30 November 2010

Puppy Love or Puppy Hate?

I know a lot of runners adore their dogs as their running partners. There are even races for dogs with their owners. I admit that one of my favourite things to do after I left CO when visiting V in Nederland was to go running with her fiercely loyal, super cute and sweet pit mix, Jasmine. (I knew I would NOT get eaten by a mountain lion when running with Jasmine, and the mountain lion thing was a serious worry.) In college we ran with Zion, my coach's roommate's poorly behaved dog. So running with dogs can be fun.

But I hate running when people have their dogs loose to chase me. I think it's incredibly irresponsible to let your dog run all over your property and chase people and potentially get hit by a car.

This morning, I had five different dogs chase me. It was frightening. The best thing Forrest ever taught me was when a dog comes towards you, run towards it because then it gets the predator-prey roles confused. I also screamed a lot.

The first dog today was out of control chasing me and barking and refusing to retreat. It was fairly frightening. I was lucky enough that a car came down the road and separated the dog and I. The car stopped so I could cross and waited. I waved. Freaked out. The next time, I was running up this steep hill (Seriously, great hills over here. Maybe it's that everywhere but NYC has great hills, but I'm loving the training out here in PA!) and these three dogs came barking like crazy. I screamed a lot and ran down the hill with my head looking back up at them. And then some other stupid dog went nuts and I quickly ran a different way. Misery.

My little sister runs in NC where apparently many people don't see the importance of leashing your dogs. She was once chased by a dog where she had to use her dog mace - and it didn't work. Some "good old Southern boys" rescued her by almost hitting the dog with the truck, and then offering to shoot the dog for her. (She declined their offer.) 

It's frightening. Running in Costa Rica and Argentina, I got chased by dogs all the time (some of which were wild dogs, but that's a whole other story). But here...why are people so moronic that they don't keep their dog on a leash, or if they want their dogs to run, build a fence? Their dogs could easily hurt someone or get hurt.

My dad got bitten by a dog while cycling. A woman yelled at my dad, "He doesn't bite, don't worry," when my dad asked the woman to pull back her dog (and my dad LOVES dogs).

When you try to talk to people, they get offended and nasty. My sister once told a woman whose dog always chased her when she ran down her block about what was happening.

"Maybe you should find a different running route," the woman snippily said.

My sister, so sassy, immediately replied to the heavy woman, "Maybe you should start running. Period."

And then my sister ran away.


"How depressing," I thought this morning as I ran past one of those "developments" where all of the houses look exactly the same. It struck me quickly, though, that those very same inhabitants might find my living situation depressing: a small apartment (compared to their houses) on a fairly ugly block in Brooklyn. My heaven is their hell, and vice versa. I suppose that's why we are all different.

They have a house to spread out their stuff, and I have a city to spread out my personality. Honestly, I think most of us have too much stuff. I need to go through my things and get rid of stuff. I know after I come back from my trip, overwhelmed at my possessions and choices, I will have an easier time combing things out.

It's so interesting how we all live so differently, yet so closely. I love that especially about NYC. My friend Richard was house-sitting for a friend in a luxury Manhattan high-rise. "It's depressing, the view," he told me. "You look out the window and it looks like a cemetery. All the buildings look like tombstones. Like a graveyard." I've never held that perspective and have worked in various tall buildings in NYC; I rather like the view. But I suppose it just proves the beauty that we see is truly in our own eyes only, coming from our own perspective.

27 November 2010

What it is to be in love (an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo Novel)...Special thanks to Brant for reminding me what love is

            “When you’re in love, your toes curl, your legs wobble, you can’t think of anything else. You want to be a better person – not because they want you to, but because they inspire you to.”

25 November 2010


In honour of National Novel Writing Month, I wrote a book. I don't think it's pure crap, and it's actually the best thing I've written in a while. There's tons of polishing to be done, characters to be developed, but I'm pretty much finished with a first rough draft. I'm so pleased! V, you know you'll be getting a copy of it to help me w/ the editing process. Hopefully we can get this one going in the right direction...

