Saturday Run minus one

I ran 3 miles this morning.  Not fast as it’s 200% humidity here in West Central Florida.  But Wendy and Sunita and I slogged it out.  Then Wendy went to the Y for a class,  Sunita ran on for another 5 or so, and I headed home.  But in those three miles, so much felt okay but there was a definite bit of sadness too.  You see, it was the first time in a long time that our Saturday morning group hadn’t been initiated by an email from our fearless leader, June.  And she won’t be joining our runs again for awhile.

You see, today June and her family are starting their adventure of driving to Alaska, their new home.  And frankly, I’m not the only one who is sad.  Most of our little neck of the suburbs is quite upset about the move.  Namely cause June is great fun, but moreover because she is better connected than Kevin Bacon.  If you live here and don’t know June or know someone who knows June, you’re living under a rock.

When she hosted a “girls night in” good-bye party last week, the street was so crammed with cars, I figured her neighbors were happy she was moving soon.  Tons of people filled her house – from Girl Scout leaders to YMCA members to college professors to runners to medical professionals to preschool teachers to preschool parents and every combination of all those labels.  June knows everyone, everyone knows her, and she introduces people to each other.  In fact, the reason I even know who Wendy and Sunita are is that June invited all of us to run with her at one time or another.  Every time someone else walked into the party, I thought “June knows them too? Oh, of course she does.”   In fact, she already has a handful of FB friends in Alaska!

When she “announced” her move to Alaska via Facebook about 1.5 months ago, I immediately texted her:  This is a joke, right?

She assured me it wasn’t – that her husband who works for a federal agency had gotten a promotion.  My response:  Really?  Alaska is a promotion?

Now that I have seen her breathtaking pictures from their trip to find a house – I take that statement back. My apologies to Alaska.  Truly.  (But seriously Alaska – that whole dark all the time in winter is not cool.  Just saying.)

June’s news kinda stunned me.  So much so that my son asked me why I was crying.

“Well, I just found out that June is moving.  And I’m going to miss her.  She was the one who got me into running in the first place.  She’s the one who yells at me when I’m slow, she’s the one who gets people out of bed at dark o’clock on Saturdays for runs, she’s the one who knows about all the races, basically she’s like a personal coach to me.”

My “embedded-in-geek-culture” 9-year-old looked at me seriously and said, “It’s like she’s Yoda and you’re her Luke Skywalker.  But every master has to leave at some point and you have to be your own Jedi.”

So wise, young grasshopper.

I’m not sure I’m much past the padawan stage of running yet.  Some might argue that having run a bunch of 5Ks and three 1/2 marathons kinda speaks against that.  Yet, I’m not fast, I’m not very good at training, and I really need people to yell at me to get out of bed on Saturdays.  Really.

But I can hear June’s voice in my head, “Jenn, you know you can do it.  You want that medal and you can PR. You just need to move it.  Breath. Come on. Move it.”  I even tried to have a running streak (at least one mile a day) thanks to her.  I lasted 12 days.  She lasted over 115 days.  And she created a small Facebook group for us to motivate and keep track of our streaks (otherwise known as the “guilt-ing group”).  Oh and there was the dreaded push-up streak….of which we will never speak again.  🙂

I wish I could calculate the number of miles I’ve run with June.  Or behind her actually.  (I’ve run some races with her – but never side by side.)  Or the number of times June  yelled at me to start moving.  Or texted me at 6 am to get me out of bed.  But what I do know is that how ever many there were, those miles (even the ugly slow ones) have meant a lot to me.  Whether the miles included simple chit-chat, or parenting stories and advice, or debates about races to run, or training tips, running with June was encouraging and up-lifting.  And when I think about it – I’m just jealous of those Alaskan runners who she will probably bring together to create another loosely affiliated running “club”.  They are getting an awesome lady to add to their ranks.

Today’s run was good – we chatted about June, about races, about other running clubs, and even marijuana growers in WA state (don’t ask).  And I know that the women who June has introduced me to will help keep up the miles and the motivation.  But we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to June.  Thanks to FB, no friendships ever really lose contact anymore. And we can’t wait to hear about her miles of adventures in Alaska.

Thank you Junie B…..you’ve made a runner out of me.  MIss you already friend.

 

 

 

 

Say “ah”

You might want to put down the drinks while you’re reading this one….  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Three weeks ago, an old porcelain filling broke and fell out into my hand.  They put on a temporary crown and yesterday morning I was getting the permanent one “installed”.

Now, to say that I hate the dentist is inaccurate.  I actually like my dentist a lot.  He’s very nice and competent.  But I hate dental procedures.  I have a strong gag reflex and I’m not a fan of the whole “holding-your-mouth-open-for-hours-on-end-so-they-can-poke-you-with-sharp-sticks” thing. When I am really stressed, I have dreams that my teeth are falling out while I speak.  On top of that there’s that flaw-intensifying mirror right over your face, so yeah I’m not a fan of dental things.

But today was to be quick – three easy steps:  1) Take off temporary crown. 2) Glue on permanent one. 3) Thank dentist and head to work.

Somewhere between step 2 and 3 my day took a left turn.

He had placed the new crown on and instructed me to bite down on one of those cotton rolls for 3 minutes.  Then he was going to scrap off the extra cement and we’d be done.  So I sat and read a trashy magazine for 3 minutes.  I felt drool pooling in my mouth, but my stomach turned at the idea of swallowing cement. I chose to let all the saliva get soaked up by the cotton.  The tooth/crown was the very back tooth on the top.

The hygienist came over and said, “Open up” – with her fingers all set to grab the cotton.

I opened up and….that drool soaked cotton roll, which was sitting right at the back of my jaw slid to the right and popped straight down my throat.

Cotton Roll right into my throat, where one talks and breathes.

I JUMPED out of the dental chair gagging and choking and trying to cough it up.  The sounds I was making are hard to replicate in words.  Imagine a momma bird flapping around to hack up food for her little birds, but with less feathers, fewer worms, more flapping, and more panic.  Suffice it to say, you’re probably lucky you weren’t one of the other patients within earshot of my hacking and choking.

I don’t know what the hygienist did but soon the dentist was at my side, trying to calm me down while looking for an appropriate tool to shove down my throat.

“You can breathe, you are breathing, it’s cotton, the air will get through” is what he kept saying.

I kept trying to signal for someone to whack me on the back or something.  And I may have slapped the dentist somewhere in there.  He got me to sit down and he tried to look down my throat, but the urge to not tilt my head back was too great and I jumped back up and tried to cough and dislodge it from my throat.

