreaming about what I wish I had.

Well, screw that. I have to DO something.

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Day 184: Her Pilgrim Soul

I must be doing something right. The past few days when I look in the mirror, I’m seeing less fluff under my cheekbones. (AKA, I don’t look so fat-faced.) I don’t actually HAVE cheekbones per se; I just have a spot at the sides of my face where I sometimes put blusher. But what’s there is showing lately with a little more definition. It’s taking some getting used to.

I think it has something to do with four weeks sugar-free. There are days when it’s SO hard to resist Tastykakes or ice cream or whatever delicious looking thing that happens to pass by. The other day I was reading that eating sugar releases a feel-good hormone in the brain, and you crave more of that, which is why sugar can be so addicting. Sugar also suppresses the body’s indicator that it’s full, so you’ll eat more in a short period of time before your brain says, “Hey, slow down; you don’t need more.” It really is an evil thing.

But I’m now 4 weeks sugar-free, and for the most part I didn’t notice the passage of time. Had I said, “I can’t eat sugar for four weeks,” I’d be counting down the days ‘til I could binge, but with no end zone in sight, it’s kinda like…okay, fine, whatever. Just keep going.

There are ways around it. I made pretzel salad entirely sugar-free and it was delish! No pics because it didn’t last long enough once Alex figured out that he liked it. And lately I’ve been eating a lot more fruit. The other day I picked up white peaches. Where have they BEEN all my life?? And I got a little crazy on dried fruit two days ago. The dried mangoes were gone the next morning, and the dried apples were gone last night. The dried banana chips taste SO good with unsalted peanuts that I now understand why Elvis loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches. J

But the proof is in the sugar-free pudding: this week I think I ate more, but I lost weight. I know last night I should’ve gone up but I dropped 1.6 pounds after two hearty helpings of spaetzle. It makes no sense to me, but there it is. Of course, I also ran 4 miles Galloway-style. Oh, and did I mention I found my final times from the 5k’s this weekend and my 2nd race, I ran an 11:12 pace? Yep, that was my name on that line; me who stands in the 13 minute corral at every half. Bearing in mind, that was a 5k, but it’ll be interesting to see if my new heel-to-toe stride will impact my distance times.

So anyway, weight. It’s not a lot. I’m down about 4 pounds in the last week, but for the last two weeks I’ve been pretty dedicated to better eating and regular exercise. I’m taking one day off a week, usually Thursdays because scheduling-wise, they’re the hairiest, but this week I had to take Tuesday, though at the moment I forget why. Stuff just piled up and I couldn’t find the time, though I wanted to. Rest days make me nuts, but only because I let the guilt creep in and tell me what a lazy jerk I am. It’s gone as soon as I’ve had my workout again, and really, cutting the grass *does* count as exercise. At least, it does in my yard.

But this time, four pounds shows on my face. It also shows in my shoulders and collarbones, which I’m finally starting to see again. Last time I lost significant weight, they were pretty obvious and there was definition; I looked skinny (comparatively speaking), and it scared me. I wasn’t used to who I saw in the mirror. She wasn’t someone I recognized. They tell men, if you want to know what your new wife will look like in 20 years, look at her mother. Well, that wasn’t working for me at all. My mom still has weight issues she’s dealing with, but I don’t look like she did at 47. Yes, I color my hair but even when I let it go, I have a lot less gray than she did at my age. It really did frighten me, I think, and I put the weight back on, if only so I’d see someone I’m comfortable with, I think.

But this time I’m ready to see someone else. For starters, it seems in my family like our appearances skip generations. I see my grandmother in my cousin’s face, and I see some of my dad in my son’s face. That being the case, I probably look like my grandmother on my father’s side, and we’ll never know what she’d have looked like at 47 because she didn’t live to see it. It took quite a bit for me to accept that, but now I’m proud of it. I get to live the life she didn’t have. Maybe somehow she gets to see the world through my eyes.

