Day 1: Go The Distance

I can’t believe I just did my last training before the marathon. Sixteen weeks of training, over. Where the HELL did the time go? I remember my first run at the park in my shiny new OAR singlet, feeling all full of myself, thinking about contacting the local paper so they could follow me and I could raise more money for the charity. I saw my picture in the paper, and people recognizing me in stores.

Okay, that didn’t happen. 🙂 I ran my training in relative obscurity, sometimes with my friend Jack, sometimes with music, sometimes entirely in my own head. But I did every single mile and now it’s over.

I’m afraid I’m going to feel rudderless without the structure of training so I’m sticking to it but modifying it a little as time permits. I can’t take off Fridays to do 20 anymore, but then again, this is also my last race of 2014. My first was a little 5k at the Navy Yards in the cold of February but it was fun and I think I can fit into the shirt now. 🙂

I’m nervous but I have a plan. I’m laying out all my clothes this afternoon when I get back from the expo—where I can’t wait to get my geek on!—so that come 4:00 tomorrow morning, all I have to do is go to where I left what I need and get my ass out the door. Funny thing is, this morning I gave my alarm clock a training run and set it for 4 a.m. I heard Christmas music whispering from the clock radio and rolled over at 4:41. The volume was too low. Thank GOD I tested it out or I’d be in a world of sh*t tomorrow. (And here I’d thought it absurd to set the alarm for 4 when I didn’t need to be up ’til 7.)

Some of the things I need are already in place. The weather should hold up so I’m thinking I’ll only wear my singlet and pants, with a throwaway sweatshirt over the top that I can toss off around mile 2. By then I’ll be warmed up and feeling good, though we’ll also be heading for Columbus Boulevard, which I hear can be cold, but the starting temps should be in the mid-40’s. I’ll see how I feel.

My friend Linda is at the expo and posted a pic of the medals. Not the big gaudy gold things from last year (the 20th anniversary) but still good; I won’t be refusing it when I cross the finish line. My comment: “WANT!” Her reply: “And you shall have!” I adore that lady.

In my heart I feel good; I feel like I can do it. My head is worried by this because arrogance is dangerous. But I did the training (all of it!) and I have everything I need. I know what I have to do; I have a metric sh*t-ton of support from my Sunday Funday Runday group, my family and friends; I’m prepared and I did the homework. Now is when the rubber meets the road, literally.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Can’t wait to show you the medal tomorrow.


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.


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 213: Fantasyland, or, I’m Not That Old

Ten days ’til Broad Street. The nerves are ramping up. I checked and so far it looks perfect for the 4th; low 43, high 63, partly sunny, or partly cloudy depending on how you look at it. I’m just happy not seeing rain.

I’m starting to think about the expo. I have to go on Friday because I have a writing workshop all day Saturday and I won’t make it to the city in time. I want to run another 10 miles on Sunday, which means I’m going to have to get up early (on the only day I didn’t need to get up early) in order to fit it in before another outing at 2. But if I do it early, the rest of the day is mine. This is where I remind myself of the Facebook meme, “I don’t have to run. I *get* to run.”

Had an interesting message this week, from a 24 year old CPA in Philly who wanted to know if I’d be interested in a FWB arrangement, because “I’ve always had a thing for older women and I’m now trying to fulfill that fantasy.

I can’t even begin to say how many ways this pissed me off. First, he’s 5 years older than my son. Next, he clearly has Mommy issues he needs to work on. Third, I AM NOT OLDER. Yes, I’m 47, but I don’t look it and I sure as hell don’t feel it, so having some CHILD point that out to me in the guise of, “I think it’d be cool to get laid with a woman twice my age” did not entice me in the slightest. It actually made me want to wash my hands in battery acid to make the icky feeling go away.

I suppose he thought I’d consider it a compliment to be seen as someone’s fantasy, but the one thing I will say for age and wisdom is, I’ve learned that more often than not, fantasies are psychological issues you need to resolve in order to face and appreciate reality. I don’t have fantasies anymore; I want the real thing. I don’t play Walter Mitty, sitting around wishing I could run a race; I go out and sign up and train for one, and then I do it. I don’t sit back wondering what it’d be like if (fill in the blank); I’m going to go f*cking do it. The other day I saw a pic on FB that said, “You don’t scare me; I run marathons.” I haven’t even run one yet but already I’m starting to feel that way. Yes, I’m scared spitless that I can’t do it, but that won’t stop me from trying. I’d rather try and fail than wish I’d made the attempt.

