Cooking with love


“Noooo! I love it!!! Make it again, that weird rice with the eggs and carrots,” the children cooed as they pranced around their mawmaw’s legs while walking into the kitchen in the morning.

“Yea? Haha.. You liked that, huh?” She softly said as she smiled.

Joan pulled a frying pan from the lower cabinet and washed her hands. She pulled some eggs and carrots from the refrigerator. The rice was sitting on the counter from the night before, perfect rice for fried rice.

Americans like to call it “sticky rice” because they had grown accustomed to products like Uncle Ben’s rice which is processed so that the individual grains don’t stick to one another. This is what as known as simply “rice” in Japan, or “gohan” which happens to be also another word for meal.

Joan liked the sticky rice and was glad the children enjoyed it as well. She felt humored and somewhat worldly using it. Only but a few months prior had she opened herself up to what is known as “sushi” which she had mistaken for raw fish and had thought it disgusting. Turns out, she said, “it’s not so bad” and she could bring this up in conversation with her new daughter in law who is half Japanese, half American. Joan loved to cook and this was something they had in common and often they would watch each other cooking in the kitchen. Joan would make cajun food, and Michelle Japanese. This is when she spied her daughter in law making fried rice.

“Oooo, I always wanted to learn to make that,” she said upon seeing how much her grandchildren loved it. She lived to make her grandchildren smile. It was her heart and soul now. The quilts, the books, the trips to the aquarium, the camping trips, the games, the holding of hands, the secrets whispered in their tiny ears … all for them. She was particularly gifted in making people feel loved. And she made them feel very very loved.

The fried rice seemed to get the children to eat their veggies. You eat your veggies and you’re being healthy. She liked that. And the bonus was, there wasn’t even a struggle. They just ate it all up. The “trick” was particularly fun to her as it tapped into the elementary school teacher in her where she was always pouring honey over the english lessons and charming the children, her students, into learning and having a desire to read and study. She could be sweet like that and quite clever so when she saw this, she wanted to learn.

One morning her daughter in law walked into the kitchen and caught Joan laughing at herself standing over the stove.

“How do you do this?!” she giggled.

Michelle looked into the pan. The rice was coated with egg and the carrots were still crunchy as they do not cook as quickly as egg. The rice was starting to stick to the pan and the soy sauce was beginning to caramelize, stick and smoke. She stirred furiously and turned the fire off laughing the whole time. She didn’t burn it, so she took a taste.

“Well, it tastes ok haha,” she smiled and looked at Michelle who tasted it, smiled and agreed.

“What did you make, Mawmaw?!” Daisy asked.

“Um…. I tried to make fried rice like your mom, but it didn’t turn out so well,” she said with a grinning and giggling with humilty, “You want to try it?”

She put some of the rice mixture on plates for Daisy and the boys, her brothers, who looked up with their big eyes and chubby cheeks.

“MMMMMM it’s delicious, Mawmaw!” Daisy affirmed.

Joan never did learn to make fried rice. She just got too many requests for “Eggs and Rice” which is what they called it after that. She would remember to throw the carrots in first so they could soften a bit more and then to coat the rice and carrots with the eggs and just to add salt rather than soy and it seemed to work out just fine. Raven put a little ketchup on it without saying a word and everyone ate up their vegetables. A breakfast with love is never a bad breakfast.

Apple Pie


Sometimes It’s just good to stay in and meditate on apple pie and not worry about the complicated nature of things. Trust your instincts in the moment. Don’t get wound up and frustrated about things. Walk away if you don’t like what’s going down. Don’t let yourself be disrespected. You can see the worminess of people who know they’ve done you wrong but want to come crawling back. It’s kind of entertaining anyway. You allow it, or not. Up to you. Forgiveness is a thing afterall. Besides, one day it might be you. It’s a different way to just move on, or “move forward”, if you prefer, as in “move forward with your life”. I think it’s important not to remain stagnant. I find sometimes it is easy for me to get caught up in other people. Like my loves. Is it physical addiction? Do I truly enjoy their company? Is it leading? Is it following? Do I respect them? Do I listen?

Whatever the situation, it distracts me from myself and my own inner dialogue and most importantly, it distracts me from what I need to do to move my life forward.

That’s annoying. Really, I’m just getting annoyed with myself for allowing it.

Some people say it isn’t good to have boundaries. Boundaries are different than walls. Walls are some kind of rudimentary protective measure. Boundaries are you defining what is okay and not okay with you in a relationship. I suppose you can respect walls, but you definitely need to respect boundaries. Whether you are respecting your own or someone else’s walls or boundaries, you are building trust. Do you trust yourself? Are you strong enough to defend your boundaries while still letting people inside your walls?

I want to be like Wilson, the 6 month old watermelon that resides in the media hole on my shelf in my kitchen. I picked him up the other day figuring it was time to throw him out. He was rock solid. Probably mush on the inside. That’s not why I want to be like him though. When I think about watermelons I think about that luscious sweet interior that hides within the tough rind. Sometimes the rind is bitter. But sometimes the rind is cool and clean tasting, like cucumber. I want to be like that: cool, clean and lusciously sweet on the inside.

Don’t worry, I realize I can’t keep Wilson “the trust watermelon”  forever. Eventually, Linus grows up and has to give up his blankie. Or not – he is a cartoon, I guess. Bad example. Before you know it, I will be saying I want to be like Linus because he’s a cartoon … and that would be dull… trapped in a two dimensional world for my whole of existence… which would be forever like a vampire of the celluloid and digital reproduction sort.

Just home from a night out. Pie cooled and beautiful sitting on the island. Perfectly browned. The perfect mix of hawaiin salt in crust and sweet buttery bourbon on melted green apple on the inside … This. … This is all the matters now.

The Light

Was super excited when it was 3:30 in the afternoon and it wasn’t dark out anymore. I had just woken up from a nap. Only a few hours sleep the night before, but still the nap was light. Just couldn’t sleep. When I did finally fall asleep I had crazy dreams. Almost felt like I’d been sweating in my sleep they were so fierce, but when I opened my eyes there was nothing.

Were they bicycles or motor bikes? Was it a carnival or circus? I think I was a little kid in the dream. I remember looking up into a face of a man with longer hair, kinda wavy, dark and he had dark eyes. The memory is a little blurry. The dream felt real like a flashback to a real memory. Maybe I blocked this person out of my subconscious somehow. Maybe I knew him from a past life. Or a future life.

My imaginings went on and on. I wanted all the possibilities to be real.

