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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Flying with 10,000 steps

I only wanted a Fitbit to confirm what I already knew, I am a pretty active person. Sounds crazy, right? It sort of is. But many of my also pretty active friends were comparing steps and cheering at 5in the morning when they had more steps than most people get all day. And that is because we met at 4am to run. I was content just knowing that I had put in the miles until they kept trying to outdo each other's steps. Then one of them would look at me and ask my step count and laugh because I, because I had no clue. I did not have a fitness tracker or even a pedometer. So I asked for one for Christmas. My contingency plan to was buy my own if Santa did not come through for me. He did and on January 1st I clocked in over 60, 000 steps during my marathon. My friends no longer taunted me. I was in the step club and I was the leader (at least for that week).

I have been pretty proud of my step count. Again, the goal was to track what I was already doing not to increase it. Okay, I will admit there have been a few times when I got a message that someone was 152 steps ahead of me and I felt compelled to walk around my house to catch up or pass that person. When oh so close to 10,000 steps I have again walked around my house, back and forth to my car, taken a lap around the parking lot or something else. But generally I am fine with my steps.

I was fine until last week. A friend of mine has gotten 10,000 steps every day since Christmas. Every freaking day. She was shocked that I did not since I was usually had more steps than her overall. I was shocked as well. Not that I was ahead, but that she was diligent in her steps. My step count was high on my run days and not so high on my off days. Yes, that is normal. Yes, that is how it should be. But I was intrigued.

I had just finished an easy three mile run and had to go back to pick up extra steps. She motivated me in a way I had not been before. I was caught up in getting my miles in that I did not relish the simple pleasure of just walking to get the steps consistently. I forgot that sometimes life provides the means to be active without fanfare. Okay, I may not strive to get 10,000 daily. But I will pride in the small victories that come with walking towards a goal without a medal.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Flying and done

Last weekend I ran my 22nd marathon and my last race of the year. At least that is the plan. I have not really been feeling like running. I lost the joy a little bit and my races are not as good as they used to be and not as good as they could be. I am slowing down. And for no good reason. My mind just shuts down. And that is really not good.

Time for a break. I won't stop running. I will just stop racing. I have not been a huge fan of racing anyway. I owe myself one more marathon so that I will have completed 10. Maybe that will happen next year, maybe maybe, maybe not. I also owe Tisa (a friend whose son was shot and is running 23 races this year in his memory) a race. And as much as I hate 5Ks I would do it with her. And then there is our annual midnight 10 miler. Yes, this is my mad attempt at slowing down.

It is fitting that the Divas half in Myrtle Beach be my last (although I would have been fine with any race being my last). I do enjoy staying until the last runner crosses the finish line. This time there was a woman who came all the way from New Jersey and was on the course by herself. About five of us (most of us strangers even to each other) ushered her across the finish line. No one finishes alone on my watch. And then there was the woman for some reason unbeknownst to us turned away from the finish line and kept running down the street. I chased her down and brought her back. That was a first for me.

Anyway, it is a good race. It reminds me that even when I race poorly there is victory in finishing. It reminds me that there is good in the world and that one that day I can bear witness to people trying to do something by crossing that finish line. We all have a story, most more than one. It is etched clearly on some of the faces and not so much on others. But every story should be honored. Just like every person who laced up and dared to step up to the start whether unsure or not.

I enjoyed being the cheerleader for those who came behind me. It was tough for me and I imagine that it was tougher for some of them. No matter. We finished and we got a big a** medal to show for it. Divas rock!



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Flying almost there

I did not enjoy my backyard at my previous house. I have no real reason why. I made a few attempts and none of them 'took'. So I rarely went out there. I am doing things differently with this house. Friday a friend and I went hunting at thrift stores and estate sales for lawn furniture. We were mildly successful. A trip to Ace Hardware, World Market and Big Lots rounded out my purchases. Well, almost.

