Moe, for better or worse

This blog used to be called "one year in the life of a short fat runner"; then it was called "Am I a runner? you decide." I've decided running isn't the thing I need to talk about'll come up for sure, but it's just one part of me, so I think I'll just call this blog: Moe, for better or worse.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I think...

I'd like to be 10 again.

Would that work for everyone?

Because I'm sorta tired of being an adult and all that comes with it.

And it's not gonna get any easier from now on, is it?

just harder. Much much harder.

I'm just so tired.

My mom's in the hospital again. She's had a bad reaction to her latest chemo and they're trying to get fluids in her and get her stabilized. She'll be ok (as ok as she will ever be now, since she lives with cancer 24/7 for the rest of her life) and she'll go home on Monday. Later this week, she'll go see her oncologist and they'll change her chemo to something else and she'll do ok for a while or she won't, and then they'll try something else.

She's been sick for days, she's lost more weight, she's suffering humiliations and indignities and pain no one should have to face, all in the name of a "cure", which is just a cruel joke, since she'll never be cured. She'll just be kept alive until there's nothing else they can do and then, finally, the cancer will win.

It's going to win anyway.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Addendum to must.stop.worrying: Margaret the seagull

My grandmother, Margaret, loved the ocean and the beach. My mother and I take after her in that respect. My grandmother had leg and back issues her whole life and once told me when she died, she wanted to come back as a seagull (please disregard the issue of my devoutly Catholic Gramma believing in reincarnation...she was Irish...they've got their own thing going on). Her desire to return as a seabird was threefold:

1) she could fly...she would be free of the limitations of her gimpy legs and troubled back

2) she could spend all day, every day at the beach


3) she could poop on people she didn't like.

ah yes. Gramma was a character.

Gramma died about 5 years ago. I was very sad to lose her but she had lived a long time, nearly 93 years, and it was her time to leave this earth.

Except I'm pretty sure she's still earthbound. Well, airbound anyway.

Whenever I am stressed or distraught or anxious...a solitary gull wanders into my view.

Yes, I know I live near the ocean and there are gulls everywhere.

But when I NEED someone...I look up, and there she is...or what I believe is her...and I feel lightened of my burden.

Just a moment ago, I looked into the sidelight of my office door, and saw the view in my window behind me reflected there.

A gull was sitting on the roof of the building across the street looking towards me.

thanks, Gram, for checking in on me.



Have I mentioned I'm a worrier? Dear readers, those of you who know me better than the words on this page know that to say I am a worrier is a grave misrepresentation. "Worrier" doesn't come close to accurately representing my personal occupation...but for lack of a better term to descibe my incessant and unenviably busy head, it will have to suffice.

I worry about everything. Things I can help and things I can't. Things I've said and things I haven't. I worry constantly about the people in my life...but I also worry about stuff. For example, I worry I'm going to lose my engagement ring when I'm driving with my arm out the window and it will be irretrievably lost. That kind of crazy thoughts.

I'm particularly worried about the plans for my upcoming race. I don't seem to know a lot of them, about where to be and when, and what's on the agenda. This is making me very uncomfortable.

Last night I was chatting with a friend and he told me, "you've got to trust people, and not worry about things so much... I understand you're getting stressed, but panicking about the details doesn't un-stress everyone else involved."

He couldn't be more right (although he is a bit of a pot calling this kettle noire) and I'm trying to take some deep breaths and shake off some of tension in my shoulders. I recognize that worrying is a wasted use of energy...but it's also a very difficult habit to break.

I worry that I worry too much. Good grief.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tummy trouble and other issues

So, I've been stressing out a bit about my upcoming relay, Reach the Beach.

1) I'm not really ready to run as much or as often as I have to for it. Bill, my team captain, did me a favor and ended up giving me 3 easy legs of just 13.8 miles total. He says it's just how it worked out, but I was still happy for it.

2) as stated before, I'm worried about others' expectations. I know I will walk some of the course...even if I *think* I can get through the first 2 legs of 3.8 miles each...I tend to doubt I will.

3) I've been having a whole lot of tummy troubles lately. Nausea in the heat, and other issues just generally. My coach is concerned there's something more to it, but I remembered that when I trained for the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk (60 miles in 3 days...that's serious training, trust me), the same issues came up for me. I went through a battery of unpleasant and marginally humiliatiing tests then and they found nothing. I've called my GP and will go in to see her this week, but I just want her to check my thyroid and blood counts. I suspect this is a training issue for me and nothing more. But I AM having anxiety about how this will affect my race. I woke up last night from an anxious dream that I kept having to ditch into the woods in the dark and find a tree. Since I've never actually had to do this in real life...this is terrifying me more than the running. I hope copious amounts of imodium and a race week of a diet of rice, bananas, chicken, plain yogurt and pasta will keep those dreams from becoming a reality. Or I better test out tree squatting in advance. :(

4) I called my massage lady to book an appointment this week and plan to go early next week as calves and legs have been so tight and I can't imagine trying to run any hills like they are right now. Plus my feet intermittently go numb, despite efforts to keep my shoes loose and to wiggle my toes while I'm running. I've got to get to the store (tonight!?!) to get a foam roller, and also check out the Yoga for Inflexible People my friend Maya gave me this weekend.

Never in a million years did I think I would be posting all these details of my physical problems for all the world (or the 10 of you who read...hey, readership is up anyway!) to see. But such is the curse or the beauty of being a runner. We share our good and bad moments....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

But is is fun?