For now, it time to work. Time to get up. Time to pay the bills and drink the coffee. Time to leave my imaginings behind while I go out and move my body through space and complete tasks and such. Luckily, the world I live in is actually pretty colorful. Especially now that the darkness is going away. Still, sometimes it gets cloudy, but now every day we we have more and more light earlier and earlier until summer. I always fear the  darkness just a little bit. I wonder if I will go into some kind of hibernation of sorts that I wont recover from. Then I watch myself become pale and lifeless, almost green.

I want the leaves to be green. I want the grass to be green. I don’t want my skin to be green. I struggle with my appearances enough as it is. Being a light shade of green really wouldn’t help my case.

I walked the dog the other day and peeking out from the snow were bright green leaves. Were the Crocus confused or was this a different plant? Looked quite bushy and full for Crocus leaves and there was a lot of it in this one little patch in the park. Just there. No where else. I felt pleased and yet sad at the same time for the poor confused hopeful plant. The dog and I just walked by. There wasn’t really anything to do about it. It is just nature after all and it will have to figure itself out as it always does.

Now it is night. I look up at the partly cloudy sky and see the clouds floating past the stars and moon. The same clouds that prevented me from seeing the sun and blue sky earlier. They don’t seem grey anymore when illuminated from behind by the white white moon and a few glimmering stars. Still, I will be happy if they just keep moving on their merry way in the darkness now while we sleep giving way to a warm, bright light in the morning when we will be one more day closer to summer.

Cold and silent

Must have been meant to walk home and enjoy the silence tonight because my phone died mid conversation.

No one was out as it is quite cold, but that refreshing crisp air on my face quickly brought a flood of memories from my childhood when I indulged in the winter days as I did the summer.

My eyes fell upon the street light glimmering on the ice glazed snow and the calm of the pond in the park where the old school outdoor ice skating rink is. The river was high and fast today. I thought how easy it would be to get swept away in it.

When I was a youngin, we often went way up to the upper peninsula of Michigan and get a cabin in the woods around Iron River. It was easy to spend all day in the cold and snow. Some of the nordic skiing trails were so remote, you could go out and not see people for hours. Just you and the freshly fallen snow and the reeds and tall grasses. Cold and silent. Still. Peaceful.

Of course, I use the word “cold”, but I was not cold. It was the air. Clean. Blue. Full of puffy white clouds. Crisp. The air was perfect. And I loved to gaze on the crystalline reflectiveness of the untouched snow. Only the fire in the cabin following a good ski could pair with this, and maybe some hot chocolate.

If I wanted to see people, I could go to the alpine ski runs or visit my friend who took care of the clydesdales and ran the sleigh. The obviousness of the joy in swooshing past pine trees and laughing and snowball fights would always ensue – along with a mid run spiced cider in the warm glow of the tavern. All this was my precursor to the wonderful Rocky Mountain skiing – where the runs were miles long.

A flood of memories spurred just by the cold silent crisp air turning my cheeks pink on a quick walk home.

Happiness and Love

Buddha;s hand and head

When I think about the synthesis of all that’s happened in the past few weeks and all that I’ve done, I realize how easy it is to think superficially about it. It’s reactionary. It’s thrill seeking. It’s crazy. It’s just me pushing myself too hard. It’s me over compensating for some thing I feel I’m not.

How about the idea of just being in the present moment. Being fully present. Not being afraid – even though I was sometime – a healthy fear because if I didn’t have that, I might fall off a cliff. Not hesitating – even though I did hesitate to make the decision to run the marathon until that morning and I felt pretty good, so I went for it. Not thinking about the future – even though I should have because I was definitely in a lot of pain in my shoulder Sunday night after the marathon  – not to mention my legs – trying to sleep…. but isn’t that to be expected? Not thinking about the past – because Sam and I got into a huge blow out fight the week prior unfortunately – yet the reasons for the fight seemed  to have burned off albeit we proceeded with a little trepidation for the first few hours of seeing each other.

I have been accused of being a plan maker. Honestly, after some failures due to plan making in the past, I’ve given it up. It can be difficult for some around me because I’m a little bit fly-by-night really – just living by intuition and following (or subduing) desire. I close my eyes and feel this single fleeting moment – I open my eyes and see clearly all these possibilities – I am … or … I am that, as Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj would say (something to strive for, at least) – I am here, right now in this present moment within and among everything.

As a yogi immersed in the yoga world for so long, I used to roll my eyes at that concept after the 3000th person said it as if it were new … Now, being a little more away from it, I am happy to say I can appreciate it again. There’s been a lot of change and a lot of growth throughout my years – which is the primary reason I write. I write this as a deconstruction of the ‘why’ I do things for myself – and for who ever else finds some comfort or answers in it. It is not a need to explain myself just a synthesis cued by the  words ‘adrenaline junkie’. And, if I am that – I am a slow one.

Some would think that following desire is purely hedonistic, but it’s not. Life this way is far from wallowing in the swells of debauchery. I have found, actually, trust of self and others becomes much stronger and I hone my instinct much more succinctly by allowing myself this freedom. Say, I could sleep with whoever I want … but I don’t. I could drink all day long … but I don’t. I could run off and live in the wilderness … but I don’t … I could do a lot of things, I suppose … but my desire to be a good, thoughtful and reflective person exists and so … I don’t.

All this in the pursuit of happiness and love. Happiness and love: for self, for others, for the earth, for art (inanimate objects), for other living creatures (animate objects), for destruction (whereby there comes growth), for understanding of philosophy.

Anyone who has hunted for happiness and love will probably agree on it’s futility. Yet, still, we either hunt for it, exist in it or have abandoned it.

So, what does this have to do with the fact that I would run a marathon and hike a fairly difficult trail with a broken collarbone? The answer simply is because I can. Matt Fitzgerald sites in his book Brain Training for Runners how when it becomes publicized that an athlete has broken a barrier – the 4 minute mile for example – then suddenly people realize it is possible and the barrier that existed for decades suddenly is broken multiple times within the next few years.

Now, I’m certainly not saying everyone should go run a marathon with broken bones. What I am saying is that it was thought out, it was intuitive and it’s possible to do fairly safely. (It’s especially nice when you have a good friend who brings you ibuprofen at mile 17 on the run.)

Does this make me happy? Yea, kinda. I’m pretty happy I completed the mission at hand, so to speak… even if it was moment by moment decision making. Does it make me feel or give love? Yea, it kinda does. There was a lot of camaraderie on the trail and among marathoners, and, on a level up, there is the care that closer friends give to each other, and the care we take of ourselves. And, isn’t that the definition of love? To care deeply. There was no fighting or bickering over stupid things – there was just admiration, affection, feelings of warmth and closeness.

Maybe it doesn’t always happen this way – maybe I got lucky. It’s okay…. I’ll take it.  I’m not going to lie – it was a lot of work. And it was all worth it. And I don’t mind getting a little luck anytime anyway. Who would?