Something this young whippersnapper doesn’t know how to do yet. Forget the fantasies, child, and go get what’s real. Okay, so he’s trying to make his fantasy real, but fantasies are for vacations, and vacations aren’t forever.

But I did buy a bottle of hair color because while I feel like I’ve earned my gray hairs, they’re starting to take over. I don’t feel my age, and I don’t have to look it either.


At 17

I’ve been away a while. There hasn’t been enough time to get everything done. The last two weeks, I haven’t had time to exercise, but I need to change that. I need to change a lot of things, starting with getting back to writing. That’s likely been part of my problem, because it used to be how I held onto my sanity, putting Happily Ever After stories together when my own wasn’t doing so well. lately I’ve let them both go, and that’s not a good thing.

Last night I tried a variety of speed dating. There was Ladies’ Choice and Guys’ Turn. When it was Ladies’ Choice, the women looked around the bar at the single men in attendance and picked one out to either dance with, talk to, or get a drink. The men couldn’t say no, and no one could pick the same partner twice. Then the men had their choice, and it alternated every fifteen minutes.

I didn’t want to go. I’d signed up months ago but when the time came, I dreaded it. Most of us were the last ones picked for sports in school, and I assumed this would be much the same. (Ever hear the song, “At 17”?)

I was right. Not once or twice. Three times, no one approached me. I didn’t stay long enough for a fourth try at rejection.

I stood out the first turn at Ladies’ Choice, because all the guys I thought might be interesting were already picked, and there were more women there than men. Instead I danced with some women, and we enjoyed ourselves just fine. The second and third times, I chose someone to talk to. Nice enough guys. I’m not sure I picked up on any chemistry, but I’m so rusty at that stuff, who knows if I have a clue what chemistry feels like anymore. I don’t remember what kissing feels like, and someone touched my back over the weekend and my world paused because I forgot what it feels like to make close contact with another human being.

But to have no one pick me three times? I wanted to go home and cry, or murder my ex for putting me in this position. Okay, so we weren’t happy, but at least when he was around, there was still the chance we could find happy again. Being in this spot, where not one out of 40 single men (of varying ages) found me interesting enough to ask me to dance…it feels hopeless.

I know it’s not. This was only my first try. You have to kiss a lot of frogs and all that. I’ve seen guys when I go running, and I see guys at the store or wherever I happen to be. No one’s found me interesting enough to even flirt or start a conversation. I know I’m not ugly. I’m not J-Lo either, but I’m not repulsive. I can be funny, and I’ve done enough things to keep up my end of a conversation.

But really? Not one in forty? No one?

At least I can write about it. Maybe something good will come of all this angst.

I did it!

Sorry for being away so long. Between my training schedule and Alex joining the soccer team at school, trying to fit everything in became a logistical challenge like nothing else I’ve ever tried to do.

That said, soccer is over and today was the Runner’s World Half Marathon and…I did it! I still can’t believe I did it, and at times as I plodded down the streets of Bethlehem, I wasn’t sure I could do it either, but in the end I crossed the finish line at 2:49:30. Not the 2:30 I was hoping for but still under 3 hours, and that was one of my goals. Actually, I had three goals: one, to get there; two, to finish the race; and three, to finish in under 3 hours. I did all three.

By the time I approached the 13 Mile marker, I wasn’t sure I had any steam left, but I had to keep going. Somehow when the finish line came into view, I found another wind and took off running. I mean, RUNNING. It was amazing, even to me. Maybe especially to me, because I knew just how tired I was. Toward the end, I did more race-walking than I wanted to do, just because my legs were dying and my knees were mad at me. But the pavement changed and the finish line was there, and the people around me cheered me on, and dammit, I poured on the last bit of steam I had and ran.

The medal I got today is going to be counted among my prize possessions, along with my grandmothers’ knitting needles.