And at about that point, the dentist yelled, “Call 911.”

So, if you’ve never had a dentist yell “Call 911” during your dental appointment, let me tell you, I don’t recommend it.  In fact, try very hard to NOT get into a situation where that phrase is ever necessary.

Thankfully the call was cancelled because just about that time my will to live (or gravity) helped to push the cotton down and my throat was cleared.

About a million years after the whole cotton ordeal started (or roughly 1.5 minutes, take your pick),  I yelled out, “I swallowed it. Oh my God. I can breathe.”

I fell back on the dental chair and took some deep breaths and wiped away some tears.  And I’m pretty sure the whole office (staff and patients) heaved a big sigh.  Of course I think they might have all wet their pants before that – but we were all breathing again which was the important part, especially for me.

As I was sitting there collecting my thoughts (which mostly consisted of “I almost died in the middle of the dentist office”), the dentist and I weren’t sure whether to laugh or be horrified.

“You weren’t even numb, I could imagine if your mouth was numb….but this….”

“I know – but there was a lot of spit. Oh my God.”

“Hm, I think you should probably go to the ER anyway.”

“Excuse me?”

He proceeded to tell me about two directions down your throat – the stomach or the lungs and said something about lung abscesses three months down the road.  My brain started screaming as I was still trying to clear the nasty feeling in my throat.

I very calmly asked if I could call my husband, and if the dentist could please check the crown. We seemed to have forgotten it in the whole ordeal.

With my new tooth cleaned off, a sample cotton roll in my purse (for doctors’ information), and assurances that the dentist’s insurance would pay for the ER visit, I waited for my husband.  He showed up quickly but a little confused and worried.  He called my primary doctor, but got dumped to voicemail.

“Well, you aren’t going to develop a lung abscess in the next three hours…”

“Are you suggesting I go to WORK?”

“No, no, I’m just trying to figure out what to do.”

“The ER, now!”

The intake desk guy didn’t seem to understand what I had told him, because when the triage nurse called me up, she asked, “So you are here because you’re having throat pain?”

“No, I’m having throat pain because I was at the dentist and I swallowed a cotton roll.”  And I held up the sample one the dentist had given me.

cotton roll

And that was the first of several identical looks I got at the ER – the look that is both horrified and humored all at the same time.  Like you want to giggle but you don’t want to offend the person and at the same time you want to run and cancel your next dental appointment asap.

As they were getting me to an ER room, I was frantically trying to get an email to my students from my cellphone. Steve was helping but the connection to my webmail was slow and at one point it almost sent my class the following:  “Class cancelled. In ER. Not going to make it.”  After about 10 mins it finally let me add “to class” and I hit send.

After vitals and such, they took me for an X-ray and Steve left for work.  He couldn’t cancel his classes and we both figured this was going to take no time at all.  Ha.

In the X-ray room, I had to explain to the two technicians why they were photographing my insides.  Again with the horror and humor and comments of “I hate going to the dentist.”  Meanwhile, I hugged the X-ray machine and wondering if these pictures would show the awesome weight loss (20.5 pounds so far) I’ve achieved with Weight Watchers this year.

Back in my ER cubicle, I read a book and checked Facebook as I waited for a doctor and my X-ray results.  Had posted the following with a check in at the local hospital: You know those days when you go to the dentist for a crown and then the cotton roll in your mouth gets wet with saliva and then slides and lodges in your throat and you think you will choke to death at the dentist and then as they are calling 911 the cotton slides all the way down and the dentist says you should go to the ER to be sure it’s on it’s way to your stomach and not your lungs? Yeah well that’s the kind of day I’m having. 

The comments and jokes from friends were pouring in.  Including an offer to rewrite the lyrics to “Cotton-Eyed Joe” to make “Cotton-Lunged Jenn”.  A runner friend asked if I was going to still be able to run. A friend who writes amazing comic books sent me a message asking what the bleep was going on and did I now have any superpowers.  I suggested a new sidekick: Cottonmouth Girl.  She can shoot cotton balls out of her mouth and tangle up criminals in them.

Meanwhile our church’s children’s director had seen FB and was texting me asking if I was okay.  As I was responding to him, a friend who also works in children’s ministries with me was rolled by on a gurney.

“Maureen???  What are you doing here?”

“I fell off my bike taking the kids up to school.  You?”

“I swallowed a cotton ball at the dentist.”

“Oh my goodness!”

So I amended my text to include that now two people from church were in the ER and someone probably needed to pray over us.

As I sat there, I fretted that this was the day I chose to wear my brand new skinny pants (2 sizes smaller than usual) and was upset that only the hospital staff would see them and thus not be impressed.  Just in time, my friend, Lea, showed up to sit with me and did the appropriate oohs and ahs over my weight loss. Then she took my picture for FB.

er shotShe was soon joined by Darren, our children’s director, who came to check on Maureen and me.  They both laughed so hard at my story that a man sitting with another ER patient overheard us and came over to our cubicle.

“Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear.  Did you swallow a cotton ball at the dentist?”

“Yep – it looks like this.”  I held up the comparison sample.

“I work emergency medicine all the time.  Never heard of this – quite incredible.”

“Thank you.”  Cause really – what else do you say to that?

Finally the doctor showed up and I had to explain all over again.  He seemed amused but not troubled because I was breathing okay.  There was a lengthy description of how breathing works and the low odds that I won the “stupid things in my lungs” lottery.  But he still had to check the x-rays, which he assured me wouldn’t be helpful because cotton probably wouldn’t show up on x-rays.  Of course.

This consultation did not earn me a discharge – but I got moved to another area so more urgent patients could use my bed.

Darren eventually had to go check on Maureen again and then head back to work.  Lea was about to leave when a nurse came in and asked for my information.

“Okay we need a CT scan.”

“I had X-rays though.”

“I have orders for a CT scan. Let’s go.”

As I lay on the scanner bed, I tried to not think about all the episodes of House where the patient would code or seize while in the scanner while Chase and others were discussing their sex lives.  I just stared at the ceiling and wondered if Lea was right that they’d have to put something down my throat to fish it out, “like a sword swallower”, she said.

When I returned, my cell phone was totally dead.  Lea saved the rest of my day by running out to my car to get my briefcase and phone charger.  She left me surrounded by my laptop and various cords as I surfed the hospital’s free wi-fi.

And then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I surfed on FB and kept adding updates.  The TV in the room was set on the Food Network, which only served to remind me that the only thing I had had to eat since 8 am was a piece of cotton.  And for some reason I kept burping.  For the record, cotton does not have a bad aftertaste.  I contemplated whether it would absorb all the high cholesterol I apparently have.