This time of year especially can be difficult in the pursuit of happiness and love. Seems to be the time of year when everyone questions love and is too stressed to be happy. This is exactly the opposite of how we’re supposed to feel around the winter holidays – but it’s usually inevitable. So this paragraph is a reminder to just focus on what’s really important to you and to let the rest go. Be late. Don’t worry. Smile. Hug. Greet people. Be kind. Slow down. It will all be okay – and hey if you forget something there will always be the next day and the day after that and you trust yourself – you’ll get it done.

Okay  – that’s it for now … work beckons.

With happiness and love,



Honolulu + Kauai

It’s not going to be relaxing and it’s not going to be normal … my last words before leaving in case anyone got any fancy ideas about me going to Hawaii for a vacation.


Arrive. No plan.
Sam searches for an uber sans luck.
Michelle walks over to the lone tourist bus,
“Hey, can I ask you sumpin’?”
“Wuts up?” says Nelly, a local bus driver no more than 25 years old.
Nelly, totally ghetto gangster with hushed expletives, tattoos ablaze from knuckles to neckline, new to professional bus driving stopped to say hi to friends, made the delay totally worth the people watch.
She hustles us all the way to Pensacola Street where we’re staying even though she was supposed to drop us in the hotel district at Ala Moana.
Her 2 year old girl just broke her collarbone also. I told her she’ll heal up in no time. Definitely a kindred spirit.

Selena welcomes us graciously to her small apartment down a few steps- single small bathroom, chickens outside, hot, no A/C…
Marriot resort, eat your single-serving heart out, this is the (somewhat) sketchy side Honolulu – dirty aluminum lawn chair laden high heel dumpster cigarette smokin’ beautiful… and apparently there has been a mattress-microwave-tv-throwing-out party around the neighborhood.

Warm house, warmer heart, huge Christmas tree in a sparse apartment… Wiccan books streaming off the shelves, midwife paraphernalia on the walls, peaceful smile of a calm soul.

As ravenous as we are smelly from the flight, not a hi goes by before “Where to eat where to eat?”
Sidestreet Inn she says.
We make our way a few miles down the road toward just short of Waikiki where a small side street called Hopaka exists in an alley like fashion….
We walk in the dive diner bar where we are welcomed and served the very best BBQ and fried rice either of us have ever had, along with a few long boards.
The best goddamn fried rice and ribs in the Western Hemisphere – side street inn in Honolulu – which you know had to be good when you get it served by the nicest transvestite in town
Michelle dreamed of fried rice that night.
And peas the next
“Flied lice… Peas…” Sam was concerned but didn’t say anything, didn’t want to wake the dragon.

There was even a rooster outside our Airbnb room in Honolulu to wake us at the crack of dawn…but it was cheap and clean and our host was very kind.

Saturday we head to the expo – bilingual Japanese -Engrish.
Michelle loved it.

Sam gets me a t-shirt, saying I’ll regret it if I don’t.

Isn’t that true though? She’ll wear that shirt at the next marathon, would bet a good lunch on that. She looks great in a pink Honolulu marathon shirt, suits her!

Straight to Waikiki beach, clutching marathon packets, six pack of longboards, broken collarbone.
Swimming in pacific, beer-lubricated naps, only way to relax before a godawful 3am wake up call.
Sunset with last longboard beers, sundowners on Waikiki beach is difficult to beat.
Now home to prepare.

The wake up at 3:30 was no problem….except for Sam who felt like someone was trying to drag him out his grave by his long-forgotten hair. Michelle felt great and had no trouble getting gear on while sipping the Starbucks Via in a Hawaiian Water water bottle. Shorts, bib pins, shoes on, knee wraps and ibuprofen for her, vitamins, clif bar, athletic tape on collarbone… etc…. And we walk/ uber to the race start.

Omg I couldn’t wake up, Michelle is luckily like a marathon steamroller, out and moving, I’m dragging heels.
She wants to walk, I call an uber. Takes forever but we make it down to the bustling, overall way-too-enthusiastic crowd.
Toilet lines long enough to have people sleeping in the process, too much bright clothing, porta-potties are already gross.
A bustle to the start line, forget corrals we’re already going to be 5 minutes late.

“Have a safe and pleasant 26 miles,” the announcer says in Engrish and Japanese.
The American and Hawaiian anthems are sung.
5am start.
The fireworks go off.
We run.
Lots and lots of people to dodge.

I feel great running in the dark hoping to get in as much as I can before 1) the sun comes up and 2) the pain meds wear off while still trying to pace myself for a long run.

She bolts off, scampering between people. We seem to be in a group of people aiming to walk from the 5th mile. Don’t fight it, let the crowd disperse, I suggest. She keeps flitting around obstacle-people, I fall back, waiting for it to settle. She takes off, I see her in the distance.

I find myself at Diamond Head – love running up hill … High five-ing volunteers all the way – I run along the banner so I can pass /stretch-the-banner while going around a thick bunch.
It’s the only time I really pass anyone – two hills feel great both the up and the down.
There’s a turn around coming.
I look for Sam knowing he’s somewhere ahead…
Around mile 16 he sees me and flips around to run and walk with me re-doing 4 miles… He sees a drug store and dodges into the lot… I wait and stretch and he reappears with a bottle of ibuprofen and a bag of red fish candies.
It’s a long hot walk now.
Sore feet all around.
Taiko drummers, 日本人 passing out chocolate candies and sliced oranges … An American sitting in a lawn chair around mile 23 passing out cold Kirin in red solos…

I can see her hurting, shoulder is causing problems, surprised she made it this far.
I don’t want to force her, she is running as hard as she can, when she can.
Little runs, frustration+pain and she slows down to a walk again. Respect that she is still moving, collarbone jutting into skin, looks unbelievably sore+red with all the jostling.
Last mile is like New York – down hill into a park. True to form she takes off, just like all the bike rides – opens up on the last mile. Finish strong.
Collapses on the grass. She must be dying. A volunteer brings her Gatorade, I massage legs while calling her a weenie.

“Wow, it’s really hot in Hawaii…” she mutters.

Mission accomplished.
Pain-laced high-five.
2 minute breather.
Scramble for a taxi.
It’s time for the next challenge – the Kalalau trail.

Kalalau trail, top ten most dangerous trails in the U.S. (Backpacker magazine) – And top 20 in the world (Outside magazine).

Perfect post marathon hike.

Watching Michelle enjoy a mcfillet… Surprises abound. (Only because Sam kept her too busy after the marathon.…) At a Walmart no less… the only Walmart in Kauai – which is only 27 miles across – and is where the bus picks you up and takes you to hanalei, a 30 minute ride, for only $2 from Lihue to the Hanalei post office.