This has been a great experiment. I'm so thankful (Hey, it's Thanksgiving, and I'm supposed to be thinking about these sorts of things!) to have been encouraged by my amazing writer friends, including my Naropian friends, and B. This has been such a productive month. I have re-learned my love for writing, which I forgot. The past month I've neglected many things, including phone calls to my mother, sleep, runs, extra hours at work I should have been putting in...to write. It feels good. It reminds me of when I was working on "Unfamous" at Naropa when I called in sick to work because I was on such a roll and couldn't stop writing.

20 November 2010

Happiness: An Excerpt from my NaNoWriMo Novel

            “And love. Love is something you cannot control. You fall for bad people, and then you let them go. This is smart. If you hold onto bad people, the love turns black, decays, destroys you, destroys them. It is good when you let go. Are you glad to be free? Free from that sadness?”
            Audrey had not told The Old Man much about Rishi, but he was very astute. He picked up a lot with the few words she told him about their demise.
            “Yes, I’m happy. It’s weird – you think you’re happy with someone and you’re not. You’re happy with the habit. You’re happy with the familiarity. Of belonging to someone, and of someone belonging to you. You are scared of the unknown, so you convince yourself you are happy. You are happy with someone finding you pretty, finding you satisfactory, happy with someone else being happy.
            “Then you realize that after the initial pain, you’re so much happier. I had surgery years ago, and it hurt like crazy, but afterward, I was so much better and all my problems were solved. That’s what it’s like when you’re in a bad relationship. I finally know what it is to be happy. The other day, I was walking to class, and I just suddenly got all excited, and said to myself, ‘I am so happy.’”
            “So you are good. You understand that being happy is about being honest with yourself.”
            “Yes, and it sometimes it’s hard to be honest like that. It hurt when I was honest, when I saw how awful things were, but the rewards are much better in the end.”
            “Now, Audrey, being happy is about staying in the present moment. So I’m glad you let these bad things go, but don’t constantly focus on them, especially things outside your control. Things you can control, good. Like you ended that bad relationship, good. But your sister, let her be free. You tell me your aunt has problems, too, I don’t know them. But she can worry about them. School, you worry about that, but that’s you. When you study, focus, it will go well. It will all work out in the end. Just always remember that: things always work out in the end.”
            They were all silent, thinking about what The Old Man had said.

Knick Knock: Knickerbocker 60k Race Report

I always said I'd never run the Knickerbocker 60k - it's on roads, it's in Central Park, a place I've run to death...but when Ray K. said he'd be coming to it, I signed up. And then he didn't run it!

But no matter - I got to run with Tony and Peter, see Grace, Steve Tursi, Dave, Marcos, Jackie, and many others. It was so great seeing so many ultrarunners in NYC!

The course is primarily 9 loops of the four-mile loop in Central Park (to cut out the evil Harlem Hills). We headed south on the East Drive by 90th Street (yay, we didn't have to run UP Cat Hill), and proceeded to loop, run, run, run.

The crowd support was pretty fantastic. Other runners in the park, volunteers, ultra family and friends, and other spectators kept us going. One rather hilarious guy had a bunch of different signs (one for each loop), saying things like, "My butt is more sore from sitting here than your legs are from running" and "It's tough! That's why I'm watching and not running" and "I didn't see you on the last loop - can you run it again?" He was great. So were everyone else - just really encouraging and super motivating. I was wearing my Odwalla jacket and my flowered running skirt, and I got a lot of compliments. "Go Odwalla!" "Flowered skirt!" "Pretty!"

It was a cold start but a sunny day. We did a short out-and-back to make the mileage an even 37.2 miles. Tony, Peter and I were banging out some fairly good miles in the beginning, all sub-nines. I moaned, "I thought we were going to slow," and Tony claimed he was going slow. Peter was an ultra virgin, though he is no longer. Yay!

I felt pretty good the first couple loops, but around the 5th loop, I ended up letting Tony go ahead. I slowed down; my butt/hips were sores, and my tummy was feeling unhappy. Shortly after, I ran into my friend Scott, who kindly paced me during the most painful and slow loops of the race.

