I have friends who run marathons. And friends who run half marathons. And friends who consider a fun Saturday morning to be hopping up for a 12-miler.
I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why I’m friends with these people because it’s obvious we have very different ideas of fun. I’ve never been a runner. Even in high school, when many of my friends were running track or cross country or just jogging for fun, I stuck to sports like swimming and soccer (which involved fast sprints followed by stints of standing). Pounding the pavement hasn’t really ever been my thing.
However, of late, it seems to make the most sense for me fitness-wise and I’ll even admit, I derive a slight amount of enjoyment out spending some time after work outside, headphones in, feet pounding on my neighborhood’s sidewalks. But running 6.2 miles in a race on Saturday was definitely something new for me. And so, without further ado, I’d like to give you a small glimpse inside my head during Saturday’s race:
Well, I’ve passed the start line. Seems like I should get some kind of extra credit for having to actually run to get to that line. You know those Kenyans at the front didn’t have to run to the start. Probably why they can finish this thing in like 27 minutes. Oh well. At least I’m here and so far so good. I’m breathing, I’m moving with the crowd, this isn’t too bad.
Strange. I’d never noticed that there is a slight incline at the bridge crossing Shem Creek before. This is both odd and annoying. Kind of wish this incline wasn’t here. Why not simply build the bridge at street level? I should talk to city planners about this.
Still moving with the crowd. Still breathing fairly evenly. Finally starting to feel warm despite 20 mph winds and 50 degree weather in a t-shirt. A guy dressed as the Easter Bunny just ran past me. I can’t decide if I should be insulted that the Easter Bunny is beating me or simply embrace the strangeness of this moment.
I’m listening to that Matisyahu and Akon song, One Day, about no more war and people stopping fighting. This feels like such a beautiful moment. Hundreds of happy people around me, running for fun. I’m so happy. I love people. I love the world. I love life.
I swear on Rosie’s soul, if the woman behind me steps on my heel one more time I am going to turn around and throw her off the freaking bridge we’re running over. Seriously. I want to slap her. And why is this guy next to me breathing so hard? C’mon buddy. Suck it up. I’m tired of listening to you. I hate people. Why am I running in a race with 38,000 people? I never want to see another human being again.
Is it possible for your calf muscles to actually burst out of the skin? This seems like a reasonable fear. Mine may be close to the bursting point. Maybe I should walk for a minute. Yeah. Probably a good call. No point in being the first human whose calves actually burst. Talk about embarassing.
I’m coming down off the bridge now. I’d thought this part would be fairly easy, but I’m having some serious energy level issues. I just tried to scroll down my iPod to get to another song and realized I don’t have the energy to move my thumb. It’s just too hard. Apparently I’m going to be listening to Lil Wayne’s Bed Rock on repeat for the next 2.2 miles. Awesome.
That’s weird. My face feels as if it’s fallen asleep. What does this mean? Dehydration? I’m going to pass out? Death?
As I pass a water station I decide to walk for a moment and take a few gulps of water on the off chance that a tingling face means dehydration and isn’t a sign of an impending heart attack.
Which, incidentally, brings me to heart attacks. I’ve noticed that my left arm hurts a little. Of course, so does my right, my back, my hips, my legs, and every other part of my body. But still. Left arm. I really don’t want to have a heart attack running a 10k. Probably time to walk for another minute.
We’re in downtown Charleston now. I’ve already passed the finish area, I just have to loop back to it. I saw people with bagels! I even saw a Kenyan with what looked like a taco! I want a taco! The end is near!
I’ve never hated a song as much as I hate Bed Rock right now. If I have to listen to the line “Call me Mr. Flinstone” one more time I may just throw my iPod on the street. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have the strength to throw it.
It’s funny, I’d been telling everyone I was running 6 miles. I never bothered to learn that it was 6.2. Point two miles doesn’t seem like a big deal. BUT IT IS. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE AT RISK FOR BURSTING CALVES.
I can see the finish line. I’m almost there. There’s a fairly good chance I may finish this race AND live to see tomorrow.
I did it. We all did it! I love humanity again! This is wonderful! I see water! And food! My face has stopped tingling! I’m not listening to Lil Wayne anymore! This must be what they mean when they talk about a runner’s high!
Myth 1: With the passage of HCR, bears will be allowed to roam hospitals, devouring those patients too sick to hide or flee.
Status: FALSE: The ursine provisions of the health care bill remain controversial with the AMA and other organizations, but, basically, all they do is recognize that in some rural areas, particularly in the Dakotas and Alaska, bears have been acting as health care professionals for decades, and puts them into the category of other alternative health professionals, such as acupuncturists, osteopaths, and killer bees. Bear attacks may be available under some health plans, but those treatments are entirely at the discretion of the insurers.