Around this time I realized that I had to pee. The cup of chai before the dentist appointment was now pressing on my bladder.  The next time a nurse walked in, I asked where the restroom was.

“Oh, you need to go?  Do we have a sample from you?”

“Excuse me?”

“A urine sample.  We might need it.”

“Um no.”

“Okay well let me get you a cup.”

I carried my briefcase and purse and clean catch cup down the hall to the restroom and pondered whether they could test for cotton in my pee.  Or whether they were going to have to operate and therefore they needed to check if my bladder was up for the challenge.  And then I had to explain to the other nurse why I was now handing her a cup of pee when she was assuming I was going to be discharged at any moment.

I went back to waiting and FB surfing and two streams of panic started to overtake my brain.

First there was the “are they going to have to dig around in my lungs?” panic.  And all associated fears such as – will Steve make it back in time to hold my hand – did I tell my kids I love them when I dropped them off at school – what will they sing at my funeral – will Steve remarry soon – how soon is too soon.  Yeah my brain works that way.  Especially when all I’ve had to eat all day is a cotton ball.

Then I started to look at the clock and panic about getting my kids from school and getting to the parent-teacher conferences.  My phone was now mostly charged but the cell signal was weak.  I was limited to FB and email and some texting via wi-fi. Friends offered to help and Steve was done and able to leave work early.

Finally a pulmonologist came to examine me and ask questions which set the first stream of panic into a complete ocean of fear.

“Okay so how old are you?”   “Any kids?  How old?”   “Are you pregnant?”  “Do you have regular mammograms?”

He looked at me and finally said, “I’m asking these questions because the CT scan showed some grainy sections on your left breast.  And those are things we don’t tend to see in breasts at your age.”

“Oh – I know.  There are several fibrous areas that my doctors are watching carefully but they are not a problem.”

“Okay.  CT scans are not the best way to examine breasts. But I was concerned.  But you must remember that I do not examine breasts on a daily basis.”

And with that comment, I almost bit my tongue in half to stop from laughing.  I swallowed a cotton ball and now the lung doctor was telling me my boobs were the problem.  Who goes to the hospital with a cotton ball in their throat and gets diagnosed with breast cancer?

He did finally get back to the matter at hand and tell me that things looked fine and I should follow up with him next week and I would be discharged finally.  It was nearly 3 pm and I had gotten there at 9 am.  It was definitely time to go.

I called to assure the dentist office (“Um hi, this is Jennifer – your most memorable patient from this morning.”) and assure my mom (“I’m fine I’m fine.”)  Stopped at church to pick something up and had the whole staff gathered to shake their heads at me and ask if they should cancel their upcoming dental appointments. Then I got the kids from my friends’ house.

My daughter wanted to know why I was at the dentist all day. When I explained to her and her brother what had happened, my 9 year old son got excited in the way only a 9 year old boy can.

“Mom – can I put on rubber gloves and cut up your poop to check for the cotton ball??”

We shelved that idea and raced to meet Steve at school. My son’s teacher was in tears of laughter when she saw me.  Apparently some of my friends had alerted her that I might not make it to the conference.  In fact a friend had told the whole story to the entire 3rd grade staff.

After the conference I ran into that friend and she suggested that next time I go to the dentist, I bring an unused tampon to bite on instead – it has a string to grab!  (Note – GENIUS idea.  Someone get on this immediately.  Dental tampons!)

Later we were leaving my son’s karate practice and I was complaining that I still had not eaten and it was now 6 pm.  My son piped up to ask me, “How many Weight Watchers points are cotton balls anyway?”

Needless to say, I am fine.  As fine as one can be after swallowing cotton.  I have tried really hard to suppress the memories of when I was choking and chosen to laugh.  But, I’m not at all sure that I’m ready to schedule my next dental cleaning.

My recommendation – next time you go to the dentist, bring along some super absorbent tampons with extra long strings and explain what happened to me.

 

When convos go wonky….

A friend and I were having a conversation several days ago about some of the wackier FB threads we’ve been a part of over the years.  And we admitted that as a result, we both selectively edit what we are willing to post because of backlash we might get from people.  People get rather huffy when you don’t change your profile picture to support homeless chickens or celebrate siblings-in-law day or whatnot.  And others get mad if you post links to topics that they disagree with or comment on deaths of famous people that they don’t actually like.  And in general – sometimes people forget that FB is a nice way to connect not a way to lecture people and take things way too seriously.

It reminded me of one of my favorite Jon Acuff pieces about what he calls the “Jesus Juke”.  Essentially it’s when a conversation totally takes a left turn towards an uber religious serious tone when that was not the original intent.  Jon’s piece (and the term) was prompted thanks to a tweet he posted about a bodybuilder doing pushups in an airport terminal.  While most of the responses he got were along the lines of “how funny” and “post pictures!”, one person’s comment took that left turn:  “Imagine If we were that dedicated in our faith, family, and finances?”

Acuff’s ponderings on it are exactly on point (quoted from his blog):  “I was fine with that idea, I was, but it was a Jesus Juke. We went from, “Whoa, there’s a mountain of a man doing pushups next to the Starbucks at the airport,” to a serious statement about the lack of discipline we have in our faith and our family and our finances. I don’t know how to spell it, but in my head I heard that sad trumpet sound of ‘whaaaa, waaaa.'” Acuff is much funnier than I am.  So be sure to read his whole piece.

But it got me thinking about all of the other “jukes” that occur on Facebook.  Whether or not you’re religious, you’ve experienced the “juke”.  People like to juke everyone else about finances, kids, parenting, social skills, eating, politics, happiness, depression, jobs, the economy, …. whatever.

Thus, a FICTIONAL FB thread popped into my head.  No, it’s not based on reality at all.  Other than a warped sum collective of all the realities of all the FB convos you’ve ever seen.  And no, I did not really post this and my friends did not really respond this way…..but probably somewhere on someone’s timeline someone has…..And if you are my friend on Facebook – again – no  – these are not based on you.  So don’t unfriend me.  🙂

Bottom line – let’s just keep things in perspective peeps.  And laugh more – especially at ourselves.

