Monday, September 26, 2011


My head is freakishly small and my shoulders are football player wide.  My arms and thighs are thick; my eyelashes are thin.  My legs are short; my ass is large.  I’m all out of proportion.

But if you take me in at a glance you won’t notice the shortcomings.  I’ll smile, you’ll find me pleasant.  Occasionally, you might see the goofy.  Something will seem a little bit hall-of-mirrors, but you won’t quite be able to put your finger on it.  It’s nothing to worry about or waste time on.  These little flaws are forgettable.  Predictable beauty, perfect proportions--it’s just too obvious for me.  Boring.  Kind of a trap, really.  What happens when time, or babies, or accidental dismemberment steals it away?  I’d rather be a little odd, and able to hold on to my appearance in an open palm.  Why blow it’s importance  out of proportion?

Like my looks, my running is all out of proportion.  I’m unpredictably slow in shorter distances, then able to pull off (given slow training times) surprisingly respectable marathon finishes.  My fastest mile ever is only a minute faster than my mile pace for a marathon.  No pace wheel can predict my finish.  I’m surprisingly fast for someone so painfully slow.  Thankfully, this allows me to relax about my running accomplishments.

So I’m gearing up for marathon #3.  In two weeks, it will all be over.  I’m hoping for a personal best; most runners are at most every race.  But it could be hot.  It could be cold and rainy.  I could twist my ankle, or get a sick stomach, or go out too fast, or go out too slow to get the time back.  The Portland Hills fault zone could unleash its fury on us all in a massive earthquake.  A lot could happen that I can’t control, but I’m trying to not allow my worries to get blown all out of proportion. 

I’ve trained and tapered, I’ve fueled and focused.  Now, I just have to take this oddly proportioned, strangely paced, worry-wart self to the start line and let ‘er rip.  Portland Marathon, October 9, 2011.  Keep me in your thoughts, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome to the Hurt

Or "The Painful Consequences of the Insane Pastime of Long Distance Running"
  1. winter training, which includes walking in the front door and being mistaken for the abominable snowman
  2. summer training, which includes heat rash, sunburn, and a serious farmer’s tan (there isn’t a sunscreen I can’t sweat off)
  3. a weakened immune system that invariably leads to a cold at the peak of training
  4. an occasional sore throat, not evidence of a cold but of the amount of time I spend sucking air down my windpipe like a deranged Hoover
  5. a general aura of stinkiness, in my hair, on my clothes, in the laundry basket (a morning shower has never been so important)
  6. 4 a.m. wake-up, because I’d rather run in the dark than have the glare of the sun in my eyes
  7. wearing a visor, which leaves a ridiculous tan line on my forehead and preserves for posterity the salty sweat lines and general dirty dank of my existence
  8. the knee ache
  9. the hamstring ache
  10. the quad ache
  11. the foot ache
  12. the side ache
  13. the head ache
  14. the back and neck ache (many of these have improved as my form has slightly improved...but sometimes when I’m lying perfectly still, I still feel like I’m running)
  15. the bathroom break, which produces a foul excrement worthy of being placed in a brown paper bag and left on the doorstep of Hell
  16. the wall, which I pretend doesn’t exist, but inevitably kicks in when I still have 5 to 10 miles to go
  17. the goo, meant to allow me to avoid the wall but only in exchange for activating my gag reflex...the stuff is nasty
  18. exhaustion, the yang to the runner’s high yin, which causes mild-mannered me to curse like a sailor in the last mile of a marathon
  19. the uphill to the finish line (why do they do that?)
  20. the shakes, an inevitable companion to the finish line; I think it is evidence of muscular post-traumatic stress disorder
  21. the post-race wobble; it looks something like the walk of a 9-month pregnant woman wobbling down a hospital hallway, baby fully engaged in the birth canal
  22. walking down stairs backward for a week
  23. watching my peak fitness fade in mere weeks (you gotta work it to keep it)
  24. the feeling of dread which accompanies the need to find another race (damn addictive hobby!)
  25. the time in between, when I miss the relentless training and well-earned ache...when I miss the hurt
I must be nuts!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Favorite Running Mantras

mantra [mahn-truh] noun: a word or formula chanted or sung as an incantation or prayer;  chant, psalm, hymn

There is no wall.
I can.  I will.  I am.  (Thanks, Chrissy!)
It gets done by doing it.
Head up, chest up, quick turnover.
This is my race.
You’re stronger than you think you are; you can do more than you think you can. (Thanks, Jamie!)
Get ‘er dunn.
Bragging rights for life!
Thank You.

What am I missing?  Do you have an exercise mantra?