This weekend I was able to sit outside. I actually ate breakfast outside. The umbrella works just fine. And who would complain when one only paid $29.00 for it brand new? I read for a few hours. Then I decided to grill. I gave my gas grill away in SC and have not committed to buying a new one just yet. I am thinking of getting a charcoal one in case I do not use it just like I rarely used my gas one. So in the meantime this weekend I went to Publix and purchased a disposable one. Actually I purchased two at just under $4 each. And I grilled four wonderfully seasoned turkey burgers.

As I sat outside I looked around and decided that I should do something else. I want an oasis. Okay, an oasis on a budget. I want to have my friends sitting in my backyard sipping wine listening to music and eating. I have lots of thoughts and looked at lots of pictures. I need to do this because I want to do it. I need to thrive instead of merely surviving. Plus if done the right way it will add value to my house. More importantly it will make my backyard an outdoor living room. And that is what I want. Now how much of that I can afford remains to be seen.

The goal is to have something more than what I have now in place by my birthday. Something simple yet elegant. And at some point there will be a fire pit. That is the plan. After all we all need a safe place to land.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Flying with a change of plans

photo-nic.co.uk nic

Last weekend the plan was to stay home and unpack. Yes, unpack. I still have boxes-full boxes from my move. I have shoved them in closets and the shed out back. Worse, I have some of them including my loot from Christmas on the dining room table. So as soon as you walk in my house it is on full display. I am not even embarrassed by that anymore. What's the point?

So since we had Good Friday off I was going to at least declutter the dining room. I was going to get up and go to yoga at 6:30am then come home, shower, and cook a real breakfast. Eggs and toast at the very least. Then I would tackle the dining room while binge watching something on Hulu or catching a marathon of something on television. That was the plan. I kept going over it in my head.

And then Barbara texted me. It wasn't an emergency. I could have said no. I really did not want to get on the road and head to Charleston. I really did not. But somehow that is EXACTLY what I ended up doing. I did not go to yoga. I did shower and I did cook a real breakfast. So I did part of the plan. Then I washed clothes, dishes, and some other stuff before jumping in my car and heading to Charleston. At least my iPod was up to date. I was listening to a very interesting book Charms and Chocolate Chips: Magical Bakery Mystery, Series # 3 by Charms and Chocolate Chips: Magical Bakery Mystery, Series # 3 by Bailey Cates. I think it falls in the category of cozy mystery.

I had an amazing time. Barbara's backyard is a lake so we sat there on her screened in porch drinking wine and chatting. She has taken up crocheting. Then we went to a Mexican restaurant with horrible karaoke singers for dinner. The next day we went to Hyams so she could buy plants. I also bought a plant for my front porch and four herbs (basil, rosemary, lemon balm, and thyme). So now my front porch is not naked. Then we kayaked in the lake because what else would one do when one lives on a lake?

Friends also came by and it felt great to sit back and enjoy my life. I have amazing friends. Later we ordered pizza, drank wine, and I introduced her to Death in Paradise a light police mystery set in the fictional town of Saint Marie in the Caribbean.

Sunday I was able to keep my routine and have brunch at my bestie Pam's house. I have been having Easter brunch at her house for years. Then I drove home and once again did not go to yoga. It's all good. There are no yoga police and I went last night.

The moral of the story is that there are times when going against the plan is the better plan.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Flying a little crooked

Samuel Zeller
I went to a chiropractor. I decided that I needed to try something different since I still do not have full mobility in my right knee. I am blaming it on the years of commuting between Charleston and Savannah for over 4 years. I found something online called 'gas pedal knee' and I have diagnosed myself with that. And no, you did not miss it. I do not have a medical degree of any sort. I do have a recent CPR/First Aid card, but that is it. Massages (which I hate) were not working. Ice/heat weren't working. Yoga wasn't working. So I needed to do something else.

I wasn't sure what that something else would be until someone referred me to a chiropractor. I had gone many years ago when I had a frozen shoulder. It wasn't the best experience so I was very very very leery. But I needed to so something. This place is a bit different. It is not the traditional twist and pop chiropractor. The doctor uses a little tool.