You The kids and I had a great conversation today about sharing and being kind.  As a result we decided to pay for the meals for those in the car behind us at the drive thru.  What a great feeling to help people in unexpected ways.  #blessed
Friend Aw so sweet.
Mom Did you get my package I put in the mail to you? Give my grandkids kisses.  Grandma wishes she could take them out to dinner.
Old College Buddy Remember when we used to go through drive thrus and not pay back in the day? Guess you’re making up for it.  Ha ha.
Nutritious Friend Really?  Fast food?  That wasn’t being very kind to those people at all.  You should have given them directions to the farmer’s market. Everyone needs fruits and veggies. Not pink goop.
Mommy Friend Why don’t I ever get behind people like you at the drive thru?  Do you know how nice it would be to have someone else pay for my kids’ chicken nuggets?
Political Friend I hope it wasn’t “Brand Name Fast Food”.  You should be boycotting them.  Do you know how they treat chickens?  It’s horrific.
Political Friend #2 Rather than pay for other customers you should have given the money to the cashier.  They make NO money and are forced to work long hours with no healthcare.
PTA friend Why did you go to the drive thru?  Today was Spirit Day for our school at the local pizza place.  If you had spent your money there, the school gets a cut of the profits.  Next time check the PTA calendar!
Mother In Law You’re going out to eat?  I thought I bought you that slow cooker and a recipe book so you’d be feeding my grandkids homecooked meals.  Tell my son to call me.
Fitness Friend Fast food??  You better show up at boot camp class tomorrow and work off those French Fries, girlfriend!
Apparently Druggie Friend Dude, I could totally go for some awesome french fries right now.  Got the munchies!!!
Clueless Friend who doesn’t read the other responses That’s awesome.  We’re all so lucky to be friends with such a kind person.
Husband Did you get me the sandwich I wanted?  See you at home later!
Fiscally Challenged Friend I wish I could do that.  We are still trying to pay off our credit cards.  Maybe I should have you take me out to dinner!  I deserve that free meal more than some random person.  Who knows, that person might be a criminal or something!
Church Friend Good job!  Next time though, give the cashier a paper with a Bible verse on it and our church service times to hand to the other car.  Maybe Matthew 25:35!
Non religious Friend OMG, you don’t have to be religious to be kind. And really if you give me a free burger, does that mean I have to go to your church?  No thank you.  I’ll eat elsewhere.
Feminist Friend Did you get the kids meals? I hate when they ask me if the meal is for a boy or a girl.  I always say “it’s a child not a gender!” Our kids should not be getting color- or gender-matched toys.  Anyone can play with any toy they want to.
Random Friend Oooo…..Did you get one of those new deluxe wraps?  They are DELISH!
You No good deed goes unpunished….especially the ones you mention on Facebook.

I am naive and I’m okay with that.

As I cleaned up the kitchen this morning, I put in the DVD of School House Rock for the kids to watch……“I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill…”

I should be finalizing my long overdue post about our Disney races.  I should be stretching and doing some running work.  I should be grading papers.  I should be wrapping birthday presents for Steve. There’s a lot of “shoulds” that any one could choose from.  I figured most pressing was that I SHOULD be able to find my kitchen counters.  And floors.  And island.  And maybe my bathroom floor.

But my mind is far from housework.

I’ve been pondering the last week or so of my life and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am naive.  Or I’m an optimist.  Or some combination of both. Either label will do. Because I happen to always believe that good will prevail. Always.  Every time.

The short version of the story is that it’s come to light that our county is in the process of permitting a developer and come in and build a big box store (probably Walmart) plus five outparcels (such as fast food stores) AND up to 300 apartments on a piece of property.  The issue isn’t “promoting” economic development.  And for me the issue isn’t really about “Walmart.”  I know people who don’t shop there – and I respect that.

The issue is that this piece of property happens to front on a very congested road right next to the local high school, the public library, and another shopping center.  It is across the street from three residential streets and just down the street from the YMCA and the entrance to a huge neighborhood with several subdivisions, a little league ballfield area, and two public elementary schools.  All locations that are busy with families and children. They are proposing entrances and exits (probably without stop lights) onto this already crowded roadway AND onto another road which has been deemed a “roadway failure” by the county itself.

Those of us who travel this route daily understand why we have to leave our houses 30 mins early to get to ballet or karate or church. Looking at this plan, we may have to start helicoptering in and out of the neighborhood if we want to get anywhere at all.  Long story short – the stupidity of this plan is evident to any local resident.  But apparently not to those who run our county.

Since the moment I read the first news story about this, I have been on a mission to get everyone mad.  To get everyone to write to our county commissioners.  To get everyone to call the county planning commission.  To get everyone to be fully informed.  And to get everyone to express the stupidity of the plan back to the county people and ask for them to fix it. NOW.

And yet they won’t.

We get double speak.  We get tons of calls and emails about the “process being followed” and that “the zoning was changed and this is allowable”.  I even emailed the school board to remind them that just a few months ago 11 high school students were injured when two school buses collided on this road.  The school board’s email response to me was to say “Once it’s built, we’ll have conversations with the shop keepers if necessary.  Maybe we’ll get a turn lane put in if necessary.”  Dear God, these are the people that keep getting voting onto the school board despite me voting against them each and every time???

The point being that the county’s current stance is to repeat until they are blue in the face that “this is the process we are doing, nothing illegal, and the developer has the right to do this.”

And yet I’m actually proud of this.  Because I’d like to think that my grassroots campaign to email and FB EVERYONE I KNOW is the reason that some of the county email inboxes have blown up this week.  They could have been having lazy lunches and coming up with other idiotic bureaucratic red tape that gets them what they want without considering what the people who live here want. But instead – they were fielding calls and emails that I helped jumpstart.  They even had to come up with a public statement that I think they never expected to have to research and write. Yeah, I’m patting myself on the back just a smidge.

And yet there has been no solution as of yet.  They just offer to let you talk to the county attorney so he can tell you the laws and why they are following them.  And they say, “sorry no public meetings cause this is all just hunky-dory.”  They are missing the point.

Things can be perfectly legal and yet be DUMB ASS ideas.

It’s legal for me (a resident over the age of 21) to sit on my couch and gobble up all the fast food and guzzle down all the Boone’s Farm I want all afternoon (as long as I don’t drive somewhere afterwards).  But frankly – that’s a dumb ass idea.  And you know it.  And so do the county people – I hope.

And thus I press on.  I do.  I intend to email and call until someone in the county stops telling me about zoning laws and starts to tell me what THEY are going to do to CHANGE this stupidity.  Until then – what I am going to do is challenge them to CHANGE it.

Why?  Because I’m naive and optimistic.  I’m a child of the 70s and 80s.