I got one of those second winds that are so common during ultras, and I pushed hard the last two loops, especially the last loop. I was so happy when I finished to cheering crowds (unusual for ultras, so this was nice), and I received a cute plaque. Marcos saved his life by offering me two Oreos, and I was able to cheer Peter in across the finish line.

Best of all, my 6:10 finishing time is a PR because I never ran this distance before. Wooohooo!

19 November 2010

Knick Knock Knickerbocker 60k

Knickerbocker 60k tomorrow - just a fun run! In the meantime, I'm writing, watching excellent videos, seeing friends, enjoying things. Walking down the street yesterday, I couldn't believe how happy I was...I remember two years ago, Trish yelling at me that I lost my humour, my happiness, my self. I've got it back and it feels wonderful!

18 November 2010

I Am Not Going to Stop

Great video on the mind games we play while running. Sometimes I just try to clear my head...other times, it is way too full for me to empty it.

note: this video is for you, nelson.

15 November 2010

Wagathon Fatass

I did the Wagathon two years ago, and had such a blast at this fatass that I decided to return. This year, Iliana, Grace and I ran together.

The race started and we kept at an easy pace. I'm not training for anything in particular, except trying to maintain my fitness. My next big race is Dances with Dirt Green Swamp Fifty Miler, and my next 100 Miler is Umstead, so I'm just chilling right now. I'm headed to Central America for seven weeks, and I know my training will suffer - so I need to make sure I have a solid base now.

We started off at Sam's Point, and there were some rather rocky portions early on. We ran past a waterfall, had a couple stream crossings but no wet feet, luckily. Eventually, the trail dumped us out in my beloved park, Minnewaska State Park where I did a ton of training runs in college (and also for the Jay Challenge and Vermont 100 Miler and other races). I had lovely memories of running with my teammates...and ironically enough, later ran into Greg, one of my teammates who lives and trains up there.

When I got to the black trail around Awosting, I put my arms in the arm, and began running faster. "These are my trails, I own these trails! This is my favourite place to run in the entire world."

And then I faceplanted.

Sigh. Iliana and Grace picked me up. I was a little shaken up, some scrapes and bruises but nothing too damaged. Something was telling me to put my confidence and ego under control.

I enjoyed the rest of the time around the lake without opening my big mouth.

I knew the trails well, so it was nice to say, "Let's wait to gel until we get to the hill; we can walk there" and "Amazing view ahead!"

Around Lake Minnewaska, we couldn't find one of the trails; I knew a different way to get down, so we opted for that - and it added an extra four miles or so. Oh well, bonus miles!

We all felt in very good shape; no major pain from everyone, just pleasant running. I was especially hungry and chowing down on all my food.

At Mohonk, we ran into Felix and Harry. I told them I would not do The Lemon Squeeze again. I had a miserable time last time in it. When we got to The Giant's Trail, they told me it wasn't a rock scramble, more like a dirt scramble. 

They were wrong. Oh-so-wrong.

Harry was in front, then Iliana, then me, then Grace, then Felix, who ended up disappearing. In the middle of the rock scramble, I began freaking out. I'm not claustrophobic or afraid of heights; it's those giant holes in between rocks where you have to precariously get yourself from rock to rock. I got a little hysterical. At one point, when Harry was investigating below and Iliana was investigating above, and I was told to not move from a very scary rock, Grace calmed me down by asking me about sex. Great technique.

Finally we were able to get out of the area. I felt bad but I just couldn't deal. It was way too scary. We ended up getting lost around trails, stopping cyclists to view their maps and ask for advice. Somehow, we got to the exit.

"We're almost there!"

But somehow we made a four mile loop and ended up exactly where we started. Argh.

We found our way out of the park after seven hours of running. It was fun, it was insane, but it was ultrarunning, the heart of who I truly am.


