When is leaving just leaving??

It is a good question. When is leaving just that, leaving? The physical act of removing oneself from their current environment and going elsewhere. There is so much more to it than that. Least for me there is. I sat and pondered it. Is my reluctance, okay that is far too light a description, tied to something greater. Something at the very opposite end of the spectrum. Is it connected to my deep desire to run away. My wish to be completely free of this place and this life. I have to be pretty upfront about that. I do in many ways wish for something different. Yet, part of me knows my responsibilities and my choices that have led me here. My deep and complete love for my partner who seems to want nothing else in life but this place and the life we live here. I know this is my place, my space in life. I have walked this road, or as my mom might say “I made this bed”. So yes I do feel a responsibility and it keeps me firmly rooted here even when every cell in my being tells me to run away. There was a time when it was easy to run. A time when impulses very much controlled my life. Do I sometimes long for that? I do indeed. But there is a dark flip side to leading that life. Impulses do cut both ways and cause so much mayhem. You don’t get one without the other. As much as I’d like to take just a snippet, it doesn’t work that way. There may well be a connection, as Beatrice suggested. Do I fear the act of leaving? Not because it means walking away and leaving the horses unattended, but because I don’t trust myself to not just keep on going and not look back? Is my will to flee so great that it creates this shut down agoraphobic me? So terrified of leaving, my life has become a never-ending pattern of sameness. Never really straying far and if I do it evokes so much anxiety I am physically sick over it? When did the adventurous wild woman I was die off, leaving who I look at in the mirror today? I was always up for anything, anywhere, anytime. Planes, trains, automobiles…didn’t matter. Now even the thought of it makes my heart rap hard in my chest. I hate what I have become. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life locked behind these gates. But the question is what makes me feel this way? When did it all change? Where did the fear come from and why does it never leave? The question that Beatrice raised was a good one. I don’t know the answer, nor do I know if those two poles have anything in common. It would make sense that they might. I think it is a good place to start, and a critical place to work on. As my life has grown smaller and more restricted I find myself less confident and secure. That anxiety causes ripples in this pond and it has a way of buffeting other aspects of my life. If we can find a way to quiet the anxiety and let me explore life a bit more I may well find contentment again. It may create enough new happy space in my life that I can find moments of distraction from the immensity of our undertaking here. It is what I really need more than anything. I need time away from here to be free from the crushing anxiety and responsibility that is living behind this gate.

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fire+go+out

One of my favorite quotes. Though not a huge Rand fan, it is still a terrific quote. Haven’t quite figured out how, but I get inspirational quotes by email every morning. Odd since I’m not exactly the type. But hell, guess some weird karmic intervention occurred and they magically arrived to make my mornings slightly more upbeat. I have no idea. I do religiously read them, don’t ask me why. I can’t just hit delete like I do with the heap of other crap that finds its way into my inbox. Not sure what I think might happen if I hit that delete button. lighting strike? plague? who knows. But I just can’t bring myself to dump them, or hit unsubscribe. It is all just freakin strange. Anyhow, this was the quote in my mail this morning. Guess I’ll continue opening those emails every day.

After last weekend I’ve spent the week rundown and fighting off something. When I did my long run yesterday I knew something was amiss. But stubborn as an ox I ran anyway. predictably I woke up this morning sick. STOMP. CURSE. STOMP. Do not have time for this shit. I’m pissed off. My daily Airborne intake clearly didn’t work. Not that I think it does, but I have headed off a couple of colds with it. So here I’m pissy and have a bazillion things to do. Hope it is a short-lived one. Guess the impending illness may have been what was keeping my mood so dull and me very unmotivated. I chalked it up to being tired after racing. But this week it was all I could do to get anything accomplished. There is a list longer than my arm of projects that need doing and finishing and I’m wandering around in a haze. Well least I can blame getting a cold. Sure I will come back around to where I was.

It is hard to shake that feeling I get as I watch the first leaves start to change and fall to the grass. It is an anxious foreboding I can’t shake. It sits on my like an old damp shirt, clingy and cold. I can’t warm up and get away from it. The sad thing is part of me loves the fall. The bite in the evening air. Pulling out sweatshirts to curl up and watch TV in. The beauty of the trees in their dream-coats that explode and come alive almost overnight. For us it starts in the wetlands, the little scrub brushes and young trees take over as the loose strife’s bright purple fades and falls away into the dark water. The entire wetland becomes a sea of yellows, reds, ochres, and oranges. It is a beautiful sight. I can’t help but look out and see that exquisite landscape. It surrounds us on two sides. Within weeks the deciduous trees take up the charge and they too become gorgeous in their hues. But it never lasts. It is bittersweet. The hard bite of frost and the cold windswept rains take away the colors leaving barren grey acres behind. It is a cold lonely landscape that will fall into a deep freeze till spring rains arrive to release us from the chill. I don’t hate fall, I fear it. I have had the worst of times in the fall. It is understandable I find the change difficult and the feelings of foreboding valid. What I need to keep in mind is not every fall is a disaster. Not every year will be difficult. Some have been fine. The hardest part is not knowing the difference, and not being able to convince my chicken little brain that it might be okay. It is a rough time as I scramble to figure out what this year will bring, ever vigilant watching for the signs of change amidst the falling leaves. It is okay, this is how I survive. So I continue to take stock and look over my shoulder as the days get shorter. Ever wary ever watchful. Will this be a good fall? or…