I spent a lot of time in the 80s playing with kids at someone’s house while our parents organized the PTA and others to protest the closing of our elementary school.  T-shirts were printed, meetings were attended.  My parents were on the phone with people all the time. They were probably in the news but I don’t remember that.  I do remember sitting in the basement of someone’s house while the parents organized upstairs.  We kids were watching “Red Dawn” – which seems perfectly appropriate.  WOLVERINES!!!!  Sadly, Landing Elementary was closed, sold, and turned into houses. Probably some kids living there now have no clue that we played tag, held spelling bees, learned how to draw in perspective, memorized multiplication tables, started schoolyard fights and crushes, and held field day events in what is now their backyards.  So goes progress.

But I press on.  Despite the “loss” my parents’ group suffered, I maintain that anyone can fight the good fight and good will prevail.  That is what I learned throughout my childhood. Look at the influences I had:

I grew up on School House Rock and learned that anything you learn can be put to song.  And that our government is FOR the people and not a bunch of monarchs.

Daniel-san defeated the bad guys (on one foot) in the Karate Kid movies.  One foot, people!

I rooted for the Goonies and wept openly when they found the treasure and saved their homes.

Rudy got carried off on everyone’s shoulders.  (Yeah I’ve loved Sean Astin long before he helped Mr. Frodo.)

And heck yeah, I’m not declaring love for Hugh Jackman when I yell “WOLVERINES”.

The Death Star DID get blown up – twice.  Sure the rebels had to freeze their butts off on Hoth and deal with the dopey Ewoks – but they hung in there and prevailed.

People work hard and get things done together – yes Laura’s sweet big sister Mary went blind, but even that nasty Nellie got her comeuppance every now and again.

ET makes it home without becoming a government experiment. Bicycles are the only way to outrun the government.

The Nazis didn’t close their eyes but Indy was much smarter than they were.  (No I’m not equating the local government with Nazis – far from it.)

Wesley was only “mostly dead” and thus came back to defeat evil and rescue Buttercup.

You can take your DeLorean back just a few minutes earlier and take out the terrorists and rescue Doc.

And don’t forget – Ferris was able to trick Mr. Rooney.  (Okay maybe not the best example but still)

*if you don’t get these references, you might have missed the 70s and 80s – and you might need to rectify that with some Netflix now.

The point?  Good always prevails.  I believe it.  I have faith in it. I live my whole life this way.  I have high expectations for people.  This is not about politics (cause I don’t discuss my politics with most people) on the left or the right. It is about the basic expectation that we act and behave in accordance with good.  I expect that people will understand stupidity and fight against it – within themselves and in others.  And yes I have fallen way short myself.  I am not perfect. But I work on my faults.  I set higher expectations for myself when I stumble.  How else are you going to get up and keep stumbling forward?

I expect that, sigh, one day there probably will be a Walmart on this piece of property – but I’m not going to make it easy for them. I expect I will never set foot in it.  I expect that I will keep pressing on the county leaders to change what is wrong and corrupt within their system.  I expect myself to keep speaking up and fighting for my community.  I expect myself to rally others to the cause and to find a better voice than mine, to find a more knowledgeable person than myself.  Because somewhere out there is a Mr. Miyagi who is wise.  Somewhere there is a Doc with a superflux capacitor to fix this.  Somewhere there will be the next leader who will help prevail over injustice.  Maybe Batman will come along when we need him.  Or maybe Sean Astin is free.

Either way – I know that I’m doing what is right.  And sometimes what is right gets knocked down – but right never walks away.  Simply dusts itself off and stands up again to fight another day.

WOLVERINES!!!!!!!

Designed by the awesome Calmixx.  Visit his website (cyberhouse5.wordpress.com) and "like" him on FB.  He's a good friend.

Designed by the awesome Calmixx. Visit his website (cyberhouse5.wordpress.com) and “like” him on FB. He’s a good friend.

 

 

There they go again….and again….and again….

streakAccording to our high school lore (otherwise known as the best this 42-year old brain can remember), there was only one pep rally in the four years I was in high school.  (Okay maybe I’m wrong – but there’s only one I remember.) I was a freshman, sitting up in the gym bleachers watching cheerleaders and dancers doing some routine.  All of a sudden, the doors to the outside opened up and in ran two (or maybe 3?) guys in underwear (and maybe trenchcoats?). They had what looked to me like giant fire extinguishers from which they sprayed marbles (or gumballs?) all over the gym floor.  I don’t recall any pyramid of cheerleaders tumbling down in slow motion, but I do recall a lot of immediate chaos and rumors later on that the boys (one of whom was my friend’s brother) were sent to jail or Siberia. I don’t remember any more pep rallies.  And thus, I was introduced to the idea of “streaking”.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s – so I do recall a couple of streakers interrupting baseball games. And I’m pretty sure Richard Simmons entering any room is considered streaking. But as an activity, it’s always ranked right up there (along with sky diving) as something I have no interest in.

And yet I’ve started a streak this year. Fully clothed, mind you – although there was much debate as to whether that would invalidate the streak.

My friend June (otherwise known as she-who-runners-should-fear) somehow got it into her head that she and her runner friends need to run (at least) a mile a day this year.  Yup. One mile each day. Or more if you are training or racing or what not. But at least one mile.

We officially started this past Monday. We have a small Facebook group of us who keep checking in each day and keeping everyone accountable. Of course the other ladies post things like “did my four miles and then did 2 cardio classes and saved 4 children today”.  I merely point out that I ran and then I post silly pictures and slogans reminding us all that the mile counts – whether the pace was 6 min or 16 min.

This is a great idea. Of course I say that now – two days before I run 13.1.  June won’t let that count for 13 days of running 1 mile. (We all asked – and begged – and got yelled at.) So we’ll see how that mile on Sunday feels – maybe I’ll circle the parking lot at the finish line while waiting for Steve to finish the marathon.  (I’d hop in and run the last mile with him – but that would take too much effort – and I’d probably get arrested by a Disney cop.)

Meanwhile – it really is a great way to start a new habit. Cause that’s what’s at the heart of New Year’s resolutions – changing habits.

Of course I wrote this instead of doing my mile…..dang it.  I better get out there…. What are you going to do different each day this year?

 

Time is relative indeed

I got a letter the other day from my 3rd grade teacher. Now this is may seem odd to some of you. Maybe you don’t even remember who your third grade teacher was. But this is actually a regular summer occurrence for me.