Oh, and as I crossed the bridge over the Lehigh, with the Bethlehem Steel plant just down river, I blew a kiss to the spirit of my grandfather and great-grandfather, who once worked there, long long ago. As emotional as that made me feel, I almost cried when I heard my grandmother’s voice saying, “Grandpa’s watching you.” I know I didn’t run that race alone.

Adding to the busy-ness, after ten months alone I have someone really special in my life. We’ve been friends for close to two years already, but last month things changed, much to my surprise. We’ve been a pretty regular thing since then, and it never fails to stun me to think, we were friends first. Just friends. All that time, I liked him but I didn’t expect anything more. Wow, am I glad there’s more.

Oh, and let’s not forget the annual trip to Rhinebeck was yesterday. Thirteen-point-one miles of walking through yarn vendors’ stands. I didn’t buy a lot of yarn; for some reason, this year’s focus was on patterns and ideas. I like what I got, and the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn I won in the “yarn trade” on the bus was sweet enough to make me feel like I really didn’t need much of anything else. That is, ’til I got the baby alpaca DK weight in a luscious shade of pumpkin/gold. It’s going to be a scarf, and it’s my reward for finishing the race today.

As a side note, if the fun lady I was talking to in line at the massages is reading this–after we finished the Half–drop me a note! Us knitters/runners should stick together! And like I was saying about how running a half is like childbirth: the moment it’s over you SWEAR that no, you’ll never do that again, but give it time and later you may start thinking, “Hmm. Maybe.” I’m already thinking, “Hmm.” 🙂 Good luck at the Disney Princess Half!!

Yes, ladies and gents: life IS good.

5…Things about Facebook

I can’t quite find an adjective to describe Facebook.  After much heel-dragging, I just signed on Thursday.  Laura warned me that it’ll suck time away from me like I wouldn’t believe but did I listen?  For a while.  Now I’m not sure if I’m regretting it.  Hence, 5…Things about Facebook:

1.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  I sat there on Saturday, telling myself “I’ll take a shower at 10”, but 10 passed, then 10:30, and by 10:45 I was in a panic state because I only went on FB to see if I had any waiting messages.  I did.  There went the morning.

2.  I found friends I haven’t talked to in 20 years.  Andrea and I were best friends in middle school (intermediate school for us Staten Islanders) and Shabeena and I were best friends through high school, started on day 1.  We lost touch over the last few years, but we found each other on Facebook.  I’m also making contact with other classmates and friends (hey Stevie! How’s the wedding plans?) and I forgot how much fun they were. 

3.  Most of my RWA chapter is on Facebook, so several conversations got started.  It’s like having a meeting without leaving the comforts of home. 

4.  I looked up my old boyfriends.  ‘Nuf said.  (No, I didn’t Friend him.)

5.  Yet another source of email, via Friend messages.  Like I needed another one?  Oh heck, you can’t have too much email.  🙂  Well, actually, if you saw the size of my emailbox…?  I used to clean it out regularly to keep it down to 25 items.  Now I’d like to get under 100.

I can’t recommend going there because if you’re easily addicted, you’ll probably never leave.  In my mind, Facebook ranks right up there with YouTube as biggest time-sucks on the net.  Uh, and Ravelry, and KnitPicks, and Lion Brand Yarn’s Pattern Finder, and blog-reading.  If I could get the internet to make me a grilled cheese sandwich and pour me a lemonade, I’d never leave the house. 

Hey, at least it’s CLEAN fun, right?

Did we just have a fight?

First, the good news.  The negotiations are over and the house sale is back on.  I don’t remember if I mentioned that we had some issues with the appraisal coming in $14K lower than the sale price, but the seller agreed to lower the price by half the difference, we agreed to waive the seller’s assist to get the final repairs done, and we have a deal.  After all we’ve put her through, Kim, our realtor, must feel like Howie Mandel.  🙂 

Last night as we were going to bed (after watching the Rays win the AL pennant and become the Phillies’ opponent for the 2008 World Series), John and I seem to have hit on a point of disagreement, because when we went to bed, he curled up in a ball on the far side of the bed and didn’t say a word.  (I think I responded to a comment of his in a less-than-sympathetic manner.  I’m leaving out the details for the sake of the innocent, mostly because I’m not sure I understand them, myself.)  He didn’t even turn on the TV to watch the late news, as we usually do. 

