Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Half of Boston

There was a part of me that believed I could roll and build and the dips would be blips, not steep or distressing; it's nonsensical to believe that everything will always rise, but also when you think you can escape from any one tough situation which is there to tell you a story, and which has no regard for rendering itself sizable. I know there's a call for down. I know the body needs to steep like tea. I just wanted to steer. To call the steep. To be more in tune, wise, ahead of. I was hungry for self-awareness. It was crowded in all this stimulus, a word that fell out of my mouth over and over. Between the sounds trapped in my ears, trapped in my work, my room, building in soundsize like a curtain of cicadas atop a southern swamp, and the way it feels when it feels like for a long time things don't stop happening. As in, so much is happening, that when something doesn't happen is the moment you (I) finally stop and wonder what the silence is for.

When we were traveling in New Zealand in September, I eagerly purchased my spot for Boston '19 alongside Ber. I figured we'd spend the fall, winter and spring training together for marathons and drinking beer on sun-streaked patios like back in the day, moaning about our aching legs and laying the groundwork for when we're old ladies talking about back when's. But pretty little September plans can become complicated spring reconstructions. I lost my training partner to injury.

With a decade's worth of downhill racing, I had daydreams of realizing a sort of potential on that infamously nuanced course. My buildup wasn't the sexiest, it was actually pretty emotional. I was angry a lot, and not that kind of anger that befits over-training, but angry about living or how I was or how others were. An anger that had me close to tossing plates for relief, also purchasing a punching bag, also slamming the receiver into the phone console. The only way I thought to work through it was lazily stewing in my thoughts in bed, on the couch, on my runs, in utter silence. All that stimulus internal and ex left me mute. I thought it was percolation. Steeping. Thinking. But it was just that I was stuck.

I set out to race the First 1/2 in BC in February. It was frigid, and I should have adjusted my goals. Wearing more clothes in a race than I'm used to, I couldn't understand why I couldn't get warm, and how people in less clothing than I were passing by steadily. I felt sorry for myself & panicked and stumbled more cold than I had ever been across the finish line, in a race I really wanted to prove something to myself. I cried, and with a panicked sadness I forced a look of...complete unrest? as we were photographed.

I set out to use the Honeywagon 1/2 in March as a race simulation/LR workout, and though it started out well, I grew pretty fatigued by mile 10 and decided to stop, dip my gu-sticky hands in water and finish at a more comfortable pace. It didn't feel like I had mismanaged pacing, I was just dogged, tired from accumulation. It wasn't emotional. It was an easier thing to understand - the amount of work on my legs. It would have felt empowering to have completed it and felt fit, with a couple more elusive drops in the ego bucket, but I was sensible and I had a story line.

In general I was nervous I was trending down, but had faith that with the taper I'd get some pop back. When I did my last  big workout a few weeks out, I was surprised to find myself rattling off 5:40's in a 2x6 mile. It felt appropriately paced. It was just the drop in the bucket I wanted in order to feel a certain way about who I was or what I possessed heading into Boston. I had last minute body work by the loving hands of an incredible PT (Nikki) and an incredible rolfer (Rad Bones).

Arrived early to BLI, early enough to catch rowdy crowds of ruddy-faced middle-aged men shouting stories at the bar before boarding for Vegas. A first taste of first class, which took an entire milking of a decade's worth of accumulated airline miles. It was a red-eye: BLI > SEA > NYC > BOS. I felt like a subdued queen, sipping champagne, then gulping champagne because they serve you and then take it away before takeoff, watching Queer Eye, which made me feel like I could like people.

Friday, March 12
Ber and her beautiful mother were to meet me in Boston later that night, coming to support, though neither were able to race. We got an airbnb together in Cambridge, off the red line, and I couldn;t check in early, so I hauled my backpack around the city, touring thrift shops. To Mass Ave., wandering, photographing the graffiti in tight, brick-lined alleys, on the sides of buildings. To Elm St. with Mckinnon's Meat Market & a deli I popped into for a thai wrap and a ginger kombucha. With aching feet I plopped into the mid-level apartment with its mini everythings, it's bulk stock of sriracha & its tub of homemade kimchi that gave off a curdled bouquet with each swing of the fridge, and took a good little nap that left me waking with a start to the ladies entering with bags of mexican food and bottles of red wine.

Saturday, March 13
Opting out of watching the B.A.A. 5k to get a little extra sleep, we had a leisurely morning with toasted bagels and coffee before making our way to Boylston to watch the Elite B.A.A. Mile. It was a great source of inspiration, and incredibly fun to sit in the bleachers above the start & finish line, with a mega-tv showing live footage.

After, we made our way through the expo where we devoured free string cheese and 26.2 beer. Walked to the Fairmont Copley with its crystal chandeliers, ornate ironwork and royal blue carpets that smelled like lipstick, to the elite hospitality suite to pick up bottles so I could decorate and fill them up for the race. The man in the room with soft lilac fingernails, how kind he and the others were.

To the narrow Marathon Sports store, it's red timer ticking down on the front window. Back to Cambridge to run, Riverside, a few miles with strides. We saw a turkey on the side of the highway and wondered about its mystical relevancy - a symbol of abundance; an encouragement to celebrate your resources that nourish your physical, emotional and spiritual aspects; speaks about feminine energies that are at work in your life - in retrospect, well fitting.

Saturday night we walked to Shay's, a garden-level pub off John F. Kennedy in Harvard Square for a beer and chips. Then meandered around seeking ramen, but ended up making box dinners at WF, so we could relax & sip wine at home. I fell asleep to the soft murmur of Ber & LaDonna talking garden.

Sunday, March 14
Got our run done early - a couple miles with drills in the Riverside area. LaDonna made us breakfast sandwiches. We took the train to the Fairmont for the elite meeting; connected with friends and ogled. We had to wait a couple hours post meeting to drop our bottles off, then Ber & LaDonna walked Faneuil Hall while I headed back to rest my legs. They brought me back a lucky pair of "Boston" booty shorts. For dinner LaDonna made us homemade pizzas.

Monday, March 15
Woke feeling rested. Made a peanut butter and banana bagel sandwich to go and sipped coffee before uber'ing to the Fairmont to board the buses to the start. Found friends to share the morning with. Sat beside Sophia en route to Hopkinton; the rain plummeted so hard that they delayed departure. The string of elite buses were led by police on motorcycles; police were parked at all on-ramps stopping cars from entering the highway so we could travel without hindrance; it was exotic and fancy.

We were dropped off at the First Korean Presbyterian Church on Main, adjacent to the start line. It was meaningful to me to sit in that church around the pros, to witness routines and expressions of anxiety or zen. The warm up area was a small stretch of road where everyone did small circles and policemen would straddle manhole covers so we wouldn't slip - the thoughtfulness. I did a few minutes of running, drills, strides, then we were lined up in numerical order and walked out to the start. Joan Benoit Samuelson wished us well. It was calm, I was. This would be my course, my day. A communal game plan to go out in 5:50-6 for the first bit, so we wouldn't get ahead of ourselves in pacing & fatigue. The camera swooped the line, Desi waved her hands, and without a countdown - the sudden start.