Mrs. R taught me reading, math, and all the assorted third grade tasks back in a small school in Central PA.  She and the other third grade teachers even took all the students on a field trip to Washington DC that year. Mrs. R was also our neighbor as she and her family lived right around the corner from us in our small town. We moved right after that school year but she has never forgotten our family, including us on her Christmas card list for all these years. She kept my parents up to date about events in the old neighborhood and encouraged me and my siblings in all our activities. When I started living on my own and started my own family, she added me to her mailing list for her Christmas cards and her regular rotation of summer letters.

Each time I get a lovely letter from her, I immediately vow to write back to her with details about all the things going on here. And inevitably, I will find her letter weeks later, in a stack of papers and I will kick myself for not taking the time as I had promised. And yet, despite my inconsistent summer responses (I do send her Christmas cards every year), she remembers me and still writes to me.  Her commitment to handwritten (not typed) correspondence and maintaining connections with friends always warms my heart. Very Downton Abbey like.  How very wonderful to open the mailbox and find something other than a bill or yet another advertisement full of coupons I’ll never use.

This year’s letter came about 2 weeks ago and one of the sentences in there caught me completely off guard. She wrote paragraphs to each of our family members. To our son she wrote, “Can’t believe you’re going to be in 3rd grade, C. That’s what grade your mom was in when I first met her.”

What?  What? How can that be?

Yes she was my third grade teacher – but that was like just yesterday, right?  How can it be that I’m a few weeks shy of 42 and that my eldest is going into 3rd grade a few weeks after that? He was just born the other day, and the week before that I was just in 3rd grade myself.  The age old question of how did time fly by so fast often catches me in the throat and causes a near panic attack.

When I think over moments in my life (large and small), they feel so close to me that they are almost tangible. I still can’t fathom that my friends from high school are now on Facebook, all of us talking about being parents.  Because in my head, we’re still those teenagers doing stupid teenage things.

I can’t believe I’ve been married for 13 years to the love of my life because that seems like a ridiculously large number of years to me.  It can’t be that long when it seems like Steve and I just met and have yet know each other forever.

There are days I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast. Yet, I look at my kids and wonder how it is that they are no longer in diapers and they can read and write and annoy each other. When they were babies – and they were only 17.5 months apart so they were back to back babies – I read an expression about parenthood that said “Welcome to the shortest years and longest days of your lives.” How true.  Days of diaper changes and baby spit up felt like 2400 rather than 24 hours. And yet, I simply turned around and in that split second, they became elementary school kids with long legs and occasional moody attitudes.  And I want to hug them tight and put bricks on their heads and go back to the baby powder scented days when they fit in my arms – minus the diapering of course.

And despite all my longing for time to pass more slowly, wishing for it to somehow pause to give me more than seemingly fleeting moments of my kids’ childhood, I am always looking forward to the next race, to count down the weeks of training, and to run faster with each mile. How ironic.

This last week, I was trying to type up my schedule for the fall. I’ll be teaching three classes  at the university and I needed to figure out which days are which classes, which days the kids have after school stuff, and all the other stuff we fill our time with.  And I put my running on the schedule, right there at 5 am every MWF.

Ugh – 5 am?  Yes 5.  Why? Because time is speeding by. I have just about 16 weeks until my next (next?!) half marathon – the Rock and Roll 1/2 in Savannah, GA.  Sixteen weeks. Four months. Vertiable ages to go before we’re there. I have to get through the rest of summer, the start of school, and Halloween before we’re even there.

Yet, before I know it, I’ll be standing on the start line confused as to how those weeks have sped by so rapidly. I’ll recall all the miles of training and be bewildered that I managed that all in the blink of an eye. Of course, it would be incredible if my legs would speed along so fast as I make my way along the race course. Yet, I’ll be just happy to make it to the finish line.  For after Savannah, I have Disney to get ready for again.

And in this way, I’ve tried to mark the future with race stops along the way. Meting out time in intervals between races, weeks between group runs, days between training, and minutes between miles. And despite my occasional gasps at how briskly those moments go by, time is not under my control. I can just do my best to enjoy time at whatever pace it comes my way.

So take time today to catch your breath. Remember those important people in your past. And think about your future, what are your markers along the way? What are you looking forward to and planning for? Or are you going to let it all slide past without looking at it all?

Love and friendship

My feet hurt.  Not in a “I’ve run and run” all weekend.  But in a “I’ve been at an incredible wedding weekend and blast those darn high heels after miles in my Merrells.”

It’s late on Sunday night. Steve and the kids and I are flying home (towards Tropical Storm Debby), exhausted and filled with the lasting joy (and tiredness) of the past few days. I’m nursing sore muscles and reflecting on the past four days of wedding events. One last brunch event this morning closed out the magic of a wedding celebration weekend.

I have known the bride, Andrea, since before she and her twin sister were born. We moved in next door to their parents just 2 months before they were born at the end of a hot summer.  My brother, sister and I range in age from 4 to 9 years older than the twins. But from the beginning, they (and their little sister) have been our little sisters and our families have been dear friends.

We grew up together, spending time running from house to house. We played together, creating games of our own and spending time fighting over the rules of traditional games. Our fathers played tennis together and our mothers shared books, gossip, and parenting tips. Our families often traveled on vacations together and we spent most summers swimming at one house and eating and then moving to the other house to swim and eat again. We taught the girls how to sing in Polish and we tolerated how they licked popcorn and put it back in the bowl.  And we sang songs together – putting on our own Broadway productions in the basement. Two families, two sets of experiences, but often one joy in being together.

It’s been hard sometimes to explain the relationship our families have had over the years. To say we are “family friends” seems inadequate.  To describe them as “family” seems closer to the truth but feels insincere to those who share names and DNA with us. Thus we’ve skipped the labels – it’s simply been that they’ve always just been “The Smiths” and we’ve been “The Jones”. Okay not really our names – but that’s not the point of the story. We know what we mean to each other and we know that our lives have been richer for it all.

I think my children understand it a bit.  After today’s brunch, our son commented that he wished he had a next door neighbor family like I had. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’d long given up the hope of that for our family. For such a natural and easy friendship is rare and one you can not hope for – you must just relish when it blossoms and help it to flourish when and where you least expect it.

Through the years, we’ve all grown up, gone to college, and my parents moved away to warmer climates. But the bond is still there. Still visit and still vacation together now and again. But time together is shorter and we are older. We share drinks rather than run around the basement singing show tunes from the 80s. Our parents still discuss us “kids” but now with new worries and new concerns for us.  We’ve been in each others’ weddings over the years and the girls have bounced our children on their knees.

Which brings me back to Andrea’s wedding to Michael this weekend.