Rebound

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Def hard not to bounce hard off a race. I’ve been fighting the urge to resume running, instead riding the polo horses. I’m still considering a Fall marathon, but think I’d be woefully under trained. Just feeling the after effects of racing the half this past weekend I need to really respect that distance. While I know I could probably do it it would be a brutal beating on my body. I continue to hem and haw about it. The training plan I was on is now completely out of whack after running these two different races. I’d need to jump back in with a long, long run this weekend to catch back up. Somewhere in the realm of 18 miles. Doable. Though probably misery inducing. More thinking and considering is in the near future. For the meantime it is all about recovery. ie. naps, putting my feet up when I can and trying not to get sick. Airborne is my new best friend…not kidding!

On the home front I finally saw my mother. She seems to have calmed down and is already deciding what we should do for my birthday. go figure. I’m just happy to have her back around. I have been so troubled by what is going on in FL. I talked to my dad briefly the other evening. That makes it once since his birthday. I am so frustrated and sad, yet there is nothing I can do to change this situation.
Off for some more recovery sleep. Tomorrow is another barn day, second in a week our help is absent. Just thinking of lugging those wheelbarrows back and forth is tiring…

Forgot

Final race details
35th Dutchess County Classic Half Marathon
Time 1:55:25:08
Place 244 of 521 running half marathon
Age group: 13 of 50 (winner of age group ran 1:37:43 with 7:28 mile avg)
8:48 mile.

Next year?? who knows. All I know is I couldn’t get out of bed or down my stairs! It is pretty comical when you have to back down your stairs. but hey, it works.

Dutchess County Classic Half

Well ever the glutton for punishment I ran a half marathon today. Pretty close on the heels of racing the 8K distance last weekend. I was hemming and hawing about it all week. After a decent recovery run monday I was still feeling tight and sore from the 8K race. I gave it a light week of tapering and a mid week bike ride before I decided. Actually, I didn’t decide until I was standing in the high school hallway. 5K tables on one side and half marathon registration tables on the other. I didn’t even pause. Guess my mind was made up. I wasn’t sure a fast 5K was in my best interest on my sore legs, but somehow figured 13.1 miles was better. Yeah, batshit crazy. I know. My TM buddy was already registered and had spent the night (sleepless, I’m sure). We headed out into the mist cold morning, both a bit nervous. Aside from Mudder I’m not really used to racing with a large group. I’d roughly guess 2,000 but might be off. They started the 5K and half together making the first mile a bottle neck nightmare spent looking for gaps and trying not to get your feet tangled in anyone else’s. The two groups split off about a mile into the race and from there it was comfortable racing. Well, at least in terms of space. I told myself respect the distance…don’t go out too fast I held to that pretty well for almost 6 miles. The course was lovely and shaded winding thru farm country and some residential areas. I couldn’t contain myself by the midway mark and kicked on hoping I could run a PR. Think I should have taken into account the previous weekend’s fun, but of course, while out there I did not. The next couple miles felt good. I was really content and running comfortably with a decent group. I didn’t really find anyone to hang onto. But there was a big guy out in front of me that I let pull me up some hills. It is really a psychological game. If you can latch onto someone and match their output, or even pass it. Really helps on the long grinds up hill. Mile 9 brought that type of scenario. Big guy in neon yellow pushed on ahead and I let him take me. I passed him and never looked back. It carried me through mile 11. Then the going got rough. real rough. I pushed hard. Fought harder. As I closed in on the finish about 1/2 mile away I found the very bottom. nada. zip. My legs were done. I had all the fitness, and my lungs were fine. But my legs were done. It was a pretty awful feeling. I forced myself to finish it up, it wasn’t pretty and it sure wasn’t strong. I have to wonder how much of that has to do with the race last weekend, or if I am not carrying as much strength as I did into the last 1/2. I know that sounds strange. That I am fitter but not stronger. I just mean I am not doing a lot of gym work. Lots of running and cycling. Might need to incorporate some lifting. Or I’m just over thinking it. My legs are cooked from too much in too short a time. I’m asking them to do something I haven’t done. Think it is time to regroup and give it some recovery time this week. I’ll see how many days I can go. yeah, head like concrete. I do think the cycling has made me a better runner. Even though today felt hellish in the end I shaved almost 5 minutes off my time. That is huge for me. I’m happy. Glad I decided to run the race and thrilled for my friend that completed her goal and finished, Happy 30th birthday assless wonder!