One of my all-time favorite poems (and I have two) is Yeats’ “When You Are Old.” One line has been resonating for me lately, “One man loved the pilgrim soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face.” My face is changing, thanks to so many changes I’ve made in my life. (Running, and thoughtful eating.) I’m ready to see more change, and see who I’m supposed to be, without hiding under the layers of fat or guilt or uncertainty. It scared me before, but now I think I’m ready to meet the real me.

Day 187: Two for One

The height of laziness: when you don’t post because you don’t feel like doing the math to figure out how far I am from the marathon. 🙂 But it’s starting to get closer. My son’s teacher (and running mentor) asked me last week how my training was coming. I said, “It starts in July, early August.” This being late May and almost Memorial Day, we’re getting there. A little intimidating to think I’ll be training All. Through. The. Summer. Then again, this is why it’s in November: because training in winter SUCKS.

So as it turns out, two 5ks in one day *is* entirely do-able. The first was at Dragonfly Forest, a camp for kids with autism spectrum disorders and other medical issues. Alex would be eligible for the Explorers Program, which is the one camp activity that’s not free, but it would be a week of sleep-away camp. The idea gives me shivers, and not just because of the cost, but at the same time, I know it might be something good for him. After seeing him at the Special Needs prom on Friday, I know he’s fine on his own. He enjoys being with his friends, and he has no problem finding entertainment, either from within or without. (Once he knew I was there, he practically begged me to leave.) It’s all things I need to think about.

The 5k was *awesome*! I didn’t know it was a trail run but it was SO pretty, and I was there with my bestie Karen, who did the 1 mile charity walk. (She’s not into running yet. Yet.) The weather was gorgeous, we had a great time, and I *made* great time despite it being a trail run. My new heel-to-toe stride, as opposed to using a midfoot foot strike, is SO much better. My knee didn’t tweak once and my legs felt MUCH stronger. I have to be careful because most running books advocate smaller strides but this is working for me. A few miles in I thought, “If I use this for the marathon, I won’t have a problem.” So if all the new stride gives me is confidence, that’s fine.

We then went to Downingtown for the Run for Ryan at Victory Brewing Co. Loved it! The weather again was perfect–just 4 hours from the first race–and the location was terrific. Plus my buddy Stacey showed up for it!! I haven’t seen her since her beautiful little girl was 18 months old (she’s now 3) so it was fantastic to get to hang out with her. I knew she’d hit it off with Karen, too; they’re both Tattooed Ladies! And really, Stacey’s just so cool, I can’t imagine her not getting along with everyone on the planet. Once I teach her to knit, she’ll be Perfect. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The funny thing is that Karen and Stacey were having such a good time on the 1 mile walk that I got there ahead of them. I’m still pretty pleased that I finished in 34 minutes and change, considering the hill on mile 2. As I was going down it, I thought, “Cool! I’ll make great time!” until I realized, uh yeah, I have to go back UP the thing on the way back. But I got to the bottom, let out a string of swear words, and then just focused on the road ahead and not on the incline I was climbing. Surprise surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected and before I knew it I was at the top, and I hadn’t stopped to walk (except at the water station). When I got to the finish line, I poured it on and shot through two people mailing it in ahead of me. 😉 I also collapsed on the grass just past the finish line, but it felt damn good. I really put my heart into it.

The food was great, and even though the lines were long, they moved quickly. The Victory lager was delish, and the portobello sandwich! Yum!! I even told the server, “Thank you for giving a vegetarian option!” He said, “We’re here to serve everybody.” Quite the cutie! 🙂 And I do have to say, there were a lot more good-looking guys at this race than most of the races I’ve been to. Beer, a road race, and eye candy. Trifecta!