The first few miles felt so lovely. This feels nice! So effortless. A little faster than the plan, but I don't want to lose contact of this small group. They'll slow down when the excitement wanes. Then, suddenly, like the bad dream before a race where it feels like you're running through sand - a slow creep of fatigue in my legs. A slow decline in the drive of the knee. My feet thudding heavy. I took all my bottles in hopes that it would eradicate the building fatigue. It was way too soon to be feeling this way. The nutrition didn't help alleviate. I lost contact. Maybe I can just hang out right here at 6:00 pace? My feet fell heavier. So many people yelling, Pick it up. An annoying man - You're wearing those fancy shoes, they'll help you finish. It felt like I was trying to muscle my way through. Slowly absorbed by groups of women. The positivity I had left - for them - cheering for them, encouraging them. I had none left for myself. I was done by mile 8, and held on till 16, where I knew Ber & LaDonna would be waiting to encourage me through the Newtons. The biggest question I had to ask myself and find an answer for with a head full of doubts - Do you want to finish this, cross that infamous line for fun? Or, Do you want to fall into the arms of your friends and surrender? I searched the crowd for them, hoping. Hoping Ber would be able to tell me what to do, because to stop would be very hard on my soulegospirit. My feet, my legs - so extremely tired, with 10 miles to go, and then I saw them. Cheering with great, beautiful fervor. Yelling, LEGATHA, a character embodiment, a newly created inside joke. And I stopped. Began to cry. Asked what I should do, should I or shouldn't I? But she couldn't tell me, I had to decide, and I walked off the course. A long, meandering walk of shame, pantsless, crying. We took the train back to the finish. I got so many false congratulations that I'd nod in appreciation towards, each one a small cut. Dressed. Praised the strength & positivity of the women who had finished. Sophia. Theresa. Megan. Ladia.

We had to check out of our place early; Ladia and her mother let us store our stuff in their hotel room, and we spent a few hours with them in lush, acroamatic conversation about life and living and why and how and ability and the subtext over reasons, or reasons over excuses. It was very significant to me, to spend that time listening to a room full of women who speak from a deep sense of love and self-awareness. I knew that my heart was hurting in a distracted way, but that if I paid attention, their words would be of even more comfort when I stepped out from under the somber veil.

Ber, LaDonna & I headed to the airport early to share beers before our flights out that evening. They would be traveling for vacation in Florida, while I'd fly home. That feeling of close-to-weeping was ever-present. It didn't help that Notre Dame was burning down. It was inspiring to see the community come together in songful prayer at the foot of the Cathedral. During the flight I distracted myself with Sabrina between fits of sleep, my seatmate kindly putting free cookies in the seat compartment to find when I'd wake. Upon landing we were stuck on the tarmac for an hour and my connecting flight left without me. With it near midnight there weren't any more flights out, and customer service is nil these days with no stipends or hotel offers or airport shuttles available and I cried and cried and Red came and got me. Home by 3 am, work at 8 am. 24 hours to feel this way. 24 hours. I cut my knuckle open near to the bone on a papercutter, exhausted, and then, everything, since, has slowly started to come down.

Before the race I meditated on the words, "Pain is a merciful thing - if it lasts without interruption, it dulls itself," said by Emil Zatopek. I was hoping that when it began to hurt in the race I'd think of this, sit in it, understand something. It didn't work linearly, but it might be working.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

CIM

It was a challenge to wait till the end of September to start training for CIM (once back from New Zealand), but with it came lessons in patience & faith. I figured summer was the buffer, plus, for years Ber & I would train ourselves into the ground, and the best way to not do that if you're not smart enough (me), is to do an "abbreviated" training block, as opposed to the classic 12-16 weeker's. I ran when I felt like it on the North Island, which was a lot, though not of epic distance, because you can't not run there. It's an advantageous way to see the grandeur, the significance, the weight of New Zealand.

The fall was nothing if not eventful. I raced cross, because I love team events, and it had worked for me leading into CIM '17. I had a couple weeks over 100 miles, my longest LR was near 23. Some of the bigger workouts leading to CIM included:

- Steddy 22 miler with fast(er) finish in 2:25
- 3E, 7MP, 1T, 3MP, 1T, 1MP, 4E in Portland along the Willamette which destroyed my calves for like 2 weeks
- 15MP at 5:57's

We had been fortunate with winter thus far, the only adversity in there being few windless days - rivaling Chicago for the new proclamation. I was happy to leave Bellingham, which felt like a magnet vibrating in all this loss. Flew to Sacramento with Ber & Red on Friday before the race. A new city with palms and eateries and In'N'Out could shake me from despondency, perhaps. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, a few miles away from the finish at the Capitol, where you could buy a nail file for $4 and a continental hot breakfast for $20, meaning perks are no longer free.

After getting in we headed towards Folsom, stopping at the grocery store for breakfast items, breads, bananas, bottles of wine. Before, in the parking lot, a woman was carrying out a couple bottles of Piney Ridge with its classic green & red label and Red ran up to her, asked her how many were left and sprinted into the grocery store. It was above me until I became educated. Then, when savored in a short glass before and after the race, it became unforgettable.

To In'N'Out to pop Ber's burger cherry for burgers, fries and milkshakes. With all that grease on our laps and as chapstick on our lips we drove the course so she could see it.

For dinner Friday night we went to Tapa the World;open since '94, serving traditional Spanish dishes. Packed, dark wood, dim light, tight, live Spanish music. We ordered Tortilla Española, the Spanish poor man's potato cake cooked in olive oil with onion and egg, the Queso Español del Día of imported Spanish cheeses with crostinis, Marcona almonds, Piquillo peppers & fig preserves, Aceitunas (selection of olives from Spain and around the world), and some Empanadas del Día. Red ordered a special bottle of red - the Clio 2006 Mourvedre - a single bottle left on the large wine list and an order which impressed the owner, who shared it with us over dinner. It was a treat, albeit slightly unusual two days before the race, but the risk was worth the salivary sensations. Back at the hotel we shared some wine & fell to rest.

SATURDAY

To the expo & elite hospitality suite for bibs and water bottle drops. The elite suite as its been for years - semi-crowded in men and women decorating bottles with platters of nice sandwiches, snack bars, fruit. Everyone maybe slightly confused or anxious. It's always kind of hard to know how to begin in there unless you're assertive or practiced. Personally, I don't like to be around nervous energy if I can help it; a likely empath. Lauren Totten, a pro who had placed in the top few at CIM '17 acted as elite coordinator/volunteer and she was quite wonderful at it. After dropping bottles we headed to the pre-race USATF Marathon Championships meeting - the champs field deeeep.