We meet River there (real name Michael) who was eating his frozen veggies from the bag with his camping spoon and has been coming to Kauai since 1984 to backpack and get away from the city he lives in in California. He reassures us about traveling around and backpacking in Kauai and takes the bus with us just short of Hanalei chatting the whole time. I have a stomach ache that set in while we waited for the bus and the round gentleman behind us lit up a cigarette as he waited also next to his Walmart shopping cart.

Thumb out.
We meet Kane who gives us a lift at Hanalei, a kind soul with baby Lila in the back… Giving us an unofficial tour as we go over several single lane bridges in the dark to Ha’ena beach, about 20 minutes up the road and right around the corner from where he lives.

The ranger catches us at 6am, still dark, chats with us a bit and we show him the permit for Kalalau feigning ignorance about the different beaches and having pity, lets us off without paying.. “As long as I don’t see you again,” he says.

Chickens are everywhere..
Sam will have nightmares about roosters crowing for days maybe weeks.. Roosters : the unofficial bird of Kauai and Kauai’s official alarm cluck.

So muddy and feet sore, Michelle goes barefoot mostly and occasionally flip flops hiking in. Broken collarbones and slipping while hiking with flip flops – two not-so-good ideas
Sam slips twice on the mud … The gods must have been watching because it was exactly when he teases about walking barefoot in the mud …. Michelle finally slips near the end of the hike I slipped on loose gravel going down hill – which could have happened when wearing shoes – still, with a broken clavicle it hurt like a bitch … Final count so far 4-2….

Rock kicking mountain goats.. Because the trail just isn’t challenging enough. “Here dodge rocks, humans!” Baaaaa hahahahhaha says the goats as they peer down from above while we scamper along a twelve inch ledge on a 300 foot cliff.

Pheasants.. Lots of game birds… Peaceful business minding game birds.

Giant bull frogs … and pig fences with no signs of pigs.

Helicopters constantly flying overhead watching for people off route. Slippery mud on the route – people falling – slippery rocks..

Barren iron lose gravel lava rock high over water peering down a sheer cliff means you’re almost there…. The last of five or six environmental changes: tall grass, brush, yucca forests, thick root filled mud, giant muddy rock steps, smooth river rock laden streams and waterfalls. Wrap around every fold.. you hike in and out of the sun, in and out of the canopy.

Water fall shower at Kalalau beach, evidence of a soap holder and a comfy flat rock to stand on. feels great!

Hippies everywhere.. But luckily not over populated…
Naked people enjoying the beach..

Hippy nirvana straight out of the movie ‘the beach’…
‘Nirvana for only 10 miles, this week only! S&H not included.’

Dripping with sweat..
Muddy legs..
Sore feet sore quads everything hurts,

Raging ocean waves .. Cerulean water, beautiful but with a fearsome undertow… the water feels good and there’s plenty of beachy stretch and sand bar pools with fish schools.
Still, it makes Sam nervous as he is paddling like crazy, hoping she, the one-armed-bandit doesn’t get pulled out to sea.. Knowing this she hangs back and enjoys a pool the second visit into the water and enjoys watching him frolic about – exactly the thing to do when you have two good working arms. And the water is strong – the waves do put up a good fight and if it came down to it, it would be waves 1 human 0.

Searching for “the most beautiful beach” searching for Shangri-la … But … The kid in me wants to too … Dustin and Kyle want to swim around the rock to get the next beach over.
You’d have to be a champion swimmer to make it and even then it would be risky. They’re excited …. but after battling waves with true hippie-newcomer-starry-eyed hope, they turn back to the safety shoreline. Everyone relieved. No one wants to see hippie hamburger made by 20 foot waves smashing humans on the unforgiving lava rock mountainside.

Searching for the ripest passion fruit, fruity happiness… this is easy success and thirst quenching.

… and there’s a wave runner coming ashore … motorboat waiting in the distance .. boats aren’t allowed to come into the coastline. They take Striker out – he has a giant abscess on his tonsil and needs medical attention.

Early departure boooooo… 5am, up at 3:30 hiking out in dark.. Michelle wears here nice Solomon hiking shoes this time. ..the cat call became “flied lice!” where the only response could be “peas!”

After seven fast hours we’re out, cold shower at Ha’ena beach after getting off the trail (wow did THAT feel good!). Want to stay for a month not a day and two nights .. Want to go back and brew beer and try some of that wine the Kauai boys made and kayak with Striker in April…. Sounds fun at least … Watched some older folks who probably (unofficially) live there just wander the tenuous 11 mile trail I think just to go get some milk! Like it was nothin’.

Ok, now it’s 4-3. #Ouchie.

Pack Out what you Pack In! Nobody wants to see your trash, holmes. Not your fresh wipes or plastic bottles … NO EXCEPTIONS. And bury your tp and stuff 150 feet away from a water source – If I can do it ~ you can too!
Yeah Michelle’s a bear cos she poops in the woods🙂

Back at Hanakapiai beach – the last two miles and as far as the clean people make it – smelled the horrible smell of tourists touristing the Hanakapiai falls and beach with their cameras … snapping pics of their girlfriends falling off the dangerous slippery rock at the stream crossing … Sam tries to help the hopeless…
“Just cut the line, let the weak ones go” Sam imagines her saying as he tries get one to unlatch itself from the rock, 3 inches of hazardous water just below…. Michelle gathers the walking poles as they float swiftly away …

“Hey! You know she’s trying to get across – you could let her get across!” one rude clean tourist says as he holds his camera up taking aim at the clean waif with hiking poles who is nervous and about to fall in.
“I don’t know who you’re talking to, but that guy (Sam) is helping that lady across (as he did every time) – I suggest it should be you – How about you put that camera away,” I say as sploosh … too late, she falls in … embarrassed smile and he suddenly realizes where he is and makes his way over to help., foolish expression on face

Caught a ride out from some Ben and Laurin who also hit the trail hard just as Sam was starting to lose faith in the hitchhiking system from Ha’ena back to Lihue. He didn’t say anything – but I knew he was sore and exhausted … Ben reminds her of how you never know the levels of other people’s experiences and training … I suppose at least they are trying to experience nature and appreciate … It’s really good to just appreciate and have respect … White toe sandals from target and all up the ten inch thick mud and slippery rocks….

Got an amazing lunch at the fish market and found a sweet juice shop where we got beer juice and Sam even got a blue green algae juice (ewwwww! (Yum!)) – dubbed Avatar, I am Torak Maktow! *avatar bird sounds*
~Sam is a nerd….omg~

Glad the beach is INACCESSIBLE except by foot and kayak (only a few times a year)…. Keeps it solid. Keeps it authentic.