A four-day Hamptons, NY wedding is not your typical expectation for a wedding. But the “Smiths” are not typical.

We started the weekend with a clambake on the beach – complete with great weather, a campfire for smores, and a launching of hot air filled lanterns to send up well-wishes for the couple. The rehearsal dinner was a wonderful family style dinner (for over 100 people) at which people were welcome to the open mike for toasting and roasting.  My siblings and I made sure to come with speech in hand, ready to share Andrea stories and wish Michael well.

And then the wedding itself. (By which point, my kids and my nephews were wondering how long weddings exactly last for, and “aren’t they married already??”)  But my musings on the weekend and the wedding especially are not about the details, the dresses (gorgeous), the cake (chose the ice cream sundae instead), or even the yummy food (and the need to request special plain chicken nuggets for one picky kid while the other dined on lobster tacos and sweet potato pierogis).

Rather, the ceremony caught me up in lovely moments of….love.

As you listened to the chosen readings and the special vows, one could easily be somewhat wistful at the special relationship these two share.  Yet, for those of us who have been blessed with our own incredible relationships, we quickly turn that into a silent recognition and appreciation of our own unique love stories. We smile quietly at the inside jokes in the vows, then turn to our partners and spouses and wink at our own jokes and memories – those of long years and those more recently.

For me, this overwhelming reflection on love brought about the recognition that our own families started this way – the vows my parents took and Andrea’s parents took years ago were the beginnings of the journeys that we all shared now as families. Great love stories do not end with the joining of two people. Rather those people create a galaxy of people, drawing others into their lives and strengthening them.

I am filled with joy that my family members have found love.  My brother and sister-in-law, my sister and brother-in-law, Steve and I.  In turn, each of our love stories has been unique – but filled with love and friends and our growing galaxies of love.  As I looked around the wedding this weekend, it’s clear that Andrea and Michael have already filled their lives with tons of people who love them.

No, we all will probably never recreate the friendship that our two families nurtured over all these years.  But that’s okay.  We are still special to each other, and in turn that friendship and love has taught us about our own unique relationships that encircle each of us.

On a lighter note – actually a heavier one – I refuse to look at the scale after this weekend blow-out.  I was relatively good but the food was yummy. But now that we’re home, I’m back on the straight and narrow. I did manage to get in one run over the weekend – in the Merrells.  Worked on the mid-foot strike and clearly I was good at it for my calves hurt all weekend.  🙂

Here’s to celebrating love – with much fewer calories in the upcoming days.

Oh holey shirt….

“Are you going painting or running?”

Jill is a friend who basically cuts things right down to the essence.  And she was pretty direct about my choice of attire the other morning when walking the kids to school…

“You realize that shirt has holes in it and paint on it.”

I feebly tried to retort, “Well it’s comfy…from my college days. They don’t make t-shirts like they used to. And I like to run in it.”

“You mean so everyone can see your purple sports bra?” She gave me a look.

“Hey – that’s the best bra in the world.”  (It’s true – read this post.)

“Okay….go running in your holey shirt….”

Well stubborn me did.  Go running in that holey shirt that is.

And then I came home and thought about it a lot.  The sad state of my attire that is. I am the first to admit not being the most fashionable person out there…..while running or otherwise. My sister, Stacia, would be quick to agree and would point out this has been a lifelong problem. She used to make fun of what I wore back in high school.  But then the next day she’d ask to borrow my clothes.

I finally asked her once, “How can you make fun of what I wear and then turn around and borrow it for yourself?”

Her cool response:  “You don’t know HOW to wear the clothes you have.”

So that right there did not clear up the mystery of fashion for me.

And this dismay over my attire has continued to the next generation. My curly-headed daughter takes right after her Aunt Stacia. Several weeks ago we were going out to a concert as a family. I showed my 6 year old daughter the cute little dress I planned to wear. She cocked her head to the side and said, “Well…what are your other options?”

Clearly I have a problem.

Of course as a fan of reality tv, there really is only one solution for this – somehow get myself onto “What Not to Wear”.  In fact, Jill told me the next day (when I showed up at school pick up in a dress just to throw her off) that she was just angling for a way to get me on the show. But she and I suspect that if you’re TOO eager to get on the show, they’d rather not cast you. They’d prefer the clueless-about-their-impaired-fashion-choices kind of people. And you need to be a bit wacky. I don’t suppose my holey running shirts are enough to make me a compelling fashion-must-fix story.  Maybe I just have to find a good friend who will take me shopping and clue me into the the mysteries that I seem to keep missing. Any volunteers?

I just realized anyone reading this might think “But you’re supposed to blog about running? Where’s the running?”  Okay – so the running part of this is:  I suck at dressing myself when I run and when I don’t run.  Therefore I’m easy to spot as I run through the neighborhood.  And I need to run to a new sense of fashion but I seem to be way off course….  Happy?  🙂

I am an IronGirl!

No….not that kind of Irongirl….although beating up bad guys is cool even if not profitable.

Yesterday morning was the IronGirl 5K in Clearwater. This was my first race ever in 2011. This year it was my third race of 2012….what a difference a year makes.

Our wacky and wild Florida weather kept us all on our toes through race time. Bad storms blew through the Tampa Bay area overnight. Given the forecasted storms, Steve and I decided it would be best for me to catch a ride with friends and keep the kids out of the potential rainy morning.  Sad for me to not have them at the finish line – but understandable.

So off I went to the races with my friends Wendy and Heather….both speedier than I.  To ensure myself they would wait for me to finish and give me a ride back – I made sure I was the sole member of our caravan who remembered where we parked.  Tricky!   We made it to the race in good time and with clear skies above.

Great skies over the Clearwater Causeway

The worse part of the race (of any race) was the port-a-potties. Seriously folks – how hard is it to invent clean, non-smelly port-a-potties? We put men on the moon and can order pizza online but we can’t pee in a stand alone stall that doesn’t stink??

The irony of this is that the lines for the port-a-potties were SO long.  You have a couple of thousand women….we need to pee.  I seriously considered peeing on a palm tree…but I didn’t want to get arrested right before the starting gun.

Me, my hips, Heather and Wendy (note the stinky port-a-potties in the background)

 

This year’s course was point-to-point.  A change made due to parking and shuttle issues with last years loop course.  (There ain’t much parking in Clearwater Beach area…downtown is much better.) I’m not sure why but this then resulted in a very narrow first 3/4 mile or so. The starting chute was skinny and went back for forever.  And the few streets in downtown Clearwater that the course snaked through were not wide at all.  I found myself doing a couple of shuffles to not trip over people who decided to suddenly walk in the middle of the road, or were turning to talk to people.  Now I’m not all about winning – but I was eager to go forward at least.