Saturday after the meeting I went thrifting and picked up like a lot of onesies. A thematic haul, totally gravitational. As Friday's dinner was so exotically tempermental and bowelly unknown, we opted for takeout pizza from a place down the street. Ate slices on Ber's bed watching some romance, relaxed and at peace with the pain that prevailed.

SUNDAY AM

Rise and grind at 4:45, hotel coffee, bagel, pb, banana, water. Out the door by 5. Red drove us to the buses at the end of the line in Folsom. We were the first to board, which was a gift, as we were the first to enter the tents. Filled up a large cup of coffee (urethra's demise) and chatted with the volunteers who were extremely kind. The warm-up consisted of 15 minutes of easy cyclical yogging in the condo complex, stretching, strides. With under 10 minutes till the start, they ushered us out and to the line. I felt like a behemoth there, standing near a foot taller than all those similarly-heighted female athletes, grabbing their discarded clothing from above there heads to send to the sides.

MILES 1-5

It felt so gloriously within limits, so natural, a flow. Speaking of, from the start I had to pee. I've only had the fortune of having GI distress starting at about mid-race - what had become of me? In a weird way, it potentially distracted me from the effort at hand because I was obsessively thinking of relieving myself - perhaps the disengagement aided in protecting valuable mental resources. I mean, thinking about peeing is pretty one-dimensional. So, I figured it would go away. It didn't.

MILES 6-14

I found myself pretty alone most of the time. I'd absorb an amoeba, then would pass or get passed. There wasn't that perfect match. I ran a bit with some talented women I follow, who I knew in that technologically intimate, but not personal way, and they were chatty and I was irritable about my sensational bladder, so I left them. I have a most vivid memory of a small girl extending a box of tissue paper from the side of the course. I grabbed a tissue with effervescent gratitude, because I thought if I could will myself to pee myself this tissue could save me from some chafing. I am photographed with this special tissue. From the start of the race I tried willing myself to pee myself. I could not! As my teammate said, "Courtney, you've spent your whole life trained not to pee yerself." Which is true.

MILES 15-19

Somewhere around here after holding it in for-ev-er, and after passing M. Van Beek, and as I was running with Georgia and we were working together, I couldn't take it anymore and rushed into a porto. I peed with anger as quickly as I could and dove back out. It rejuvenated me. A revived woman. I had lost Van Beek & Porter, so I spent the next several miles trying to real them back in safely.

MILES 20-26.2

In years past I've really loved the final 10k at CIM. The flat is welcomed, but it's more about the trees. I find the mix of trees downtown really evocative. This year, however, the last 10k felt long. I was wearing those asshole 4% hype shoes, and in doing so figured my feet would be slightly more cushioned and comfortable by race's end, as the little brother's had done for me the year before. Not the case. My feet were really sore for the last 10 miles. It likely felt long, as well, because I ran to my fullest potential. There was nothing left. I had no final gear, I was just steddy. Even. Surviving. God that day was beautiful. Blue. Crisp. The most annoying thing to happen to me was that I couldn't pee myself, and yet, with a porto stop, I still managed the A-standard for the Olympic Trials, finishing in 2:36:17.

THE FINISH

As soon as I crossed the finish I had that subdued pride. It's something I'm trying to figure out - to work for months and years on gray-made goals, to achieve them, but in doing so there is no wild spark of elation, no shouts to the sky, no tears, no biggly felt embraces. It's just there, and its done, and I'm proud and I move on. Quickly. Perhaps I'm placing the notion of what happiness in accomplishment looks like on what I've seen on tv, and to be real, in person, right there on that line. It's nothing of concern to myself, just something I noticed and keep noticing.

So, I cross that line, and I find Red, and he's elated with that true finish line accomplishment elation, and I make Steve Magness shake my hand, and he says Nice Job, and then I'm locked on that finish line waiting for Ber. It's the most exciting finish line I've ever witnessed. The announcer is counting down the seconds to the 2:45 (B standard cut off), and women are pouring every last ounce of themselves to get to that line, and the announcer calls 57-58-59-2:45 and a woman collapses just at the line and crawls over. I heard she bid to be accepted and was. It was the coolest thing I've ever had the privilege to watch - that finish. And that's why 100 women earned the standard that day - the guts.
Though inspired, I was deeply pained when those seconds fell, because Ber hadn't come in yet. Just 45 seconds later, in 2:45:45 she crossed, dropping to her knees, and although annoyingly short of the goal, it was a PR, and provided the confidence that it's there.

As we tend to do these days, we flew out day of. I barely made it on the plane. In a now recurring, dramatic fashion, I had ischemic bowel, and pooped blood for hours. We tried going to a bar to watch football before our flight; I spent my time in the bathroom. I got just enough of a handle on it to board, and we're boarded and the flight attendant announces, "the bathroom at the front of the plane is out of order," and Ber looks at me from her seat and laughs. Dear god we both think.



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2 Ws & 2 Fs

In a state of percolation, partly forever, words left me. Both by mind-hand & mind-mouth. I'd say temperamental action followed completion of, "Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal," by Jeanette Winterson; a sensational writer I came across in college & sadly only re-discovered near 10 years later, but, I like to think things find you when you need them to. See: "It isn't a hiding place. It is a finding place." See: "I know now, after fifty years, that the finding/losing, forgetting/remembering, leaving/returning, never stops. The whole life is about another chance, and while we are alive, till the very end, there is always another chance." See: "Pursuing happiness, and I did, and still do, is not at all the same as being happy - which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstance, and a bit bovine. If the sun is shining, stand in it - yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass - they have to - because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive, it is lifelong, and it is not goal-centred. What you are pursuing is meaning - a meaningful life. There's the hap-the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use - that's going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms." For a while there I was only reading dark lit. Not searching for, but happening upon. Or it was probably a gravitational pull. And dark podcasts. And morbidity abound. A monster fed, the last words before sleep sad steeped.

In August a dear friend got married, and it was book-like. Everything thoughtful, romantic. The only grit, the parts I love most as they are what stands one happy moment apart from another, the things that root them more deeply into memory, was the thunderstorm that delayed it, so, kept in that pre-moment, the just before, the before it all, and all of us in the cottage, beginning to rumble as the sky, and someone brings in silver platters of cheese and olives and a large group of softly pink-dressed elegantes devour the platters, hands reaching, pink fabrics adrift. That.

And, a month later my own. How do you choose just one way? I'm still surprised I stepped into the role as fluidly as I did, that day. Our trip to New Zealand brought forward so much; we fully embraced and were enamored in the campvan life. From decision fatigue in party planning to the simplicity in living within 20x7 for a month - it was a pretty damn fine way to settle the heightened vibrations of l-o-v-e on show.