Took a bus back into Honolulu and and uber to Hawaii Kai to George and Chikako’s house for our last night. Starving and thirsting for cold beer – they honored us generously with their company and brought our leftovers from a party they were having – ribs and edamame, blueberry chipotle on brie and a few longboards… Couldn’t ask for more and lights went out hard.

She barely made it to the bed, worn down to that sleep of children, blissful exhaustion. Takes a lot to get to that point these days, the more you train the harder it becomes… what a dragon to chase.


Running [pt 1]


Its raining. He does not see the problem.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to journal. I’ve been so busy – just slammed with one thing after another. Lately feeling a lot of pressure from certain people to act a certain way. Mostly, I’ve just been busy – most hours filled with obligations. Within the spaces, I think. Probably, just like you. And, probably, just like you, I lose the thoughts. Many of them, at least. They just get swept away in the busyness and in the flow of time. Moments and thoughts experienced like trees falling in the forest with time relentlessly pushing on.

Yesterday I went on my first 20 mile run. It wasn’t bad. I guess that story of knees and pain and avoidance and recovery began many years ago while I skied my knees into oblivion. Now, in just three weeks I run my first marathon. It will be long and difficult, but I am ready. I am not very good at going to bed early and getting up early. That will be a challenge. My pace was pretty much on track yesterday. I wanted to stay within the ten minute mile area and I did that. The half marathon I ran a few weeks ago was a little better time – but definitely the biggest challenge at first was just the need to be up and awake and ready for the race’s time frame. It isn’t early, 7am. I am just lazy. I know that during the marathon itself I wont fall into the lull of boredom I do when I run alone for that period of time. The energy of the race spectators, other runners and volunteers can carry you, so I think my pace will be ok.

The practice of running has been an adventure itself for me – more an inward adventure. Primarily because I had abandoned the idea of running since my knees were so bad. Basically what I had done – once on each side at different times – was break and hit ice which cause me to over strain my ACL and MCL. No tears that I know of. I’m too stubborn to go in for a doctor visit.

The first time, I had to make a sudden stop on Perry’s Peak, one of my favorite runs at Winter Park in Colorado. It was in about 2 or 3 feet of fresh powder – so had I fallen correctly I’d probably be okay. But there was a child in front of me and he had fallen and all I could see when I came around the bend was a leg and ski sticking straight up out of the snow. Really only his boot and ski were showing as the rest of him was buried. I dug my edge into the snow and it cut all the way down to the bottom. My knee buckled, but I came to a stop. I flipped around and helped the kid up out of the snow and we slid down 20 feet to get his other ski. After he went on, I had to stop. My knee went sideways. That night and the next few days my knee was the size of a basketball. I iced and bandaged it, but it still wanted to bend to the left and right rather than front to back. Not good.

The second time was a few years later at the same mountain, but this time we went up to an ice bowl at about 11,000 feet and skied along the ridge. Conditions were bad so we broke right and slid down the bowl which was purely ice, no snow. I accelerated rapidly and there weren’t many options for braking or slowing so I just went with it. The tree line was fast approaching so I began to dig in lightly left and right dodging gnarly ice balls along the way. I hit one and I hit the ground hard, tumbled and slid. (I really wish I would had a Garmin on me at the time as I always wondered how fast I was going.) I don’t ski on ice that often and, actually, I don’t recommend it at all.

Being the stubborn girl I am, I got up after swearing very loudly for about three minutes. I slid down through the trees mostly on one leg and it dumped me out around the glades where there was ample powdery goodness to sit in. I hadn’t realized it, but my friend called snow patrol. I kept going down the glade thinking I had about another solid 1500 or so feet to go at least to the bottom and then I’d have to work my way to the lodge. Luckily, snow patrol found me. It was the first time I was ever in the sled. They bundled me up and pulled me down to the med tent. It was kinda fun. They examined me as best they could, asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital (which I refused) and wrapped up my knee in a cardboard sling. They also gave me a handicap parking permit which we promptly used at the overcrowded bar in Mary Jane territory. I hobbled in with my cardboard sling and we laugh about how ridiculous it was and counted our blessings that it was about 4 and the last run of the day anyway.

Running, as a hobby, would not be a fun option for me.

So a tale of healing and redemption begins. Well, a tale of healing at least. The first thing to note, since I wasn’t about to have surgery, is that I knew I needed to strengthen the area somehow. Cycling seemed to work. After a few years of cycling, especially on hills, my legs were strong enough to run short distances. I entered a few 5k’s and sprint triathlons. After that I went to a mega sprint, olympic distance and half ironman.

Now, do not read into this any more than you have to. I am no super athlete and I certainly am not fast. Each race entry gave me a goal to aim for and train for. Some of them were sponsored, which makes it easier since they can get pricey. In 2012 I was dating the guest emcee for the Chicago triathlon and because CBS was a sponsor of the race, he could get entries. I believe it was about $275 each at the time. It was a very fun race and my first taste at a longer distance triathlon. I was pretty proud of Dave for taking on the challenge with me since he had back surgery just a few years prior and was also anxious to get his physicality back and get over his injuries.

We all have injuries, don’t we. Some seen, some unseen. Never the less, it is important to want to get over them and have the patience to work for that goal of temperance. It does take time. I spend a few hours a week as a fitness instructor also, and I see a lot of people ride the line of intimidation and being overwhelmed with courage and patience. It can be tough, but if you stop you never get there. Pause is okay. Stop is not okay. I see clients look at other people who have years under their belts and they think they are not good enough or they aren’t fit enough or they can’t do (insert activity here). But they can. They just have to persist. My favorite hat says, “Be Tenacious”. I got it because even though I was the super slowest newest triathlete at the training camp, I gave up my seat on the SAG van to someone who was having more serious issues than me and my overall weakness. I slogged out the rest of the hilly 60 miles back to the motel in Solvang outside Santa Barbara and a their dinner, they awarded me with the hat.

This is especially why it is important to stay focused on ones self – and the other side of the coin is kindness (to others and yourself). You never know what people will reveal to you or what you might learn about yourself: fears, phobias, injuries, past challenges to overcome, emotional issues. You never know. So you can’t really judge accurately – not that really we should be judgmental anyway, but it is in our nature to compare. Also, and more importantly, we are all on our own path. The journey is so personal even though it is physical. No one can do the work for you.

When I had gotten back from riding the hills in Santa Barbara, I went back to riding flats in Illinois and hot yoga. My knees touched as I went into utkatasana, chair pose. My quads were popping out of my legs protecting my knees and my knees felt great. I don’t think I kept track of things like elevation gain or mileage back then, but I wish I would have. We rode at least 200 miles in the week and I’m guessing maybe some of the rides had at least 2500 feet in elevation gain. It was tough. I can fully admit crying when I landed at Jalama Beach out of relief – the half way point – similar to that feeling of finishing a really difficult race.