Myth 2: MRIs are once again to be termed “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Images”, and once again, a small percentage of those undergoing this procedure will gain super-powers that will allow them to perform great feats, at a cost to their humanity.
Status: FALSE: While this provision was included in earlier versions of the bill, it was dropped in the face of a strong opposition by Senator Keene and others.
Status: That’s not a myth, that’s a bunch of words, some of which are misspelled.
Myth 4: A provision of the HCR bill calls to the Lord Above, to send down a dove, with beak as sharp as razors, to cut the throats of them there blokes, what sells bad beer to sailors.
Status: Partially true: While this language does exist in the current version of the bill, it is unlikely to stand judicial scrutiny, as it will probably be seen as a violation of the separation of church and state. However, this is merely echoing faith-based programs enacted by individual states. The dove attacks on campus area bars selling Rolling Rock to University of West Florida Argonauts, for instance, can only be applauded, as Rolling Rock is swill.
Myth 5: In order to pay for the mandates of this bill, President Obama has traded the treasury of the United States for a handful of magic beans.
Status: FALSE: Only one government-owned cow was traded for these beans, which have already more than earned back the initial investment. Also, since the treasury of the US currently contains less than negative fourteen trillion dollars, wouldn’t you want to trade it, for just about anything?
Myth 6: The HCR bill will allow communists control of our vital bodily fluids.
Status: TRUE: Yeah, this one is totally real. But, to be fair, there aren’t that many communists left, and those that there are don’t actually want that many bags full of lymph and phlegm.
So I’m not actually smart enough to understand half of the health care reform stuff. I basically know that as a topic it tends to make people pretty angry and because I prefer to be around happy people I tend not to voice opinions about it.
I’m intrigued however by Rep. Randy Neugebauer yelling “baby killer” during Sunday’s House debate. It’s obviously reminiscent of Congressman Wilson yelling “liar” at President Obama. Today Neugerbauer came out with a statement apologizing to Congressman Stupak for yelling it while he was on the floor and calling the comment inappropriate, saying that it was yelled in the heat and emotion of the debate—not unlike Wilson apologizing to Obama, saying his yelling was inappropriate and that it was said in the heat of the moment.
Ok, seriously guys? I get that this stuff gets emotional, but I’m assuming you didn’t make it to some of the highest political offices in the country because you have an odd form of Tourette syndrome. Clearly this yelling is very purposeful and meant to be inflammatory. So, here’s where I have a problem. If you’re going to have the balls to yell things like “baby killer” during a congressional debate, then man up and don’t bother with the false apologies.
It may be a cliché, but I tend to find most politicians disgusting. This new trend of Republican outbursts is kind of putting the nail in the proverbial coffin on that train of thought.
One morning, a little more than two years ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop in a bustling Hong Kong neighborhood. It was a cool, foggy late April day and after six weeks of living out of one backpack and traveling around unknown countries, something as simple as sitting down in an overstuffed chair for a warm cup of coffee was immensely comforting.
I was with my friend Laura. We were lamenting that our trip would be coming to an end soon—and, if I recall correctly, Laura was begging me to catch a train from Beijing to Moscow at the end of the week and I was saying that I would except for this particular little dachshund I was anxious to get home to.
As we sipped our creamy drinks, we decided this was as good a time as any to plan our lives. Neither of us felt ready to return to nine to five jobs. Both of us wanted more adventure. Neither of us knew how what that should be. Both of us felt nervous that we’d fall back into old routines. Neither of us wanted that.
And so we began to talk about London. I don’t remember how or why I brought it up. Maybe because Hong Kong with its Marks & Spencers, Pret a Mangers, and businessmen with British accents reminded me of it. Or maybe just because for years it has felt as if London is always just at the edge of my mind—it is always the place a little part of me wishes to be.
Laura had never been to London—in fact, the last six weeks was the first time she’d ventured outside of the states. But she had been given a taste of travel and felt ready to take on the world. She sat quietly, her legs curled beneath her in her chair, as I spoke about my love for the city. I told her about the way Camden Market smells like incense and foreign food and crowds. The way Piccadilly Circus lights up as if it’s noon in the middle of the night. And the way the view from the top of Primrose Hill will make every other view in the world dim in comparison.
She said we should move there. And in that moment, as I sat in a Hong Kong coffee shop, days after partying all night on a Thai island, weeks after catching an over night flight to Fiji from LA, and hours before getting on a 24 hour train ride into China, anything felt possible. I agreed. We would move to London.
A little less than a week later I caught a flight back to real life. I fell in love with another city—where London had offered old age elegance and shiny international glamour this one whispered to me quietly on tree-lined streets and felt like an old friend I’d always known. I started one of those dreaded nine to five jobs and rediscovered my passion for telling stories on a page. I bought a cozy bungalow in an eclectic neighborhood and realized the comforts that come from calling a place home.
