my running anniversary

running, trail running, why I run

The husband and I suited up a few weekends ago for a cold morning trail run. It was the weekend of the Lawrence Farmer’s Market Holiday Fair, so we stopped by to check it out while we gave the earth a little more time to warm up.  As we wandered into a booth, the artist looks at us and says “looks like you guys either just got done running or are on your way to run.”  That was the first time someone who didn’t know me identified me as a runner.  And I realized…in that moment…it was because I AM a runner.  


I have officially been running for 6 years. That’s right….6!  Most of the time I lose track until I do the math in my head and every year around this time the number takes me by surprise.  It’s been a long journey. A hard journey. An inspiring journey.  And certainly not a journey I ever thought I would take.  

Along the way, I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot, and I’m not sure I would have made it through everything if I didn’t have the streets and the trails and my own two feet as an outlet.

I have run distances from 3 miles to 13.1 miles. On some days a 3 miler can be just as difficult as those 13 miles were.

I learned 13 miles is really far and there are miles of that run I still, to this day, don’t remember. I also learned during those miles that you can’t give up. Out in the middle of 13 miles, giving up just isn’t an option.

I learned no run is ever the same. And only about 1 out of every 7 is a good run. The other 6 are runs with aches or a cramp or something I’m have to figure out.

I have run in the rain, snow, sub-zero temps, temperatures well over 90 and in the dark. I’ll take running in the winter any day.

I have slipped on ice and fallen on my a** and tripped during a race and split my knee open. In both instances I learned how to get up…NOT cry…and make it to the end of the run.

I have run with anger and hate and sadness.  

Friends have died and friends have disappeared along the way. I have run through both.

I learned how to run on trails and discovered what I do when I encounter a snake. I jump…high. And scream like a girl.

I have learned one of the hardest things to do is stay motivated. The couch always looks like the better option. But I know now it’s not…and the feeling of being done with a run as opposed to regretting I didn’t run is the better feeling.

I learned new shoes are the best thing in the world. So are new running clothes.

I learned I love being part of the running community. They take you in regardless of your experience and cheer for you at the finish lines even if they finished well ahead of you.

The best part of my adventure came this year when I found two unlikely and unexpected cohorts in crime. One motivates me online (you know who you are D) and the other from my own house. I may not run with either of them often or at all…but I love they have joined my insane love/hate relationship with running.

Here’s to a great new year of running in 2013!

favorite 5 of the week

holidays, mixology, martinis

1. A successful Secret Santa in the office.  Everyone had fun, everyone laughed a little all week and I received a sweet photograph taken by one of my employees.  How he knew I liked black and white photography and ponds I’ll never know.

2. Finding out that even though we don’t have kids to bring to the party, our favorite 6 year old twins were very upset the husband and I might not make their party this year.  I was super happy we made it even if just for a while.

3. Getting our computer back up and running. On our own.  For relatively little money.

4. Sunday morning yoga with the husband.  I successfully led us through 90 minutes of yoga.  I even made him sweat a little!

5. Sunday afternoon mixology with my niece.  The husband was recruited (by me) to mix martinis at my family holiday gathering and my niece helped shake things up.

the asylum

A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere.  Inside this building is a business.  A business with 50 employees.  A business making money and creating products.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment.  “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond absurd situations.  Anyone who stays on board for 2 years will win $2 million.  No one has lasted that long.  Welcome to the Asylum

 

Episode 4

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

8:40
Max catches movement out of the corner of her eye as she reads the CNN headlines on her computer. She looks up just in time to see the boss walk by. Weird, she’s never here this early.

8:50
Max gets an email from the boss…it has been sent to group marketing.

Subject: FOOD
Hey, get the eating started early and enjoy some muffins, chocolate milk and OJ.

– The boss

Great, Max thinks, that’s what we need…one more day added to the expanding waistline season? She hates food tables b/c of the touching of food by others, but it’s an excuse to get up so she wanders over to the food table.

She walks up to the table and sees 12 muffins.

M (in her head): Are you kidding me? She brought in 12 muffins? For a department of 25? How do you grab that few muffins and think yup, that will work?

1:50
It’s about time for the annual ‘Suck Up (sorry Giving Thanks) Fest’ the sales department organizes. The head of sales gathers his troops, brings in a ton of food and then gives thanks to the people they are asses to all year.

Max doesn’t have the time (or energy) to wander upstairs. She’s scrambling to get work done before her days off and she has no desire to hobnob with the man who talks to her like she is 5.

2:20
‘Suck Up Fest’ organizer wanders downstairs and circles the floor. Max is pretty sure he is taking a headcount of those who didn’t attend his lavish food offering.

2:45
Radio from the mail room stops Max.

R: Hey, Adam was looking for you at the Giving Thanks thing upstairs.

M: Yea, I had a lot of work I was trying to finish up.

R: Well he looked super upset you didn’t go up to see his thanks he posted just for you.

M: I’ll have to catch up with him later

She tries to edge out of the conversation at this point.

R: Well, I just told him he would have to give you a wet floor next time he sees you.