Fast forward to another sponsored race. It was the half marathon this year. A good friend of mine is an owner at Two Brothers’ Brewing Company, a sponsor of the race, and he had given me and a few people I know the entries. I have run 13+ miles maybe just a handful of times. My goal was to stay within the ten minute mile pace and to use this as a training run for my first marathon. I managed to run that pace even with a potty stop and even though I walked through each water stop.

I think it is really good to have some practice races before the race you’re aiming at as a reminder of all the little things. This is especially true of triathlon because of transitions, but is good even just for a long run race.

Okay, wait. I am skipping too far ahead. How did this marathon entry even come about? I really never ever ever ever (ever!) thought I would run a marathon and I certainly never thought I would want to run a marathon. First of all, I didn’t think I could. Second of all, I don’t really even like running.

Back in May I met a guy, Sam. (Okay, I know, I know …. this is how all the worst stories begin. Just hold your horses and read.)

Sam and I met at an acro yoga workshop I was holding at our local studio. Everyone exchanged details so we could swap photos online and talk about the next workshop and so on. About a week later I sent out a message to a good dozen or so people because I had gotten free Cubs tickets – and they were really good seats. He said he could meet up after and that he would be downtown anyway. Alex, they guy I went with, suggested we all meet up at Pub Royale to grab some snacks and faux Pimm’s Cups. We went to Goldstar after that, played some pool and talked more. I would learn Sam is a special kind of crazy. Maybe even my kind of crazy. A rare type of person indeed.

Sam had cycled everywhere – mostly commuting – and had at least one hundo under his belt which he rode on a broken Specialized Rockhopper all the way from Chicago to Milwaukee. He never heard of Strava and he wasn’t really a cyclist. He liked being active and he liked being outdoors. He loves challenges and he loves doing things he loves to do and he’s done them all around the world.

So, I invited him to join Strava.

For me, it’s all very utilitarian with a smidge of fun. I love riding hills and I am always joining various Strava challenges. Some I complete, some I don’t. I mostly join them so that at the end of it all I can see how many trophies I acquire just naturally – from doing what I can and want to do. They create little mini goals for me. I’ve never considered myself a competitive person, but this way I can keep track of what I’m doing.

Out of pure randomness, I asked Sam if he wanted to do a climbing challenge and that I signed up for it – it was to spread awareness for the inequity in Nepal. The challenge was to get 29,029 feet in elevation gain by bicycle in the month of June. At first we didn’t realize that it was strictly cycling so we ran hills and stairs. Strava didn’t count the stairs because it couldn’t pick up the GPS (about 1000 feet) and the hill repeats didn’t count toward the challenge, but that was maybe only 800 feet lost. By near the end of June Strava had only calculated 22,826 feet for me and Sam had about 2500 more in elevation gain since he went out at least once, maybe twice without me. We pretty much almost killed each other. He took it very seriously. Year to date, I have 34,695 feet in cycling gain (1156 miles) and 5174 feet in running elevation gain (324 miles). It’s not much, but it is a PR for me.

After that Sam asked me if I wanted to do the Honolulu marathon with him. I knew he also had the Marine Corps Marathon and NYC on the books and he just added a local race called the Fox Valley 26.2. I couldn’t believe he was going to run 4 marathons. He later added the Naperville Marathon which means five marathons in 2015, three of which were one week apart from each other plus he ran 26.2 miles from Naperville to Chicago as a training and bucketlist run. Another bit of training and self challenge was his ten by ten: ten miles a day for ten days in a row. “It’s a thing,” he said. I don’t think so.

I told him I wasn’t a runner, but I would cross train with him. We did yoga, rock climbed and rode and I did a few other things for him like give him an old Forerunner I was no longer using since I bought a new riding Garmin. He asked me again. Of course Sam doesn’t really ask, it’s more like he challenges. And he is relatively kind on people considering how hard he is on himself. He said he’d even sponsor the entry and help me train and that he knew I could do it. So I agreed. Besides, doesn’t that sound like more fun than just taking money for the watch or whatever else?

On July 26th I completed my 8th triathlon with my friend, Danny, who was completing his first triathlon. It’s always a very special thing, that first triathlon. I was proud and honored to have been there to share it with him. He did great! I, however, will need to work a lot harder if I plan to run a marathon. The short 4 mile run killed me until I got to the end – the little hill put me in gear and my adrenaline kicked in, but it wasn’t enough to get me on the podium. I was less than a minute off third and less than six minutes for 1st in my age group and I had way too much energy left over.


July 26th, Game Day, how exciting! Except I would not be playing in a game, rather my first triathlon – The Holiday Man Mega Sprint Triathlon. Although I’ve played in hundreds of games throughout my life, those subtle, exciting and anxious feelings of competing in a race were all the same. I picked up my friend Michelle, who is not only an experienced triathlete, but was the person who encouraged me to get here.

I had just completed the Tough Mudder on May 9th for the 3rd year in a row and was sharing that experience with her. She shared her triathlon and biking experiences with me in return. Although I appreciated her stories and accomplishments, I could not relate never having gone through those experiences myself.

In mid-May, Michelle lent me one of her road bikes to try out, which turned out to be a fun experience. I believe we rode maybe 15 or 20 miles and my legs were pretty toasted. I thought, riding a bike regularly during the summer would be a fun way to keep in shape as I get older and save these abused knees of mine. Shortly, thereafter, Michelle brought up the idea of doing a triathlon.

I was currently signing up for Chicago Spartan races, so without hesitation, I signed up for the Holiday Man Sprint Triathlon. Had I given the thought more than two minutes, I would not have committed to the race due to my fear and lack of swimming experience.

Baseball, basketball, and football are sports I’ve had experience with and embrace the competition. When I line up against my opponent, I feel extremely confident regardless of their physical attributes or experience. A triathlon is completely out of my comfort zone and I was scared to death.
Running four miles at the end, okay, I can probably do that given I do mud races although I’m not a runner. 17.6 mile bike, well, I just did 15 or 20 miles on my first ride so that sounds doable. 700 meter swim, somebody please help me! Overcoming the fear of the swim leg of the race would be my primary focus.
During the last few years my emotional intelligence has grown leaps and bounds and is something I feel blessed to become aware of and try to understand. The primary reason I’ve seen growth has been due to trying things that I was emotionally a little afraid or uncomfortable with. As far as triathlon goes, the main challenge comes with the fact I don’t like being in water. When I was a kid, I would clean my parents’ pool for an hour to make sure it was spotless. I didn’t like dirt in a pool for some reason, but I could baseball all day with filthy hands and face and think nothing of it.