When we got back it didn't feel as if I was entirely refreshed to handle work. I'm not sure it was a possible thing to achieve from the start. After 5 years of trying to change the things that provide the most stress at my place of work, which elicited an outcome of zero change, compacted by making little, I just felt really sorry for myself, a feeling that doesn't go away just because your personal life is exciting. I am fully aware that I am as little as the things that bother me. I also revere the title "Sweatpants Girl," a title I would have turned my long nose up at if you had suggested such a thing to me in high school, but now, 31-year-old me claims it with the same  kind of angst-rebellion.

When we got back I had a Ladiez Night with three dear women: my Cousin, my aunt Jenny & Karly; we meet up every other month or so for drinks & snacks & family gossip. Ladiez Night's are for alcoholism (on my cousin & I's part), and a lot of "Those Olsens..." talk. This night, was a lot of talking about how well, fun the wedding was, which meant a lot coming from them. We started out at the Swim Club (orig. favored because the first time we got top service and I thoroughly enjoyed my tecate in can with hot sauce on the rim & shot of mezcal to sip, but ever since, and this night as well, the staff are just too hip to care much). Really good service is a luxury I really want to experience, pay for and tip well for. I thoroughly dislike tipping well for bad service, and I thoroughly dislike having to think about not tipping well. Corpse revivers. We moved on, to much better, more intimate service at Galloway's, all of us squished in tight in a semi-circle leather booth, ordered cocktails and Karly ordered a hummus plate, and we're all like no, no, and then we devoured it and ordered another. I was pressed in tight between my cousin and Jenny; the warmth of them circling me, and I just remember thinking this is close, we are. At the door heading out I handed them thank you cards that took way too long for us to finish, and Jenny says, "I was wondering when this was coming!" Which confirms my fear that I am in fact awful (sass appreciated). We part. And it's the last time I'll see my aunt, feel her thigh against mine, have a night like this.

I had a private, unspoken bond with her (known only in me, likely); an understanding of mental health, the stacking of things on things, the spiral. Growing up I loathed her because I was obsessed with my cute cousin, and no time was enough and every goodbye so hard, so dramatic. I didn't feel liked, baptized a bad influence. As an adult, I understood her. But, just because you understand or sympathize, it doesn't mean you allow yourself to get close. As long as we weren't talking about hard things we could pretend, for a little while, that they were past. After all, this night was about the wedding, and sipping cocktails, and munching cucumbers. It's the last I see.

A week after she passed I raced CIM, having traveled with Red & Ber. Ber tried to protect my mind and heart with magic black beans (totally legit & legal). I ate Jimbo's and thrifted and admired the large championship field that met for pre-race instructions. But, I had no idea how emotionally available I could be when it came to racing. I wrote her name on my largest bottle, to be taken midway through the race, and I think, maybe, in being deeply sad and deeply angry and there had to have been some magic and muscle memory - I had my best day.

Post race I battled general fatigue, the slow return, sifting through memories. There were things to look forward to, but I could hardly look forward; a sort of present presence but deep into my past; memories came forward I had no idea were kept. Not a month after the race and one of my oldest friends' mother died of pancreatic cancer. Another woman who I used to loathe for the feeling I wasn't good enough for her daughter, but, who I grew fond of as I got older (thematic?); the woman who pricked her finger & placed a spot of blood on my wedding dress as she gave alterations. For a while there it seemed as if everything was sad, which was disorienting because didn't I just watch my dear friend get married? Didn't I just get married? Didn't I just live in a van in New Zealand? Wasn't I supposed to be ok?

Friday, June 22, 2018

#sendingourbridehoff


With impeccable planning as only the Breihof’s can do, Katie organized many a woman to meet in Temecula for LB’s bachelorette. In flight we spread ourselves across the aisle with Mck behind, stuck in middle seat turmoil, trapped by the conversation of a booze-sweating, strip club pushing, socal middle-aged dad, who was trying to peg each woman with an over-arching archetype. It was the strangest flight. This flight attendant was on a different planet. Entirely different. Like pill different. Like if she wasn’t all there and I’m thinking it was pill planet I’ll feel bad, but that’s not likely right-planet? 

We got to our mansion, because onelifetolive, which was expansive & perfect & decorated in starfish & mermaid sea thematics and family travel. The backyard palm encircled hot tub, pool & bbq were quintessential. There was a movie room, thematically decorated bedrooms, a big, bountiful kitchen with center island, which is gathering gold, and wine and crack Chicago popcorn from the host. Glass-lidded rosé stickered in “Cheers” and “I Do’s.” Pink glasses for champagne pong, celebratory signs and glitter and pink feather boas. The best pool floaties the likes of diamond ring, perve dolphin too slippery to ride, a pineapple, mini pink flamingo floating drink holders, and my personal favorite, a mini blowup man-doll with erect ween as ring toss. It was an instagram lifestyle model’s palm springs concert weekend wet dream. 

Our first night’s dinner was in, gathered around the kitchen island, chopping capsicum (as the New Zealander’s say), onions, mushrooms, disrobing the corn and buttering their bodies, flavoring the chicken in bowl of hand-fondle. Skewering kabobs. Put on the grill by Katie in the good Levi’s. And the best - many many bottles of rosé - pre-race drinking, my favorite. We shared our meal together around an iron wrought table baked by the setting sun outside. Our night ended with a bevvy of squeals around a monsterspider in the corner with Usain legs. 

The following morning we drove out to Butterfield Country, to Vail Lake Resort for the 7th Annual SoCal Wine Country Women's 5k, as the hot air balloon festival was going on - the bulbous blimps against a hazy sky. Team Bridin' Dirty took 1st Team and swept 1st through 3rd, pouring sweat and baffled by the affect of minimal elevation. The best part about the 5k is that you get vino post race. And sandwiches. And can sunbathe. We accepted our goods, standing on the 3-tier, and headed back to the house for a pool party. This gorgeous soul, Leila gave each of us a tarot & spirit animal reading, each chiming in affirmative mmhmms. We played undergarment games over more pink, got ready in a flurry in all the bathrooms, with wands and powders and sweat. Uber'd to old town Temecula, to Goat & Vine for dinner. Goat & Vine had incredible wine (as it should) - Steele, Coeur de Terre. With ambition we ordered 4 bottles - Robert Renzoni's Prosecco in toast, Innocent Bystander's Sauv Blanc from NZ, Wiens' Pinot Grigio, Steele's Red Hills Cab Sauv. A serious ambition, one which left me trying to finish Steele as we were walking out the door, afraid to miss one sip. For dinner - shared apps of popeye & olive oil and sun-dried tomato hummus, cucumbers, bells, olive tapenade, grape tomatoes, house-made pita and crustinis, plus fennel sausage, roasted crimini, marinara and mozzarella pizza, plus Smokey the Pear with caramelized white onions, roasted chicken, smokey blue cheese, Asian pears and caramelized pecans drizzled with cinnamon honey and finished with arugula, and on.