But the pace was reasonable and eventually I hit the amazing and scary Causeway (see above pic).  Given that they were predicting high winds – I was sure we’d all get blown off the bridge. Of course the worry was for naught. Once I made it up the crest of the bridge (walking most of that), we were treated to the most amazing views of Florida coast, sunshine and even a sliver of a rainbow. In fact, I ran some of my fastest pace on the bridge – which is sad as I almost didn’t want it to end and come back to the flat end of the course.

Overall I enjoyed the race a whole lot….was proud of how much I kept going even when I wanted to stop. I only got a little teary with about .2 mile to go – thinking about how much my family’s support means and how I missed them being there to cheer me on.  But I wiped the tears aside and got across the finish in 37:42.  Which is about 50 second slower than last year.  I actually wasn’t too upset about it.  I know I have work to do – and the injury hasn’t helped.  But the best part was the momentum….I want and know I can do better next time.  And the shiny shiny medal helps a lot.

Woo HOO!!

Wendy and Heather ran great races too (faster than me of course) and waited for me. But by the time we all caught up – the dark clouds were rolling in off the Gulf.  So we just grabbed our boxed breakfast treats and caught a trolley to the car. For a great event – I was a little disappointed in the boxed food.  After I run – I crave FOOD….eggs, bagels, bananas – things with substance.  The food in the box was crackers, hummus, a fruit trail mix bag and edamame. Really?  Oh and we did get a small square of chocolate.  Not really the food I want….but maybe if that’s what I really ate all the time I’d be skinnier and faster….well and hungrier….but who knows….

 

I did manage to eat the chocolate square (after I got home and made myself a bacon, tomato and cheese bagel sandwich – hey I ran 3.1 miles I deserve!).  And I wrapped myself in the comfort of knowing that I want to keep doing this….and not just for the bacon….  🙂

Traveling Red Running Shorts

I need some traveling red running shorts.

The Bloggess (who is the most irreverent, wickedly funny collector of taxidermied animals EVER) started the awesomeness that is the Traveling Red Dress sometime ago. Her idea is that we don’t often celebrate silly indulgent things that can help remind us of how awesome we really are on the inside. And her afternoon of wearing a red dress and being photographed as the gorgeous soul that she is….well it taught her to embrace her worth and enjoy herself.

The traveling red dress has taken on a whole new life of its own since her first post nearly two years ago. She has prompted many others to find a dress (or something of equal awesomeness) to, in her words, “to remind them how amazing they were”.

And thus – I am prompted to find some amazing red running shorts.  The kind that doesn’t ride up my butt crack, that doesn’t cling to my cottage cheese thighs, and that makes me look like the (thin and swift) runner that I am in my head…..I’m sure they are on sale at Target as we speak….

Cause I need to remember the awesomeness that is the fact that I am a runner….a former non-runner. I do run. And that is amazing.

I ran the Disney 1/2 Marathon on Jan 7th of this year.  My first 1/2. And at the end of the day – I felt like it would also be my last race.

Mile 10 – I stepped funny. And it hurt.  On my foot.  A lot.

I hobbled and ached to the end. But after it was over and we were back home….I did not run.

And I drove the kids to school rather than walk. And I wore running shoes everywhere (even with work clothes and church dresses) cause they were more supportive. And I did not run.

And I went to the doctor and got x-rays. And I poo-pooed friends who argued that I needed a whole team of docs to poke and prod me. And I opted to not get crutches. And I did not run.

And I did not blog. And I ignored the emails from the group about Saturday runs. And I tried to cheer my husband on when he went for his morning runs.  And I tried not to cry while he was out.  Cause the foot hurt. And the pain of not running hurt me more than I thought it would. And so I avoided running.

And I still haven’t finished reading the latest issue of Runner’s World.  I stopped reading my Twitter feed from all the running people I follow. And I stopped believing that I could do anything I set my mind to.

The only good thing I did for myself – I tried to follow Weight Watchers….no, I didn’t join – I downloaded an app. 🙂  I figured I’d try to keep down the calories while not running.  And even that has fallen apart in the last week or so.

I finally did a .75 mile lap of our neighborhood nearly a month after Disney. I was slow, plodding and tired. And the foot was just okay.

Since then I’ve run an additional 11 miles over 6 other runs. Including a 4 mile run “with” the running group on Saturday – as in – they were running and I was walk/running behind them…well behind them.  And including nearly 2 miles today.

The issue really hasn’t been my foot across those miles….it’s my endurance.  It’s gone….shot….over…..kaput.   I feel like my body has completely forgotten what it’s like to break into a sweat and stay on a consistent and steady course….

And yet this Saturday – Steve and I are running the Gasparilla 5K with our kids. Three point one miles of huffing and puffing and trying to find my pace.

Now this makes me break into hives for two reasons….a) I’m not sure I can really come anywhere close to my usual pace….I’m figuring a time of 45 mins or so….not great but actually reasonable given my out of shape status….and 2) I’m slightly panicked at keeping track of a 6 yr old and an 8 yr old amongst the thousands of runners.  Hubby is not – but then again – he tends to not worry about things despite my pointed objections to his laid-back attitude.  “You realize that we have put a lot of effort into these kids – I’m not going to lose them now.  Not when they are on the verge of understanding multiplication!”

Of course Steve did not make me feel any better today.  I mentioned that I had purchased neon colored running shirts for the kids so we can spot ’em easily.  He claimed we really shouldn’t worry and that he was planning on us all finishing in 36 minutes. I’m thinking I might opt for losing him somewhere along the race course….despite his rock-steadiness that strengthens me…

But the crux of it is that I’m looking for some awesomeness for myself.  Some reminder that I can do it – I’ve done this for a year….I certainly can come back from the challenge of being laid up and out of shape.  And wouldn’t it be awesome to break out a pair of RED running shorts to do just that….?  Cause running in a red ball gown is certainly an idea….that might not be ideal….

And in the spirit of the traveling red dress – I could share those awesome red running shorts with my friends who have suffered setbacks as well this year.  Vicki – who’s running has been put aside by a torn meniscus….ouch.  And Lis… whose doctor examined her injury and suggested that she might find a new hobby instead of running….. Awesome women who might need a pick me up that reminds them of that fact.   And then we can pass them along to those who are just starting a journey of fitness….and so on and so forth…..

I need to find some traveling red running shorts……what do you need to help you remember how awesome you are?