I sent my coach an email updating him on my run this morning. I am running a double today, so this morning was 2 miles, tonight I have to run 4. I received his reply with an interesting question. I thought I would post his question and my answer. Make of it what you will.

Coach: I have a many of your runs are actually fun? 1 out of 3, 1 out of 5, 1 out of 7, 1 out of 10........

My response:

Fun? it's supposed to be fun?

ok seriously...not so many. When I take Penny it's more fun. When I go with someone else and it goes pretty well, it's fun. (When I go with someone else and it's doesn't go well, it's no fun at all.) When I just don't care and I see interesting things, like heron or hawks or owls or bunnies, or neighbors with puppies, it's fun.

I run a lot more before looking at my watch now and the time goes by much quicker than it used to. I don't count the seconds.

I'm almost always proud of myself when I'm done.

But fun in the sense that I really enjoy it while I'm doing it? rarely.

It's so hard, I'm too slow, I generally feel awkward and ungainly. I have constant calf tightness and cramping, I worry about how my stomach will hold up, I feel like I tire too easily and i know I give up too soon. Hills are hard and I sometimes walk them. Sometimes I can't make myself go another step running...even if I had just said to myself, just go another 5 mins or to that tree or to the intersection.

Trail runing can be fun. Running downhill is always fun. I get to go fast. I get to feel how I think other runners must feel...light on my feet, without struggling, without pain or tightness, longer stride and easy pace. Sometimes, I'll run uphill and I can catch my breath and really enjoy running the downhill part. Sometimes I run uphill, just so I can run downhill since I know I will enjoy it.

I've always thought I would enjoy it more if I were a little faster. Because I would love to be in the middle of pack in a race wearing some silly costume and just running for fun. I don't race my races anyway...but I'm too slow to have fun with them. When you're 5th from one cares if you're in a funny hat...they aren't even watching.

Having said all of that...there is a sweet spot for me. Around 3-4 miles in...things change. My legs are warmed up and feel good. I run faster and better for about 1-2 miles around then if i can keep up the momentum. This hasn't been true on my long runs lately and I don't know why.

So to answer your question...I don't know. Overall, maybe 1 in 5? A better question might often do I really hate my run. Because that percentage is less than how often I really enjoy them. I hate them maybe 1 in 20. Once a month, maybe, I think this is the stupidest thing I've ever tried to do and I want to sit down and cry. I think, someone like me has no business trying to do this. That I look like a complete a$$hole and I'm fooling no one.

That's maybe once a month. Less maybe.

Here's the thing about it, Glenn. I enjoy my runs when I don't care how they go. When I walk when I want to, and run the hard hills and get to the top and think, damn that was hard. When I stop to look at trees, or talk to neighbors or pet someone's dog. I'll stop to investigate the bullfrogs croaking beside the lake or pick up a nickel or a stone, or smell some flowers. If I don't care how they go and I just want to run for 30 mins, then they're pretty fun.

So training can be hard for me. I never feel adequate or prepared. If the most fun I have running is when I'm running and walking and stopping and can I train for something where the only thing I'm supposed to do is run? I LOVE the social part of running...the friends I've made and the race expo and the entertainment on the course and the post race fun. I've had a LOT of fun in races, when I've run with Lori or Lora or Victoria and Chris. Those weren't all great races, in terms of time or pace or how I did overall, but they were FUN.

I just hope I disappoint no one at RTB...mostly myself. If I make it fun for me...will others be disappointed? I don't know. They are real runners...I am not a real runner. I am a runner maybe, but I just don't have the talent or skill or interest or dedication that others do. I can be a better runner I'm sure (I AM a better runner than I was a year ago), but a good runner? not likely. Just like I'll never be thin or tall or's just not gonna happen.

You've gotten me all choked up writing about this. You always make me cry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Haven't posted much lately...

haven't had much to say I guess.

Been busy doing fun stuff, but nothing so interesting I wanted to share it here.

Been running but not so well or so badly I need to mention it. I did run the most I've ever run in a week last week...but it's not so much as to be commended. Esp during the Olympics...somehow my 17.3 miles seems pretty paltry.

Been working hard and hardly working in about equal parts.

I am glad that my friends are finding peace within themselves and their situations, for the most part and I pray for the ones who haven't yet.

I'm saddened by my mother's situation but happy she's still keeping up her spirits, even if it's means she's cranky and irritable and repeats herself. Go ahead, Ma, be deserve to be.

To end this uninteresting post...a couple of pix of the fam this weekend from our picnic in Lars Andersen Park.

Happy dog

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back from the I have to be?

As you may have noticed...I haven't posted lately. We were on vacation at Sagamore on Cape Cod. It was truly a lovely 9 days, relaxing at the beach and enjoying time with my family. Even my sister came down with her kids for a couple of days.

This was one of the best places to of the dune looking down to the ocean

my favorite thing...swimming

Grampa and Maddie

Me and Roberto on the beach

Me and John

My sister and me...someone used a lot of suncreen that day

Look what I found! (and put back where I found it)

a rainbow!

Proof! I really did get in my runs while I was away...well, most of them anyway

me, happy

Sunday, August 10, 2008


There's a reason my 6 mile long run felt sooooo hard:

View Interactive Map on

because it was over 7 miles.