Friday, March 28, 2014

If it were easy...

Will someone please tell my IT band that this is my World Series. My Olympics. The biggest athletic stage I'll ever compete on. 

Unless it isn't. 

I'm never going to outrun it and I do use the word "compete" a little loosely. I'm no Big Papi, no Mikaela Shiffrin. I'm not going to win. 

The best I hope for is that finisher's medal and Mylar jacket in Copley Square later the same day I start in Hopkinton. If I accomplish that, and if I can find some extra encouragement for my fellow Samaritans team members and anyone else I come across along the course, then I will have gotten it done. 

After last year's finish, and this winter's teeth, getting to the start is the victory. The rest is a celebratory lap. A long one, sure. 

36,000 people are running this race. My # is 32,763. That's even more people than took the bar exam my year. 

It is important to me run this thing right 
to honor Shaira and her community 
to honor those who have donated to Samaritans on the strength of my recommendation and commitment
to pay my respects to the running world and those lost and traumatized last year

But I am not important to this race. There are 32,672 people starting ahead of me and 3,237 people after me. The marathon will go quite oblivious to my presence. 

One more long run this weekend; from here 24 days until the Marathon. My response to IT pain this year differs strikingly from last year. I've already gone 19-20-21 milers, so I've done a lot more long running than I did last year. I know what I'm capable of doing on race day with only one of the long runs in me, so I do not need to worry about getting on the bus and back to Boston on foot. 

Yeah, it's going to hurt. Something is going to hurt. It's a marathon. I'm not young. If it were easy, there'd be a million people running and only thirty six thousand cheering. Enough to fill the Wellesley scream tunnel. 

Oh, and IT band? Meet lacrosse ball. Ice pack. Naproxen sodium. And, to quote a beloved Snoopy bathrobe of my youth, "Raw Strength and Courage." You might be thick, tough, chronically inflamed and tearing my knee apart, but you will not stop my marathon!

One more thing: I'm totally psyched for this: thanks to the encouragement of some of my biggest fans! It's not too late to send a scarf! The black-looking color is really blue. Not my best work but it'll be at Old South Church in plenty of time!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fundraising party a wild success

I suppose I should have set out an estimate for how much I hoped to raise at Joe Sent Me! but I didn't. I suppose even if I had, what we raised last night as a community would have totally exceeded any amount I could have guessed. 

I cannot possibly express my gratitude for everyone who donated products, services, gift cards, and everyone who bought raffle tickets and bid on stuff and everyone who enjoyed a free chair massage and tipped generously, and everyone who has offered so much support not only to Samaritans but to me personally. 

I could not have pulled this off without a lot of help!

Please support everyone listed here when you need stuff!!
Sadly, the chocolate raspberry cheesecake went home with someone else, but it did go to a good home!
I am thrilled that Kirstie, who works for Samaritans, was able to join us and help out! And it was nice to see some fellow runners in their street clothes!

Wingspan's worth of raffle tickets? 

Get a massage from Chris. You will not regret it!

The bottom line? $1200. I live in an amazing community. Thank you!!!!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Fear is Never Boring"

Great song by a local band from my hometown. "I'm out on a limb where the fun begins..."

Sixteen years ago I ran my first marathon, the inaugural Flying Pig in Cincinnati. Slowly.

I was afraid of everything. 

My body the course the distance my projected time finishing not finishing the weather the sports drinks the water stops the porta-potties the other runners the spectators the lack of spectators my sneakers, timing chip, socks, shorts, bra, shirt, hat, fanny pack (which I was right about and wound up handing to a little kid halfway through). 

Sixteen years later, I fear melanoma. Asbestos exposure. The college application process. 

I pathologically fear throwing up. Not sure how to desensitize myself from that one... 

I do not fear the course - last year I kind of did, but it turns out I hadn't taken into consideration what danger really lurked. No one did, no one could have. So maybe I have decided, finally, not to fear what I can't predict and instead turn towards controlling what I can and trust the rest to sort itself. 

This year, I have not obsessed over every twinge or cramp, and there are twinges and cramps. I don't know whether it's age or experience that has taken my anxiety offline. Perhaps the catastrophic events of last year have put everything in perspective. 

I respect the course, the distance, the weather, my gear and food/drink. I also trust my legs, my heart, my brain, my gear...the security policies in place this year, the general love Boston has for this event.

In two years, with your support, I have raised nearly $12,000 for Samaritans suicide prevention and grief support services, with five more weeks to go this year. Like Arlo said in the live recording of "Alice's Restaurant," 

"If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing itFor another twenty five minutes. I'm not proud... or tired."

I'm not scared, or tired. I'm revved. I could run 52 miles...I have two more twenty-milers planned (the first this weekend, the second on the course in a few weeks!) and I am so inspired by the support you all have shown Samaritans!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


On March 22, from 7-11 pm, join me for a fundraising party showcasing the generosity of the community supporting Samaritans through my marathon - the generosity of all of you!!

Where: Joe Sent Me at 849 Main Street, Waltham. 

Why? Help raise money to support Samaritans suicide prevention and grief support services!