There's been a lot of discussion in the feminist blogosphere about the new Eminem song featuring Rhianna...for those of you who don't know, this song is essentially about domestic violence. I hate Eminem and think he's generally a jerk, but this song is so powerful I can't help but get it in my head. I disagree with some of what he says in the song (i.e., the tempers on both sides makes me think of a victim-blaming element), but at times, this song really gets how domestic violence can be.

Yesterday on my way to my race, my cabbie was playing this. The entire race I had it in my head, which really disturbed me. I hate how Rhianna keeps singing, "I love the way you lie..."

I have had too many friends victims of domestic violence. Friends calling me crying from closets; friends showing me bruises in Au Bon Pain; friends lying to themselves as you try to believe them but you know the truth. And then your friends going back...and you try not to cry as you know they will be hurt. You can't convince them otherwise; sometimes, it's too late when they realize.

I was never a victim like some of my friends but I have had a few scary incident, including a really awful one that crushed me so bad. I remember hearing, "Yeah, call the cops. They'll just laugh at you." And me so into it, so believing this person, that I didn't call. That is my biggest regret.

I'm supposed to be focusing on updating all these statistics for work and am working at home; this song comes on the radio and I suddenly have a total breakdown - for all my friends, for too many people who are victims...for me realizing how serious things could have gotten worse. Broken walls, holes in closets, broken cups, broken cell phones, violence threatened at my cat, taunts at me, curled up in fetal position, crying, not knowing if it would ever get better, things thrown, not feeling safe, not understanding how someone who loved me could be treating me like this.

I'm glad that I'm out, so glad. I'm glad that none of my friends are currently in a situation that I am aware of. But it makes me wary; who knows that five, ten years down the line, what your partner will suddenly exhibit? It's awful. Worse, it's awful how common it is, how many times men are excused, how many times women keep going back. (And I am aware that women can abuse women, women can abuse men, men can abuse men, but I am speaking of my personal experiences in this post.) I know how hard it can be to leave a relationship, especially if you're convinced you love them.

13 November 2010

New York City Marathon Race Report

Funny how I've procrastinated writing this race report. I had a blast, though my time itself was my second slowest marathon time ever.

I ran Javelina just two weeks prior to NYC Marathon. I dealt with severe ankle, foot, and leg swelling following. A week post-Javelina, the swelling was still terrible, and I got a sports massage. That helped immensely, but I found any run, even of a distance of only 3 miles, left my legs feeling tired. The entire time I'd want to stop. That's not me. I think ideally I should have taken off a few weeks.

My team, North Brooklyn Runners, was super excited. I grabbed onto some of their energy and hoped the combination of that and the crowd support would pull me along.

Kurt, Miriam, Rob and I shared a cab to the Mid-Manhattan Buses, and they were all super nervous. I was excited. However, when I got to the freezing start at 6:15 a.m. and had to wait until 9:40 a.m. to run, I was more than a little cranky. I  alternated between that and super excited, amusing Kurt.

I started in the last corral in wave one. I worried I'd be running alone, but that wasn't the case. I was running with some seriously fantastic people - I know because I took the time to chat with them.

I decided I could approach the race two ways - I could race my heart out and probably crash, and be seriously disappointed I didn't PR.

Or I could run my heart out but not kill myself - run with my heart. Enjoy the crowds, run as fast as I could but enjoy the race.

I chose the latter option and it was great. I wore my pink flamingo running skirt, and the crowds loved it. "Pretty in pink!" "Tutu!" "Pink tutu!" "Princess!" I got a lot of great shouts, and I waved to everyone, enjoying the attention. A little different than Javelina, where I was often running alone. I guess my hallucinations kept me company!

The race was fun. Brooklyn is the best, of course. The people are astounding. I love past running past that school in Fort Greene where that high school band play the Rocky Theme song on repeat. I saw my boss, my parents, tons of friends, and my beloved team, NBR, at Mile 12. That was the best mile. In Greenpoint, I saw Cara and Jason. I missed Rachelle. I missed a lot of people. Some of them saw me as a pink feathery blur.