Old town Temecula is really pretty, buzzing, lit up. There's wooden boardwalks and rustic western-era buildings and antique shops. There's a big focus on farm-to-table dining. We danced for hours in plastic firefighter hats over bad booze & bj shots in a room which bellowed in smoke machine, the dance floor wet in spilled drinks & spilled bodies.

Sunday was a waltz down the staircase to a kitchen filled in pan-fried peppers, scrambled eggs, avocado, toast, sliced fruit, coffee. We put on our matching outfits and climbed into our silver limo, popped champagne under the virulent blow of air conditioning, toasted over mimosas en route to our winery - Danza del Sol - a 40-acre vineyard on the De Portola Wine Trail in Temecula Valley. Rustic. Authentic. Bold. Shared tastings in the tasting room, of the '16 sauv blanc (white blossoms, white peace, melon, citrus), '15 & '16 reserve chard (favorited - green apple, boxwood, vanilla & the '16 - tropical pineapple, guava, supple, creamy, spicy nutmeg, toasted vanilla), '17 tres rose blush (peach blossom, melon, candied ruby grapefruit, nectarine), '14 super tuscan, '14 meritage (full bodied, dried cran, nutmeg, red currant, cinnamon). Sipped a glass on the patio, baking brown tinged in red. Limo'd to Lorimar, which we fell in love with and couldn't leave. As soon as we walked in, a band was all embracing, called LB up, played Ho Hey for her. Inside we tasted on the '16 vineyard blend (off-dry grenache, viognier, roussanne blend of peach, pineapple, honeysuckle on the back end), '15 zinfandel, a bottle of '14 syrah (ripe plum, leather, tobacco, black peppercorn, sassafras. Has a wonderful label description - "Riding on horseback through shootouts with bandits and rescuing a southern belle or two; stopping the adventure for only one thing, to sip this syrah by the campfrie...These violent delights have violent ends indeed. Perfect for...sifting through the reveries." We danced and sipped and sang and LB did a toss into the crowd and we took snack breaks in the limo and the limo overheated and we got a new one.

Back at home we prepared a taco feed. Pans sizzling in meat, sliced radishes, tortillas warming in the oven, the blender braiding limes and tequila. The sun set bluepurplepinkyellow against the blue-bulbed palm trees, and we began to pack, to deflate. We gathered in the movie room for a viewing of Ibiza, and fell into our beds exhausted.

Monday morning LB, Mck and I went back and forth on the hot hot highway roads for a shakeout run before driving back to San Diego. Had lunch in a little naval hub. Walked to the lip of Rosehill Fleet Ridge to see the palms and a little of that Californian wet. We returned our cars, boarded our flight, and were connected. A sudden weekly check-in in group text about friendship, traits, Pottermore, and rememberwhens?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Absorbed

Maybe I’ll start with that night my cousin & I met halfway on bikes to get to Swim Club where everything was hip from her black dress to the staff with their neck scarves to the pate to the Tecate with the hot sauce on the cylinder. We met a beautiful woman that night, new from Alaska; the kind you don’t have to impress, like letmebreatheyouin you’re not maintenance and together, because, we ended up at the renovated cabin tavern, which I was against, because with renovation comes removal of seedy, a change in creep, taxidermy, old art, that sweaty dew that shivers down the windows, and especially the box of stale donuts half eaten, that I would help myself to in a state of careless necessity. For years I swore it off in fear that it had changed. And yet, us three ended there with margaritas in boots and that fine box of sad donuts was still there, and I ate one.
The Vancouver Sun Run, Eugene 1/2 and many others when I was racing back to back to back. Sun Run was nice because I was able to overcome the curse of never performing there, and actually hung on for a PR working in a pack of powerful, wonderful women; Eugene was nice because it was a chance to rewrite a previously disastrous story of overtraining, poor performance, gut bombastic where Red did not have a good time driving my white-faced, heaving self home from E-town post race a few years ago. It also came with a PR, but what meant most to me was spending the weekend with LB, her fiancee, her mother (who treated us to endless Dutch Bros) and his family. Mrs. Breihof is le champion when it comes to race support. Her and Red should get paid for what they do. The big buffalo Brad Pitt of running that is N. Simmonds ran his final 1/2 there, and I got passed by my youtube infantile baby faced crush R. Trahan. So I'd say running is going good.
Thereafter was LB’s shower, lemon french, like living mag spread material. Baskets of grapes and thickly dripping olive oil from Queen Anne, baskets of bread, lemons, brie. Silver dollars in contrast. Homemade vino, bottle and grape-shaped cookies from some kind of miracle manbaker. Lemon curd squares, white chocolate dipped strawberries, various sorbets with meyer lemon cookie thins. Almond biscotti. Guessing love games & embrace. The flick of a gold curl against her skin & her white lace dress. In that living mag spread room with deep deep & bonded love, generations of strength, celebrating a woman who I feel fortunate to have known & blessed to continue knowing.
Then there was probably several steak dinners made by Red to try to keep my iron up because my body's trying to rid itself of all its eggs.

A lot of cat harassing.
A check in the mail from Eugene.

Yoga outside as the sun sets over the bay; this wonderful woman who brings yoga to the city’s life because she enjoys it, encouraging no-fee, who says things like, “butt stuff,” and the only person who makes me laugh as I stretch and bend, which is entirely soul-filling.

 If you can’t tell I’m relaying just a few moments in my life over the course of the last half year, because, because I’ve been soaking and thinking and reading and way too busy and full of too many yes’ and not enough no’s to write, and though it does feel like a piece is missing, it has felt good to just absorb as much content as possible and not process it in time.

 There was a day Red mowed the front lawn on the last legs of the electric mower, and set himself up a table with a ceramic bowl of ice and a bottle of sour beer, that I remember fondly. Because, resourceful. And, you might as well make every monotonous, unthankful task more vivid and wild.