Raffle items: You can buy tickets from me in advance, winners do not have to be present when we pick the winning tickets at approximately 9:45pm)
 - $25 gift card to Coyote Impressions (Support this donor!)
 - $25 gift card to Taza Chocolate (source of my post-long-run recovery Mexican hot chocolate Cacao Puro!)
 - $50 gift card to J.R. Burke Salon (my tresses-whisperers) (Support this donor!!)
 - $50 gift card to Marathon Sports (Support this donor!)
 - Mystery novels signed by local (and famous!) authors!
 - Hand knit baby blanket - donated by John Gillis and Kathleen Kelly!

Silent Auction:
Bidding ends at 10pm. I will help with proxy bidding if you cannot be there/cannot stay. For items under my control (batches of truffles, for example, if losing bidders will match the winning bid we may be able to work something out!)
 - JUST ADDED:  chocolate raspberry cheesecake courtesy of Ron and Patty Moore (winner must be present otherwise this sucker's going down!)
 - Oral B Braun Professional electric toothbrush - donated by Dr. David G. and Maryellen Wyman! ($125 value)
 - In-Home private yoga class donated by Jennifer Parker ($100 value) Great for everyone from marathon runners to couch-jockeys...
 - SoulCollage® workshop for up to five people. Valued at $375! See
 for details about this creative and self-reflective card making process! Donated by Jen Navarro!
 - One-hour long massage from Chris Hansen Juliani founder/owner of Boston Chair Massage at her Arlington office! (Value $100)
 - (rumor: designer bag by Very Local Designer)
 - (rumor: hour-long family/pet photo shoot from Very Local Up and Coming photographer)
 - Two dozen handmade cookie dough truffles (Value: $30)
 - Hand knit socks by yours truly - priceless ;-)
- Companionship on a long run, bike or swim (or all three) at your pace and distance with yours-truly! - priceless!

On-site Chair Massage! Chris Hansen Juliani founder/owner of Boston Chair Massage will be at our fundraising event offering chair massages for donations to the Samaritans. Also see her Silent Auction donation of an hour massage at her Arlington office for the auction!

Donations to Samaritans welcome, as is all the moral support you can muster  - this is a marathon after all!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A peek under the hood of an early morning long run:

Headed out wicked early this morning to get a 19 miler in with everything else I was supposed to do today. By wicked I mean 5:08. A.M. Yeah. 

Here's how I think that is probably not how most of the rest of the world thinks: 

I think, I can run a big loop for an hour and twenty minutes, pick up my running buddy who did not want to go that early or that far, loop with her to come back to my house at the end of her part of our run together so that I could pick up my dog 
so the dog could run the last hour with me. 

It worked. I made my friend's porch about three minutes late, and my dog got slightly more than an hour's run, and I made my 9:15 meeting fed and washed. Our milk was spoiled, though, so I did not get my Taza Mexican hot chocolate recovery miracle. 

And feeling pretty amazing for having trundled up and down our neighborhood hills for three hours and ten minutes. THREE HOURS AND TEN MINUTES! Booyah. 

Before I picked up my buddy or my dog, I had time to think. 

Today I thought about the memorial service many in our neighborhood attended Saturday, for a wonderful, fierce, too-young mother-artist-athlete-wife-friend (in no particular order). 

I also thought about shouting - not because I was in danger, but I wondered how loud I could shout, and knowing whose houses I was near, I wondered how many neighbors my voice would carry to. Many of these neighbors who were at yesterday's service, and the one before that, and the one before that, and the one before that...

Putting these lines of thinking together, I thought about how much generosity these neighbors have shown each other in these recent times of struggle. We have opened our pantries and cooked for one another, we have opened our wallets for donations honoring these struggles, we have given of our time whenever it was asked of us, without a moment's thought about being inconvenienced. 

I thought about how even though we'd all rather have everyone in our lives remain well, we know the way the world works and at the slightest hint of trouble there'd be an email and meals scheduled three months out, with a waiting list filled with those who got the email too late. 

I also thought about my upcoming fundraising party, and a concert I'm producing in April, and all kinds of other things. But my happiest thoughts, as I ran past street after street on which I knew so many who had given so much to others nearby, were of gratitude for the strength of these networks. 

But there's another thing, too. This network of care feels very midwestern, less of how I have lived for so long in Yankee Boston and more of how I might have grown up in Ohio. 

No one would be more surprised than my younger self to know that one day I, too, would take my part in such a community. Sort of exactly like an It Gets Better moment. It got better than I ever dared to imagine. Maybe it's a function of getting older and living in one place for a long time, but it feels like something else, too. 

I know that distance training brings up all kinds of emotion. I've written about the snowglobe effect I've experienced. And I'm sure that the folks from around here haven't given this a moment's thought, that in a slightly different time or place someone like me would think twice before attempting to participate fully in a community. 

And yeah, the world has changed in a lot of places, but not everyplace, and I am filled with gratitude to be where I am now, in this community, where I am not even the only crazy running machine, and my covered dish quietly, rightfully, takes its place in the queue of outpourings sustaining those in need.