Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I remember rain, but I can not remember the last time it rained. The dried walnut leaves are collecting outside my bedroom window, from the same tree under which I got engaged. They are curled and crisp and when the rain hits them they are like bongo drums. I can hear each raindrop, fat and unhurried as it falls. Waking up like this is one of the cosmomorphic moments in my life.

Lately I sleep a hundred miles deep and wake easy and full of grace. At least for now the insomnia is behind me.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hood To Coast 2006

Finishing my last leg

Leg 11: 4.2 miles / 35:35 / 8:28 pace
Approx. 9:35 pm

Down the Springwater Trail in the dark warm of night. I can hear the hobos and raccoons rustle in the tall grass and creekside brush but they don't bother me. I have run this stretch of trail many times and trust the path enough to tuck away my flashlight. All runners are required to wear a reflective vest and carry a light between the hours of 6 pm and 7 am. But I run in the dark on a stretch of recreational trail where no cars are allowed. The smell of blackberries and apples is strong, almost overpowering. Mostly I am alone with my pulse and the cricket song.

One man passes me on this trail but he has long bounding legs with which he clearly uses in a cheating manner. I slaughter five other runners and two more are spared, making their escape when I am forcibly stopped by a race official at a stoplight.

Leg 23: 4.1 miles / 32:35 / 7:56 pace
Approx: 5:55 am

The road has wound through dark farmland on packed gravel shared by both vans and runners, illuminated by nothing but head lights, and a dusty fog of tail lights. Dawn breaks, ice cold and misty. In the van I haven't slept much but a nod. My next exchange point is in a rock quarry just off the road, pebbles the size of fists. I stumble, nearly fall on the rocks after our runner passes me the bracelet. Groggy and cold I launch onto the road, now thankfully paved. I forget the misted forests and glassy still creeks as soon as I pass them. What am I thinking about? Maybe I just say to myself YOU BETTER RUN, YOU BETTER TURN OVER YOUR FEET. I feel clumsy and my nose is cold but I run my fastest time.

One man passes me. His vest has reflective tape cut out in the shape of a huge martini glass. I pick up a little speed and, quenched, draft him for three quarters of a mile. One other man passes me. I earn six more road kills and my left hamstring cramps.

Leg 35: 7.4 miles / 1:03:35 / 8:32 pace
Approx. 3:35 pm

I have been nervous about my last leg all day long. It is one of the longest legs of the whole race and, like my first leg, there is no van access, no support. The afternoon is very hot, but the temperature is getting cooler as we near the coast. Butterflies swarm through me.

I still haven't slept though we did lay in flattened grasses in a field somewhere past the town of Mist. The map shows a steady uphill, and indeed the road rises gradually through the forest. I pass three loggers logging, a cyclist and two police officers on horseback who tip their hats to me.

The shaded road breaks open into vast acres of clear cut land, stumps and dried brush piles. It is dead, void of life except for me and my pulse. Weyerhaeuser has posted signs along the way, a Burma Shave cheer for the timber industry, proclaiming the land before me to be vibrant with wildlife and foresty health.

The road is rough, mostly unpaved and I lose considerable speed churning up and spitting out gravel under my shoes. I start to see other runners ahead of me about half way into the leg, and each one is motivation for me to keep running. The road is only as long as the back of the next runner. I get 12 more road kills, and am killed only twice, and for the first and only time by a woman. She is smoking hot and gone in a flash. I cheer. My right hamstring cramps.

I reach the relay point for our final hand off and she goes running while I drink water indelicately. An hour later the entire team, from both vans united, crosses the finish line with our last runner and are awarded medals for our awesomeness.

Grand total: 23 roadkills, 5 times killed

Overall our team finished about three hours behind our projected finish time due to complication and injury mostly in the first van. Still, we finished in 28 hours, one minute and 34 seconds. All delays included we averaged a pace of 8:31 per mile.

I love this event. 1054 teams, 2108 vans, 12,648 runners (not to mention the walkers and their vans). We are a festive carnival of runningness. I loved having a chance to run on this team but I am dreaming of the day I can enter with my own team. So far, I have myself, Clark, my brother John and my sister-in-law Anita on the roster. I have my heart set on 2008. If you are interested, start training now please.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Heel toe heel toe heel toe

It was a trick question. The struggle is never behind you. There will always be sheets to fold, corners of the bathroom needing caulk. Just getting through this time is never going to happen. I got this far already.

I love working again! I love to be working again so much stingy old ladies tip me 50% and the boys ask me to dinner. MAIS NON, FOR I AM TO BE WED so I say. I cant tell you how good it feels to not be waylaid. I am like the singing, dancing Julie Andrews sweetheart of waitressing. But forever?

