Monthly Archives: June 2022

baby biking muscles

Been biking for transportation a bit more. Two trips today! I hope it counts for cross training. Even though biking is mostly about legs, there’s a little arm action if you hop off the seat at a stop. To get going again you have to push yourself back in the saddle, most of the resistance from arms pushing against the handlebar.

not a competition (part 2?)

I might have written something this spring about how it’s OK to feel blue and beleaguered even if so many people have it much worse. It’s not a competition and I do give thanks for all my good fortune and ease.

Today I mean it in a more literal sense. My husband is a long time 3ish mile runner. Except when I have been in really good form, he is faster than I am with little discernable effort. He says he can’t do long distance but I am sure he could if he wanted to and it’s OK not to want to. It’s possible I have a slight edge on the mental front only in that i never get bored. The inner chatter is strong with me.

Now that I am nudging up the miles, he is too. He is tossing off a brisk 4 miles while covered in crusty wounds from a recent bike crash (he’s OK). I am still not really managing three without walking breaks.

Today I covered 7 miles, walking the first mile with Rumor and run walking the rest.

It was slow going but at least I got out there after a rough day for me personally.

Running for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

To keep my fundraising page brief (and the donation button easy to access), I moved the “why support CCH and me to this page.

In brief: I am part of a team of 60 marathon runners raising funds to support the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH). Our collective goal is $90,000. I know it’s trite, but really–no donation is too small! I will throw in a personalized limerick as a thank you.

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Why support CCH? It’s a scrappy, high impact  organization that is tackling homelessness from many angles. It’s also where one of my best friends works. Julie Dworkin is an amazing person and has been a rock for me in the last few years. 

Why support me? Hmmm, this is always the harder part. How about this: My last marathon was in 2017. I haven’t been doing so well since then and of course the pandemic was a real kicker. This year I’ve been working hard on the mental health front. Now I need to turn to my  physical health which is definitely showing the impact of depression, age, and  two years of hunkering at home.  I want to celebrate turning 50 this summer by getting into better shape in all senses of the word–not just for me and my family, but so I can better serve others and the planet. Like Julie! 🙂

Here’s the link again. Gin’s Fundraising Page. Thanks for considering!

need a new approach

Soooooo for reasons I don’t want to go into, I did not run today. Nothing particularly bad. I just became fixated on a task, time flew, I needed to be home for my kid in the late afternoon and my long run window was gone. I guess I could have gone in the evening but that’s a whole other level of commitment.

The worst part is that I sat on my butt most of the day because I didn’t take the 30 seconds needed to crank my desk back up to standing height.

Haven’t been sleeping well which I guess makes sense.

Also not doing so well on fundraising, eek. This is what I posted to a running group I am in.

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Dear ones, with the world on fire I have been lagging in my fundraising for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. I promise not to spam this group–maybe one more ask before October.
I will throw in a personalized limerick as a thank you. No pressure if your donation commitments are already overextended. Donation Link

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Much has changed since this group started
It’s hard not to be broken hearted
We run for our lives
Our hopes won’t capsize
From convictions we won’t be parted

Or. . . to be less mature and more overtly political

Much has changed since this group started
It’s hard not to be broken hearted
Thanks to SCOTUS turds
We’re sliding backwards
In their way, I wish I had farted*

*Monty Python reference

try again tomorrow

I bungled my long run today in a few different ways I don’t feel like going into. Going to try again tomorrow. I am frustrated because I didn’t meet my goal for the week but at least I ran the number of days I intended to.

Feeling a little down today on the corporeal front. Weight has been creeping up and it’s not just muscle. I’m chalking the last two weeks up to birthday ripples. Now that kiddo is back (❤️), I am going back to a light touch with booze (ie wine). It’s easy for me to slip into a nightly habit and that’s not what I want for my body, brain, or role modeling.

space ship or clown shoe

I haven’t purchased new running shoes in years. While I can’t blame them for  my lead feet, they are definitely worn down to match the degrees of my pronation. It’s not extreme, but does become self reinforcing.