But first things first. My x-rays show that I am very out of alignment. I am crooked. I think the doctor tried to alarm me, but honestly the only issue I feel is my stiff knee. So the fact that there are other things wrong did not upset me. He said that we needed to take of the major things and then we can work on the knee. I am thinking that maybe my knee will get better once I am no longer crooked.

I have been three times. I keep answering 0% when they ask if I am feeling better because I am not. I only notice that my knee is not better and I have other pains. The doctor says that is because he is moving things back to their correct place and that pain will subside. He did actually look at my knee the other day.

I am trying to trust in the process. It did strike me that when I asked him if I could keep doing the exercises that I am doing he said that he did not want to add any distance or intensity until things were corrected. Yet he never asked me what I was doing. And I am not sure he could add any additional distance or intensity. I am doing enough of that myself.

Anyway, after this weekend's half marathon I will probably cut back a bit on running and amp up my yoga practice. I do not have another marathon until maybe next year if I get into New York. That is unless I change my mind and end my career with 9 marathons instead of 10. At least I do not have to think about that right now.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Flying in full support

Saturday I did something that I had never done before. I went to a marathon as a spectator. Now I have more mad respect for those who do it a lot. It was nice not having to get up and out at the crack of dawn or worry about race stuff. All I had to do was get to mile 19 and wait. Yeah, mile 19 was the best place to be because the race was in a gated community in the Savannah area.

We had signs. My friend Star had a friend and his daughter make signs. Hey, if you are going to watch and cheer you need signs. Plus my runner friend Barbara (who has run about 24 or 25 marathons) has never ever ever had a cheering section or signs. We gave her both. Other runners were jealous. They wanted the signs. They wanted the cheering squad. So we compromised. We cheered for EVERYBODY! We told some that they could pretend to be Barbara and that the signs were for them. Honestly, there were very few signs and cheering sections. It was a small race.

So we endured getting eaten alive by gnats, the heat, and the anticipation of Barbara's arrival. I think it was much harder than running. Okay, maybe not but it sure takes a lot of dedication and amusement in between runners. I wish we had some generic signs. I just did not think about it. In the races I have done there were more signs for everybody and just a few personal ones. I wish we had a Random stranger I'm proud of you, Run like you stole something, Touch here for turbo power, or some other sign to go with the Barbara ones. Lesson learned.

And we moved along the race route which surprised a few people. So we told them that we were stalking them. That made them smile. We got several 'thank yous'. It was certainly an honor to be out there witnessing the fruits of others' hard work and training. We saw tears. We saw sighs of relief when the finish line was spotted. The triumph of the human spirit. Each one had a story, each one had a challenge, each one had the victory at the end. And all of us had a few too many gnat bites.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Flying catching my breath

Lemuel Butler
It has been a while since I have written. I moved my domain name and that took more time, effort, and fortitude than I could ever imagine. Hats off to the tech people out there. And I really appreciate the folks at GoDaddy for not blocking my calls because I called A LOT!

So after the successful domain name transfer, I did not think about reconnecting the blog. And yes, I procrastinated. I kept thinking that I would do it later. Well, later turned out to be when my mother asked me if I was still blogging. The answer is yes and no. I just said yes. I mean, I had not really abandoned the blog. I still own the domain name. It was parked waiting to be activated. I still wanted to blog. I just hadn't.

So today I sent the SOS flag to a dear friend who always pulls me out of these technology black holes where I often find myself. And what should have been an easy fix turned out not to be so easy. Big surprise there. But she is patient and she is kind and she has mad skills that I completely do not understand.

And those are the kinds of friends we should all be lucky to have. The ones who can do the things we cannot, or that love to do the things that we do not. Those are the people that complete my life. Not complete me because I am freaking fabulous. They complete my life because they add fullness to it. They add more dimension. They add more laughter. They add more adventure. They add more wine.

So, I have caught my breath for a little bit. I am off to run my 9th marathon. I promised to stop at number 10.