Last September Laura and I traveled to London together. It was her first time. I got to watch her eyes light up the first time she saw Portobello Road on a Saturday. I was beside her, listening to our footsteps echo on the cobblestones, the first evening she walked into Covent Garden. And on a Sunday afternoon we sat in the grass with our friend Celeste for more than an hour as the air grew cool on top of Primrose Hill.
On Saturday Laura is moving to London. She’s catching a flight from her hometown in Louisiana via Charlotte that will take her to Gatwick. She has a job waiting there. And a flat. And soon she’ll have a life there.
Since the moment she told me the move was happening I’ve felt an odd mix of jealousy and wondering and confusion and uncertainty and questioning myself. I wondered if I’d betrayed myself by not taking the paths that would lead me to the place we’d promised we’d go in the coffee shop that morning. I wondered if I was selling myself short.
It’s funny though. Something odd has happened. Somewhere in weeks of alternating between consuming envy and self-doubt, I’ve realized just how happy I am where I am right now. I’ve forced myself to open my eyes and look around at just how green the grass is on this side—and it’s really green, like sparkling emerald and jade. Happiness has found me right where I am. In long dinners laughing around a kitchen table with friends who have known me my whole life. In short drives to my parents’ farm where we take late afternoon walks together. In a job that doesn’t feel like a job. In a small dog who makes me laugh every single day.
I’m sure I have many more twinges of envy left in me for Laura. When I get her emails about pints at the pub or afternoons in Hyde Park, I will most certainly wonder for a moment if I’ve made the right choice. But the thing is, I’ve made my choice. And I don’t see it as my second choice. It was my first one. I’m where I’m supposed to be. London isn’t the one that got away. It’s my first love, but for now, Charlotte is my other half.
Well, it looks like I’m going to be going to church more and gossiping and dropping the f bomb less.
Tonight I had a meeting. About 20 minutes before the meeting ended, my alarm company called me. I didn’t know it was them and ignored the number. When I checked the message as I was leaving the meeting all I could hear was a mumbled “ADT…fire…alarm…dining room… please call back.”
My heart momentarily stopped as I imagined Rosie in a burning house. I called my parents (the second number on my call sheet) and asked if they’d called. My dad confirmed that yes, an 800 number had called while he’d been on another call a few moments before. It was ADT.
At this point, I was hitting 65 mph in a residential neighborhood and doing some serious praying/bargaining with God. A few promises were made on my behalf regarding ensuring Rosie was alive and unscathed when I returned home.
As I pulled into my driveway at mach 5, my dad called back. He’d called ADT. Turns out they were just calling about clearing my key pad to reset the fire alarm in my dining room. And Rosie was, blessedly, alive and chewing rawhide in a fire-free home.
It is really convenient for the mumbler at ADT that I made my promises about lessening my usage of the f bomb. Otherwise, I can say with some certainty that he would be hearing it tonight. You do NOT call someone and mumble the words “fire” and “alarm” in the same message. EVER.
So, now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call that guy back and use some very strong, PG-rated language.
In the past 24 hours I’ve gotten two inquiries as to whether I’m alive as well as one threat regarding my lack of blog posting. My apologies, dear readers. It’s been one heck of a week. In the last five days I’ve thrown two birthday parties for two different friends at my house, traveled to a city two hours away and another one hour away, had three pretty significant business meetings, and the magazine where I work is finishing up our monthly issue, which always means later nights. Plus, on Sunday my dad got in a skiing accident, badly broke his collarbone, and is having surgery today. Oh, and tonight, I’m hosting a fashion show at Neiman Marcus. The thing is though, really, none of this is the reason for my lack of dachshund photo posting.
The real reason is that I recently learned that one of my good friends is moving to London. And, rather than behaving like a normal adult and simply being happy for her, I have resorted to a four-year-old who has spent the last week pouting about how I wish I lived in London. Envy like this is actually a pretty new feeling for me. Most of the time I tend to think that if I’m envious of someone else’s life, I should simply change whatever it is I’m doing so that I can live that life. So far, that’s worked fine for me.
Unfortunately, it won’t work in this case. It’s not feasible for me to live in London right now. And that’s ok. My life here is good. In London, I wouldn’t have the job I love. And I wouldn’t have my cozy little house. And, most importantly, I couldn’t have my littlest love, Rosie.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have my cake and eat it too. Job/house/Rosie being the cake, London being the too. And so, I’ve moped around more in the last four days than my father has… and he’s in the middle of having a steel rod implanted in his shoulder as I type. So, it’s pretty easy to determine who has more of a right to mope.
I have, however, decided to push my bottom lip back in and move on. I have my cake. And it’s awesome. So, don’t you worry, the dachshund photo posting will continue without further ado. And thanks for reading—especially those of you who checked to make sure I was alive. That’s reassuring.