9/11

The sky was the perfect periwinkle blue. Absolutely sharp and crisp against the sun. It was a day off for me. I lazily lounged in bed drifting in and out of sleep. I did not have the cordless house phone with me and it rang yet again in the kitchen. After the sixth or seventh time I became aware that something must be wrong. I glanced at my watch and calculated that D must be somewhere near the Tappan Zee Bridge on her commute to work in Westchester. Oh no, what if there was an accident. I rolled over and ran for the kitchen to get the phone. Breathlessly,
“Hello?”. D was on the other end. “TURN ON THE TV!!”
I returned to the master bedroom and flipped on the TV. It didn’t register. Not in that first second, nor in the hours and hours of coverage that day. It was just between 9 and 9:30 AM. I was staring at the image of a smoking tower. I didn’t understand what I was seeing. D, on the phone was saying the news said it was a small plane. Um, no. This was a massive gaping hole ragged in the side of the WTC tower. I sat transfixed. Completely unable to move my eyes from that screen. Suddenly a plane comes into view. OH MY GOD. D is yelling. I’m speechless. WHAM. The plane impacts the tower, tearing a new gaping hole. I tell D another plane hit.
WHAT?
Yes, another plane just flew into the tower. She is sitting in traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Mid span. Looking down the river she can see the smoke. We both silently take in what exactly is happening. It is not an accident. This is terrorism. I remain in front of the TV describing what I am seeing. Just shy of 10:30 the North tower starts to shake. I am telling her the tower is shaking when suddenly, inch my inch it starts to drop in the camera frame. Building speed it rapidly drops and disappears out of the camera shot. I mumble something to D that the tower fell.
WHAT? IT FELL??
“Yes, it collapsed completely”.
“How”?
“I don’t know. it just did!”
The camera tightens in on the South tower. I see the people hanging out of the windows. Some jumping. It is sickening. I wish they would pull back to a wide shot. I can’t keep watching these people jump. I can’t look away though. It can’t rip my eyes away. D asks what is happening. I cannot come up with words. All I can do is cry.
I would see the second tower fall. I would hear the news reports of a plane crashing in PA. A plane would hit the Pentagon. I sat and sat. I could not remove myself from that TV and all the sickening images I saw. They are seared in my brain. No drug, no ECT, nothing can remove them. They are struck in indelible ink there on my grey matter. It was the first time I had seen anything so horrific. Both in content and in scale. The numbers were staggering. Nobody was sure how many people remained in the towers when they collapsed. The news could only guess. As the day wore on I fell into this strange stupor. It was sorrow, fear and being completely overwhelmed all mixed together. When D finally walked back into the door after spending hours trying to get back over the Hudson river. I just held her. We barely spoke. We sat in front of the TV. I finally walked outside to my garden. I had enough. As I stood amongst my mums and the rowdy nasturtiums that had taken over in the perennial beds a screaming sound caught my attention. Flying fast and low a F-15 fighter jet blasted by overhead. It hit home. We, America, were under attack. At that point in the day none of us had any idea what was next. How many more targets? How much more terror? It was all in question. There I stood amongst the flowers wondering our fate. Just as the images are seared in my brain, so too is the feeling of powerlessness. The moment I comprehended that we are not safe. That it is just an illusion. We can be hit at anytime. There are forces beyond our borders, and within them that seek to harm us. We can be the target of terrorism here on our shores.
This was my FB status this morning:
I will never forget that crisp periwinkle blue sky, or my complete and utter disbelief that this could happen to “us”. There was so much about that September day that changed us, as people, and as a nation. Our eyes are open now to the horrors that so much of this world faces everyday. We are no longer immune, nor exempt. We too can be brought to our knees by senseless acts of violence and terror. I only pray that this will not happen again, though I know in my heart it will. Let us never forget those who lost their lives. Never Forget.