Then, in May Red & I went to the San Juans, to Friday Harbor, to Duck Soup, which we’d always wanted to dine at - a friend & client of Red’s - for an Amavi Cellars pairing featuring the lovely & sensually Swiss accented Jean-Francois Pellet. I had the fortune of drinking and eating myself silly alongside Jean-Francois’ wife, a very elegant woman. It’s a testament to Red’s graciousness, that I can empty bread baskets and drain wine bottles at fancy places in the company of his clients, without any of those after-conversations of, Youneedtogetittogether. When we entered Duck Soup, him in dinner jacket and I in red, I saw a cat so majestic I thought it was fake, until it turned its head deeper into the sun. A restaurant cat at a place so regal it serves foraged cocktails & has been featured in Bon Appetite & Gourmet. *Did you know there’s a 1933 Marx Brothers movie called “Duck Soup?” To start - crab & octopus ceviche with lime shallot & cilantro paired with Amavi Cellars Semillon ’17. Then, pink scallops with rhubarb, rose syrup & wild flowers with Amavi Cellars Rose ’17. Embedded in endives an olive, smoked almond and garlic confit with Amavi Cellars Syrah ’14. Lamb coated in coffee, black garlic and chocolate over Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon ’14. Rabbit lion, lions mane, fiddlehead sage and hazelnuts with Pepper Bridge Merlot ’14. Quail, quail egg & sun choke dressed in brown butter hollandaise with Pepper Bridge Trine ’14. To conclude the orgasmic mouth rage of tantalizing tannins and panty-dropping locally procured foodie flavors, there was rosemary ice cream with fermented green strawberries, pistachio and caramelized honey. The night ended with a glass of wine in bed at our favorite b&b, Juniper’s.
Ski to Sea happened. As it does. This time to me, like some out-of-body thing. Do you know that feeling which is more of a season when someone is not a part of your life, but once was, and its anticipatory, too much memory, a thing of what you were and how. My brother was like that, maybe still, each time his father would come into his life. S2S is like that for me. I fish for a reason to say no, but it feels weird to stop a thing it feels like you were made to do; a perfect blend of passion and pain. I blew my own mind, which is something that I believe only happens a few times in life. Which seems weird too, to feel about such frivolity. Though it’s 100 years old. Though my gold spray-painted shoe is one of my prized possessions. It’s, in the end, not that important, but a thing I do. Also, I really really love racing alongside local, gangster superfemales. And I really really love how happy it makes Red to watch me.
 LB’s bachelorette. Which deserves its own.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Saturday, December 30, 2017

CIM

Something inside me was immensely drawn to CIM; a mere 69 (nice) days apart from BBM. Friends bet I'd roll into it; it's a thrill when people bet in your favor, in favor of your antics, be it wild and not entirely smart, but full of passion. I don't like to be told I shouldn't do something. Actually, I thoroughly enjoy it, because...reverse psychology.

I've chased the big marathons, but not championships, and with the US Marathon Champs in conjunction with CIM, the course that held my PR, I felt like, if recovery went well after BBM, and I got the go-ahead from the elite director, it would only be a good experience. A chance for Red and I to break up the Washington winter, to race against better, stronger women, to be encouraged to step up, to compete.

Nikki had been and continues to be a major factor in the evolution of my training. There's great potential to get too enmeshed in your own ideas, to get stuck in a holding pattern and wait entirely too long in a position of stagnancy before shaking things up. It's a great idea to have someone (if you don't have a coach), to have council with - someone you trust, who can look at what you're doing or plan to do with separation from the immediate intimacy of doing. I definitely wanted to do more and didn't think all the fartleks in the beginning of the second, abbreviated or continued marathon build were in my best interest, but, it was, and I'm extremely thankful for her guidance. I believe she did the very thing that we need most in a coach - hold us back from ourselves.

I love Sacramento. I love that as soon as we got off the short flight, got into our choice of a rental car out of a fleet of varying styles & colors, went immediately to Jimboy's tacos for parmesan and oil encrusted beef tacos, that on top of all that good, I could also get dropped off at a thrift shop, and finger through the donated fabrics of a city mostly unknown to me, in order to get a better idea on the internal culture of it. The architecture has a Louisiana-Cal mix of flavor, gorgeous fronts of homes, streets lined in bulbous orange trees with the heavier of its fruit flattened against the street in ocherous flame, thick green nw trees and palms.

I'm careless when it comes to hotels, or cheap, and because of such Red & I have stayed at the worst places: foot of freeways, window views of drug deals, chased by dogs, beds that crunch when you stir. In full acknowledgement of my idiosyncrasies, and, being more of the sort who chooses comfort over stubborn shortcutting, Red chose the hotel for CIM. The Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in downtown Sac was a factor towards the total calm I felt heading into the race. It "merges past with future, indoor with outdoor, and urban with rural." The staff were all models, impeccably dressed, there were bikes with baskets for free use, valet, free happy wine hour every night. Our corner suite had floor to ceiling windows, 180 deg. view of the city, a balcony, and the most plush, all white bed. After tacos & thrifting, Red picked up a couple bottles of red wine, and we checked in. We opted out of dinner out, our room too comfortable - and as I tossed between feet up the wall, reading You are a Badass, and watching TLC, Red walked to a local pizza place for takeout. The Kimpton is next door to the Golden1 Center, where on Friday night, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was playing, the music of which wafted in in progressive rock undulations through the balcony door. We shared margarita pizza and salads over red wine in bed until, heavy-lidded, we drifted.
Saturday morning was blanketed in a light, low hanging fog which burned off into blue. Cold pizza for breakfast. Red grabbed a basket bike and kept me company in my shakeout; we fell in love with gated homes & the fruit tree lined streets. Cold pizza for lunch. Later that afternoon I dropped off my bottles at the elite hospitality suite and headed to the mandatory elite meeting of race rules, prize purse, bib pickup. It was really cool to sit in this packed room, among some of the best men, women & famed coaches, to feel the tittering energetic air. I met up with Red post, at a wine bar called Downtown and Vine, where, over an olive mix, red wine & moscato, we riddled the wine buyer with questions about living in Sac. After, we walked to Coin Op, played classic arcade games and shot hoops against one another in a feverish sweat. We regrouped at the hotel before meeting up with family, Amanda, and her friend, Phuong (both of whom were seeking BQ's), at Lucca, downtown. Baskets of bread, another bowl of olives marinated in fennel seed, arbol chili & citrus, then: pappardelle with housemade sausage, mushrooms, chili flakes & parm and crispy duck confit with braised lentils, roasted squash, arugula, walnuts & pomegranate vinaigrette over Justin cab, ending in profiteroles (warm cream puffs with vanilla bean ice cream & dark chocolate sauce). It was really nice to share a pre-race meal and nerd out with the two of them.
At 4:45 am on Sunday I had a breakfast of oatmeal, banana and coffee before we got our car and headed out for Folsom. Red could drive me as far as a mile out from the start, where buses would pick us up and take us the rest of the way. The sun didn't rise till 7:30 am, and on the bus you could see the super moon between the trees. Due to the generosity & compliance of an apartment complex, the elite tents and portos are set to the side of the start line, and came equipped in mass coffee, creamer, bananas and water. It was pitch black in the portos; you had to hope for the best as you felt your way down. I took the advice of a friend to do a shorter warm-up, to allow for some warming up in the first few miles of the race. Noticed a knot in my left calf that wouldn't budge after vigorous pre race self massage, but thankfully it was never an issue. By 6:45 am we were ushered to the start line, where Vince DiFiore of Cake played the anthem on trumpet. Sophia from Seattle, and a few other lovely faces of women I follow were all there, a group of us with eyes on the 2:45 pacer. The gun sounded.

Miles 1-5
Before the race I had a hard time deciding whether I'd start out at pace, or if I'd stay behind the pack and try to negative split. I thought that the smarter of the two would be the latter, but I'm also the kind of person that can't not, so...I stayed with the pack, jockeyed for a full stride (to little success), and jockeyed to the right between elite fluid reachers. The pacer indicated that he'd follow a more fluid pacing plan, of pulling back the reigns on the ups and free-falling on the downs. Our first 5 miles were: 6:16, 6:17, 6:06, 6:15, 6:16.