Saturday the weather was great (as compared to Friday, which was one giant downpour) so I sat outside with my City Blocks wrap and picked up the stitches for the next section. I needed to do it in broad daylight so I could see the stitches in the black yarn section. It’s SO CUTE, I can’t wait to have it wrapped around my shoulders! Now to hope the yarn lasts. I’m not sure I have enough, and I know I don’t have enough for the edging, and the yarn company changed hands so if I order more, I don’t know if it’ll be the same thing. But where I am now is all decreases, so we’ll see. I love what I have right now, and at last I can add more rows to it!

Day 195: Adventures in Online Dating

Yep, totally different subject, but it’s on my mind so here goes.

I’m telling you, it’s a different world these days. When I was in my 20’s, I didn’t know any guys my age who were actively seeking older women. Sometimes it just happened, but in general, it wasn’t a thing. More often than not, you heard about older men seeking younger women, but there was a term for that: midlife crisis. (I had a beloved friend once upon a time who’d see a bald man in a convertible or Firebird, and if she happened to be next to him at a stoplight, she’d lean over and say, “Sorry about your penis.” Penny, if you’re still out there, find me on Facebook, please!)

I suppose I should feel complimented that I’ve gotten three “Hey babe, how’s it going?” messages on OKCupid from men under 35. I mean, there are millions of women their age out there and they thought I was attractive. I did happen upon one who, from the wording of his message, clearly had mommy issues and was badly in need of a therapist, but overall I think I can honestly say that the psychos are few and far between. But they definitely are out there. Caveat emptor.

I saw this on Facebook today and I’ve seen it before but I still love it, because it still gives me that tiny mustard seed of hope that I’ll find The One some day.

As a kid, my mom said there’s a pot for every lid, which left me wondering, what if my other half died as a kid? Does that mean I don’t get a Happily Ever After, ever? Over time I came to realize that the whole concept of soul mates is somewhat flawed, because if a soul mate is someone who truly *gets* you, that could cover many people. My cat, Mickey, makes me feel needed in a way that sometimes I’ll look at him looking at me, and I’ll think he could be my soul mate. Or my son, who I can banter with and we exchange thoughts so comfortably that I feel that connection with him, though I will say I felt that connection with him on his very first night, when the nurse forgot to come get him and he stayed the night in my room, tucked safely under my arm, that cute little blue-eyed football that he was. Long story short, I don’t think a soul mate is just one person, but it may be just one person at a time. That one person who understands who you really are, even if you don’t understand it yourself.

So if I keep working toward finding The One (who is or isn’t my soul mate), somewhere out there, he’s looking to find me too.

Anyway…

I had a nice run on Mother’s Day. The weather was gorgeous. I wish I’d gone out earlier (instead of at 1, but Silver Linings Playbook was on and I wanted to see where they’d filmed at Norristown State Hospital; I think I know where, but the security truck was roaming and I didn’t want to look snoopy) but I was out for 2 hours, enjoying the heck out of it. I’m a little anxious about training for the marathon. I put the training plan on the wall next to my computer and it looks overwhelming, but I put this on Facebook today and it’s very true.

I just wonder if I have the self-discipline needed, but we’ll see. I had the discipline to finish the straight portion of my Citys Blocks wrap last night; now to the decreases, and seeing if I have enough yarn to finish this thing. Can’t wait to post pics! I’d wear it after the marathon if I could but sweat + cashmere & mink = NO NO NO. 🙂

Day 199: Shaking It Off

Yes, I skipped yesterday. Even though I also skipped going to the gym, it was a busy one, capped off with my mom’s birthday. I called, and our calls are never short and sweet, but that’s how I like ’em. 🙂

The post-race blues have really kicked in this week and I’m tired of it. My knee may have something to do with it, too, so I took yesterday off from the gym and frogged two scarves instead. It drove me batty that they’ve been sitting there since I found the holes a year ago. One I wanted to re-attempt, hoping that the yarn will hold together (apparently it wasn’t spun well enough to hold, which makes me wonder if I’m not attempting the yarny version of Einstein’s theory of insanity), and the other I found a cool new pattern for so I’m testing that out. There’ll be knots all over the stuff in both cases but it’s too pretty to throw out…unless it annoys me enough that I send it flying into the circular file.