M (in her head): I don’t know what that MEANS.

M (out loud): Nervous laughter

She wanders off hoping Adam doesn’t know what that means either because she is not interested in finding out what that involves.

the asylum

asylum, work,

A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere.  Inside this building is a business.  A business with 50 employees.  A business making money and creating products.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment.  “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond absurd situations.  Anyone who stays on board for 2 years will win $2 million.  No one has lasted that long.  Welcome to the Asylum

 

Episode 3

Today Max discovers her boss is putting together a daily update meeting.  Are you kidding me, she thinks to herself.  She knows exactly what this meeting is about.  Its being put in place for one guy who can’t keep his shit organized.  It’s just going to be 5 minutes her boss promises. Yea right, Max thinks.  When does a meeting around here ever last just a few minutes?

9:30

The first “daily update meeting” happens.  The 5 minute meeting goes 45 minutes with Max’s coworker making excuses over and over for why projects are not completed or running behind.  She only speaks once when asked where her projects are. The answer…complete or waiting on the boss for feedback or approval.

Awesome. She has this to look forward to every day.

11:15 Boss is now on a conference call and is SCREAMING into the speaker phone. Max wonders if the boss thinks they can’t hear her because the other party is half way across the country.  Other supervisor on the call is stuttering…which means he is confused and nervous.

2:00 Radio from the mail room wanders in with a sample stack of this month’s brochures.

M: Who are those for?

R: You

M: I told you last month I didn’t need a stack anymore.

Radio just looks at her and then wanders out.  She assumes next month she will again get a stack.  He is clearly not worried about waste…or thinking for that matter.

the asylum

the asylum

A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere.  Inside this building is a business.  A business with 50 employees.  A business making money and creating products.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment.  “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond absurd situations.  Anyone who stays on board for 2 years will win $2 million.  No one has lasted that long.  Welcome to the Asylum

Episode 2

8:20 – Max stands in the lobby waiting for the elevator.  It’s only three flights up but it’s hot and she’s tired.  She just hopes Saul is off the crutches so he can stop annoying people.  The elevator bell chimes, the doors slide open and there sits Saul in a wheelchair.

You have got to be shitting me, Max thinks.

He is faced towards the back wall because he was clearly unable to wheel in and then maneuver around to face forward.  She is thankful he was not able to see her face when the doors slid open.

She has stood dumbfounded for so long the elevator doors are now shutting and she has to throw her leg into the doorway to stop them.  He cranes his neck and sees it’s her so she says good morning but leaves it at that. As usual she tries to limit conversation and refuses to ask what happened.

It is the most awkward elevator ride in history.

The doors open and Max bolts out ahead of Saul hoping to make it to Lark’s cube so she can alert him to the grand entrance that is about to unfold.  She arrives at Lark’s cube unable to breathe.

M: Stand up

L: What, why?

M (panting & laughing): Just seriously stand up.

Lark stands up just as Saul is coming around the corner.

L: What the….

He quickly sits down and looks at Max. He too is now laughing. Max just stands there shaking her head. She can’t even fathom what would have happened that would force him into a wheelchair. She tells Lark he is responsible for finding out the story and then heads to her office.

She watches out her fishbowl window as Saul asks his cube mate to remove his chair from his cube.  He is apparently going to stay in the wheelchair all day instead of get in and out of it.  She then proceeds to watch him hit his left wall, back up, then hit the right wall, back up and then hit the left wall again before finally lining it up well enough to roll into his cube.

10:20:  Max sees Saul telling his story in the kitchen and decides she doesn’t need water after all.

12:15: Max sees Saul trying to get in the office door that locks over the lunch hour. He can’t reach the card reader.

1:30: Saul has a fellow employee caught halfway in the bathroom telling his story. Poor guy just wants to pee.

2:15: Lark shows up in her doorway.

L: All right I’ve got scoop. He says while he was trying to hobble around on one foot, his other ankle gave out.  He apparently has weak ankles.

M: Of course he does.

L: Story has it, he used to weigh 300 lbs. (Saul is about 5’8) and carrying around all that weight caused his ankles to weaken.

M: You would think his ankles would be stronger from carrying around that weight.

L:  The story gets better. Apparently he couldn’t find a way in to work, so he called Sue who was already here at work and asked if she would come get him.

M: What? Why couldn’t his boyfriend work out delivery?

L:  I have no idea.

M: So does Sue have to take him home tonight?

L: That I don’t know.  My question is why didn’t he just stay home?  If I’m in bad enough shape that I need a wheelchair, I sure as hell am not coming to work.

4:45: Max packs her stuff up for the night and wonders what absurdities the next day will bring.  She makes sure to bolt past Saul’s cube so there is no chance for him to corner her for a ride home. She’s just sorry she will miss the show that will be Saul getting himself and his chair into Sue’s car.

 

the asylum

the asylum, work,

A building exists in a random city in the middle of nowhere.  Inside this building is a business.  A business with 50 employees.  A business making money and creating products.  Or so they want you to believe. This “business” is actually a social experiment. Employees are legitimately hired and paid. But what the employees don’t know is they are there for one man’s entertainment.  “Supervisors” and extra “employees” have been planted and “real” employees are subjected to beyond absurd situations.  Anyone who stays on board for 2 years will win $2 million.  No one has lasted that long.  Welcome to the Asylum.

