Sunday, August 25, 2013

Running in the Dark

As usual, it was my own fault.
It was my idea to sign up for the Electric Run.
Of course, my wonderfully supportive husband, sister in law, and our awesome running crew gladly joined up as well.
I got us all registered and ready to go. And then I proceeded to prepare in no way at all.
Most of this month, I barely went running. Even though Ben went out at least every other day, I let it slide. Hard. I think I went out three times in the last three weeks.

Then yesterday arrived, as dates on the calendar tend to do, even when you forget about them.
We had the whole day to prepare, so of course it took me until ten minutes after we should have left to find my running pants.
The Electric Run in our part of the world was set up at a local fairground. I was getting really excited to run by the time we got into the fairgrounds and had all our glowing accouterments on and flashing. The weather was gorgeous. The people were thrilled to be there.
We left in the fourth wave of runners, down the gravel trail, around a gentle curve and through a series of glowing arches rising over the beginning of the course.

Did you catch the gravel trail part? Yeah. I didn't know that either, until we started running.
It wasn't just gravel, it was also great big stones, one of which I tripped on, while trying to avoid the nice people walking and pushing strollers from the wave just ahead of us.
I tripped on a big 'ol stone at the edge of the trail, and landed on my bare knees on the gravel. When I stood up, I had a spectacular scrape on my right knee, and a little pebble stuck in my left palm. I knew that knee was going to bleed, but it didn't hurt at all, and I had about 3.1 miles of fun run ahead of me.

So I picked that pebble out of my palm, and I went running.

It was so worth it.

The Electric Run was crazy fun. The course zigzagged through the fairgrounds, over grass and trails and through the barns, which had been decorated with umbrellas and floating bubbles and thousands of dangling twinkle lights. Outside there were lanterns in the trees, and lights set up all along the path. It really was beautiful, and one of the easiest runs of my life.

At the end, I realized I had quite a lot of gravel dust in my right knee, and a huge bruise on my left knee.
I still ran the best 3 miles of my life. Somewhere around 28 minutes, after accounting for a few seconds to pick myself up off the gravel and keep running.
Jen ran it in 23. Ben ran it in 20:45. I did not take many pictures, as I was running, and bleeding.

Me & Jen, just before the race
Notice, my knees are intact at this point. 

Me, Patte, Jen & Kristi, at the end of the course. 

I'm not posting a picture of my knee, because it's just gross.
Don't worry, I'll be fine. It's just a flesh wound. This was still my favorite fun run so far, and I highly advise you to try it, if it's coming anywhere near you. (without the falling and bleeding part, of course.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

There's Got To Be A Better Way!

Too often in the course of my day, like all the times I notice how disorganized I am - and its in the triple digits a day, people - and am reminded of a Troy McClure infomercial. "There's got to be a better way!" There are so many things I could probably be doing smarter, somehow

I want all these meals to be healthy and delicious.
I want this house to be *reasonably* clean.
I want my tomato plants to make tomatoes the way everyone else's tomato plants actually make tomatoes.
I want this manuscript to be less crappy, and more awesome...

But the way I do things seems terribly inefficient. Because none of those things gets done in any kind of reasonable amount of time. This is the age of the Smartphone and the Smartcar and the self cleaning oven, and the mimeograph.  I live in a house with buttons on the wall that can make it instantly warmer or cooler, should I feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. I have a  box on my counter top that Makes Food Hot in under 90 seconds, which I only  use to make popcorn and warm my coffee. No longer do I live under the scourge of Tepid Coffee Because I Didn't Drink It Fast Enough. The machine I'm using to write this can give me any information available in some form of print from anywhere in the world - and time. My car has a whole compliment of ways to tell me that something is wrong with it before it breaks down.

I feel like things should be easier. At least some things. More should be possible in a day.
And yet, there always seems to be a bigger list of things Left to Do than things Accomplished at the end of the day.

Somehow, I have the delusion that if I had some magical system of organization, everything would be so much easier, and the things I want to get done would fall into place around me.
There's just one problem - writing takes as long as it takes. There's no rushing. There're no shortcuts. The scene or chapter or book is done when it's done. And it doesn't care if I have plants to water, or laundry to fold, or a car to vacuum. So those things come after. (Or perhaps everyone else's secret is to just pay someone to do all those other things for them. )

But then, every once in a while, there's a little payoff for simply not having anything like enough time to get everything done everyday. Like, when I didn't weed my front yard garden as thoroughly as I'd like. I started to let some things grow, and this is what happened -

I didn't plant these, and I don't know what they are, exactly, but they're almost six feet tall now, and covered in the most beautiful little flowers. I looks like chamomile, maybe. Whatever they are, I'm glad I didn't pull them up when they were just little unrecognizable sprouts. because I never would have seen them bloom. 
So, while things like the laundry and the dirty vegetable crisper and the oil light on the car will never, ever get better by just letting them sit a little longer, there are things that get better with time and patience and maybe letting go a little bit.