Not that I need more UFOs, but I did need something to perk up my imagination and creativity, and given a day off from doing cardio, yarn-winding fit the bill.

This morning, though, I still kinda had that blah feeling, and I got another email for a 5k held at Valley Forge, benefiting Dragonfly Forest summer camp for kids with autism. I’ve seen it before but opted out because I’m already doing a 5k that day, the Run for Ryan with Victory Brewing. However, the latter is at 1 p.m.; the former is at 9 a.m. I started wondering if I could make it work, and I posed the question to my  Sunday Funday Runday group for their opinion. The end result is, I’m going to be what I now call a 5k Fool and do two 5ks on the same day in two different locations.

What the heck; I’m doing it. I needed a new challenge, and my next distance race over 4 miles isn’t ‘til November. (Unless you count training for the marathon, which in itself will be challenging.) This is essentially a 10k with each half a few hours apart. The trick will be in getting from point A to point B with a stop to get Karen in between, but again, it’s just part of the challenge, and I want to know if I could do it. Trying and failing beats the crap out of wondering if I can.

Funny but every time I think “I’m going to be a 5k Fool!” my memory starts singing Jackson Browne, “I’m gonna be a happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender…” 🙂

Day 201: The Cool Down

Holy carp, tomorrow is Day 200? Ye gads, I’m not ready! 😉 Sure, it says 200 but you’d be shocked how fast the time flies. I remember when we set the date for my first wedding, it was 1991 and I was looking at a 1992 calendar. I had the date all circled but it seemed so far away, but then the process of preparing for the big date kept me spinning in three different directions until voila! The day was there. Then we went to church, took a car ride, partied, went home, and it was all over. There’s a reason my pastor pointed out that people go all-out to make the wedding a success, but how much effort do we put into making the marriage a success? Given that I have two ex-husbands, I guess we know the answer to that. *

Which is kind of how I’m feeling today. Broad Street was three days ago. I was all excited about the expo and planning and running with friends and what to wear and the whole shebang. Now it’s over and my next distance race over four miles is a 10k in November, two weeks before the marathon. By then I’ll have started training. Hell, I’ll be finished the worst of it and starting the taper, which I hear makes some people a little buggy. Personally the idea of running 20 miles makes *me* a little buggy but we’ll jump off that bridge when we get there.

But it’s a bit of a let down that it’s over. I ran at the gym tonight because it looked like rain. Just 3 miles because my knee still isn’t happy after Sunday, and I’m mad at myself for doing whatever it was I did at Boot Camp. It makes me wonder if I could’ve done better on Sunday if my knee hadn’t bugged me, but it is what it is, and really, had we not stopped for pictures, I’d have PRd. Que sera, sera.

I guess it’s the denouement that has me feeling a little blue. I’m still sugar-free (unless you count the dried mango slices I binged on today) so that shouldn’t be it. I have 201 days ’til the marathon, and I’m 3 days past Broad Street. Summer’s coming and there’ll be lots to do, and then training will start and that will take up my time, but for right now I’m kind of…meh. I guess I just need something to look forward to.

I was feeling all this when I got the treads rolling, but as soon as I was up to running speed, I felt that “Ahhhh…” that comes from knowing I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Honestly, given a choice between running or a massage, I think running does more for my peace of mind. Right now a massage might do some lovely things for my shin splint and calf cramp, but until someone wants to throw me a spa gift card, I’ll take the run.

Next race: a 5k in Downingtown, Run for Ryan, sponsored by Victory Brewing. Should be fun. I’ll always run for beer. 🙂

Oh, and this showed up after the BSR but it may be my favorite pic of the entire weekend. I had no idea at the time that Ryan had his arm around me. Sweet that it came so natural to him. I love my kid. 🙂

BSR expo

 

* For the record, the blame is shared. I know what I did wrong with both marriages. I can’t say the same for my exes but that’s their problem, not mine.