I’ve leaned towards minimalist-ish shoes since reading Born to Run ten plus years ago. It called into assumptions that our feet need to be swaddled with cushy heels and arch support.  I don’t want to go into details but bottom line: challenge orthodoxy in a way that seems logical? Sign me up! I’m not patient enough to build up thick skin to run barefoot or attentive enough to dodge hazards. The Vibram foot gloves looked like they would be as hard to get into as a wet suit. I landed on Newtons, a lightweight, “neutral” shoe. Every year or so, I ordered a new pair on line from the company because they were not as easy to find in stores… perhaps because ye olde pendulam was swinging.

Today I went to a local running store to get advice on fit and where things stand today. What’s the current thinking on the shoe-injury – performance – comfort relationship?

Hmm, it’s ten and I need to be up early tomorrow. Ten mile slog to the lake and back ( fingers crossed) plus kiddo coming home from a two week trip to my parents (❤️).

Bottom line is I’m torn between a super cushy space ship (from Hoka) and a barely there clown shoe (from Altra).

I came home empty handed because I couldn’t choose. They are getting a different size to try for the space ship and different color for the clown shoe (I run away from neon) from a sister store. I promised not to go home and order from somewhere else online.

what matters

What matters can be a question or a statement. Open ended, sometimes despairing vs definitive and strong.

Roe v Wade was overturned today. When Michael called me over to share the news I froze in the kitchen. Speechless. It wasn’t a surprise but I had indulged hope.

What rights and protections might fall next? How do I look my child, any child in the eyes? What did I do to stop this from happening? Not much really. Donations and rallies but I haven’t had a singular focus to preserve rights of body autonomy akin to the stunning tenacity of those who have dedicated their lives to stripping them. I didn’t move to a red state to try to change the tide.

And this isn’t just about abortions. It’s about the inane and selective hewing and bowing to only the words of the constitution and not the margins and spaces between them, a document of its time made by flawed people who nonetheless saw beyond their moment and left room for interpretation.

Actually what do I know? I am not a historian or a lawyer. There’s nothing I can say that isn’t already being said.

The question is what do we do now? What matters? It feels frivolous to peck away at my phone, chronicling journeys already taken by so many. But the writing the therapy the running…. it’s all about having more capacity to do what needs doing. And we have a lot of doing ahead of us.

productive avoidance

tread mill read out of workout. 1:44 minutes, 6.58 miles
what a slog! alternated walking and running to meet the goal of 6 to 7 miles

Was having a bit of a hard time today. Slept poorly which is thankfully not the norm and then slept through my alarm which means I missed connecting with my running friend which ugh…. it’s one thing to bail before you are supposed to meet but to simply not show up? I don’t want to be like that although of course it was fine and if the shoe was reversed I wouldn’t be upset either. We get to make mistakes.

Actually, now that I am again  starting to make morning exercise plans with folks, I should remind them not to wait for me unless I text  (and even then not for more than a few mins) . Because if I don’t text that means I am asleep and am not coming. Rare but it happens given my strong owl tendencies. When you haul your ass out of bed at 6am to meet up for a run before work, I don’t want you to wait for me.

I guess it’s a matter of norms, self awareness, courtesy, and deciding how much wiggle room is OK depending on the situation. I am much more of a hard ass on myself than I am on others.

Anyhoo blah blah I started the day with self flaggelation (sp?) but then reminded myself that I quit doing that (may 31 I think) so I dialed it down to grumbling.

But I had a choice. Do the 6 to 7 mile interval run or bail/downgrade the plan?

It was a beautiful day. No excuses. But I wasn’t feeling it. Literally and figuratively. Coughing, sneezing. Took another Covid test. Negative. (I am 9 days out from close contact exposure….10 is CDC’s magic number so  fingers crossed)

Took a bit of a lie down with Rumor. Thoughts racing. Feeling down. Rifled through the coping skills. Seriously it’s cheesy but whatever, I am going to use this hard earned quiver.

my self worth is not defined by my productivity. what if it’s OK to just  pet my dog? I am not a bad person because my husband is the primary bread earner right now and I am flopped here with the dog while he is working instead of doing all the things I could /should be doing. what if all I ever did was sit here and pet the dog? does that make me a terrible person? *

OK. I  am experiencing some anxiety. ah OK I am mad about not running and I also know I need to make a bunch of health care type appointments. ugh making phone calls. OK you can take 20 mins to chill and ground and then get up and make those appointments.

