Sunday, March 28, 2010

Running out of things to say

I don't know what to write about. I realize I haven't been here for awhile. I could write about the day I spent 6 hours cleaning my house. Or the great dinner party we had that night. Or I could write about the grant I'm writing, and how intimidated I am by budgets. Or, I could write about the contract that is ending in May, and how my nonchalance about it borders on irresponsibility.

I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I read a crap book during the time it took Amazon to send me the next book in the series, and then, last night, began reading The Girl Who Played With Fire. I am obsessed with Lisbeth Salander, even though the only person I discuss her with is my father. He recommended the books. I want to go to Sweden and be a writer now. Salander is NOT, by the way, a writer in Sweden. She is a goth computer hacker with a harrowing past. But if living in Sweden (and smoking 60 cigarettes a day, by the way, which killed him before he could write all ten books for this series) can help me write like this, sign me up. (Kidding-- everyone knows that to be a truly great writer, you have to go live in the South and be an alcoholic!)

Lisbeth is truly bad ass (and if you ran with me, you would know that I talk about my desire to be bad ass during about 90% of our runs; it has now overcome my desires to have a great ass and to buy a bikini this summer). She has had said harrowing past (which we continue to learn about), yet she is by no means a victim. Lisbeth gets revenge. Tiger Woods would have had a real problem with Lisbeth Salander. She is also a genius. And Salander thinks about more interesting things than I do. I have my loop of thoughts that circle and iterate (kids, husband, coffee, food, Facebook, work, my puppy, my parents, running, and Radical Honesty) rather uselessly. Salander has a photographic memory and has memorized Dimensions in Mathematics and solved Fermat's Last Theorem. She also lives in Grenada and sort of lopes around writing calculations on cocktail napkins and prying into her neighbors' affairs. Granted, she has a lonely, empty, kind of horrific existence, but she is fascinating. And instead of thinking about mathematical proofs or how to improve conditions in Chile or Haiti, I am thinking about someone who doesn't exist.

It's a little demoralizing.

I know people, however, who do not read fiction. And while I can appreciate this, I will always read fiction.

Dereck said something Friday night that honestly astonished me. A friend asked, "What was the first book that made you cry," and as I was searching my memory, Dereck said he didn't think a book has ever made him cry. We will have to fix that directly, and I, apparently, will have to finally read 100 Years of Solitude.

[Tommy just came in before bed, talking about how a character on an episode of the show Community had run forward into her own pepper spray. "She was trying to be a bad ass. More like a dumb ass. But what's the difference, really?" Thanks, son!]

Running is starting to take over. It used to be that I ran so I could keep in shape (now that my medication change has helped me get into shape). I ran so that occasionally, I could eat peanut M&Ms, and still be able to button my pants.

Friday, we ran 2.5 miles. I had had a very slow work out week. Yesterday, we ran what we thought was 7, but was actually 7.7. And I don't mean that we ran 5, walked two. I mean we ran 7 and walked parts of the .7. Then, today, we ran over 3 as our recovery run. Our bodies are breaking down, hopefully to be rebuilt with muscle. My knees hurt. Carol's left calf is tight. Mine has been tight on and off for three years. I am thinking of taking up yoga, as I am stretching now to make sure that my muscles get elongated and not bunchy. Carol (5'2") laughs when I say that I feel short, squat and fat (I am 5'7"). However, Carol's thighs are the size of my wrist.

Our goal for the next two weeks is to run 8 miles each Saturday (we run at least one long run per week, and balance out the rest of the week with 3-to-5 miles depending mostly on time, with one day off) (we have a lovely, flat course for the 8). When we run 9, it will be a personal best for us both.  I have to tell her that I am going up to Cedar Falls next weekend with John to see Avenue Q. He got tickets for my birthday LAST year. It's kind of ridiculous when one of your first thoughts is that you will have to work your run around your fun, isn't it?

At the same time, we are snarky on our runs about the middle-aged women (besides us) at races who have sun-and-wind-leathered faces from hours running outside, the women who don't smile, who don't chat with us, and who wear T-Shirts that say, "If you don't puke, you're not running hard enough." What kind of quality of life do they have? I always wear my hair in a ponytail, and I am running out of pants that fit me. They either threaten to fall off, or I have to wear a belt and they just look stupid. But I don't want to buy new pants NOW because I'm in between sizes. Not quite there yet. So, I end up just wearing my jogging clothes all day. I build my days around my runs. I have to plan what I eat (not too much before hand, don't pig out after or you'll GAIN weight while training), my sleep (don't stay up that late; it will ruin your run), and my work schedule all around my runs. Or at least keep them in mind. It's almost like the running is a newborn I have to take constant care of.

I am starting to eat and sleep to run, instead of vice versa. I colored my hair brown in part because it's too much of a time suck to maintain the blonde (also? Too damaging. Also? Ridiculous). What is the point in running all these miles when I just walk around in sweats and a ponytail all day? Carol can't even wear a skirt to church without people commenting on her bony knees and how the veins pop out of her legs. She thinks they are disgusting. I think they are beautiful and bad ass. I can't wear skirts because they are too big now.

I'm not really complaining, you know. For one thing, training for a half-marathon is a choice. For another? It's a privilege. I will be 41 in one month. And I ran almost 8 miles yesterday. That is a gift, my friends.

So, even though, like my friend Libby from High School who reads a lot and is a Dean of Students and has lovely dogs and drinks wine and enjoys the same pleasures (a good meal; a good bath; exercise) that I do, she claims she feels boring, and often,  I feel boring too. One of the reasons I don't blog is that I really don't know what to say-- because I'm doing the above-- or because I'm thinking too much or having conversations so private that they both exhaust my desire to write and there is just too much to write, and you don't have the background and context, so where do I begin?

Still here. Time goes by. Things happen. The sun goes up, the sun goes down. Just like always.


  1. I think the first book that made me cry was "The Outsiders." When we discover in the end that the best friend was a drug dealer, that was crushing. Now everything makes me cry.

  2. The first book that made me cry? Certainly not Garcia Marquez. Just couldn't get that invested in it.

    I remember now... It was A Separate Peace.

  3. In This House of Brede by Rumor Godden. I think I was twelve. I'm like Don. I cry at everything now. Leaky eyes.

  4. If I don't get enough sleep, I cry at McDonald's commercials.

  5. I don't think a book has ever made me cry.

    The following line made me nod my head though:

    "It's almost like the running is a newborn I have to take constant care of."

  6. Where the Red Fern Grows put me in a crying jag for about, oh, a year... I also remember watching a documentary about foxes at the movie theater and just being devastated at the end. My refrigerator feels like a newborn that I have to take constant care of, but since there's all kinds of old, icky food in there it's safe to say the newborn has crawled out the cat door and is snacking on, i dunno, birdseed? This is a very precocious newborn/refrigerator.

  7. Oh goodness. Like Don and Liza, I too have leaky eyes. And I cannot tell you the first book. Which makes me sad and want to cry all by itself. When Keli was growing up I read to her every night until she was in Junior High because we loved it so much. And some of her books made us cry together.

    And I remember puking after one of the races I did and just being terribly embarrassed. I didn't know that was supposed to be my goal! LOL