25 August 2007

A Waste of Good Pasta

Today's long run gave me that sinking feeling. You know, that sinking feeling you get when you realise you need that emergency tampon you tucked into the pocket of your shorts "just in case."

That sinking feeling you get when you break down crying a mere four miles out, even though you know it's just the hormones and the humidity talking, and not the fact that you have eleven more miles to go and seven more miles' worth of water.

When the ground wobbles beneath you eight miles out, and you realize those cramps aren't coming from your uterus but from your lack of hydration.

When you aren't ashamed to steal a partially-used salt packet from a discarded McDonald's bag on a park bench and slit it open so you can lick the wrapper for the sodium.

When at mile eleven you break down crying again anyway, proving the extent of your dehydration because you can't even cry right anymore, for fooksake.

When you limp into a run the last tenth of a mile anyway, because what if there were 20,000 Marines watching, like there will be in October?

That sinking feeling that only lifts when you get home and your dad has made you a peanut butter and bacon sandwich on toast, because he knows that this and only this will have enough sodium to get you up the stairs and into the shower and still meet your post-run protein requirement for not kicking the cats while you try to run in your sleep tonight, and you log on to find that everybody else's run pretty much sucked goats too, from Lauren who had an intestinal bug all week but toughed out 12 miles, to Lenz recovering from knee surgery, to poor tumbling Kat, who now has the worst case of road rash you've ever seen that doesn't involve skateboards, to Fish who cut it short at 3.5 (maybe he's the smart one), to Wil who bagged it entirely and sat down on the couch with two Italian sausage sandwiches with onions and peppers to try again tomorrow.

That threatens to descend again when you realise what a tremendous klunker of a run-on sentence that was, but you don't even have the energy to fix it.

22 August 2007

Water Moccasin

Early yesterday I realised I had four miles to run, and that it was raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock. For the third or fourth straight day. (Wait, that's not true. On Friday, it hailed.)

So I paddled up and down some hills in my spandex and my trusty New (old) Balance 767w, and 36 hours later I have a problem. I have a six-miler tomorrow, and my shoes are still so wet I could wring them out if they didn't have those nifty AbZorb midsoles. My friends on the training board helpfully pointed out that this is one of the reasons why people usually have two pairs of running shoes going at a time. Which I do, in fact.

I don't think they realise the extent of this weather, phenomenon, though. It's seriously been raining for a frigging long time. If I wear my newer shoes tomorrow, come Saturday I'll have not one but two pairs of waterlogged running shoes, which will not be fun for fifteen miles.

Because something I realised yesterday while slogging uphill after wading through my umpteenth shin-deep puddle: wet sneakers weigh a lot. So do wet, formerly-poofy Thorlo running socks.

Plus I'm still not freaking warm again. Seriously. They're saying it's going to be 90 on Saturday, but I ain't buying it. Not when the end of my widdw nose is this cold and I've been wearing long sleeves and cardigans and wool socks and shoes (for god's sake) for the past four days.

Nope. Not happening. Have I mentioned this irks me?

16 August 2007

Just Putting It Out There

Every semester I get someone who doesn't tell me they're dyslexic and then wonders why they're struggling with the workload, despite the fact that every semester, I include this in my syllabus for each class.

Individual Needs:

We all have them. Here are some ways to get yours met.

Academic Resource Center: Students are strongly advised to visit the ARC if they are struggling with reading and writing assignments. Tutors can help students master writing skills (but they cannot and will not write or rewrite your assignments for you). They are there to empower you with the skills for learning.

Disability Support Services: Students with documented learning, physical, or psychological differences should contact R________ at 215.555.0000 x123 for academic accommodations. In addition, please notify me as soon as possible. A learning difference should not be viewed shamefully. Everyone learns differently. If you know the strengths and weaknesses of your particular learning style and make them known to your instructors and Support Services Counselors, we will be better equipped to respond to your needs and help you acquire the knowledge you desire in a manner that suits your particular needs.

14 August 2007

Stunning Revelation

I used to think that running would someday get easy. I can now run ten or twelve miles some days, so running three miles should be easy, right?

Wrong. Running ten miles is hard. Running three miles is just hard for less time.

12 August 2007

Silly Goose

I do not get goosebumps.

Okay, that's not strictly true. I get goosebumps (or goosepimples, or gooseflesh, both of which phrases give me the willies) on a fairly regular basis. In fact, I have goosebumps right now, because I'm sitting in front of a window open to a breeze that's finally less than 90 degrees. What I mean is, I don't get goosebumps.

The hairs along my arms and back will only stand up and be counted when there is something going on concerning the temperature of the air versus the temperature of my body, and my feeble attempt at fur would like to wrap itself around me and get warm, please. I get goosebumps every Saturday while cooling down after my long run (even if it is 90 degrees, which until yesterday it has been). I get goosebumps when I step out of the shower in the morning. Dock chair to lake: goosebumps. Aftermath of a sneeze: goosebumps.