Miles 6-11
The pack of 2:45 chasers was still thick in size, as we moved to the right for fluids, passing off drinks & water if some in the group missed or didn't have any. Though I was thankful that there was a pacer at all, that because of a pacer, all these women felt comfortable & secure in the pursuit, it was a little too stimulating for me. I figured the talking would cease as the fatigue set in, but the pacer was energetic the whole way through. He did a great job, and kept checking in if we'd like more stories, but I felt myself get the kind of stimulated where you're like in a library and someone takes a phone call. Despite this feeling, I can't be sure that his stories didn't completely distract me from any sort of pain or negative feelings in and of itself. Though I wish I could say I'm this totally positive person, I remember the annoyances well. I couldn't claim space, couldn't elongate my stride, couldn't fully extend my arm swing, as all was abbreviated by the size of the group, and the general height range of the women beside. Again, despite general annoyance, I can't be sure these weren't the very things that released within me an unyielding desire to compete. Every once in a while I'd visualize holding back, think of the words hold back, which helped at least trick my mind that there was a beast within, just waiting for the word. The miles ticked off: 6:17, 6:16, 6:14, 6:20, 6:09, 6:14.

Miles 12-17
What I really enjoyed about the pacer was his quick math. He possessed the knowledge, and all I had to do was go mind numb to the task. Being a fan of money-in-the-bank, despite knowing that a negative split is more productive to a positive end, I thoroughly appreciated when he'd say, "We're such-and-such seconds ahead of our goal!" It was near mile 17 when I started to separate from the pacer group, probably after I saw that 6:20 - 6:16, 6:11, 6:14, 6:16, 6:10, 6:20.

Miles 18-24
With Sophia up ahead I had this beacon of an instigated notion, an inspiration to move. Though I didn't know her well, I knew her better than the others, and I took her lead. It was this interesting sensation of being at complete peace with my own journey as well as femininely inspired, pack inspired. We danced back and forth, our surges our own, and I caught up with and danced with a couple other women who had separated from the 2:45 pack as well.

At BBM I wore the Hoka Tracers, but my feet were on fire by mile 13, so I opted out of these. For CIM I splurged on a pair of the Nike 4%'s little bro, the Nike Zoom Fly. I'd hardly trained in them (30 miles?), and the hard ankle structure had cut up my heels, but with all the positive feedback I wanted to try them. Even if just placebo. I've never had another gear on the back half of a marathon. Except for this day. I don't believe it was the shoes alone, but they were a factor, along with good intake of nutrition, no GI distress, no period, pliant adductors (thanks Rad Bones!) and smart(er) training, all of which aided in a strength I'd never felt before from mile 18 on - 6:15, 6:15, 6:09, 6:03, 6:06, 6:02, 6:06
Miles 25-26.2
I saw Red on the right, and he started to run hard, racing alongside. I remember thinking, "Oh man, I'm not sure if this is ok, he better knock it off, but fuck he's hauling!" He veered to catch me at the finish. I worked my way up to two women ahead, caught one right before the line, finishing in 2:42:44, with Sophia following closely behind. The final miles + were 6:04, 6:03, 5:42. After we crossed the finish line, Sophia gave me an incredible hug, sobbing, her petite frame so small against my hunched hulking stature. Red hugged me across the fencing, crying, as I stood there in disbelief. I wasn't pooping.
They placed a finisher's medal around my neck, and let Red sneak a little peekaboo into a finisher's photograph. A short while later Amanda crossed the finish line with a PR & a BQ, there followed Phuong. Red and I went to the Sutter Club, where they had this incredible set up for the elites and their plus ones, of silver panned hot breakfast foods, a fruit & yogurt bar, coffee, juices, massages, and a bar. We shared breakfast on a sunny veranda overlooking the finish line, witness to the sweat-filled glory of other companions in pain.
In the end 54 women ran an OTQ, with Sara Hall as the US Marathon Champ, just weeks removed from her PR at Frankfurt, finishing in a time of 2:28:10. The weather perfect, the size of the group of women seeking immense, the course fun, and the support from CIM outstanding - I've been processing the experience, soaking in. I've begun to understand the true value of goal setting, of perserverance. And, for the first time since racing marathons, I'm completely open to all, welcome to anything, with no immediate goals. A practice in presence.

After a hot shower at the hotel, we checked out, headed for Jimboy's and wolfed down parmesan powdery tacos in the car on the way to the airport. Flew to Seattle, drove home, calmed the sad wailing of our lonesome whisker biscuit and went to sleep, both of us back to work Monday morning.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

BBM

With encouragement I spent the spring base-training, something I'd conveniently sidestepped for years, with chronic subsisting injuries, laying season on top of season of workouts, trying to find a freshness out of an obviously non-proffering pile of work. It was hard to take a step back; it took a friend and teammate to encourage me of its value.

By July I was eager to start marathon training for the fall, and played around with Chicago, TCM, and BBM. In the end BBM seemed most romantic - to sleep in my own bed, to train on the course, to feel more connected with the RD and the community - these, I knew, would complement the path and override the glares - the fact that there wouldn't be a bountiful group of like-paced racers, the demoralizing aspect of passing the finish at mi 22, the potential of a train crossing. 

I did workouts on the back half, including a 12 mi simulation at MP with Ber & Maxx. Did long runs that ended at weddings where we danced into the night. The work was fun, I drank a lot of wine, and I recovered well...so I'd consider the experience damn near perfect, save for a bachelorette trip for one of my best friends and like 16 other women that instigated the most fertile of all myrtles/hyper periods with vomiting leading into BBM...still, it was a kickass summer of training, all female gore aside.

Saturday night LB came up from Seattle for a sleepover. Red ordered us pizzas stacked high in toppings, paired with wine. It was odd to be at home before a marathon, to harbor that race anxiety, and sit still. Thank god for sleep, because I felt useless. 

In the morning, with oatmeal, nut butter & bananas in a bowl, and a big mug of coffee, dear LB comes out in a homemade t-shirt, cotton drawn in markered encouragement. We drove the dark drive to Lummi High, where we warmed up with friends and BDP teammates set to pace the first half of the marathon. I lucked out with the insane generosity of Maxx and David, who paced me (it would be David's first - he fell in love). After a warm-up all of us toed the line, a drone humming above the inflatable arch, and the gun sounded. For the first 10-13 miles a group of us led the race. The pace felt effortless, fueled by adrenaline. Maxx was incredibly in-tune, all it took was a look between us, and with a self-awareness that seems to be lacking in most people these days, he easily read the situation and made my experience much more efficient by grabbing hydration and anything else I needed. David was a metronome. I'd worried the slightest that he wouldn't know what it took to maintain pace for a distance he'd never run, but I was deeply mistaken. I have never felt more at matched speed with anyone I've ever trained or raced with.