A few times during marco polo, I would get an extremely sharp pain in the left side of my head while swimming underwater. The handful of times it occurred it was scary. I’ve told nobody about it to this day.
As a kid, my dad took us on a friend’s boat in the lake. Everyone jumped in to go swimming except me. I knew how to swim; I just didn’t like dirty water. However, after the swim, the adults pulled out water skis. All the guys and a few of the older girls either did it or attempted it. Then they let a few of us kids try to water ski. My dad gave me some instructions, plus I was observant with everyone before me. I couldn’t wait to go in the water and try it! So there I was, sitting in the water holding the rope, skis up. The engine floored and the boat started forward. Believe it or not, I got up on my first try and I went for about 30 seconds to a minute or so. Everyone was so excited for me.
So I am good at marco polo and water skiing, big freakin deal. Now I need to practice freestyle swimming here at the X Sport pool in Naperville. I gave it a shot and swam all the way to the other end, 25 meters, then rested for about two minutes to catch my breath. That first day of training I swam 4 more lengths, but only made it to the end of the pool two out of the four lengths without stopping and touching the bottom of the pool. So I’m not a strong swimmer….and I call myself a natural athlete?
May 26th, I walked out of the Endure It bike shop in Naperville spending $3K after a bike fitting for a sweet Cervelo S2 road bike. The owner was very nice and she asked me about my intentions for purchasing this road bike. I explained I had my first triathlon sprint race scheduled in exactly 60 days and needed a bike. She gave me her training sessions and times for biking, running, and swimming.
I’m not sure what 60 day training plan I was expecting, but I didn’t worry about it. I’m a go with the flow person and sometimes lady luck follows those who are good natured, open and friendly with their energy. I took the advice from Endure It and booked a handful of compu trainer sessions. The instructor and fellow bikers were all very nice. I learned a lot from them. I took my road bike on the street a handful of times, usually 15 to 20 miles. Then one day in June I decided to go 50 miles. However, after eating lunch by the river in St. Charles after mile 40. I rode until I got tired and hit the 100 mile marker by the time I got home.
A few rides later, my friend Michelle invited me to ride with an experienced group for the 4th of July Joliet metric Century ride. That was truly a great experience riding with such a large group, I learned how to draft, shift gears efficiently and I completed my second century ride just over 5 weeks of owning my cool, new bike. I knew that evening I would probably enjoy fun future rides, let alone not have to worry at all about the 17 mile bike leg of the triathlon.
The running…. man! I’ve never enjoyed running to run. I enjoyed sprinting, running fast, and beating competition on the field, the court, or stealing bases on the diamond. What I don’t enjoy is running miles. So I joined the Endure It group and ran on the track with them for a handful of sessions. There were some good drills, training and exercises.
I was one of the slowest runners during the runs, but a) I was not in running shape, and b) I have knee issues. Aside from wearing patella tendon knee braces and looking like a 40 year old dude wearing knee braces, I thought I did pretty good overall. During the basic 50 or 100 meter dashes (including hill runs one day), I was in the top 3 every dash. It’s good to know I still got a gear left. One morning I ran 4 miles. My prior running times were around 9 minute miles, but that day I finished near 7 minute 30 second mile. I knew then the 4 miles for the triathlon post swim and bike would be fine …. as long as I didn’t drown in the lake swim.
6:00 p.m., Thursday, July 9th, Centennial Beach. I was working on my swim in the lanes trying to get better when I noticed I was off course. So I kicked my right leg out to get back on course when I twisted my knee. Holy mother fuckers! Talk about intense pain! At that moment, I knew I either sprained my knee or tore something. So just to mentally play it off I decided to go straight to yoga class that night as though everything was fine.
Months later in September I got an MRI to reveal torn meniscus, bone spurs, and grade 3 osteoarthritis. 80% lateral meniscus gone on the right side of knee and some quadriceps tendinitis. The leg kick that day did not cause all of that. ACL reconstruction at 17, plus years of athletics just brought conditions to that moment.
Back to July now, the entire race was in jeopardy, heck I couldn’t even straighten my leg, walk downstairs, or bend my knee 90 degrees. Despite all of this, I decided to go to two Monday triathlon open swims at Centennial Beach. Prior to those two weeks, I would have backed out of the race, especially given the knee pain. However, I received priceless training in the beginner’s group that became the game changer: How to site your targets, how to swim on your back to regain your breath, and how to swim in open water.
The defining moment occurred after the second practice as I knew I could keep cool, regain my breath by swimming on my back and knowing I would not drown come race day. It probably sounds silly to swimmers or those who do triathlons, but my longest freestyle swim prior to race day was 100 meters. So there you have it, aside from two swimming sessions and some yoga, I rested for the next two weeks. Thursday, July 23rd, I could walk downstairs! Knee would not straighten or bend 90 degrees, but I could at least walk downstairs!! All I need to know now is if I can ride my bike without pain. I rode 4 laps around the block, no pain. Check!
Now back to standing in the sand at Lake Holiday the morning of July 26th. The bike and gear is all set up in transition area. I’m gauging the energy and vibe off of the other racers. I realized most racers are probably trying to hit some personal goal. My goal was to not drown. After taking in the moment, I held my composure and didn’t let the moment get bigger than it needed to be. It was probably being in this similar moment a hundred times before, but right before the start I was relaxed, cool, focused, and confident. Most of the time, you need to be in that focus to excel or win.
“Wave two, go!”
I decided to take my time to enter the water to not slow down the other competitors. Sure I was a number of times while swimming, but it didn’t faze or distract me. I knew this would happen, and a few bumps are easier to manage than getting blown up by a linebacker on the football field. I made my way through the swim rather nicely. I rolled on my back a number of times to catch my breath, and then I turned around to swim again. I noticed a few times when I turned from my back to the swim that I saw the same people. I felt as though I was swimming rather swiftly in general, maybe that’s a good sign if I let some guys pass me while on my back only to catch them again and again during my freestyle swim.
Finally, the beach! The swim was coming to an end and I thought, “Awesome, I didn’t drown!” I thought, “Okay Danny, when you get out of the water sprint to the transition area!” I departed the water and what the hell? I am so flippin dizzy right now! Everybody is cheering, this is inspiring, so try not to fall from dizziness, you idiot. Just walk straight, don’t fall! After walking 30 seconds or so I jogged while dizzy to the transition area. I sat down, changed my shoes, put on my bike shirt, but I could not catch my breath. I watched a number of racers come and go. Finally, I started to get my breath and left the transition area. If my GPS didn’t fall off during the swim, I may have broken the record for worst post swim transition time ever in the history of Holiday Man!
Now it’s my favorite phase, biking! Two goals I set for myself: 1) nobody passes you, and 2) stay at/above 20 mph. Well, I passed over 20 or 30 bikers during the ride, so that felt good. But I failed goal 1, 4 bikers passed me, three of them women. They just didn’t pass me, they flew by me! I also realized more riders would have passed me but they were already ahead of me cause of the swim, whatev’s. Regardless, I held 20 mph for most of the ride, a few spots in the 19’s mph. My stupid lower back started to hurt around mile 13, so I had to constantly stand up and sit down to relieve the lower back pressure. The approach worked fine and I completed the bike.
Transition 2 went so much better than transition 1. I put on the mega knee brace and changed shoes rather quickly. Purpose of the mega knee brace was to prevent me from trying to burst during the run. The brace keeps my knee around 50 degrees, so I would never really straighten it or bend it too much, like you would a sprint. I was tired from the swim and bike, so odds of doing that anyway were low. With moderate knee pain aside, I ran okay and finished the race. I think the run was around 8:45 to 9:00 minute mile, I can’t recall exactly and it doesn’t matter anyway.
It was nice having my friend Michelle there at the race. While I’ve done the Spartan races alone, it was nice to have a fellow racer there for support and encouragement. I also found the crowds near the transition area and during the run to be encouraging. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses, confidence and fears. After crossing the finish line, I could not be more proud of the moment I entered the race. I knew not being an experienced swimmer, coupled with disliking water, would provide a huge mental challenge. I was extremely frustrated when I hurt my knee during the short training phase, but I was glad it was good enough to allow me to compete. I’m not a fan of excuses. I’m very grateful for the experience of my first triathlon, and the process leading up to it is something I will probably never forget.]