Queens. I saw Rachel & Megan & Gwendolyn & Ofer. I ran, feeling happy. I ate pretzels while I ran (Thanks, NBR & Mom & Dad). I waved at the crowds. I slapped little kids' hands.

1st Avenue. It started hurting more and more. I ran into Shawn. We caught up with each others' lives. "You're dating a person w/ kids too?" We laughed, traded stories. I let him go in the mid-80s. 

My parents at 90th St. Then Lesley at the gel station. Lesley and I ran together for a while. We talked about being in love (me) or the tension situations (L). We ran into the Bronx.

"God, this hurts." My hips ached. My stomach hurt. I pushed. The Bronx won't let you stop. C'mon, Boogie-down Bronx.

Back into Manhattan. No more bridges. Crowds in Harlem. Smiles. Shouts. It's like you're a rockstar. You don't get that in an ultra. You also don't get miles of shin-slapping pavement. Run faster. And on. The crowds love you. Love you.

Mom and Dad again. Know Mom has magic cookie bars in her bag and I'm starving. 

Mile 24 sucks. Why are all these people shouting? Can't they just shoot me and get it over with? Oh my god, my hips are killing me. Is this a 40-minute mile or what? Where is this stupid finish line? Oh my god, Central Park has way too many hills. Yeah, I know I look pretty in pink, but I feel like hell.

Mile 25. Pretzels and water. And...MAGIC.

Passing people. Later. I'm fast. I'm magic. That's right, I'm pretty in pink. This tutu is full of endorphins. Faster. Yeah, I know I'm awesome, thanks crowds. Yeah, yeah, YAY!

I'm so proud of myself - two weeks after Javelina, and still finishing! I celebrated with my parents - magic cookie bars and lunch, and then, lots of drinks and wonderful food with my awesome team. It was a great New York Day - and a super fun race. My thwarted sense of pain means this race hurt really bad - but hey, it's nothing, NOTHING compared to Javelina.

11 November 2010

What Life Is About On 11-11-2010

 Because this is what life is all about. It's about falling in love with reckless abandon. It's about looking to the sun for ideas, and the moon too. It's about dancing all night at a loud party, and running 50 kilometers the next day on beautiful trails. It's about drinking too much caffeine, having lots of sex, and kissing until your lips hurt. It's about expressing who you are however you can. It's about exploring the world because New York City with its eight million people just isn't enough for me. It's about throwing it all away for something different. It's about going back to the familiar. It's about writing in cafes and reading amazing writing of your good friends. It's about making clothes that might fall apart, but they look fabulous. It's about drag queens in your past and kittens in your future and make it all work. It's about giving things up for an ideal. It's about the thought of living in the middle of nowhere, somewhere pretty, maybe on a farm, maybe on a beach in Costa Rica, maybe in Pennsylvania, and just being, writing, running, surfing, loving. It's about finding what you want and going after it. It's not about making sense, it's about feeling the real feeling.

05 November 2010

In Honour of "Back in the Day..."

I just found out one of my amazing feminist friends from college is moving back to NYC! Yay! Immediately, memories began flooding back (like parties at the Kingston loft; listening to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with the other feminists while Liz played it on her radio show; talking about Kathleen Hanna; dyke march...). And like we always used to say "Back in the day..." So in honour of "Back in the day...," here's a video that focuses just on that!

New York City Marathon on Sunday!

I should be feeling more excited, but right now, I'm filled with nervousness and dread, especially now that I started a brand-new cold. Luckily, today is the worst day, so I should be ready Friday, but I'm mostly nervous.

I'll be wearing my infamous Javelina pink flamingo skirt so if you see me en-route, say hi. I'm looking forward to seeing my parents along the course...and you!

02 November 2010

National Novel Writing Month

So I'm doing National Novel Writing Month, affectionately referred to as NaNoWriMo. The point is to write a novel in a month. I wrote yesterday, and some of it was crap, then I restarted, and while it's not my best work, it's not terrible. I'm actually kind of getting into it. I have a character I call The Old Man.

Doing NaNoWriMo? Friend me!