Fast Forward

-4
Bogged down unhappily in this training cycle I figured a change might be good. Though not much of a race person (crowds, check…early mornings, check…just plain nervous making, check) I decided to race locally in an 8K. An odd distance, one I haven’t raced at before, but decided to give it a try.
It was still dark when I uncurled myself. It must have been 50 degrees in the house and even colder outside. These brisk fall mornings are refreshing though hard on the body. I sat with my coffee and toast thinking of all the things that could possibly go wrong with this little adventure. Despite the anxiety I was excited. It would be fun I told myself as I parked and watched runners of all shapes and sizes arriving. I headed off by myself to warm up on the nature trail adjacent to the park. I jogged slowly in the misty cold air. It was so quiet and beautiful. A deer with twins crossed close by. Squirrels with walnuts paused to eat on the paved path. I would have rather stayed in the woods but the clock was winding down and it was less than 10 minutes till the gun. I made my way and stood amongst three hundred and fifty antsy runners and walkers. I gazed around and not 40 feet from me stood my brother. Go figure. We talked a bit and exchanged the usual pleasantries. It was awkward at best. Least it wasn’t long till we all took off. I spent the first half mile jockeying for position and passing runners. I told myself not to go out too fast. Yet knew my time goals involved running faster than my training. I had in my head I could run the 8k in under 40 minutes. Where I got that number I’m not 100% sure. I calculated my past few 6 mile tempo runs and started subtracting. So I knew I had to be out of my comfort zone to reach my goal. I continued past runners. Steadily finding a rhythm despite my nerves. At the end of mile one I was running faster than I ever had for the distance I was going to cover. It still felt comfortable. I was finding my groove. Mile two felt okay. I was pushing pretty good and still making progress. I locked in on an older guy in his crazy barefoot shoes. We would swap back and forth for the remainder of the race. He was relaxed. Clearly a long time runner. Amidst all the ragged breathing around me he ran on quiet and strong. Even. That was what I needed. I let him pull me. A younger guy in knee high navy and white striped Cowboys socks appeared as well. He too would be company for the next couple miles. As we came into mile three I kicked it up a bit and paid for it. This fucking side stitch I have fought with for the past 5 months of training. I went almost a year without ever getting one and then one day it appeared. Now it nags, some runs worse than others. Other runs, though the minority, it never arrives. Well it came, very uninvited. Just as I do in training I apply every trick I know to try to get rid of the damn thing. But this was racing. There is no stopping, stretching or anything else. I ran. I pushed. It fucking hurt. a lot. But I knew I wouldn’t come close to my goal if I even slowed up a little. Unfortunately I had to just a hair. It cost me my goal. I ran anyway. I found a way to breathe somehow. It wasn’t pretty. As I closed on mile four I had decided I didn’t care how much it hurt. I was going to kick it and finish hard. I used a classic race strategy of picking off the racers within view and never let anyone past you in the closing miles. It is a great tool to find focus when it is getting rough. I found a different gear, just as I did the last time I raced. My legs are so strong at this point, especially since adding the cycling. They could care less that I can’t manage to breath without doubling over. They fired and I just zoned out. Completely. The more it hurt the farther I wandered into that zone. It is a vision narrowing bizarre place. Perfect. Fight on. As I came around the final turn I saw the red numbers clicking away at the finish. I knew I hadn’t met my goal. I still ran my ass off. I could have said fuck it at mile three when I would have rather doubled over and given up. Instead I forced myself to work around the pain. I remember a coach somewhere along the way that said you have to know racing is going to hurt. There is no way around that. You have to accept it and embrace it. To fight on when your lungs say no, or your legs just turn to rubber. I looked down at my phone and saw the splits. It was still quite good considering I don’t race. I don’t even do any real speed work, especially with my nagging achilles issue. With no hill work and no track work I still came within 30 seconds of my goal. Not even 6 seconds a mile off. Wow. I had run faster than I ever had. I tackled a nasty side stitch and still got there. All I could think of was, what if?? Without that issue I think I could have closed and run a 7 minute mile. It was within reach. I was happy. All those endless miles had paid off. I saw the benefits, just as I had become tired of the process. I was starting to question if any of it was worth it. I’m glad I chose to race. It was an excellent change from my routine. Getting second in my age group was just icing. I walked away thinking about when I could do it again. I think my niche may be in the shorter racing. The marathon distance may not be where I will end up. I was always a sprinter, so it makes sense my comfort is in the faster pace. I find myself wondering just how fast I could race over the 5K distance, two miles shorter than I raced this past weekend. hmmmmm. as usual my competitive nature comes out to play. I think I’ll continue the marathon training and just see where I’m at come November. Least I am a little more motivated to train again.

Race Breakdown. 8K (5 miles).
Splits approx. since map my run can be a bit off- mile 1- 8:10. mile 2- 7:49. mile 3- 8:07. mile 4- 8:11. mile 5- 7:19
Finish time 40:30
About 8 min a mile average.
Runners: 307
Walkers: 53
Placing overall: 87
Out of women runners: 16th, 2nd 30-39 age group. 8 seconds off winner of group.
Female winner: 33:30 average 6:45 mile