After Holiday Man, I started training. I ran a bunch of three and five milers and a few tens and thirteens. On October 17th, I ace bandaged my knees and ran my first fifteen miler. Just two months shy of Honolulu. My ankles and calves were all seized up. I dreaded it, complained and made jokes pretty much the whole last five miles. I thought to myself that I have to really careful to avoid injury this close to the race date and I want to continuously improve my recovery time.

I picked up some kale, spinach, beets, glucosamine and a new multivitamin from the Whole Foods and made a commitment to green smoothies and taking vitamins daily. Then on the 25th, just a week later, I ran 16.6 miles with my dog. I was aiming for 20, but he stopped running around 16 miles, we walked a bit and I turned off my GPS. I had forgotten water and gels. I could have stopped at a drinking fountain, but since I forgot his water too I opted to go without. I felt great after, but I think he slept for three days straight not even acknowledging my existence when I’d pass by.

Nearly a month later, on November 20th, I ran my first 20 miler. I wrapped knees up, filled up water bottles, threw some Salted Caramel Gu and Untapped maple syrup in my pocket and went out alone with a sad faced dog staring at me through the window. I really wanted to keep it within the ten minute mile pace, but I got bored half way through. If my body is feeling okay, it really becomes a mental game finding flow and getting singularly in the zone. I imagined myself on the marathon. I thought, I will be walking through water stations to pace myself. So, I stopped and stretched every so often. Even in the 30 degree weather I was warm so I took off my jacket. I took my gels about every hour. I stopped once to refill my water bottles. I paced myself and over came the boredom. Especially on the last few blocks to the finish – I noticed I had some steam left and bolted. I had my phone out because I was near the end and didn’t want to run short of the 20 mile mark. I looked at my phone. I was running in the 6 and 7 minute mile pace and because I only had .2 miles left I kept bookin’ it. I knew I couldn’t hold that pace for too long, but it felt good. Overall, I completed the 20 miles and managed to stay within the ten mile pace. The next day I ran 6 in 4 inches of snow which means my recovery time is also improving.

Just the year prior I had been training with my friend, Blane, who, near then end of the season started calling me gimpy because my knees were just that bad. We mostly cycled. He is another one of those people with that certain kind of crazy persistence. He is an animal when it comes to hills and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. The last time we ran together I knew I had to give it up – it was just no fun to run with me anymore and what is the point if it’s no fun? I remember that last run – My knee pinched so bad so I’d stop, then, knowing I had a few miles to go, I’d bolt. Then, I’d stop, hobble and bolt again just trying to get it over with. I’d run as fast and lightly as I could barely touching the ground with my left foot until it pinched again. It was just no fun and I cared way too much about my friend to drag him through that again so I shied away from running anymore committing myself to rides only.

So how did my legs change so much in just a year where I can run 15, 17, 20 miles without issue? Preparation? I’d bandage myself up a lot. Lots of extra hill riding. Dedication? I committed to running much more – including recovery time, but then right back to it. I considered nutrition more seriously as well knowing the damage running does to any body, but especially mine. Luck? Honestly, there has just got to be some luck in there – I mean, even all this training and nutrition is trial and error for the most part anyway. A hard ass partner? Yea, probably a little bit of that as well. A pill taken with temperance, tolerance and some serious ignoring every now and then too. You can grow some thick skin this way for sure.

Fast forward to Black Friday. Blane comes by to pick me up for Matt Wagner’s annual Black Friday ride at about 8:30. It’s estimated to be about 50 miles in cold, wet, hilly, rocky, rooty, muddy conditions and there will be booze informally starting at 10:30 am in the garage and one formal bar stop at Imperial Oak Brewery around 3pm, about 9 miles from the finish. Sam tells me I am not allowed to injure myself – we only have two weeks until Honolulu. The ride is exactly as predicted: cold, wet (rainy even), muddy, rocky, rooty, hilly, boozy, fast, exhausting, fun, crazy and… did I mention crazy? With a hint of Swallow Cliff stairs at the end… Did I mention I chose the steel framed mountain bike for this epic adventure? Don’t worry – It’s only 125 limestone stairs to climb in your clip ins with the 30 pound bike in the misty rain.

Survived. Injury Free.

If I remember correctly, Blane and I even saved enough energy to sit around with the guys for a few more hours after for garage libations and a lil chit chat.

Tuesday – time for office work.

I jump on my bike and head to work… riding along merrily on the sidewalk, on the road, through the grass… a route I’ve taken hundreds of times…. when my front wheel hits something causing it to turn, slip my grip and bam… I flip and break my collarbone on the handlebar. I lay there on the ground. I think for a moment, maybe it isn’t broken. I try to move; it’s broken. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Goddammit. I’m so pissed. I have to call Sue. I have to call Chief. I’m not going into work (fuck). I can’t make my bootcamp classes (goddammit). How am I going to run? (Shit fuck damn….) The pain is making me nauseous. I call Jim to see if he’s available to pick me up – he is. I lay there. It’s sunny. It’s chilly, but I’m not cold. I just wait quietly.

Previous Older Entries