NON! I am trying to figure out how to practice my interpreting in a vacuum. There is nobody there to stop me and say BUT IT MAKES NO SENSE! Alone, at home I interpret NPR podcasts but Boy Oh Boy! do they talk fast. After all, it has been almost 5 months since I last interpreted into or from sign language. I have to stop and consider too often, so close to starting my internship next month.
*what will become of her??*

After five days off and icebath therapy my muscles are unfurled and I am ready to run again. This is my struggle between the best and worst in me. I am relieved to not act it out elsewhere. I am relieved to be back on the road.

Just in time because Hood To Coast kicks off this Friday afternoon! 1000 teams of 12 people each, 197.15 miles, 26:46:30 hours (our projected time) from Timberline lodge to Seaside Oregon. Oh, I just got a little thrill!

If everything goes according to plan I will run my first leg, the 11th team leg, Friday evening at 9:07 pm, my second leg (23rd) Saturday morning at 5:54 am, and my third leg (35th) at 2:03 that same afternoon. 4.2, 4.1 and 7.4 miles respectively. Our runner on the 36th and final leg of the race is projected to cross the finish line on Saturday afternoon at 4:01 pm. At these times here given feel free to let out a little cheer for me. I will know it was you, trust me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sore...strained... stiff... Not all the same thing.

I have a new job. After several months of not working I am a gushing fountain of optimism and workful joy! I am still a fucking waitress. I carry heavy plates. Sometimes people order Nachos and I carry two heavy plates, one cool ceramic plate under the baked hot ceramic plate which I deliver with the nurturing admonition to not touch the top hot plate (for she burns). This task, when Nachos or else, is burdensome and painful to my left wrist. Stupid bastard wrist. My wrist ruined my life.

I have nothing else I want to write about.

I am not honest enough and have painted myself into a dishonest corner. I have had growing pains of honesty, when little bits of myself became revealed on the blog. Now I am crowded with unfessed bits and I cant write around them. My father suggests I post more often lest people lose interest and drift away. Drift on I say. I think they drifted long time ago.

I have drifted.

Clark has tear-ing and torn-ish tendons in his right hip, so they say for what sense it makes. I run on. Run-Ish. Actually I missed a day after my 20 mile run last weekend so I ran 10 miles the next day. Strained my right quad. Decided to rest a couple days. Ran 13 more because time is lost and then felt even more strained. So strained in fact I stiffened up immediately and, on the way back to my car could not count on any leg muscles stretching far enough to accommodate my normal gate. This has never happened to me.

So I have found the strength to bench myself for one week, even though I feel fine today. This is both my hard earned wisdom and enduring fatalism.

There is a delicate balance between healing and hurting. To become stronger you must damage the muscles. Tear them down. They are designed to become stronger by abuse. But they must rebuild after being destroyed. If you begin to destroy again too soon you reach an equilibrium and plateau, making no progress, or you destroy destroyed tissue and are thus unable to perform any destroying task.

I guess I assumed that if I could run 20 miles and not feel a thing the next day there was nothing to hold me back because there was no healing there happening. It always comes down to my essential lack of faith in the world. I am thrilled when seeds germinate in my garden because I don't believe it will really happen for me. I am amazed my mitochondria are increasing their densities, that I can actually go farther faster every time I run out the door.

Recently Clark scolded me harshly for my lack of faith. Using his hands to demonstrate the scope of my perspective, cupped close he said YOU THINK THIS IS THIS and he cupped them far AND YOU CANT SEE THAT IT IS MERELY THIS cupped close A MOMENT IN TIME, AND YOU ARE READY TO BOLT BECAUSE YOU CANT SEE BEYOND THIS MOMENT, AND YOU FEEL TRAPPED. BUT LIFE IS BIGGER, IS MORE THEN THIS VERY MOMENT.

And he went on to be right about a various number of my faults. But the essential conundrum I have always surfaced upon is that I never have believed. I fail to believe that working my ass off in school will improve my life, and indeed, though the debt mounts, it looks very much like my life lacks any improvement at all. I fail to believe that we will be able to claw our way out of this tiny falling down house we live in. That we will be able to pay for a wedding. Surmount debt and demon. If my dreams were vest in the breaking of a vase I would fail to believe that vase should fall to the floor were I to poke it. I scarcely believe the day will dawn tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The pain is better then regret

Another new shoes, cocaine white. I feel weary and strong. I am a running break through all the webbing, running in love with running to live to run to love to run. I love nothing like I love to run.

Clark is done. He cant run the marathon with me because we don't know why yet, wont know why until the MRI. Something in the hip joint. But he follows me on the bike with a riding crop clenched between his teeth. RUN WOMAN, RUN. Passing motorists gape, swerve.

I don't always love running. Sometimes I dread it. My toes curl in my shoes and my body curls back against my spine. But I do it anyway because it is the only discipline I have. And I know what I will slog through miles until day breaks. Life is like that.


My dog in love. He wrote a poem.

Sascha, Sascha
I'll be your monster treasure
your moon crater

if you will have me.


He used to look at me like that.
Giddy fool.


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