I laid there for a while wondering if I’d said something to piss him off, but rather than dwell on it, thinking myself a failure, I spent the time telling myself that I’m stronger than that, that communication is the foundation of any good relationship, and reminding myself of all the stuff I’ve been through that’s made me who I am now.  It was a really neat change of pace, considering it’s not how I usually see things.  It also took some adjusting to.  Normally I’d beat myself up over having done something wrong.  This time, I didn’t think for a second (well, okay, maybe 2 seconds) that I’d said or done the wrong thing.  Once, way back when, John and I had an argument when I said something that bothered him, but rather than talk it out, he said, “Never mind.  It’s just something I’m going to have to deal with.”  I obsessed over that for a long while, wishing we could hash it out so I could know what I did wrong and learn never to do it again.  As if the fault was entirely mine, rather than just something I did that took an uncomfortable trip through his personal filters. 

Fortunately this morning all seems to be okay because he’s talking to me again.  Not as much or as freely as usual, which makes me think maybe I have offended him, but if he doesn’t want to bring it up at some point, I’m letting it go.  Unless he thinks there’s a problem, there isn’t one.  Two can play that game too.

My Biggest Fan

Over the weekend I finished reading Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”.  Years ago I had a friend who said it was baloney, that you couldn’t learn anything about writing from it.  I’m not surprised I stopped talking to him because I can see now that he was mostly full of sh*t.  He had some very smart things to say and he was a great friend and mentor, but looking back, I’m seeing that some of the stuff he believed as gospel was all sound and fury.  (One of my favorite Shakespeare quotes:  It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.) 

Anyway, at the end of “Bird by Bird” was a mention that publishing can’t be the be-all, end-all of writing, and that one who writes should do so for the sheer joy of it.  (On the concept that the rest will follow, and even if it doesn’t, the reward is in the writing, not the publication.)  I can’t imagine a wannabe writer out there who lies back in bed at night and thinks, “I want to write something that never leaves this house!”  We all want to see our names in print, followed by flowery prose extolling the virtues of our exceptional talents.  But when you think about it, of the millions of people in this country right now who at the very least THINK they can write a book, maybe fifty percent will start to write one, and ten percent of them will actually finish it.  Of that ten percent, five percent will go through the rewrite and editing process before sending their Magnum Opus off to an editor or agent, and a fraction of those people will get a positive response.  The odds are spectacularly slim that we could ever make a living as writers, but we dream of it anyway.  (Bear in mind that I have no idea if these statistics are true; I’m just taking a wild guess but I’ve heard the odds of being published are about as bad I’ve said they are.)

There is a certain amount of virtue in having completed the job itself.  (Which of the Hollywood production companies uses the slogan, “Ars gratia artis”?  I think it’s MGM.)  I used to dance around the dining room after I wrote The End, and I’d be so excited, I could barely sit still for the rest of the day.  Once I toasted to my characters’ future, after the story, with a cup of tea on my grandmother’s china.  There’s an incredible amount of pride in conceptualizing the story and seeing it through to its fruition, so that publication could almost be something of an afterthought.  The icing on the cake, as it were.

But damn, isn’t the icing the best part of the cake?

Something Lamott said in “Bird” rang true with me.  I can’t recall the exact quote but it was something along the lines that you should be happy with yourself before you’re published because you’re going to be exactly the same person after you’re published.  It makes a lot of sense to me, and it can be applied to every other “I wish” situation as well.  If you think you’ll be a better person after you get that new car or that better computer or that perfect haircut or you’ve lost X amount of pounds, and THEN you’ll like yourself, why do you have to wait for that thing to happen?  Why can’t you like yourself, and who you are, now?  What’s stopping you?  What difference is that thing going to make in how you see yourself? 

The approval we’re seeking can’t come from the outside, though it’s really nice when it does happen.  (Publication, a job promotion, a bigger house/nicer car.)  On an everyday basis, though, we have to approve of ourselves.  No matter what happens, no matter who in our lives comes and goes, we’re going to be with ourselves for the rest of our lives.  We might as well make friends with ourselves, and be our own biggest fan.