Grounding is one of my fave calm down strategies. I usually start with senses. what can I see, hear, feel etc. My eyes were closed so I focused on hearing. was surprised by all the bird songs at 2pm. I could hear traffic and Rumor breathing. But my mind was still racing and fighting itself. On to the alphabet. Think of a category and list items by letter. But since this is a standby it can be hard to keep it fresh. I speed though the basics (apples, bananas, cheese) which doesn’t end up slowing my brain down. Today I tried to be more more creative. Acorns. Brie. By charcuterie I was like OK that’s enough I am good let’s do something and since I am still moping about running it’s time to schedule my mammogram which is part of why I am feeling anxious to begin with.

I stood up, swung my sword, and made a bunch of appts for me and my kid. I even called insurance for our annual coordination of benefits. nothing like getting a letter from a provider to say hey your insurance isn’t paying because they need to be assured that you don’t have other insurance that should be billed instead and I am like we have no other insurance. my poor husband is “trapped” in his job for the insurance**

So yay I did the things but kinda bc I was avoiding running.

and so I am really proud of myself because at 430ish this afternoon I dragged my butt up to the treadmill*** and fired up the we fix space junk podcast and willed myself to put in 6.5ish miles. it was an interval day which is supposed to mean run mellow and run fast but I alternated walking and running after starting off with a mile of brisk walking. 25 miles at 18-20 mm and 10-10:30mm.

It took a long time. I am doing a 10k in a few weeks and I really don’t want to spend almost 2 hours on the course. that’s my half marathon goal. but this is where I am for now.

*I recognize my extraordinary fortune that allows me to do these thought exercises.

**Michael loves the org he works in and it’s aligned to our values but it’s also very stressful and why don’t we have universal health care so people can feel like they have some breathing room???

***it was beautiful out but I was feeling a major pull to stay close to home

shuffling

oof today I was supposed to run 6 to 7 miles of intervals but then I worked on a project and then it was midday (and even I don’t relish running a long for me distance when it’s 90 and sunny) so I worked on something else and then it was the afternoon and even hotter. I was tempted to say there we go, can’t even stick with a plan for a week, but instead decided to shift things around a bit. But this means I really do need to haul myself out tomorrow morning. Am meeting with friends so that should help. Maybe I’ll take some melatonin. Hard to work against my night owl tendencies. And even then, it’s easier for me to get up at 440am (recent for a flight and the solstice) than good ole 6am.

Ugh sidebar, we have all the windows open to cool down the apartment and one of the fans is basically gonna give me a contact high. I’m all for the legalization of pot but sometimes the skunk factor is too much.

The Longest Day

Michael and I visited “Bloomhenge” (the observatory at the west end of the Bloomingdale Trail) the morning of June 21.

Last night I wrote about my summer solstice melancholy and wondered if Susan Cooper had written a poem to mirror The Shortest Day, a piece I turn to with joy and hope every winter. A cursory online search did not turn anything up, so here’s some noodling, using her first line as a springboard. It’s a draft. . . I have all year to tighten it up!

“The Longest Day”

And so the Longest Day slipped by
No countdowns except 3, 2, 1
I hold my nose and jump
The lake still cold, winter’s loosening hold

Fireflies replace fires
My apple tree is full
A branch grazes the window
Today, I don’t mind the shade

The ice cream truck circles the block again
Children with bare feet and sticky cheeks implore
Just a little more time

The sun will rein
Tomorrow and tomorrow
Abundance does not want a ledger
Languor does not need an accountant

But the shadows keep score
And soon the cicadas will emerge and intone
like a Greek chorus
Summer does not last

I trust the ancestors
They traced the sun
Through fear and famine
White knuckled, cold
Hoping then rejoicing

They built monuments
to remember and remind
Summer may not last
but neither does winter.

Close up of a woman's face. Light complexion. Wet hair. Lake Michigan is behind her, calm and with a reflection of the sun,
A bike ride with friends and a quick dip were a great way to start the summer.