A short while later our group dwindled, separating from the front and back. We stayed on pace through the middle miles. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of having chosen BBM, was knowing exactly where I was 100% of the time. Though a benefit to some, I think I do best with less information. Near mi 18 we popped out on Marine, and I got to see my mother and grandparents. The miles thereafter held surges on into Squalicum Creek Park, which brings you to mi 20, the mentally deceptive Roeder, and the course's more "major" climbs and finish line pass-by.

We whispered our OTQ intentions to the railway prior to the race, and though they can't release their schedule or alter their timeline, we felt good about their awareness and hoped it was enough of a wink to the Universe. Another surge, my last, along south bay, I put my head down and passed the tracks sans delay. The wind on the bridge leading to Taylor Dock's death march zapped what little spright I had left, and on the N. State rollers heading back to downtown I decided that I would enjoy the finish over dragging myself desperately towards that OTQ. I had been off the mark for a few miles, and when I let go and let be, I really let go of the pace. Weaving between 1/2 marathon finishers, my jaw jutting, and Maxx & Amber yelling at everyone equally exhausted to step aside, we made our way to the finish line, with Amber slapping my ass, and I yelling at her to lay off.

In the end I ran 2:46:35, over a minute off my PR from 2015, but a new course record for BBM by over 5 minutes (previously held by Kate Bradshaw in 2:51:45). I was 1st woman/4th overall.

Welcomed by my family, Red, teammates and friends, a much needed hug from Rad Bones, and an interview with the Herald's Michelle Nolan, who has been around since I was in high school, it wasn't long before I hit my limit. Crouching, color-drained, pallid and heaving above the farmer's market where I had sold hot dogs soaked in cheap beer for a good many years...I puked in all trash cans, all portos, and almost between my own legs, as I was gutted from the other end...Somehow I got on stage, blue-lipped, to receive an award, before asking if I could leave, because I literally couldn't even.

Back at home I went straight for the shower and laid down beneath the stream; LB gave my fingers a tug goodbye and left me to my stripped misery. It turns out I'm not good for taking pain meds as a preventative. That which I took before the marathon shut down my gut and I couldn't absorb any fuel during the race. Once I stopped running, a backlog of suppression erupted in a shit & puke geyser. It was pretty miserable for 24+ hours.

I was and am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to race in my hometown, on the streets I've trained on, every day, for years. To have gone to talks at Fairhaven Runners, who've I've been buying from since I was in high school cross country, to talk alongside friends, teammates, and the BBM RD about the race and my goal to qualify for the Olympic Trials, all the support that came out in various medias, all the cookies and muffins and homemade breads it took Nikki to make for my relentless hunger, all team runs and workouts, all the cooking Red did for me, because he's an incredible cook, and I have a 17 y/o boy's hunger, all the wine he provided (because we all know I drink more wine than water), all the 5-minute massages his poor man hands had to endure, but most of all, all the nights he gave me space to soak in my training and how often he had to hear, "Nah, not tonight, I'm too tired," when we're not even married yet. What I am most proud of, aside from the work it took, is that I balanced it with a full, full life, full in numerous bachelorettes, weddings, birthdays, including my own 3-part birthday bonanza, traveling, and planning a wedding. I am most proud of a life balanced in giving no fucks and giving all the fucks. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

1Dck4Mck

Lincoln Park in West Seattle is redolent in sharp spikes, the suck of mud, bare legs, competition, all weather, teammate romance, old growth canopy, and always indicative of Fall. 135 acres and thousands of hours of volunteer effort make it a sanctuary amidst the gray chaos of Seattle. Mck, LB, myself and so many others present on this day raced together here, years ago. This park now encouraging us towards a bundle of trees, a path laid in petals leading to the bulk of an old growth tree. 
Earlier, over champagne, Red, LB & I got ready in LB's place off Aurora; a salute to the space we'd had so many ladiez weekends at, climbing the stairs to fall to the floor in a pile of racy movies, pita chips and hummus, waking up groggy - right out the door for a run to kick the booze sludge - a farewell to this dwelling. Red gets ready in all of 5 seconds, suited, watches football. We curl our hair, test new highlighters, try with aggression to get the damn lash bands to stick to the inner corner. I found this yellowgray corset thing thrifting, and pair it with a kimono. We tie the long neck ribbon on LB's beautiful floral dress; I can't get enough of the texture, the structure. Matt is a saint of a details man, and he gets us to Lincoln perfectly. Despite the suggestion that we dismiss heels in the park, LB & I are all for fashion and wear little kitten heels, so we prance in on our tip toes, clutching elbows.
In large jars are bouquets of baby's breath, signs with draped fern. The M.O.B. looks incredible in dark blue lace, a mock neck. Mck's sister has flown in from Ireland to officiate, dressed in emerald green, she gives a most tearful truth, and you're pulled in by the power of her love for her sister & Kris. The couple stand among the loose ends of white roses. They kiss. 
We head to the reception at Dakota Place Park Building, a former Seattle city light substation, brick, with period trim and hardwood floors. In one room, baby's breath and eucalyptus here and there among boards of toasted, thick cut bread and a bruschetta bar with pesto, fire roasted tomatoes, olive tapenade, artichokes and parmesan artichoke jalapeno spread. In the other room, a dance floor and dining tables laid with bamboo cutlery tied in hemp. Each person met is sweet, open, and in this you know that these two people are good, deeply, that they attract good. I'm beginning to float on the cab's red cloud, and I'm getting to know Mck's sister's Irish love, love watching his mouth form words, his accent, enjoy them together, talk Galway like I know how to feel about a place I've never been. I fall in love with them, because they're pleasant and we should be friends, but also because they are a more current symbol of a life Red got to live a long time ago, which I like to push into, siphon out, live in.
On top of the couple, we toast to the Lampi's and their announcement. Are called forth for dinner of pizza, baked off from a food truck, par-charred deliciously. The wine is endless. Speeches. A video of all stages. Beam when I see us three at Oktoberfest in Munich the year before. Wish for it back. And we danced. And we cried. And we laughed. And had a really, really, really good time. Take my hand, let's have a blast. And remember this moment for the rest of our lives. Our lives (our lives). 
The two cut the cake Mck made - a champagne cake, on the noses of them. At the end, with the sparklers lit, we salute. Someone has handed me a plate of the leftover cake, and I find myself walking around trying to dispose of it into the hands of party people, and somehow everyone is too full, and I'm forced to eat a little with my hand. I don't recall entirely, but I'm pretty sure the M.O.G. declares, "Gross." And I laugh, because, I am. 

Mck & Kris went out with us after. In some confusion, they went for karaoke and shots, and Red & I went for massive nachos and margaritas. The nachos were not smart. A few bites in and I about fell asleep on the table. Meeting back up with the Farrell's, Kris holds out his married hand and admires his ring.