Down to Days

The past few weeks of running, including my nineteen miler, were done without audio books. I finished the last chapter of Dead Until Dark a few weeks back, while sitting in my car at Whole Foods, eating kale salad before going to pick up the kids. I knew how it was going to end, since I’d watched it play out on t.v., but even so I was sad to say, “Goodbye,” to the book version of Sookie.

Yesterday I downloaded the second book in the Hunger Games series; Catching Fire. It started little ahead of where the last book finished, but I was pulled right back in and excited to see where we would go. I feel a sort of kinship with Katniss, Girl on Fire. It isn’t logical, but she did get me through some of my very first long runs, while at the same time running for her own life in the games. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be channeling her with flaming fingernails on March 18th, so it was appropriate that she would be my choice for heroine du jour during these final weeks of training.

Those few weeks without stories made me realize that I’ve got to have one (or two) going at all times. I had checked out When Margaret was Young, by my favorite author Jane Hamilton, but could never figure out how to get it to import to my phone. In a way I was glad, though, because what if I didn’t like it? Could Jane Hamilton be my favorite author anymore if I couldn’t connect with her book? I returned it without listening, but will try to go back to it later, when I have less on my plate. I would hate to be disappointed by my book of choice at this juncture.

After my lunch date with Sookie, which turned out to be a surprisingly calm and enjoyable addition to my schedule, I decided that I needed a car read. While at the library, waiting for the girls to fill their “library purses,” I hunted down the audio book for Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.

I’ve often wondered what it was about that book that kept me so entranced as a young girl in the sixth grade, reading it for the very first time. I figured that it would be good research as I ponder the kind of books I myself want to write, and at the same time, be my companion as I eat my lunch. It probably sounds like a pretty nerdy and isolationist thing to do, but it is very hard to get quiet these days, and it’s less sad than eating alone absolute silence.

As a side note, I have returned to the land of exhaustion. After writing about Sweet Sleep, where I felt recovered from the overwhelming tiredness that had been plaguing me, it took one night of a past eight p.m. bedtime to fall back into the realm of six p.m. crashing and burning.

I wonder if it’s this point of marathon training and part of recovery? Maybe I’m coming down with something?

With only twenty-nine days until the race, my most important goal is to stay healthy. Peach called me yesterday with another cold and cough, my girls have been blowing their own little noses, and I watched a coughing boy at pre-school wipe his hand down the entire banister as he descended the stairs, surely on his way to the doctor. Germs are everywhere!

It is my biggest fear that I’ll get sick within days of the race and be unable to compete. That scenario has occurred two other times in my racing history. There’s nothing worse than being ill with a deep lung cough and cold at the same time that hundreds of people are running your race.

Fear aside, books in place, continued rest, one more big run, and quiet car lunches are on the menu until tapering begins.

Tapering. The final stage of this journey. I can barely believe it’s almost here.

Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. By Judy Blume.
Library Purses from Port Canvas in Maine. Notice the quality reading in Sophie's bag! She couldn't resist SpongeBob LovePants. Can you blame her?

A Summary Is in Order

It’s happening again! Too many thoughts bouncing through my brain, and fingers that can’t type quickly enough.

A summary may be in order.

First, I woke up yesterday wanting to write about princesses and toads, marriage and marriage counselors. I have experience with them all. I wanted to title my post Some Day My Prince Will Come. It was in no way going to be a husband bashing piece, rather an observation about marriage and how sometimes my toad really is a prince. I’ll have to explain more about that later, because it is an interesting story. I will say that marriage is more hard than anyone ever could have explained. It helps that I married a guy who is fundamentally good, even if some of his habits make me want to run for the hills screaming, “You’re not the boss of me!”  We all have our wounds and mine (just happen) to have made me really good at running for the hills. I like to be alone and to make my own decisions. It’s a challenge, but I’m committed to the cause.

This morning I started to write another post called Comma Crazy. I am such a boring girl these days. I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs (yes, drugs are bad and I know they don’t make a person not boring). My biggest addiction, besides chocolate cake, is my overuse of commas. I’ve been struggling with it for years, since back when I was teaching a room full of 10 year olds. One of my very favorite memories during those teaching days was the debates that I’d have with my assistant principal over commas. I miss Mary! I wish I could say I missed that room full of 10 year olds too, alas my days as a teacher are done. That’s a tough demographic; fourth graders. Ten year olds are not what they used to be.

At 7:45 a.m. I hurried upstairs for my running clothes. I’ve been really lucky that Brian doesn’t have to be at work until 10:00, so most mornings I can get in a decent run. Today I ran a terrific 6 miler and listened to the Miranda Lambert album that I downloaded a few days ago. The woman is brilliant and that is not an understatement.  Her words, voice and music touched me to the core of my being. It made me think, what makes something brilliant? Is brilliance when you feel it in your heart and not just notice it with your senses?  If that’s so, then brilliance, unlike beauty, is in the heart of the soul, not the eye of the beholder.  I thought about some of the other things that I consider brilliant. This week’s Boardwalk Empire is one of the most brilliant pieces of television I’ve seen, since Dexter came home to find Rita in the bathtub.

I also thought a lot about one of my favorite writer’s, the brilliant Jane Hamilton. When I read A Map of The World and The Book of Ruth in 2000 (they were out earlier, but I was busy being a NYC working girl with no time to read), I was in the middle of what I like to call my, “early mid-life crisis.” I was 29, had quit my job, wasn’t married, didn’t have kids, and was seriously depressed that my life wasn’t exactly how I thought it should be.  I decided, then, that I wanted to be a writer for a living, but was afraid I’d never be able to make it happen; afraid of more failure. I chose to be a teacher instead, where I did lots of editing and teaching about the subject I loved most. That thing they say, “Teachers teach because they cannot do,” in my case was sadly true.

The rest of my week is going to be easy breezy. I can’t wait until my Saturday 11 miler and hope that my Garmin arrives by then.

Sometimes a summary is in order, but I think I was able to cover what I needed to.

Sort of like Cliff Notes to my life.