Day 203: The Day After

Broad Street was a blast! Not without a few hiccups, like the rain and holy cow, the cold at the end, and doofy me forgetting the Phillies tickets, but not realizing it until I’d already sat in the parking lot for 90 minutes. Oh well, I caught a nap before driving home, and the highway wasn’t too crowded, unlike the 2 hour drive my friend Susan experienced, trying to get back to Downingtown.

I got an OAR (Organization for Autism Research) t-shirt on Friday at the expo and immediately declared it my race shirt. It’s not as loose and comfy as what I’m used to, but it’s exactly what I wanted, and of all the crazy things, it matched the pants and shoes I’d planned to wear. It had to be fate. The coolest thing of all was the lady yelling at me during the race, “Running for autism! Good job!” That made me feel like a rock star. 🙂

IMAG1499

Had a really nice time at the expo and after, when I took Ryan to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch. We passed a man who could’ve passed himself off as Steven Spielberg, but Ryan didn’t know who that was. As I ordered our lunch, he looked it up…and boy was he floored! He teased me about asking for an autograph but on the off-chance the guy wasn’t Spielberg, I didn’t want to make an ass of myself. He bet me he could get an autograph if he saw the guy again, so imagine his surprise when we finished lunch and guess who walked directly between us! And yet neither of us moved. 🙂

Ryan fries

I ran with Susan Scott Shelley, and bless her heart, I’m pretty sure she could’ve taken off on her own at any point but she stayed with me. We both held to the silent policy that “If she’s not walking, I’m not walking.” I was only 30 seconds off last year’s time, and I’d have beaten it if not for the great pics we took just before we got to City Hall. My cell phone takes damn good pictures, BTW, but MapMyRun didn’t accurately count the miles. Kinda disappointing to see the mile marker ahead and then see MMR tell me I’m .3 past it. Duh.

City Hall S City Hall C

I’m amazed that I’m walking like a human today, despite a shin splint and leg cramp  in my right calf. (The cramp has lingered off and on since the Love Run.) But watching the scale numbers going down has been terrifically encouraging. Hard to believe that as of Thursday I’ll be two weeks, very limited sugar, but I got groceries at lunch and almost drooled over the scent of fresh strawberries. Whatever I’m doing, it’s working, so I’m sticking with it.

It was fun talking to my mom afterward. She said my pre-race email was so upbeat that she sent it to her friends. Okay, I was excited (and trying to tamp it down so I didn’t burn out; after all, it was 5 a.m.), but I loved that I was carrying my causes with me. I had my OAR shirt, and I had a chain of purple yarn as a hair ribbon so I could take Mom’s friend Becky along on the race. Becky had run Broad Street before, as well as a few other races (including the Philly Marathon, I think), but she passed away from ovarian cancer last year, not long after I ran my first BSR. I wanted to bring her with me, and she was there. Her ribbon is hanging on the picture frame Mom gave me for Christmas, the one with photos from my previous races. It’s the frame that tells me she really believes in me and my running. That it’s not just a passing fad: this is a way of life, and something I truly believe in.

It was a great day, and the medal is awesome; it has sparkle! But it’s the 35th anniversary, so that was probably to be expected. (Though I didn’t notice it at first because I didn’t take the protective bag off it.) Susan didn’t know she got a medal for running the race, so I was delighted to see her get it. 🙂 The guy who gave me my shirt on Friday at the expo, gave me my medal on Sunday. Pretty nice!

To the organizers, the volunteers, and the sponsors of the 2014 Broad Street Run, a gigantic THANK YOU from runner number 36576! You guys ROCKED it! Hope to see you again next year!

finish me finish line signs 3 Walken Temple Owl Ghostbusters BSR sign

I Beat BS