But my body's weird-o-meter does not seem to be located on the surface of my skin. Instead, it seems to be harboured somewhere deeper, along my inner forearms, and at the anchor of my ribcage. Those are the places that hitch and tingle when a soul breaks loose from a phrase of music and flies toward the ceiling; when I wake from a dream that I already know despite not yet having been told; when the ordinary becomes more than that, becomes real.

The first night I spent in my apartment near Princeton eight years ago was like coming home. Only it wasn't I who was coming home, but Elizabet. Elizabet had been the previous tenant, making her home there since shortly after the apartment complex was built sometime in the late fifties. Her husband dead and her children left the nest, Elizabet had made the practical decision to downsize and moved into the garden apartment just north of the Millstone River. The only reason she was vacating now was because her sons had decided she needed more assistance than the neighbours could provide, so they made plans to move Elizabet and her belongings to an "assisted living facility." (which, as we all know, usually means "not really living, but still breathing".)

Elizabet was having none of this, apparently, because the day before the scheduled move, her sons arrived to find her dead on the living room floor. This was not a particular shock to anybody, as she was past 90, but it did put a crimp in the proceedings of moving house, since now there was a will in probate and a coroner who needed to follow rules, despite the obviously apparent cause of death. In the bustle of activity in the weeks that followed as her children hastily cleaned out the apartment, it somehow never occurred to them to take down Elizabet's mezuzah, and the maintenance crew simply painted around it. And so it came to me, with my Bible and my grimoire, my crosses and my pentacles and brooms, this old Hebrew blessing.

It shouldn't have surprised me, that first night, to wake to see a woman standing at the foot of my bed, her hair as white as smoke and her high-throated nightgown clutched between her gnarled fingers. We regarded each other warily; she in distrust of this young thing sleeping in her bedroom--but where was her bed? where were her matching night-tables? for that matter, where were this girl's nightclothes?--and me because....well, because though I could see her, I could also see clearly the closet doors she stood in front of. She was also clearly upset about the cats. Who had let them in?

Then I understood. It was the mezuzah. Because it hadn't been taken out with all of her other things, she didn't understand that this was no longer her home. The cats were mine, I assured her. She was not going to get in trouble for having three illegal pets, and they weren't going to claw her sofa to shreds. I told her she was welcome to stay, and that the mezuzah would remain with me wherever I made my home. She seemed satisfied with this, though slightly annoyed that she was dead--although I can imagine it must have been an inconvenience.

Elizabet has become my personal ghost. Thankfully, my husband took this in stride; the first time he spent the night at the apartment, he woke up the next morning, rolled over to open one blue eye from under his hair, and simply grunted, "You could have warned me about the short dead chick." When we moved me into the house we would later share, it was he who rooted about in still-packed boxes until he unwrapped the mezuzah and thumbtacked it firmly to the lintel, announcing that he was sure Elizabet was relieved to be out of storage.

Sometimes I remember this comment and feel badly that she has, in fact, been wrapped in a box for more than a year. I know, of course, that Elizabet doesn't live in the mezuzah. That's about as ridiculous as a genie who lives in a lamp, or a cat who lives in a teapot. If you want to get technical about it, in fact, Elizabet doesn't actually live anywhere....really. But she always seems more comfortable when she sees this last relic of her days here, affixed firmly beside the door. And somehow, despite whatever faith remains in me and despite not knowing a letter of Hebrew--somehow, so do I.

07 August 2007

On Hermetically Sealed Poetry

What, because they think the writing is going to go stale? Believe me when I tell you, if it's going to go stale, there is no amount of plastic encasements that can help you now.

06 August 2007

Into the Wild

You've asked me to make a decision, but there are some decisions that simply cannot be made. I freely admit that I caused you unbearable pain. I acted out of selfishness, out of fear, out of loneliness, out of desperation. Who among us hasn't done that?

You've asked me to bind myself to something in which I can never believe, simply because you wish it to be so. You have asked me to let you control me, in order that you might believe I have relinquished control over you. But I've never been able to control you. I've never even been able to control myself. That's how we got here, isn't it?

You've asked me to make a choice that proves what I've always known and what you've stopped believing, at the same time it renders it unviable.

You've asked, in short, for me to do what I've always been sworn to do but have until now failed miserably at accomplishing: to do what's best for you, at the expense of my own personal needs and desires. The one thing I learned best from you is that this never leaves anyone satisfied.

You've asked, darling, for the one thing that was never mine to give.

01 August 2007

Bear Sandwich

Woke up to this sight today. Poor little dude. He's lying on his back, too, in some sort of ursine savasana pose. That can't be very comfortable for a bear.