8:30 AM – It’s Monday.  Max sits and stares out into the office through her wall-size window. The window makes her feel like she works in a fish tank.  No privacy.  She wonders whose great design that was.  She sees Saul arrive; he’s on crutches.

Seriously, she thinks to herself?

Saul is the boss’s pet (a**kisser is probably more accurate).  And he likes attention…lots of it. She can’t wait to hear what happened.  She’s not going to ask though…his stories are too long and she doesn’t like him anyway.

10:00 AM – Lark wanders into her office.

L: Do you want the scoop (knowing fully well she does)

M: Is that a serious question?

L: He twisted his ankle when he fell off A stair.

M: Wait, what?  A stair? As in ONE stair?

L: Yup.

M: And he’s on crutches for that?

L: I couldn’t make that up if I tried.

Who the hell falls off A stair and winds up on crutches, she wonders.

1:00 PM – It’s 108 degrees outside, but it is so cold in her office Max has to put on her fleece jacket to keep from shivering.  She can’t feel her nose.

2:00 – Max looks up and sees Saul heading down the hall.  He has abandoned the 2 crutch method and is currently using 1 crutch and the cube walls for support.  As he grabs each cube wall, the cube resident jolts from the shock wave Saul creates.

Max bets the entire office hopes the crutches are short lived.

**Stories may or may not be true.  All names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

high school reunion

So I went to my high school reunion this past weekend.  And I feel like I should write something about it.  Something revolutionizing, something about how it was better or different than expected. Something.  Anything.  But honestly, I don’t really know what to write.  See it was pretty much what I expected. There were very few classmates there…way less than I expected. And it was simply people who knew each other in high school standing around talking to each other.  And for those who did not know each other, there were these random moments of “hey, how have you been” as they squinted at your chest hoping the name on the name tag would reveal more than the face staring at them.  Yes, everyone was cordial and yes everyone was polite. But just as I expected, what exactly do you talk about with someone you barely spoke to 20 years ago?

I was glad I had taken the husband, and I was excited we caught up with a friend from long ago and his wife. He was as cool as I had remembered and super easy to talk to. But I was really disappointed in all the faces I missed. There were so many classmates in the Facebook group who simply just didn’t show. There’s a guy who plays dodge ball every week I really wanted to talk to. I wanted to hear stories from the girl whose brother I worked with who has an awesome adopted daughter. There’s the mom who I was good friends with who has a house full of adopted foster kids. I wanted to hear all these stories. But something about reunions, or at least this reunion, seems simply uninviting to most.

What I wonder is how do we get THOSE people to show up? Or are those people just not interested in those they never knew to begin with. Or is it that we are so disengaged because of what the Internet and social media provide that we feel we no longer need to gather face to face anymore.

I don’t know why I went. I think it was because I honestly thought more classmates would show. I thought I would get to hear in person the stories I have discovered along the way online. I would still love if some of those stories were shared. Maybe I’ll start and put one of mine together. One that tells someone a little more about who I am and what I stand for. Because who we are and what we stand for 20 years later can simply not be conveyed over three hours of drinks and mingling.

wise word wednesday on a thursday

“Running is like celebrating your soul. There’s so much it can teach us in life.”

– Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run

I have been known to pay money so I can drag myself out of bed at what can only be referred to as the butt crack of dawn and drive halfway across the city to run 3 miles.  Now that the husband has ventured into running with me, he has the pleasure of being drug along with me.  And while a 5 AM wake up call on his only day off of the week may seem brutal, there is a lot that can be learned on these early morning treks.

On this past Sunday morning, we participated in the Blues N Brews 5K down in the crossroads. After the run, the Blues Travelers performed. Here’s a little of what we learned:

  • It is DARK at 5 AM.
  • Watching the moon go down and the sun come up is breathtaking.
  • The dog refuses to get up that early.  We got a “screw you guys, I’m going back to sleep” look as we headed out.
  • The streets of downtown are quiet in the morning.
  • While I was elated to hear Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s ‘Good Vibrations’ pounding at the water stop, I’m sure the residents of the apartment building across the street were not thrilled about the early morning wake up call.
  • The homeless like to stand on corners and blow cigarette smoke in your face during mile 2.
  • Somewhere in Kansas City lives a man over 65 who can still crank out 3 miles in 24 minutes.
  • You are not a true rock star until you play a concert on a Saturday night then rally the next morning at 7 AM to play again for a bunch of crazy runners.  We heard the guitar player for the opening band was smashed by 9:00 the night before but was back on stage and sounded great the next morning.
  • Sometimes when you get up early you are rewarded with sweet swag…like a cool medal that is actually a bottle opener (see what you’re missing out on D?).
  • Runners like to drink…duh, that’s why we run.
  • The Blues Travelers still sound fantastic…even after all those gun charges.
  • Running…it does a body good.